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Guest Post: The Grafton Cycleway – A New City Gateway

This is a guest post from Max Robitzsch who is the Infrastructure liaison for Cycle Action Auckland

Auckland’s City Centre has often been described in the same term as a fortified city – one surrounded by a “moat” on three sides, and the coast on the fourth. Except that this moat doesn’t contain water, but traffic. Speeding traffic, noisy traffic, fuming traffic, jammed traffic, depending on time of day. It works well as a defense against cyclists and pedestrians!

Like any good fortified city, the city centre has only a few limited entrances. And unless you do what the original designers of those gateways intended you to do – arrive in a metal box – access can be somewhere between inconvenient and daunting. This story is about the construction of a new gateway to the fortress, one especially for cyclists.

It started some years back, when some of the engineers and managers at NZTA in Auckland became increasingly aware that they had neglected cycling for too long. Cycle Action Auckland, my organisation, had successfully worked with NZTA on a better a relationship for cycling, and the appetite was growing to do more. But like in any story, even protagonists don’t get to make all the choices themselves. There was (and still is) little money set aside for cycling by the political higher ups in Wellington. So NZTA started with a somewhat smaller project, namely upgrading the Kingsland section of the Northwestern Cycleway.

When that turned into a success story, further plans were made. At least one compass point of the city now had a cycleway that led all the way to the edge of the city moat. But there it stopped dead, right at Upper Queen Street. Six lanes of traffic, a bridge with car parking on it (!), yet no safe route for cyclists wanting to reach the universities, offices and workplaces in the city centre. The problem was rather easily identified by NZTA and Cycle Action. Solutions would prove more difficult.

The two most logical routes from Upper Queen Street (Queen Street and Symonds Street) had just been rebuilt mere years ago for many millions of dollars each. Rebuilding them again, to the level of quality needed for a REAL cycleway, suitable for all cycling levels, would hit a lot of resistance. After bus lanes and wider footpaths, the issues that would be raised about a cycleway on either of the two streets were only too predictable: from business disruption due to new construction, to reduced vehicle capacity to loss of car parking.

Would that fight have been worth it? If the likelihood of success at Council for such a scheme would have been bigger – yes.

But you need an institutional champion to drive a project forward – cycleways don’t get built by advocates. And NZTA owned no land in the city centre, but a lot of land around it – the “moat” areas. So the idea of circling around the edge of the city was born as the alternative – work with what you have, not with what you wish you had.

Initially, the project was known as the CMJ Cycleway, the abbreviation standing for the “Central Motorway Junction” – better known to Aucklanders for a type of pasta. But the more we looked at it, the clearer it became that the key challenge was not crossing State Highway 1 at Spaghetti Junction – but where to re-enter the city centre once you crossed it. Links to the western edge of the city were considered. But Nelson and Hobson Street areas were, if anything, even more hostile to cycling than Upper Queen Street. It soon became clear that the best route would lead around the eastern edge of the city centre, connecting to the university areas, and then further down the hill to the lower CBD.

So Grafton Gully Cycleway it became, and that’s really where the route has stayed since, and where it is now being prepared for construction.

But any good story needs a few more obstacles to overcome.

In 2011, when construction was originally due to start, NZTA was experiencing major financial cashflow issues (on which this blog reported a lot). The message came down from Wellington that no advance funding for the cycleway was available. Certainly not in the several-million-range needed, and despite a good BCR of around 4. Go through the usual funding channels – for the next funding cycle – we were told. So the project went into hibernation.

Early in 2012, Cycle Action thought it was time to revive it. A new supercity had been elected and a plan for a better centre of Auckland was also taking shape with the City Centre Masterplan – a plan more friendly to the thought of cycling, but also possibly somewhat unsure of how to go about it. Yet in the end, it didn’t turn out to be too hard to connect NZTA and Council, as both sides now saw a lot of merit in cooperation.

