Today Wellington City Council announced that the upgrade of The Parade that includes construction of the Island Bay cycleway is about to begin. The upgrade starts on 28 September and is scheduled to be finished by February 2016 in time for the Island Bay Festival, which is great news. In order to minimise the impact on retailers construction will begin at the south end of the shopping centre near the library and move north towards Dover Street. This means that work will be completed around the shopping centre well ahead of the Christmas period. Work will then move south from the library towards Reef Street. The council says the programme is still being finalised but it is likely there will be construction crews working in two different areas at any one time. Work in each area will take about 4 to 6 weeks. The council is keen to emphasise that the cycle lane won’t be obvious until the road marking changes happen towards the end of the upgrade.
The work that will be done over the next few months includes:
- new kerbside cycle lanes along The Parade between Shorland and Wakefield parks
- four new pedestrian crossings near Dee, Humber, Mersey and Tamar streets
- altering intersections to improve visibility and make them safer
- developing new-look bus stops with bike by-passes
- raising the two existing zebra crossings in the shopping centre to footpath height
- putting in speed humps (cushions) on either side of the shopping centre
The changes in the shopping centre are as a result of recommendations made by the Island Bay Cycleway working party. The community stakeholders on the working party were very keen to see measures taken that would help calm traffic in the shopping centre and reinforce the existing 30 kph speed limit. Because the bike lanes don't continue through the shopping centre it effectively becomes a shared space for cars and bikes, so it is important that the speed limit is observed.
The changes will give people more choices about how they get around Island Bay. They will obviously make riding a bike significantly safer and easier but they will also benefit pedestrians and motorists. They will give people who walk more places where they can safely cross The Parade and there should be far fewer bikes on the pavement. Motorists will benefit from fewer bikes on the road and greatly improved visibility at intersections. Bus drivers will also find that their interactions with bikes are significantly reduced, particularly when pulling into and out of bus-stops thanks to the new by-passes for people on bikes. The only motorists who might complain about the new pedestrian crossings and the traffic calming in the shopping centre will be those who currently use The Parade as a racetrack and who should probably take a little more care anyway.
The Council has engaged contractors, Ventia, to do the work. Normal work hours will be Monday to Saturday, 7am to 6pm. The council has already directly notified residents and businesses along The Parade about what is happening.
Although the impact of the cycleway construction on businesses along The Parade shouldn't be significant let's make sure that we support them over the next few months anyway. Read a bit more about the impact the cycleway will have on businesses, during and after construction, here.
Read the full council press release here.
You can follow the progress of the upgrade at www.wellington.govt.nz/ibupgrade or right here at www.islandbaycycleway.org.nz
Anyone interested in receiving regular project updates should email firstname.lastname@example.org