Lightpath couldn’t stand the light

Lightpath is just over a year old but it quickly reached iconic status and feels like it has been part of the city for a lot longer than it has. As of the end of January, over 228k people had cycled along its magenta surface. But that surface is not as bright as it originally was, having been faded by the elements. It has also been cracking and blistering in places.

To fix these issues the NZTA are closing this important connection for just over a week starting next Wednesday to fix it.

Auckland’s Lightpath cycleway will get its own special sunscreen application next month, to protect it from the elements and make its colour even more vibrant.

The magenta surface will be refreshed and UV protected as part of ongoing maintenance.

The work means the shared path will be closed to all users between the 1st and the 9th of March.

“This UV coating is marine grade and is used on cruise and container ships, so the paint surface will now live up to the harshest possible conditions and will be far more fade resistant,” says Brett Gliddon the NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Highway Manager.

“We’re delighted with the popularity of the Lightpath and apologise for any inconvenience its closure will cause, but along with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, we’re committed to keeping it well maintained so that many more thousands of people can continue to enjoy it.”

The estimated cost of the refresh and UV protection is $115,000, which will be funded through money previously set aside by Auckland Council from the City Centre Targeted Rate.

The UV coating will involve a base coat being painted on to the existing surface, which will look a little redder than the current surface, the final magenta top coat will then be applied which will create the vibrant magenta colour again.

The work can only be carried out during dry weather and so the closure dates may be shifted.

Very wet weather at the time the original surface was laid is believed to have caused some bonding issues with the existing surface which is made of recycled glass and this will be fixed during the maintenance work.

This from Stuff shows the difference between the original surface and what it will look like after this work is done.

I’m a little conflicted over this. On one hand I can appreciate that this work needs to be done and the weather narrows down when this can happen. But on the other hand, this is also the time of the year that is most conducive to cycling and closing it for over a week leaves people who want a safe, protected option for accessing the western side of the city without one. Can you imagine the NZTA accepting a motorway being fully closed for a week for works?

It’s also disappointing that this needs to happen, why wasn’t weathering factored in when the surface was originally laid or were corners cut in order to get it open on time?

Let’s hope the NZTA and AT get this work done as fast as possible and that there are no further delays.

Nelson St Phase 2

The Nelson St Cycleway was completed just over a year ago and has been a fantastic addition to the city.

Since then we’ve been patiently waiting for Phase 2, which has had a particularly long gestation period. It is intended to extend the cycleway to the Quay St cycleway and also includes extending it along Pitt St to Karangahape Rd. Auckland Transport originally consulted on a design way back in September 2015, months before Phase 1 even opened.

We weren’t thrilled with the design which would have seen the cycleway cross diagonally to the eastern side of Nelson St before sending cyclists along Sturdee St and Lower Hobson St, across in some places incredibly narrow footpaths, before reaching Quay St. We, and others, wanted the cycleway kept on the western side of Nelson St and linked into the tree lined Market Place. We also liked this well illustrated idea from reader Jonty to send it via the Hobson St Viaduct.

Just before Christmas, Auckland Transport finally announced the outcome of their consultation and the final design. Like we’d see in some earlier board reports, AT confirmed that the cycleway would now link into Market Place rather than using Sturdee St.

The link that will complete Auckland’s city cycle loop is a step closer.

The route, announced today, will connect the Nelson St Cycleway with the waterfront.

The connection along Nelson St to Quay St via Market Place, Customs St West and Lower Hobson St, will complete the loop.

The city cycle loop includes cycleways on Quay St, Beach Rd, Grafton Gully and the pink Lightpath.

Phase 2 of Nelson St Cycleway will include protected, on-road cycle lanes on both sides of Nelson St and Market Place from Victoria St to Pakenham St East.

Construction of this section will start in April and be completed by July. Plans for the remaining section of Market Pl, Customs St West and Lower Hobson will be made public in early 2017.

The major difference from what we suggested back in 2015 is that instead of the cycleway being completely on the western side, it will be split with northbound (downhill) cyclists staying on the western side but southbound (uphill) cyclists using the eastern side. We’re comfortable with that change.

