Cuba Street bike lane - Ghuznee Street to Vivian Street

We’re proposing to make it possible for people to cycle both ways in the one-way section of Cuba Street between Ghuznee Street and Vivian Street by putting in a new contra-flow bike lane.

Feedback from the public in mid-2017 showed 68 percent of submissions (52) in support of the proposal and 24 submissions against. As this would be a new type of bike lane for Wellington streets, more thought is being given to the proposal before it goes to Councillors for their consideration. 



What would change

  • People on bikes would share the one-way traffic lane with vehicles as they do now (heading down towards Ghuznee Street).
  • On the Garrett Street side of Cuba Street the traffic lane would be 3m wide and marked with sharrows (the arrow and cycle symbol).
  • A 1.6m-wide bike lane for people riding up Cuba Street would be added on the Swan Lane side, painted green and clearly marked with sharrows.
  • All the parking would remain where it is but drivers would have to cross the bike lane getting into and out of car parks on the Swan Lane side.
  • A 1m-wide buffer would be provided between the bike lane and car parking spaces to provide some room for car doors to be opened safely.
  • Drivers entering or leaving parking spaces on the Swan Lane side would need to give way to people riding on the bike lane.
  • Traffic turning right and left from Cuba Street to Ghuznee Street would share the same lane – there are separate turning lanes at the moment.
  • Minor alterations would be made to the planter box and paved area near the intersection of Vivian Street to provide space for people biking to wait at the lights.
  • The traffic light phasing would be altered slightly to give people on bikes a few seconds to cross Vivian Street or turn left ahead of traffic (Cuba Street above Vivian Street is two-way).


How this would help

We want to make things safer and more convenient for people on bikes, and improving connections between streets is one of the ways we can do this.

Installing a contra-flow bike lane would complement the shared zone in lower Cuba Street, where people can now legally cycle from Wakefield Street to Manners Street. This type of bike lane would make it easier for people to cycle most of the way up Cuba Street, except in Cuba Mall where people have to walk their bikes.

Cuba Street provides a good north-south link between Mount Cook, Te Aro and the city centre.

There are also lots of shops, cafes, businesses, entertainment and educational facilities in this general area that people want to get to, including Te Auaha, the new WelTec/Whitireia creative campus in Cuba Mall, which is due to open in 2018. We want them to be able to do this by bike more easily.

The one-way system was designed for cars, but doesn’t work so well for people on bikes. This change would provide more direct options for getting places by bike in this area.

This is one of a series of planned changes to improve connections and make it safer and easier for people to get places in the central city by bike.  

Incremental changes like these – combined with the more substantial changes likely through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project – will together help to create a better cycling network.


Why we’re proposing this design in this location

Based on experience elsewhere, this design is expected to work well here because the traffic volumes and speeds are relatively low. About 2400 vehicles a day travel this way and the average speed is 28 km/h.

People driving down to Ghuznee Street, or manoeuvring into and out of car parks, would have a clear view of anyone cycling up towards them.

Like the section of Cuba Street between Vivian Street and Webb Street, this part of upper Cuba Street was once two-way with parking on both sides, so there would be enough space to make this change.

 00291 4 987 Areas in and around Bute Street Walter Street Binham Street and east frontage Cuba Street from Garret to Vivian Street 06 Apr 1973 4


 contraflow Paris

Contra-flow lanes are used in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia. Cycling both ways on one-way streets has been standard practice in Belgium since about 2005 and in France since 2010. This image of a busy Paris street shows one of the ways bike lanes are marked in France.

Photo: Vladimir Zlokazov/Live streets

How we got here and next steps

  • The feedback period for the traffic changes (resolutions) related to this proposal was 25 July to 11 August 2017. Councillors were expected to make a decision in mid-September 2017 but this is now likely to be some time in 2018.
  • Other changes recommended by the Central City Area Working Group are being considered. Some – including improvements to crossings to the waterfront – may happen as part of routine upgrade programmes. Others will require traffic resolutions that will be advertised at a later date. 

Supporting documents for Cuba Street bike lane

Proposed traffic resolution

This traffic resolution outlines the proposed contra-flow bike lane for Cuba Street between Ghuznee Street and Vivian Street.

TR 82 17 Cuba Street contraflow cycle lane Vivian Ghuznee V2 JH 03072017 (1.7 MB)

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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