NZTA was still funding the cycleway construction, while Auckland Council would help in treating the route more like a park and an urban design opportunity than just a transport corridor. Auckland Transport meanwhile revived older plans for Beach Road cycle facilities. The Waterfront Boulevard had also just been announced by Waterfront Auckland – to run from the Auckland Harbour Bridge to Tamaki Drive. So Cycle Action started promoting this opportunity for “everything meets at the Waterfront”. To turn the Grafton Gully Cycleway plan from a “terminus” commuter transport link (shades of Britomart?) into a “through link” – connecting the two busiest cycle routes of the city, the Northwestern and Tamaki Drive.

Grafton Bridge

Of course, no backbone is useful if it doesn’t provide side accesses to get on and off (one of the cool things about the new Kingsland section of the Northwestern is that there are so many accesses onto it). NZTA, with the help of Council and enthusiastic urban designers (working pro bono – shout out to the folks at “Matter”) developed a wider concept of links both immediate and more long-term.

In the short run, there will be links onto the new cyleway at Upper Queen Street, Wellesley Street East (i.e. up to Symonds Street), Grafton Road at the Business School, Alten Road and Beach Road. There are also plans to provide a link near Whittaker Place or St Martin’s Lane (hopefully in the initial construction, though that has still to be confirmed). In the mid-term, it is hoped to provide some form of access near Symonds Street (though as a somewhat misinformed column by Brian Rudman showed, any link in that area will have to be very careful not to disturb the heritage areas of the Symonds Street cemetery – though with heritage advisors having been on-board in the project team since the very start in 2010, Rudman’s outrage clearly had more to do with his aversion to cycling than with any take-over of cemetary land, which is, quite simply, not planned).

Outside of the direct project scope, there are future plans to create a walking and cycling bridge on the northern side of Wellesley Street East, to finally get a route over the motorway towards the Domain side. There are also plans to construct a cycleway on the western side of the last section of Ian McKinnon Drive, to avoid the Newton Road Bridge, and to better tie in with Dominion Road. No, they aren’t included in this project – to do so would have meant robbing the rest of New Zealand of the last cycle funding (yes – the money allocated to cycling by the Ministry of Transport is THAT tight).

The most far-reaching options for the longer term are a forking of the Northwestern Cycleway as it enters the city – one branch will head east (the Grafton Gully Cycleway). The second one would turn west, along Canada Street, and then use the Nelson Street on-ramp to reach the western part of the city – with a side access from Day Street / K’Road. It may take a while, but once built, it will combine beautifully with Nelson and Hobson Streets becoming two-way boulevards (something this blog has often supported).

But before we envision that, let’s get back to what will be built now – starting from about November this year (the most-up-to-date estimate). Staging for the project is proving a bit more complex than expected, so don’t be disappointed if some sections appear finished sometime during the next year, but remain disconnected for a while – it’s a matter of what can be constructed first, while the rest is being prepared. The whole project will likely run through to at least early 2014 before all sections are open.

Grafton Gully

 

On the way, we hope you will see that this is a real high-quality project. No more cost-cutting on the quality side like we saw when the first Northwestern Cycleway sections were treaded through Auckland some 15 or so years ago. This will be a path designed for a 30 km/h design speed, be 3m wide (plus so-called “shy space” to any obstructions like fences), with widening on the steeper sections (to make sure slower uphill cyclists and faster downhill cyclists have extra width to pass), with path lighting and cyclist-friendly terminal treatments (you will have to slow down – but if the lights are green at the Upper Queen Street or Grafton Road signal crossings, you should not have to dismount). The underpass that links under Wellesley Street East meanwhile will be designed with extra width and height to feel safe, and good sightlines will make sure there are no entrapment spots on the path.

Another important aspect of course is gradient. When heading out west, this is definitely an uphill ride. From where the work stands currently, AECOM (the designers) have managed to “smooth out” most of the gradient, but there will likely still be two rather steep sections – one being between Alten Road and Grafton Road, and another short one as one goes around the cemetery corner (south of Grafton Bridge). These sections will be almost 6% (i.e. 6m up for every 100m along).

But at least the steepest bit is at the bottom, when you are just starting out – a nice metaphor for most cycling projects. Hope to see you on the path in slightly over a year!

48 comments to Guest Post: The Grafton Cycleway – A New City Gateway

  • Daighi

    Up until very recently I have been living in Parnell and cycling to work in the city virtually everyday… so I’m very surprised that this is the first that I have heard of this project. Have I been living under a rock or do NZTA need to improve their communications/marketing..?

