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Dominion Rd parallel cycle routes get NZTA Funding

Some good news today that the NZTA have agreed to pay for just over half of the project to create cycle routes parallel to Dominion Rd.

The NZ Transport Agency has approved $3.2m in funding to extend Auckland’s cycling network.

The money will be used to construct cycle routes on less busy suburban streets that run parallel and adjacent to Dominion Road, one of Auckland’s busiest arterial links between the CBD and suburbs on the western side of the city and Auckland International Airport.

The Transport Agency’s funding is a 53 percent share of a $6.1m project led by Auckland Transport to provide 5-and-a-half-kilometres of cycleway on the parallel routes either side of Dominion Road.

The Regional Manager for the Transport Agency’s Planning and Investment Group, Peter Casey, says key considerations behind the Agency’s decision to provide funding include the benefits the project will deliver in terms of safety and travel choices for people.

“The Transport Agency is committed to reducing traffic congestion by providing options so that people don’t have to rely on using cars,” Mr Casey says. “The new routes will encourage more people to cycle. They will be available for less confident cyclists as an alternative to the more challenging Dominion Road, and by the large number of children living in the area.”

Auckland Transport says the funding decision is an important step for the project.

“It’s great that we can get worked started on this project,” says Auckland Transport’s Manager Community Transport, Matthew Rednall. “These are important links for growing cycling for Auckland, and for providing cycling facilities between schools and local communities.”

Construction is due to start later this year. The project includes safety upgrades at intersections, improved lighting and signage, and construction of speed humps and “islands” to slow motorised traffic.

The cycle routes are part of a much wider AT project to upgrade Dominion Road itself, which is also supported by the Transport Agency to help improve Auckland’s public transport system. 

I know this has been a fairly controversial project amongst many in the cycling community who want to see dedicated cycle infrastructure on Dominion Rd. AT say it was dropped as an option as much of Dominion Rd would have needed to be widened to accommodate it at a cost of up to $50 million. The parallel routes involve a mix of

  • New traffic lights at major intersections.
  • Destination signage.
  • Raised tables and other measures to slow vehicle traffic.
  • New sections of shared paths or widening paths.
  • New links between streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

You can see the proposed designs on this page.

Dom Rd Cycling Network

To me the biggest area that really needs to be addressed is on the eastern route at King Edward St/Burnley Tce where riders are forced to either Sandringham Rd or Dominion Rd due to there being no through route but that is something that is unlikely to be cheap either. One other small benefit of this approach is at least this part of the project appears to be starting as soon rather than having to wait for the rest of the upgrade works to happen.

107 comments to Dominion Rd parallel cycle routes get NZTA Funding

  • conan

    Quick question on this. Is this extra funding or just the normal percentage that NZTA put towards local projects with a PR spin put on it?

    • Steve D

      It’s the normal amount of funding for projects that NZTA part-fund, but NZTA don’t guarantee they’ll fund any particular local project at all.

      • Loraxus

        I believe that it may actually be coming out of the Dominion Road upgrade funding, rather than specific cycle funding pot, but am not 100% sure.

  • Stu Harwood

    Wow, that’s quite a detour from just going down Dominion road – This looks pretty pointless to me. For what it’s worth I cycle down Dom road every day from Mount Albert road.

    • Totally agree, it basically has nothing to do with Dominion Road.

      It’s absolutely pointless as a serious transport option.

      – Commuter cyclists will still just use Dominion Road. Why use a convoluted indirect route, when a dead straight one is available?
      – Quiet back streets are the LAST place where improved cycling amenity is needed.

      This is clearly a project intended only for slow recreational family cycling.

      • Joe

        This is why cyclists annoy the cr@p out of everybody….. I understand that it would be much better to cycle directly along Dom Road but it isn’t wide enough to accommodate everybody safely and achieve what is required of the corridor. Having an alternative route makes sense that is safe and where cyclists can be provided for safely and properly and no doubt where they will have more priority.

        • Steve D

          Cyclists are definitely the most annoying people who define themselves by a mode of transport… except for motorists. Man do they whinge.

          In all seriousness, you know who does keep quiet? Pedestrians. The most popular mode of all. And what do they get? Screwed over. Being quiet may not annoy others, but you know what they say about squeaky wheels and grease.

          • Joe

            it must be true and real to life if somebody has made a comic strip about it…..

          • Steve D

            I envy you, then, if you’ve never heard drivers bitching about traffic, parking, or why the government doesn’t add another lane to this or that road. Let alone all these bloody cyclists in their way.

