Dear Brooklyn: pop-up goodness

Five temporary projects are proposed in Wellington for safer movement while social distancing suppresses bus capacity. Brooklyn local Sam Donald writes to his fellow Brooklynites…


Dear Brooklyn

Are you perhaps a regular or occasional cyclist? Or maybe a new lockdown-quiet-road-cyclist?

Perhaps you have members of your family and/or friends who are or may one day want to be cyclists, and you want to ensure their safety out there?

Or maybe you just recognise the planet’s need for some changes in our transport behaviour?

Did you know that there is a pop-up rori iti / cycle lane proposed for Brooklyn Rd as part of the COVID-19 recovery planning?

The primary intention is to provide a safe, climate friendly and congestion-free alternative to buses running at 30% capacity due to social distancing requirements by making it safer and more inviting to cycle up Brooklyn Rd.

Even under normal conditions, our buses are often over capacity and Wellington’s roads are often congested: a lot of the traffic on this route is heavy vehicles heading to the three landfill sites – not an ideal mix sharing a lane with little people on little bikes!


NZTA are funding 90% of this and other projects around the city as a COVID-19 response through their ‘Innovating Streets’ tactical urbanism programme – with ratepayers paying the other 10%.

This cycle lane isn’t designed yet and I’m hopeful that the community will have some influence in the design process and some involvement in the detailed design from mid June (assuming it gets Council approval to proceed on 11th June).

Many locals have put a lot of thought into how this could work best for all users. It would be great if it could be extended to address safety concerns to its North and South, to make it safer to cross the road as a pedestrian and perhaps to still allow very slow trucks to be overtaken at some point on the ascent.

Trialing these things collaboratively with the community must surely be smarter than jumping straight to a predetermined solution, don’t you think?

Let’s suck it and see!

If you support this project (or not!), it would be great if you could make a submission on the WCC website. Perhaps encourage your kids who would like to be able to bike to high school safely to submit too. You may wish to pass it on to anyone you know that would like to support safer cycling in and around our fine city.

  • The WCC Traffic Resolution can be found here and feedback can me made directly here
  • GBRAI (Greater Brooklyn Residents Association Inc.) have hand delivered a survey to local letterboxes over the weekend. You can also complete that same survey online here
  • At A2B (Active to Brooklyn), we have created an aide to submissions with a bunch of pre-prepared comments that you can copy and paste from either to create a letter / email to WCC, to copy into the WCC response form. You can download it as a .docx and as a .pdf here

Talk Wellington Editor adds:

You’d think no-one could oppose making it temporarily safer for people to move around our city on foot and by bike, but whaddayaknow, rumblings are already happening. Apparently people would rather not take the risk of finding out whether a good temporary thing is actually really good…

So go on Wellington, you know what to do.

Pop in a submission with a Support on each one.

Use the excellent A2B resource above, or if you’re in a hurry you could say: “Please let us have a brief try, a taster, to see what a few streets are like with a little more space for people, designed and adapted with communities.”


Further reading:

Tactical urbanism (the techniques we hope WCC are using on these projects)

And for lolz, a post about interacting with others from back when “being in my bubble” was kinda different


Image credits:

  • Brooklyn Road: Sam Donald
  • Kids sucking lollipops: Tara Roberts, on Inland360.com

5 comments on “Dear Brooklyn: pop-up goodness”

  • Charles Joseph says:

    The proposed pop up cycle way in Brooklyn is ill considered, lacks detail and will impact negatively on all the vast majority of other road users. Waste of money, not a priority and should not proceed.

    • Sam Donald says:

      Hi Charles, The Brooklyn Rd route has long been envisaged as a cycle route between the CBD and Brooklyn as there is a nice, steady gradient (from the days of the trams), plenty of road space for different modes and it is already a popular route with cyclists, despite the heavy landfill traffic. A permanent lane is in the long term plan, although it’s a few years until it is due to be allocated funding. At the moment the proposal lacks detail because it is just a route and it hasn’t been designed yet – the community is hopeful that we can have some involvement in the detail before it gets installed (assuming it gets the go-ahead). As a driver I look forward to cyclists having some physical separation from me, so as I’m not quite so responsible for their physical safety, especially in the dark. In terms of money, with $12k of Council spending and with the remaining 90% coming from NZTA (that will no doubt mostly go back into the Wellington economy as stimulus) it seems really great value and well worth doing as a test run before an expensive permanent solution is tackled.

    • Benjamino says:

      mate it’s a trial. you can’t say how it will “affect” non bike road users *because it’s never been done there before*.
      If it’s a disaster, no worries – they’ll whip it out.
      and much less “impact” to “other road users” than most of the roadworks all over our city for ages – like Thorndon Quay by vic uni, that was there for months. And nobody cared.
      Look if it makes things safer for people who want to bike up the hill (and maybe scoot), and it ***maybe*** makes the drive up the hill 7 minutes rather than 5.5, that’s a win right!
      And we don’t even know yet cos we haven’t tried. Just wait and see. If you’re right you can run aroun dsaying I TOLD YOU SO
      Meantime calm down it’s only a trial.

  • Tracey Is Tops says:

    @Charles
    You’ll be pleased to learn that as a rule, narrowing the road space for vehicles to drive makes roads easier to cross for people on foot.

    Cities do this with footpath bump outs, bike lanes, trees, flexible posts, built-up medians, pedestrian islands, all manner of things. it’s less cruisy to drive means it’s easier to cross on foot.

    Living Streets Aotearoa have lots of info on this.
    Rgds Tracey

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