Auckland first section of permanent separated cycleway is currently under construction on Beach Road. This is designed to link in with the Grafton Gully cycleway that is currently under construction. When these are both completed (in about a month!) their will be continuous off-road cycling facilities right through from West Auckland to Britomart. The Beach Road section has only been under construction for a month, however substantial progress has been made. Note that building this cycleway was not just a case of installing some separators. The footpaths have all totally been rebuilt, and the road has been rebuilt and resurfaced. There have also been major storm waterworks undertaken at the same time, with sections of new pipe installed.
On Thursday we got the first glimpse of what the separated sections look like, and now about 100m of separators have been installed between Churchhill St and Te Taou Crescent. The lane will be 3 metres wide, and the separators 0.8m wide.
While of course it is not complete, is already possible to ride it, and is a much safer and legal alternative to the busy road or footpath. I regularly use Beach Road to cycle into the city or to Britomart, and even this short section of separation made the journey so feel so much safer, and much more relaxing not having to worry about parked cars or fast traffic behind me. If you do ride this section, note it is still a construction zone so may not be advisable if people are working, and their are some services that still need raising to surface level.
Along this section this is a bi-directional cycleway on the southern side of the street. Unfortunately there are a number of driveway entrances along this side of the street, that explains so of the gaps that can be seen. However the cycleway will also be painted and stenciled, at least over the driveway entrances so that will ensure people know this isn’t just a separated parking lane!
At the Te Taou intersection their will be a cycle only traffic light phase so people can cycle diagonally, and the cycleway will continue along the northern side of Beach Road. Stage 1 will head up Mahuhu Crescent to link with a new crossing to connect to the shared path along Quay St. Stage 2 will be undertaken early next year and will continue along Beach Road in front of the Scene apartments, and finish at Britomart Place. The plans and more detail is available on the Auckland Transport website here.
This should help boost the profile and ease of cycling across the city, and build the case for a connected grid, starting by connecting the city and inner suburbs. I a really hopeful that in a few years this will be a common sight across the city, rather than a cause of excitement amongst advocates. Interestingly it is Wynyard Quarters third birthday this weekend, which highlights how amazing new developments can soon become part of city landscape, so cycling infrastructure should be the same in a few years.