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Quay St: Oh Yeah

Off-road cycle routes are great, but I love on-street ones even more, as they are real city changers.

Both of course are required and required to be interconnected, but for today, here’s a celebration of the Quay St on-street cycle lanes, an important step towards a network:

Quay Sy Cyclelanes 01

Quay St Cyclelanes 02

Quay St Cyclelanes 03

Quay St Cyclelanes 04

Looking forward to this route being connected to the Nelson St on-street cyclelanes, the SkyPath, and Tamaki Drive.

Thanks to everyone who made this possible; from the Minister with his championing of the Urban Cycleways Fund, the Auckland Transport team and executive that put it together and got through a few tricky conflicts, and Auckland Council for their share of the funding (the transport levy) and of course for the policy support.

To my mind this is Radical Incrementalism on show; a little-big change.

66 comments to Quay St: Oh Yeah

  • Alex

    Sorry off-topic. But that last photo of Queens Wharf is very disappointing. Its suppose to be the people’s wharf, but from what I can see, it has more taxis on that photo than pedestrians. Queens Wharf need to be pedestrianised, stripped those ugly red gate out, and renovate the wharf. Britomart area is beautiful and being transformed while Queens Wharf is still stuck in the past.

    • Bruno

      Make it more pedestrian friendly and create a reason to go there, but leave the handsome red gates please. They are a key part of Aucklands heritage fabric and deserve to stay.

      • Waspman

        Yes Alex, its incrementally become more and more a road. We were told when QE2 square was lost that the wharf was a new alternative. But I have found its gone from a nice public space to now simply another road that us stupid pedestrians need to look out for. Real shame.

    • The red fence is fine where it is thank you, you can still achieve a better pedestrian outcome without removing them. It’s not really stopping anyone from walking in. The reason there are more taxis than pedestrians is because there is nothing to draw people onto the wharf. Why not open up the Cloud to food trucks from 10am-2pm? That would certainly draw more people down there, in all weather environments. It would be good to get a cool street market established there, before the Commercial Bay mall (under construction) decimates the area.
      IMO the council don’t really know what they’re doing down there and seem to be ‘treading water’ until they devise their Masterplan (maybe that’s deliberate, so they can justify removing the Cloud due to ‘lack of use’?). I doubt the new ‘Lighthouse’ (public ‘art’?) at the end of the wharf is going to draw them in.

      (Bonus: a free lesson on why goofy FB profile pics will get you every time)

      • KLK

        I really like the Cloud, but its one building too many there. And it blocks the views.

        Move it to the next wharf. Put in some grass in its place with seating and trees. A children’s playground. Allow food trucks in, put in shipping containers or a market in Shed 10. If there isn’t already, there should be a café/restaurant, bar at the northern end of the shed, perhaps with small stage for live music.

        Saw the new sculpture there the other day. Doesn’t work.

        • Since the downtown center is closed what about a pop up mall and food court in the cloud for the lunchtime workers that have fee places to go now.

          I personally like the look the cloud

        • Since the downtown center is closed what about a pop up mall and food court in the cloud for the lunchtime workers that have fewer places to go now.

          I personally like the look the cloud

          • KLK

            I like the Cloud too, particularly at night with the light changes. I would still like to see it somewhere prominent, but the “public space” aspect is compromised with two large structures there.

            So I would move it and replace it with the pop up mall/food stalls you mention. And lots of grass.

          • Nick R

            There is a pop up mall on Queens wharf exactly for that reason.

          • Exactly so: The containers in the middle foreground of the last shot; there’s a good cheap Malaysian food-hall franchise, and pretty coffee, among others- I ate there when I was taking these shots.

    • Cargill_Street

      The red fence is heritage listed; good luck with getting consent to remove it!

    • David B.

      This increased vehicle access is dangerous as well as unnecessary. Twice in the last few days I’ve seen cyclists nearly wiped out by cars (one a taxi) turning left in front of them to drive onto the wharf, and that’s only from me walking in and out so it must happen quite a few times over the week. Let’s put a stop to vehicle access and organise a nearby pick-up and drop-off space instead.

      • Ricardo

        And that is one of the many reasons that on road cycle tracks are dangerous. Not sure why this blog is so keen on them. On road cycle lanes are a sop to the demand for something to be seen to be done. Very dangerous, and those who promote them against off road tracks aren’t clever at all.

        • Brendan

          Or we could change the road rules so that turning traffic gives way to straight through traffic to be consistent with Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA, and like New Zealand previously did for our give way to the right when turning left rule.

