Waiting a century for a cycleway

The Wellington to Hutt Road is, and has been for a quite long time, one of the most popular and important cycle routes in New Zealand’s urban areas. It connects a busy downtown area with large suburban areas in the Hutt Valley, via a scenic harbour front. It’s also a rare flat route in a hilly city where cycling is relatively popular by New Zealand standards.

Given this, you’d expect there to be a safe, separated cycleway of adequate width squeezed somewhere in between the road and rail line. Unfortunately, you would be wrong.

If you’re headed northbound from Wellington to the Hutt Valley, you are required to squeeze into a narrow strip between two lanes of traffic and a vertiginous hillside. Some green paint has been provided along some parts of the route, as shown in the Google Street View:

Wellington to Petone cycleway 3

I haven’t cycled this route, but if I was headed this way by bike I’d probably take the train to Melling and cycle north from there. It just doesn’t feel safe.

The southbound route seems a bit better, as a narrow strip of tarmac has been fenced off between the motorway and the rail tracks. This is helpful for people cycling to Wellington, but I’ve heard that it sometimes causes dangerous confusion for northbound cyclists who get on the separated path in Wellington and then find themselves tipped out against oncoming motorway traffic near Petone:

Wellington to Petone cycleway 2

 

Unfortunately, the Wellington to Hutt Road has been disappointing people on bikes for a very long time. The Kennett Brothers fantastic book Ride: The Story of Cycling in New Zealand provides some background. Over a century ago, when cycling was a main mode of transport for many urban New Zealanders, there were Parliamentary debates over what should be done to improve the road for cycling, and working bees to remove sharp objects from the preexisting gravel cycle path. However, nothing much got done:

“When roads were improved for motorists, it was not always agreed that the cyclist should share them. Around the time of the First World War, some of the main Hutt Valley roads were bitumen sealed, but a by-law was passed forbidding cyclists from riding on them. On the main Hutt-Wellington route, cyclists and horses were forced to share a metalled path strewn with sharp objects from the nearby railway line. In one novel attempt to clean it up, a nail finding competition was won by a boy who bagged 391 of the total 1843 nails found on the path.”

The Kennetts dug up this old picture of the Wellington to Hutt cycleway in 1978, after almost a century of neglect:

Hutt Road bicycle path in 1978

The route is better today – the northbound cycle path is at least paved – but as the Google Street View shows, it’s still a far cry from a safe separated cycleway. The good news is that the NZTA’s new Urban Cycleways Programme looks like it will finally upgrade the route to an adequate standard.

One of the key projects in Wellington is the “Melling to CBD” cycleway, which seems to include an upgrade of the areas I’ve highlighted above:

Wellington-To-Hutt-Valley-urban-cycleways-map

I haven’t seen any detailed designs for the project yet, but the NZTA states that:

This project will provide a high quality cycleway between Melling and Wellington’s CBD, significantly improving the level of service for both cyclists and pedestrians. It will offer a safer and more attractive route for journeys between home and work or educational institutions, and will pay particular attention to how cyclists travel through intersections.

These additional facilities are expected to encourage new, less confident people to cycle as well as catering to the high numbers of people who use this route already.

Hopefully, this project will finally fix the longstanding issues with cycling on this road. The city has waited over a century for a safe cycling route between Wellington and the Hutt Valley – it would be a shame to prolong the wait any longer.

Lastly, I’m sure that many other roads in New Zealand have long-standing challenges for safe cycling. What other issues have you noticed, and how long have you been waiting for a solution?

SkyPath: Councillor v Advocate

Brewer v Reynolds

 

NBR Radio

In which Councillor Cameron Brewer tries extremely hard to find a possible cost to ratepayers in a privately funded and user pays addition to our transport networks, while ignoring the real cost of $13m to ratepayers for a free-to-use walking and cycle project in his ward [just one example].

Here at transportblog we are very keen on value for money for all publicly funded projects, which means every single transport project in the land. Except one. The SkyPath. To campaign that this project is some kind of burden on ‘the poor suburban ratepayer’ is so silly as to be beyond parody.

