Multiple cycle paths could be built through Newtown if a citizens' advisory group gets its way.
An advisory panel appointed by Wellington City Council has recommended two routes from Dover St to John St, saying both should be built, and that a third route should be added down the track.
The advice is the latest stage in a controversial plan to build a cycleway from Island Bay to the city centre, but which has attracted criticism because of how many parking spaces might be lost as a result, and its effect on Mornington Golf Club.
Last year the council nearly tripled its cycling budget, taking it to $4.3 million, with the Island Bay route earmarked as the first priority.
The first stage through Island Bay has already been decided, but the second stage through to John St has proved more difficult, with opposition based on its possible effects on businesses.
Earlier routes considered by the council were Adelaide Rd - a western route through Wakefield Park, Stanley St, McAlister Park and Hanson St - and an eastern route through the golf course and Martin Luckie Park, on to Rintoul and Riddiford streets.
Cost estimates for those options ranged from $7.6m to $10.7m, but varied widely depending on the type of path and impact on parking.
The 16-member citizens' panel was established to narrow down 45 options.
The first preferred route turns from Adelaide Rd to Luxford St, Rintoul St, Waripori St, Russell Tce and on to Riddiford St.
The second route heads along Adelaide Rd, but when parking gets heavier, cuts along Stoke St and down Hanson St.
Chairwoman Anne Pattillo said the two routes would complement each other and help create a network connecting people to cycle lanes in a wider area than a single path would.
A third route looping behind Wakefield Park on to Stanley St and linking back to Adelaide Rd via Palm Grove would further enhance the network if it was added down the track, she said.
"If you build all of them over time, then actually it reflects the fact that, from a commuting point of view, during the week the demand is tidal . . . The routes needed to be reasonably direct, because if you take people too far out of where they needed to go - even if it was safer and flatter - they wouldn't take that route."
The panel also recommended a variety of path types. On flat areas there should be a single cycle lane that cyclists travelling in both directions would use, but on hills there would need to be a dedicated path on each side of the road to avoid collisions, she said.
Council safe and sustainable transport manager Paul Barker said it was too early to say how much the recommendations would cost but the panel's suggestions required the removal of less parking, which would save money.
Further detailed design work and more consultation would now occur, with any building unlikely to begin for another 18 months, Barker said.
Cycling Advocates Network spokesman Patrick Morgan said the panel found a good balance between community and cyclists' needs, but single-direction cycle lanes were safer.
The council also had to get on with job more quickly, he said. "It's time Wellington caught up with Auckland - we risk falling behind."
- The Dominion Post
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