          See http://www.livingstreets.org.nz/node/4794 for more details.

          • David B

            What makes it so dangerous is that it’s a wharf not a road, so cyclists don’t look out and don’t slow down. However care just swing across the bike lanes as if it were a normal road. The only sensible answer ithat I can see is to close off access to cars completely or maybe give them a very quick left turn window after the pedestrian phase at the lights. I sure wouldn’t want to lose the bike lanes.

          • David B

            What makes it so dangerous is that it’s a wharf not a road, so cyclists don’t look out and don’t slow down. However care just swing across the bike lanes as if it were a normal road. The only sensible answer ithat I can see is to close off access to cars completely or maybe give them a very quick left turn window after the pedestrian phase at the lights. I sure wouldn’t want to lose the bike lanes.

          • Bryce P

            Cyclists have right of way across that entrance. It’s not their responsibility to look.

        • Peter Nunns

          There *is* no option for an off-road cycle lane along this corridor, unless you built a cycle viaduct. It’s a popular cycle route, and people will be biking on it regardless of whether or not there are cycle facilities. Given that, the options are to:
          1) Do nothing, which would result in the worst outcomes for people on bikes
          2) Put down some painted lanes, which also fail to solve the safety problem
          3) Put in separated cycle lanes, which buffer cyclists from traffic along most of the route.

          I fail to see how option 1 or 2 would be better than this solution.

          Furthermore, virtually all trips taken on off-street cycleways *start* and *end* on the street, because that’s where the destinations are. Consequently, useful off-street cycleways will create demand for on-street cycling, which will in turn increase the need to put in safe cycling infrastructure on more streets. So it’s a ‘both-and’ not an ‘either-or’ situation.

          • Nick R

            You know I think the on-road traffic lanes are more dangerous. How about we build some off road traffic lanes, lets call them motorways, and all the cars and trucks can drive on the motorway. And only on the motorway, without ever leaving it, right Ricardo?

          • Josh

            I think he was meaning more like the beach road section that is at footpath level rather than road level separated by a kerb.

          • No Ricardo’s broken record view is that there should never be cyclists anywhere near any road, street or footpath, only ever on separated off street cycleways and never coming near things that are on streets like houses, shops, schools or workplaces. Clearly absurd.

            Like he thinks cycling is fine as long as they never come anywhere near where he or anyone drives.

          • Josh

            Is this true Recardo?

        • Josh

          Because off-road cycle-lanes don’t work, they just become extra pedestrian space no matter how much signage you provide forcing commuter cyclist back onto the road or worse, back in the garage.

        • Harrymc

          And another thing Ricardo: there’s no monorail! You must be bitterly disappointed.

        • On road driving is much more dangerous; it kills a New Zealander a day on average; clearly all driving should be restricted to approved racetracks away from everyone.

          Do you get it Ricardo? On-street cycleways are so people can actually get somewhere, like work for example, much like the people in cars.

        • “those who promote them against off road tracks aren’t clever at all” – You mean every transport agency in the world interested in growing cycling? That seems like a sweeping generalisation. Someone’s been drinking the vehicular cyclist Koolaid.

          Or could it be that they do work when people driving cars let go of their sense of entitlement to the entire road reserve at all times, regardless of environment.

      • Ricardo

        Not the taxis fault. Cars and cycles simply don’t mix, and before someone goes off halfcocked take a look at what passes for cycle lanes across Auckland, thin strips of green paint won’t save anyone from injury, especially where the cycle lanes are marked out from the curb between parking spaces and traffic lanes. Totally ludicrous.

      • Pippa; I ride there, drivers are bad, quite a few doing illegal right hand turns and so on, but you just have to ride defensively, just expect them to do crazy shit, like they always do; a short stretch of extra vigilance and readiness to stop is not the worst outcome.

        And Ricardo; Duh; because that’s where the destinations are. You want people to ride out in the country away from traffic and everything else, but that’s not where work and life is. On-street lanes are necessary because that’s where we’re going. Obviously.

    • Jeff T

      I wouldn’t like to see the red gates go. I was looking at that photo and thinking what a hotch-bodge collection of I-don’t-know-what on there. Can’t we do any better or is that a bad question to ask with our level of sophistication?

      • Damian

        I’d ask why would we want to spend time and money on a consistent (and presumably permanent) design there, when the nearby zones (skyscraper construction site, CRL works) will make Quay Street messy and inconsistent for years anyway. I am happy with pop-up stuff like this at the moment, until we get a more consistent and permanent design down there after the transformation of the areas immediately to the south is complete in 3-5 years. Then we can think of Quay Street Boulevard and the Wharf itself. In the meantime, I’d just like to see less cars on the wharf / crossing the footpath in this key area of walking and cycling.

