Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project – Why should Cyclists Care?

By , October 24, 2014
East West link 1 300x175 Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project    Why should Cyclists Care?

A view of the Onehunga area that will be most affected by the project

What: A freight connection from SH20 to SH1 through Onehunga.

When: Feedback must be submitted by Friday, 31 October. You can submit feedback online.

Now’s the time to give feedback on the big roading project which will create a freight priority connection from Onehunga/Penrose to Mt Wellington – the East West Connections Project.

There are 6 options out for consultation on this fast-tracked roading project, which aims to provide rapid connections for freight and business traffic from SH20 and Onehunga through to SH1 at Sylvia Park.

Why should cyclists care about these proposals?

Well, there are various cycling improvements included in all the designs – that’s great. Improvements to the cycling route connecting Onehunga, Mangere, and Sylvia Park will really add to the existing Waikaraka coastal path, the replacement Old Mangere Bridge, and other initiatives creating important cycling links for the region. We welcome the positive outcomes for cyclists from these proposals. No matter which option is chosen, we’ll be looking  for ongoing engagement with NZTA/AT and other stakeholders to discuss the details.

But – we think there are some big picture issues for the future of the Manukau Harbour coast at stake too. The main concern is the potential irreversible devastation of the Manukau coastline should one of the “foreshore connection” options go ahead. These would construct a major roading connection – with effects very similar to a motorway – along the northern coast of the Manukau Inlet.

East West Option F 300x205 Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project    Why should Cyclists Care?

Option F – CAA does not support this option as it will cause significant damage to the waterfront area

Freight and business groups have been lobbying for a new and direct route rather than upgrading existing roads. But we believe any foreshore connection would come at a big environmental and social cost. It’s unclear what kind of mitigation might be offered – but in our view, it’s inevitable that a major new foreshore road would effectively blight the potential for future generations to live, work and play on the shores of the Manukau Inlet.

The Onehunga/Penrose area is a lively and growing residential and working community which will attract more people in the future. We think major decisions on the future of this vibrant area and the Manukau coastline should integrate these social changes and value the unique coastal environment, which has suffered from neglect and industrial pollution for many years, rather than defaulting to the maximum investment in new roading infrastructure. Cycle Action supports the East-West connections options that upgrade the existing roads, as we believe that these are flexible options that won’t create irreversible changes to the coastal environment and to land use.

Cycle Action’s initial response to the proposals is that while we welcome improvements to the cycling infrastructure, we think that long term social and environmental costs of a new foreshore connectionwith major road infrastructure directly on the coast are critical. For these reasons, our initial response is:

  1. we prefer Option A, the existing route upgrade,
  2. we don’t want to see a new foreshore connection with major road infrastructure directly on the coast (i.e., Options E and F), as even with mitigation, we think this is an irreversible impact on the future of the Manukau coastline.
  3. whichever route is chosen must ensure cycling routes and connections are of a high standard. We want to see:
East West link Option A 300x205 Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project    Why should Cyclists Care?

East West link Option-A – CAA’s preferred option

  • Fully separated and connected cycling routes, both new facilities and upgraded connections. The volume of heavy traffic on any new freight connection will make separation critical no matter whether the choice is for an onroad route (through Hugo Johnston Drive) or a new cycling facility as part of a new motorway-type connection.
  • Waikaraka shared coastal path upgraded to support future higher use by recreational pedestrians and cyclists.
  • We want to see seamless cycling connections to Onehunga township, Old Mangere Bridge, and to Sylvia Park, so that cyclists can access Onehunga township, the new Old Mangere Bridge replacement, and at the eastern end, connect smoothly to Sylvia Park and through to Mt Wellington, Panmure and Glen Innes.
  • Pedestrian/cycling bridges or safe cross connections across the new freight route are needed, whichever option is chosen.

We look forward to ongoing consultation, whichever option goes ahead. More engagement is needed to ensure the best cycling connections possible are achieved.

East West link right turning truck 300x168 Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project    Why should Cyclists Care?

(Ed.: This is how the Dutch make sure that trucks and people cycling never come into contact)

The Public Transport Proposals –cycling connections?

The other part of the East-West Connections proposal involves a new bus priority corridor between Mangere, Otahuhu and Sylvia Park. As yet we haven’t seen any detail of what’s proposed for cycling facilities or connections on this route, if anything. Just a vague reference to “the potential to improve walking and cycling facilities along the route.” 