          • Nic

            Pedestrians do enjoy grade separated paths on almost every street in Auckland, as well as dedicated light phases to meet their needs at intersections and crossings. Many suburban streets (especially around schools) have additional infrastructure with pedestrian islands.

            poorly implemented footpaths may be a ‘bare minimum’ but every new road has space allocated for pedestrians. Cyclists are much more poorly planned for. They are expected to behave like an automobile despite being a very different transport mode with unique needs. When roads are planned with integrated cycling infrastructure, maybe then pedestrians will be the bottom of the heap.

        • Except Joe, the “alternative route” already exists, and is already cycle-friendly. They are quiet back streets after all. It’s pointless to introduce cycling measures on such a route.

          This will be $6m sunk into a black hole, as it won’t make these quiet streets any more of a viable cycling corridor than it already is, and it won’t actually result in anyone ceasing to cycle along Dominion Road.

          Really it should be do it properly, or don’t do it at all.

          • Loraxus

            Well, you obviously haven’t tried to cross Balmoral or Mt Albert Road on these routes then, A good example where the project WILL make these routes better. Plus, a few are quite speedy so having the traffic calming WILL reduce hooning, and possibly even traffic volumes.

    • NigelTwo

      Yeah, why do the cars get the direct route while the cyclists go on the “tiki tours”. Commuting cyclists are not going to like this much.

      • Commuting cyclists won’t use them.

        But still, eye on the prize; permanent bus lanes here are more important in the total scheme of things.

        • Make It Go

          Agreed. Permanent Bus Lanes on Dom Rd are the key and must go in.

        • JimboJones

          By permanent you mean for 2 hours 5 days a week?

        • Dan

          Patrick, you are making that assertion based on your own opinion. I reckon some commuters will use this route. Lots of people really don;t like cycling in traffic and are willing to take a detour to avoid it. This route might add 500m or so to the direct Dom Rd route so not much.

          Indeed, it could be commuters into town who are likely to use this type of route as they just want to get there rather than stop at the shops etc.

        • P2P

          In Paris cyclist are allowed to use permanent bus lanes and it works quiet well.

          • conan

            You mean like here in Auckland (except for the Northern Busway)?

            Bus lanes are not for every cyclist. You need confidence and to ride at a reasonable pace.

          • Loraxus

            Stats also show that they (shared bus lanes) are not really safe in Auckland. Particularly those which are narrow (like Dom Road is and no, will remain).

            The above-average crash stats (see a research report of Daniel Newcombe) are presumably due to car drivers zipping across the “empty” bus lane to go into side roads and driveways, and then hitting cyclists riding in them.

          • bbc

            It’s also quite stressful when a bus is bearing down on you, and there’s no way for it to go past because of the cars backed up in the lane next door, what are you supposed to do. Usually the bus pushes past giving you next to no space, similar thing happens at bus stops, buses frequently overtake and then pull in again right in front of you, leaving you no where to go. It’s a dangerous unpleasant mix. When there are no buses around it’s fantastic, huge wide cycle lanes, but that’s rarely the case. What’s more cars are frequently abusing those lanes, and typically zoom in only checking for buses and compliance cameras – not cyclists. I’ve had a lot of very close shaves when cycling on Symonds Street.

  • sjw

    Everything that’s wrong with Auckland’s transport policy in one picture.

  • JimboJones

    I think they should ditch one of the routes and spend the money making the other better. The west route looks better as it is closer to Dominion road, so ditch the east route and buy the houses between St Albans Ave and Tanekaha Street and between Kind Edward Street and Marlborough Street to make the route fairly direct. Also make cars give way to bikes at all intersections with minor roads if that is not already on the cards.

    • Loraxus

      No, we need both routes. People live both sides of Dom Road.

      > Also make cars give way to bikes at all intersections with minor roads if that is not already on the cards.

      Not in the cards, but quite a few streets get traffic calming (speed tables) just before they reach the main cycleway route, so less risk of cars shooting out into the route from side streets.

  • DAn

    The obvious way to fix the Burnley ST problem is to purchase 1 or 2 house so that the route could continue unimpeded. No need to force anyone out, just wait until a willing seller comes up.

    • Loraxus

      That was considered, but there are only 3 houses that work. At any other location, you would have to buy two ADJACENT houses, and they aren’t cheap – or likely to come up for sale at any specific time together.

      I understand they are looking at short sections of shared paths on Dom and Sandringham Road to avoid forcing people on-road onto these busier roads.

      • Bryce P

        How many would they be prepared to buy and bowl or move if this were a roading project?

