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Improving K’Rd

Below is a plan developed by the Waitemata Local Board working closely with the Karangahape Rd Business Association to improve the area:

K'Rd improvements

This is their accompanying text:

Over the next few decades the Karangahape Road area will experience a dramatic increase in growth, especially in the wake of the completion of the Central Rail Link. This will encourage many more people to frequent the area for shopping and entertainment – the creation of an entrance to the Underground rail Station in Mercury Lane would for example enable people from Avondale, New Lynn, and Henderson to easily travel into K Rd at night to attend theatrical performances at the Mercury Theatre . More people will live in the area as well.

In years to come the area surrounding Karangahape road will be inevitably rebuilt with higher residential units. A higher residential population is to be welcomed from every point of view – it will benefit the area economically and socially as well as improving the general environment ecologically by reducing commuting times and pollution. The increase in the number of residents in the area will probably bring a greater mix of people; at the moment there are few elderly folk or children for example but that may change swiftly after the completion of the CRL and more residential units.

The perceived and real safety and visual attractiveness of the streetscapes will be a crucial part of any development for the K Road area. In particular the volume and speed of traffic will need to be addressed. Karangahape Road is an important traffic route and the Business Association would not like bus routes (for example) to be rerouted away from the area, but certain things should be examined. Some roads in the area are prone to high traffic speeds as they have become to be virtually treated as part of the On‐Ramps for the Motorway System. These areas are very pedestrian unfriendly and it is vital that traffic calming solutions be implemented sooner than later.

This is an good summary of the challenges for the urban form of the area and the ideas on the map above are really good.

K'Rd

 

As the local board are calling for ideas for both K’Rd and Newton it would be good to get readers’ feedback on the suggestions so I’ll start the ball rolling with a couple of thoughts:

~The main entrance to the K’Rd station is planned for the top of upper Beresford St, this will involve the permanent closure of this road to through traffic [already restricted to one way onto Pitt St] and the creation of a public square around the station building which will be great, so the lower part of Beresford St will provide the road access to the buildings of Beresford and Day Sts. I find it strange the Business Association seems to be ignoring this. Only mentioning a Mercury Lane entrance.

~The connection of the abandoned motorway lane to Day St behind the old Rising Sun pub as well as to the new Grafton Gully cycleway and cyclelanes on Nelson St is a great plan. Also I think that the connection of Day St to K’Rd for traffic should be removed and this lane two-wayed back to Beresford. This should also link west across to Howe St under the existing bridge for a more direct and alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists.

~The narrowing of the top of Howe St would only be possible if the 020 bus is no longer fighting its way up that street.

~I don’t shared the Association’s enthusiasm for removing footpaths for on-street parking.

~Always yes to more street trees. But please not only palms, although I think the Nikau already on K’Rd are great.

~This area will see a rise in both residents and retail activity and the streetscape needs to improve with these changes. The CRL station will completely change the area; this will be Ponsonby’s station too [and especially Auckland Girls Grammar's], so the pedestrian amenity over the motorway should be better than just the narrow paths on the Hopetoun viaduct and the quality and liveliness of the Ponsonby/K’rd block will become more important. There is already a new major apartment building under construction in upper Howe St with surely more to come so perhaps something can be done to the terrible design failure of the block between Howe and Hereford Sts.

~Keeping the Link and other buses moving through here needs to kept in mind too. People from Ponsonby and other inner western areas will use these to connect with the much more useful and import rail system at K’Rd post CRL as well as to head into the City and Grafton and Newmarket as they do now.

~More and better pedestrian crossings are required. The really big elephant in the room with regards to traffic volumes, hinted at in the copy, is the motorway onramp at the  K’Rd and Symonds St intersection. Without this ‘attractor’ traffic volume would surely be much more manageable through these city streets. I’m sure highway purists at NZTA would be happy to close this as the city onramps all affect the effectiveness of the system and its all important flow. These are signs of the strange hybrid network that is our urban motorway. Weirdly I guess the best chance for this being closed would be if the disaster of additional lanes across the harbour were built then pressures further into the system like this onramp would probably have to be cut simply to keep the CMJ from total infarction. What a horrible price that would be to pay however.

~ I like the ambition of caping the CMJ at the two high and narrow points, however I suspect the cost and difficulty of constructing the necessary serious engineering while keeping the m’way system below functioning makes these plans unlikely to be fulfilled. I do think however that cantilevering lightweight structures from the existing structures of the Upper Queen St, Symonds St, and K’Rd bridges on either side would almost certainly be both structurally and financially viable as well as architecturally exciting and offer interesting and useful commercial space; shops, cafes, and bars etc [great views- especially form the K'Rd bridge]. Like a 21st century version of the shops on Ponte Vechio in Florence or the old London Bridge! Or more prosaically like 21stC versions of the clip-ons on the Harbour Bridge. These would provide both weather and noise protection as well as interest for pedestrians and therefore go a long way to helping to repair the severance caused by the huge place-destruction of the motorway system.

