New data on cycling

We’re always on the lookout for interesting new pieces of transport data. Smartphone apps and automated trip counters provide an increasing amount of usable, timely data that can tell us how, where, and (at times) why we’re travelling.

Moreover, transport agencies are increasingly open about publishing their data and opening it up for others to analyse. For instance, Auckland Transport now publishes data from dozens of automated cycle counters on its website, allowing organisations like Bike Auckland and Transportblog to track and analyse the benefits of investment in safe, separated cycleways.

But transport agencies aren’t the only people with data. I recently ran across two interesting sources of data on cycling that are being collected and published by private companies.

First, Strava, a social network that allows cyclists and runners to track their routes and publish them online, recently published a global map of user-submitted cycling routes. While Strava is targeted more towards athletes (or at least weekend warriors) than everyday cycle commuters, it still provides an interesting glimpse into where some people are cycling. (But not all!)

Here’s Auckland. This map pretty clearly shows the impact of recreation/sports cycling – although major commuter routes like Lake Road, Tamaki Drive, and the Northwestern Cycleway show up strongly, so does Scenic Drive in the Waitakeres, which is definitely not a common commuting route:

strava-auckland-map

Here’s Christchurch – again, some of the same patterns, with hilly rides to the south of the city showing up stronger than cycling within the city:

strava-christchurch-map

And here’s Wellington. Perhaps not surprisingly, the busiest Strava corridors are on the flat areas around the edge of the harbour, and the ride up to the Hutt Valley:

strava-wellington-map

Second, I happened to find out that the data from the automated cycle counter that AT installed on the Quay St cycleway is published online by Eco-Counter, alongside data from a whole bunch of similar counters around the world. (The only similar counter in NZ is in Hastings.)

The data shows daily trips on the Quay St cycleway. We’ve just ticked over 41,000 trips, or an average of 574 per day since it opened:

eco-counter-quay-st

That’s pretty good for Auckland, but Eco-Counter’s data also shows how much better we could be. For instance, here’s a cycle counter in Freiburg, Germany, which I wrote about after a visit last December. They get an average of 9,134 cycle trips per day passing by their city centre counting point:

eco-counter-freiburg

Closer to home, here’s a cycle counter in Darebin, a middle-suburban part of Melbourne, that gets more trips a day than Quay St – 1,340 cyclists a day on average. If the Australians can manage that in the ‘burbs, why can’t we?

eco-counter-darebin

As always, discussion is encouraged! Also, if you have any additional sources of interesting data, leave them in the comments.

August-16 Cycling Stats

The cycleway stats for August are now available and there are some fantastic results. Here are a few highlights but they are not the only ones.

The NW cycleway at Kingsland continues it’s impressive improvement

aug-16-cycling-monthly-kingsland-annual

Further up the line the counter at Te Atatu has been seeing great growth since the new Te Atatu Rd underpass opened just before Christmas last year. During August there were a whopping 76% more trips recorded here than the same time last year.

aug-16-cycling-monthly-te-atatu-annual

The increase on the NW Cycleway is also flowing through to Grafton Gully which saw a 52% increase on August last year.

aug-16-cycling-monthly-grafton-gully-monthly

 

Here is a summary of the counters compared to last year

Site

August count

August 7-day ADT August weekday ADT August weekend and public holiday ADT % change from same month previous year 12-month rolling total