      • Steve D

        AT’s cycling department have heard of the Public Works Act, right?

      • Loraxus

        Silly you – AT’s cycling department would not be willing to use the public works act unless ti find space for displaced car parking on a bike route.

        Sadly, quite un-jokingly, I am not even sure that in our current legal climate, “need your land for a cycleway” would even stand as a valid reason in front of a judge….

        • Dan

          It has long been clear that it would really help to have one of those 3 houses. Even now if they earmarked it, one should come up in the next 5 years. I’m sure the neighbourhood would appreciate a new park.

  • Why have they not at least linked the cycle routes into the train stations at Kingsland and Mount Eden? That would provide residents with a quick link to the train network. They are tantalisingly close but there is still a gap.

    One of the best uses of cycling is to link residential to commercial and transport nodes.

    • Luke C

      yeh submitted strongly on this, same with Mt Eden village too. Totally misses wider context, cycling could be great for East-West trips around here, but this project is just trying create a slow circuituous route to town.

    • Steve D

      Well, to get to Kingsland Station you only need to ride down Walters Road. Which is already about as good a cycling route as most of these streets will be after the works are finished.

    • VC

      These cycle routes are desigend for school kids. One might ask why they have not linked the schools and local parks with the cycle routes? Potters park and the popular new spalsh pad is a prime example. Very difficult for children to get to from the local schools (without being driven)

  • Brendon

    Wow, what a joke. This isn’t good news at all – all it will do is justify inaction on Dominion Road itself. Commuters won’t use it because it isn’t a straight line, it won’t encourage people to cycle to the shops/restaurants because it doesn’t go near any, and kids won’t use it because it shares the road. Maybe the occasional person will cruise along it on a Sunday afternoon, but that money could have been much better used elsewhere.

    Dominion Road is one of the widest in Auckland, with two lanes each way plus a median strip for turning cars. Did they even consider removing the median strip to make room?

    • Yes this isn’t good news. As Brendon says above these routes will not be used much because they are neither locally efficient (avoiding destinations on Dom Rd) nor good for longer distances (too indirect). This may look like a grown up compromise but instead it is a wasteful fail for cycling and for retail on Dom Rd. Good customers being sent down residential streets, or more likely not going past their stores at all. This is a bad outcome that defies all the research about the value of cycle lanes for busy centres like Dom Rd.

      The dinosaurs in AT will then be able to point to it to show that Aucklanders don’t want to ride bikes despite how generous they are. This is an expensive fail, and green-wash by NZTA in the announcement above.

      • Dan

        It is not a complete failure. A good cycle network would have these neighborhood type routes AND a dedicated route on the main thoroughfare.

        • counterpoint

          It may not be a complete failure, but it certainly feels like a terribly cynical exercise to me. Having these routes is as part of a cycle network is great, but this is really just tinkering around the edges. As Patrick says above, these routes are too indirect to be destinations, and don’t connect to any other part of the network (essentially because there is no ‘other part’ to connect to). The cynicism comes from what I suspect will be an all-too-predictable abuse of numbers to show that the money really ought to have been spent on, quelle surprise, driving….

          • Dan

            COmpletely agree that it is stupid not to make proper facilities on Dom Rd. But given that they decided early on that there would be no cycle lanes on Dom Rd, this is better than nothing. CAA (Cycle Action Auckland) seem determined to take a look-on-the-sunny-side approach to these matters, so I thought I might try it myself. These are routes I occasionally use and will be happy to see them improved.

      • Fair enough Dan, let’s call this traffic calming on some local roads, all good. But of course this comes from some tiny cycling budget and will be measured and weighed and hyped as a great cycling spend.

        Also this spend will prevent cycle lanes being added on Dom Rd for ever, cyclists will remain wrestling with buses and cars.

  • It is not true that Cyclelanes on Dom require any widening. But to accommodate cycling, bus lanes, and general traffic, some on road parking space would need to go.

    AT and/or NZTA seem unable to do the right thing for both transport and place quality and push this change past noisy and misguided retailers who will always, and mistakenly, oppose such improvement.

    This needs changing.

    • JimboJones

      Are you talking mixed bus/cycle lanes? Or removing the median strip? I don’t think there is room for bus lanes, car lanes, bike lanes and a median even if you remove parking.
      If you remove the median you either need to prevent all right turns into side streets, or have traffic chaos when cars block the whole road to turn right.
      Or maybe you remove most of the right turns, and widen the road at the points where they are allowed?

    • grantb

      Exactly.