    Nevertheless this looks like a great project; something that I’d definitely use if I was still living in Auckland.

    • max

      Hi Daighi – NZTA weren’t keen to confirm anything until funding had been approved (happened a few months ago). It has been in the Herald and other media a few times since the current iteration was first mooted in 2010 – but I agree, it wasn’t communicated widely.

  • Thanks Max, nice report. Good insight into the institutional challenges to achieving even the cheapest and most obvious of projects in a culture of auto-dependancy. Goes to show how total the budget capture is by the auto-highway complex.

    Look forward to seeing these steps under taken, and you are right to hail it as a breakthrough little start at vast budgets NZTA control.

    And then perhaps that troubling middle section can be addressed with this cheap and traffic calming solution, AT?:

    http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/06/14/excellent-in-parts-the-nw-cycleway-finally-arrives/

  • Dan

    “…plans to create a walking and cycling bridge on the northern side of Wellesley Street East, to finally get a route over the motorway towards the Domain side.”

    Walking is difficult over the current bridge but cycling is no problem at all. Just sail past the no cycling signs and you are in business.

  • SPT

    On a purely selfish note, I am happy to hear that the cemetery is not in danger. Aside from loving it as a place, two of my ancestors are buried there (another two were “moved” when the motorway went in.) Thanks for the informative article.

    • max

      Hi SPT, no need to feel selfish about it – it’s a more than understandable desire. In fact, a lot of the heritage people involved feel that having a cycle path pass by the cemetery edge (ideally with views under the larger trees into the cemetery, once a good part of the lower undergrowth is removed) will reduce the vandalism (toppled gravestones etc…) in the area.

  • Adam

    Anyone here going to use the new cycleway? I ride from deep west to Chancery, and it does nothing for me…

  • Great for me, Northwestern into Parnell. Fantastic work Max, you and the guys at CA deserve much kudos for the behind the scenes work on this.

    @Adam: the universities have been very keen to see this happen and been part of the process. Expect to see lots of students on the cycle way.

  • Malc

    Cycleway – BCR of 4, has to wait for funding.
    Holiday Highway – BCR of 0.5. Billions of dollars guaranteed before the business case is completed.

    Makes sense…..

  • If I was still at university, it’d be ideal – given that I come from Kingsland or thereabouts in to Princes Wharf it’s pretty useless for my commute in to town (although might be a pleasant way to come back out when time allows).

    But of course this isn’t all about me – am sure the university demand will make this a rampant success and then the way is clearer for an attempt on the Mt Everest of Auckland autoprivilege, the Hobson/Nelson street area…

  • Adam

    Uni will definitely be well served, but not much good for rest of CBD, And I dont think the demand to link Tamaki drive to Western Cycle track really exists, aside from recreational riders.

    My main issue though, is the designers think, that from the corner of upper queen street, and ian mckinnon, that instead of going down queen street, to town, people will go miles out of their way, pretty much to the bottom of parnell, to get to town.

    This cycle track is the path of least resistance for those funding it (aka, already in the motorway designated area etc), but to me seems to by cycle track for the sake of cycle track.

    As someone who rides from west, the idea of linking up the old nelson street is 100 times more useful!

    • It isn’t actually a motorway there’s no need to go all the way to downtown, you can leave it at Wellesley St for example, which is pretty handy for midtown, including Chancery Lane via either Princes or Kitchener Streets, if that’s your destination.

    • max

      Hi Adam, the “miles out of the way” is actually less than 500m from Queen Street, and about 100m from Symonds Street – which is the other route some people have told us we should have gotten an off-road cycleway onto somehow (because painted cycle lanes really don’t cut it). And if you have been in the eastern lower CBD recently, you will see that it is full of residential and office buildings stretching from Britomart to Parnell, and that this area will get intensified a lot more in the coming years and decades. Lots of demand now and more potential for the future.

