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)
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 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 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 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
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.
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
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
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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)
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.
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.
Here’s a really thought provoking and very funny talk by Mikael Colville-Andersen, who tweets as @copenhagenize. It looks initially at how cycling has a potentially very significant role in achieving improved liveability – which after all is the vision of the Auckland Plan – before going on to analyse how a ‘culture of fear’ undermines trying to achieve these goals:
I think it’s pretty clear there’s a step-change happening at the moment in the way we think about cycling – as shown by the various responses to the tragic death on Stanley Street earlier this year, not all of it good of course, but even the thoughtless reactions were indeed that; reactions, which is new for cycling in Auckland. This Listener editorial is fairly typical of a number of media articles in recent times:
First, we must aggressively add cycle lanes to the main thoroughfares of our cities and complete the half-finished ones we have. The gold standard in cycle-lane design comes from Copenhagen. Lanes should be bidirectional, separated from cars and inside parking spaces, so as not to have cyclists fall prey to cars pulling out or doors being opened unawares. Narrow or convert car lanes, move parking spaces to side roads, slim those wide centre strips. Take out berms if you have to. The faster the vehicle speed limit, the better the separation needed, through painted lanes, grade-differentiation or dividers on slower streets to full-on median barriers for motorways. Bus lanes are not bike lanes: the two do not mix.
The key point here seems to be a growing recognition that cars and cycling don’t mix – especially not if we want to get more than a tiny fraction of the population cycling. We need to tackle the ‘culture of fear’ around cycling by making it safe and by making it feel safe. People need to feel like they could let their kids go for a bike in the local area, people need to feel safe and comfortable cycling around in their normal clothes, people need to feel that cycling is something easy to do – not something that you need to attend a myriad of “courses” in order to participate. Clearly this means, more than anything else, a big investment in infrastructure is required. Not just green paint on a road, but the proper cycling infrastructure described in the Listener editorial.
But not only that but also that it is clear that for the good of all of society this is something we must do. The advantages for us all in the bike-able city are countless. In many ways the degree to which a place is rideable is synonymous with its liveability. Cycling is the canary in the coal mine of city building.
Fortunately, a charitable interpretation of the Mayor’s appearance on Campbell Live last week could be that he sees the need for around $30 million a year in spending on cycling – compared to the current $10 million that would be a gigantic improvement. But there will also need to be tough decisions around the allocation of street space – as referred to by the Listener. If Auckland wants to take cycling seriously that means in places we will lose median strips, it means we will lose on-street parking, it means we will have to narrow lanes.
Analysis published in the The Journal of Transport Studies on cycling rates across all cultures, geographies, and weather patterns concludes with this simple summary:
“The presence of off-road and on-street bike lanes are, by far, the biggest determinant of cycling rates in cities.”
As they have a handy knack for, Generation Zero sums up the required step-change that’s becoming increasingly clear in a single image:
For small selection of previous discussions of what’s holding Auckland back from this urgent and relatively inexpensive improvement see these posts on Tamaki Drive, Ponsonby Rd, and the Harbour Bridge.
Late addition: This article showing that US business is now behind the cycling revolution because it adds more value than auto-dependency:
“Cities are driving the US economic recovery, and as they do, Americans are getting on their bikes. In 85 of the 100 largest metro areas cycling is increasing. All part of a deeply healthy – and profitable – reshaping of urban economies.”
When all you do for transport is drive (or get driven around) it can be hard to appreciate the value that others place on good quality walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure. It doesn’t tend to go the other way that much though as most people walking, cycling or catching PT are also drivers or have been driven around at some point too. The reason this is important is that those that make the decisions on transport in this city/country often don’t tend to fall particularly into the cycling or PT categories. Thankfully when it came to the issue of hi-vis gear the associate transport minister does happen to be a cyclist and so can appreciate the arguments from both sides.
Getting a brief understanding of the issues that cyclists face appears to have been one of the goals of Campbell Live last night who managed to get the Mayor on to a bike for a tour around the city’s streets.
There were are couple of points in the piece that really caught my attention.
The biggest one was him saying that he wants $900 million, 1000km cycle network completed over 30 years. Now this is interesting for a few reasons. The first it equates to about $30 million and 33km per year. Thankfully Auckland Transport recently provided us with figures on cycling progress. They said that they have/are budgeted to spend:
- 2011/12 – $7m (prior to 2012-15 RLTP)
- 2012/13 – $9.967m spent
- 2013/14 – $10.3m planned
On top of this they say about $15 million is being spent as part of other roading projects. so perhaps about $25 million a year. For the distance measurement we have
- In 2012/13 delivered 7.4km of new cycle lanes and shared paths and 8.7km of new footpaths
- In 2013/14 plan is to implement 15.4km of new cycleways and 6km of new footpath
So well short of the 33km per year needed but even then it’s going to be a long time till we see a near completed cycle network. Just as a reminder, over 6 years from 2007 New York City managed to build 590km of their cycle network showing that if we want to build large parts of the network then we can, providing we put the focus on doing just that.
Further a 1000km cycle network is a bit longer than the currently planned 900km network AT has on their website, although they have said they have revised the network but we are yet to see it. The one below is from Integrated Transport Programme.
The other major thing that caught my attention was his discussion on the use of berms. I agree that they are largely under-utilised and in many cases it would be good to make better use of them however there’s two problems I see with it. One is it would require shifting the kerb and channel which is bound to add some decent costs. In many places there are also large established trees that might prevent the kerb from being able to be widened unless they were cut down, something bound to be unpopular with locals.