      The statement ‘AT say it was dropped as an option as much of Dominion Rd would have needed to be widened’ could have simply been, ‘AT say it was dropped as they are unwilling to consider narrowing or slowing traffic along Dominion Road’

      Don’t normally use the Dominion route route, but on Friday I took the option of going down Dominion Road when coming back to the shore from the airport on Friday early evening. What struck me riding the motorbike, was that 50km/h seemed fast as there was a lot of traffic coming in and out of side roads plus pedestrians with people coming in and out of resturants. Traffic was forming one lane each way anyway, as leftmost lanes had parking bays, so suspect you could make Dom road more like Ponsonby road with 40km/h limit but add bus/cycle lanes and really encourage it to be a resturant/cafe/shopping hub, at least in parts.

      • nonsense

        That’s because you ride a motorbike so you are more aware of the dangers. If you’re in a SUV 50 will feel too slow. Needless to say you are right.

    • Loraxus

      Actually, Patrick, you would need to either widen the road, or lose the median to provide dedicated cycle lanes in addition to bus lanes. But maybe you were thinking of losing the median anyway?

      • Of course… road widening is destructive and expensive and unnecessary. Painted medians go as right hand turning should be restricted to main intersections. Same problem; too much fear of the slightest restriction on one mode squeezes out every other one.

    • Geogoose

      That retailers are worried about removing parking on Dominion Road is absurd – I drive down there all the time to go to various shops on it, and the number of times I’ve managed to park directly on it is tiny. I pull it off maybe once a year?

      On the other hand, the number of times I’ve wanted to cycle down it, and haven’t because… well… it’s pretty unpleasant, numbers several times a week.

  • JimboJones

    Matt, when you say ‘One other small benefit of this approach is at least this part of the project appears to be starting as soon rather than having to wait for the rest of the upgrade works to happen’ and ‘Construction is due to start later this year.’ – are you implying that the rest of the upgrade works aren’t starting later this year? What is the hold up – it seems that every year for the past 6 years Auckland Council or AT have said that construction will start next year!

    Also, does anyone know when this is meant to occur: ‘Bus lanes will continue to operate 7am – 9am northbound and 4pm – 6pm southbound. Operating hours will be included in a region-wide review of bus lane operating hours’. The current bus lane hours don’t work. Surely extending to 6:30PM wouldn’t affect too many businesses and would make a big improvement (although they should be 24 hour bus lanes IMO).

  • Christopher T

    I can just see traffic engineers at AT during the decision making process arguing something along the lines: ‘oh well, we can always get the cyclists to pedal another couple of kms because there’s no way we’re going to compromise traffic flows which are, of course, critical to the economic success of Auckland. And, anyway, cyclists cause all sort of accidents driving illegally through signalised intersections, etc.’ And the AT’s manager community transport agreeing, adding that ‘if we encouraged cyclists to use Dominion Road, where would people park?’ Another sick joke of a transport plan from AT.

  • JimboJones

    Funny how its ok to banish cyclists to the side streets which will add hundreds of metres to their travel, but you can’t banish car parks to the side streets because people couldn’t possibly walk 20 metres to the shop.

    • But it matches perfectly with AT’s hierarchy of transport priorities:

      1. SOVs
      2. Parked SOVs
      3. 2+ occupancy motor vehicles
      4. Trucks
      5-99. all other private motor vehicles
      100. Buses
      101. Pedestrians
      102. Cyclists

      See it fits perfectly.

  • wtl

    At least some of those roads are already heavily used by vehicles trying to avoid the traffic on Dominion Rd. The traffic calming measures might help reduce the speed of these vehicles, but unless they also ensure there are dedicated cycle paths or at least remove the parking on those roads, cyclists are still going to the squeezed by other traffic.

  • counterpoint

    As the singularly wisest, most informed, most authoritative and well respected commenter on this, and perhaps any other blog on the topic, what would you suggest as an alternative?

  • “banish cars and just have cycle lanes everywhere” – No. But brilliant strawman argument. I am surprised you didnt just pull out “horse and carts” and be done with it.

    Take away the free parking on a major arterial road in a major city and require motorists to park off Dominion Road. Install separated cycle lanes where the cars were parked.

    Like most other developed world countries including the one you live in. Cycle paths have been shown to increase retail spending wherever they are installed.

    It is called change Phil. Its what makes the world progress and develop instead of staying in the same failed paradigm for 60 years.

