Great Cycling Myths & Mistakes – How Auckland can easily be a Great Cycling City

Recently I have been doing a lot of research on cycling, reading CROW – Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic, the NACTO Guides, and reading/watching some great content over by Mark Wagenbuur at Bicycle Dutch. People have always told me that the Dutch are the Holy Grail of Cycling, I had some knowledge of Dutch cycling, but it made sense for me to check it out more extensively.

After this research my conclusion is this,

a) Dutch cycling infrastructure design really is great and
b) It’s made me think, are we prioritising on the right aspects (this question is more posed to engineers/designers), and are there some myths of Dutch cycling that we are to focused on (this question is more posed to us as advocates)

Not everything has to be segregated, like the Netherlands you just have to design it right.

When we think of the Netherlands we think glorious 2m+ segregated cycle tracks safe & protected from traffic, with room enough to overtake, or to cycle with friends/family. While it’s true that the Dutch segregate cycling for arterial roads with speeds above 30km/h, not every road in the Netherlands is an arterial, a large part of the streets network in the Netherlands are local streets which have speed limits of 30km/h, and at these speeds you can still have safety with unprotected cycle lanes, two examples are Fietsstrook streets where motorists can enter the cycle lanes to allow other motorists to pass as long as safe for cyclists, and Fietsstraat (Bike Streets) where motorists are allowed but are guests and must maintain low speeds.

Fietsstrook

Fietsstraat

Safety is about the Intersections

In NZ, we have a tendency to focus on cycle lanes, we put the cycle lanes in either along the street, or add them into the street, but as soon as we get to an intersection we stop. To the Dutch this would seem odd, mainly because it’s intersections where a lot of the danger is, opposed to the section of road we concentrate on.  Surely it makes sense to prioritise the least safe sections for funding, without compromising the network through stop/starting of infrastructure of course, and as these pictures/videos by Bicycle Dutch show fixing them is easier than you might think.

Protected Cycle Intersection

Continuity is Key

Continuity of infrastructure is important, if gaps exist, or it stops short, people wont use it to its full extent. Remember when trains used to stop at the Strand, sure the rail network existed and could be quick, but because it stopped short of the city, people didn’t see it as competitive. Or imagine driving on the Auckland motorway network, then all the sudden SH1 went from 3 lanes each way motorway standard to one lane dirt track then back to motorway standard every few km’s, it wouldn’t be a great drive in the AM peak that is for sure.

For the same reasons why those two examples would be awful for the users, the same applies to cyclists, stopping infrastructure at intersections, gaps in cycle lanes such as at bus stops, or stopping the infrastructure short of where people want to go will lead to infrastructure not being utilized to its full capacity. Arguably, these issues effect cyclists more than PT users/drivers because doing the above not only makes cycling harder, it has large safety effects. Gaps in cycle routes cause a reduction in the perception of safety which leads to potential users avoiding the route, or more likely not to cycle at all.

Therefore getting cycling infrastructure right, and continuous, can be more important for increasing use, than prioritising km’s of cycle lanes across a city.

Floating Bus Stop

Width is Important & not just for Safety.

Width of cycle infrastructure is important for cyclists, it gives more of a buffer against other modes when unprotected, and allows cyclists to overtake safely meaning commuter/social cyclists can ride at their own pace. But it isn’t just about safety, the Dutch believe having wider cycle infrastructure is important because it allows people to cycle together side by side, e.g. riding with your partner, or a mother riding with her children to school. It is understanding that social aspect of cycling is a hugely important part of the mix for driving cycling as a successful mode of transport, and is often mentioned in official guides such as CROW.

Is it time to give Roundabouts more of a go?

In many countries there is a preference to building signalized intersections with a perception they are safer than roundabouts, this is interesting to the Dutch who believe the opposite, over the years converting many intersections to roundabouts. Admittedly the Dutch design their roundabouts a little different, with protected cycle lanes, and with the aim of creating easy sight of conflicts for users, as well as slowing traffic down on the roundabout. This is backed up with the safety record that Dutch four-way roundabouts are around two times safer than Dutch four-way signalised intersections.

SWOV Intersection Safety Stats

Here’s a great video by Bicycle Dutch walking through examples of Dutch Roundabout Design

So what do you think?

