Cyclists are may soon enjoy safer and easier journeys between the Hutt Valley and Wellington, with work about to start on an initiative to develop a walking and cycling facility connecting the two cities.
The NZ Transport Agency will soon begin formal investigations into a potential facility to help cyclists travel more safely between Hutt City and Wellington. The investigation aims to identify what facilities are needed to make the bike ride between Hutt and Wellington safer and easier.
Ms Chetwynd says the project would dovetail with other transport improvements to increase choice for everyone, whether they travel by public transport, car, or on bike.
“We want to remove barriers to people’s travel choices, however they choose to get around. This means providing better trains, it means providing better highways, and it means ensuring that cyclists feel like there’s nothing stopping them hopping on a bike to travel between the Hutt and Wellington.”
“If we make it easier to get between the two cities, we effectively bring the cities closer together.”
“Last year, we surveyed more than 700 cyclists about their cycling habits. We also ran focus groups to find out what puts them off cycling the route and the most common reason was that the journey was too dangerous. Three quarters of those surveyed said that the ability to use a dedicated, off-road cycleway would make them more likely to cycle.”
“The investigation is the next major step towards making that a reality.”
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace welcomed the decision of the NZ Transport Agency to start investigating the cycle way between Hutt City and Wellington
“Investment in the regional cycling network will provide benefits for Lower Hutt residents and provide opportunities for tourism.”
“A formal cycleway between the two cities of Wellington and Lower Hutt cities will support plans for the Great Harbour Way - Te Aranui o Pōneke.
“In the future it is hoped the cycleway will be incorporated into a proposed Wellington - Wairarapa Cycle Trail, as part of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail,” he says.
Wellington City Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the connection is important for both commuting and recreation.
"Wellington City Council is commited to a safe route along the beautiful coast, and the proposed Ngauranga to Petone cycle facility will help complement the Great Harbour Way as a cycle tourism destination."
"I have consistently asked for improvements and I'm delighted with the NZTA taking the next steps. Wellington City Council has boosted our own cycling investment and together we can make Wellington a great cycling capital."
Ms Chetwynd says the investigation is not necessarily about improving the current cycleway between Ngauranga and Petone. It may conclude that there are a number of options the NZTA could explore further. Any solutions identified would also need to be pedestrian-friendly.
“We’re keeping an open mind about the best solution and we will be seeking and listening to the views of cyclists as part of this investigation before we make any decisions.
“For a solution to be successful, it has to encourage and support more people to cycle safely between work, home, school and the city and it has to be cost effective.”
NZTA is leading this project and working in partnership with Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council to ensure that both the state highways and local roads are safer for cyclists.
Ms Chetwynd says the cycleway is part of a big package of projects proposed to improve travel for all forms and transport, and bolster safety and economic productivity throughout the Wellington region.
“To foster economic prosperity in Wellington, we need to provide a range of safe and effective choices to connect people to their homes and workplaces, however they travel. This means improving Wellington’s transport system on a number of fronts.
“Wellington’s connections to the north need to be improved, and we’re working to improve this for all forms of travel by developing a cycling facility, funding new Matangi trains, and progressing projects like Transmission Gully.”
Ms Chetwynd says the NZTA is also aiming to make Wellington more user-friendly for active people by proposing a walking and cycling facility from Cobham Drive to the Basin Reserve to help make it more attractive to walk or hop on a bike.
The NZTA has called for expressions of interest and the NZTA is keen to hear from interested suppliers.
In addition to investigating improved cycling facilities, the NZTA is investing $348 million in public transport in the Wellington region (2012-2015).