Several kilometres of Wellington's roadside car parks will be turned into temporary cycle lanes in an effort to enable physical distancing under Covid-19 Level 2.
Wellington City Council will apply to the government for funding to build seven temporary cycling and pedestrian lanes across the city as part of a Covid-19 response, to help ease demand on public transport.
Five other projects, focused on "innovating streets" were also put forward, intended to be permanent measures unrelated to social distancing.
The total cost of the 12 projects is approximately $2 million. If approved, they will be 90 per cent paid for by the government, with the remainder funded by the council.
Most projects will be relatively simple, essentially coning off parking spaces to create biking and walking paths.
The proposals include a temporary 1600-metre cycle lane on Evans Bay Parade, an uphill cycle lane on Brooklyn Road, and a 600m cycle lane on Featherston St.
The government support was announced on April 12, following moves by several other world cities including New York, Paris, and Berlin, to prioritise walking and cycling.
“When people begin to return to city centres following the lockdown we want them to have enough space to maintain physical distance,” Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said at the time.
“Some of our footpaths in busy areas are quite narrow. Temporary footpath extensions mean people can give each other a bit more space without stepping out onto the road.”
Cycling advocate Patrick Morgan said he supported the plan, but it didn't go far enough. He wanted to see an "essential workers route" which connected bike lanes all the way from Hutt Rd to Wellington Regional Hospital.
Buses and trains in Wellington were expected to be running at around half their normal capacity, Greater Wellington Regional Council chair Daran Ponter said, due to social distancing requirements at level 2.
"People have got to be kind and understanding. They may have to let a bus pass if it is full."
The limited space is more likely to affect commuters who live closer to the city, because buses may already be full by the time they arrive at their stops. The council hopes the pop-up cycle lanes will encourage some people to bike or walk to work.
Rideshare e-scooters, a common alternative commuting method for people in central suburbs, are not expected to be back at Level 2.
A spokesperson for JUMP scooters said they had been advised they could not operate under Level 2 conditions but were still in discussions with the government.
Eight potential projects were considered by the council but were not put forward in the application, including a 1 kilometre cycle lane on Oriental Parade, but were rejected due to affecting high-use parking spaces or taking too long to construct.