Wellington Scoop

Councillors approve plan for 147km network of connected cycleways within ten years

The Wellington City Council’s planning and environment committee today voted 14-2 to approve its draft plan for linked safer cycleways to be built within ten years.

The plan includes making safer connections as quickly as possible between Newtown and the city via Adelaide Road and Kent and Cambridge Terraces, and from the Botanic Garden to the central city via Bowen Street.

If all the new routes are built, the new cycleways would cost $226m across the 10 years of the plan which was approved today.

There will now be public consultation on the plan.

News from WCC – September 17
A Wellington City Council committee will next week consider a plan to make it easier to get around the city in low-carbon ways. Pūroro Āmua, the Planning and Environment Committee, will consider a draft Bike Network Plan proposing a connected, 147km network of safer bike routes to be built across the city within 10 years, giving effect to the cycleways investment committed to in the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan.

The committee will also decide whether to give the green light to making safer connections as quickly as possible between Newtown and the city via Adelaide Road and Kent and Cambridge Terraces, and from the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to the central city via Bowen Street. These interim changes would be in advance of permanent upgrades delivered through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving programme.

Mayor Andy Foster says the plan seeks to increase options for people to do more trips around Wellington by bus, bike, or scooter.

“This updated bike network plan identifies routes that would make it easier for children to ride to school, people to get to work on time, and be safe for older and less confident riders. These routes take people directly to shops, schools, and through major suburbs.

“This is a good move from a transport perspective but also from an economic one as it will be easier for people to shop and do business,” says Mayor Foster.

Following decisions by Councillors in May to boost funding and make more rapid progress, Council staff have identified two sections of the network that could be put in place quickly and then modified in a similar way to the safer new bike route up Brooklyn Hill.

Pūroro Āmua Chair Councillor Iona Pannett says the sections from Newtown and Paekākā into the city are key parts of the network from the south and west, and so great places to be making some progress quickly.

“Everyone has the right to be safe on our roads and footpaths. This plan is an important step to making that happen,” says Cr Pannett.

Deputy Chair Councillor Tamatha Paul agrees and says the climate and ecological emergency means we have no time to waste.

“By using adaptable materials that can be tweaked on the streets, people can see, experience and provide feedback, and we can improve the design before permanent changes are locked in. It’s a great way to make sure we end up with transitional improvements that really work for people in these areas.”

Accelerating the installation of safer biking facilities between Newtown and the city would fit with the travel plans of Wellington Hospital, which employs more than 5000 staff. By giving employees more travel options, pressure can be reduced on busy Newtown streets.

Capital Coast District Health Board Chief Financial Officer Rosalie Percival says the hospital is delighted to hear safer biking facilities between Newtown and the city may be prioritised and could be in place quickly.

“For our staff, and people who live in this area who ride or would like to, the sooner we can get a safer route the better. Walking and biking offer great health and wellbeing benefits and changes like this are a great way to make Wellington an even more appealing place to live.”

If approved, changes to these sections will be made and modified over six to 12 months. They will also include some changes to improve pedestrian safety and bus reliability.

If the committee agrees, the Bike Network Plan will go out for public consultation in late October/early November alongside other major city-shaping plans including the draft District Plan and Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects.

The new Bike Network Plan was requested by Councillors following their decision to invest $226 million in the 2021-2031 Long-Term Plan to develop a connected bike network. The plan builds on the 2015 Cycleways Masterplan with greater detail showing the streets to be included in the network, and how the network will be delivered.


  1. Patrick Morgan, 16. September 2021, 19:14

    Excellent news. Modern cities have lots of transport choices. Bike lanes are climate action, congestion busters, quick and fun. Everyone in our community deserves safe streets.
    We’ll keep pressure on the Council to do this right.

  2. Ian Shearer, 17. September 2021, 7:05

    As an older person who regularly cycles across the city to the hospital area I am looking forward to this change.

    Also very welcome is the comment “the Bike Network Plan will go out for public consultation …. alongside other major city-shaping plans including the draft District Plan and Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects.” These cycle routes and the mass rapid transport system are vitally needed infrastructure improvements. That they will be announced together and implementation will be coordinated is a really positive change for transport action in Wellington. Let’s go!