  • Daighi

    i’d rather keep cycling down dominion road…

  • pete

    If AT buys 78 Burnley Terrace then the stupid loop bit would go away, they just need to slice a cycle way off, and re-sell it. This being Auckland, in the time it would take AT to do the work, the house would have probably gone up so as to make the deal a negative cost

    To whomever lives at 78 Burnley Terrace, make a bike path, and put a toll gate in :-)

  • bbc

    Looking at those plans it would appear a lot of the cycle funding is also going towards turning many of these roads into 4 lanes, keeping a flush median, i.e. the money is actually being spent on road widening, narrowing footpaths. I don’t quite see how these sorts of actions are at all related or helpful to cycling in the slightest.

    • Loraxus

      I don’t see any roads on these cycle routes being turned into 4-lanes, what/where are you meaning?

      • Steve D

        Nothing’s been four-laned, but Mount Albert Road and Balmoral Road are both being widened from four to five lanes, to provide right-turn lanes. A rather sneaky way of spending cash that was originally intended for improving public transport on Dominion Road.

        • Bryce P

          Hang on, traffic volumes on Balmoral Rd have been declining for the past few years. Why are we widening the damn road?

        • Loraxus

          Well, but not as part of the cycle project.

          And if you are talking of the Mt Albert / Dom Road intersection, Mt Albert already has 5 lanes each side, so no change. Same for Balmoral, which at the intersection is arguably 7 lanes each side. That madness happened long ago, and neither the cycle project nor (to my knowledge) the main Dom Road project is changing that. In fact, I have heard that as part of the PT Interchange at Balmoral, they may be removing slip lanes.

          • Steve D

            No, I’m talking about where the two parallel routes cross Balmoral Road. It’s definitely part of this project.

            Look at the plan for the corner of Balmoral, Matipo and Springwood. It’s being signalised to make it easier for cyclists to ride straight across, all very well. But at the same time they’re gobbling up the berm on the south side to widen Balmoral Road. It’s four lanes + a small flush median at the moment – it’s going to be four straight-through lanes + right-turn lanes.

            I was wrong about Mount Albert Road – while they’re doing the same thing there, signalising and adding right-turn lanes, at least they’re not actually widening the roadway to do so.

          • Loraxus

            Yep, that’s what they are doing, fair point. Howeveradding a signal always means car delays, so in our society that results in road widening to reduce that impact…

  • Loraxus

    It seems to me the AT website only has the plans for the eastern-side route??? And they have forgotten to update the overview map, which still shows the route going via View Road, instead of Bellevue as now designed-for?

    AT – please update that.

  • $6.1 million, and the best they can come up with on-street — on side streets — is sharrows? What are they using, gold leaf road markings?

    “Cross town” links to the shops will be considered later, apparently. This might have been the only redeeming feature of this exercise in diversion, but not even that is prioritized. (No mention of linking with PT, even.)

    The traffic calming measures proposed are somewhat deficient. They seem to be a series of defensive spot treatments rather than a positive whole-of-street design (which ought to include right-sizing streets). The intersections themselves appear to be deployed still to assert the priority of motor travel, rather than specifically to promote ease of bicycle use. I imagine the shared paths will, as usual, be little more than bits of repaved footpath.

    Creating “8-to-80″ public spaces doesn’t mean letting an eight year old with a crayon plan a cycle route so an eighty year old traffic engineer can design it.

  • Ari

    Wow, no wonder AT never bothers. All they ever get are complaints how crap they are at anything. Im sure they interpret all the complaints as encouragement to keep working on cycling improvements…

    • Steve D

      If you want to hear moaning, listen to the car lobby. They’ve got infrastructure that’s shitloads better than anything for cycling, and yet all we hear is endless moaning about all the traffic and how we need more roads.

      By your logic, AT and its predecessors would have given up on drivers long ago.

    • JimboJones

      Have you seen that map with those two squiggly red lines?
      The thing is, AT haven’t bothered; they didn’t bother to tell the business association that there are higher priority uses for dominion road than car parking, they didn’t bother coming up with a cycle option that made sense, they didn’t bother to extend the bus lane hours.

  • Tim A

    Just because it’s mentioned a few times in here;
    Dominion Road is wide enough for 2 lanes of traffic, 2 dedicated bus lanes, dedicated cycle lanes and footpaths on both sides of the road from Ian Mckinnon Drive through to Mt Roskill.
    The main catch is that this is dependent on wall-to-wall measurements from buildings either side of the road, not exclusively what is dedicated as the roadway. With leadership, it would have been possible to have this solution along Dominion Road. It would require pedestrian or cycle ways to be placed over services in some places, but this is not too difficult either (you can easily walk or cycle over well designed access hatches, and they only need to support the weight of a few people, not a 10 tonne truck). The road width issue is primarily an excuse.
    The real reason it didn’t happen is simply that councilors bowed to local pressure (primarily the Dom. Rd business association) to retain car parks alongside shopping centres. The sad thing is that nobody from AT or it’s predecessor organisations ever seems to have taken the time to explain to the local communities just how much benefit could have been brought about with a smarter transport solution.
    Now we’re stuck trying to see the bright side of what is hopefully the last great planning blunder in Auckland’s transport history. It’s just such a fine shame that everybody is telling them how wrong it is before they’ve spent a dollar, and yet it looks like it’s going to go ahead, Auckland For Cars, as per usual.