As we understand, the biggest hurdle, and the reason it’s taken so long to confirm the design, has been the need to convince the traffic engineers that carmegeddon wouldn’t ensue from removing the two lane signalised slip lane from Nelson St on to Fanshawe St.

So here’s what AT plan to build (click to enlarge)

The cycle lanes on either side of the road will be protected. The biggest challenge will be the driveways and so all road users will have to take care here.

It’s the Nelson/Fanshawe intersection that will see the most change with the left turn slip lanes removed to allow the cycleway to be built and the kerb built out on the western side which will be a welcome addition to the many pedestrians that walk past here and who are currently squeezed into a narrow space.  The cycleway heading southbound will have a short section of being a shared path till it gets past Wyndham St. It will also require two legs to cross from Market Place which is a bit annoying.

Finally on Market Place the cycleways continue past Pakenham St.

AT are still working on the final design for Market Place which is why it hasn’t been included yet but from what we understand of it, it will good. From Market Place the intention is to use Customs St West and then Lower Hobson St.

The news for the Pitt St section isn’t so great though. Here, AT have scaled the design back to a simple shared path. They say this is caused mainly by the CRL and the significant disruption it will have on the area both during construction and after it with where they’ve decided to put vents.

Since design for this cycleway project started in January 2015, there have been changes to the CRL (City Rail Link) design, particularly the vent location in Pitt Street. The CRL team have advised that the CRL project will cause significant disruption including a very large excavation across Pitt Street in the Beresford Square vicinity.

AT met with key stakeholders in the area, including local businesses, NZ Fire Service, and St John NZ, to listen and understand their concerns.

Based on feedback received from submissions and also from meetings with key stakeholders, we have decided the cycleway should be re-scoped to provide an interim off-road shared path facility for Pitt Street.

AT is developing a design for CRL in the vicinity of Pitt Street and Beresford Square, incorporating the Pitt Street and Karangahape Road cycleways.

Here are the designs, which as you can see still retain a gap between Karangahape Rd and Beresford Square. It’s not clear how less confident cyclists will bridge this gap, presumably most would use the footpath.

As the press release earlier said, construction of the first section down Nelson St is expected to start in April and at least that and the section to Quay St are expected to be completed in the middle of the year.

Assorted bike related news

A few of bike related things from recent days.

One

Lightpath turns one in just over a week (December 3rd) and in its first year has seen over 200,000 bike trips across its magenta surface. So the other day it was fantastic to hear that it had won the transport category of the World Architecture Festival, and it looks like it had some strong competition.

Te Ara I Whiti ©Patrick Reynolds 2016

Te Ara I Whiti ©Patrick Reynolds 2016

Awesome work from everyone who helped make this project a reality.

Two

 

Next, I’ve noticed of the last few years there has been almost no coverage from the paper of many of the important transport transformations that have been underway. They’ve ignored changes like the roll out of electric trains, cycleways and the new bus network. So it was interesting yesterday to see a paid article in Herald from the council about transport. The article focused primarily on cycleways but also mentioned PT near the end.

at-paid-herald-article-nov-11

I thought the more than a casual mention of paying people to cycle, even by employers, was an odd angle and certainly something I don’t think could even really be considered until after a more comprehensive network of safe protected cycleways have been rolled out. If we did start to move down that route though, we’d surely also want some way of expanding this to encourage kids to ride to school too.

Actually, a few quick back of the envelope calculations show it isn’t all that expensive either. According to Stats NZ, there are 210k people in Auckalnd between the ages of 10 and 19. If you could get an impressive 20% of them to ride an average of just 3km to school, then with around 190 school days a year it would only cost around $12 million annually. That’s peanuts compared to how much we spend on transport in Auckland as in the year to the end of June the NZTA and Auckland Transport combined spent over $1.4 billion on transport

I also thought the comment about keeping the number of cars arriving in Auckland constant but having additional growth taken up by other modes. While I’m not saying that even just maintaining the status quo is an easy thing to do, having that as a goal sounds remarkably unambitous. How different and more agressive would transport plans need to be if we set the goal of reducing car use, not just on a per capita basis but in real terms too.