      Path of least resistance? Used in the “should have done better” sense, in the “I am unhappy that this is being done at all” sense? That it would have been better to NOT support it / build it all, because it isn’t the ideal solution that ticks all the boxes at the same time? I have had that discussion many times – the “Copenhagen Now” attitude. I don’t believe in it. Revolutions don’t happen outside of wartime. I am an incrementalist, and don’t think realistic is a dirty word. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Just because one knows that one is doing the right thing with cycling doesn’t meant that one can magically convince all the decision makers of that. It takes passion AND patience.

  • Bbc

    Why does the map show the cycle way as completed on Quay Street? There’s nothing there for cyclist at all! I cycled there the other day and had to fight the traffic in the middle lane if I wished to get to Wynward and was then shouted at by some women with prams as I cycled across the bridge to North wharf that this was a pedestrian walkway and not for cyclists. So drawing such a map as shown in this story is both disingenuous and factually wrong, giving the impression that cycling facilities exist. As far as I can tell the single cycle lane that exists downtown is that one on Vincent Street and a tiny one on Wellesley Street by the uni.. The only cycle lane on Quay Street starts way down by the food town and that’s just a white line on the footpath.

    • max

      Hi BBC – sad to hear you had some bad experiences with intolerant people while cycling through Wynyard Quarter (Wynyard Crossing is in fact a walking AND cycling bridge and was always promoted as such by Waterfront Auckland and Council – just google some older press releases and news articles). The bridge is also part of the Waterfront Promenade route for walking and cycling that is progressively being implemented / improved by Waterfront Auckland. With the exception of a very short section directly in front of the ferry terminal, the path I marked in green is also shown as an off-road cycle route on Auckland Transport’s own cycle maps.

      However, you calling this disingenious (defined as “not candid or sincere”) saddens me, because it implies I highlighted this route to somehow trick you or someone else, rather than simply not think of the fact you could read this map in such a way. As CAA’s infrastructure person, I know of thousands of locations on various roads, cycle paths and whatever locations in Auckland that could and should be improved for cycling – that knowledge doesn’t encourage me to engage in greenwashing, just in prioritising (what are the most important issues to spend my limited time on when fighting for improvement?). My intent when sketching up this map was to highlight to people that cyclists can already ride off-road on this route – something which is impossible in much of Auckland. I have often ridden this route and found that with a bit of patience in the crowded sections, it works fine as a cycle route.

      PS: The section from the Ferry Terminal to the Foodtown is actually a shared path already – have a look at the path on the northern side along the red fence: every dozen meters or so, you will see metal plaques inset in the ground showing it is a cycleway, and why not – it is plenty wide. I wonder whether we really need to highlight those elements more strongly (more signs!?!) – or whether we should all chill out and share our spaces better. I hope you smiled at those women, or at least ignored them. It’s too tempting to curse back instead.

      • bbc

        Hi Max – sorry my use of disingenious is in reality not directed at you, and I do appreciate all the work do put in via CAA, but rather my frustration since returning to Auckland and looking at all the maps Auckland Transport puts out with lovely little coloured lines which give the impression that cycle facilities exist all over the city. When you actually go and have a look at what these cycle facilities are they either don’t even exist (which is what I found troubling about the map you posted – a footpath isn’t a cycle facility) or at best are bus lanes that operate 2 hours during the peak and are full of buses. Take Khyber Pass, that supposedly has cycle facilities – yet the bus lanes only exist for a couple of hours a day in each direction and the rest of the time are full of parked cars or traffic. So basically I find the maps AT put out are completely disingenious because it allows council members to point to them and say look how great cycling is in Auckland and then do nothing. A real map of cycling in Auckland would show nothing, because IMO there’s literally nothing in town for cyclists at all – an cycling advance stop boxes aren’t cycling infrastructure. About the only pleasantly surprising aspect of cycling in Auckland is that there are plenty of cycle posts to lock your bike to, and unlike other cities they’re always free….

        • max

          Hi bbc – I am much more positive about the user cycle maps (and I guess we should be, because they were produced with CAA’s help). I think they are a great way to get an idea where the better routes are (not necessarily always GOOD routes, but still better than blundering helplessly through an area you don’t know, especially as a novice who might be put off by too many bad routes while he/she is still getting her legs…).

          Also, partly because CAA pushed for it, the user maps now differentiate between cycle lanes and shared bus lanes, so are a lot more honest than they used to be, when those were combined into one colour.