~Great ideas on new parklets and re-forged pedestrian connections are to found on the map above too; these are necessary and affordable improvements that should be explored and made quickly.

~And AT really needs to come to the cycling party by giving over the outermost lane of the over-wide and over-fast Ian McKinnon Drive to connect Upper Queen St to the northern end of the new Grafton Gully route under Newton Rd. Here. Planters, maybe some barriers, a bit of paint, and a chat with their colleagues at NZTA to form the short connection under the Newton rd bridge with a two lane: Proper joined up off road network all the way from the sea to the heart of the west!

Let us know what you think.

Skypath Open Day- TODAY!

If you’re interested in finding out about more about Skypath (particularly if you’re a local) then you might want to make your way to one of their open day sessions this Saturday. They also say they’ll have information packs available and want more feedback before a resource consent application is lodged which is likely to be in May. Further they are expecting the application will be fully notified so that people will have a chance to submit on the project as part of the consenting process, something I’m sure many of the locals will do.

Skypath Open Day

Skypath Images

Images thanks to Reset Urban Design

Caption Contest: John Key cycling

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Image source: Peter Smit (@PWMSmit) https://twitter.com/PWMSmit/status/448754406432178176/photo/1

Prime Minister John Key with Peter Smit, Councillor for Transport, City Councillor of Leidschenveen-Iepenburg, The Hague.

Comments to be funny, not rude.

Lots of cycling news

There’s been quite a bit of cycling news in the last few days (including during today) so this post is really a bit of a combination of a few of these.

The Role of Cycling in Auckland

You will recall on Tuesday my post on The Role of Cycling in Auckland. Yesterday the report was discussed by the Infrastructure Committee who also heard from Cycle Action Auckland and Generation Zero who also spoke on our behalf. My understanding is that most of the councillors on the committee were quite supportive and the herald published this part from Chris Darby

Committee deputy chairman Chris Darby, a cyclist, said other comparative cities around the world but particularly on the Pacific Rim were well ahead of Auckland in developing bikeways which raised public transport patronage by widening the catchment of buses, trains and ferries.

“We have been failing Auckland miserably – cycling is a badge of a smart city and we really need to have that badge on our lapel.”

The initial recommendations were also strengthened and ended being

That the Infrastructure Committee:
a) acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most liveable city particularly through enabling Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #3, “Move to outstanding public transport within one network” and Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #4, “Radically improve the quality of urban living”
b) working with the Auckland Development Committee, support greater financial commitment within the Long-term Plan for cycleways, including the preparation of an integrated regional implementation strategy.
c) encourage Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to explore innovative trial projects in the near-term that increase safety and attract a wider range of people to cycling
d) request staff to review baseline data monitoring and its adequacy in understanding cycling and walking contribution to transport, and further to provide recommendations on key performance indicators (kpi’s) that may then be incorporated into the Auckland Transport Statement of Intent (SOI)
e) endorse that the committee Chair writes to the Chairman of Auckland Transport forwarding the report ‘Role of Cycling in Auckland’ and communicates the Infrastructure Committee decisions on the need for a significantly enhanced effort to improved cycling infrastructure in Auckland.

At the end of the day we it’s really up to the council to provide the funding needed for AT to implement more cycle facilities so this is a good outcome.

Skypath

Hidden in today’s Finance and Performance Committee agenda was a discussion on providing additional $175,000 in funding to help complete investigations for Skypath.

  • In December 2013, the council approved a way forward for the investigation of the SkyPath project, a walking and cycle pathway to be attached to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. ATEED’s Chief Executive is sponsoring the project for the council group. ATEED is seeking additional operating budget of $175,000 in the 2013/14 financial year for investigation work that cannot be undertaken with internal resources. Some of the costs to date have been covered by ATEED’s working capital, with an understanding that the entire cost would be funded by the council.
  • In regard to the additional funding sought, approximately $50,000 is allowed for specialist legal input in addition to the in-house legal services, which is required due to the somewhat unconventional nature of the SkyPath proposal.
  • The project team also intends to provide a grant of $85,000 the Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Trust, which is a contribution to the preparation cost associated with the reports and assessments that the trust will submit in its resource consent application to the council. These materials (e.g. traffic effect report and images) will be of interest and use to the public and the Auckland Council group in future investigation and consultation.
  • Last but not least, approximately $40,000 in consultancy charge is allowed for as ATEED’s share of the total cost of the patronage projection review. The project team engaged Angus & Associates Limited to undertake surveys and develop a model to assess the likely patronage profile for SkyPath over a 20-year period. This essential work has and will continue to help understand the revenue projections to manage the council’s risks in relation to the potential underwrite. The majority of this work was undertaken in the second half of 2013. However, further targeted work is necessary in the next few months to investigate the likely peak or daily usage to assist the council in understanding these effects on the surrounding network and areas.

