NZTA project proposes options for closing the “gap”

Insight consultants, on behalf of NZTA, are getting the views of cyclists and walkers on options for improving cycling and walking between Wellington and the Hutt Valley. The project has concentrated on the “gap” between Petone and Ngauranga, where currently most cyclists ride the shoulder of the SH2 expressway rather than risk punctures on the inadequate 1930s cycle track. The project team is proposing two options:

  • upgrading the existing cycle track, which would require moving the rail track in order to provide sufficient space
  • a seaward cycle/waking path on reclaimed land from Petone to an overbridge across the railway line near Ngauranga.

The analysis is interesting because the seaward option starts to look quite attractive. It has the benefit of protecting the rail line from storm damage, an issue when July storms tore away part of the rail line and disrupted commuter services. It’s also more likely to attract cyclists and walkers that don’t use the current route. Upgrading the existing route, on the other hand, is always going to be constrained to less than ideal widths, and will not attract new users or contribute to the resilience of the rail line.

In case you think walking isn’t really realistic on this route, when I biked back from an NZTA reference group meeting a couple of days ago, I met two walkers and a runner on the cycle path – one walker said that she walked from Mulgrave Street to Petone four times a week!

There’s more information about the project on the NZTA Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link website; you can fill out the survey on your preferences for the route.

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