On the way to some Inner West bike routes

Earlier this year Auckland Transport consulted on walking and cycling routes for the Inner West of Auckland with improving connections in the area included as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleway Programme. In August they released the results of the consultation which saw 865 submissions. The consultation also included an online map where people could identify issues and in addition to the submissions mentioned, there were 484 pins dropped on the map from 75 people.

In total from the submissions AT say 5,332 routes were suggested which when grouped together resulted in 381 individual routes. There were also 2681 issues or concerns identified which when grouped by location boiled down to 303 in the area. These are shown below where you can see some fairly strong trends emerge.

inner-west-feedback-routes-and-issues

As a result of this, AT revised their cycle network for the area to the one below.

inner-west-feedback-revised-network

When completed, and of course depending on the quality of the infrastructure, this part of the city will end up with a well-connected cycle network. Unfortunately, not everything is able to be built within the current funding window to mid-2018 and so following on from the initial consultation, Auckland Transport are now consulting on four specific cycleway proposals for the area. There are a combination of protected cycleways, on-road cycle lanes and traffic calming measures. They’ll also improve things for pedestrians and in some cases buses too. The four routes are shown below.

inner-west-cycle-network-route-consultation-2

I’ll just look quickly at each of the proposals.

Route 1: Surrey Crescent to Garnet Road

AT are looking at two different options for this 2km section, and both will see at least parts of the route have parking protected bike lanes installed. Where the two options differ is to amount of the route that is on the street with option A including some sections placed on the grass verge to retain more on street carparking and a painted median. As a result of the differences over the 2km, Option A would see the removal of around 40 carparks (10-15%) while option B would remove about 120 carparks (35-40%). AT say based on parking surveys there will still be enough parking on these routes and side roads to accommodate demand. Below shows the cross section of one part of the route where the two options are different.

inner-west-cycle-network-route-consultation-route-1-cross-section

AT are looking at options for how to deal with the bus stops along this route and options include using floating bus stops, where the bus stop is effectively on an island with cycle lane going behind it. In addition to the cycle lanes, AT are planning on improving pedestrian crossings.

Route 2: Richmond Road

This 1.2km section appears to be more of the traditional painted cycle lane approach we’ve seen in the past. AT say “people on bikes will be separated from pedestrians and vehicles to create a safer, more enjoyable journey for all” but the plans show carparks being retained against the kerb protected by the meat barrier offered by passing cyclists. Of course is almost certainly not going to encourage less confident cyclists or children to use the route. Here’s one example from the drawings.

inner-west-cycle-network-route-consultation-route-2-cross-section

As a positive though it is good to see items like pedestrian build outs on entrances to side streets – but why divert the footpath away from the desire line, will almost certainly be ignored by people.

Route 3: Greenways Route

Many parts of this route already exist and for the most part, the plans for this route involve traffic calming roads to improve safety on them for people on bikes. At the Gt North Rd end of the route on Grosvener this even includes using back in angle parking which I’m not sure I’ve seen in Auckland before.

Route 4: Great North Road

This is will be the most visible of all of the routes and easily the most used too, especially with all of the apartment development currently underway along here. All up 1.5km of Gt North Rd will have protected cycleways added – with one small exception – while the bus lanes will still be retained and even enhanced. The cross section of the road will look like the Streetmix layout below. The one exception is on the corner outside the Grey Lynn Library where there isn’t enough space to keep protected lanes on the road – in this location a shared path will be provided for less confident cyclists.

inner-west-cycle-network-route-consultation-route-4-cross-section

In addition to the bike lane changes, things will also improve for buses. The bus lanes will have their ours of operation extended by an hour in the morning and afternoon (City-bound 7-10am, West-bound 4-7pm) and they will be continuous along this stretch of road rather than disappearing frequently. There will also be a rationalisation of bus stops along the route with it dropping from 14 stops in 10 stops across both directions. The bus stops will likely be a mix of floating bus stops and likely some other solutions too. Both of these improvements should help in speeding up buses. The changed bus stop locations are shown below.

inner-west-cycle-network-route-consultation-route-4-map

 

Overall there are some good wins here across a number of areas which is great to see. If you look at the details, you’ll see a couple of key sections missing with the two big ones being the Karangahape/Gt North/Ponsonby Rd intersection and through the Grey Lynn shops. The first of those two is being investigated as part of the K Rd project underway while the Grey Lynn shops will be looked at separately. Given the anger from some locals about the bus stop there, I’m guessing some retailers will really fight changes very hard.

