Wellington Scoop

Cycleway brings changes for Christmas

by Alastair Smith
Although it won’t be complete until next year, the Island Bay Cycleway is shaping up to be an early Christmas present for the suburb, giving it a 21st century infrastructure that will offer a healthy, sustainable transport alternative for residents. By reducing congestion, the cycleway will make life easier for those who need to use cars.

OK, I know that some residents are apprehensive about the changes. It’s hard to judge a roading project before it’s complete, but when I rode the route a few days ago it looked like the design will work well, and I suspect that in a few months people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

The parking-protected cycle lanes feel surprisingly broad, allowing cyclists to overtake each other if necessary. With the buffer zones between the lane and parked cars, there should be little risk of cyclists colliding with passengers getting out of cars. The traffic lanes are narrower than before, but this will have the benefit of encouraging lower, safer speeds.

Intersections are the hard part of designing cycle lanes, but the cycleway lanes seem to flow through smoothly. Cross hatched no parking areas on the corners will provide good visibility for cars exiting from side streets.

A feature of the cycleway is the bus bypasses. These are easy to ride, taking a sweeping curve around the back of the stop. The bypass is differentiated from the black tarmac footpath by a white concrete surface, but might require extra marking to clearly separate it from the footpath.

Most people are figuring out the new parking arrangements, though it’s early days, and a few cars were inadvertently parked where they shouldn’t be. When the cycleway is fully marked and signed, this shouldn’t be a problem. In the meantime we’ll have to be a bit cautious and patient when driving and riding.

So what does Santa have in store for Wellington cycling in 2016? Hopefully our city planners and councillors will be making New Year resolutions to keep up the high standard set by the Island Bay Cycleway when they develop the new Urban Cycleway routes in the CBD, and to the East and North.

This article was first published on the Cycle Aware Wellington website.

Read also:
Island Bay cycleway: Confused and angry


  1. Paul, 22. December 2015, 10:44

    You have got to be kidding. The new layout is an absolute shambles. You are right: the cycle lanes ARE surprisingly broad, shame that the road lanes now AREN’T. It’s not all about cars. Try riding a bus down the Parade. It’s scary, gone from being one of the widest safest roads in Wellington to barely space for two buses to squeeze past each other. No lessons learned from Manners Mall at all.

  2. greenwelly, 22. December 2015, 11:46

    The curbside cycle lanes are fine. But the section through the shops is a plain disaster, it appears that the cycle lanes just end, and cyclists are expected to battle past the rears of angle parked reversing vehicles (which have limited rear visibility). There is no way this is safe for anyone not on a full sized adult bike, and I am not going to let my children anywhere near this “cycleway” until this section is re-worked,

  3. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 22. December 2015, 15:19

    I have seen the cycle track arrangement in Victoria Street, and to my eye it does not appear to be that good. The section between Vivian and Abel Smith Street appears problematical. Go Wellington bus drivers have pointed out to me the requirement to deviate to the right when traveling south on Victoria as one drives through the intersection of Vivian and Victoria Streets, rather than being able to drive straight through, and the potential for an inattentive driver to rear-end a car parked to the right of the cycleway.

    There is also a small sign on the corner of Victoria and Abel Smith Streets advising drivers to give way to cyclists when turning left. All good, but the sign is small and apparently temporary, it’s not a standard traffic sign, so it is likely to be easily missed by drivers. Any accident investigator will tell you that accidents are often caused by a combination of factors. In my view, the two factors – of cyclists feeling that little bit safer because they are riding on the designated cycle track and the miniscule temporary sign advising drivers to give way to cyclists when turning left – amount to an accident waiting to happen. Like a lot of things happening with local Government at the moment, it hasn’t been considered in the larger picture and the light of common sense, and no amount of self-congratulatory spin from the folks at the Council can ever make up for the lack of common sense.

    All amounts to feathers in the Council’s cap from their perspective, but in truth all they are managing to do is tar and feather themselves. Citizens with an interest in the matter of the new cycleways would do well to read this article. Quote: “Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown acknowledged the recent social media backlash – which she dubbed “bike-lash” – but was confident it would simmer down once the cycleway was complete.” Au contraire Madam Mayor, it appears the metaphorical pot has only begun to simmer. Having annoyed the folks in Ohiro Bay about the proposed camper van site, stepped on the toes of the folks down in Houghton Bay, suggested hard working people in the city should not be permitted to smoke outdoors during their break, and the big one…embracing the anti-cat pseudoscience as expounded by the likes of the Morgan Foundation (we cat lovers haven’t started on you lot yet) I would wager the pot is about ready to boil over.

  4. Patrick Reynolds, 23. December 2015, 10:49

    It strikes me that the minor panic that the appearance of a few cycle lanes in both Auckland and Wellington are provoking in a few people are principally because they are novel for these cities. The evidence for this is the current situation with bus lanes in Auckland, when Auckland Transport finally got round to adding one or two there was a huge media amplified burst of outrage from surprised motorists used to total use of every piece of tarmac and newly resentful at the change. Now, AT are routinely adding them, extending their hours, enforcing them, and drivers seem to have quickly adapted to the new environment and they have suddenly become uncontroversial. In fact I was on Symonds Street yesterday outside of the short operating hours of the buslane and not a single driver was using it, perhaps unclear of its hours, or, more likely assuming it is a 24/7 one.

    So the solution to the racket made by a handful of change-phobic cycle lane catastrophists is to build more faster until even they get used to this new normal on our streets and settle-down. Give them a few years and they’ll be screaming at anyone who suggests removing or changing them as they will, like bus lanes, be the familiar status quo street pattern. [First published on Transportblog]

  5. Awa, 23. December 2015, 20:23

    I live in Island Bay. I’m not a biker and I don’t mind it. What would be cool is if there were free shared bikes available. [via Twitter]

  6. luke, 24. December 2015, 14:57

    i cant wait for a decent segregated cycleway network. bring on catering for the missing modes.