Ratepayers’ watchdogs play a potentially valuable role. But they need to be coherent and consistent, oh and factually accurate. Especially when they are taking a ratepayers salary to do it. Here Brewer is complaining about a user pays route but ignoring the fully subsidised one that happens to run through his ward. So either he really has no idea what’s going on or is being more than a little deceitful in order to score some kind of political point.

Don’t get me wrong, I am entirely in favour of both the taxpayer and ratepayer funding of the Eastern Connections route, but also think the SkyPath should be so funded. And it is also clear which route costs ratepayers more. A certain $13 million versus a possible future liability.

Basically the people of Auckland are getting a huge bargain with the SkyPath. Either it costs nothing, or a much lower sum than it would if funded like every road, bus lane, train station, or cycleway in the city. And this doesn’t even begin to calculate the years of free work contributed by those who have made it happen. And all to make up for what is essentially an institutional failure in transport provision. SkyPath is listed as the region’s most import Active route yet our current institutions weren’t able to get started on it themselves, somehow.

Perhaps it really is time Councillor Brewer took his financial expertise into the private sector…?

The busiest days to cycle

A month or so ago Auckland Transport kindly provided me with some data from their automated cycle counters that have been installed on a number of sites around the city. The data shows how many people on bikes passed each of the sites for each day up to the end of May and for some of the sites the data goes as far back as later 2010. Peter recently looked at the data from the Grafton Gully and Beach Rd cycleways and over a few posts I intend to take a look at the other ones as well as the two Peter covered from a few different angles.

All up there are 19 counters spread across the region.

  • Beach Rd
  • Dominion Rd
  • East Coast Rd
  • Grafton Bridge
  • Grafton Gully
  • Highbrook
  • Lake Rd
  • Lagoon Dr
  • Karangahape Rd
  • Mangere Bridge
  • NW Cycleway – Kingsland
  • NW Cycleway Te Atatu
  • Orewa
  • SH20 Dominion Rd
  • Symonds St
  • Tamaki Dr
  • Twin Streams
  • Upper Harbour

These maps from AT show where they are.

Cycling Counter Locations - Region

Cycling Counter Locations - City

To start with, for this post I’m going to look at how the number of people cycling changes over the course of a week. For this I’ve averaged the results out by day and the data is from November 2014 to the end of April which is the peak cycling season. I’ve done it over this time period as it’s one where data is available for all counters.

As you can see by far Tuesdays are the most frequent days for cycling while Saturdays the least frequent.

Daily Cycling Averages - All Sites

 

 

The relative strength of Sundays surprised me a bit and as such I suspected it is the result of some routes having quite significant differences in use. Looking at the data confirmed this and it seems the various routes can be split into one of three rough categories, weekday commuter sites, sites with fairly even usage all week and sites that see much greater weekend recreational use. The results of these are shown below.

First up the weekday commuter routes and you can see that each generally sees a significant drop off in usage on the weekends. The highest in here is the NW cycleway at Kingsland which averages well over 700 per day on Tuesdays and in fact in the height of summer is averages close to 1,000 per day.

Daily Cycling Averages - Weekday Sites

Next up the sites that while they may have some peaks, generally don’t see a significantly noticeable change over the course of the week. Unsurprisingly the star here is Tamaki Dr which doubles as both a strong commuter route during the week and sees a lot of recreational use on the weekends.

Daily Cycling Averages - All Week Sites

Here are the sites that see a clear increase in usage on weekends. The Mangere Bridge, Orewa and Upper Harbour sites are very noticeable with this – I suspect the former being families with the later more weekend warrior types.

Daily Cycling Averages - Weekend Sites

All up some quite interesting data and results and as mentioned I’ll look at the data in some different ways it in separate posts. Is there anything you’d particularly like to see?

Lastly I understand detailed before and after monitoring is a key requirement as part of the Urban Cycleways funding so I expect that over time AT/NZTA will roll out more and more of these automated counters. I also expect that in the coming years as new routes get completed and linked together we should start to see a bit of a network effect happening.

