Some beautiful videos from our friends Chris and Melissa Bruntlett at Modacity Life have made for Arlington, Virginia.
In the Spring of 2015, the Modacity team was invited to Arlington, VA, for a very special project. Working closely with BikeArlington, a division of the county’s transportation department, we had the privilege of following six Arlingtonians around for the day by bicycle. Each of the individuals and families profiled have unique stories, but one thing connects them – the humble bicycle. Edgar uses his past experiences as an immigrant to help those new to the country, while also understanding the importance of passing on his knowledge to his own daughter. Natalie has combined her passion for sustainable change with her business knowledge to become a successful bicycle real estate agent. Grant and Gillian break convention not only with family roles but also by living car-lite. Annie, as a way to adjust to relocation and change, uses dance to connect to the audience and the people around her. Nonie is a new empty-nester rediscovering her adventurous spirit with her sister by her side. And finally, Chris and Rachael use bicycles as a way to not only overcome Rachael’s Leukaemia but also to strengthen their father-daughter bond. It was an honour to be able to share each of their stories and showcase what it is that makes Arlington a beautiful place to live and ride.
A quick reminder that this is the last day to submit on the Nelson St cycleway. I’ve written about the issues with Auckland Transports proposals here and here. I’ve suggested that one option would be to keep the cycleway on the western side and to use Market St as a way to access the Waterfront and beyond. A few others have also suggested using the oversized Hobson St viaduct and reader Jonty has created some images of what that could look like. Here’s his view.
As a cyclist and city dweller who this cycle lane affects directly, I’m concerned about the plans for the connection between Nelson St and Quay St.
As you already know, Sturdee St is heavily used by cars, buses and heavy trucks. Putting crossings all over it is not only going to slow cyclists down while they wait for the green bike, but it will slow down this major road as well.
Market St as an alternative would require changes to nose-in parking to become parallel to make more space, to the detriment of The Parc residents’ parking spaces.
If Market St was used, the Viaduct area in front of the bars and restaurants wouldn’t be a good option for cyclists as they would constantly be running into pedestrians (although some cruisers might like to go that way). Customs St West is earmarked for trams, so there may not be room for cycle lanes here (possibly why you suggested the Viaduct option?).
This fugly thing should be removed. It takes up heaps of space and turns the whole area into a horrible dodgy carpark waste of space. If the flyover was removed it could be a nice, open-air place for all the modes to get though. However that means redirecting all traffic that goes up it to somewhere else.
Those massive support poles are wide enough for a cycle lane on their own. But let’s assume for now that the council doesn’t want to go ahead with this plan yet, although they have talked about removing it previously. Maybe it is in their long-term plan. So what about now, how should the Nelson St cycle way connect to Quay St?
What about this option? Take one lane away from the flyover and turn it into a cycle lane.
Cars coming off Princes Wharf would only get one lane to go straight. The other one would need to be a left turn only lane. Cars coming from Quay St still have their normal 2 lanes to go up the flyover. Their 3rd lane, the slip lane, can stay and the pedestrians can manoeuvre around the air-bridge poles like normal. No expensive changes. Just paint and some concrete separator things. Cyclists would need to have their own crossing lights for the intersection, like at the Beach Road diagonal, but this would be the only lights needed that AT haven’t already budgeted for.
The cycle lane would continue up the flyover on the right hand side, separated from the 2 road lanes with a raised thing like on Nelson St. By the way, I’ve made these cycle lanes classic green, I’m not sure about the pink yet.
At the top of the flyover the cycle lane would turn free right onto the footpath that is currently there and extremely under-used. Most pedestrians walk along Sturdee St where the many buses drop them off/pick them up, or they walk along the Southern side of Fanshawe St where there is a nice new wide footpath.
Cars coming off the flyover still have 3 lanes as it widens at the top. Currently they have 4 lanes but this is overkill, as there are only 2 options from this intersection; turn right or go straight. So with 3 lanes the left lane goes straight, the middle lane can go either way, and the right lane turns right.
At the end of this cycle lane it would join up to Nelson St and there are no carparks lost, no extra intersections to encounter and no extra crossings in front of buses, trucks, etc.
