Lightpath and the Nelson St cycleway have already been fantastic additions to Auckland with the former already racking up more than 100,000 trips over its pink surface since opening in early December. When it opened one of the questions that may have been lingering over it was whether it would attracting new people on bikes or just divert people off other routes, especially other recently introduced routes such as Grafton Gully. Four months in and it looks like we can give a fairly good answer to that question.
Auckland Transport now regularly release the figures from their growing collection of automated cycleway counters providing data as granularly as daily.
There are a mix of results from the various counters but the two that really stand out are those most closely associated with Lightpath, Grafton Gully and the NW cycleway at Kingsland.
Bike volumes on the Grafton Gully cycleway in March were up an impressive 34% on March last year
You can also clearly see the impact the project has had on the Northwestern Cycleway at Kingsland which has had a counter for many years. Volumes in March jumping around 14% on the same month last year. I’m not a regular user of the NW cycleway but I’ve heard from people who are that it has been noticeably busier this year and “mudguard to mudguard” at times.
Given the other results from around the region these are significant improvements and suggest there is a network effect starting to kick in and I suspect that will only increase as more and more of the cycle network is completed.
Interestingly it seems there has also been a significant increase in sales of electric bikes which is likely helping drive some of this change.
Retailer Electric Bikes New Zealand has seen a 35 per cent increase in sales in the past year, and general manager Chris Speedy says the expanding network of cycle paths around the nation’s cities is part of the reason.
The firm has been going since 2007, and “it took me a year to sell 10 bikes”, he said.
“Now we’ve sometimes sold seven in a day.”
I’m looking forward to seeing the next stage completed of Quay St which is currently well into construction.