Wellington Scoop

New bike path in compromise design for Oriental Parade


News from WCC
The most congested part of the Oriental Bay pathway will be made safer for people on bikes and on foot later this year with no loss of parking.

Wellington City Councillors today unanimously agreed to changes that will widen and relieve pressure on the short section of promenade between Herd Street and Freyberg Pool which, at busy times, is too narrow to safely accommodate the large numbers of people walking, biking, running and sightseeing.

Mayor Justin Lester says the layout that has been agreed is the result of a lengthy and thorough community engagement process.

“It is a compromise that we think fairly balances the diverse needs of the thousands of people who have an interest in this very popular and important part of the city,” he says.

A 2.5m-wide two-way bike path and new footpath to be developed between the pohutukawa trees and angle parking, will allow the existing shared path near the seawall to become pedestrian-only. Croc bikes will need to use the bike path through this part of Oriental Bay.

The design, a modified version of the more popular of the two options that Wellingtonians gave their thoughts on last year, retains all the angle parking, adds three additional parallel parks, retains a median strip for turning traffic, and provides some new motorbike parking.

The new bike path will help provide an improved connection between the city and the eastern suburbs, complementing the two-way separated cycleway proposed around Evans Bay, and the improved biking and walking facilities already under way along Cobham Drive.

The Council’s City Strategy Committee also agreed today to replace angle parking on Thorndon Quay between Davis and Mulgrave streets with parallel parking to make room for on-road bike lanes on each side of the road.


The painted traffic-side lanes are seen as an interim solution to make this stretch a little safer, and can be put in later this year at very little cost when the road is resealed.

The corridor between Kaiwharawhara and the city centre is being considered as part of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project at the moment, and there is a desire to make sure any additional improvements for people on bikes are well integrated with any other transport and urban design changes proposed for the area.

Cr Sarah Free, the Council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking, Cycling and Public Transport, says it is clear that more needs to be done to make Thorndon Quay safer for people on bikes.

“I would have liked to have seen more done, but sometimes you have to do things incrementally, and this change will be a small improvement. It will provide cycle lanes on a section where there are none at the moment, and these will link in well with the lanes in Bunny Street and those planned for part of Featherston Street. I very much hope we will be having conversations within the next 12 months about more substantial improvements.”

Parking time limits in the area will be changed from 10 hours to 6 hours, rather than the 2-hour limit proposed.


The Committee also unanimously approved a new two-way bike path and separate footpath in Kilbirnie on the St Patrick’s College side of Evans Bay Parade, replacing the existing shared path.

The bike path will connect with the new bike paths soon to go in on Rongotai Road, the two-way path to be built around Evans Bay, and the new paths being constructed on Cobham Drive. It will form part of a local network and help provide wider connections to the city and adjacent suburbs, including Newtown.

The design has been integrated with the proposed new Kilbirnie bus hub and other bus changes planned by Greater Wellington Regional Council in this vicinity.

The next stage for all three projects will be to complete the detailed designs, construction plans and independent safety audits. Work is expected to start in late 2018.


  1. Iona Pannett, 19. April 2018, 19:44

    Great to see the Oriental Bay and Evans Bay cycleways agreed to today but disappointed that the Council has yet again (for the 4th time) refused to make Thorndon Quay safe for cyclists; more work to do here. [via twitter]

  2. Patrick Morgan, 19. April 2018, 19:47

    Two steps forward, one step backwards on Wellington bike lanes. Thanks for your dissenting voice Iona. It’s outrageous councillors can vote for a design which doesn’t meet any safe guidelines. We must do better. [via twitter]

  3. Sarah Free, 19. April 2018, 19:50

    Just to note – know it is much less than hoped for, but the scheme approved today takes away 50 car parks from Thorndon Quay; retailers and residents are understandably nervous about this. I have committed to try to restart the conversation as soon as possible to try to do more. [via twitter]

  4. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 19. April 2018, 20:02

    Thorndon Quay has considerably more car-parking than necessary – established by analysis of parking use. The scheme approved today removes all 10hr commuter parking between Davis St & Mulgrave St and replaces it with about 1/2 as much 6 hour parking for shoppers & part-timers. [via twitter]

  5. Iona Pannett, 19. April 2018, 23:45

    Chris Calvi-Freeman and Malcolm Sparrow voted against too, they were great in debate. [via twitter]

  6. Jono, 20. April 2018, 9:19

    Nice compromise. At least the council is making decisions about core responsibilities. Too bad the needless rounds of discussion and consultation hit ratepayers where it hurts most – in their pockets. This a concerning read.