  3. Alex, 17. September 2021, 7:20

    Great to hear. Very keen on quick initial deliver ala Brooklyn Road. Also that section to the gardens should really go as far as the Glenmore Street bus lane. There is a nasty pinch point where Garden Road meets Glenmore that needs to be made safe ASAP!

  4. Peter B, 17. September 2021, 8:12

    This needs to go ahead – a core opportunity to get people moving in a healthy environment. The separate dedicated cycle routes will link residents to the city in a safe climate-friendly manner.

  5. Tui, 17. September 2021, 8:47

    Fantastic news! I live in Newtown and have been trying to build up the courage to start biking into work, so looking forwards to seeing what short term improvements they can make for my route.
    When do we get to look at the proposed plans?

  6. Jill, 17. September 2021, 8:58

    Fantastic news. As someone who was nearly killed at the basin reserve, I am really pleased to see that finally making it safer for people to get around on a bike will happen. It can’t come too soon – after years of endless consultation, let’s see some quick action. I know from cycling in many cities in Europe that cycle ways help those who need to drive as more people bike, bus and walk – less congestion so win win all round.

  7. Marianne Elliott, 17. September 2021, 9:56

    Cycleways are like water pipes, most effective when they are linked into a cohesive system. So I’m a big supporter of these plans to connect up the spaces for people to get around by bike. Bravo to everyone who has advocated for this over the years. [via twitter]

  8. Wellington Commuter, 17. September 2021, 10:25

    Why are we implementing cycle lanes but not bus lanes at the same time? Even on the most popular cycling routes, there are 3 – 4 times the number of cyclists travelling by bus on the same roads. That ratio is 10 times on some routes such as from Johnsonville or Seatoun.

    Building bus lanes and cycle lanes alone the Island Bay to CBD route or the Karori to CBD route will improve alternative mode usage a lot more than just doing cycle lanes. Anyway, when they do implement bus lanes they’ll probably have to rebuild the cycleways if they are not planned together … and if they are planned together then why not build them together?

    Is it really too much for transport planners to do joined up thinking?

  9. Thomas Nash, 17. September 2021, 10:27

    Wellington’s transport and urban design debate is about to heat up. Groups that represent wealth and landownership will protect their perceived interests, but recent history suggests the opposition to a people-centred city will be proven wrong over time. [via twitter]

  10. Mike Mellor, 17. September 2021, 11:01

    The draft network plan is included in the agenda for next week’s Planning and Environment Committee. It’s excellent news, and of course it must happen together with pedestrian improvements and bus lanes. It is nothing short of a disgrace that despite all the fine words in many plans there has been precisely nothing done for infrastructure to help buses and their passengers (except the millions wasted on largely defunct white-elephant bus hubs and trolleybus elimination by the Laidlaw/Campbell regional council, fortunately now late and unlamented) for ten years, during which time bus journeys have got slower and slower. In more recent times we have the agreed Golden Mile proposal and a bus priority plan that’s been lingering in draft for the best part of two years, but with no signs of anything happening. Why on earth not?

    The glimmer of hope is that LGWM does get a mention, so get on with it, WCC!

  11. JAB, 18. September 2021, 20:43

    Wellington Commuter. We should focus public money on bus lanes for the many, not on private transport like cycle lanes that serve a tiny able bodied demographic. Invent cycles today and OSH wouldn’t even let them on the road.

  12. Dave B, 19. September 2021, 4:01

    JAB – Invent cars today and OSH wouldn’t even let them on the road. Cycles are not the problem, nor the major cost on society that private cars are. Building car-infrastructure is where public money needs to be diverted away-from and focussed on public transport instead.

  13. Kerry, 19. September 2021, 11:57

    147km of cycleways for Wellington is very good news, if they are properly designed. Wellington has played a part in the NACTO Global Street Design Guide, but will Wellington’s cycleway design be adequate?
    Eight cross-sections are proposed in NACTO, each given ratings for safety, comfort, space and cost. The best are rated at 5 stars for safety and comfort, the worst at one star for each rating. Selected minimum overall widths and safety ratings are:
    5 star safety:
    — 2.0m one-way, separated from parked cars by 1.0m raised strip with kerbs on either side
    — 3.8m (2.4m minimum) two-way, separated from parked cars by 1.0m raised strip with kerbs on either side
    4 star safety:
    — 1.8m one way, with a traffic lane alongside and kerbs on either side
    Two other 4 star safety ratings are 2.8m one-way alongside a traffic lane with no seperating kerb, and a ‘contraflow cycle street,’ two-way for cyclists but one-way for cars, with a maximum width of 5m.
    1 star safety:
    A 1.8m cycleway between parked cars and overtaking traffic, only too common in New Zealand.