I understand there was some fairly robust discussion and I’ve had it reported that George Wood was mischievously trying to mislead the committee. He seems to have a real problem with Skypath and perhaps he’s talking the same line the Northcote Residents Association use that cycling can only be provided over the harbour if an additional road crossing is built. The extra funding was approved 15-4 with George Wood, Dick Quax, Cameron Brewer and Sharon Stewart opposing it.

On the issue of the Northcote Residents Association, it appears they’re continuing to run misleading information themselves in their latest newsletter. There are a couple of major ones

The Draft Issues register – despite it appearing that the issues are all outstanding, I have heard that they have all been addressed as part of the process currently going on, many of which were done last year.

Questioning Patronage Numbers – this continues to be a line that the residents use despite the numbers having been produced and checked by independent consultants. I believe another round of work is going to be done do this again.

Parking – For some reason the residents seem to think that they own the public roads and have the sole right to them. This is simply not the case however I also understand that the one of the most likely options is a residents parking scheme similar to what exists in St Marys Bay and that would address the problems.

Additional Harbour Crossing – the residents like to claim that when an additional harbour crossing happens that it would free up a lane for pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge. However if it ever happens an additional road based crossing could be decades away and even then the NZTA have said Skypath will still be needed and will become a walking connection with any extra lanes freed up being for cycling (like in Sydney)

Greens Policy announcement

I posted this morning about the greens walking and cycling to school policy. Julie Anne Genter questioned Gerry Brownlee on it today in parliament. To be honest I can’t see many kids cycling alongside a RoNS to get to school. I’m also unaware of any cycling facilities being provided in many of the RoNS projects and in the case of Waterview, most of the cycling provision is only being done because the Board of Inquiry forced the NZTA to do so. Also have to love cry at the last answer.

AA on cycling

What a brilliant ad from the UK version of the AA. Also good to see the NZ AA supporting it too (although with a hi-vis mention)

The Role of Cycling in Auckland

The council’s Infrastructure Committee meets for the first time this year on Wednesday and one of the agenda items is the Role of Cycling in Auckland (or download the PDF version)

Executive Summary

  • Auckland’s population is forecast to grow significantly over the next 30 years. This highlights the need to provide greater transport choices to achieve a more resilient, efficient and reliable transport system.
  • As the cycle network is still under development the current cycle infrastructure in Auckland does not provide a connected network of cycle ways and ranges in quality from excellent to poor. Recent cycle counts and customer surveys highlight that even with current infrastructure constraints there is a steady increase (10 percent per annum) in cycle numbers and a demand for safer and connected cycleways.
  • Attachment A outlines Auckland Transport infrastructural projects that will deliver key sections of the Auckland Cycle Network (ACN) between 2014 and 2019.
  • The ACN shown in Attachment B, developed by Auckland Transport, is the long-term blueprint for developing a well-connected, high quality cycle network. The current level of investment in cycleways will fall short of the Auckland Plan target of completing 70 percent of the ACN by 2020.
  • Cycling and cycle infrastructure contributes to wider strategic objectives of the Auckland Plan associated with economic, social, environmental, land use, transport and infrastructure goals.
  • Cycling contributes to economic development and growth by supporting urban vitality, increasing local spend and offers value for money with relatively low upfront investment.
  • In the development of the draft Long-term Plan 2015-2025 and the Regional Land Transport Plan a number of strategic decisions will be required regarding allocation of road space and funding of cycleway programmes.

Recommendation/s

That the Infrastructure Committee:

  • acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most liveable city.
  • support consideration of greater financial commitment to cycling in the draft Long-term Plan and Regional Land Transport Plan.

Ultimately this paper seems aimed at starting the discussion with the council to increase the level of funding for cycling projects in the next iteration of the Long Term Plan that the council is starting to work on. Later this year we will see a new government policy statement for transport which will set the funding bands for transport from 2015 onwards. It’s noted that the council, Auckland Transport and NZTA are all trying to get the government/ministry to increase the cycling band.

The discussion report provides a lot more information. A couple of things that stand out for me from it.

