Wellington Scoop

Level 3: call for urgent cycleway from Thorndon Quay to the hospital

News from Cycle Wellington
Transport advocates today called on the Wellington City Council to enact urgent measures to support safe walking, cycling and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Wellington Council needs to respond to public health directives on physical distancing in busy areas for people who are walking and cycling,” said Cycle Wellington spokesperson Patrick Morgan.

“We’ve seen many people making essential or recreation trips are choosing to walk and ride bikes because streets are quiet, but as motor vehicle traffic increases at alert level 3, physical distancing must still be practiced. Using road space to distance from other people will become more hazardous,” he said.

“Auckland will complete 17 km of pop up bike lanes by tomorrow (Tuesday). In Wellington, that number is zero.”

“People deserve protection. Why are we waiting?”

“Let’s start by urgently building a protected bike route for 6 km from Thorndon Quay to Wellington Hospital in Newtown.“

The route would connect Thorndon Quay, Bunny St, Customhouse and Jervois Quays, Cable St, Wakefield St, Kent and Cambridge Terraces, Adelaide Rd and Riddiford St.

This would take pressure off the waterfront, giving pedestrians much needed safe space for physical distancing.

“Some people will avoid public transport. With more people driving to work and freight services returning to normal it is expected that roads will be busier than at alert level 4. It makes sense to give people safe space.”

The Government will pay for up 90 percent of the costs, through its Innovating Streets programme.



  1. Paul Bruce, 27. April 2020, 16:20

    When Karo Drive was constructed, we were promised a bike lane on the Quays. Now is the time to do it.

  2. Rich, 27. April 2020, 17:31

    Excellent idea! More people on bikes at the moment than I have seen in the 12 years I’ve been in Wellington. Can see it staying like that now people have got a taste of it and decide it might be safer than PT and cheaper, often quicker and more environmentally friendly than the car.

  3. Mike Mellor, 27. April 2020, 17:32

    And along Oriental Parade, too: Auckland is turning car parks along Tamaki Drive into pop-up cycle lanes, so why can’t we do similar here?

    We should also be looking at widening footpaths – they are nearly all too narrow to allow a 2 metre gap, so people have to put themselves at risk by walking in the road.

    WCC (and other city/district councils) must give priority to enabling people on foot and on bikes to keep their distance, safely.

  4. Tara, 27. April 2020, 18:34

    Hell yea. Hurry up already!

  5. Ross Clark, 27. April 2020, 23:33

    And while you’re about it: put in more road capacity for public transport, so it can lock in before road traffic levels pick up. Never waste a crisis!

  6. Andy Mellon, 28. April 2020, 12:27

    Would be useful to have a protected corridor along Tinakori Road (at least for the section from Old Hutt Road to the Botanical Gardens). Better for the car users as well to have the bikes segregated from traffic. I always feel guilty holding people up as I steam uphill and there’s nowhere near enough space for drivers to get past me. Seems another well used route.

  7. Kerry, 28. April 2020, 13:19

    A safe cycle route around the Basin Reserve would be pricey, and Taranaki Street might be a better option, connecting to Adelaide Road at the Basin Reserve. It won’t be the light rail route all that soon!

  8. Mike Mellor, 28. April 2020, 14:34

    Ross C: absolutely right!

    Kerry: road cones aren’t pricey, and that’s what Auckland Transport is using. AT is increasing cycling, walking and public transport space on both Tamaki Drive (their Oriental Parade and the bays) and Queen St (their Lambton Quay), so what’s stopping WCC doing the same here?

  9. Ms Green, 28. April 2020, 15:44

    Kerry – there is already a safe biking route around the Basin Reserve – inside the Basin Reserve and then down the middle of Kent/Cambridge Terrace – the Canal Reserve .

  10. Mike Mellor, 28. April 2020, 19:24

    Ms Green: I believe that the Basin Reserve is currently closed; and, apart from at the southern end the paths along the Canal Reserve are footpaths, on which cycling is prohibited.

  11. Russell Tregonning, 29. April 2020, 8:16

    I ride through the Basin Reserve frequently — it is so pleasant and safe. Extending the ability to cycle along the central strip between the two terraces would be ideal. Surely there is enough room there for a cycleway as well as a footpath, Mike?
    Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  12. Casey, 29. April 2020, 8:47

    Mike Mellor: Perhaps you need to get on your bike and take a look again at Oriental Parade, where you will find an extra wide combined cycle and walk way, unlike Tamaki Drive. Granted there are a few Norfolk pines taking up some of the space, but social distancing isn’t an issue here. A simple solution would be for cyclists to dismount and enjoy the walk if full separation between them and the more substantial number of pedestrians is a requirement. Oriental Bay isn’t just for cyclists to enjoy, and the removal of car parks to create another under utilised cycle lane would deprive others of the enjoyment of this area. Those who rely on cars matter also. Not only would these would-be visitors be impacted, but the now struggling cafe and restaurant businesses would be disadvantaged too. A cycle lane was added from Herd Street to the Freyberg Pool last year, but still many cyclists use the now narrower Oriental Parade, slowing down buses and other traffic who are not able to get past them.