% change from previous year

Beach Rd

8,216

265 291 191 38.5% 106,246

NA

Carlton Gore Rd

5,624

181 216 81 NA 69,716

NA

Curran St

5,825

188 159 271 NA  

NA

East Coast Rd

3,198

103 92 136 -6.1% 46,745

2.9%

Grafton Bridge

14,894

480 565 239 11.6% 188,767

12.9%

Grafton Gully

9,762

315 339 247 52.2% 118,339

NA

Grafton Rd

2,420

78 92 39 NA  

NA

Great Sth Road

2,299

74 76 69 -8.9% 31,386

-2.9%

Highbrook

977

32 33 27 -2.1% 13,678

-6.3%

Hopetoun St

4,225

136 166 50 NA  

NA

K Rd

14,578

470 538 276 4.7% 187,343

NA

Lagoon Dr

4,280

138 115 203 -7.4% 56,667

-8.0%

Lake Road

7,752

250 256 232 2.6% 102,604

4.1%

Mangere Bridge

7,620

246 193 397 -21.0% 144,070

-1.1%

Mangere Future Streets

1,035

33 35 30 NA  

NA

Nelson St cycleway

9,368

302 341 190 NA  

NA

Nelson St Lightpath

11,436

369 376 348 NA  

NA

NW Cycleway (Kingsland)

18,039

582 652 379 37.6% 222,214

21.5%

NW Cycleway (Te Atatu)

14,602

471 431 585 76.4% 167,857

25.6%

Orewa

7,983

258 202 417 1.1% 118,829

5.9%

Quay St Vector Arena

28,037

904 900 916 NA  

NA

Quay St Totem

18,510

597 589 620 NA  

NA

SH20 Dom Rd

2,870

93 86 111 19.1% 38,991

21.0%

Symonds St

10,884

351 422 147 -4.2% 141,039

NA

Tamaki Dr

32,224

1,039 1,012 1,118 11.7% 427,995

6.7%

Te Wero Bridge

13,631

440 391 579 39.1% 187,907

NA

Twin Streams

2,874

93 68 165 26.8% 42,477

0.8%

Upper Harbour

3,776

122 81 239 11.0% 55,436

1.9%

Upper Queen St

3,824

123 138 81 NA  

NA

Victoria St West

2,791

90 99 64 NA  

NA

 

Dear City, I’m in love again

This is a guest post from reader Isabella

I’ve been with Wellington for a while. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s over 30 years together. Notwithstanding some flings with other cities, I’ve been faithful to you. But I can’t pretend I’ve not yearned for a few things you don’t have (like decent PT, some real bike infrastructure), and some things you’ll never have (better weather, lots of little tree-lined beaches).

But after that night, Wellington….

Ohhh, yeah.

Wellington, I’ve fallen for you again – better and more than ever!

That night… I went on a progressive dinner party, traversing the city by hired e-bike between Wellington on a Plate restaurants and bars.

Love City 1

À La Carless – the progressive dinner by e-bike – took 14 of us from Switched On Bikes on the waterfront, to entrées at Nam-D’s fairy-lit “hawker stall” on Tory St, up to mains, wine and desserts at Salty Pidgin in Brooklyn, back to sea level and Charley Noble on Post Office Square for cocktails. It was cold, drizzly, and a light southerly; from start to finish, we progressive diners had the time of our lives.

The Wellingtonista has a great full-spectrum review, but here’s what made one woman glow on her date with Wellington

The “progressive” part of “progressive dinner”

Oh, those hills. They’re so… Wellington.

Without them (and the Town Belt) we’d not have our compact CBD, so… thankyou hills. But dammit, getting up them on foot or on a bike is just hard – especially dressed for dinner, and drinking some nice wines. And especially if it’s windy.

So it’s bus (timetable, ugh), or taxi / Uber (expense, carbon, ugh), or make a few people sober-drive everyone else (carbon, parking, feeling obliged – triple ugh).

But the progressive diners of À La Carless could have our progressive cake and eat it all. Our progressive progress around the city was on e-bikes. And it was a complete revelation.

Love City 2

E-bike serenely contemplating a Wellington hilltop view. No sweat. (Photo: Wellingtonnz.com)

From cruising at jogging pace along the waterfront, bells dinging cheerily and passers-by waving, we progressive diners hit the road. Keeping up easily with the traffic through town, we headed up to Salty Pidgin in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Road, known as a never-ending gut-buster for all but the Fittest Cyclists, was a total breeze.

We zoomed up at a comfortable 20km, this diner cackling with delight as we passed walkers and Proper Cyclists slogging their way up, and as steamed-up buses and cars passed us.

