A walkway and cycleway is proposed to replace one traffic lane between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula. (File photo)
A proposal to convert the road between Wellington’s Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay into a one-way zone is back on the table – at almost double the initial cost.
The $250,000 proposal is one of four pilot projects put forward under the “innovating streets” programme, and would result in a 3 kilometre walkway and cycleway replacing the westbound traffic lane (towards Shelly Bay).
Motorists travelling from Scorching Bay to Shelly Bay would instead need to travel south towards Worser Bay, then through Miramar and the Miramar Cutting. That route is roughly 7km.
The project was initially put forward in May as one of several Covid-19 responses to encourage physical distancing, at an estimated cost of $130,000.
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The proposals were scrapped shortly before it was announced the country would move to alert level 1, but the council said at the time it would re-apply for Government funding later in the year through the nationwide “innovating streets” programme.
It announced on Tuesday it had secured $1 million for four projects under that scheme, including a temporary cycleway on Wilson St in Newtown, and “parklets” in Newtown and Te Aro.
Also back on the table was a $316,000 temporary cycleway on Brooklyn Rd between Webb St and Ohiro Rd, initially estimated to cost just $110,000. The project would require up to 139 car parks to be removed.
The council said the costs of the projects had increased because of a planned co-design process with the community, and because the projects proposed as Covid-19 initiatives were merely a “utilitarian” reallocation of space.
The Te Aro parklets would be constructed in the area between Ghuznee, Taranaki, Abel Smith, and Cuba streets, while the Newtown parklets were proposed for Riddiford St between Mein and Rhodes streets.
They would also require car parks to be removed, and cost almost $500,000.
A parklet is a footpath extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street.
The Government funding means NZTA would pay for 90 per cent of the project costs, with the council to fund the remaining 10 per cent.
Although proposed as temporary measures, the projects need to demonstrate a “pathway to permanence” to be approved for funding.
Wellington Deputy Mayor Sarah Free said it was unclear how many car parks would need to be removed to make way for the Wilson St cycleway or the Te Aro and Newtown parklets.
“We are looking forward to seeing the ideas from the community about how we can make our streets and spaces even better.”
Councillor Jenny Condie, who holds the associate transport portfolio, said it would co-design options with the community, a new approach for the council,.
“This is a new way of working and engaging for the council, and a good test for how agile we can be.”
Wellington design studio Isthmus would lead the co-design process. Work would begin soon on the parklets and the Miramar Peninsula cycleway.
Free said proposals for an Onepu Rd cycleway – one of the initial Covid-19 response initiatives – would remain on hold until pedestrian improvements were made near the Kilbirnie bus hub between Kilbirnie Cres and Rongotai Rd.
Cycling advocates applauded the proposals, but said community engagement would be essential to getting good results.
“Wellington people strongly supported the use of trial street designs when consulted earlier this year. The key to success is an authentic co-design process with the community,” Cycle Wellington spokesperson Patrick Morgan said.