    One thing that Wellington cyclists could get vocal about is the 15 months of disruption at Point Jerningham to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. This section of the project should have been completed in a few months, not the over 15 it has taken to get virtually nowhere at the Point itself. Yesterday several flash and recent Downers utes were on site, 500 cones put along the road, two employees controlling the traffic, whilst 6 others were sitting in the vehicles doing the DomPost crossword or some other such activity. No it wasn’t morning smoko time, it was 11:15. Not much change to the normal rate of activity seen there before the lock down. Is this project being done as a “do and charge” one, rather than a tendered for exercise, hence the decided lack of progress ?

  13. Mike Mellor, 29. April 2020, 11:21

    Russell, the Kent/Cambridge corridor is ten lanes wide, ample space to provide for bikes without encroaching on pedestrian space that’s becoming more difficult to use with physical distancing – so yes, there is certainly room for a cycleway in addition to the current footpaths.

    Casey, a “simple solution” is for cyclists to stop cycling (an activity with a net positive benefit for all, both users and non-users) to allow more-than-ample provision for people to continue to drive (an activity that costs us all)? That makes absolutely no sense.

    We could take a leaf out of Nelson’s book: on Trafalgar Street they’re doubling the width of footpaths and replacing angle parking with parallel. That looks after everyone’s needs, so why not here?

  14. Keith Flinders, 29. April 2020, 12:14

    Mike, as I read the post the reference was to Oriental Parade only, if social distancing can’t be achieved when having cyclists and pedestrians share the 9 metre wide mixed footpath/cycleway as they currently can. No mention of stopping cycling everywhere, or did I miss something. Why would anyone advocate stopping cycling?

    I walked the entire length of Oriental Parade this morning, from Herd Street to Port Jerningham and back. Only one cyclist was encountered, with about the same number of walkers as seen in the past few weeks, and visitors to the beach.

  15. Mike Mellor, 29. April 2020, 17:04

    Keith, Casey’s “simple solution would be for cyclists [along Oriental Parade] to dismount and enjoy the walk”, i.e. not cycling there. I can’t comment on why he/she is suggesting that.

    As a matter of interest, roughly how many cars were parked along the sea side of Oriental Parade east of the Freyberg Pool?

  16. Glen Smith, 29. April 2020, 20:10

    Absolutely agree that we need a dedicated across town cycleway (I have been enjoying the empty streets on my cycle to work) but don’t know the route you suggest is ideal. With the Golden Mile over capacity, the top priority for transport in Wellington is a second across town PT corridor. This should be the proposed dedicated ‘rapid transit’ corridor – preferably rail. The only viable route for this is the Quays, using 2 of the 6 road lanes. Unless you propose dropping car lanes along Customhouse/ Jervois Quay to only one lane in each direction, there isn’t width for a cycleway as well. And this route is almost exactly the Waterfront route and is away from key CBD destinations.
    There is an alternative which is the eastern side of Featherston St, either Panama St or Grey St to southern Customhouse Quay ( inking to the Waterfront at Queens Wharf), Hunter St to the eastern side of Victoria St, western end of Wakefield St to Taranaki St, then across War Memorial Park to the Basin before Adelaide to Newtown. This would be a dual cycleway using existing parking for width in most areas (minimal loss and cars can be stacked in car parking buildings). This route would run very close to most CBD destinations and leave the Quays free for the required rapid transit corridor.

  17. Keith Flinders, 30. April 2020, 12:21

    Mike, yesterday (Wednesday) at around 11:30 over 80% of the car parks from the Freyberg Pool to Point Jerningham were occupied by cars and a very small number of trades vans. There were around 25 people on the beach, a few hardy swimmers, and somewhere in the order of 100 – 120 pedestrians/bench sitters at any one time. Around 20 bicycles each way were observed 11:00 – Noon. Tt was a mild day and with just a gentle breeze. The afternoon was busier pedestrian numbers wise.

    Today (Thursday) in the same time frame 90% of the car parks Freyberg – Rotunda are occupied, most with people sitting in them enjoying the view, and perhaps drinking coffee purchased locally. Both coffee outlets have queues of customers. From the rotunda – 340 Oriental Parade (I can’t see beyond that from my vantage point) 60% of the angle parks are occupied. Fewer people are walking today, fewer on bicycles, and hardly a soul on the beach. The traffic is almost nil apart from the four buses each way per hour, most of them empty, and some delivery trucks. The wind is stronger and the temperature rather cooler, but rather pleasant being behind glass in a car or elsewhere.

    Yesterday the 70 or so car parks Freyberg – Herd Street had 12 cars parked, some belonging to Oriental Bay residents, as there isn’t much to see from a car in that location.

  18. Athul Harris, 17. May 2020, 8:56

    Many other cities around the world have adopted this approach. I don’t see why WCC is taking so long.