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Seaward cycleway between Petone and Ngauranga – but not till 2019

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News from NZTA
The NZ Transport Agency has confirmed that its preference for the new cycle and pedestrian path between Petone and Ngauranga is the seaward option.

Construction is due to begin in 2019, and partners are looking at opportunities to align construction of this section with the construction programme for the adjoining Urban Cycleway Programme sections.

The shared path, which forms a key section of the Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking Cycling and Resilience Project, will provide a safer, easier link for cyclists and pedestrians between Wellington and Hutt Valley, and will help to protect the road and rail network by acting as a ‘buffer’ in natural events such as storms.

The proposed cycleway and pedestrian path will be 3m wide, with 1m wide shoulders on either side. Further work is being done to confirm the width of the overall platform that it will be built on to accommodate maintenance and rail requirements in the long term.

The seaward preference is based on community and stakeholder feedback, advice from the Transport Agency’s technical experts, and the wider benefits that such an option can provide in terms of safety and resilience, along with the visual appeal and enjoyment of having a seaside pathway.

The project will deliver on the Government’s transport goals of making cycling safer, improving access to active travel modes, and fostering economic growth. It will be progressed in partnership with the Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Transport Agency regional director Central Raewyn Bleakley says the preferred option will provide a high quality, long-awaited pathway that will help to encourage cycling.

“The Transport Agency is working hard to make urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice all across the country. Our region is experiencing a real upsurge in cycling, and this project will help to unite Wellington with the Hutt Valley, making it easier for people to travel from one to the other in a healthy, enjoyable and safe way.”

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, a strong advocate for a good walking and cycling link between Hutt City and the Capital, says the seaward route is a good decision for a path and will provide a 20-minute commute for cyclists on a flat route between the two cities.

“The path will attract local and national recreational walkers, runners, fishers, and people on bikes.

“Wellington harbour – Te Whanganui a tara – is a beautiful natural harbour and people deserve full public access,” she says.

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace has also welcomed the seaward option. “This is an exciting project for the region so we are pleased to see decisions are being made, and work is progressing.”

“I’m glad to see NZTA are considering safety as well as creating an appealing pathway. Resilient transport networks are very important for this region.”

Regional Transport Committee Chair Paul Swain says, “The new seaward side path will be a major step forward for the region. Even now, increasing numbers of intrepid cyclists ride along this part of SH2 each day but when the safe and scenic path is built, I expect we’ll see a huge increase in numbers.

“This path will fill a major gap in the regional walking and cycling network. It connects our two largest cities, making it safer and easier for people to get around the region by bike or on foot.

Ms Bleakley says the seaside option, aside from being more appealing by taking advantage of Wellington’s stunning harbour, will have benefits that extend beyond those who use the pathway.

“We remember how the storm of 2013 saw waves crashing onto the railway and highway, contributing to massive disruption. This pathway will act as a buffer to help protect some of the most critical sections of our transport system from further disruption when Mother Nature strikes.”

Mr Swain says, “With rising sea levels and more severe storm events expected in the future, the path will help protect some of our region’s vital infrastructure, including the railway line used by thousands of Hutt Valley and Wairarapa commuters each day.”

Ms Bleakley says the Transport Agency is grateful to the many people who given their time and energy towards the consultation exercise.

Next steps for the project will be to prepare the necessary consents applications and seek approval to construct a seaside option. Community and stakeholder support will be crucial if the project is to get consent to reclaim the foreshore.

The project will connect with other proposed cycling improvements, including sections between Petone and Melling and Ngauranga and Wellington CBD, the northern and southern ends of the full Walking, Cycling and Resilience project. These sections are being funded as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme.

The project will be designed to synchronise with proposals for a new Petone Interchange, also under consideration as part of the Petone to Grenada Link Road.