These are great images from Jonty and really highlight an opportunity that AT seem to be missing. Given the dual needs to connect Wynyard and Quay St I think both this and better connections to Market Place are needed.
What do you think and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to submit as it closes at 5pm today.
Those who oppose to bike lanes often have absurd objections and some of the silliest recently have from Coronado, California, an area where 70% of kids walk or ride to school. The objections were so silly they’ve now even been mocked by a late night comedian.
We’ll be getting our Magenta path soon.
Thoughts of Sydney are inseparable from images of its harbour:
It’s naturally beautiful, but also much of what has been added around the harbour increases its appeal, particularly the Opera House and the Bridge:
The bridge is not only beautiful, and massively over-engineered, but also is an impressive multitasker; trains, buses, general traffic, pedestrians, people on bikes. All catered for.
Despite that when looking at the bridge its mostly covered with cars in terms of moving people the general traffic lanes are the least impressive of the three main modes, as shown below in the am peak hour:
It is its multi-modality that makes it truly impressive, some 73% of the people entering Sydney on the Bridge from the Shore at this time are doing so on just one of the train lines and one bus lane; a fraction of the width of the whole structure. So not only does it shame our Harbour bridge aesthetically it completely kills it for efficiency too.
The Bridge has always been impressively multi-modal as the first toll tariff shows, and it carried trains and trams from the start:
In 1992 it was supplemented by a pair of two lane road tunnels that up the cross harbour tally for this mode to match the number coming over by train [bridge plus tunnels = 12 traffic lanes], but that wasn’t done until the population of the city had hit 3.7 million. The high capacity systems on the bridge saved the people of Sydney and Australia from spending huge sums on additional crossings and delayed the date they were deemed necessary by many decades. But anyway, because the additional crossing is just road lanes it only adds around 10% extra capacity to the bridge. To think that the government here and NZTA are seriously proposing to spend multiple billions in building a third Harbour Crossing in Auckland with the population only at 1.5m, but not only that but they are planning to build more capacity for the least efficient mode; more traffic lanes.
The evidence from Sydney shows that what we need to add next are the missing high capacity modes. And that we clearly aren’t using the existing bridge well enough. Our bridge was never designed to carry trains, but it does carry buses, and currently these could be given the opportunity to carry even more people more efficiently. And that very opportunity is just around the corner. In 2017 or maybe even next year the alternative Western Ring Route opens, described by NZTA like this:
The Western Ring Route comprises the SH20, 16 and 18 motorway corridors. When complete it will consist of 48km of high quality motorway linking Manukau, Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore Cities. It will provide a high quality alternative route to SH1 and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and take unnecessary traffic away from Auckland’s CBD.
Excellent, always great to invest in systems that take unnecessary traffic away. And there is no better way to achieve this than to make the alternatives to driving so much quicker and more reliable with dedicated right-of-ways. Here is the perfect opportunity to achieve that, the opening of the WRR should be paralleled by the addition of bus lanes right across the Bridge in order to lift its overall capacity. And at the same time perhaps truck priority lanes on the sturdier central lanes should also be considered, so the most important roles of highways, moving people and freight efficiently, can be more certainly achieved. Although the need for that depends on exactly how much freight traffic shifts to the new route [as well as the rail line and trans-shipping via Northland’s new cranes: ‘New crane means fewer trucks on the highway’]. Outside of the temporary blip caused by the building of Puhoi to Warkworth [much which will be able to use the WRR] heavy traffic growth on the bridge looks like it is predominantly buses.
Meanwhile our transport agencies should be planning the next new crossing as the missing and much more efficient Rapid Transit route. Cheaper narrower tunnels to finally bring rail to the Shore; twin tracks that have the people moving capacity of 12 motorway lanes. Here: Light Rail or super efficient driverless Light Metro are clearly both great options that should be explored:
But before all of this there are of course those two much more humble modes that can add their invigorating contribution to the utility of the Bridge, walking and cycling, Skypath:
The famous cycle steps on the northern side, there are around 2000 bike trips a day over the bridge [despite the steps]:
And there they were right at the beginning:
First Crossing of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Photo by Sam Hood.
