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.

DSC03727

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, ┬áthe 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.

road-model_flat_section21.png

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.

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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 →

Extend rail route

Another good letter published in the DomPost about public transport.

The finding that congestion in Wellington exceeds Los Angeles highlights the failure of transport planners to undertake long-term strategic passenger transport planning, in particular to tackle the inevitable need to extend our efficient rail network across the city.

Continue reading →

Interesting clip from IPENZ magazine

Attached is an article I found in the ‘New Zealand Infrastructure Forum’ section of IPENZ’ Engineering Dimension magazine.

image

The contradiction of what MoT say and what NZTA are doing, particularly with regard to the RoNS programme in the context of Tony’s presentation and more generally a lack of funding for alternatives to road, particularly rail.

Basically, the presentation outlines how distributed solar energy (solar and wind) will disrupt traditional large power plants and how electric, driverless cars will be used as a service rather than owing by 2030. This will see car utilisation improved from about 4% to about 90% and significantly reduce parking space requirements and improve safety.

I’m interested in how NZTA continue to back their projects – the projects are already dubious investments with highly massaged BCRs and incredibly optimistic figures for growth and demand. Add to the mix widely predicted oil supply shocks and falling traffic volumes (Wellington’s had dropped ~4% since 2006) as well as a disruptive paradigm outlined in Tony’s presentation and you’d really, really have to start questioning what the plan really is and why it is proceeding as a matter of priority.

How on earth can NZTA and their funders carry on with their highly expensive and dated ‘business-as-usual’ approach to transportation?