Three

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority has decided that in 2017 they’ll extend the ban on cars up the summit of Maungawhau/Mt Eden to five more mountains across Auckland. These are:

  • Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill
  • Maungarei/Mt Wellington
  • Ōwairaka/Mt Albert
  • Puketāpapa/Mt Roskill
  • Takarunga/Mt Victoria

That will leave the mountains open for people on foot and bike, although they say automated barriers will allow those with limited mobility to drive up. One of the reasons given for this change is to improve safety for people who currently walk up the mountains and they say there has been an increasing number of near misses.

 

Lightpath hits 100k

A little celebration as our favourite pink path has reached a new milestone today with now more than 100,000 trips made across it, just four months after opening.

Te Ara I Whiti ©Patrick Reynolds 2016

Te Ara I Whiti ©Patrick Reynolds 2016

What’s more, data from Auckland Transport shows that on a monthly basis Te Ara I Whiti is already the third busiest cycleway in Auckland trailing only Quay St and Tamaki Dr for the number of trips taken. Interestingly the data also shows that the opening of Lightpath hasn’t impacted on the other nearby routes with both Grafton Gully and Symonds St recording increased volumes compared to last year. It’s a good start and one that is likely to improve further as other parts of the city’s cycleway network continue to developed.

 

ATs press release

Auckland takes to the pink path 

More than 100,000 cycle journeys have now been made over Auckland’s Lightpath Cycleway since its opening in December, cementing its place as a favourite cycling destination.

Since its opening on 3 December 2015, there has been an average of 848 cycle journeys each day across the Lightpath leading  to a five-fold increase in people cycling on Nelson St during the week.

Lightpath was popular over Easter with an average of more than 1,000 cycling journeys each day.

Seeing these big numbers at the weekends and on holidays tells us that the Lightpath is well-used by Aucklanders for leisure and recreation as well as for commuting, says Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking Manager.

“We know lots of parents are taking their kids on it during the weekend. Children seem to love the pink colour, the artwork and the lights at night.

“It confirms what the all research says, if you make a city bike-friendly, more people will cycle and they will cycle more often,” she says.

The NZ Transport Agency says it’s thrilled to see so many people making use of the new cycling facilities.

“The Lightpath and Nelson St Cycleway are a vital link in the Auckland Cycle Network and part of our vision of creating a world-class cycling infrastructure to make cycling a safe and efficient transport choice within the city,” says Ernst Zöllner, the Transport Agency’s Regional Director.

“Aucklanders have told us they want more cycling facilities, and the success of Lightpath shows that if we build them they will be used, which will help us achieve our goal of increasing cycling journeys by 30% by 2019.”

Lightpath is a shared walking and cycling path from Canada St to the Union/Nelson St intersection via a bridge and the disused Nelson St off-ramp. It is part of the Nelson St Cycleway which continues down Nelson St as a two way cyclepath.

The path is also popular with walkers and counters are being put in to record the numbers taking a stroll along it.

Lightpath and the remaining section of the Nelson Street Cycleway are funded through the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme and have been jointly delivered by the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.

Auckland Transport is currently working on phase two of the Nelson St Cycleway from Victoria St to Quay St with the final route to be announced soon.

The numbers

Average of 848 cycle journeys per day across Lightpath since opening 3 December 2015

7.4% increase in cycle counts across Auckland 2015/2014.

29% increase in people new to cycling in city centre (2015 survey)

27% (up from 20% in 2014) of Aucklanders do some cycling (2015 survey)

38% increase in people cycling on Grafton Gully (February 2015 compared with February 2014)

Nathan Spoonly from Mt Eden made the 100,000th journey across Lightpath this morning.

Nathan Spoonly from Mt Eden made the 100,000th journey across Lightpath this morning.

Te Ara I Whiti from space

We’ve seen Te Ara I Whiti – Lightpath from the ground, we’ve seen it from the air and now we can see it from space. The desktop version of Google Earth gets updated fairly regularly with new satellite images – this one taken by one of the Digital Globe satellites (if you have the desktop version click  the “show historical imagery” button and slide the date to the right).