More from the NZTA

8 comments:

  1. Patrick Morgan, 13. November 2015, 12:17

    This project ticks all the boxes.
    – a great new tourism asset
    – reduces expensive and disruptive outages to rail network (remember those 2 hour tailbacks in 2013?)
    – delivers more transport choice
    – connects people to the gorgeous Wellington harbour
    – likely to add value to Hutt properties
    – compelling value for money (up to $20 return per $1 invested – mainly in health and transport benefits)
    – fixes a gap in the cycling and walking network
    – reduces traffic congestion and eases pressure on parking
    – cleaner air and mitigates climate change

     
  2. Tony B, 13. November 2015, 12:21

    Yes it does tick all those boxes, but it’s PR to sweeten up the ridiculous investment in the massively costly Petone to Grenada Road which will create a huge eyesore, a resilience problem (a massive deep sided cut that makes Ngauranga look like a minor cut and won’t withstand an earthquake), and can’t really be justified on a cost benefit calc (that’s why NZTA have been working so hard to justify major changes (like destroying Takapu Valley) to try and the BC rating up. We’re being played by NZTA here. Wait for next week’s annoucement from NZTA….just wait

     
  3. Trev, 13. November 2015, 12:22

    This is useful, but do folks realise it’s just to problem-solve hiding the spoil from the massive cut on the Petone to Grenada road project that NZTA will be announcing next week (quietly approved at their board mtg on 30/10/15)? The grade above Petone with be 10% steeper than the Ngauranga Gorge, 2x as high, and have a 70m deep canyon up from Petone, creating about 24,000,000 tonnes of rock – enough to make a 4m wide x 1m deep cycle way from Cape Reinga to Bluff. This harbour side project will hide only about 1/4-1/2 of it.

     
  4. Denise P, 13. November 2015, 12:32

    Where does the rock come from? Oh yeah, that muldoon-esque Petone to Grenada Road project which I bet will be confirmed very soon.

     
  5. RS, 13. November 2015, 13:08

    Part 1 of a carefully orchestrated PR plan by the NZTA here. They’re got the local Mayors onside for the cycleway and all sounds good and sexy. The cycle folks are being pawned to sweeten a spin sideshow to the real hard-to-swallow pill that’s coming – a massive nasty P2G project without clear benefit. 17th Nov is the big day apparently.

     
  6. Vicki, 13. November 2015, 23:13

    If only they had done a similar one on the south coast instead of the Killer cycle ways in Island Bay.

    Bet you don’t print this

     
  7. Rosamund, 14. November 2015, 13:02

    It appears that those of us who preferred an upgrade of the roadside option for this shared path have been ignored. There is no logic in building a new wide cycleway beside the harbour, regardless of the height of the rip-rap. The cycleway will be exposed to regular storm surges and will also be earthquake prone. The road from Ngauranga to the Hutt was a result of the land being uplifted by the major earthquake of 1855. Much of the vegetation was removed from the old path in the last year. Prior to that, the 1980s pathway was sheltered and shady with vegetation absorbing the smells of vehicles and much of their noise.
    The wire barrier has been a recent addition. The ramp access has always been problematic. I have made submissions about this pathway for at least the last 15 years and have been a user of it for many years more. It astonishes me that there appears to be no provision for planting vegetation alongside the railway line to provide protection from the elements, mitigation of smells, sounds, shade and a welcoming habitat for fauna.

    If we are to have a seaside cycleway beside a rail corridor, which is clearly what NZTA and cycling advocates want, it would be best to plant mature trees or a hedged walkway/boulevard to provide shelter and shade to pedestrians away from the harbour edge. This present proposal ignores the needs of pedestrians, people with push chairs and wheelchair users. Hopefully when it is publicly notified we will be given the opportunity to see the landscape plan.
    The Wellington City Council produced a document titled Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) to help mitigate some of the worst damage caused by inappropriate development. The NZTA should heed this master plan for the sake of the environment and our health.

     
  8. Chris, 16. November 2015, 15:14

    Have to concur with Rosamund — that artist’s rendition that heads the article looks about as inviting as, er, cycling on a stretch of bare concrete railroad siding, exposed to the dust, fumes, noise and the elements. And the artist carefully neglected to add the rubbish, loose gravel, sea wrack and weeds. If this is meant to be an attractive commuter and tourist path, then yeah, get some plantings in there. Otherwise it looks like it’s just a handy excuse to dump some spare fill and build up the berm. Oh, and I guess bump up the “agglomerated benefits” of P2G so their BCR looks better.

     

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