  • As noted above the Auckland Plan target is to complete 70% of the regional cycle network by 2020. It has been estimated that 30% is already place (although to a debatable standard) but crucially based on the funding in the current long term plan only 40-50% will have been completed by 2020. That’s way short of the target the council set less than two years ago. We can’t blame AT for all of this though as it is also important for the council to provide their share of the funding needed to do the work.
  • Some numbers show just how much opportunity there is for cycling, 2/3rds of all trips are less than 6km while 1/3rd are less than 2km. Those are easy cycling distances and even casual cyclists could do those distances in roughly 20 or 6 minutes respectively.
  • As we’ve reported before, AT has split the proposed cycle network up in to three categories
    • METRO – provide segregation from traffic along shared paths, off road routes and protected cycle lanes
    • CONNECTOR – are not fully segregated routes and are the more traditional cycle lanes marked by painted lines
    • FEEDER can be a mixture of segregation, shared paths and on-road routes but are located on quiet neighbourhood streets and where there are low traffic speeds. These routes link residential streets, parks and community facilities including schools. The Feeder network also aligns with Local Board Greenway proposals
  • All up the proposed cycle network will be 293km in length which can be broken down to 95 km of cycle metros, 130 km of cycle connectors and 57 km of feeder routes
  • In research done for Auckland Transport, 59% said safety was a barrier to them cycling, 79% agreed that more should be done to improve cycle safety and 55% said separated cycle facilities were a key priority.

The paper also provides some statistics that could be improved through getting more people cycling. This includes:

  • Transport emissions are up 64% on 1990 levels and the social cost of poor air quality in Auckland was estimated in 2012 at $1.07 billion per year.
  • The costs of physical inactivity in Auckland have been estimated at $402 million and cause 73 premature deaths per year.
  • That if just 5% of adults travelling less than 7km switched from driving to cycling it would:
    • Reduced vehicle travel by 223 million kilometres;
    • Saving of 22 million litres of fuel and $37 million in fuel costs; and
    • 50,000 tonnes less CO2 would be emitted and reductions in other pollutants.

Those are some pretty decent numbers.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this report to the council is that we get probably the clearest map yet of the total cycling network planned under the Metro, Connector and Feeder categories (there have been versions in plans like the ITP but they haven’t been easy to read). Remember the hierarchy is that the red lines are going to be the best and highest quality parts of the network,

Proposed Auckalnd Cycling Network

A couple of things stand out here. First in the CBD it appears we’ll get a ring of separated cycleways around the CBD – including on Neslon St and the old Nelson St offramp – however we won’t get one through it. I would have thought that the Victoria St Linear Park would have had a separated cycleway along it. Also not sure why AT wouldn’t push for there to eventually be a full separated cycleway down Queen St now appears well over provisioned in road space for cars.

Moving out of the CBD some areas seem to be quite light on particularity feeder routes. This is a worry as many of the areas missing these feeder routes are also around current or future train or busway stations. One example is my local area (below) where no cycle routes are to be found connecting the station and local primary schools (green plus a heap of secondary schools just north of this image too). There are roughly 14,000 residents in this area along with some wide roads that would be easy to put cycle lanes on if on-street parking was removed (on-street parking only really seems to get used around the school start/end times anyway). Also note the Metro route in red isn’t practical for those mainly to the west of Sturges Rd.

Sturges Lace of Cycling 1

Overall the long term cycle network is a damn sight better than what we have now but what we really need is for the council (and government) to support the construction of it. Something that will need to be pushed for in the long term plan discussions.

Cycle Safety Panel announced

In November last year after a coronial review of 13 cycling deaths Coroner Gordon Matenga said

“The best recommendation I can make to improve cycling safety in this country and to prevent further cycling deaths, is to recommend that an expert panel, drawn from stakeholders with a unique interest and expertise in cycling and road safety, be established to consider the available evidence and together, recommend the way forward for safer cycling in New Zealand,”

He also said it is something that should be done by the NZTA to ensure that central government agencies were involved.

Today the NZTA have announced the panel

The NZ Transport Agency has selected a group of ten New Zealand-based experts to develop recommendations for making the country’s roads safer for cycling.
The Transport Agency was asked to convene the panel in response to the findings of a coronial review of cycling safety in New Zealand, released in November last year by Coroner Gordon Matenga.

NZ Transport Agency Director of Road Safety Ernst Zollner said the agency had canvassed the views of a wide range of stakeholders with expertise in cycling and road safety as part of the process of establishing the panel.

“There is a huge amount of passion and a great depth of knowledge on cycling and cycle safety in New Zealand. We’re looking to harness that passion and knowledge to encourage cycling as a transport choice by making it safer. This panel is tasked with developing a comprehensive and practical set of recommendations for central and local government to achieve that.”

The panel is expected to meet for the first time next month and will aim to deliver its recommendations by the end of September.