Lightpath - Google Earth Dec-15

What’s also interesting from this more zoomed out version the Grafton Gully cycleway is also very clearly visible

Lightpath - Google Earth Dec-15 2

As a bright pink ribbon, is this the most visible cycleway from space?

 

Nelson St Cycleway Numbers

A great image of Te Ara I Whiti, The Lightpath as taken from a plane by pilot Vaughn Davis. As he noted in his tweet, it looks like it’s been added in post

LightPath - Vaughn Davis

Yesterday AT also released some updated results of cycle movements on the LightPath and Nelson St. Including opening over 14,000 people had used LightPath and over 6,000 had used Nelson St.  These numbers also don’t include people walking as the pedestrian counter isn’t working yet.Nelson St Cycle Counts - to 14 Dec 15

I hope the sensors are able to pick up cyclists of all ages so that these two will be included in those numbers

Kids using Nelson St

The aren’t too bad numbers for early days, especially considering that the cycleway is yet to be hooked up too many places. Once the rest of Nelson St and Victoria St have cycleways in the next few years, numbers should jump even higher.

Auckland City Centre Cycle Map - Dec 15

Lastly here’s a new video taken on the first hoon on the day the path opened courtesy of Hawkins.

Reflections on Nelson St

As you know, on Thursday the Te Ara I Whiti (The Lightpath) and the Nelson St cycleway opened to the public. They are both fantastic additions to Auckland and are rightly making many people proud to see their city developing into a more people friendly place. For this everyone involved in the project should be proud of the outcome. After using them a few times already along with events like the “First Hoon” organised by our friends at Bike Auckland on the opening night I thought I would share some of my thoughts about project and what needs to be done next.

These projects have already started to spur change. I’m aware of at least 6 people who now own a bike as a direct result of these projects, some of whom now have the option of riding almost the entire way from their home to work on safe cycleways – and they intend on doing so. Many others have said they’ve pulled their bike out of the garage for the first time in years as a direct result of these projects. In the coming weeks, months and years I suspect they will be joined by thousands of others across Auckland doing exactly the same, especially as more and more of the planned network is built.

There are some more immediate results too. On Saturday I was on my way to Bike Rave and decided to take a detour down Nelson St (because why not) when I came across the scene pictured below. Ahead of me were two young boys probably around 5 years old riding down Nelson St by themselves. Their parents were walking nearby on the footpath but clearly the level of safety provided by the new cycleway was such they felt comfortable letting their kids ride down it. Before this project I can’t imagine most adults being comfortable riding down Nelson St, let alone them letting young children do it by themselves. From our social media accounts there were reports of many more scenes like this one and they are powerful reminders of the importance of building infrastructure that’s safe for all ages and all abilities.

Kids using Nelson St

Just under 48 hours earlier hundreds turned up to ride cycleway for the first time with the lights on – the “First Hoon“. Waiting for them to turn on it was an impressive sight to see hundreds of people on bikes stretch all the way back up Canada St and around on to Upper Queen St – and there were many more behind from where I took this photo and across the road too. It says a lot about how Auckland is developing that on a Thursday night hundreds will turn up just to ride a cycleway. Note: the grade sign on the right, up to Upper Queen St is over twice as steep as what Skypath will be.

Waiting for First Hoon

Having originally been designed for cars travelling at high speeds the old off-ramp is nice and wide and was easily able to accommodate the people using it and there was a very positive vibe in the air. A lot of people stopped to check out the view or to talk to friends while many others carried on down Nelson St to give the lanes down there a go.

This is a photo from a bit later on from Phil Walter via Rode

Nelson St Cycleway First Hoon - Phil Walter

All up it was a great event with many happy people out enjoying what is effectively a new part of the city. I even came across about a dozen people checking it out (walking) at about 11:30pm on Saturday night on my way back from Bike Rave.

One last comment on the pink path/the magenta adventure/the lightpath. Here is a photo of it taken from a helicopter by David Kraitzick‎ and shared with Bike Auckland. It certainly makes a statement.