 

Can Carlton Gore be a template for more of Auckland

The new cycle lanes on Carlton Gore Rd open this week – and the picture below from Auckland Transport on Twitter yesterday shows them nearly completed and looking great – although the Herald is already complaining about the new layout even though it isn’t finished.

Carlton Gore Rd Result

There are more details showing what’s being done in Carlton Gore Rd here and the image below shows what’s planned in this section.

Carlton Gore Rd 2

Of course as some parts of the lanes aren’t protected and outside the parked cars, this has already happened.

With a new found focus on cycling – including from the government – perhaps AT needs to start looking at how they could start retrofitting the roads across large swathes of the city quickly, cheaply and easily to leverage off the big investments they are making. That means they need to be able to avoid lengthy consultations with residents arguing about parking and they need solutions that don’t involve large amounts of construction work. Some of this will likely need to make use of some of the tactical urbanism tools Mike Lydon talked about last week. I’ve also talked before about how many of our suburbs built over the last few decades actually have very few cars parked on the street due to each property having often large amounts of off street parking.

Roads tend to have a variety of different sizes and their width depends on a lot of factors however it appears many of the arterials in the suburbs tend to be in the range of 10-13 metres wide between the kerbs (excluding four lane roads). Moving kerbs will be expensive on a large scale so that got me thinking, perhaps they need to come up with a couple of template designs – perhaps using Carlton Gore as an example – that could fit between existing kerbs. That template could then easily be rolled out across the city for very little cost i.e. if the road is 13m wide between the kerbs then there is protected cycle lanes and parking on one side.  A 10m wide road might have just painted lanes with no parking and perhaps some flexi posts to help delineate the cycle lane.

So just how many roads do we have over 10m wide? Kent helped me put this image together showing all of them in Auckland and as you can see there are quite a lot.

10m wide lanes

While I realise not every street on here would be able to or need to have cycle infrastructure it doesn’t stop us dreaming it could all be exist.

p.s. AT need to address how locals deal with their rubbish bins as the ones in the first image appear to be blocking the footpath – or at least taking up a lot of room.

Photo of the Day: Commercial Quaxing

Here is the caterer taking away the empty bottles from a wedding celebration attended by my sister in Copenhagen over the weekend [thanks Amanda]:

Quaxing in Cpipenhagen

 

Bring on the Cycleways

Yesterday the John Key and Simon Bridges announced the planned cycling investment throughout New Zealand for the next three years and pleasingly it represents a massive increase on anything we’ve seen before. There are two primary reasons for this increase in funding.

  • One of the government’s election promises was to create a $100 million Urban Cycleway Fund (UCF) to be spent over four years. The first year of projects (well half year really) totalling just under $10 million was launched in January and this announcement constitutes the remainder of the funding.
  • The NZTA are spending significantly more money from the National Land Transport Fund (which comes from fuel taxes, road user charges, licencing fees etc.). This funding is governed by the Government Policy Statement (GPS) which was confirmed at the end of last year and sets funding bands

In effect this is the first announcement of what’s inside the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) which is the three year programme of transport activities that will be funded throughout the country and ties in with regional land transport programmes – which AT consulted on at the beginning of the year. I understand the rest of the NLTP funding will be announced next week.

The funding announced today is broken up by city below

NLTP 2015-15 cycling

We knew the urban cycleways funding was coming – and the government deserves credit for seeing it fully implemented – however as mentioned above the NZTA are also spending a lot more money. To highlight just how much of an increase in spending this $107m from the NLTF is, in the 2012-15 NLTP there was $53 million allocated for walking and cycling. That’s less than half what this announcement contains and itself was a 27% increase above the 2009-12 GPS. So even without the urban cycleway funding the level of money available for cycling has increased dramatically. Add in that remaining $90 million from the UCF and it represents significant increases in spending from Central Government.

One interesting aspect I’ve also noticed is that the $107 million from the NLTF is actually higher than the upper limit of the funding band in the GPS – if only they would also do that to PT funding.