    Kerbs separating cyclists from cars matter, as demonstrated by a recent police exercise in Britain, now adopted nationally. A plain-clothes policeman rode a bicycle with a video camera on the handlebars, and reported to officers further ahead when a car came too close. The closest was less than 0.2m, the legal minimum in Britain 1.5m. Some 30 drivers were charged in 12 days, and others given detailed training.
    A recent New Zealand study concluded that many motorists don’t see cyclists at all, because they don’t look.

  14. JAB, 19. September 2021, 22:52

    Cycle lanes are private transport that serve only a tiny able-bodied demographic. Yet it looks like we will spend about $25 mill a year on them. Could you see the council spending that amount of money on pensioner housing, women’s refuges, playgrounds or services for just about any other demographic? Cyclists are more than able to catch a bus like the less able do. I’m not advocating for cars as the “or” either. Personally at the peak couple of hours per day I’d chase cars off the main arterial routes close in.

  15. Joel MacManus, 21. September 2021, 11:19

    Some interesting framing in the WCC bike plan’s consultation questions.
    -Will the routes encourage more people to ride bikes?
    -Do you support this approach to the delivery of the network?
    It’s not a question of if we should have bike lanes, but how best to build them.
    [via twitter]

  16. Claire, 21. September 2021, 14:27

    I have just been for a walk, partly on lower Adelaide road. This part of the street has at least an eight to 10 ft footpath On the hospital side. A division would make a perfect walk and bike path. No need to take out parks or over engineer. In fact people cycle along there at the moment.

  17. Dave B, 21. September 2021, 15:53

    Claire, 8-10ft (2.4-3.0m) is not a lot of width for both a footpath and a 2-way cycleway. If a half-pie job is done with this it will not achieve the required objectives and likely cause more problems. It is odd that you oppose the removal of some car-parking when, as you often say, you don’t use a car yourself? On-street parking can also negatively impact the vehicle-capacity of a roadway by artificially narrowing it.

  18. Claire, 21. September 2021, 17:01

    Dave B : parking is at a premium in Newtown. There will be a number of new apartment blocks going into Adelaide Road. Just because I don’t run a car does not mean that I don’t see the need for parking. I can see that width working well as it already actually does.

  19. Mike Mellor, 22. September 2021, 10:02

    JAB: “Cycle lanes are private transport that serve only a tiny able-bodied demographic” is a misconception that is unfortunately pretty common. Apart from the obvious benefits such as reducing the amount of space taken up and the amount (and sources) of the fuel used, cycling (and walking) have significant positive externalities. That means that they make things better indirectly for all of us, whether we use them or not, such as through lower emissions and better health outcomes. And the increasing popularity of e-bikes means that the direct benefits are available to many, many more people than a “tiny demographic”.

    Claire: Dave B is correct: the current footpath is nowhere near wide enough to provide decent facilities for both walkers and cyclists, and mixing bikes and walkers in generally considered to be suboptimal in urban areas, being particularly bad for the less able and the less mobile, the people who need footpaths most.

    One of the reasons that parking is in high demand is because it’s free to users, and like anything free it gets overused. If that subsidy to using a car were removed and parking were charged for there would be an incentive for people to think about other ways (better for us all) to get around, and pricing could be such that there were always spaces available (unlike now).

  20. Claire, 22. September 2021, 10:26

    Mike; it’s always worthwhile thinking of ways to save some of the money to be spent on cycleways. There has been plenty of over-engineering.

