Cycleways: Hutt Valley Beltway Consultation

Hutt City want feedback on the proposed beltway cycleway which will run from Seaview to Taita in Lower Hutt. The Beltway Cycleway will use spare space on railway land, and super-wide roads around Lower Hutt to start the project, and will eventually become a network of cycleways that are planned around the city.

There is an open day this weekend:

When: 11am-3pm, Saturday 1 December
Where: Walter Nash Centre, 20-22 Taine Street, Taita

The Hutt City webpage has more information about the proposal, including concept drawings, and how you can get involved.

Ngauranga to Petone: Easy changes, better riding

I asked for more detailed plans of the Ngauranga to Petone cycleway which were outlined in the NZTA documents being used for consultation, but surprisingly, there weren’t any – just the sketch they had in one of their consultation documents:

Sea Wall - NZTA

NZTA’s only drawing of their shared path between Ngauranga and Petone.

Instead of some massive changes with big sea walls which will take years to fabricate, there are a few immediate changes that, if implemented, would make the ride much safer, usable and better for all users. The main problems are:

  • Lack of protection from fast-moving traffic for part of the route
  • A poorly laid and maintained pavement
  • Significant debris from the road like stones, glass and rubbish with the occasional truck tyre.
  • Weeds and Trees left unchecked
  • With NZTA’s sea-side proposal, the exposure to the sea will make the path unrideable in a moderate Wellington wind.

The existing path is mostly about 2 metres wide and feels really unloved. The pavement is cracked and weeds grow out of the retaining wall, and stones and debris from the road cause lots of punctures. There are even bits of  broken fence, road-cones and orange construction netting in some parts.


While a temporary orange fence, weeds, trees and debris are common on the path, the stoney shoulder above the retaining wall will make a good cycleway platform one day.


Road Model-old

The cycleway is set below the road and next to the railway. The surface condition means that most bike commuters ride on the road instead.

But if the path is raised above road-level and paved as wide as it’ll fit,  the instant extra width and its an awesome cycleway:

Road Model-future

The three curves along the path look hardest to widen and improve the ‘feel’ of, but by filling and retaining a new bank the result is a cycleway about 3 – 4m wide.

Changes to widen the cycleway on the embanked corners aren’t rocket science:

  • Raise the height of the path to above road level
  • Change the road barrier to wire type
  • Add fence next to railway track
Road Model-mini sections

Design for the embanked corners


The straight and flat parts of the path are mostly wide enough, but need a bit of love. The path needs to be raised above the road and a new fence installed on the railway side.


Level parts of the path get raised above the road


The hardest part is from the Petone over ramp down to the entrance to the shared path.

Upper Hutt Station – Second Track, Second Platform

Probably the biggest choke point on the Hutt Valley train line is between at Upper Hutt and Trentham, where commuter trains leaving Upper Hutt have to negotiate a stretch of single-track between the two stations. Continue reading →

Wellington’s First Protected Cycleway??

While this is temporary the barriers installed to enable retaining wall repairs on Carlton-Gore Road make a nicely protected cycleway. Who knows if it Wellington’s first, but it is located on an existing bike lane, and provides a good model of what it feels like to be truly separated from car traffic.

Contractors’ vehicles are parked inside the barriers during work hours, so the weekend is the only time that the barriers can be used as a cycleway.

While this is unintentional, the refurbishment of Carlton-Gore Road has created a nicely protected cycleway - for the weekend at least - it'll be blocked to bikes when the contractors return on Monday.

While this is unintentional, the refurbishment of Carlton-Gore Road has created a nicely protected cycleway – for the weekend at least – it’ll be blocked to bikes when the contractors return on Monday.

I thought I’d ride inside it as there were no vehicles parked inside it.

The feeling of security is greatly increased when behind the barrier. There is little chance of falling over it, or being side-swiped by a car while behind it. It feels much nicer and less stressful – you don’t have to watch your back as much, and the passing cars don’t feel as intimidating.

It would be great if something like this, where a barrier that physically separated cars from bikes, was installed to create more separated and protected cyleways – places like narrow and busy streets, and blind, left-hand corners would be great applications.

For the moment, this is worth checking out on the weekend, and hopefully we’ll see more permanent cycling infrastructure like this in the future.