The money shown above is going towards 41 separate projects.  Below are just the Auckland projects however you can see a table of all of them here. It’s worth noting that what’s shown only represents the projects where joint funding is taking place, a lot more cycle facilities will be delivered as part of other projects too. In addition the council have voted to significantly increase spending on cycling and that means it will be funding some projects on its own. It would be interesting to know just how much more network we could have had rolled out if were were able to at least get a 50% contribution from the NZTA for those other projects. The Auckland projects are split into four categories.

NLTP 2015-15 cycling - Auckland Projects

And here’s a map of the projects

Auckland urbancycleways map 2015-18

We’ve talked about many of these projects before and it’s really great that we should be seeing all of this within just three years. One new part I also really like is the addition of two programmes to link up the surrounding areas of New Lynn and Glen Innes to their train stations as well as other local amenities. I think that will be really useful in getting more people cycling not just to those town centres but also to catch trains and buses.

Quay St cycleway impression

An artist impression of a cycleway on Quay St that will be built within 3 years

Here’s Bridges and Key after making the announcement.

All up a great announcement and one that should see some major progress on improving cycling facilities in Auckland – and elsewhere around the country. After years and years of pushing for more funding it’s finally starting to arrive which is a testament to all the people who pushed so hard for a better future. Let’s just hope the various transport agencies have the capacity and capability to deliver all of these projects.

Next up – perhaps even today – we should hear if Skypath will be approved.

Making some quick and easy cycling improvements

I believe that as a city we should take every opportunity we have to retrofit the city with better and more inclusive infrastructure. That means any time we dig up a road for “an upgrade” or even when a road is resealed we need to be thinking about how we can add cycling infrastructure (this also applies to walking and PT infrastructure too). It also means implementing quick wins where ever possible. Below are a few examples of where I think we’re missing easy opportunities to do that.

Chivalry Rd

When I ride to work I try to avoid the utter mess that is Wairau Rd as much as possible – the part around Tristram Ave is particularly bad as the lanes are narrow and drivers are often distracted while also changing lanes etc. Instead travel further along Glenfield Rd and use Chivalry Rd to bypass the worst of Wairau Rd. Using this route adds just over 1km to my journey but it feels much safer thanks to more space in on the road and much less traffic.

Chivalry Rd vs Wairau Rd

The map above shows the Wairau route in blue and the Chivalry route in red. Just because the latter feels the safest of the two, that doesn’t mean it’s great for cycling and can’t be improved. In the last week or so work has started on upgrading the intersection with Chartwell Dr/Diana Dr. I assumed that this would be good as it should mean improved cycle facilities at least around the intersection. This is especially so seeing as the route appears on AT’s proposed cycle network map as a connector route as shown in the yellow circle in the image below. In addition there are two schools nearby – just 100m and 300m away (Glenfield Primary & Glenfield Intermediate). The schools are shown in yellow on the map above.

Chivalry Rd cycle map

The image below shows how the intersection looks today. The only thing really noticeable with it – and it doesn’t seem all that bad – is that Chartwell and Diana Dr are slightly offset from each other meaning that drivers have to slightly turn the steering wheel when travelling north/south through it. Unrelated but one additional thing about the intersection is that it runs with a Barnes Dance for pedestrians. That’s something that’s quite rare outside the central city.

Chivalry Rd Intersection Current

I was hoping the change would add in some cycle infrastructure decent enough to get local kids riding to school, after all both proudly display on their fences that they’re a Travelwise school with the primary school a gold Award winner and the intermediate school a silver award winner. As such I asked AT for the plans seeing as there was nothing on their website. The image below shows what is being done and frankly it’s disappointing (click to enlarge) note: this image is effectively rotated 90° clockwise to the image above.

Chivalry Rd Intersection Future

AT say that because Chartwell Ave and Diana Drive approaches are offset slightly it creates safety and efficiency problems and so this project is to address that. Safety issues I can understand however efficiency is just a code word for “a few cars have to queue at the lights.

To make these changes it’s also required the removal of one house (Number 107 in the aerial photo) – the left over land not needed for the intersection works will be left as just a landscaped area. By transport standards the project isn’t hugely expensive at $1.3 million but it’s still a sizeable amount of money as I don’t think that includes the purchase of the house which I understand took place in the old North Shore City Council days. Still, removing a house when housing is such a hot topic doesn’t seem like the best idea AT’s ever had.