Dear Wellington, after 20 years of getting around in you, and stifling my groans at your hills… now I can wholeheartedly say I love your contours.
All it takes is an e-bike and a destination.

Love City 3

Brooklyn Road – on an e-bike, it’s e-asy (see what I did there?). Photo: Google Maps

Wining and dining and riding, oh my!

The e-bike made a true progressive dinner possible. We spent at most ten minutes door to door between restaurants or bars, and parked right outside every one. Our courteous-parking challenge was more than your average, because of our large posse of steeds, yet it felt easy and seamless finding a park anywhere.

On bowling up at each restaurant we were welcomed and our dish and drink selections arrived with perfect timing, thanks to seamless organisation by Frocks On Bikes.

And credit goes to Frocks’ ride-leading. Light-handed, informative and reassuring, the Frocks women enabled even the most nervous and unaccustomed riders to feel comfortable and enjoy the “progressions” between eateries. Even the most nervous were exclaiming “I had no idea Wellington could be so easy to ride around!”

Love City 4

Some progressive diners getting ready for the road – and dinner

You surprised me, you charmed me

The evening’s destinations were kept secret until we were ready to hit the road, but several of us were extra startled to hear we’d be heading back down to the city and Charley Noble via Central Park. Central Park is in the middle of town but feels like a wilderness – steep, densely bushed, and somewhere you avoid at night (especially if you’re female).

Love City 5

L: Central Park by day (Photo: Tripadvisor). R: Central Park’s nocturnal wildlife (well, maybe). (Photo: hillsofafrica.com)

But with a bike gang of dining buddies, it was just exciting! “Ooo this is such an adventure!” people said as we rolled through the dark trees, with ruru calling our passing and headlamps illuminating the tree-trunks and ferns. The cherry on our dining adventure cake was a stop-off in the middle of the Park – for a zoom on the flying fox. Every progressive dinner should have such an interlude!

Wellingtonians, it seems, can wear all manner of outfits (high heels, dresses, capes, trench-coats) on bikes and on flying-foxes with equal aplomb. (Though despite our narrow streets and traffic there was only screaming in Central Park; flying foxes are a tad more thrilling than riding a bike).

I lived within walking distance of Central Park for years, and never realised how great it’s become. Wellington, I love how you surprise me!

Now, for a threesome…

My partner said “Hell no I’m not A Cyclist” and turned down the offer of a ticket to A La Carless. He’s now regretting it, but he needn’t fear.

The next free weekend we have, I’m hiring us some Switched On Bikes and doing a progressive dining date with Wellington!

Increasing cycling and walking in New Zealand cities

This is a post from Caroline Shaw and Marie Russell who are researchers at the University of Otago Wellington

Having high levels of walking and cycling for transport in our urban centres is a crucial component of having a sustainable, people-oriented, 21st century transport system. The benefits of active transport (walking and cycling in the context of this blog) are well-known.

Active transport is good for health, the environment and the economy (1-3). While we know that New Zealand cities need to do better in promoting cycling and walking, we don’t have any comprehensive way of evaluating cities, of assessing how well they are doing in comparison to each other and over time.

In this study, which is a baseline assessment, we have compared the six largest cities in New Zealand (Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) for some of the key inputs to cycling and walking (levels of funding, policies and programmes, amount and type of cycling and walking infrastructure, and people working on these areas) and the outputs (who cycles and walks, how safe it is and how healthy the populations of each city are).

Some of the findings are from this report are:

  • Walking is the most common form of active transport; however the proportion of trips taken using this mode ranges from 12 to 27% of journeys, depending on the city.
  • Cities in New Zealand with higher levels of active transport (cycling and walking combined) tend to have populations with higher levels of physical activity and lower levels of physical activity-related health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
  • In all cities studied, people who live in more deprived neighbourhoods are more likely to walk to work compared to people who live in less deprived neighbourhoods. However, for cycling to work, the association with deprivation varied by city.
  • Cities in New Zealand with more rain, colder temperatures and higher wind speeds tended to have higher levels of walking and cycling.
  • The number of city council staff working on cycling or walking issues ranges from 1.5 FTE/100 000 people (Christchurch) to 3.7FTE/100 000 people (Dunedin).
  • Given the opportunity (i.e. no congestion) in all cities, except Wellington, half of people will drive above 50km/hr in an urban 50km/hr zone.
  • Christchurch reports the highest levels of cycling infrastructure, with 231km of on-street cycle ways, however Tauranga and Hamilton also report 100km of on-street cycle lanes each. Physically separated cycle lanes remain rare in all cities, with Christchurch reporting the most at 5km (the survey was conducted in 2015, so this will have increased subsequently in some cities).
Photo credit: Jenny Ombler

Photo credit: Jenny Ombler

To obtain the information for the report we surveyed councils, collected information from council websites, and analysed information from the New Zealand Health Survey, the Household Travel Survey, the Census, and the Crash Analysis System. Our study was based, with their permission, on a successful series of reports undertaken in the USA by the Alliance for Biking and Walking. One of our aims was to find out how readily we could gather and analyse information on cycling, walking and health in the cities. It took much more work than we expected: customised data extraction was required to ensure standardised geographic boundaries. Data supplied by the city councils were sometimes unclear or incomplete. But this pilot study found that benchmarking is feasible, and laid the groundwork, with recommendations, for future benchmarking studies.

While this study had a number of interesting findings, one of the main benefits will be to repeat it regularly and show any changes that are happening over time, who is doing well (or not so well) at increasing walking and cycling in their city and what they are doing to achieve this.

We know, intuitively, from visiting or seeing cities where there are higher levels of cycling and walking, as well as from academic research, that what happens at a local level (as well as national) is important for cycling and walking levels (4-6). This report is the first attempt to try and systematically document the important components in determining cycling and walking levels in the largest New Zealand cities. We hope it will be useful for advocates, policy makers, researchers and planners as they embark on the necessary project of transforming our cities.

  1. Macmillan A, Connor J, Witten K, Kearns R, Rees D, Woodward A. The societal costs and benefits of commuter bicycling: simulating the effects of specific policies using system dynamics modeling. Environ Health Perspect 2014; 122(4): 335-44.
  2. Woodcock J, Edwards P, Tonne C, et al. Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: urban land transport. Lancet 2009; 374(9705): 1930-43.
  3. New Zealand Transport Agency. Benefits of investing in cycling in New Zealand communities. Wellington: New Zealand Transport Agency, 2016.
  4. Keall M, Chapman R, Howden-Chapman P, Witten K, Abrahamse W, Woodward A. Increasing active travel: results of a quasi-experimental study of an intervention to encourage walking and cycling. J Epidemiol Community Health 2015; 69(12): 1184-90.
  5. Goodman A, Panter J, Sharp SJ, Ogilvie D. Effectiveness and equity impacts of town-wide cycling initiatives in England: a longitudinal, controlled natural experimental study. Soc Sci Med 2013; 97: 228-37.
  6. Goodman A, Sahlqvist S, Ogilvie D. New walking and cycling routes and increased physical activity: one- and 2-year findings from the UK iConnect study. Am J Public Health 2014; 104.

Editor note: I suspect this report will ultimately be quite useful in helping to show the impact of the government’s urban cycleway programme.

Growth in cycling on new separated cycleways

Last week, Auckland Council unanimously voted to approve the construction of Skypath, the long-overdue walking and cycling link across the Waitemata Harbour. (There is still the hurdle of a potential Environment Court appeal by opponents.) Well done to all the councillors, some of whom had previously expressed scepticism – the city will be better for their votes, and their willingness to rethink an occasionally contentious issue.

In the wake of the Skypath decision, it’s worth taking a look at what’s happened to cycling in the city over the last year. The other week, Bike Auckland published some valuable new analysis of Auckland Transport’s cycle count data. Thanks to AT’s programme of rolling out new cycle counters, we now know a lot more about where people are cycling.

We also know a lot more about the outcomes from recent investments in new safe cycle facilities, such as Grafton Gully, the Pinkpath, Nelson St, and the newly installed Quay St cycleway.