          Regarding the errors and incorrect claims on the Regional Cycle Network map (the planning map, rather than the user map), we and others have highlighted this for a while, and Auckland Transport is currently updating the map. In a few months we should have a new one which gives a much more correct and up-to-date status.

    • Chris

      BBC – I understand what you mean about (the majority of) Quay St. Yesterday I had a look at the path from the train and laughed. Will be showing my cousins this when they visit from the Netherlands.

    • Bryce P

      2 trips to Wynyard have been soured for me by cycle couriers cutting between buildings at high (given the number of pedestrians) speed. I was oh so close to being clipped on one occasion as I stepped out of a café there. Maybe that’s why pedestrians are getting terse?

      • Bryce P – Really? You think cyclists are a problem in the Wynyard Quarter? What about all the cars that seem to think they can whizz straight down the middle of it past the childrens play area to the wharf parking area? You dont think that is a much bigger threat.

        Aucklanders are just so enamoured with their cars it makes me sick. I was down at the marina piers down the far end and someone had driven their big SUV up to the edge of the pier partially blocking the dozens of pedestrians and cyclist. All so he could sit in his nice big gas guzzling monster and eat his pie.

        Give me speeding cycle couriers any day.

        • Bryce P

          I never said cars were not a problem down there. I was replying to a post about cyclists and pedestrians. BTW: I am a cyclist. Relax.

          • Bryce P

            Further, I have never nearly been hit by a car down there because of course, I expect car drivers to do dumb things. Walking out of a café, amongst pedestrians, I have different expectations.

            I also thing the treatments of the road / pedestrian ‘shared spaces’ is a bit simple and most Auckland drivers do not understand the differences. There needs to be some education / signage pointing out exactly what is expected of drivers. Most just treat the tables and paved areas as ‘speed bumps’.

      • bbc

        In this instance, there were four women with prams taking over the whole bridge and not looking ahead, I rang my bell just to make them aware of my presence and that didn’t go down too well. I was IMO being courteous and was cycling slowly especially because there were 4 little babies in prams so I clearly didn’t want to cause any accidents on a bridge with them involved.

  • Adam

    Max, I am unhappy this is being done at all, you yourself have talked about the very tight amount of cycle funding available, and seems most of it is going to a project that may not be used by the bulk of people it is meant to help.

    You talk about it being 500m from queen street, I just did some quick measurements, and from 50 upper queen street (pretty much corner upper queen and dominion) to chancery (selfish example), is 1.8km going the logical route. Taking this route it will be 2.8km.

    Do you believe at that point in their ride, cyclists will choose an option that adds 65% distance to finish their trip, plus some gradient.

    On the way home, will add the same distance, plus much more gradient.

    The millions could be better put toward
    – The nelson street idea
    – The harbour bridge one day
    – Taking the cycle track from Takau St to Ian Mckinnon, and up the side of Ian Mckinnon

    • Wow! What route are you measuring? You are unhappy with being offered the option of ridding grade separate to Wellesley St, under [I hope-Max?] Symonds, along Kitchener or Princes and to your destination if ever you tire of the thrill and fumes of riding on Queen St…. furthermore you don’t want anyone else to have that option either? Well I guess some people are never happy.

    • Bryce P

      65%? Yeah, if you leave from 50 Queen St using your measurements (I managed a 400m difference). It’s pretty much nothing though if you have just ridden in from out West.

    • max

      Hi Adam – thanks for your additional comment, because it really highlights the key discrepancy here. You already ride, even despite Auckland traffic conditions for cyclists – so if this cycleway doesn’t improve your particular route enough for you to chose it, that’s disappointing, and in those circumstances, you’re obviously not be so happy with the project when on your specific preferred route, you see other improvements you DO want more, such as on Ian McKinnon Drive.

      But this is a cycleway not built PRIMARILY to get the shortest route, or even necessarily to cater for existing cyclists, but to – with the money and the options we have now – to produce an off-road path for people who prefer not to ride on road under Auckland conditions. Many of these people will get the part of their cycle commute that is by NECESSITY on-road reduced significantly, even if at the cost of some extra distance (and as Bryce P points out, if you come from anywhere west of, say Kingsland, the difference is actually increasingly marginal). This encourages new riders, rather than concentrating just on those who already ride. That’s what CAA is about. Growing the cycling crowd.