However back to the original topic, while the works are primarily on Chartwell Ave it doesn’t appear that a single bit of cycle infrastructure is going in anywhere near this intersection even though this would be the perfect time to implement some. That’s disappointing and means that at some unknown time in the future AT will have to go back and create more disruption to do that. It’s also quite telling that we can seemingly so easily through money down to change an intersection on safety and efficiency grounds but it’s so difficult to do the same with walking, cycling or public transport infrastructure.

One last point on this particular intersection, AT say that they and the local board are funding the project as it was way down the priority list so didn’t qualify for a subsidy from the NZTA. Surely if it’s way down on the priority list that’s a good sign it’s not, well a priority. Also after a brief discussion with a local board member it appears that they too weren’t that on pushing the project forward but that it was AT who came to the board to push it. Is this a case of some engineer trying to get an old scheme across the line?

Hobsonville Rd

Another part of my route home takes me along Hobsonville Rd. Since the motorway opened a few years ago the traffic on Hobsonville Rd has dropped dramatically and combined with a fairly wide single lane road used very infrequently for car parking it should be quite easy to start installing some cycle infrastructure. Perhaps the most pressing place to start on this would be the uphill section between Westpark Dr and Luckens Rd. One unique feature is that over the ~400m heading up the hill there are just two driveways as most of the houses are accessed from other locations.

Yet despite no demand from nearby houses there almost always tends to be a handful of cars parked on this section. The cause of is even visible in the image below from Streetview – cars parked for sale. An on road cycle lane could effectively be created up the hill for price of a few yellow lines of paint (note: there are also signs on other parts of Hobsonville Rd saying no car sales but not here).

Hobsonville Rd - For Sale Parking

Moire Rd

Another easy to add route would be Moire Rd. A section of the road was recently dug up and rebuilt – which is good as the surface was terrible and like other routes on here is also on AT’s cycle map yet despite being fairly wide and without much demand for on street parking the road was re-instated without any cycle provision. As you can see from the images below there is quite a bit of space to do so. Also note that the empty looking land to the right of the image is one of the pieces of land the government have identified to be developed. It would be good to get some cycling provision in before anything happens with that.

Moire Rd

Westgate Dr

Lastly we have Westgate Dr. This road was subjected to protracted fight between the developer and the council however that’s now resolve and the road is open. The road is significant as it connects to the Westgate shopping centre at one end and runs is right through the middle of an SHA which is being developed.

Westgate Dr Aerial

The first houses are already starting to go in and given the development that’s planned it would surely make sense for AT to get in there now and implement some cycle lanes before people move in and have an expectation of the entire street having free on-street parking. The thing is the road is probably wide enough to have cycle lanes plus parking on one side as you can see in the image below with Westgate in the distance. A quick and easy win (although of course I would prefer protected cycle lanes).

Westgate Dr

What do you think, where are the quick easy cycle wins in your area and what examples of missed opportunities do you have.

The Worlds Most Bike Friendly Cities

A few days ago Copenhagenize released their index for the worlds most bike friendly cities.

The Copenhagenize Index gives cities marks for their efforts towards re-establishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. The interest in taking the bicycle seriously as transport once again continues unabated around the world. Every city used to be bicycle friendly before planners and engineers started to change the paradigm and plan for cars and relegate bicycle users, pedestrians and public transport users to third class citizens. Now those cities around the world who are taking up the challenge and modernising themselves by implementing bicycle infrastructure, policy, bike share systems, etc. – as well as restricting car use – are the cities we all look to for New Century inspiration.

All up 122 cities around the world were ranked and primarily they are cities with a regional population of over 600,000 people. I have no idea if Auckland was even ranked but if it was, it certainly wouldn’t have been in the top 20 which are below. This year Copenhagen slipped ahead of Amsterdam for the first time as the most bike friendly.

Copenhagenize Index 2015

There are 13 different categories and each city gets a score between 0 and 4 in 13 different categories plus potentially 12 bonus points for particularly impressive efforts or results. The 13 categories are below.

