Wellington City Council is moving ahead on plans for three high grade bicycle/walking routes that will improve the Great Harbour Way/ Te Aranui o Pōneke. Two are part of the Great Harbour Way: Ngauranga to Aotea Quay, and Lyall Bay to Owhiro Bay. The third, Island Bay to CBD, could be an important connecting route for the GHW.
At a presentation on 5 Feb 2013, WCC and Opus consultants discussed the options, particularly whether they would qualify for NZTA funding, which would be essential for the projects to go ahead.
Ngauranga to Aotea Quay is of course part of fixing the Gap between Petone and Wellington. This could be by improving the existing shared path along Hutt Road, perhaps by a “Copenhagen Lane“. A more ambitious option would be a shoreline route from Ngauranga Station (crossing the railway line by either extending the station underpass, or building a shared path beside the motorway to cross at a tunnel), to Kaiwharawhara, crossing the Interislander Ferry Terminal to Aotea Quay by a cycle/walk way clipped on the motorway off ramp and then connecting to the existing shared path along Aotea Quay from the cruise liner terminal. While expensive, with imagination (and perhaps technology from the Get Across project) this could make arriving in Wellington city an iconic cycling/walking experience to rival, for example, the Te Rewa bridge on the Taranaki Coastal walkway.
Lyall Bay to Owhiro Bay would be an offroad 3m wide shared path, saving cyclists and walkers from using the narrow, winding and relatively busy road. At Houghton Bay the path might be cantilevered out over the cliff edge, providing even better views of the dolphins and surfers. Unfortunately unless a lot of south coast residents join Wellington’s mayor in using this as a cycle commuting route to the airport, this option isn’t likely to attract NZTA funding.
The favored project is likely to be the Island Bay to CBD “cycle superhighway”, connecting the existing cycle lanes on the Parade from Island Bay to offroad routes that would climb through MacAlister Park or Berhampore golf course, and head to the city and the waterfront along either Hanson/Tasman/Tory streets (low traffic densities but more up and down) or on Riddiford/Adelaide (better gradients and access to shops and the hospital, but more traffic). As well as attracting new commuters and NZTA dollars, this option also makes it more attractive to do a round trip on the GHW from the Waterfront around the Miramar Peninsular and the south coast, and back from Island Bay.