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Bike racks and lanes enhance city cycling plan

A series of improvements designed to make central city cycling more pleasant include improved waterfront connections, covered parking for bikes, and new and extended bike lanes.

Bike rack with knitted foot by Wellington City Library. New racks in Grey Street are promised to be much flasher.

Motorbike parking on Grey Street moves around the corner to Featherston Street today to make way for the construction of a new glass bus-stop-style shelter adjacent to the public toilets and showers.

This will house a new two-tier Dutch bike rack with a gas-assisted mechanism that will make it easy for people to lift bikes into position.

The space-saving design will provide parking for 60 bikes in a space equivalent to two car parking spaces, said Wellington City Councillor Sarah Free, who is the council’s Portfolio Leader for Walking Cycling and Public Transport.

“Covered public bike parking is common in overseas cities but a new thing here,” she says. “We’ll be monitoring use over time and depending on demand may look to put in more in other locations.”

Elsewhere in the central city other work approved by Councillors last year include improving popular waterfront crossings to better accommodate and cater for people on foot and bikes.

This includes installing a hold rail ramp and call button on the waterfront near Tory Street which will activate a brief light phase so cyclists can more easily get across Cable Street.

The crossing from the Michael Fowler Centre carpark to the Wharewaka and St John’s building will be widened to provide dedicated space for people on foot and bikes, with an additional path developed through the central traffic island so pedestrians and bike riders have their own space. Also planned are separate ramps with tactile pavers – green to mark the bike crossing and yellow for pedestrians – as well as separate bike and pedestrian cross-now lights.

A new ramp and light phase for bikes which can be activated when required will also be installed to make getting across Jervois Quay from Frank Kitts Park to Willeston Street safer and easier.

Changes are being made to a traffic island in Rugby Street to create space for a new bike lane between Adelaide Road and Tasman Street. A raised rubber lane divider will be used to clearly define and separate the new uphill lane from traffic.

Kerb changes have recently been made on part of Featherston Street, which allows the existing bike lane that goes as far as Bunny Street to be extended a further two blocks towards the city as far as Ballance Street.

Cycling advocates have described the CBD improvements as modest and welcome, but are impatient for much more.

Cycle Aware Wellington spokesman Patrick Morgan says the city streets are well overdue for a makeover.

“The CBD is our fastest growing suburb. Our streets need to change to accommodate that growth. That means investing in the most efficient transport.”

“The Let’s Get Wellington Moving process has shown people are demanding better public transport, protected cycling routes, and great public spaces. That aligns well with the new Government’s priorities for efficient, low carbon, and safe transport. The heat is on our councils to deliver modem streets that are fit for purpose.”

LGWM is expected to report on its plans in August.

The new facilities are expected to be complete within the next few months.