Wellington Scoop

Eight month’s work starting on new paths near Greta Point

cycleway greta point

News from Wellington City Council
Work will begin near Greta Point next week on another section of the new harbourside bike and walking paths – providing a safer and better connection between the city and eastern suburbs.

Contractor Downer will set up on the city side of Greta Point from Tuesday, and work back towards the city as far as Weka Bay. The team will be upgrading the existing kerbs and drainage channels, and laying new concrete and asphalt paths like those recently completed at Ōmarukaikuru/Pt Jerningham and nearing completion on Cobham Drive.

Deputy Mayor Sarah Free, the Council’s portfolio leader for walking and cycling, says it is wonderful to see the improvements in those locations nearly complete, and work on this next section of Te Aranui o Pōneke/the Great Harbour Way about to start.

“We are proud of the way these changes are transforming this part of the city and creating places where people of all ages and abilities can more easily walk, ride, scoot, and spend time with family and friends. We’re seeing more people using the foreshore next to Cobham Drive because the new paths, plants and seating areas have made it a much more attractive place.

“The next step is to get on with the stretch north of Greta Point while more detailed design work happens on the section in the middle between Weka Bay and Little Karaka Bay.”

The route along this side of the harbour – which is being developed in stages – is called Tahitai (one tide, one journey), a name gifted by Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika.

Tahitai stretches from Te Motu Kairangi (Miramar Peninsula) along the Kilbirnie foreshore next to Cobham Drive, where major environmental restoration, coastal protection and sustainable transport improvements are almost complete, and then on around the coastline to the city.

An important commuter and recreational route in its own right, Tahitai will be a significant part of Te Aranui o Pōneke/the Great Harbour Way. Te Aranui o Pōneke started as a regional vision, but is fast becoming a reality with Wellington City projects under way, Te Ara Tūpuna cycleway and walkway between Ngauranga and Petone being fast-tracked, and Government funding approved for the shared path between Seaview and Eastbourne.

Work on the new lookouts, seawalls, walking and bike paths at Pt Jerningham is complete apart from a few finishing touches, and work on Cobham Drive is expected to be complete by the end of November.

Work on the section between Greta Point and Weka Bay will be carried out in stages and will take about eight months.

Stop/go traffic management, and a 30km/h speed limit will be in place Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 4pm, so the work can be safely carried out. The arrangements will be very similar to those that were in place at Pt Jerningham.

People on bikes will either need to bike through this section with slow moving general traffic or walk bikes through the detours that will be in place for pedestrians.

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  1. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 23. October 2020, 20:49

    While it’s great to see the Tahitai cycleway and walking route slowly coming to fruition along Evans Bay Parade, the Greta Point to Weka Bay section will not be without problem. Residents of Kio Bay have raised concerns for over a year, that the realignment of the traffic lanes will bring heavy traffic dangerously close to their driveways where visibility is limited by the fast but blind curve at the south end of the bay. The Council’s plan is to shoehorn the cycling and pedestrian route within the existing road space, whereas at Little Karaka Bay and Balaena Bay the need for widening over the existing seawalls and the creation of new seawalls has been recognised.
    Deficient sightlines combined with the need for residents to stop in the citybound lane while reversing into or out of their driveways will undoubtedly result in crashes. The ward councillors and the Mayor are well aware of these issues but appear powerless or unwilling to intervene and demand a full evaluation of an alternative plan to renew the crumbling seawall to provide the necessary space to develop the new cycle path while leaving the traffic lanes in their current, safe alignment.

    Kio Bay is not the only problematic area. At Balaena Bay, the council intends to completely remove the footpath opposite the changing sheds, which means that residents of the north end of the bay who have alighted from a bus from the city will not be able to avail themselves of the long-awaited new zebra crossing in order to reach their homes. Even then, the proposed cycle path in this area is a desultory 2.0m wide, well below the recommended minimum for such facilities.

    Alas, the opportunity to create a best-practice, safe and comfortable cycling and walking facility looks set to be squandered in an attempt to minimise costs or recoup overspends elsewhere. Some may recall that the genesis of the problematic and much-derided Island Bay cycleway lay in a similar cost-minimisation strategy.

    As a transport professional and strong supporter of improved cycling facilities, it pains me to state the above.

  2. Concerned Wellingtonian, 24. October 2020, 7:44

    It is so good to see that Chris C.-F. is still contributing to Wellington by giving such detailed opinions to Scoop. Thank you, Chris.

  3. Greenwelly, 24. October 2020, 7:54

    And what is the timetable for the “ more detailed design work between Weka Bay and Little Karaka Bay.” The council have a great habit of building these Unconnected paths that then dump the new numbers of cyclists back into regular traffic …..

    Island Bay doesn’t continue into town. Cobham Drive halts at the boat yard, and this one stops in the middle too. Please tell me that in 8 months the construction crews will be able to keep building to actually complete some of these paths.

  4. Mike Mellor, 24. October 2020, 10:01

    Greenwelly: unfortunately, from observation of what’s currently happening between the end of the shared path at Greta Point and the new cycleway round Point Jerningham, rather than being dumped back into regular traffic, involving crossing the busy road twice, many cyclists are riding on the narrow footpath. That’s understandable, but inconvenient if not dangerous for pedestrians (who have nowhere else to go, since there’s no footpath on the other side of the road) and also illegal.

