Unlikely to proceed: contra-flow bike lane

We considered making it possible for people to cycle both ways in this one-way section of Cuba Street, between Ghuznee Street and Vivian Street, by installing a 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. 

At this stage the proposal is not being progressed. Further discussion with the community on the merits of using this type of bike lane in certain locations is possible in the future.  


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  • A 1.6m-wide uphill bike lane would be marked on the Swan Lane side of Cuba Street, within the existing road space, so people on bikes could ride contra-flow (in the opposite direction to the traffic) between Ghuznee Street and Vivian Street. 
  • On the Garrett Street side of Cuba Street the one-way traffic lane would be 3m wide and marked with sharrows (the arrow and cycle symbol) to show that cars and bikes need to share the lane as they do now.
  • People parking on the Swan Lane side would have to cross the bike lane to get in and out of the parking bays, and give way to people riding in the bike lane. The bike lane would be painted green and clearly marked with sharrows.
  • A 1m-wide buffer would be provided between the bike lane and car parking spaces to provide room for car doors to be opened safely.
  • Bikes and vehicles turning right or left from Cuba Street into Ghuznee Street would share one 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 on bikes to wait at the traffic 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). 

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.

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. 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 planned through the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project – will together help to create a better cycling network.

This type of bike lane was proposed because the traffic volumes and speeds on Cuba Street are relatively low. About 2400 vehicles a day travel this way and the average speed is 28 km/h.

People driving down towards Ghuznee Street or parking in this section would have a clear view of anyone cycling up towards them.

There would be enough room for a bike lane within the existing road space. Like the section of upper Cuba Street between Vivian Street and Webb Street, this part of Cuba Street once had two-way traffic with parking on both sides.

 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

  • 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 the proposal was not progressed.

Read the proposed traffic resolution report that went out for consultation.

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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