AT have now extended the consultation to Friday 21 October so make sure you have your say.

Quay St Cycleway construction starts this week

Good news with AT announcing that the Quay St cycleway that was consulted on a few months ago will start construction this week. They also say the first section from Lower Quay St to Commerce St will be finished by Mid-May

Construction of Quay Street cycleway begins next week and is expected to open in July.

Initially work will be focused on Lower Hobson Street to Commerce Street. We aim to complete work in this area by mid-May, before City Rail Link (CRL) works begin in the same area.

Disruption will be minimised by keeping lanes open during morning and evening busy periods. Some lane closures will occur outside of these times to enable construction.

They’ve also released this new image showing what it will look like.

Quay Street Cycleway - Lower Albert St

You can see the detailed plans (5MB) for the cycleway here although they still haven’t shown the section going past Queens Wharf which they were re-designing.

 

Submit on Quay St

Just a quick reminder, tomorrow is the last day for submissions on Auckland Transport’s proposal for a cycleway on Quay St.

Quay St Cycleway - Along Quay St

Time is running out to have your say on the Quay St Cycleway with public consultation closing this Friday at 5pm.

Auckland Transport wants feedback on the cycleway which will run on the north side of Quay St from Lower Hobson St to Plumer St.

The proposed design is a mix of two way on road cycle lanes separated from traffic by raised kerbs, a shared path and two way cycle lanes flush with the footpath. Connecting with the Nelson St Cycleway and the Viaduct at Lower Hobson St, the cycleway will improve access for people walking and cycling to and within the city centre. Ultimately the cycle network will extend all the way to the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path at Hobson Bay.

The cycleway is an interim solution as Auckland Council plans a coastal boulevard in this area in the coming years.

It will provide greater transport choice for people travelling into and around the city centre says Auckland Transport’s Walking and Cycling manager, Kathryn King.

“We know that this is already a popular route for people cycling, and this cycleway will make cycling to the city centre more attractive and convenient by providing protection from general traffic.

“Having on-road cycle lanes will free space for people walking along the waterfront. This cycleway is a key component of the cycle improvements planned for the city centre. We are creating a grid of cycleways with Quay St, Karangahape Rd and Victoria St running east, west and Nelson St, Grafton Gully in the north, south direction.”

Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency are working together on a three year $200 million programme of investment in cycling to make it safer and more convenient to travel by bike. Central Government has made a significant contribution to funding through the Urban Cycleways Programme.

The number of people cycling in Auckland continues to grow; especially in the city centre. Survey results indicate that over the last year there has been a 35% increase in people who cycle in the Auckland region and a 50% increase in the number of people cycling in the Grafton Gully, Symonds St corridor.

 

Quay to unlocking the waterfront

Auckland Transport are really picking up the pace on their cycleway projects – which they have to do if they want to have any chance of making the most of the governments Urban Cycleway Fund – and are today starting consultation a cycleway on Quay St. The stretch from Queen St to Lower Hobson St is possibly the busiest place in all of Auckland for bikes a dedicated cycleway will make things much better for both those on bikes and those on foot.

The project will see a 3m protected two way cycleway built along most of the northern side of Quay St from the Lower Hobson St intersection through to Plumber St – I’ll talk about the exception to this in more detail later in the post. This cycleway is actually an interim solution for around a decade until a more permanent solution is created when Quay St is made more people friendly (after the CRL is finished). As such it will be a bit of a mix with the cycleway separated by a rubber kerbs, some sections where the path is raised to the same height as footpath and one section of shared path. Due to how busy the area is with bikes and how key it is for many bike movements it was felt the project couldn’t afford wait till the larger Quay St project to happen hence why they’re pushing it now.

Quay St Cycleway - Along Quay St

AT say the reason for the cycleway being on the Northern side is:

We have chosen the northern side of Quay Street as this keeps the cycleway clear of cars turning into side streets and means less of a stop-start journey for What are the proposed changes? At the intersection with Lower Hobson Street, the cycleway sits flush with the footpath people on bikes. We can also keep traffic light phasing on Quay Street similar to the current phasing.

Quay St Cycleway - Hobson St intersection 1

To make space for the cycleway AT will be removing the planted median islands to the west of Queen St and combining some of the dedicated right turn lanes with the lanes going straight.