Nelson St offramp from Air

Of course there is always someone complaining about bike infrastructure and that role seems to primarily fallen to Mike Hosking who has complained about the project on his breakfast radio show and twice on Seven Sharp. This image was posted to the facebook page for his radio show asking where the cyclists are. It turns out it was taken at 7:05am, a time when many people are still in bed and as you can see the road isn’t exactly packed with people either.

Mike Hosking Cycleway

Does anyone else think they just painted the bike symbols over his shoes?

On Seven Sharp on Friday (watch from 10:35 and from 23:00) he complained amongst other things about how much space the cycleway had taken. Here’s a picture sent to Bike Auckland showing the cycleway on Nelson St which is still extremely wide. Of course there were a number of other silly comments he made Nelson St road space vs cycle space

Auckland Transport today sent me the results of their cycle counters. These record the number of movements rather than the number if people. They also don’t include pedestrian numbers and the pedestrian counter will be working soon.

The numbers on Lightpath

Screenshot_2015-12-07-11-49-18~2

And on Nelson St

Screenshot_2015-12-07-10-46-30~2

Moving on to what next, the most obviously aspect this raises is Stage 2 which is to connect the cycleway from Victoria St to Quay St. AT want to send cyclists to the eastern side of the road and make them negotiate a minefield of narrow shared paths and multiple road crossings. Back during the consultation, I pushed for the cycleway to stay on the western side of Nelson St then use Market Place. With the opening of Stage 1 and using Nelson St a number of times it’s made it even more clear that AT would be crazy to go ahead with their proposed route.

The desire line and route that feels most logical is to keep going straight ahead with traffic not stop and cross to the other side. If anyone at AT thinks shifting bikes to the eastern side so they can carry on straight ahead is an even a remotely sensible idea they need to get out on a bike and try it for themselves. On Saturday I tried my suggested alternative by going straight with general traffic and using Market Pl. It definitely felt to me like the most logical way to go and was surprisingly pleasant – with the exception of negotiating those slip lanes. Riding down Market Pl under a canopy of trees was a fantastic way to mark that you’ve reached the waterfront.

I’m aware that AT are looking at this option now and are currently running some traffic modelling to see the impact of removing the left turn slip lanes.

Market Rd option

The other aspect that struck me was the need to get on with the planned cycleway on Victoria St – which is on the list to be done in the next few years. On Thursday evening I came up Victoria St on my bike and it was difficult to get anywhere along the route due to congested roads – and I was wanting to avoid the busy footpaths. Getting at least some of the Victoria St section sorted soon at least as far as Federal St would really help in making it easier for people on bikes to access Nelson St.

I appreciate that space through this section is tight, especially giving the changes being made for the CRL enabling works however as it is listed to get funding within the next three years from the government’s use it or lose it Urban Cycleway Fund it is something AT are going to have to get on to. Getting it to Federal St might work in nicely with tourism too. People go up the Sky Tower, see the pink streak and want to try it out so they can go back down, hire a bike and head off along Victoria St and up Nelson St.

City Centre Cycle Routes

Did you check out the new addition to Auckland’s cycle network, if so what did you think?

Te Ara I Whiti – the lightpath

Auckland’s newest and certainly it’s most colourful cycleway (so far) was officially opened today by Transport Minister Simon Bridges. And I must say, Simon gave a fantastic speech showing he gets it, talking up the environmental, health, congestion and economic benefits of investing in cycling – this view was reinforced in discussion with him later. Equally good were speeches from Councillor Chris Darby, Barbara from Bike Auckland and Ernst Zollner from the NZTA.

cycleway-opening-ceremony_500x620

Here’s Simons speech

The new bridge connecting Canada St to the old offramp has been given the name of Te Ara I Whiti or the lightpath and combined is a fantastic addition to Auckland.

In what is probably another first for New Zealand, I also happened to witness the minister giving an interview to a journalist while he was riding a bike.

One of the most surprising things about the project is just how little time it has taken from inception to delivery. While the City Centre Master Plan from 2012 suggested making use of the disused motorway off-ramp for a New York High Line type development nothing was actively happening about it – it was one of those ethereal ideas that goes in documents but that rarely happen. Then just a little over 18 months ago Max from Bike Auckland wrote a blog post which we also published, suggesting a temporary bridge down from K Rd to access the old off-ramp linked to a cycleway down Nelson St.