The summary is that these cycle investments have been quite successful. The number of people cycling has increased in locations where safe cycling facilities have been rolled out, while staying relatively constant in other places. (This is, needless to say, good news for the fortunes of Skypath.)

Over to Bike Auckland:

AT is now also reporting the details of those counts much more openly, here. The summary data for June is not available yet – although we have the data for individual locations, as seen on the graphs below – but we do know that in May 2016, cycle numbers were up 22% on May of the year before!

If this growth continues, Auckland may well be the city in New Zealand furthest along on the way to reaching NZTA’s goal of 30% growth in urban cycling by 2018.

…it is pleasing (if not unexpected) to see where the greatest growth is.

Surprise! It’s where new cycleways have been built… and on the routes leading to these new bikeways. This is the network effect – another way of saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ – and it’s really starting to kick in.

And especially on those routes, we see an interesting change – the usual winter drop-off is much shallower than usual, and in some cases hardly seems to be happening. Can it be that, with better cycleways and more company, riders are happier to keep going when it gets chilly, damp, and dark in the evenings? Is Auckland exhibiting a bit of the ‘Viking biking’ spirit of our Scandinavian antipodes?

Richard Easther, one of Bike Auckland’s associates, has done us all the lovely favour of putting those dry numbers into easy-to-grasp visuals, so we can see how and where Auckland biking is growing. Below, see some fascinating graphs of the flows at some of the counters around Auckland…

[Ed note: if you’re not a graphs or data person, two things to note: the numbers up the left hand side show the monthly total of bike trips; and you’ll notice a dip in the middle of each year as winter arrives. What’s striking about the growth on the new and newly connected paths is that not only is the annual ‘high tide’ getting higher, but the ‘low tide’ is too.]

Beach Rd

Clearly Beach Road is benefitting from all the improvements, including Grafton Gully and its own Stage II extension. A jump of around a third in many of the months earlier this year!

A few instructive contrasts, and some (brief) added commentary from me.

The first thing has been that new cycle investments in and around the city centre haven’t simply cannibalised existing cycle numbers. Cycle counts on Beach Road (and the off-road Grafton Gully cycleway) are up, in spite of the competition from the PinkPath / Nelson St. And, if you follow the link through, you’ll also see that cycling on Symonds St and K Rd has held steady:

Nelson St cycleway

Nelson Street (i.e. through the City itself, not Lightpath) is showing very heavy numbers. The REAL growth here is not visible in the stats: after all, before the protected cycleway opened, this route had just some 5-10 incredibly brave cyclists every morning… now there are several hundred daily, even though the route is still truncated and stops at Victoria St.

The second is that investments in and around the city centre have been followed by significant growth on existing parts of the cycle network. That’s most clearly in evidence on the Northwest Cycleway, which is seeing the largest annual growth ever:

NW Cycleway (Kingsland)

Here’s where the network effect rubber really hits the road, er, off-road cycleway. You can see how the magnetic field of the pink path boom (and the related Grafton Gully effect) has spread far and wide – even more than 5km away, in Kingsland, where numbers are massively up on 2014 and 2015.

NW Cycleway (Te Atatu)

And the effect continues at Te Atatu over 10 km away; if the numbers traveling to the city from further out are a bit lower, they’re still really really high (and resisting the usual winter drop-off). Recent cycleway improvements along the causeway will definitely have helped with this.

The third finding is about the dog that didn’t bark: cycle counts on streets that have not seen investments in safe separated cycle facilities. Some of these streets show some minor growth, but by and large demand is not increasing. That’s in evidence on routes like Tamaki Drive:

Tamaki Dr (EB + WB)

We see a slight boost on Tamaki Drive – but the real growth will come from Quay Street (now open), Quay Street to Ngapipi (~2017-2018) and Glen Innes-Tamaki (2018). Until then, though, our busiest cycle route continues to pedal along in huge numbers.