    Btw – on the road, with painted space, is the safest place for cyclists who want to commute at speed. All this faffing around behind parked cars creates confusion and obstructed views, and much more of a dangerous journey.

  7. Patrick Morgan, 20. April 2018, 9:44

    The angle parking on Oriental Parade is a poor use of public space. It’s also a dangerous design on a busy road. This was a missed opportunity to fix that. [via twitter]

  8. lindsay, 20. April 2018, 9:46

    Agree with Patrick. Backing out into the traffic, without being to see what’s coming, is a bad plan.

  9. Paul, 20. April 2018, 10:29

    Will the growing ruts and dangerous ghost markings in Island Bay ever be fixed? Nearly two years since the safety review identified the Ghost markings as the biggest issue and still nothing has been done about them as we head into more dark wet evenings where you don’t have a clue which markings are valid. The ghost markings are holding up much better than the sharrows added more recently that have already come off.

  10. Josie B., 20. April 2018, 21:46

    Exactly how many cycling accidents have there been on Thorndon Quay in the last five years? Is it a number greater than zero?

  11. Andy Foster, 21. April 2018, 8:04

    Josie B – yes the number is quite a lot greater than zero. From CAS data, I count it at 38 reported crashes over the last 10 years and 15 over the last 5. We know that non injury/minor and even fairly serious crashes are often not reported. The usual rule of thumb is that at the lower end of the scale under-reporting, it is as much as 90% non reported. ACC tend to get a higher reporting level.

    Is there a safety issue? Over 80% of those crash reports showed that the motorist did not see the cyclist, with maneuvers like backing out of angle parks, turning into parks being prevalent. If you look at pictures of the Quay you will see that there is not much room between the traffic lane and angle parked cars. We know that in spite of significantly increased numbers of people on bikes we know the morning peak clearway we put in place 5 or so years ago definitely helped.
    However more is needed, and several of us made that very clear in the debate on Thursday. It is crystal clear that cycling is part of our transport system and with walking, public transport, urban planning and alternative working and technological solutions, will be needed to do more if we are going to tackle the transport congestion pressures caused by growing population, reduce emissions, and improve the liveability of our city.

    All these things will be part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving, and it is also clear that there is strong feedback support for this approach.

    Thorndon Quay is part of the busiest cycle route in the city. It is also part of one of the two core bus routes (Island Bay to Jville)so it is inconceivable that it will not see further changes. Consequently, in another paper also on Thursday on our Forward Work Programme I asked that we add Thorndon Quay onto the forward programme and councillors agreed.

    Andy Foster

  12. Citizen Joe, 21. April 2018, 13:51

    @Josie, Great question! WCC analysis shows accidents along Thorndon Quay to have increased over the last decade from 1 to 6 a year (severity isn’t given and there’s no mention of any fatalities). That’s a total of 30 accidents over the decade.

    Cycle trips increased four-fold from 75 to 300 per peak hour which puts annual usage at 200,000 (very approx) rising to 800,000. So you’d have to cycle to/from work for 400 years (500 trips per year) to have an accident based on the figures ten years ago. Ten years on, the chance is higher but it’d still take you 267 years to have an accident.

    So cycling looks pretty safe to me and I’m a regular about-town cyclist. Here’s the link to where I found the data.

  13. Tom, 22. April 2018, 21:28

    What the hell has happened on lower Tory Street? It’s now a slow one way zig zag with pedestrianisation. That’s great – I’m all for making the streets more pedestrian friendly. But what about people on bikes? It’s now blocked off a critical connection from the waterfront into Tory Street and South. Even when it was ‘closed’ after the earthquake, cyclists could still use it.

    So people on bikes still travel the ‘wrong way’ but now they get shouted at and have to deal with ‘blacked out’ traffic lights at the southern end of the block. I find it hard to believe the same Council that supports cycling could ‘co-design’ such a result. Surely it’s a temporary mistake?????