Contra-flow bike lanes are new to Wellington, and not yet common in New Zealand, but are used in many countries including Australia. They allow people to cycle in both directions on one-way streets. Contra-flow lanes work best in streets with low traffic flows and low average speeds.

The Wellington streets, or sections of street, where these are proposed, would remain one-way for cars but become two-way for bikes. People on bikes would share the one-way traffic lane but could also ride in the opposite direction on a cycle-only contra-flow lane. The street layout would vary depending on the location, but in most cases the contra-flow lanes would likely be on the road.

Wellington's first contra-flow bike lane was installed in 2017 on a quiet service lane in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. 

 This type of cycle lane:

  • makes cycling in cities easier and more convenient
  • allows people to cycle where they want to go in the most direct way
  • saves having to go the long way round, or potentially having to ride on busy streets that are less suitable for bikes
  • means people on bikes can more easily get to shops, cafes, businesses, and educational and other facilities located on one-way streets.

The proposed lanes would mostly not affect on-street parking. In Cuba Street, for instance, we are proposing to put a contra-flow lane between the parallel parking spaces and the one-way traffic lane. A buffer space between the parked cars and bike lane would reduce the risk from people opening car doors and provide space for people getting out of cars.

In Willeston Street, where there is no parking, we are proposing a design similar to this one in Melbourne.

443A5668 Melbourne contraflow lane jpg

Central city

See the improvements we're considering for the central city. Following public consultation, some of these changes have been completed.

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