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Snail’s pace progress on “urgent” Petone-Ngauranga cycleway

cycleway 2

Wellington.Scoop
An off-road cycleway between Petone and Ngauranga was agreed as being urgently needed in 2008. Yet it’s taken more than seven years for the Transport Agency to announce plans to deal with the urgency. And last week’s announcement doesn’t mean that work is starting any time soon. It’ll be at least four more years before construction begins.

Some urgency. The Transport Agency has moved at a snail’s pace towards building the cycleway that cyclists and politicians have been requesting for years.

Local politicians met in 2008 and unanimously agreed on the need for urgency after a high-ranking policeman was killed while cycling near the Petone roundabout.

bicycling mayors
Mayors Wallace and Wade-Brown on their bikes in 2010

In 2010 something called the Ngauranga Triangle Study recommended a project to “close the gap” in the cycling route between Ngauranga and Petone.

In March of 2011, the mayors raised the subject again and agreed they were unanimous in their support for the idea of an off-road cycleway and walkway. But their unanimity wasn’t enough to get the Transport Agency to act. In the same year, Fran Wilde – a civic leader accustomed to getting what she wanted – spoke firmly, but to no avail:

“The lack of a decent cycling facility on this stretch of SH2, which is used by a large number of cyclists each day, sticks out like a sore thumb in our regional cycling network. It’s generally agreed that a need for such a facility is long overdue.”

She was repeating the same words that had been used back in 2008. Perhaps the Transport Agency was preoccupied with the Basin Reserve. (In August of 2012 it announced that it rejected a tunnel, and insisted a flyover would solve all problems at the Basin).

It wasn’t till the end of 2012 that the Agency had anything to say about planning a new offroad cycleway between Petone and Ngauranga. What did it say? Only that it would start investigating options for an investigation of the cycleway.

In June of 2013 the investigations were still somewhere in the future. But there was another promise that work was “about to start” to begin “formal investigations.” Mayor Wallace welcomed the announcement, and Mayor Wade-Brown said she was delighted. Both no doubt suppressed concerns at the lack of urgency with which the Transport Agency was dealing with such an urgent project, though Mayor Wade-Brown went so far as to say: ““I have consistently asked for improvements.”

Last week, both mayors were again quoted by the Transport Agency. The plan was “a good decision,” said Mayor Wade-Brown. It was “welcomed” by Mayor Wallace, using the same word he’d used two years earlier. Neither had anything to say about the fact that construction wouldn’t be starting till eleven years after the death of a cyclist had brought unanimous agreement on its urgency.

Transport Agency: More about cycleway plans
Great Harbour Way: Cycleway is just the beginning
Paul Bruce in 2011: Significant benefits from cycleway

5 comments:

  1. Patrick Morgan, Cycling Advocates Network, 16. November 2015, 14:03

    Yes – let’s get on with it.
    Although we haven’t yet seen detailed designs, it’s clear a 3m wide path will be too narrow for current, let alone future demand. NZTA’s own design guidelines says 4m minimum for a bi-directional path shared with walkers.
    The quality of connections at both ends will also be critical to success.

     
  2. donna, 16. November 2015, 17:25

    At this rate, Auckland will get its second harbour x-ing (a bargain at about $5 billion) before Wellington gets its cycleway.
    Naturally, only one of these important projects is really ‘urgent’. Keep pushing, people…

     
  3. Cr Paul Bruce, 16. November 2015, 17:54

    Yes, a real concern that the Petone to Ngauranga cycle project, with one of the highest rates of return on capital invested, will only be constructed in 2019. Not good enough, However, it is to be hoped that the Paris talks will lead to greater urgency given to projects that reduce our carbon footprint.

     
  4. Mayor Celia, 16. November 2015, 21:13

    Remember it’s a shared path – for walkers and runners, locals and tourists too. Needs seats and planting and fishing access as well as a good commuting path.

    Have your say on design through the consent process – all three Councils involved have committed some funding as well as NZTA.

    And yes, wish it had been built five years ago but urban cycleways weren’t such a thing for government agencies then!

     
  5. Guy, 18. November 2015, 20:13

    Is there any confirmation that the creation of the cycle way is reliant on digging up several million cubic meters of rock for the P2G ? No point complaining about the lateness of the cycleway if there is no physical way of building it till they have the necessary rock to build it with….[In its lengthy announcement, the NZTA says: “Where possible the Transport Agency will look to align construction of the cycleway … with the Link Road. This could include making use of fill to help reduce the costs … between Petone and Ngauranga. However, while this would be an added benefit from dovetailing the projects, the cycleway is not dependent on the Petone to Grenada Link Road in order to progress.” ]