  • Steve D

    I’m sure we all love being snarky about AT and cars-first, but still…

    How exactly would you have put cycle lanes on Dominion Road? We’re already getting rid of parking for the bus lanes. There’s not enough room for two decent-width protected bike lanes + two bus lanes + two car lanes, even if you get rid of the median (and thus ban most right turns). While it’s possible to widen the road in places, that’s not possible through the shops full of heritage buildings. Even where it is wide enough, you still need to somehow get cyclists past bus stops.

    The only way I can see it working is tidal flow, which would eliminate parking totally, with bus + car lanes in the peak direction, and a mixed lane in the other.

    Countries that do have mass cycling do a lot of separated infrastructure – separating bikes not just within a route, but having totally separate routes. The best solution would be to remove cars from Dominion Road completely, and have the direct route for cyclists… but that requires that the cars then have their own parallel route. Sandringham Road and Mount Eden Road are possible bypasses, but they have exactly the same problems with mixing bikes, cars and buses themselves…

    We may not be doing a brilliant job of the parallel routes, but the principle is OK.

    Some good blog posts on this:
    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/separate-where-needed-mix-where-possible/
    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/unravelling-modes/
    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2012/04/100-segregation-of-bikes-and-cars.html

    • Steve D

      To clarify: I don’t think the actual execution of the parallel routes is very good, and missing the King Edward Street connection is utterly crap. But the idea of providing for cyclists using a separated route is entirely reasonable. Especially when our single, main, most important goal is actually getting continuous bus lanes on Dominion Road – that can, with the change of a sign, be made permanent bus lanes, too.

      • Tim A

        One idea was to have bus stops at either end of the villages, before heritage structures forced road narrowing. You can then merge the buses and cars onto a single lane through the village (where there is no parking, and a potential speed reduction, perhaps even speed tables) meaning you can widen the footpaths enough to have dining tables and gardens etc outside shops and cafes, and still have room for continuous separated cycleways through the shopping centres. This option even allows for pedestrian refuges in some areas. Journey times would increase a little down Dominion Road as a transport corridor, but amenity in the village centres would be greatly improved.

  • I can already see how this going to pan out. A year after this is completed a survey will be taken which shows how little use this new “purpose-built” route receives. This will in turn be used as an example of why spending money on dedicated cycling infrastructure is pointless because cyclists just don’t use it. The thing is, bad design is bad design, and bad design is unlikely to attract users no matter how much AT and NZTA may trump the “benefits” of this new route. This plan strikes me as the result of doing things on the cheap and avoiding tackling the real issue, namely Dominion Road proper.

    I also don’t see how these new routes can be that safe. Sure, cyclists are moved on to less congested roads but this new route introduces a number of intersections where the rider will need to turn left or right into another road. Each of these points brings the risk of a vehicle driver failing to give way. Anybody who has ridden a bike will be familiar with how frequently car drivers fail to give way to cyclists when they should, the usual excuse being the driver didn’t see the bike.

    • Loraxus

      “Each of these points brings the risk of a vehicle driver failing to give way. Anybody who has ridden a bike will be familiar with how frequently car drivers fail to give way to cyclists when they should, the usual excuse being the driver didn’t see the bike.”

      If you are so pessimistic, then cycling needs to be stopped now. Like, right now. Because even with the best cycle infrastructure, we will never get cycle bridges or tunnels at intersections! Even with Copenhagen lanes, you cross side streets. So cyclists in Auckland, by your logic are doomed if they ever have any intersections to cross.

      Residential streets, if anything, are safer for cyclists than Dom Road – not necessarily most convenient, nor where they want to go, which is (correctly) the main criticism levelled at this project. But especially with the traffic calming that is going in with this scheme, speeds in the streets used are going to be significantly lowered. That is THE key determinant for safety, and for a lot of perceived safety.

      And if you believe this project is a cynical ploy to destroy future cycle project’s chances, man, stop reading conspiracy novels. It may be the wrong project, but the people doing it believe they are doing the right thing.