And, on the North Shore, East Coast Rd:

East Coast Rd

Numbers on East Coast Road near Constellation Drive have been static – not surprising, as little cycle investment has occurred in the area in recent years.

The good news is that we can learn from the positive results on and around new separated cycleways. If we want to boost cycling elsewhere in the city – and we should; it’s the cheapest and most efficient way to get around in cities – it’s pretty clear what we should do.

Council to decide on Skypath funding this week

The council will decide on Thursday if they will go ahead with a funding arrangement for Skypath.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

An item (Page 21) at the council’s Finance and Performance Committee gives an update on the project, much of which will be nothing new to those who have been following it. This includes that progress has been made on a number of areas such as that the wind tunnel testing requested by the NZTA found no significant concerns and that progress has been made on connections to Skypath with projects such as Seapath having been consulted on and getting strong public support.

Seapath March-16 Route

Seapath Proposed Route

The second item (Page 25) is the key one though and looking to get agreement from the councillors to move forward with the project. It has the following recommendations to councillors.

That the Finance and Performance Committee recommend to the Governing Body that it:

a) agree to proceed with the SkyPath project and that the hybrid Public Private Partnership proposal is the preferred procurement option to deliver SkyPath.

b) authorise the Chief Executive to enter into all necessary agreements in relation to the SkyPath proposal, subject to minimal financial impacts, and to take any other actions in the Chief Executive’s delegation to facilitate the progress of the project.

c) agree to make appropriate provision for the project in the 2017/18 Annual Plan and the 2018/28 Long-term Plan.

The council have been working with the private backers of the project (the PIP Fund) for a few years now to investigate options for financing the project. The preferred approach is for the PIP Fund is to build it as a PPP in which the council underwrites revenues up to a certain level.

The PIP Fund’s PPP proposal is to finance, design, build, maintain and operate SkyPath as a user pays facility for 25 years, after which it “reverts” to Council ownership. In return:

  • Council would underwrite actual revenues to a pre-agreed dollar amount in the “base case” (the agreed financial model that sets out the cost envelope), and have a share of upside profits above a specific threshold.
  • The PIP Fund’s returns depend on it managing its costs and performance within the parameters of the fixed base case. Any cost overruns are the PIP Fund’s responsibility.

That this private project will likely have a portion of its revenue underwritten by the council has long been one of the key arguments for those opposing it. They claim it will be a failure from not enough people using it – lumping costs on ratepayers while simultaneously claiming it will be so popular the local streets in Northcote will be overrun by people on bikes

Unfortunately the attached reports have blacked out the exact details of costs, revenues, thresholds etc so we can’t see just what those are. But unless something drastic has changed, it is still likely to represent a good deal for Auckland even if the council has to honour the underwriting. The last we saw the project was expected to cost $33 million, a significant sum but since the government came to the cycleway funding party with the Urban Cycleway Fund, there are already projects underway that cost more and are not likely to be used as much. One such example is the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path. This is not to say the GI to Tamaki Dr project is bad, it’s a great project in its own right but that when it comes to benefits, it simply can’t compete with opening up a walking and cycling connection between the North Shore and the city.

In the past the council have been largely very supportive of the project – or at least supportive of investigating it. Only two councillors have consistently voted against it being George Wood, whose constituents stand to benefit the most from the project, and Sharon Stewart. In addition Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax also voted against providing some extra funding to the investigations. Given his ardent opposition to the project, George is almost certainly going to continue to try and fight the project.

While the council will be making a decision this week on whether to financially support the project, we might be still waiting for some time to the outcome of the Environment Court Appeal. It is currently expected that the hearing for it will happen in October or November. In saying that we learned recently that one of those appealing the project had pulled out citing the costs of fighting the project. I’m guessing they more likely realised that it was a fight they wouldn’t win.

Meanwhile, the Herne Bay Residents Association Incorporated has withdrawn its appeal because it believes the project is not feasible so will not “see the light of day”. Therefore, its efforts were “a waste of time and money”.