Mr Zollner said the Transport Agency and other members of the National Road Safety Management Group would also continue existing work to improve the safety of cyclists in New Zealand by investing in separated cycle paths, improving the safety of roads and roadsides, making intersections safer, reducing vehicle speeds in urban areas to reduce the risks that motor vehicles can pose to pedestrians and cyclists and promoting safe cycling through a range of education programmes.

The Transport Agency recently launched a Share the Road education and advertising campaign designed to personalise and humanise people cycling so that motorists see beyond the bike. More information is available via www.nzta.govt.nz/about/advertising/other-advertising/share-the-road.html

New Zealand Cycle Safety Panel – Profiles

Richard Leggat (Chair)
Auckland

Richard is the Chair of Bike NZ and the New Zealand Cycle Trail and is a board member of Education NZ, SnowSports NZ, NZ Post and Tourism NZ. Richard is an enthusiastic recreational cyclist and is actively involved in his children’s sport. Following an economics degree Richard worked for apparel manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin before switching into the finance sector and working as a share broker initially in Christchurch, followed by four years in London and then Auckland.

Sarah Ulmer
Cambridge

Sarah is the first New Zealander to win an Olympic cycling gold medal, which she won in the individual pursuit at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, setting a world record. When she left Athens at the end of the Games, Ulmer held the Olympic title, the Olympic and world records, the Commonwealth Games title and the Commonwealth Games record for the 3000m individual pursuit. In mid-2011, it was announced that she would be the official ‘ambassador’ for the New Zealand Cycle Trail. In the 2005 New Year Honours, Ulmer was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to cycling.

Marilyn Northcotte
Kapiti

Marilyn has more than twenty years of involvement in cycle skills training, originally in Canada (CAN‐Bike I and II, Cycling Freedom) and has also trained in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Marilyn has developed and delivered cycle skills and road safety programmes for adults and children in a variety of settings and regularly undertakes work for councils, cycle advocacy groups, schools, holiday programmes, Police and community groups, as well as offering one‐to‐one training. Marilyn heads up the regional cycle skills training programme Pedal Ready.

Mike Noon
Wellington

Mike joined the Automobile Association in September 2005 as General Manager Motoring Affairs. Mike started his career with Mobil Oil NZ where he held the position of Marketing and Communications Manager. Immediately prior to joining the AA, Mike worked as a consultant specialising in tourism, issue management and communications. Before that Mike worked with the Office of Tourism and Sport, and as its Director saw through the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism. Road safety is a particularly important issue for the AA, and it has lobbied strongly on issues like young driver training, cell phones, alcohol and drugs and road engineering.

Dr Hamish Mackie
Auckland

Hamish is a human factors specialist with seventeen years of research and consultancy experience in a range of areas where the interaction between people, their surrounding environments and the things they use are important. Over the past eight years Hamish has focused on self-explaining roads, high risk intersections, school transport and other areas where a ‘human-centred’ perspective is essential.

Simon Kennett
Wellington

Originally a power systems engineering officer, Simon helped to found ‘Kennett Brothers Ltd’ in 1993, a business devoted to cycling books, event management, trail design and construction, and strategy development. In 2004 he co-wrote and published ‘RIDE’ – a history of cycling in New Zealand. In 2007/08 he coordinated the Cycling Advocates’ Network networking project under contract to NZTA. Since 2009 Simon has been the Active Transport and Road Safety Coordinator at Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Dr Alexandra Macmillan
Dunedin

Alex is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Health at the University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. She also holds an honorary senior research position at the Bartlett – University College London’s global faculty of the built environment. She trained in Medicine and is a Public Health Physician. Alex’s teaching and research focuses on the links between urban environments, sustainability and health. Her PhD included futures modelling of specific policies to successfully increase commuter cycling in Auckland. In London, she extended this work to understand the factors influencing trends in cycling in London and Dutch cities.

Professor Alistair Woodward
Auckland

Alistair is Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His first degree was in medicine and he undertook his postgraduate training in public health in the UK. He has a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Adelaide, and 30 years’ experience in road safety and injury research. He has studied the epidemiology of head injury, the effectiveness of helmets for cyclists, the relation between vehicle speed and injury severity, the effects on health and the environment of increasing walking and cycling, and the health impacts of transport policy. He initiated the Taupo bicycle study, which has followed 2,600 cyclists for eight years to learn about factors that promote and inhibit everyday cycling, including injury.

Axel Wilke
Christchurch

Axel holds an ME (Civil) from Canterbury University and has been active as a traffic engineer and transport planner in New Zealand since 1998. He specialises in urban traffic engineering, traffic signals, road safety, intersection design & modelling and industry training. He is a director of ViaStrada Limited, a traffic and transportation consultancy specialising in sustainable transport based in Christchurch. Clients of ViaStrada are mostly road controlling authorities in New Zealand, but some work (mostly research) is undertaken for Australian clients, for example Austroads. Axel instigated professional industry training, and the Fundamentals of Planning and Design for Cycling workshop has been taught since 2003, which is part of the curriculum at Canterbury University. Advanced courses were added later, and he has taught nearly 1,000 attendees in total.