Advocacy:
How is the city’s (or region/country) advocacy NGO(s) regarded and what level of influence does it have?
Rated from no organised advocacy to strong advocacy with political influence.

Bicycle Culture:
Has the bicycle re-established itself as transport among regular citizens or only sub-cultures?
Rated from no bicycles on the urban landscape/only sporty cyclists to mainstream acceptance of the bicycle.

Bicycle Facilities:
Are there breadline accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc?
Rated from no bicycle facilities available to widespread and innovative facilities.

Bicycle Infrastructure:
How does the city’s bicycle infrastructure rate?
Rated from no infrastructure/cyclists relegated to using car lanes to high level of safe, separated cycle tracks.

Bike Share Programme:
Does the city have a comprehensive and well-used bike-sharing programme?
Rated from no bike share programme to comprehensive, high-usage programme.

Gender Split
What percentage of the city’s cyclists are male and female?
Rated from overwhelming male to an even gender split or more women than men cycling.

Modal Share For Bicycles:
What percentage of modal share is made up by cyclists?
Rated from under 1% to over 25%.

Modal Share Increase Since 2006:
What has the increase in modal share been since 2006 – the year that urban cycling started to kick off?
Rated from under 1% to 5%+.

Perception of Safety:
Is the perception of safety of the cyclists in the city, reflected in helmet-wearing rates, positive or are cyclists riding scared due to helmet promotion and scare campaigns?
Rated from mandatory helmet laws with constant promotion of helmets to low helmet-usage rate.

Politics:
What is the political climate regarding urban cycling?
Rated from the bicycle being non-existent on a political level to active and passionate political involvement.

Social Acceptance:
How do drivers and the community at large regard urban cyclists?
Rated from no social acceptance to widespread social acceptance.

Urban Planning:
How much emphasis do the city’s planners place on bicycle infrastructure – and are they well-informed about international best practice?
Rated from car-centric urban planners to planners who think bicycle – and pedestrian – first.

Traffic Calming:
What efforts have been made to lower speed limits – for example 30 km/h zones – and generally calm traffic in order to provide greater safety to pedestrians and cyclists?
Rated from none at all to extensive traffic-calming measures prioritising cyclists and pedestrians in the traffic hierarchy.

I imagine that if ranked, Auckland would score fairly lowly in most of these measures however with around $200 million planned to be spent by the council and NZTA on cycling in Auckland in the next three years plus projects like Skypath then it will start to make a considerable difference.

AT proposed cycleways 2015-18 v2

 

Northcote Cycling Outcome

Last week Auckland Transport finally released the outcome of their consultation to the Northcote Walking and Cycling improvements that started in July last year. All up 5.2km of improvements were proposed starting from Taharoto Rd and going all the way through to the Northcote Ferry Terminal and would also be a very useful route once Skypath is complete. The improvements consist of a mixed bag of shared paths, on road cycle lanes (with varying degrees of protection) and traffic calming.

Northcote Safecycle Overview

All up Auckland Transport received 790 pieces of feedback which included one submission containing a petition with 1,400 signatures. By far the biggest issue that was raised was by local residents complaining about the loss of carparks on Queen St. Others also complained that adding cycle lanes would make congestion worse, that AT should first wait for the decision on Skypath, that AT hadn’t done enough research or presented alternative routes, that it would cost too much, that cycling is already safe in the area therefore no changes are needed, using the old chestnut of “there’s not enough cyclists to justify it”.

The feedback report contains a lot more information on the submissions including excepts from many of them. I actually had to stop reading the report due to some of the comments being so absurd I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so in the end I just ended up frustrated. In saying that one of my favourite is one suggesting that parking is needed because school children rely on having parking close to the cinema.

Of course while not a formal submission we also can’t forget local councillor George Wood’s efforts including that we can’t do anything because of a historic concrete road.

Following the feedback AT have made a number of changes with the most major one being a complete redesign of their plans for section 4 on the map above. It means that the will now only remove 14 carparks instead of 150 and in addition a further 10 will be created using angle parking on one of the side roads off Queen St. The redesign sees buffered cycle lanes replaced by a combination of raised tables to slow vehicles and sharrows – painted bike symbols meant to signify that cars and bike share the road.