The group’s co-chair Christine Cavanagh said as a responsible organisation it did not intend to waste residents’ money on an “unnecessary appeal” that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Northcote Residents Association are still fighting though and are appealing to the public for cash to help them do that. As of writing this post they’d raised almost $9,500 but that is a long way from the potential hundreds of thousands their Herne Bay brethren suspect will be needed. They’ve also sent this out in response to Auckland Transport looking at implementing a residents parking scheme which would prevent people from driving to the bridge and then using Skypath, one of the key arguments the residents have used against the project.

AT’s “It’s All Go” campaign

With Auckland’s newest high profile cycleway opening on Friday, Auckland Transport have launched a new website to highlight the cycleways that exist or are coming to the central city over the next couple of years along with a PT inspired network map.

AT Central City Cycling Metro Map

‘It’s all go’ for cycling in Auckland

A new transport map is set to become as recognisable to Aucklanders as the Tube map is to Londoners. Auckland’s cycle network map will be a tool to help Aucklanders plan their journeys and illustrates how we’re improving travel choice to the city says Kathryn King, Auckland Transport, Cycling and Walking Manager.

“Today we have launched our campaign with a video clip of people riding on Auckland’s cycleways. The objective is to let Aucklanders know about the city’s fantastic new and proposed cycle routes. Working with the Government and other partners, we are building 52km of new cycleways by the end of 2018.”

“The pink Lightpath has proved hugely popular and we’ve seen big growth in the number of people cycling into the city.

People are switching to cycling as a mode of transport because it provides them certainty of travel time, it saves them money and it’s a great form of exercise,” she says.

“We are opening Quay St Cycleway on 8 July and later in the year we will be opening cycle routes in Mt Roskill and Mangere. In the coming months we will be seeking feedback from the public on a number of cycle projects including improvements on Ian McKinnon Dr, Great North Rd and Karangahape Rd.”

“Local research tells us that, a large number of Aucklanders would commute into the city by bike if there were more protected cycleways. This programme of improvements will be transformational for Auckland’s transport network,” she says.

Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and the Government through NZ Transport Agency are working on a $200 million programme of cycle improvements in Auckland by the end of 2018. Significant funding has come from Urban Cycleways Programme – a partnership between Local and Central Government to accelerate key cycle projects throughout the country.

As part of the campaign they’ve released this clip

I’ve seen some criticise as being not very representative of Auckland with all of the people young, white and fit

In addition, AT have also released a book which looks at what was achieved in Auckland in for cycling in 2015 along with a number of facts and figures about cycling in Auckland.

The Auckland Cycling Account 2015

As mentioned, the cycleway on Quay St opens on Friday following an official ceremony. Finishing touches are still going in but here’s what it looked like on Sunday afternoon. When finished it will be a welcome addition to the city centre.

Quay St buffer before opening

Bike Both Ways on (some) Shared Spaces

Filed under the banner of small but useful changes, Auckland Transport have allowed people on bikes to ride in any direction on some of the one way shared spaces in the CBD and will be looking to roll it out further. This makes a lot of sense by allowing for increased permeability though the city centre and in some ways it is odd that it wasn’t already allowed. This will add to the growing cycleway network in the city – the next stage of which on Quay St opens officially Friday week.

Two way cycle streets image

Cycling in both directions on some one-way streets in central Auckland is allowed from today. The move will create a useful cycling route on some of the city’s quieter streets, adding to the growing network of routes downtown.

Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking Manager, Kathryn King, says these are the first of Auckland’s one-way streets being investigated for two-way cycling.

“We are starting with the shared spaces on Fort Lane, Jean Batten Place and O’Connell Street, but we plan to roll it out on appropriate one-way streets around Auckland,” she says.

“The streets are close to each other creating another safe cycle corridor for the growing number of people cycling in the area. The shared spaces are great places to cycle; the low volume of traffic and low vehicle speeds create a safe environment for cycling.

“We’re trying to make it easier and more attractive to get around our city on foot and by bike. Cities like Paris and London have successfully introduced two-way cycling on their one way streets,” she says.

Signs will advise road users that people may be cycling in both directions.

