It was wonderful to wake up on a Saturday morning to such a positive article on cycling in Auckland, and in the herald no less – although unfortunately the amounts talked about are wrong.
Eventually, Aucklanders will be able to cycle from one side of the city to the other on an intricate labyrinth of bike lanes which weave through suburbs, past beaches and over gullies.
More than $20 million has been allocated to building key sections of the network over the next three years with routes open to public feedback and others set to be opened later this year.
The projects under consultation at the moment are the 3km Seapath from Esmonde Rd in Takapuna to Northcote Pt, routes through Grey Lynn out to New Lynn and from the CBD to Glen Innes.
These sections are links to key transport projects and part of the Urban Cycle Programme which will be delivered by 2018.
— Kathryn King (@KingCyclesAkl) March 25, 2016
It seems the Herald missed out a zero in their figures as the actual amount being spend is around $200 million. But perhaps in this case getting the amount wrong means it won’t rile up the anti-bike types quite as much.
The great news though is that already the new routes are being used more than planned, something we’ve talked about before.
Walking and cycling manager for Auckland Transport Kathryn King said these projects have been developed because research shows they’ll have the greatest benefit, as coming into the city for work or study is usually people’s most frequent journey.
The new cycle paths have been more successful than Auckland Transport was hoping – 30 per cent of those using the Grafton Gully cycleway are new to cycling who were encouraged by all the new infrastructure.
The Nelson St corridor averages about 1000 trips a day and the Lightpath, the magenta-coloured Nelson St off-ramp, which includes a string of interactive lights along one side, is set to have its 100,000th journey at the start of next month.
“It shows that we’re starting to build the right stuff to get people out and cycling.”
Equally positive is the support coming from Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the investment is so large because they wanted to “really do something special” and it’s “what Auckland really wants”.
“Besides the economic and the tourism benefits, it’s the sense of excitement and buzz [the network] creates for a city.”
Before construction of the current cycle lanes, Mr Bridges said people questioned whether they would actually be used. However, the uptake had been so positive it was hard to argue that Aucklanders don’t cycle.
“If I was a businessman and not a politician, I would be thinking very seriously about getting a ride-sharing and cycle rental business going in the heart of Auckland because it seems to me that it’s going to take off.”
And he even does a good job highlighting one of the benefits of investing in quality cycle networks, the same also applies to good public transport projects like the CRL too,
And for all the motorists who want cyclists to “get off the road”, the cycle network is doing just that, Mr Bridges said. Eventually, only small sections of the labyrinth will require cyclists to share the road with motorists.
Bridges might be the most supportive Transport Minister we’ve had so far and is definitely a far cry from his counterpart on the island to the west in New South Wales. Of course if he did try to set up a ride-sharing and cycle business he might run into the same problems that nextbike have had which I understand relates to Auckland Transport not being supportive of bike-share bikes in cycle racks around the city. As the city’s cycle networks continue to improve I think the bike-sharing gap is only going to look like a bigger and bigger hole.
Also interesting is seeing an alternative metric, this time from TradeMe
TradeMe spokesman Logan Mudge said they’d seen the number of cycling listings increase by more than 35 per cent between 2014 and 2015 across the country.
And in the year to February, there was a 16.5 per cent increase in the number of items sold in the cycling category while the average sale prices ticked up 4 per cent.
All up a pretty good article and it shows just how the conversation is changing quite rapidly.
Also if you haven’t yet, make sure you submit on the Inner West cycle consultation AT are currently running. Consultation closes on Thursday.