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Single track from from Petone to Wellington?

  • October 14th, 2008

On Sunday morning I biked out to Ngauranga Station to join the inspection party organised by Alastair Smith of Cycle Aware, for a look at the reclaimed coastline beside Ontrack’s lines. We want a safe foreshore cycle route to link up as part of the Great Harbour Way.

See Alastair’s submission notes for a summary of the benefits.

There’s a cost estimate of $40m for a proposed cycle/walk way on the seaward side of the tracks. I wanted get a feel for the problems. I’d previously suggested to  CAN and Celia Wade-Brown that the Council do an estimate for a route that would use elevated boardwalk sections for the parts where southerly storms would wash out ordinary track work.

I’m not confident that least cost practical solutions will be properly explored by the interested parties. There seems to be some pressure for gold-plated solutions, perhaps to fend off the need for decision.

It is easy for GWRC to defer decisions on the grounds that we should first know the outcome of their "triangle" planning, on how the Porirua, Hutt and Haywards roads will develop.

An extension of the reclamation should get an Ontrack contribution because it would help protect their tracks. But they might prefer to keep people as far away from their tracks as possible for as long as possible. A board walk would have to be in removeable sections to allow fresh rubble to be dumped to replace storm damage from time to time.

But the most interesting suggestion I heard was for a single track to be cut along the hill face above the Hutt Road from Ngauranga to Korokoro. It would make a marvellous traffic safe route for mountain bikes, and could become one of Wellington (and New Zealand’s) classic rides.

I could tell Alastair was anxious as soon as he mentioned it to me that enthusiasm for the MTB track could detract from pressure to create a safe route for road bikes along the foreshore. I think the opposite would be the case. If mountain bikers became accustomed to the single track, and walkers could also use it,  the pressure for a road bike suitable flat alternative could increase, not least from mountain bikers who also like road biking.

One way to guarantee such pressure would be to make the hill scarp route one way. Bikers would have to go the other way on the road or catch the train.



Glad you enjoyed the walk, Stephen (and congratulations on your water pistol dodging at the Aro Valley election meeting!)

The hillside route is a neat idea, but I don’t think it’s an alternative to a coastal route for commuting/recreation. For a start, it will either have to be longer, following the contours, or have a lot of climbs/drops. It also won’t be easy to light, making a daylight only route.

Hopefully if a future parliament is as enthusiastic about walking and biking routes as Stephen and Grant appear to be, getting both routes funded won’t be a problem!

  • October 17th, 2008
  • 8:05 am

I’m sure it is a ‘neat ideea’ but not very practicable from what I have seen of spray drenching trains. There is one of these tracks outside my house as I look over Otago Harbour but the fetch is rarely from across what is probably the narrowest part of the harbour. Now if the track was on the indise of the road with bridges over the gorges road that would be useful. Definitely any cycling track needs to be with no greater grades than a railway can cope with. My thoughts go to a road I travelled along through a gorge west of Denver in Colorado.

With limited space to share with Colorado Rive, Railway the road is largely a long bridge a two lane highway above similar going in the opposite direction

  • Richard Croad
  • October 23rd, 2008
  • 3:54 pm

Both tracks sound like a great idea – having risked my life along the current route anything must be better. The real issue is for a country which promotes green and healthy and a city which promotes itself as we do it’s a disgrace that there are so few safe cycling options for road cyclists (I say that as a moutnain biker who cycles on the road only to get too and from work, and take one of thelongest routes available as it is the safest I have yet discovered)

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