  • Chris O

    It’s very noticeable to me that usage seems to have surged with the fine weather. At the peak commute periods, I’ve seen 5 or 6 cyclists at once on the route. It might not seem a lot, but compared to the baseline… One thing I hope they address soon is connectivity to Wynyard Quarter. If you’re going west-bound, you’re essentially funnelled into using Te Wero Bridge, which is already pretty crowded with pedestrians. I’m not sure it could handle the extra traffic Skypath might generate. I notice that the very final link between Quay St and Nelson St Phase 2 hasn’t been finalized yet.

  • CleverGuy

    In regards to the discussion on Queens Wharf, what if we shift the ‘temporary’ cloud out of the there to begin with. Then built an iconic attraction at the wharf instead and make the whole wharf into a park with space with vendors (e.g food) This could be an extension of the Queen Elizabeth II Square in front of Britomart.

    The attraction can be (but maybe unlikely) like the Opera House in Sydney, or a Giant Ferris Wheel like the London Eye, or maybe go simple with a carnival type Santa Monica Pier or Luna Park.

    • nonsense

      I would love a big as Banyan tree out there. It would become world famous in NZ, the only tree on a wharf

    • Josh

      Why don’t we make it very ‘kiwi’ iconic, you know like a state house or something?

      • Grant Black

        I cycled down quay street last weekend to take a look at the Michael Parekowhai lighthouse – I like his work from a way back, and like the statehouse/lighthouse thing. Very clever.

        Love the cycleway, the crowds of people with the big cruise liner in town, but still some ugly last few issues to get fixed if we could make this area really hum.

        The wharf was choked with cars, (private, Uber and taxis) forming a hazard to people walking and cycling past the vehicular entrance (coming back a driver coming out was looking back over there shoulder at traffic, and pulled out into the bike lane without looking to their left).

        Surprisingly, lots of temporary looking fencing & security guards blocking off the sheds which were used by the liner passengers, so from Quay street, I am not even sure you would know that you could walk to the end of the wharf and what might be there. (which turns out to be very little other than people fishing).

        Surely the cars/taxis should be in a drop off zone around Britomart and liner passengers encouraged to walk over to Britomart and maybe train/bus/bike hire to attractions?

        And I like the cloud, but give it life or get rid of it. I remember the competition pre RWC2011 for the wharf, and thought the best ideas were to have a small grassed areas with some shady trees and ramps down to the water.

        • KLK

          I thought the “sculpture” was going to be using materials other than the typical wood. So was a bit surprised at its form, but didn’t immediately hate it. Though it adds to the clutter (see my comments on moving The Cloud).

          I think it should have a block of grass around it though. Not only would this “green” the point, the houses had pretty generous parcels of land which were often sparsely planted. Would allow people to lie around the sculpture, taking it and the views in.

  • A little bit of good news, thank you.

    Still, when Tamaki Dr opened, none of us thought it would be quite this long to get to quay st, 8-)…

    Are we looking at 30 years to upgrade the isthmus?

  • Nick

    The cyclists on Quay street cycle lane are a menace!

    There’s green and red lights for cyclists at the pedestrian crossings as well. Whenever I cross the street, I think I’m being generous when I say maybe only half of the cyclists stop for the red cycle light. I’ve even seen cyclists go up onto the footpath to avoid a red light.

    • Nick R

      Technically thats a shared use path, not a footpath. So cyclists can actually ride on the ‘footpath’ next to the cycleway quite legally.

      • Don M

        The footpath is not a shared path.
        It may have been quite some time ago but in recent years the cycleway was clearly marked on the AT cycleway map as stopping at Queens Wharf gates and restarting by the Maritime Museum. This has even been noted in at least one post on Transportblog.

    • Josh

      Yea, they are almost as bad as those car drivers.

      I haven’t experienced as bad as yourself, but I do admit there are a few arrogant cyclists who run red lights during pedestrian phases. Using the fact you would need to un-clip shoes from a bike as an excuse to run a red is like a car driver using the fact they would need to exit cruise control as an excuse to run a red. Please don’t.

      Pedestrian’s should always be our first priority road users, then cyclists.

      • JeffT

        I would be expecting cyclists to be obeying the light signals in their dedicated lane. And would be upset if I had a collision as a pedestrian because someone didn’t. Agree that pedestrians should come first.