  • Bryce P

    Is this ‘cycle route’ some kind of perverted April fools joke? Shared paths, ‘cyclist dismount’ signs, etc etc. This is bollocks quite frankly and does not come close to anything the Dutch would do and what more, the Dutch solution would be cheaper by far. Probably half the price. All of the roads between Mt Eden Road and Dominion Rd should be 30 km/h residential streets with appropriate traffic calming etc and then the entire area would be rideable. Shared paths in this environment do not work. I’m stunned.

    • Loraxus

      Remember that in NZ, speed reduction has to come first, then we can limit the speed. This project (and some associated other traffic calming projects that I am aware) will be plazing several dozens of new speed tables throughout these two suburbs (west and east of Dom Road). That WILL bring speeds down, getting the people more used to the idea that local streets can be nice, slow-speed zones. Then we add the speed limits…

      • Bryce P

        In the meantime we’ve spent considerable amounts on new shared paths. And, I have been advised that they can lower speed limits in conjunction with road changes.

  • Philm

    As someone who probably cycles more than any of you and almost certainly cycles on far busier and more dangerous roads than you I cant see what the problem is.
    Lets accept that Dominion Road is a high danger area for cyclists which is already at capacity use (hence the parking being removed for bus lanes). That would suggest two options. 1. Move cars off the road or 2. Move cyclists off it. What do you really think the majority of Aucklanders prefer? Especially as there are currently only 250 cyclists a day.
    Given the choice of an extra 500m ride or the direct route weaving in and out of traffic I would go the ‘detour’ every day. Most of the intersections work in the favour of the flow (if you care to work out which route best serves north or south passage) and a direct Dominion Rd path would not be without stops anyway.
    Rather than moan people should get behind this initiative and focus on using it to grow cycling in Auckland. Who knows – if the route proves extremely popular AT might be encouraged to build more direct routes in future.
    Be happy you are getting something – especially the non rate payers amongst you who are getting this for free.

    • counterpoint

      “I cant see what the problem is.”

      Since you normally can’t see past the end of your nose, this comes as no surprise. However one remark jumped out at me

      “if the route proves extremely popular AT might be encouraged to build more direct routes in future.”

      Firstly, isn’t this basically the exact opposite of how one would go about maximising the success of basically anything? Its effectively saying “if you can put up with a meandering route that both goes past nothing in particular, as well as detours away from a main thoroughfare that serves a direct connection, then perhaps we will consider building something useful”. In what universe would “if you settle for A now, you can have B later” ever be viewed as a recipe for success? If the route is not useful, then it stands to reason it won’t get used. However you basically subscribe to the view that cyclist ought to accept crumbs from the table and moreover they should be grateful for them as well.

      How about I put the question to you – what is it about this proposal that makes it good? This thread is full of comments suggesting that this proposal is at best a dissapointment, and clearly you disagree. So tell me, what have you seen that everyone else missed?

      • Max

        “if the route proves extremely popular AT might be encouraged to build more direct routes in future.”

        As Cycle Action’s infrastructure person, this is actually what worries me most, and it isn’t even predisposed on success (if nobody cycles the Dom Road alternate routes, some will simply say that proves that cycling isn’t popular [for the record, I personally think the Dom Road routes will be a moderate success])

        But to return to the main point – I think the idea of alternative routes is great standing on its own. As an excuse to not do something on difficult roads – poison.

        CAA has repeated that point all the time since this decision when we advise on other routes, and I know it is also a worry of some of AT’s own cycling people. Already, on a few corridor management plans that idea of “let the cyclists go somewhere else” has been proposed. In a few cases it made sense. In many others, it was an excuse to cram more car lanes into the main arterial. A running battle that will go on for the forseeable future I am afraid.

        • *Phil*

          At Max and Counterpoint.

          With the greatest of respect the traffic survey showed 250 cyclists a day on Dominion Road. You can hardly expect the buses and cars to be held up because of 250 people who want to ride their bike – be realistic. It was going to cost another 50k to widen the road – again – hardly acceptable expenditure on such a tiny fraction of the community.

          As a cyclist myself I do not see any reason why you wouldn’t welcome this for the following reasons:
          1. It will be a much safer route than cycling down Dominion Road
          2. Safe routes (passing schools) should encourage more cyclists
          3. Cyclists will inhale less carcinogens on side roads than they would following heavy congested traffic
          4. A dedicated cycle path that is well sign posted shows intent from AT
          5. The extra 500m you will have to cycle will only take a couple of mins longer

          It will be cycle routes such as this that will encourage more people to use bikes as a form of transport. At the moment on a cost per person basis AT shouldn’t spend a cent on cycling but they are forward looking and realise if they can grow the numbers its going to be of general benefit to society. As numbers grow – and they would have to grow an awful lot from 250 a day – AT will spend money on purpose built cycle paths that are segregated and direct.