The suggestion also seems to be based on the idea that we can only get cycling facilities that doesn’t impact on the existing road resource. Just because our streets are the way they are now doesn’t mean that they are ideal. There are often huge amounts of space set aside on the road for parking and median strips so we should also be having a discussion about the value of those, especially as they can often be changed with just paint. The parking issue is especially the case in newer parts of the city were minimum parking requirements have required huge amounts of off street parking.
So while Lens talk sounds good, I can’t really see it as anything of a change from what’s already happening – which is not enough and not fast enough.
It’s good to see the government making the right call on a transport issue. From the Dominion Post:
The Government has rejected a coroner’s recommendations designed to save cyclists’ lives.
Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show Associate Transport Minister Michael Woodhouse ruled out pursuing the suggestions of Wellington coroner Ian Smith when he called for an overhaul of cycle safety last February.
Smith said all cyclists should have to wear high-visibility clothing at all times and there should be a mandatory one-metre gap between vehicles and cyclists.
Smith’s recommendations followed his inquest into the death of former national road policing manager Superintendent Steve Fitzgerald, 57, who was hit by a truck and trailer unit while cycling on the Petone foreshore in June 2008.
At the time, Smith said cycling legislation was too complex, “and in my view needs a more simplistic revamp”.
“Turning to the issue of hi-vis clothing, it is in my view a no-brainer. It should be compulsory for cyclists to wear at all times when riding in public.”
But in a letter to the coroner a few months later, Woodhouse said making hi-vis vests compulsory could discourage people from cycling by over-emphasising the risk and adding extra cost.
I think Michael Woodhouse as made the right decision. If people feel safer wearing hi-vis then they should but it isn’t something that should be mandatory. Further from memory Steve Fitzgerald was wearing hi-vis at the time the time he was hit so it’s not like it would have made any difference in that case.
In fact I’ve seen research that drivers change how they interact with cyclists subconsciously based on their gender and what they are wearing, for example they found that drivers give cyclists less space if they are a male and are wearing safety gear while will give more space to a female wearing no safety gear. I can’t find the reference off the top of my head but will update if I find it.
As for requiring drivers to give a minimum gap, I can certainly understand the concern that it would be hard, if not impossible to police.
Woodhouse said mandating a one-metre gap was not practical either, as police would struggle to accurately judge the gap. The road code encouraged a 1.5m gap, and he was happy to keep it that way.
Making cycle lanes compulsory was a move Woodhouse said he could support in future, but their quality would need to improve first. At present, some lanes were not maintained to the same high standard as roads and cyclists were exposed to hazards, such as opening car doors, he said
At the end of the day the best solution is to improve the quality of our infrastructure through more cycle lanes and of better quality. That will require a lot more investment from both the government and councils so we will be watching with interest this year to see what the new Government Policy Statement says and if it allocates anything more than crumbs to walking and cycling.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that Michael Woodhouse is actually a cyclist himself so perhaps that’s helped give him some perspective as to what’s needed. Good job minister.
I love the amount of effort the NZTA have put into the design of pedestrian and cycling bridges over motorways in the last few years. The renders below are of what the Hendon Ave bridge is expected to look like.
And here’s another picture of it.
The bridge is currently under construction.
Given the recent publicity about cycling investment it is interesting to see how Auckland stacks up to other cities in New Zealand.
The real leader at the moment is Christchurch. In June they signed off on a $69 million plan to construct a major cycleway network over the next 5 years. In the 2014/2015 year they will spend $13.5 million. Even better these will almost exclusively be separated cycleways. Earlier this year reconstruction of a major road near the University led to the construction of a great separated cycleway, see details on the excellent Cycling in Christchurch blog here.
New separated cycleway on Ilam Road, Cycling in Christchurch 2013
Christchurch is also showing the way with great Cycle Design guidelines, inspired by one of the world leaders, Copenhagen. For example this is the preferred layout for major cycleway intersections, called the ‘Dutch intersection’. The work to be done in Christchurch trialling these will make it much easier for Auckland Transport to roll out these designs in Auckland.
Christchurch City Council 2013
Christchurch is not the only city boosting spending. In December Wellington City Council announced they planned to triple cycling spending from $1.3million to $4.3 million. Dunedin also boosted their cycle spend a few years ago and they plan to spend $1.9 million per year on cycling.
Well how does Auckland stack up. Here is the recent data from Auckland Transport.
- -2011/12 – $7m (prior to 2012-15 RLTP)
- -2012/13 – $9.967m spent
- -2013/14 – $10.3m planned
The Draft 2014/2015 Annual Plan was discussed at the Governing Body meeting in December, and I found a copy online. This will be open for public consultation for a month starting from January 23. Looking through the list of transport projects found these cycle projects-
|Browns Road Bridge
|Station Road Manurewa
|St Georges St
|Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive
|Mangere safe routes
|Mount Roskill safe routes
|Tamaki Drive, Takaparawha Pt – Millenium Bridge
|Waterview cycleway connection
Adding in the $1.5 million budgeted for New Footpaths (clearly not part of the cycling budget) gets us to the $10.4 million identified in the Regional Land Transport Plan, and similar to this years budget.
Generation Zero thought it would be useful to compare the 2014/2015 capital spending plans for these cities on a per capita basis, and came up with this graphic.
Note Auckland looks very sad compared with other New Zealand cities, and we really need to up our investment if we are serious about getting people cycling.