Dr Glen Koorey
Christchurch

Glen is a Senior Lecturer in Transportation Engineering at the University of Canterbury. He has a particular interest in the areas of road safety and sustainable transport, including speed management and planning & design for cycling. Glen is a Member of the Bicycle Transportation Research Committee of the US Transportation Research Board and over the past 15 years has investigated many aspects of cycling safety in New Zealand. His wide-ranging research and consulting experience also includes sustainable transportation policies, planning & design for walking, crash data analysis, and the design and operation of rural highways.

There are some really good people on this list which is great to see. It gives me hope that we might get some really positive outcomes from this process.

CFN presentation to the AT Board

In my post yesterday about the AT board meeting I omitted discussing one crucial agenda item – although I’m sure some of you picked up on it. It was

Presentation by Cycle Action, Generation Zero and Transport Blog on cycling Auckland

Both we and Cycle Action Auckland were invited late last year by the board to present to them on the Congestion Free Network and on Cycling. Both us and CAA believe there are huge synergies to be had between PT and cycling and so we agreed to combine our presentations into one (for which we were also given additional time than had we done them separately).

I also have to say a huge thanks to Lance Wiggs and his wife Su Yin for heroically helping us last minute to vastly improve the presentation.

You can see the presentation here (7MB) but as you will see it has a lot of photos and not a lot of text.

Worlds Best City

The general thrust behind the presentation was that

  • Auckland has the right ingredients to make it one of the best cities in the world. What we need to do now is make that a reality and make Auckland more liveable.
  • On top of that there are a lot of great things going on already with the likes of Wynyard, shared spaces, electrification, integrated ticketing/fares, new bus network etc.
  • That we are at a tipping point, we’re seeing trends change with less people choosing to drive and more opting for PT, walking and cycling.
  • That investments in a more liveable city are already paying off e.g. in Fort St where Hospitality spending is up 400% since the shared spaces were created.
  • That the CFN builds on what AT is doing and does so primarily by re-prioritising the projects they already have.
  • That the CFN is much cheaper than what is currently planned which will reduce/remove the need for much of the funding shortfall that the council will need to find.
  • That the impact of the CFN can be greatly boosted by improving cycling (not just about feeding the CFN though).
  • That improvements to PT, walking and cycling can make it easier for kids to get to school, thereby helping to improve traffic.
  • That this is also what other cities are doing. As Patrick says, if a city like New York can do this stuff with the demand for space that they have then we certainly can.
  • That it doesn’t have to be done with expensive road widening.
  • That the boards leadership is needed to help make these improvements and that ultimately they are the ones responsible for/have the control to make Auckland the world’s best city.

The presentation was well received and we had a number of comments from board members afterwards saying they thought it was done very well. I could also definitely see a few of them nodding in agreement with what we were saying.

Perhaps one of the funnier moments was that we had talked about how parking needs to be addressed and that in some cases it should be removed. At the end of the presentation it was mentioned that a group from Freemans Bay were in the audience and who might disagree with us however they also approached us saying how much they agree. They could see that by improving the PT network we have that less people would want to or need to drive to inner suburbs to park their cars on residential streets (also known as hide and ride).

All up we were very happy with the outcome and the main thing is it is something that will be in the back of the minds of AT board members who will shortly be having internal discussions about their future strategy.

Now we just need to work out who we should talk to next, perhaps we should also try to present to the NZTA board (I know at least some have already heard about it).

Update: Google Drive doesn’t seem to be playing very nice with the images so have used Dropbox instead. Links updated or click here.

Dominion Rd parallel cycle routes get NZTA Funding

Some good news today that the NZTA have agreed to pay for just over half of the project to create cycle routes parallel to Dominion Rd.

The NZ Transport Agency has approved $3.2m in funding to extend Auckland’s cycling network.

The money will be used to construct cycle routes on less busy suburban streets that run parallel and adjacent to Dominion Road, one of Auckland’s busiest arterial links between the CBD and suburbs on the western side of the city and Auckland International Airport.

The Transport Agency’s funding is a 53 percent share of a $6.1m project led by Auckland Transport to provide 5-and-a-half-kilometres of cycleway on the parallel routes either side of Dominion Road.

The Regional Manager for the Transport Agency’s Planning and Investment Group, Peter Casey, says key considerations behind the Agency’s decision to provide funding include the benefits the project will deliver in terms of safety and travel choices for people.

