A $35 million seaside path linking Wellington and the Hutt Valley has been confirmed.
The NZ Transport Agency announced on Friday it had plumped for the more expensive seaside route for a cycle and pedestrian pathway to finally unite the valley and the city, and siphon cyclists off the busy highway.
Consent applications were expected to be lodged next year and the agency would look to start construction on the pathway in 2019 at the latest.
Wellington Cycling Action Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said the decision was a long time coming, with calls for a cycleway mentioned in Hansard records from 1905.
“This ticks all the boxes, it’s going to be a great tourism asset, it’s going to ease traffic congestion and make parking easier in Wellington.”
He said the pathway would boost cycle safety by drawing riders away from the highway.
“Most people can’t travel between the Hutt and Wellington by bike, because they don’t want to mix with State Highway 2 traffic.”
There is a sort of cycleway at the moment but it is very narrow and stops 250 metres from Petone, on the wrong side of the road. So to get to Petone you have to then cycle into oncoming traffic!
A proper dedicated path for cycling, walking and running will be very popular. Once it is built I’ll be brunching in Petone a lot more!
In a rare moment of motorist and cyclist unity, the Automobile Association’s motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said the announcement was “very good news”.
“It’s extremely good news because the current route is inadequate and forcing people to ride on the road, which is a much higher risk.”
Agency central regional director Raewyn Bleakley said the preferred option would act as a buffer against events such as the 2013 storm that saw waves crashing onto the railway and highway, “contributing to massive disruption”, she said.
Frith said the extended seawall would prevent debris being blown inland from the sea and would be designed to “minimise sea spray and, where possible, to withstand environmental effects”.
“It will be well maintained to ensure it is kept clear of any hazards for cyclists. The result will be a far safer route for cyclists, and a more resilient rail and road corridor.”
So good for motorists also.