    The ending of the Cobham Drive lane at Evans Bay Parade is unfortunate, again resulting in footpath riding, but at least in the master plan there are continuous bike lanes from Oriental Parade to Miramar Cutting via the bays. This will be great when it happens…

    CCF: the focus group convened by WCC that looked at this stretch of cycleway was very aware of of the sort of issues that you’re raising, and it’s unfortunate that the final plan appears to be deficient. Still, at least a 2m cycleway is better than the 1.5m maximum (less in places) shared path encroached on by car parking that WCC says is OK on Shelly Bay Rd, even further short of safe, let alone best, practice.

  5. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 24. October 2020, 14:06

    Thanks, Concerned Wellingtonian. I’m always happy to contribute when and if I have the skills & knowledge. We’re all in this city together.

    Greenwelly, you’re quite right. There should have been plenty of time to forward-plan the Tahitai route so that when stage 1 from Carlton Gore Road finished at Little Karaka Bay, stage 2 could have started there and continued south to Greta Point, then stage 3 built though to Cobham Drive intersection to join up with the excellent new facility along the Drive and through to Miramar cutting. Questions should have been asked as to why this is not happening, rather than the production of self-congratulatory media releases on the bits that are being built. It took an overdue LGOIMA response from the council to obtain the information I summarised in yesterday’s posting; even then the council has declined to release information on the evaluation (or lack thereof) and dismissal of an alternative plan I suppled for Kio Bay that would have avoided the dangers there. It was at that point that I discovered the deficiencies in the plans for Balaena Bay. Those plans aren’t yet on line, and even the plans for Kio Bay, where work is about to start, haven’t been published or provided to affected local residents.

    I am of course directly affected here: my home is 224 Evans Bay Parade and my access and egress is being rendered hazardous, as are those of my neighbours.

    Mike Mellor – I agree with you, and have my own views about what can and should be done on Shelly Bay Road. Happy to discuss with you or debate on a separate thread. However, the crucial difference is that Evans Bay Parade carries 11,500 vehicles per day (including tunnel-prohibited HGVs/dangerous goods carriers) and is signposted for 50km/hr whereas Shelly Bay Road carries perhaps 10 percent of that volume and is signed for 40km/hr.

  6. Mike Mellor, 24. October 2020, 15:51

    CCF: agreed that Evans Bay Parade and Shelly Bay Road are different, and I’m not suggesting that one is better or worse than the other. What they appear to have in common is a disregard of good, safe practice – and Shelly Bay Rd is narrow with no footpath, and as proposed will have 10 years of construction traffic.

  7. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 24. October 2020, 18:27

    Thanks Mike. I agree, as I said. Apart from the speed and volume differences, there are no current plans to change Shelly Bay Road that I’m aware of – I guess it depends on when and whether any development proceeds at Shelly Bay – whereas the plans for parts of Evans Bay Parade have been finalised and construction is imminent. I look forward to seeing some draft plans for Shelly Bay Road, and at that time I’ll be more than happy to add my tuppence-worth.

  8. Kara, 25. October 2020, 11:13

    So much for bike rides around the bays during summer.

  9. Al, 25. October 2020, 18:45

    How very nice this will be when complete. However how disruptive and dangerous this will be during the heat of summer, extra traffic and school holidays. No thought for bikers, runners and walkers! Is timing ever a consideration? Obviously not!

  10. stunned, 25. October 2020, 20:28

    In order to get a proper pathway, someone has to do the work. You can’t do this work efficiently in winter, and it’s a difficult enough task already doing work on coastal routes. This is Cook Strait, right? The weather’s perfectly calm and suitable for construction in winter (sarcasm). Do you know anything about the construction constraints for this kind of work? Did you think about the workers building our excellent new paths for us, or do you only think of your temporary inconvenience? We will still be able to bike around the bays this summer – just take care around the works’ areas. Walk a little, if you have to.

  11. Keith Flinders, 26. October 2020, 8:41

    Stunned: Some contractors can’t do this type of work efficiently even in summer. Nearly two years to construct about 350 metres of pathway/cycle way and 100 metres of new seawall at Pont Jerningham. No relocation of major services required as part of this project. One of the slowest construction job I’ve ever witnessed in Wellington. The only efficient aspect was putting out and collecting the 500 plus orange cones each day.

    Tens of millions needed to be added to the cost to cater for lost production of motorists, including trucks and service vehicles, held up when passing through this area.

    When one looks to Asia, Japan in particular, and the rate at which they construct roads, then lessons could be learned by NZ civil contractors I suggest.

  12. Don M, 26. October 2020, 13:24

    More disingenuous twaddle from Sarah Free and Council staff…i.e. “People on bikes will either need to bike through this section with slow moving general traffic or walk bikes through the detours that will be in place for pedestrians.” During the construction at Point Jerningham, the pedestrian detours had prominent signs saying “Cyclists Dismount”. Has anyone actually seen a cyclist dismount and walk their bike in this situation? From my observation, cyclists just continue cycling on the pedestrian detour, often at high speed, and of course Councillor Free and Council staff make no effort to enforce any rules against cyclists.

  13. Casey, 27. October 2020, 9:48

    For months the access at Pt. Jerningham consisted of a 600mm wide single unsealed path not suitable for motorised wheel chairs, and so narrow that passing others coming from the opposite direction caused one to step into the adjacent traffic lane. Social distancing during COVID was often impossible.

    When the cones were up during the working day this was not an issue, but after hours with no cones a decided health and safety issue.

    Is the WCC exempt from H & S requirements on its projects? The Deputy Mayor might like to tell us.