Speed table sharrows

And here’s what they’ like in the road environment

Queen St Northcote Tables and Sharrows

I’m yet to be convinced these will make the road safe enough that parents would be willing to let their kid rid on the road unsupervised – which I think is how we should judge the success of all cycling projects.

In other parts of the project the changes made are much more minor and include things like having cycle lanes go behind a traffic island for a pedestrian crossing rather than forcing cyclists out and around it, a speed table on Queen St just north of Stafford Rd etc.

My biggest concerns about the project remain

  • the area around the Queen St/Onewa Rd/Lake Rd intersection where cyclists are dumped out on to the road or will need to use the footpath
  • the other main intersections, for example the intersection of Northcote Rd and Lake Rd (below) – again would you let a child cross those roads
  • the quite substantial amounts of shared paths on Lake Rd and Northcote Rd – in some cases there are even shared paths despite being parking protected cycle lanes.

Northcote - Lake Rd intersection

As I said a mixed bag, some parts are ok but others not so much.

However coming back to Queen St it seems even these changes are still getting people upset and that includes Health Minister Jonathan Coleman who lives on the street.

Dr Coleman, who is the MP for Northcote and lives on Queen St, sees no need for the tables on a road he says carries little traffic and is already safe for cyclists.

The leisure cyclist, who also holds the Cabinet’s sports and recreational portfolio, is pleased residents’ parking concerns have been “partially listened to” but disappointed they were not consulted on the speed tables.

“They are suddenly, without any consultation, going to introduce a whole lot of defacing traffic-calming measures, which are just totally unnecessary,” he said.

“Cars will come up to them, brake, then accelerate off them – it’s a nightmare.”

“It’s good for there to be safe cycling, but parts of this – especially the Queen St stuff – are unnecessary because cycling there is already safe.”

I’d suggest that Coleman is only considering the safety of the road from his own perspective as a confidant cyclist and not thinking about how an 8 year old or an 80 year old might feel using the street. It’s also crazy that has Health Minister he’s not pushing for  these to be better considering the benefits that encouraging more people to be active provides. It’s odd as he has been a bit more supportive of getting more people cycling in the past but that seems to have been worn away by his neighbours unhappy at not having a free carpark outside their house (even if they have off street parking).

Assuming the likes of Coleman don’t get AT to rethink the project again then it is expected to cost about $4 million and constructionwill start in the middle of next year.

Bike Rave – May 2015

Last night the first official Auckland Bike Rave was held (the earlier one was just a trial). It had been delayed a week after rain the week before and thankfully the weather held out this time. Around 300 people young and old turned up for the event which started in Mission Bay and made its way to the Harbour Bridge – with a detour around the Viaduct due to the Wynyard bridge being closed due to maintenance. A number of bikes also had trailers to carry speakers to add to the atmosphere.

Bike Rave Route

Overall it was a fantastic event and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and it seems so too did those we passed. On the way there were a lot of toots and cheers from passing cars. Through the city there were lots of smiles as people enjoyed the site lots of lots of bikes decked out in colourful lights and many in costumes. I happened to be wearing a suit and one of my favourite comments from someone not on a bike was “How can you ride a bike in a suit”. In many ways it highlights that one of the issues we have is that cycling is seen by many as an activity only undertaken by those wearing Lycra and doing long rides.

Bike Rave Bike 1

One of the bikes decked out in colour

One of the most impressive bikes was probably that ridden by our friend Niko made a large scorpion like contraption to hold up a disco ball.

Here’s a video I made of all riders passing by along Tamaki Dr. In real time it took about 7 minutes for everyone to pass by across the three waves of people.

There are some more photos on twitter and facebook. If you have some photos or videos please chuck them or links to them in the comments below. Overall it was a great event and one day it would be great to be able to continue on over the harbour bridge thanks to Skypath.

Lastly I’d like to a huge thanks to those who organised the event. A lot of time and effort goes in to planning events like this not to mention wrangling 300 people. Also thanks to the sponsors Lescykill

p.s. the next event will be some time after winter.