“The Transport Agency is committed to reducing traffic congestion by providing options so that people don’t have to rely on using cars,” Mr Casey says. “The new routes will encourage more people to cycle. They will be available for less confident cyclists as an alternative to the more challenging Dominion Road, and by the large number of children living in the area.”

Auckland Transport says the funding decision is an important step for the project.

“It’s great that we can get worked started on this project,” says Auckland Transport’s Manager Community Transport, Matthew Rednall. “These are important links for growing cycling for Auckland, and for providing cycling facilities between schools and local communities.”

Construction is due to start later this year. The project includes safety upgrades at intersections, improved lighting and signage, and construction of speed humps and “islands” to slow motorised traffic.

The cycle routes are part of a much wider AT project to upgrade Dominion Road itself, which is also supported by the Transport Agency to help improve Auckland’s public transport system. 

I know this has been a fairly controversial project amongst many in the cycling community who want to see dedicated cycle infrastructure on Dominion Rd. AT say it was dropped as an option as much of Dominion Rd would have needed to be widened to accommodate it at a cost of up to $50 million. The parallel routes involve a mix of

  • New traffic lights at major intersections.
  • Destination signage.
  • Raised tables and other measures to slow vehicle traffic.
  • New sections of shared paths or widening paths.
  • New links between streets for cyclists and pedestrians.

You can see the proposed designs on this page.

Dom Rd Cycling Network

To me the biggest area that really needs to be addressed is on the eastern route at King Edward St/Burnley Tce where riders are forced to either Sandringham Rd or Dominion Rd due to there being no through route but that is something that is unlikely to be cheap either. One other small benefit of this approach is at least this part of the project appears to be starting as soon rather than having to wait for the rest of the upgrade works to happen.

Ciclovia on Quay St

Five months ago I wrote a post calling for the council to implement a regular Ciclovia event – or Sunday Streets as it’s known in the US. At the time local board member Pippa Coom said the the local board had already been working with the council on the idea and that there was a good chance one would happen. Well the great news is one is happening this Saturday.

Aucklanders will get a taste of Quay Street’s potential as a world-class waterfront boulevard this Saturday as it is closed off to traffic for the cycle-themed street carnival, ‘Ciclovia on Quay’.

Delivered by Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and Waterfront Auckland, the city’s harbour edge from Britomart Place through to Silo Park in Wynyard Quarter will be car-free for the enjoyment of people on foot, bikes, scooters and skateboards from 10am to 4pm.

An array of family-friendly cycle-themed activities will span the length of the event and will include cycling obstacle courses for all ages (bikes provided), bike decorating and bike maintenance tutorials, interactive games, face painters and a children’s carousel. The Velociteers, Auckland’s only synchronised bike dancing group are set to wow the crowd, as will a game of bike polo from the Auckland Hardcourt Bike Polo Club.

The ever popular Silo Park Markets and the Britomart Markets will be in full swing and there will also be a chance to participate in hands on, live and static displays at the Volunteer and Emergency Services expo on Queens Wharf.

The event is one of several Auckland Council place-making initiatives planned for Quay Street and aims to give Aucklanders a taste for what the Quay Street area may be like in future years. It is part of council’s long term vision to transform Auckland into the world’s most liveable city.

Mayor Len Brown says, “The new shared spaces at North Wharf and Wynyard Quarter have been an extraordinary success and it’s fantastic to see that vibrancy extending to Quay Street through events like Ciclovia on Quay. We have a unique opportunity in Auckland to merge the beating heart of the city centre with the water and Quay Street is an important part of that vision.”

Auckland Council Design Champion, Ludo Campbell-Reid adds, “We listened to the feedback from Aucklanders during consultation on the City Centre Masterplan 2012 and the Waterfront Plan 2012, which was to create a more vibrant people-focussed city and in the case of Quay Street, to reconnect the city with the harbour.”

“Currently Quay Street serves the city as a major traffic arterial but its potential for greenery and recreation and as a high-quality pedestrian amenity remains untapped. We think events such as Ciclovia on Quay are the perfect way to test Aucklanders’ appetite for the potential Quay Street has as a people-friendly world-class waterfront boulevard.”

Ciclovia (si-kli-vi-a) is a Spanish term that means ‘bike path’. The Ciclovia event has its origins in Bogotá, Columbia where every Sunday and public holiday certain main streets are blocked off to cars for runners, skaters and cyclists. Ciclovia events have become popular worldwide with many major cities following the trend. 

Ciclovia on Quay is a free event.

It’s great that this event is happening and something I hope happen on a regular basis and that grows over time to cover more of the central city along with events in other parts of the region. That will only happen if lots of people turn up for the events which is something else I hope happens although the organisers haven’t done done themselves any favours by arranging it on a day when no trains are running to Britomart due to electrification works.