AT is assessing other one-way streets in the city for traffic volume and vehicle speeds, Kathryn King says this is where the greatest increase in cycling is expected and where other cycle infrastructure is planned.

Two way cycle streets map

Good Work Auckland Transport – of course that map highlights the glaring omission of a shared street that is High St.

Cycleway Use continues to rise

Auckland’s long summer appears to have helped boost the number of people on bikes, especially on routes in and around city centre. This is based on data from Auckland Transport’s network of automated cycleway counters around the region but most of which are now in and around the city centre to help monitor the effectiveness of the cycleway programme currently under way.

For the nine sites scattered around the region for which AT now have almost six years of data they say April had a combined increase of 19.3% compared to April-2015 and May was even better seeing a 22.6% increase compared to May-2015. The numbers passing in the morning peak saw an even stronger increase at 24.2% for April and 25.8% for May.

But those are just the results from nine sites and in total there are now 28 across the region but some only from as recently as December so we don’t have a full year’s history yet to compare performance. AT’s data gives a breakdown of each counter and within that there are a couple of noticeable star performers.

The biggest of these is Grafton Gully which has been seeing the highest improvement in usage for six months in a row now. The results for April and May are staggering with usage up a staggering 59% and 54% for each month respectively compared to the same month a year earlier. Not everyone needs to travel all the way down but some of that growth is also seen on the Beach Rd counters which have also been recording strong growth of 39% and 34% for April and May.

As mentioned this is now the 6th month in a row that Grafton Gully has come out as having seen the largest increase in use and six months ago corresponds with the opening of Lightpath.

Monthly bike trips - Grafton Gully

Even if people don’t use it themselves, it does seem to suggest that Lightpath has been crucial in raising the awareness and profile of cycling in Auckland.

Not far behind with an equally whopping 47% increase on last year was the NW Cycleway at Kingsland and that growth comes from a higher base too. This counter has been showing stronger growth since December and as you can see on an annual basis is now starting to see quite a rapid increase.

May-16 - Cycling Monthly - Kingsland - Annual

There are some pretty good results here and in other locations too which are great to see although also some decreases too, such as on the Mangere Bridge.

While we know they are seasonal drops, it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers hold up over the winter months.

Given we already seem to be having a bit of a network effect going on I expect it will only increase further as more projects are completed. The next part to be completed will be along Quay St which is officially due to open in July and some parts of which are already able to be used now. We also know that AT are busy working on sections of the city centre network – and the wider cycle network too which they will hopefully be able to talk about in the near future.

Auckland City Centre Cycle Map - Dec 15

 

Inner East cycle consultation

Auckland Transport recently consulted on cycle networks for the inner western suburbs of the isthmus. Now they’re doing the same thing but for the inner eastern suburbs.

Parnell newmarket cycle drawing

Aucklanders have an opportunity to shape the cycle network in the inner-east suburbs. Auckland Transport (AT) is seeking public feedback from today.

The public are being asked where they would like cycle routes in Meadowbank, Orakei, Remuera, Newmarket, Grafton and Parnell. They’re also being asked to identify specific locations that could be improved for cyclists, like busy intersections.

This is similar to a recent public engagement AT completed in the inner-west suburbs, which had a huge response. Auckland Transport’s cycling and walking manager, Kathryn King says there were almost 900 submissions and thousands of individual comments. “These will be fed into future cycling and walking projects in that area, this is AT’s new approach to developing the cycling network.”

She says once the network is confirmed the next step is to seek further community feedback as Auckland Transport develops designs for individual routes.

“Improving cycling connections to the city centre where thousands of people travel for work or study, is a key focus. We know that improving connections from these inner-east suburbs is how we get the biggest increase in cycling numbers for the money invested.”

 

Unlike the inner west where they marked out a proposed network, this time AT are starting from a completely blank map.

Parnell newmarket cycle network map

This consultation doesn’t mean that a complete cycle network in the area is about to be built tomorrow or even next year but AT say the aim is to complete most of it within the next ten years.

 

The consultation is open to 20 June.