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:
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.
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:
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
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.