The benefits AT list are:

  • Connects with the ferry terminal and with cycle routes along Nelson Street, Beach Road and Auckland’s waterfront.
  • Designed for people of all ages and abilities. • An interim step towards the long-term transformation of Quay Street and the water’s edge.
  • Makes Quay Street a more pleasant walking experience, by shifting bikes onto the cycleway.
  • Helps create a city centre in which people feel safer and more confident walking and cycling.
  • Along with improvements to bus and train services, provides more travel options into the city, particularly during construction of CityRail Link.
  • Helps achieve our target of a 30% increase in cycle journeys within Auckland by 2019.
  • Supports the different ways in which Quay Street is accessed and used.
  • Improves travel options around the city for local residents, now one of the most densely populated parts of the country.
  • Supports the social benefits of cycling – improvements to health, a reduction in household costs and a cleaner environment.

Below are the diagrams of what is proposed (click to enlarge)

Quay St Cycleway - Plan legend

Section 1 starts off from the Lower Hobson St intersection. As the Nelson St Stage 2 section is still under review I guess it’s possible that the crossings could change. The cycleway is raised to be level with the footpath however hopefully with it being on the south of the trees it will mean that pedestrians stay out of it.

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 1

Section 2 shifts to a cycleway at road level but protected by kerbs.. You can also see the accessway with a blue line where low level mountable kerbs – like was used on the first stage of Beach Rd.

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 2

Section 3 is where things get odd. It appears that the cycleway narrows outside the ferry building before eventually moving back to a shared path in front of Queens Wharf. This is for a number of reasons which I’ll explain later.

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 3

Section 4 continues on as a shared path before returning to a cycleway on the road with protection, this carries through section 5 too.
Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 4

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 5

Section 6 will see the removal of some oddly placed carparks and again it looks like the cycleway narrows just before the end.

 

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 6

Section 7 has the cycleway moves to being alongside the footpath and like section just to the east of the lower Hobson St intersection. It’s unclear what AT will do to prevent or restrict people from walking in the cycle lane.

Quay St Cycleway - Plan Section 7

Overall I think this cycleway will be very popular and it’s good that AT are progressing it however I have a serious concern for the section around Queens Wharf where it goes back to a shared path. This probably wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it was in some of the eastern sections but it is here as that’s where a lot of people are. AT have said there are four reasons for doing this.

This change has been necessary due to the following constraints that leave no space for an on-road cycleway:

  • The requirement for a dedicated right turn traffic lane into Commerce Street to provide for Skybus movements
  • The requirement for a dedicated right turn traffic lane into Queens Wharf to provide for Skybus and tour coach movements
  • Retaining the existing Explorer Bus stop on the northern side of Quay Street
  • Retaining the existing bus parking and Pay & Display parking on the southern side of Quay St

These have to be some of the four weakest excuses I’ve heard for not doing something properly (even though it’s only an interim solution. Lets step through them.

  1. So because of the CRL works are closing lower Queen St and instead of just shifting the Skybus stop from outside the ferry terminal someone at AT has decided we need to keep it where it is thereby requiring extra road space and preventing a dedicated cycleway. Absurd doesn’t begin to describe it. Note: I understand from conversations in the past they have some long term deal to be outside the Ferry Terminal but surely that can be changed.
  2. The same goes for the Explorer Bus which may be even worse. The bus only runs once every 30 minutes in summer and doesn’t even start till after 9am and finishes at 5pm. By in large it only runs off peak so why does it need an offline stop. Perhaps instead AT should just merge the bus stop within one of the general traffic lanes and just have a bit of a wider island for passengers to use (i.e. send bikes behind the bus stop.
  3. As for the last comment, since when is bus lay over parking and pay and display the highest priority on our waterfront. It’s insane that those few places are being retained ahead of a cycleway and really makes you wonder who in AT is putting their retention as a requirement.

Sometimes it really feels like we are constantly taking two steps forward and one step back with some of this stuff.

Consultation is open till 11 December at www.AT.govt.nz/haveyoursay

There will also be an information day on Thursday 26 November from 6pm to 8pm in the Cloud.

The most absurd objections to bike lanes

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.

Good progress on marking cycle lanes

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

Upper Harbour Cars Parked - 6

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.