Len Brown will also be at the event from 12-1:30 and will be taking a ride along the waterfront with anyone who wants to join him. I wonder if he will be kitted out in all of the hi-vis gear he wore on the Campbell Live piece the other day?

St Lukes Rd interchange to get bigger

The NZTA have awarded the contract for the “upgrading” of the St Lukes interchange and the widening of the motorway between there and Waterview. Here’s the press release:

The contract to construct the next stage of Auckland’s Western Ring Route – upgrading the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) between the St Lukes Road and Great North Road interchanges – has been awarded to the Australian-based infrastructure company, Leighton Contractors.

The $70m project is jointly funded by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport.

A two kilometre-long section of the motorway will be widened from three to four lanes in each direction. There will also be improvements to the motorway ramps and the St Lukes Road -Great North Road intersection, while the St Lukes Road overbridge spanning the motorway will be widened to benefit drivers, walkers and cyclists.

The Transport Agency’s Highways Manager, Tommy Parker, says this is the last of six projects to connect the Northwestern and Southwestern (SH20) motorways.

“The upgrade is part of our programme to get our network ready for the increased volume of traffic when the Waterview tunnels connecting the Northwestern and Southwestern (SH20) motorways are completed in early 2017,” Mr Parker says.

Work is due to start in mid-autumn and be completed by late 2016. The other projects to connect the two motorways are the upgrade of the Maioro Street interchanges (SH20) which is completed, and the upgrade of the Lincoln and Te Atatu interchanges, the Causeway Upgrade Project, and the Waterview Connection, which are all under construction.

“Leightons bring plenty of infrastructure experience to the St Lukes project. The company is part of the Causeway alliance, and has been involved in some of our biggest Auckland developments including the Northern Gateway Toll Road and the Newmarket Viaduct Replacement Project.” Mr Parker says.

The Western Ring Route is a Road of National Significance, and will provide a 47km-long alternative to SH1 between Albany and Manukau. It will improve safety and city and regional transport connections for people and freight.

The project isn’t exactly a surprise as it’s been talked about for a while and was part of the overall Waterview consenting process that occurred a few years ago. In saying that it does once again bring into the limelight the claim often made (including in the last paragraph) that the Western Ring Route is about creating another route through the region when in fact this piece of work is all about making it easier to get from the airport to the CBD. This is even mentioned in the description on the project page.

The Waterview Connection project is one of the most important infrastructure developments ever to take place in New Zealand. Completing a motorway ring route around the city, it will unlock Auckland’s potential to become a truly world class city, combatting regional congestion and creating a direct, time-saving link between the International Airport and CBD.

The part of the project that is of most interest is the widening of the motorway bridge and the sections of Gt North Rd on either side. This is especially the case as the NZTA and Auckland Transport were at one stage looking to wipe out the large mature Pohutakawa trees that line the road so they could create one additional lane all in the aim of appeasing the gods of traffic flow. This is the before and after of what they showed to the local board a few months ago and which the board weren’t happy with.

St Lukes Interchange - Tree Removal plan

The images below suggest they may have backed down on that though. As for what’s now going to be built, the NZTA say that the project includes:

  • 3 lanes on the St Lukes overbridge in both directions
  • Improved walking and cycling facilities across the bridge – you’ll be able to use both sides of the widened bridge
  • Realignment the Northwestern Cycleway

Being able to use both sides of the bridge will be good but that seems to be the only thing.

Here’s what it will look like from above and facing south (click to enlarge)

St Lukes Interchange plan

Immediately there are a couple of major issues I see and they primarily relate to the intersection with Gt North Rd. Amazingly the NZTA and Auckland Transport are actually going to remove some of the few bits of existing pedestrian priority that currently exist. A person wanting to get from the eastern side of St Lukes Rd (where the carpark is) to MOTAT or Western Springs first has to battle their way across to the traffic island if they can find a gap in traffic thanks to the removal of the existing zebra crossing. Then instead of a simple trip across to the northern side of Gt North Rd they have to cross to the eastern side of St Lukes Rd and wait again to get across Gt North Rd.

St Lukes Interchange plan - Ped changes

It’s pretty clear that the primary focus of this project is about making it easier to drive at the expense of other modes. The extra lanes on the bridge are an attempt to squeeze a few more cars through the area. On westbound off-ramp there is also an additional queuing lane which will only serve to funnel extra volumes off the motorways and onto the local streets. It seems to be the typical ‘give every type of movement its own lane’ type approach that only ends up making life easier for cars. By in large everything seems very much the same business as usual crap we’ve seen for decades throughout Auckland.