      That’s why we believe that Ian McKinnon is NOT a priority compared to this facility which serves a route that has NO cycle facilities at the moment (well, not unless you consider bus lanes cycle facilities, which I don’t, not really). Ian McKinnon already has an off-road path. It may not be ideal, but the option is there.

      As for your examples of spending the money on projects like Nelson Street, you are again highlighting a key issue: This project is extremely uncertain when / if it will ever happen. Not spending the money on the Grafton Gully Cycleway doesn’t allow us to “bank” it. Nor even speed something like the Nelson Street project up – because that would, in the current situation then throws you on Nelson Street without any cycle facilities there, and six-lane motorway-type conditions. Change needs momentum, and that needs projects NOW. The Nelson Street off-ramp project is not ready – not in the sense of the receiving environment of Nelson & Hobson Street. Funding money not used today is gone tomorrow, and won’t even by any necessity go to another Auckland or even cycling project. I am not willing anymore to have politicians and planners give me fine visions for “ideal” projects they are going to build in 10 years, or even 5 years. We want change now, and we are willing to deal with the realities that entails.

  • Bryce P – [dee breaths] OK calm now. Sorry, just a natural knee jerk reaction as an Auckland cyclist to any complaint about cyclists. I certainly wouldnt want to be cleaned out (or see someone else cleaned out) by a cycle courier. Just not high on my list of concerns in Auckland.

    • Bryce P

      No problem. Just highlighting that cyclists and pedestrians can have the same kinds of problems, although much less risky, due to speed differences, that cyclists have with cars. Sensible cyclists will slow down in heavily pedestrianized areas. Of course, we cyclists already have a lot of negative attitudes from motorists to get over and as most of these pedestrians are drivers any poor behaviour by a minority of cyclists just reinforces their negative attitudes. Happy cycling :-)

      • max

        I believe the frustration that some pedestrians have with cyclists stems not only from rude cyclists (there’s a few in every group…) but also from the fact that pedestrians are also still pretty marginalised in Auckland, and would just like to have their own space kept sacred from intrusion – if you suddenly get overtaken too close by a cyclist you didn’t even expect in that space (because you weren’t aware cyclists were allowed, for example), then you can get unpleasantly startled. If you are not a cyclist, that then can translate into angry feelings against cyclists (fight or flight response) – heck, I have myself sometimes cursed careless cyclists who passed me too close for comfort on footpaths while I was walking. So if I myself get that kind of angry reaction, I can only imagine the feelings of a pedestrian who has no connection to cycle culture at all… so all the more important to be polite and ride to the conditions when on one’s bike… and get a friendly-sounding but loud bell.

        • Steve D

          Definitely this – it’s about being able to keep the last little scrap of space you have left. When most of the city is given over to cars, at least humans still have the footpath to feel safe on. Having bicycles invade that space doesn’t raise my opinion of them, even if they’re more nuisance than mortal threat.

          I know cyclists get intimidated by cars – I enjoy cycling, but pretty much never do it because I don’t want to do it on the road – but a lot of cyclists don’t appreciate that they intimidate pedestrians in just the same way.

          They’re not a patch on cars, though. I usually shrug off bad driving as just Aucklanders being no good at it, but I was walking on Beach Rd the other day and some joker had parked his car (completely) on the footpath to unload stuff – then as I walked past he started driving along the footpath behind me while he looked for a gap in the traffic to merge in and it just made me furious. I mean, he was completely on the footpath, even driving on the inside of the lamp-posts and sandwich boards, not looking where he was going, all but pushing pedestrians out of the way for most of the block (Anzac Ave to Fort St).

          It’s the same mentality that leads to those “Car Coming” lights at carpark exits – but of course, it’s cars who have to give way! There should be a “Pedestrians Coming” light for the cars, instead.

    • bbc

      Personally I have found that cyclists in Auckland should use their bells more and also respect the right of pedestrians to be on the Northwestern cycleway, rather than cycling past at high speed and almost clipping them just let the people there know you are approaching, takes one flick of the thumb, easy.