Measuring the state of cycling in Auckland

Auckland Transport sent me some interesting research that has been conducted for them recently looking into walking and cycling and what can be done to get more people using active modes. The research includes an online quantitative survey conducted by over 1,600 people said to be representative of the Auckland population as well as use of the census data – which as we know is limited to only those who are travelling to work. For the purpose of this post I’m just going to focus on the cycling data.

The research suggests that around 27% of people cycle although only 11% do so at least once a week or more. Most commonly people ride for exercise or recreation although as you can see those who cycle frequently cycling to get to shops is more prominent than the other categories. To me this highlights we still have a long way to go before cycling becomes more normalised, but more on that later.

Current Cycling landscape

Positively the numbers cycling have increased although for some of the occasions the numbers have fallen quite a bit. An example is with cycling to the shops which has fallen from 30% to 21% however it’s not clear if  this is an actual decrease in total numbers or just as a percentage from the larger number cycling.

Change in cycling 2014-15

Those that do cycle are much more likely to be male and middle aged.

Current Cycling landscape demographics

The map below shows the Journey to work data from the census. Given those that cycle to work are only a small portion of all cyclists it’s not fully representative of where people cycle but does very strongly show that cycling tends to happen in the areas where cycle infrastructure exists – such as around the NW cycleway. For this it uses AT’s description of cycle infrastructure as also including things like bus lanes. The outlier is a result of the Whenuapai Air Force base

Current Cycling JTW

So what gets people to cycle? Fun and convenience seem to feature highly, as does the presence of cycling networks.

Current Cycling Why Cycle

The things that hold people back from cycling should come as no surprise to anyone who follows the blog, it’s all about safety.

Current Cycling Why not Cycle

Cyclists are considered brave from getting on a bike.
Current Cycling Why not Cycle - safety

What people think about cycling appears to be influenced quite a bit by if or how often they cycle themselves, for example the more you ride a bike the more you like others who ride a bike

Current attitudes to cycling

Based on the Census data, the research shows that demographics strongly influence the propensity to cycle.

Current Propensity to CycleBased on the data it is suggested that the areas for the greatest potential growth in cycling are shown on the map below – although a lot of that will depend on the infrastructure that is put in place. One concern I have with this particular part of the research is that it seems to extrapolate current conditions as to who will cycle and as mentioned above, the census data only counts a small amount of all people cycling.

Potential cycle growth

While middle aged men are the most likely to cycle now, the report also highlights a concern that the stereotype of them being lycra-clad warriors could be preventing people from cycling. As the report notes it is “Cycle infrastructure is clearly a big part of what ‘normalises’ sage, and a clear indicator to users that safety is being addressed”

MAMIL culture

Looking at the potential for growth in cycling the report says of the people who don’t cycle, around 26% could do so.

Potential - who could cycle

It gets more interesting looking at the demographics of those who could cycle regularly. As you can see young people make up around half of the potential opportunity for more cycling.

Potential - who could cycle demographics

Of this potential group, like above it all comes down to safety the majority agree that there isn’t enough safe infrastructure in Auckland.

Potential - holding people back

Again there’s no surprise here but the biggest factor that would encourage more use is more cycling facilities.

Potential - encourage greater use

Lastly the report highlights that if the barriers to cycling were closed that millions more trips per year would take place on a bike.

Potential - Opportunity for growth

So get cracking on those protected cycleways AT – even if only temporary for now the most important thing is getting a usable system in place

Another case for Yellow Paint?

With the government is now seemingly on-board with the need for safe urban cycling and Auckland Transport are about to embark on some great new cycling projects. Unfortunately it seems a shadowy group within AT are working to make the few cycle facilities we already have decidedly less safe. This issue has been really highlighted to me with some new cycle lanes I use.

I ride to/from work once a week and my route takes me via Upper Harbour Dr, the road that was formerly a semi-rural state highway until the SH18 motorway opened less than a decade ago. The road still has a speed limit that is a hang-over from its former status of 70km/h and provided little in the way of facilities for walking or cycling. In fact much of the road didn’t even have a footpath requiring people (including school children walking to bus stops) to walk on the road. In short it wasn’t great for any one not in a car but at least the road was fairly wide and importantly yellow lines along its length meant there were never any cars parked. As such it was easy for (most) drivers to give plenty of space. Here’s an example of what the road looked like.