The council have released some images of what the completed Nelson St off-ramp will look like and a video showing the lighting they are adding in action. Here is the press release
Interactive lights, Māori carvings and a vibrant magenta surface are set to turn the old Nelson Street motorway off-ramp into a must-see Auckland attraction for people to walk and cycle across when it opens later this year.
The off-ramp is being transformed into a shared path as part of the Nelson Street Cycleway, one of the network of cycleways being delivered in partnership by the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport. It will connect to Upper Queen Street by a new bridge off Canada Street – now nearly in place – and will continue to Nelson Street where a separated cycleway is being built.
The design was developed following an online survey in June when Aucklanders called for it to be ‘modern’ and ‘distinctly New Zealand’. It includes LED lights lining the safety barriers, that can interact and pulse as people pass them, as well as a strong magenta surface colour that will fade out at the northern end in a Māori design.
Political urban design champion Councillor Chris Darby says: “This project shines a light on walking and cycling and offers an inspiring new way through a previously impenetrable spaghetti junction. It offers a seamless walk-across-the-rooftops connection into the city-centre, with sweeping views of the city and harbour. “The innovative design catches the eye and captures the imagination, heralding the future of transport across Auckland.”
The concept has been created by Monk Mackenzie architects and LandLAB, in association with artist Katz Maihi. Māori patterns and narrative form a core part of the designs, following discussions with iwi. The path includes etched carvings at intervals along the length, with a 6-metre pou at the entrance. The colour represents the heartwood of a freshly cut totara, with the red and pink shades strengthened to contrast with the surrounding motorway lanes.
Brett Gliddon, the Transport Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager, says: “It’s great to see the beginning of our urban cycling future here in Auckland with a wonderful facility like this. It’s helping to make cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice as well as leading the way in world-class cycling infrastructure.”
The off-ramp was closed a decade ago and transforming it – as highlighted in the council’s City Centre Masterplan – has received strong support.
Barbara Cuthbert, Cycle Action Auckland chair, says “This cycleway will be the highlight of all the new projects we’ve seen in the city so far. It’ll be a beacon attracting people to walk, cycle and delight in the views – a new landmark for Auckland!”
And a video of the lights in action
A few weeks ago I highlighted the consultation for phase 2 of the Nelson St cycleway. Consultation finishes on 5th October and while I really want to see this project I feel that some parts of it are very sub-optimal and as such encourage you to make a submission so it can be better.
Below are some areas where I think AT need to make changes. Feel free to use some or all of these in your submission.
North of Victoria St
The diagonal crossing at Victoria Street will slow cyclists down as instead of being able to ride across the intersection with the normal North traffic flow cyclists will have to wait for a separate cycle. Like with Beach Rd that will likely see a lot of cyclists simply ignoring the cycleway and create confusion amongst less confident cyclists. I’ve heard suggestions that one reason for shifting the cycleway to the eastern side was because there is an aversion to removing or changing the slip lanes on to Fanshawe St.
Apart from the crossing a cycleway on the eastern side by itself isn’t bad however it doesn’t last long and just before Wyndham St becomes a shared space. Wyndham St itself causes problems too. Issues with this section include:
- Cyclists will be coming downhill, likely at speed and be clashing with pedestrians where it transitions to shared path.
- Those cyclists will then likely have to come to full stop at Wyndham St as due to travelling in the same direction it will be difficult for cyclists to know if a car is about to turn in front of them.
- This is made even more difficult and confusing as cars turning right into Fanshawe St use the same lane and indicate from before Wyndham St.
One alternative solution would be to reverse the direction of Wyndham St and make them give way to cyclists however that may have wider implications for the CBD road network.
Once at the Fanshawe St intersection cyclists will then have to contend with pedestrians to get across. My personal observations is that this intersection is surprisingly busy as Fanshawe St is used by a lot of people walking to work from the areas just west of the CBD. Further those wanting to get to Market Pl and around to Wynyard or eventually on to Skypath have to cross three sets of traffic lights which will mean a lot of waiting and therefore very slow. It’s worth noting that I already often see cyclists brave Nelson St and almost all go straight on to Market Pl before going around to the city as it’s a much more desirable route than Sturdee St.