      • Steve D

        First step is actually having bells on their bikes.

      • Bryce P

        Good call that. I think I’m off to get a bell. A nice shiny, chrome one :-)

      • Bryce P

        Hopefully, once it’s been rebuilt, the pathway will be quite a bit wider than it is now.

        I would love to be able to look back to those heady days and see reactions from council when first approached about the idea of a cycle way along the NW.

        • max

          It isn’t intended to become wider, but the locations where it is less than 3m will drastically reduce, to a few short pinch points of 2.5m on the Rosebank Peninsula. Everything else will be 3m, and will generally have plentiful shy space (berms) along the edges. Most sections will also be off-set from the motorway much more, and all bridges and clip-ons get replaced with proper ones.

          • Bryce P

            Noted but even the piece along the causeway doesn’t feel like 3m as it is. Any update on traversing Lincoln and Te Atatu Rd interchanges? I’m guessing the underpass idea has well and truly gone but any chance of short phase lights for pedestrians and cyclists? (A motorway is a must for cars but cyclists can wait, of course, even though their trip will take longer anyway.)

          • ingolfson

            Bryce, there may be some very good news to come, but until it’s a bit more confirmed, I don’t want to get people’s hopes up. At a minimum, though, the number of signals a cyclists has to go through at Te Atatu has been significantly reduced in the plans I have seen.

          • Bryce P

            Oh I hope so. Fingers crossed :-)

  • Brendan

    This looks quite exciting.

    The only bit I wonder about is the bit that says cycleway along Quay St from between the Ferry Building and Wynyard Quarter. There is no indication to pedestrians that this is a cycleway. Perhaps the dividing line and bike symbols painted on the footpath along the Tamaki Drive can be extended past the ferry building all the way to Wynyard crossing.

    • I think it is wide enough that cyclists and pedestrians can share without demarcating lines all over the place. A good example is Southbank Boulevard in Melbourne, a waterfront car free space with shared use and no lines. As a cyclist you often have to go quite slow when it gets very busy, but otherwise it’s perfectly fine.

    • max

      We are currently talking about this with AT. In the past, we were advised that they would prefer to keep cycling in this section informal, as they don’t feel the footpath directly at the ferry terminal is wide enough (considering the ped volumes) for a cycleway. In the mid term (3-5 years), I’d expect the Quay Street changes should provide enough width here for a more proper cycle facility – and it is also part of the Waterfront Promenade, which is to be a proper walk AND cycleway – so it’s mainly about finding a better way to share safely in the meantime.

  • Paul Ireland

    I Can’t see why a ‘Cycle Ring Route’ can’t be made eventually. Imagine the advantages of both so many more possible commutes as well as getting weekend worrior riders a much safer option.
    I was heading along the Northern Motorway looking at the Northern Busway thinking to myself that there is easily space for a cycleway to run along beside the buses. Infact a lot of the route could be in the planted vegetaition to make the trail more appealing and epic. If it was done large enough I can’t see why small riding events could’t use the thing and use them to market cycle commuting as safe and achievable. Linking into the Bus stations gives people options of storing their bike there if required.
    As well as the northern route I would be certain there is easily space along/beside the Hobsonvlille Motorway linking to westgate then on to the North Western Cycleway.
    The main hurdles for cycle commuting are perceived danger, hilly topography and incomplete links.

  • George D

    Will it be well lit, and have sufficient surveillance cameras? I think that quite a few people would have issues riding in a place that seems rather secluded and dark (particularly in winter months). Improving the lighting situation, and creating lines of sight so that people are open to others, seem like crucial things that will make this work.

    • max

      Hi George – unsure whether it will have CCTV beyond that provided by the motorway cameras. However, it will definitely be well lit, and the design will take very great care in ensuring good sightlines, and no obstructions too close to the path where people could hide / entrapment spots. The cycleway will also be located so as to be visible to/from the motorway lanes next to it where it goes through the gully. Everyone agrees that the mid-section especially is a bit secluded, so design needs to be appropriate for this.

  • Lianne

    I can’t wait to use the new cycleway! I want to cycle to Auckland Uni more often, but where the current cycleway ends in the CBD, it’s pretty terrifying to ride.

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