More people than ever are exploring Wellington on foot or by bike, e-bike or scooter. The NZ Transport Agency and the region’s councils are developing new facilities around the region to support them.
New walking and cycling routes are being developed around both Wellington and the Hutt Valley. The Ngauranga to Petone section is critical, as it will fix a missing link in the network, making it safer and easier to get around the region by bike or on foot. A cycle route has been proposed in this area since as early as 1901.
In 2012 we took the first steps towards this project, and in 2013 we asked the community to provide feedback on two options, a harbour-side option and a road-side option. Overwhelmingly people preferred the harbour-side option and we began further work to design a bold, connected, shared coastal path.
The Ngauranga to Petone section will join the Petone to Melling section in Lower Hutt and the Wellington CBD to Ngauranga section, which includes the Hutt Road and Thorndon Quay cycleways to create the Wellington to Hutt Valley walking and cycling link. It will connect to the Petone and Wellington Waterfronts as part of the Great Harbour Way, and will offer links to the Hutt River Trail.
View an artist's impression of areas of interest along the Ngauranga to Petone section of the Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link as viewed by train travelling from Petone.
Note: names of sections are to be confirmed.
The history of Wellington Harbour / Te Whanganui A Tara is a history of change. From the days when waka were launched into the waters of the harbour, to today, where regular trains traverse the route, the coast has always provided a means of access and connection.
In the 15th Century, a major earthquake known as Haowhenua struck, causing huge change to the landscape of what we now call Wellington Harbour. Before this earthquake, the Miramar Peninsula was an island called Motukairangi, separated by a shallow channel called Te Awa-a-Tia. Land along the Ngauranga to Petone coastline was reclaimed after the 1855 earthquake to construct the existing railway lines.
The existing seawall has both sloping sections built from compacted fill with rock armour, and vertical concrete sections. Over time this has become eroded by storm events and this has undermined the rail line recently, as it is located very close to the edge.
Construction of the proposed walking and cycling link will require work in the Coastal Marine Area, including reclamation to create new land. The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) directs how activities should be managed in the Coastal Marine Area.
The NZCPS states that reclamation should be avoided unless there is a clear need for it, there are no practicable alternatives, and it will provide significant regional or national benefit. Other policies that are directly relevant to the proposed cycleway are those relating to protection of indigenous biodiversity and preservation and restoration of natural character.
Further development of the proposed design must carefully consider the NZCPS policies. Amongst other things, particular matters to be considered include public access, climate change and sea level rise, the shape of the reclamation, the design and materials used, the impact on water quality and biodiversity, the ability to remedy or mitigate adverse effects, and the effects on values and sites of significance to mana whenua. These matters will be specifically addressed by the Transport Agency over the next few months as the design is developed.”