Speaking of Sturdee St, from what I can tell AT plan to just make the existing footpath a shared path. For a shared path it is fairly undesirable as will be narrow and often a bit of a canon with a solid wall on one side and a row of parked buses on the other.
When it gets to Lower Hobson St there are more crossings to navigate including a pedestrian crossing for which it is not technically legal for people to ride bikes across. There are also issues in that there are frequent kerb cuts and ramps to negotiate transitioning to and from the path.
Things don’t get much better on Lower Hobson St as the space is very tight so the path is narrow and gets narrower the closer it gets to Quay St – especially when it gets to area with the pedestrian bridge as shown below. AT are effectively just legalising riding on a narrow footpath. Those wanting to get to the new Quay St cycleway will then two sets of lights to cross – again taking more time and adding further delays.
My alternative idea is
- Keep the cycle lane on left (Western) side all the way to Fanshawe St. (Green line below)
- Remove the slip lanes from Nelson St on to Fanshawe St and signalise the left turn after a bike/pedestrian crossing phase.
- Continue the cycle lane on Market Pl till at least Pakenham St.
- North of Pakenham St use traffic calming to ensure slow traffic speeds making the road a slow cycle friendly street. This may also require some parking changes. (Blue Line below)
- Less confident cyclists could then use either the area around the Viaduct while those more confident could use Customs St West and Lower Hobson St.
- Another solution I’ve heard suggested would be to also have a cycleway on Hobson St and have a cycleway on the Hobson St flyover to access Quay St. At the northern end of the flyover there are three lanes however only two lanes access it from any direction so there is likely space to spare.
There are also some issues at the Pitt St end. The biggest of these is that the cycleway stops short of K Rd and it’s not clear what cyclists heading uphill are meant to do to if they want get to K Rd. Also why start the cycle as a shared path rather than just starting the cycleway.
Additionally at the intersection with Pitt St, again multiple transitions to and from shared paths, it isn’t clear how cyclists riding up Vincent St would then access the new cycleway
All up these two sections seem like a bit of a clusterf**k of focusing on how a route could be added that had the least possible impact rather than thinking of something that would encourage people to ride. Cyclists will be constantly transitioning between shared paths and dedicated cycleways, waiting to cross numerous sets of lights and frequently having to check for turning cars. In short there is no sustained level of service afforded to cyclists. Auckland Transport, you can do better than this, please submit telling them to keep left on Nelson St.
As noted in the post this morning, Auckland Transport have today launched a series of short videos with the theme of “Time to cool your love affair with your car?”
Here are the five different videos all pushing a different alternative.
It doesn’t have to be a permanent split, but finding new ways to commute could give you a whole new lease on life. You could save money, improve your well-being and reduce your stress levels. Check out your options:
What do you think of ATs new campaign?
Tomorrow the Auckland Transport board have their next meeting and here’s the information from the reports that caught my attention. As usual I’ve started with the items on the closed session items for approval/decision that look interesting.
- Northern Busway – Presumably this is talking about the latest plans for the busway. The NZTA should be building the busway but it will be AT who build stations and obviously run services on it. Of note, the NZTA said on Friday that one of the clear themes from their recent consultation was related to the busway
Strong recognition that the Northern Busway extension would help improve not only bus service speed and reliability, but also reduce motorway congestion further. The majority of feedback supported the idea of an additional bus station being considered on the extension, and many people talked about the importance of car parking at the stations.
- LRT Alignment – This was also on the agenda at the last meeting.
- Corporate Accommodation – Long Term Strategy – AT are currently spread out across numerous buildings across the city. Many functions are based in the city but they also have a decent presence in Henderson, Smales Farm and Manukau. Could they be looking to combine staff into a single building?
- Masterbrands – AT seem to be splitting off different parts of the organisation into separate brands. One of those is AT Metro which is their public transport brand and another is AT HOP which is currently only used for PT but will eventually be used for other payments.
- CRL Update
It would be interesting to know what was being discussed. Moving on to the main business report.
