Wellington is growing, and more people will be living in apartments or townhouses – in suburban areas on main transport routes as well as the central city.
As part of preparing our city for the future, we’re making changes now to enable more people to get around in zero or low-carbon ways, support our growing neighbourhoods, and free up space for freight and people who need to drive.
Our goal is to be a city where people of all ages and abilities can move easily and freely by bus or bike. These essential street changes will make it easier for more of us to be less reliant on our cars.
The route – the most important connections
Paneke Pōneke is our plan for a citywide network of connected bike/scooter routes that will be combined with improvements for people walking and taking the bus.
The Newtown to city route is part of the southern connection from Island Bay and will make it safer for many more people to bike/scoot between Newtown, Wellington Hospital and the waterfront (at Kent Terrace). The route has also been confirmed for mass rapid transit in the future.
Newtown through to the city is a key area for growth and intensification under the 2021 Spatial Plan and the proposed District Plan. Street improvements like these will support our growing neighbourhoods so we can cater for more people moving around in the future without our city grinding to a halt.
These improvements also support Wellington Hospital’s Travel Action Plan, which aims to provide more transport choices for the 5000+ staff travelling to the hospital, freeing up parking spaces off-street and in the surrounding area, for people who need it most.
Newtown is only 2km from Wellington central, making it about a 10-minute bike or bus ride into the city.
Preparing for the future – more choice for more people
Our population is expected to grow by up to 80,000 people over the next 30 years, which will dramatically affect the way our city look, feels, and operates.
If we continue at our current rate of car use, our transport network will grind to a halt. We need to rebalance our existing street space to make it safer and easier for people to walk, ride, scooter, or use public transport. The transport changes we’re developing will take time to get used to, but we need to adapt to make sure we can still get around.
Overall, the changes along these streets will make things safer and easier for people using this busy route and provide more options for how people can get to and from work, school, or tertiary study, drop kids at day care, visit local shops, Wellington Hospital and related health services, or sports and recreation.
We're hosting a number of drop-in sessions where you'll have an opportunity talk with the project team and find out more about the planned route, view the maps, the materials being used. If you need help making a submission, or want to learn more, drop in and have a chat.
If there’s a need to cancel or postpone any of our events due to weather or unforeseen circumstances, we’ll give 48 hours’ notice before the event date here.
See the changes, then tell us what you think
The first section of this route (along Riddiford Street between Mein St/Hall St and John St/Adelaide Road) has been installed, using an experiential approach.
We’re adapting our approach now so we can continue to make progress on this critical route. We will now be getting feedback from the community on the designs before the full route is installed through the traffic resolution consultation. This traffic resolution will also cover the section of route already installed. We will then consider the feedback from the community and take the plans to Councillors for approval. If approved, work to complete the installation of this route with adaptable materials will begin soon after.
In the future, these changes will evolve as part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving as part of the confirmed route for mass rapid transit.
Following a Council decision in 2021 to accelerate the delivery of a bike network in Wellington, we planned to use a new experiential approach that would help deliver changes faster. We planned to install the route for 12 months using adaptable materials and give the community the opportunity to experience the changes in real time, so that we could make changes in response to their feedback and data we gathered.
Councils have two powers for making and enforcing street changes:
Traffic resolutions, which are made through bylaw under the Land Transport Act 1998 and are used for more permanent changes, where there is certainty around a proposed design.
Temporary Traffic Management Plans, which are used for temporary and experimental changes (including things like roadworks), under the Local Government Act 1974.
A small section of the route along Riddiford Street between Mein Street and John Street/Adelaide Road was installed using a Temporary Traffic Management Plan starting in May 2022. However, installation was temporarily stopped in June following a legal challenge.
Since then, the Council has reached an agreement with the group which had sought a judicial review. The agreement included a commitment to consult using the traditional traffic resolution process, which allows us to continue progress along the Newtown to city route.
Central government has acknowledged that the current legislation the Council sought to use is outdated and not fit-for-purpose in the current context, particularly how quickly we need to act in terms of reducing harmful carbon emissions from transport. They are reviewing this legislation as part of their Reshaping Streets programme, with consultation open until Monday 19 September.
Car parking on Riddiford Street between Mein and John streets was removed over about two nights from the start of work and new lane markings painted in line with the new street layout and parking changes.
Posts and separators between the lanes were progressively installed, along with the new platforms and ramps at bus stops.
The Riddiford Street section took about six weeks to install.
We made changes along the way in response to community feedback, including installing an advanced stop box at the John Street intersection, installing additional signage, and adjusting painted line markings.
We started with preliminary changes near the intersection of John Street, Adelaide Road and Riddiford Street. This included realigning the kerb at the crossing over Riddiford Street, repositioning the traffic signal pole, and putting in a new pedestrian kerb ramp and tactile pavers.
Other changes at the intersection of Adelaide Road and Hospital Road include replacing the median island and traffic lights in the centre of Adelaide Road with a new extended signal pole on the Hospital Road side to make the traffic lights more visible and create more space for the bus and bike lanes.
Councillors gave approval to consult on a connected citywide bike network that will make streets safer and healthier for everyone, at a meeting of Pūroro Āmua – the Planning and Environment Committee – on 23 September 2021.
At the same meeting, Councillors also voted to get going quickly on two of the critical routes in the bike network - between Newtown and the city and the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā and the city - and develop these using adaptable materials so people can use them, make suggestions, and help to refine the design once they're installed.
Engagement with businesses on the Newtown and Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to city routes started in November 2021.
We worked with technical experts and a stakeholder group to develop the design options and wider feedback was gathered via a public survey and individual conversations with businesses along the route. Data on things like parking use and numbers of people on bikes and buses is being gathered now so we can evaluate the changes in the future.
The bike network plan, Paneke Pōneke, was approved by Councillors on 10 March 2022 following consultation in late 2021.
In this webinar (recorded on 15 March) you can meet the team and learn about important street changes that are part of the city's goal to be a net zero carbon capital by 2050. We talk you through two projects - Newtown to the city and the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to the city. The Council's City Design Manager, Vida Christeller, and project lead Renee Corlett share information about the designs and when the changes will happen. The webinar includes a question and answer session, how you can provide feedback on the street changes once they're made and how to keep in contact with the project team.
In this webinar (recorded on 2 June) we talk you through the new bus stop platforms for the Newtown to the city and the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to the city projects. The webinar includes a question and answer session with panellists from Wellington City Council, Waka Kotahi, Metlink, Zicla and International Design for All.
Evaluating the changes
Once the changes are in, we’ll be monitoring and evaluating community feedback, local economic data, travel times for buses and traffic and use of short-term parking and loading zones.
Longer term, we’ll be tracking things like numbers of people riding bikes and taking the bus, diversity of people on bikes (age and gender), whether more people think the changes are positive, and kilometres of infrastructure installed per year and how long it takes to get things in.