Upper Harbour Before

Given its lack of facilities for walking and cycling and that it is the only route cyclists can use to ride between the North Shore and anywhere else in the region – without taking a ferry, bring on Skypath – AT decided to do something about it. The project was to add a new footpath on one side of the road and cycle lanes on both sides. Due to the speed of vehicles they also proposed those cycle lanes have an extra buffer zone.

https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/upper-harbour-drive-walking-cycling-improvements/

The project has been underway for some months and is almost at completion with seemingly the only thing left to do is add a few bike symbols on one side. All good so far but ….

As part the process to install the painted cycle lanes the existing yellow no parking lines were removed. In probably no surprise to anyone pretty quickly the local residents took advantage of this change and cars started appearing parked on the street. At this time the markings for the cycle lane were still going in so I was told by AT to wait till this process was complete.

Fast forward to this week and as mentioned above the project is nearly completed with one side fully marked and the other not far off. Below are just a few examples that of what I’ve encountered on my ride, forcing me and other cyclists out in to the general traffic lane with vehicles going 70km/h – many much faster.

Upper Harbour Cars Parked - 3

Upper Harbour Cars Parked - 4

Upper Harbour Cars Parked - 5

Upper Harbour Cars Parked - 6

There’s something seriously wrong when the process of installing cycle infrastructure leads to a reduction in safety for people on bikes. The problem all stems not from the lanes themselves but the fact that the yellow lines were removed. Like parking on footpaths I suspect many drivers have either forgotten or don’t realise that parking in a cycle lane is illegal. By comparison compliance of yellow lines is very high.

So I asked Auckland Transport for a few comments on why they removed the yellow lines here (and in other cases that I’m aware of), especially seeing as some cycle lanes do also include yellow lines. I’d also heard that the decision not to include yellow lines was made by a group within called the Traffic Control Committee who I understand have to sign off road designs. Here’s their response.

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.

In my view this is group have been negligent and as a result created unsafe environments – ones that will do nothing to encourage more people to ride a bike. It also seems completely at odds with how we treat road safety elsewhere such as actively designing roads to reduce hazards. What’s it all for, saving a little bit on the cost of yellow paint?

Of course AT could always go out and actively enforce the no parking rules however we we’ve seen that is only likely to drivers feeling like they’re being victimised. It also has the potential to create animosity between locals and those on bikes.

Lastly who thinks those buffers would be the perfect place for a few flexi poles or perhaps

AT August Board Meeting

Tomorrow is the next Auckland Transport board meeting and as usual I’ve been through the board papers to pick out the parts that were interesting to me.

The most interesting details appear to be in the closed session and that appears no different this month. Some of the topics are:

  • Newmarket Level Crossing Project – I assume this will be seeking approval to lodge the Notice of Requirement
  • LRT Alignment
  • Deep Dive – Bus
  • K’Road Value Engineering Outcomes – My guess is this is about the K Rd station for the CRL. AT’s project page now says they’re now only going to build one entrance initially and I’ve heard some rumours that it’s the Beresford Square entrance that will not be built. It seems to me this is incredibly short sighted and a classic case of ‘value engineering‘ engineering all of the value out of the project.

K Rd station Beresford Entrance

  • CRL Communication Strategies update – This is likely to be about communication to manage the disruption caused by the CRL construction.
  • Britomart Development update – presumably the bid by Cooper & Co to develop the site behind Britomart

On to the main business report.

