What is this project about?
This project is part of the Innovating Streets for People initiative funded and supported by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. The aim of the project is to try out temporary changes to make a safer and more people friendly connection for all modes of transport between Waterloo Station and Lower Hutt’s CBD.
Why did Council apply for this funding?
Hutt City Council applied for the Waka Kotahi Innovating Streets for People funding as it creates new opportunities to partner with communities and businesses to make our streets and public spaces safer and more enjoyable to spend time in.
The pilot fund provides councils with the financial resource and expert support to meaningfully partner and try out temporary changes that make it easier for people to move around or access community spaces. 90% of the project budget is provided by Waka Kotahi with the remaining 10% funded by Hutt City Council through existing budget allocations.
Along with the financial resource, the project teams are able to call on support from local and international experts who have delivered projects with similar aims, as well as learning from the other communities and councils that have also been funded for projects through the Innovating Streets for People initiative.
Why Knights Road?
Major investment is happening across Lower Hutt to create a safe and connected network of cycleways and shared paths to make transport around the Hutt Valley safer and easier for people walking, riding bikes or scootering.
The major funded projects (Wainuiomata Hill Shared Path, Hutt River Trail, Beltway, Eastern Bays Shared Path) form a network around the city, but connections are needed to link the network to schools, the hospital, shops and workplaces in suburbs and Lower Hutt’s Central Business District (CBD).
Knights Road is an important connection as it offers the most direct route between Waterloo Station, a hub for public transport, the new Beltway path (due to be complete in April 2021), and Lower Hutt’s CBD. It is also wide enough to safely trial alternative road layouts.
Knights Road is a good site to trial change as there are four schools with approximately 2,000 students on or adjacent to Knights Road. A lot of work has been done to ensure students learn cycle safety and scooter safety skills at all Lower Hutt primary schools. A safe and attractive route will enable students from these schools to put their skills into action and increase the number of students getting to school actively. If it is safe and works well for primary aged students, then it will be safe and work well for all users.
How does this fit with longer term plans?
Nationally there is a goal to increase the proportion of journeys made using active and public transport by 40% by 2030. This goal helps us to meet our carbon emission goals, improve health, and optimise the efficiency of the existing network. The increasing popularity of electric bikes and scooters measured by sales in New Zealand will help to meet this goal by making active transport more accessible to more people and enabling people to travel more quickly.
The increasingly connected network of cycleways and shared paths across Lower Hutt means over time more people will feel safer using active modes of transport to get around Lower Hutt.
Who is paying for this project?
The funding for these projects comes from Waka Kotahi’s Innovating Streets for People fund. Waka Kotahi provides 90% of the funding for the project and Hutt City Council provides the remaining 10% from existing budgets.
What type of changes may be considered?
The projects are about temporarily trialling new layouts in order to find something that works better for people than the current layout. Permanent change including concreting and roadworks is outside of the scope of these projects. Pop-up roundabouts or planter barriers, artwork, paint, temporary chicanes, temporary bike and scooter parking are all possible options. The great thing about these projects is that they will be designed alongside businesses, residents, regular visitors and community. Trials must take place on Knights Road, and must make the journey better and safer for people walking, scootering, biking or using other active modes.
From workshops and engagement so far, it is clear that the community in general would like to see the area of Oxford Terrace directly in front of Waterloo Station be more pedestrian friendly and safer. It is also clear that some physical separation between cars and people on bikes and using other active transport modes moving down Knights Road is wanted.
How long could the changes be in place?
How long changes are in place will depend on how well they work for people.
Together we will need to find a balance of giving ourselves enough time to understand the different experience any changes may bring while looking out for any unintended outcomes.
Why are the changes only temporary?
The fund provides the opportunity to test a new approach to designing and trialling changes to streets and public spaces. Temporary changes are used because they are low cost and adaptable. This means we can get feedback and monitor changes in real time and make any changes or adaptations needed. The learnings from temporary projects can then inform longer term decisions.
Is this happening in other places around New Zealand?
Innovating Streets for People is a nationwide initiative that has funded around 72 projects to date.
Why spend money on temporary changes?
Temporary trials are a timely and cost effective way of testing out solutions. By testing temporary solutions we can adapt and change the layout which moves us toward the best solution for the street and the people who use it the most.
How does this link with the wider Hutt City Council transport plan?
Across the Hutt Valley and wider Wellington Region, the network of off-road shared paths and cycle paths has been growing. Local pathways include the Beltway, The Hutt River Trial, the Wainuiomata Shared Pathway, Melling to Petone and more.
By building these paths and the links between them like the Knights Road Connection, we’re creating safe travel options for people to move around our city using non-motorised vehicle modes of transport like cycling, scootering and walking.
Safe links to the places people live, learn, work and spend time makes it easier for more people to choose active modes of travel more often.
This has a flow on effect for our roading network by reducing congestion, improving our environment and our health.
Hutt City Council has just started developing an Integrated Transport Strategy. Once complete, the Integrated Transport Strategy will set out a vision and roadmap for the future of Lower Hutt’s transport system. It will consider how Council can ensure all parts of the city’s transport system work well together – from roads, through to public transport and active transport options.
Why focus on the Waterloo end of Knights Road?
There are two main reasons why the trial starts at the Waterloo end of Knights Road.
During our engagement with residents, commuters and schools we heard that the intersection by Waterloo Station was one part of Knights Road that people felt less safe. It is a complex intersection and the trial is testing temporary measures to encourage safer speeds around this area.
The soon to be completed section of the Beltway Cycleway from Pomare in the north to Waterloo will provide a safe, off-road pathway for people on bikes, scooters and walkers. Providing connections from existing and planned cycleways to the places people want to go, like schools and the Lower Hutt CBD, gives people more choices of how to get around our city.
How will this connect with the Beltway Cycleway and Waterloo Station?
Currently the Beltway Cycleway finishes at the northern end of the Park and Ride car park at Waterloo Station. Temporary signage will direct people through the car park towards Waterloo Station where they can choose to cross at the pedestrian crossings, continue on Pohutakawa Street or enter Waterloo Station.
In the longer term, the design of the southern section of the Beltway will address how people transition through this busy and complex space.
What happens after the trial?
We need feedback from all the people that use Knights Road to understand their experience of the trial layout. This feedback along with real time traffic monitoring will help determine what happens next in the project.
All the elements of the trial are temporary so can be changed and adapted as needed. We encourage as many people as possible to provide their feedback to help the decision making process.