Given how long and difficult so many projects are the idea was considered a bit of a pipe dream but to everyone’s amazement the NZTA, AT and the council picked up the idea and ran with it. There’s a bit more of Max talking about the project in this article.

Along the way it was decided to turn this project into more than just a cycleway but to make a statement – and boy does it with it’s striking magenta surface. But that’s not the only feature.

It turned out the option of a bridge from K Rd and some other locations just weren’t going to work and so in the end it was decided the best way to connect to was via a bridge from Canada St. The NZTA and their partners came up with a stunning design for it as Patrick highlighted the other day with the photo below showing the serpentine like structure.

Canada St Bridge_5179

Another feature is its interactive lighting that will not only change colour but follow people. Here’s a quick video and bit of PR from iion, the company behind the lighting.

Creative director David Hayes designed and developed software recognising cyclists and pedestrians as they cross the old Nelson St off-ramp. They will be followed by light, which symbolises the bridge as a sleeping creature who is woken by the people crossing it and wants to play.

The bridge has 4.2 billion colour combinations and minimises power when not in use thereby reducing electricity consumption and helps make this fantastic piece of public art into an eco-friendly masterpiece.

“Beyond the technical complexity of the installation, it’s a celebration of light and colour woven into the urban fabric of Auckland.

“The sheer length of the bridge created technical challenges – receiving then processing data in real-time to control 290 fixtures as a coordinated whole across 700m, not to mention having to walk the length of the bridge multiple times a day,” Mr Hayes said.

Managing Director Jonathan Wiseman said “Internationally these urban installations are where we are heading, having completed large scale projects internationally part of this happening in Auckland.”

And here’s a few photos of the cycleway lit up at night from reader Brett from a few nights ago.

Nelson St at Night - Brett - Blue

Nelson St at Night - Brett - Red

Nelson St at Night - Brett - Greejn

And the kowhaiwhai pattern that signifies the end the offramp.

Nelson St at Night - Brett - Kowhaiwhai

You may also want to watch this video on the team behind the design.

Nelson St design TVNZ On Demand

The bridge and off-ramp truly are stunning and will quickly become an icon. An ugly duckling bit of motorway detritus has become a glorious pink swan.

But it’s not just the old off-ramp that’s opened today. At the same time Auckland Transport’s contribution to the project has opened and has seen a two way cycleway created down the Western side of Nelson St as far as Victoria St. Nelson St must be one of the widest roads in Auckland yet surprisingly it doesn’t carry all that much traffic. It could afford to drop a lane or two.

Nelson St heads downhill as it flows north and one thing I was interested to find out was just how steep it was and whether it was something that regular people could do. In this regard it pleasantly surprised me. The section between Victoria St and Cook St is actually fairly flat while I personally found that the section south of Cook St up to the motorway wasn’t too much of an issue although I’m guessing some might get off and walk up hill (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

One interesting feature is that AT designed the cycleway a little wider between Wellesley and Victoria St which I understand is to provide space for rubbish bins so that trucks don’t have to block the lane. As they’ve done this without reducing the cycle lane it seems like a good bit of thinking from ATs engineers.

For both sections well done and thank you to all involved.

 

Of course the next stage the project will see the cycleway extended to Fanshawe St and the Waterfront. AT cosnsulted on this some weeks ago and AT are currently looking at the issues that were raised.

 

P.s. don’t forget there’s the first hoon that Bike Auckland have organised for 7:30 tonight.

Laying down the pink

In just over a week on December 3rd what will be one of Auckland’s most iconic cycleways will be officially opened. The old Nelson St offramp and the cycleway down Nelson St as far as Victoria St are both nearing completion and for the offramp that means they’re laying down the pink surface that will make it so distinctive. Patrick and I took a quick look at it on Sunday when workers were busy adding some colour to the city. Since then a lot more has been done with pictures today showing some parts pink across the full width.

Nelson St Off-Ramp - Half Pink

It’s certainly both bright and very distinctive. It’ll be interesting to see it from satellite images.