        • Don M

          So common is it that cyclists ignore the red lights in the cycle lane half of the of the photos show this. 🙂

          • Bryce P

            The red lights don’t apply to straight thru bike traffic in the cycle lane. Unless it’s on a pedestrian phase. And once pedestrians are clear, carrying on doesn’t pose a threat. That’s why.

          • Don M

            Reply to Bryce P. So when is a red light not a red light …….. How about a link to an official site for this rule? Anyway both photos show pedestrians crossing so why have the cyclists not stopped?

          • nonsense

            I hardly ever stop on a red there, but of course i give pedestrians the right of way. The traffic lights on a cycleway are just cardom think applied to bicycles, unnecessary, redondant and annoying

          • Bryce P

            Don, you are only looking at this from the point of view as a car driver. Traffic lights exist for the benefit of motor vehicles. Without motor vehicle, we don’t need them. If there are just cyclists and pedestrians, traffic signals are no longer required. Simple.

          • Josh

            Pretty sure there is no cycle traffic lights shown in the photos…just the car ones, on separated cycle lanes the cycle traffic lights are controlled by traffic lights which light with a picture of a bike

          • Don M

            You couldn’t be more wrong Bryce P.
            I am looking at it as a pedestrian. You will note I have also commented about the footpath not being a shared path.
            I walk daily to and from the ferry wharves and cross at the pedestrian crossings. It is a lottery as to whether cyclists will stop for their red light. Cars are expected to stop for red lights so are pedestrians. Why shouldn’t we expect the same for cyclists?

            Ricardo: If you are referring to my comment – two of the photos show the crossing at the ferry building with red lights for the road with pedestrians crossing. The cycle lane lights will be red at this point but cycles are shown crossing!

  • LOL at @ksuyin and baby overtaking the roadie chap. There is a reason I got an electric bike….

  • Why do the photos show people cycling in the wrong lane? Every time I’ve seen this cycleway I’ve noticed this happening myself – users don’t seem to care which lane they use. Are the lines and arrows regarded as “not to be taken seriously”? If that’s the consensus, then perhaps we could save some money by not providing them?

    • Bryce P

      Because usually they are cycling side by side. And it’s not dangerous as in a 2,000kg car vs person on a bike dangerous.

    • Stephen Davis

      The lines are a reminder that there are, in general, bikes coming the other way. If and when they do, you should pass oncoming traffic on the left. The rest of the time, yes, they’re not to be taken seriously.

      If there weren’t lines, you might assume that the cycle lane only allowed traffic going eastbound and be very surprised to see bikes travelling west.

    • Doug

      Let’s ban all overtaking by motor vehicles on roads as well. At least that will save some lives.

    • That’s a difference between car traffic and pedestrian/bicycle traffic.

      Cars are heavy and fast, and we need a large pile of very detailed traffic rules to organise this traffic without too much accidents. People walking on the other hand need very little regulation to do so without accidents.

      Bicyclists are a faster and need a couple of basic rules, but nothing even close to what you need to organise car traffic. When cycling side by side it’s still easy to make room for someone coming from the other side.

      I remember this from when I was a student. I used to cycle to the lectures along a shared path just under 3 m wide. Along with a lot of others, that path had a heavy tidal “traffic flow”. Nobody ever counted them, but probably you’d count 1000 cyclists in less than half an hour. Usually this flow would occupy the entire width. And guess what: no traffic jams, no pileups. It’s still easy enough to make room if someone comes from the other side, or if there are a few people walking, or someone in a wheelchair.

      Some of the major arterials have bidirectional cycle lanes on both sides, and the centre lines on those are indeed only painted at the intersections.

    • 01anthony

      Funny that some people are so quick to jump on a cyclist doing something wrong –

      Same logic applied to car drivers – “i saw this guy overtake on a double yellow line. No one ever pays attention to the yellow lines anyway, so why don’t we save some money and not provide yellow lines anymore”.

      When we actually have some high numbers of cyclists and if there’s so much dangerous behavior, we’ll see an increase in cyclist vs pedestrian injuries (if you’re rational is to be believed). THEN, and only then, should we put in restrictions and safety measures. Otherwise you are just using your one or two observations as evidence.

    • Well this is the infrastructure that is needed if you remove private motor vehicles. https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/no-cars-no-traffic-signals-no-deaths/

      Still wonder why cars are taxed so highly by the way of fuel excise tax and registration?

      Any money spent on cycle infrastructure is only a slight re-balancing of the subsidies given to people who choose to drive their car everywhere.

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