          Representative of cycle groups that publically moan about initiatives that will make cycling safer are just going to create a very negative imagine. I hope you have not forgotten the lesson of last December when most of Auckland had cyclists pegged as red light running lunatics in lycra. It is the Cyclists that need to lay on the charm at the moment and bitching and complaining is not going to encourage people onto bikes.

          • counterpoint

            Two things immediately spring to mind.

            1) Why widen the road?
            2) Safe routes are all well and good, but the contention is that if they go nowhere of use then they won’t be used. Why is destination a factor when providing driving infrastructure but not cycling infrastructure?

            Of course, you will argue that with respect to point 2, the reason this isn’t considered is because of low cycling numbers. To my mind this is essentially a negative feedback loop. If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Or to put it another way, if you want to encourage cycling, you have to actually encourage it.

          • Loraxus

            “With the greatest of respect the traffic survey showed 250 cyclists a day on Dominion Road. You can hardly expect the buses and cars to be held up because of 250 people who want to ride their bike – be realistic.”

            So you think we should base the decision to build a bridge on how many people are willing to swim across with the alligators? The lack of cyclists on Dom Road is not an accident, nor an indication of how many cyclists there could be. Next you are going to argue that SkyPath should not be built, because the daily cyclist numbers are zero.

  • Loraxus

    One interesting thing here actually – I know many people hate this project, but it is kinda cool to see the cycling project get almost a whopping 10% of the overall corridor budget! I mean, the remainder of the project (Dom Road main PT project) is some 60 million (correct me if I remembered wrong) – this cycle project which I think was originally costed at 1-2 million has now grown to a 6 million one. That really clarifies that it is NOT coming from the cycle budget, because we simply don’t have enough cash in there ;-)

    • No by stripping out the widening the cost for the project dropped to $47m so this is more like 13%

      • Loraxus

        That assumes that the main project doesn’t increase to three times the cost originally envisaged, like the cycle project* ;-)

        *(which to be fair to the designers and cost estimators, didn’t blow out, but was increased in scope).

  • Bob

    No cyclist who knows the area would use that silly Burnley Tce route. They would go along St Albans, onto Dominion Rd (on the footpath maybe) then rejoin the route. The eastern route is okay, but I don’t know what they will spend 3 million dollars on?? Isn’t all they need is some signs and paint to tell people the way if they aren’t sure? It would be better to spend some money making a cycle path on the footpath on Great South Rd between Sylvia Park Rd and Portage Rd, Otahuhu or joining up the Onehunga cycleway to Otahuhu.

  • VC

    Speed tables on the side roads do little to reduce traffic volume or vehicle speed during rush hour traffic. They will not encourage cycling, especially amongst their target group which is school children (unless the children use they speed tables to do jumps!)

    A better (and quite possibly cheaper) solution would be to block some of the side roads to through traffic. This works to make the side roads “residential traffic only”. Melbourne did this in Canning St in Rathdown. It has been heralded as a huge success.

    Why can’t this be done here – AT quote “because it is too radical for Auckland”.

    Welcome back to the 1980s Auckland.

    • Very good point – use filtered permeability with bollards to block those side streets from access to Dominion Road but continued access to cyclists/pedestrians. Motorists can still access the roads, they just cant enter or exit Dom Road from/into the side road. That would be very easy and quick to do.

      However, AT wont do that quick or easy. They will need $1m worth of consultant reports to ensure it works, even though it has been very successful in the Netherlands (http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/search/label/nearly%20car%20free) and also in Hackney in London (http://cycleandwalkhackney.blogspot.co.nz/2013/03/cycling-and-walking-in-hackney.html).

      When will AT just start trying stuff on a temporary basis – like NY has? Queen Street closure between Customs and Victoria would be a great start. Planters to narrow to one lane each way and bus only access on those lanes. It would take some workers a couple of days. If it doesnt work (it will) and revenue for retailers doesnt go up (it will) take it all out.

      When it works, just make it more permanent.

      • VC

        A chain across a speed table is what is used as a barrier to traffic in the Melbourne example. AT could trial the approach by building just one of the planned speed tables in each back road. If it didn’t work, the chain could be removed and the rest of the speed tables could be constructed. Just a though AT.

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