Nelson St Off-Ramp - Half Pink 2

Nelson St Off-Ramp - Half Pink - being laid

A cloud of pink flies through the air

Here’s a pick that our friends at Bike Auckland tweeted today showing one section that has now been fully pinked

The good folks at Bike Auckland are already an evening ride planned for the night of the third to celebrate the opening the cycleway.

Lights, colour, action! Dec 3rd marks the official opening of the Nelson Street bike path opening. Bike Auckland (aka Cycle Action) want to invite all people on two wheels to come up and be the first to see the amazing design and infrastructure collaboration lit up in it’s night time glory.

This is a casual roll up event, we recommend you arrive from around 7.30pm so that you are ready to hit the Upper Queen / Canada St entrance at 8.00pm. Then we can make our way down the steadily widening path to meet the sudden full-scale panorama of harbour and city in time for the sun setting at 8.24pm.

Afterward the night is your own, follow the route down Victoria Street to finish at Rockefella for Champagne & Oysters, or ride a loop back via Pitt Street and join K’rds First Thursday event. We’ll be posting ideas on the page. For those going to Bike Rave, it’s a good excuse for a practice ride.

If you want something to do between work and 7.30, there are a multitude of local places to meet, not the least – grabbing a bite to eat at the infamous Mercury Food Plaza. There are going to be films showing the length of K’Rd and her surrounding streets – make a night of it!

I didn’t take any photos of Victoria St but one thing I can say is I was suprised by how easy the grade was, much better than I had been expecting.

I’m looking forward to this being open.

Nelson St Cycleway gets closer

The NZTA have released a video of what the Nelson St offramp and the New Canada St Bridge will look like when finished soon. It is due to open in December – and as such it’s kind of odd that they’ve released a video when it’s so close to completion.

NelsonStreetCycleway1

NelsonStreetCycleway2

Final piece of ‘soaring cycling sensation’ over Auckland’s Central Motorway Junction is now in place

The last of seven sections of the Canada Street Bridge was lifted into place in the early hours of this morning (Thursday 15 October), completing the 160m long connection from Canada Street to the old Nelson Street off-ramp.

The completion of the new bridge is a significant milestone towards completing the first phase of the Nelson Street Cycleway.

The NZ Transport Agency has released an animated video showing how Phase 1 will look when it’s completed.

The cycleway stretches from Upper Queen Street to Victoria Street and is expected to open in early December; Phase 2 will extend to Quay Street and be open by the middle of 2016.

“The complexity of the curved bridge structure has meant the installation has been a careful and staged process,” says Brett Gliddon, the NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Highways Manager.

“We’re proud of the architectural excellence this bridge brings to the inner-city network and the standard it’s setting for transport infrastructure.”

The bridge design is already being recognised internationally and has been shortlisted in the World Architecture Awards which will be announced in Singapore next month.

“People have been watching the bridge installation in the middle of the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ) over the last month and we know it’s created a buzz about how we’re delivering our shared vision of making cycling a safe and viable transport option.”

Cyclists are among those who have been watching the project progress and who’re excited about the changing face of cycling infrastructure in Auckland.

“The bridge is a soaring cycling sensation in the midst of Auckland’s motorway maze. We are already claiming it as a creative landmark for ‘The New Auckland,” says Barbara Cuthbert from Cycle Action Auckland.

The 260 tonne bridge was built in sections, which vary in length from 14 to 42 metres. It was fabricated in Hamilton, painted in Pukekohe and transported to the Central Motorway Junction under full motorway night closures.

The cycleway connects with the existing Northwestern Cycleway and Grafton Gully.

ANIMATED VIDEO OF THE CYCLEWAY

An animation showing how Phase 1 of the cycleway will look and feel is now available on our website http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelson-street-cycleway/videos/ A timelapse video of the installation of the largest section of the Canada Street Bridge, as well as the factory construction is also online. For those who don’t want to wait until the bridge opens there are great views of the structure from the end of South Street.

The Nelson Street Cycleway is being funded through the Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP). It is being jointly delivered by the Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport. The UCP will accelerate key projects over the next three years and help establish cycling as an integral part of Auckland’s transport network. For more information on the project www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/nelson-street-cycleway/