Compromise option chosen for the redesign of the Island Bay cycle path


The Island Bay cycle path will benefit from a slight improvement in safety after several years of controversy.

Wellington City Council voted for a compromise upgrade option estimated to cost between $ 2.5 million and $ 4.4 million.

The change means the bike path will now be connected the entire length of The Parade to Island Bay.

The 1.7 kilometer cycle path was first opened in 2016 and has been very controversial ever since.

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This sparked protests, lawsuits, and left the local community bitterly divided over what should have been a relatively straightforward project.

Many councilors felt that the cycle path was a major hurdle that the council had to overcome before it could embark on its ambitious plan to build a 147 km city-wide network of cycle paths.

The new upgrade means parking spaces for Island Bay stores will be realigned to parallel parking lots to create more road space, with minor safety improvements at intersections.

Wellington City Council has approved a compromise solution for the Island Bay cycle path.

MONIQUE FORD / Stuff

Wellington City Council has approved a compromise solution for the Island Bay cycle path.

The cycle path will remain in its current position at the curb within the row of parked cars, although some physical separation will be added – possibly concrete barriers or plastic punching sticks.

The compromise option was put forward by Green Party advisers Iona Pannett and Sarah Free. It passed after 7 to 7, and Pannett used her deciding vote as chair of the planning and environment committee.

“To the Island Bay community: I’m sorry it has been so difficult, we have to do better. We have to heal and move on, ”Pannett said.

“I believe some of these things will make him even better than he is. We just needed to make a decision, we couldn’t keep delaying and have more arguments.

The Island Bay bike path will receive a $ 4.4 million upgrade.

MONIQUE FORD / Stuff

The Island Bay bike path will receive a $ 4.4 million upgrade.

Rebecca Matthews, Jill Day, Tamatha Pau l, Teri O’Neill and Jenny Condie voted in favor of the compromise option with Pannett and Free.

Diane Calvert, Fleur Fitzsimons, Sean Rush, Simon Woolf, Nicola Young, Liz Kelly and Mayor Andy Foster opposed this option.

Labor advisers Fitzsimons and Day offered a $ 14 million option agreed to by the board in 2017, but failed to gain support from the green advisers.

“In two elections, I ran on the platform of this amendment and was elected twice,” Fitzsimons said.

Rush and Woolf proposed an amendment to bring the road back to its pre-2016 alignment, which also failed.

The council has set aside $ 14 million in its long-term plan to repair the bike path.

Any money left over after construction will be reserved until formal decisions are made regarding the Let’s Get Wellington Moving rapid transit project.

All four of the options on offer will go through The Parade, meaning the route will have to be torn up and redone at some point.

Mayor Andy Foster said some people would be unhappy no matter what decision the council takes.

“The bike path has occupied a disproportionate amount of time, resources and emotional baggage – not just around the council table, but also in the community,” he said.

The Island Bay Residents Association has vehemently opposed the bike path since its construction.

The group led an unsuccessful challenge in the High Court, arguing that the council had developed the cycle path without sufficient public feedback.

The cycle path has also been a nuisance for many cycling advocates, who support the cycle path, but have raised complaints about the safety of some intersections.