It appears that AT will get a decent saving on their insurance for trains which I’m gathering is due to the electrics being safer. It also sounds like they’re close to selling the old diesel rolling stock
Rolling stock insurance is due for renewal at 31 October 2015. Initial market quotes indicate that a saving of approximately $100,000 is likely to be achieved on the 2014/15 premium for a similar loss limit.
Further progress on the diesel train sale process was achieved during the month with a visit from representatives of the prospective purchaser and further discussions on shipping and payment arrangements.
AT are obviously impacted a lot by the growth that is or will be happening across the region. They say they are working with the NZTA on business cases to identify what transport infrastructure is needed over 30 years for the large greenfield development areas in the North West and South. They also say
A number of business cases are also being developed on the rapid transit network. These include the Northwestern Busway and a business case for the addition of a station(s) along the proposed Northern Busway Extension. A business case is also progressing for improvements to Fanshawe Street in the vicinity of the Wynyard Quarter.
AT have outlined a few consultation/public information days that will be coming up soon.
- Consultation for the New Network covering the Isthmus and East Auckland starts 1 October
- Consultation for the Quay St cycleway between Hobson St and Tapora St starts in October
- AT’s Community Liaison Group on the Franklin Rd Rd upgrade starts later in October and is made up of representatives from Franklin Road, CAA, utility companies, the Waitemata Local Board and AT.
- AT have outlined the changes to the city centre for Phase 2 of the CRL enabling works. There are open days in the council chambers at the Town Hall on Saturday 3 October from 11am to 2pm; Tuesday 6 October from 4pm to 7pm. The changes include bus lanes on Queen St north of Victoria St.
AT are launching a series of short videos this week with the aim of reducing trips by single occupant vehicles during peak times. They say the theme is “cool the love affair with your car”. The posters below show.
See it here https://at.govt.nz/findnewlove
For specific project updates:
- The Te Atatu Rd project is now underway
- Work at Parnell continues – The platforms are well advanced and work is focused on the connecting ramps and paths as well as the works for the old Newmarket Station building. Train passengers might also have noticed that the old Mainline Steam sheds are now completely gone as you can see from the image below from a reader.
- The concept design for the new Manukau Bus-Train interchange is nearly complete and will go to the local board prior to public feedback. It is now not due to be completed till August 2017.
- The architectural and structural design for the fixed walkway for the new Half Moon Bay Ferry wharf has been completed. There are also some new images of what is proposed
On progress towards their key PT priorities
- AT say the software upgrade to deliver integrated fares is due in September with handover to testing by AT in November
- AT are reviewing low patronage bus routes to see if they can free up any resources that could instead be used for highly patronised routes. They want this in place for the busy months of February and March next year.
- AT have signed a contract Ambient Advertising (NZ) Limited. They say “This strategic media partnership will see outdoor assets progressively consolidate under a single advertising platform to leverage improved third party revenue from public transport and other assets.“
- They are going to start installing LED lights at train stations. Ranui was the first one completed and the next stations on the list are Henderson, Glen Eden, Orakei, Manurewa and Glen Innes
- The increase in service to Gulf Harbour a year ago has seen patronage growth by a greater amount that predicted with recent months seeing over a 100% improvement. They are now looking to add more capacity.
- A new ferry is under construction to improve capacity on services to Pine Harbour.
- On safety and security they say “Strategy discussions are progressing with Police around an enhanced joint approach to Metro security and fare enforcement. This will be reported back to the Board by the end of the year.” It will be interesting to see if this relates in any way to an announcement being made tomorrow by Simon Bridges on new measures to combat Fare Evasion
- Finally you may recall that AT published a table of all the changes that were intended to be made by CAF, Kiwirail, Transdev and themselves to improve the reliability and speed of the trains. There is an update at the end of the report highlighting what’s been achieved, what is a work in progress and in some case where the changes haven’t or can’t be made. For example they intended to increase the speed of the Onehunga line saving around 15 seconds per trip however they’ve found it would cost more than $100,000 to make the changes needed so they’ve put the changes on hold.