  21. Richard Keller, 22. September 2021, 11:30

    Great to read all the discussion, but there is one thing left out that many people will want to ignore. It is potentially great that 147K of cycleways are planned to be built over the next decade. There are two things to be wary of, however. The most important thing is that while it’s great to grow numbers of cyclists, the main purpose is to get cars off the road. The future will be with many fewer vehicles on the road. If another traffic tunnel is built, then that fundamental goal will not be met and the whole Let’s Get Wellington Moving (which should be titled Let’s Get Wellington Serious About Climate Change) will be a great waste of money. The second ‘wary’ is that the project is so ambitious it may never be accomplished, which like my first wary, will do nothing to get cars off the road. A commitment NOT to build a traffic tunnel must be included in this cycleway plan.

  22. JAB, 22. September 2021, 14:57

    Mike Mellor: It is a common misconception that it is not a limited demographic. The 2014 report on cycling in Wellington showed the main users as a limited demographic skewing heavily towards young male. Currently it seems to be about 500 – 2000 depending on which report you read. Plenty of activities have health benefits that don’t require a massive ratepayer spend and any green advantage for that number of people over catching a bus is frankly minimal. Why does the cycle lobby minimise rational objections?

  23. Mike Mellor, 22. September 2021, 17:03

    JAB: you’re using a 7-year-old report as a base, written before the cycle lane programme and before electric bikes existed. The city is now a different place with respect to cycling (hence why cycle use has increased by around 40% since that time, 15% in the last year), and heading for a very different one when all the separate bits are joined up to form a safe network.

    And we’re not talking about “activities” (of which there are indeed many) but about means of transport that have direct health benefits. There are walking and cycling, and that’s it. Public transport certainly has indirect health benefits, and all three are much, much better than private car use for health, and for the all-important emissions.

    I can’t answer your question about the cycle lobby, not being a member, though I haven’t seen too much in the way of rational objections; but I do wonder why bike proposals (which have widespread public support, generally have good benefit/cost ratios, and to which WCC has been committed since before the current council was elected) bring out all sorts of irrational and outdated objections.

  24. Claire, 22. September 2021, 18:32

    Mike: The largest problem is the cost benefit of spending $46 million on 4% of transport use. It does not make sense.

  25. JAB, 22. September 2021, 21:53

    Mike Mellor: Quarter of a billion dollars is a lot. Using “health benefits” or electric cycles uptake (when there have always been small petrol-powered mopeds available) or green benefits (which are likely to be wiped by the concrete being used) or 40% increases (of 500 people that is another 200 added) are distractions that cannot be used to rationalise such a large lump of public spending for private transport.

  26. Georgina Campbell, 23. September 2021, 9:52

    Wellington is planning to embark on a ‘tactical urbanism’ project of significant scale that will radically change the city’s cycleway network as we know it. It’s only as radical as it needs to be if the council wants to walk the talk on climate change.

  27. Cr Fleur Fitzsimons, 23. September 2021, 11:19

    Am pleased with the visionary bike network plan we will approve today, it will help more residents especially kids ride. It will be challenging though, the Council has a lot of credibility to make up & build with residents to ensure we have the social licence to enact the vision. [via twitter]

  28. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 23. September 2021, 11:21

    Funny thing is that if cycle lanes had been installed 25-30 years ago, before the boom in private car numbers, anyone buying or renting on Constable Street (& other narrow arterials) would have just accepted that there was no possibility of storing their cars on street. [via twitter]

  29. Julie Anne Genter, 23. September 2021, 11:23

    As a parent in a family where bicycles are our main mode of transport, this is hugely important. No one should have to put their life or physical safety at risk simply to move around the city without a car. It’s a freedom that has been denied for too long. [via twitter]

  30. Dave B, 23. September 2021, 12:36

    And to those who claim cycling is an activity limited to fit young males, thanks for the compliment. I won’t disillusion anyone by saying how old I actually am 🙂

  31. Joel MacManus, 23. September 2021, 13:44

    The Wellington City Council just voted 14-2 to approve the cycleway plan. [via twitter]

  32. JAB, 23. September 2021, 21:11

    I’m afraid I don’t see anything visionary or community minded about a tiny minority of people wanting $225 million to be spent on private transport when they could catch the bus like all the rest of us.

  33. Claire, 23. September 2021, 23:21

    Is the key word visionary used for everything now? The biggest amount of money spent for a very small amount of people.


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