  • Te Atatu Rd – Construction has now begun and will is due to be completed in February 2017
  • K Rd Cycleway – AT say ‘ concept design for stakeholder input is planned for the end of 2015.’ I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
  • Nelson St Cycleway – According to the report consultation is due to start any day now on phase 2 which for Pitt St and north of Victoria St. The main issues is whether it uses Nelson St or Hobson St to get to Fanshawe St and down to Quay St. I personally think they should do both options.
  • Beach Rd Cycleway Stage 2 – Construction is due to be completed by the end of this month with a public opening ceremony for 18 September.
  • Otahuhu Bus-Train Interchange – Construction is due to start in mid-September and due to be completed in June next year before the rollout of the new bus network in October.
  • Manukau Bus-Train Interchange – AT are increasing the capacity of the interchange from 16 to 25 bays although two will be for bus layover. They say the key reason for the change is that the various inter-city bus operators will move from the CBD operate from there. Presumably this means that inter-city bus users going to/from the CBD will have to transfer to a train at Manukau. Particularly at peak times this might actually end up a faster outcome.
  • Parnell Station – Works on the platform are due to be completed in October but there is no date yet for when it will come in to use. Also of note is the old Mainline steam sheds are currently being demolished as the site was recently sold to a retirement village company. There’s a bit of an irony in that we will end up with a retirement village on one side of the tracks and Student accommodation on the other.
  • AMETI (Reeves Rd Flyover) – AT say a joint review between them, the council and the NZTA of the timing of Flyover and the busway from Pakuranga to Botany has been  happening with final discussions around funding options due to happen in August/September. The recommendations from the review will go to the AT and NZTA boards in October and the Council Infrastructure committee in November. I wonder how much they’ve taken in to account the Basin Reserve Flyover decision, in particular as they’ve said the Reeves Rd Flyover won’t improve things unless they also replicate similar solutions at Waipuna Rd and Carbine Rd.
  • Mill Rd – The hearings for the Notice of Requirement start at the end of the month. They say there were 286 submissions of which 216 were pro-forma ones in opposition.
  • WiFi on PT – AT will extend WiFi to all PT modes and vehicles – we saw WiFi as a requirement for new buses last week. AT are already trialling it on trains and it was available on the special service they put on for the EMU celebration just over a week ago. A trial will also begin on Gulf Harbour ferries and the Northern Express soon.
  • Active Modes Survey – AT say they’ve surveyed 1,600 Aucklander’s about walking and cycling along with their motivations and barriers for doing so. The high level results are completely unsurprising with concerns over safety from sharing lanes with cars continuing to be the largest barrier to more people cycling.
  • Rail Service Performance – there is a fairly lengthy comment about the performance of the rail system.

Service delivery (or reliability) is the proportion of trains not cancelled in full or part and arrive at their final destination. Punctuality is the proportion of trains that were not cancelled in full or part and that arrived at their final destination within five minutes of the scheduled time. Presented below are the services scheduled (blue bars), total services operated on-time (yellow line) and punctuality percentage (red line) trends.

There was a significant improvement in performance recorded during the month, partly reflecting the changes implemented from 20 July which saw the replacement of diesel trains with EMUs on all lines except on the non-electrified section between Papakura and Pukekohe. The operation of a single common fleet type removed many of the restrictions that previously existed that had complicated service recovery by allowing trains and crews to be swapped between lines thereby limiting the adverse impacts following service disruption.

For Jul-2015 service delivery (reliability) was 96.6% and punctuality was 83.7% compared to the 12 month average of 96.0% (94.9% last 6 months average and low of of 92.9% in April) and 83.1% (79.2% last 6 months average and low of 73.6% in June).

For the period 1-9 August, performance improved further with reliability at 98% and punctuality at 89% across 3,766 services.

A number of days in mid-August have seen performance at more than 99% service delivery and 90-95% punctuality.

While only a few weeks into the full EMU operations, service performance improvement is encouraging and supports the decision to introduce earlier the full EMU services. A joint team of AT, Transdev, KiwiRail and CAF are now focused on delivering the planned improvements

Rail Service Performance - July 15

  • Some other PT comments:
    • The first Howick & Eastern double decker arrives in the first week of September.
    • The first of the new bus shelters have started has been installed. It appears that the focus is on getting a number rolled out on the Hibiscus coast in preparation of the new network which rolls out in October
    • AT have asked Transdev and Kiwirail to review the timetables for the Pukekohe shuttle after complains the transfer time between services was too short.
    • On the roll-out of more bus priority they say that over the last month:
      • Onewa Road T3 lane (city bound) – went live in July
      • Park Road bus lane (hospital to Carlton Gore Road) – consultation completed; construction due to commence in September
      • Parnell Road bus lane (St Stephens to Sarawia Street – outbound) – consultation completed; construction due for completion in August
      • Manukau Road/Pah Road transit lanes – internal consultation completed – consultation underway
      • Great North Road bus lanes (New Lynn to Ash Street) – final concept plans completed – consultation completed
      • Totara Avenue signal removal – improvements to New Lynn bus interchange; construction completed and live
      • Esmonde Road bus lane – construction to commence September.