You may recall my post recently about how Auckland Transport installing cycle lanes on Upper Harbour Dr – which I use to ride to work sometimes – actually made the road less safe. This was because in the process of installing the cycle lanes AT removed the existing broken yellow lines (BYLs) and it resulted in drivers parking in the cycle lanes. In some case like the example below they even parked over the cycle lane marking
AT’s response to why the BYLs were removed is below.
Motorists are not allowed to stop, stand or park in a cycle lane, relevant section is 6.6 of the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004.
The requirements for marking cycle lanes are outlined in section 11.2 of the Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004. A road controlling authority is not required to install broken yellow line markings to indicate that motorists should not park in cycle lanes. However, Section 12.1 (3) of the Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004 does allow a road controlling authority to install broken yellow lines if it deems it necessary.
Some of the legacy Council’s choose to install broken yellow line markings in addition to the cycle lane markings and some did not. This resulted in inconsistencies across the region, in some cases customers believed that if the broken yellow lines were not present they were allowed to park in the cycle lane.
In order to address this issue the Traffic Control Committee issued a directive in December 2014 advising that broken yellow lines should no longer be installed in cycle lanes. Existing broken yellow lines would be allowed to fade and would not be remarked. The purposes of this directive was to try to move the region towards a consistent approach that customers could easily understand.
The Traffic Control Committee consists of the Manager Road Corridor Access, Manager Parking and Enforcement, and Manager Road Corridor Operations. Authority for passing resolutions under bylaws was delegated by the Auckland Transport Board of Directors to the Traffic Control Committee at its meeting of 26 October 2010.
My post was followed up by one by Barb Cuthbert at Cycle Action Auckland about the issue and also about how often cycle lane marking is not up to scratch being faded not re-instated properly after road maintenance.
Following these posts Barb and I were invited to a meeting at AT to discuss the issue. We discussed a number of issues and the outcome was AT would reconsider their position. The great news is that has now happened and they’ve advised us the following
Following our meeting two weeks ago we have agreed a process for ensuring cyclelanes in our network are fit for purpose and consistent. We will be requiring the following from now:
- setting a new standard for marking cycle lanes which mandates the use of broken yellow lines.
- requiring that for maintenance of streets that include cycle lanes, as well as construction of new cycle lanes, the cycle symbols are marked when the lane markings are done rather than waiting for the greening to be applied.
In order to bring the current network up to standard we will be:
- reviewing all cycle lanes to ensure the markings are correct and that they have all required resolutions.
- developing a priority list of cyclelanes to bring up to standard.
- requiring the above be implemented on lower priority routes when routine maintenance occurs.
To help imbed these changes once we complete our review and priority location treatment we will:
- run an information campaign.
- develop a more robust education and information campaign for construction of new cyclelanes.
- work with our Parking team to enforce priority cycle lanes.
In my mind this is an excellent outcome and well done to AT for listening. It will obviously take some time for these changes to be rolled out across the city but it will be good to have a clear directive going forward.
As you may know, the NZTA plan to replace the old Mangere Bridge which is 100 years old this year. This needs to happen as the bridge is crumbling away and according to the NZTA doesn’t have much structural life left.
One of the fantastic features of the existing bridge is its width at around 15m wide. The new bridge won’t be quite so wide but still significant compared to most pedestrian/cycle bridges and will be 8m wide for most of its length extending out to 12m wide in some places where bays will provide space for fishing. It will also be a bit higher than the existing bridge to enable small boats to pass below it.
The project has progressed to the stage that the NZTA are now seeking resource consent to build the new bridge giving us some good images to see what the bridge will eventually look like. Instead of being straight like the current bridge, the new bridge will curve slightly towards the motorway bridges.
Aerial view of the bridge from the North West
Looking at the bridge from the Harbour
You can see just how much of a curve there is in the image below
A few more images
Looking South from over Onehunga Harbour Rd
The image below I’ve joined from two separate images
As mentioned earlier the bride is at least 8m wide across the entire length however the effective space for walking and cycling will effectively be about 6m in most places due to seating and other features – although some places get a little narrower than that. In addition the design of those features creates chicanes all the way across the bridge.
If you want to submit on the resource consent it is open to Sunday 13 October.