We love the idea of better public transport between these areas, but we think it’s essential that walking and cycling connections are fully integrated with any proposal. We’ll be providing more information on the cycling improvements as soon as we can.

Give your feedback!

We know community feedback is critical on these proposals – please look for yourself at the 6 Options out for consultation and give your feedback. The deadline is 31st October and you can give your feedback online.

We want to hear your thoughts too – please let us know your response to these proposals.

If you’re interested check on the Open Days and Community workshops being run.

___________________________________________________________________

 Useful Links:

Summary of 6 Options

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/east-west-connections/overview.html

1) East West Connections

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/east-west-connections/index.html

2) Feedback online

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/improved-connections

3) Previous Blog

http://caa.org.nz/auckland-transport/where-will-cyclists-go-in-aucklands-biggest-freight-project/

 

Women’s Ride Month

By , October 22, 2014

Frocks North Wharf 300x200 Women’s Ride Month

This October Specialized Bicycles are kicking off summer with Women’s Ride Month to encourage kiwi women to get out and ride bikes. When it comes to bikes and cycling products designed specifically for women, Specialized have been the industry leader for a number of recent years.

Right through October, all around the country, Specialized Retailers are holding women’s only events designed to encourage ladies to take up cycling, get out in the fresh air and meet like-minded women. From beginners to those already out there riding there is something for everyone.

Each store is running a different program of events with a wide range from rides, to seminars and skills clinics. Some stores are running beginner road riding groups where bunch leaders teach first timers how to ride, stay safe and look after their bike. Mt Eden Cycles in Auckland have shuttled ladies out to Woodhill Forest for MTB Skills clinics. IRIDE in Wellington are collaborating with Lululemon to hold Womens ‘Yoga Rides’. CycleZone Rotorua will hold an instore cycling fashion show to celebrate the end of WRM.

For too long women – half the population have been under represented or marginalised in the traditional bike shop environment. We believe women deserve to be better catered for. It has started with the products we offer but we now want to extend that to the retail environment and the bike shop community activities like bunch rides,” says James Elvery from Specialized NZ “We are encouraging ladies; and guys as well to bring a female friend who hasn’t ridden before along to your local Specialized store and we’ll help you turn them into a rider.

Frocks on bikes 1 300x194 Women’s Ride MonthSpecialized NZ are on the right track with this initiative, and we look forward to seeing more ladies out there and other Women’s riding activities happening in the future. For the full schedule of Specialized Women’s Ride Month events happening near you this month head into your local Specialized Retailer, or have a look at this link.

Beach Road Stage II Plans are now public!

By , October 21, 2014

Beach Road A 300x200 Beach Road Stage II Plans are now public!Last week, we first met with Auckland Transport regarding the second part of the Beach Road cycleway works. This promising project is supposed to be built next year (completion is intended to be by mid 2015), and 3.5 million have been allocated – much of it to combine the cycleway extension with a public realm / urban design upgrade for the un-loved section of Beach Road along the southern side of the “Scene” apartments.

Details about the project have now gone public in a Council agenda (Page 96 onwards – thanks Luke). Beach Road B 300x191 Beach Road Stage II Plans are now public!

It will provide a 3m wide off-road cycle-only path, buffered from the road by a landscape strip, and from the footpath sections by another landscape strip, all using coastal native planting. The project will also remove three slip lanes, and we have had discussions with Council on how to ensure traffic signals allow better onward journeys west into the Britomart and Fort Street areas.

Beach Road C 300x196 Beach Road Stage II Plans are now public!We look forward to the existing Beach Road cycleway extended from it’s current short state, and while we made a couple of comments during our meeting with Council and AT, overall, we feel it is a great project.

Update: There will be an Open Day at 1 November at Britomart. Locals should be receiving an invite flyer later this week, and we will also note it again on the blog.

Building a cycling culture in Mexico

By , October 20, 2014
Mexico cycle 006 300x180 Building a cycling culture in Mexico

Cyclists in Mexico City

Mexico, not a name usually associated with cycling. However, this article discusses some of the ways that Mexico is starting to build a bicycle culture.

As the BBC has reported, this includes car free days in central Mexico City where large stretches of the city are made very walking and cycling friendly.  The Guardian also reports on this but is very pessimistic about whether such moves would ever be supported in Britain. Unfortunately, we are seeing similar reluctance from Auckland Transport to close even small parts of the city to cars (Queen Street is screaming for it).

And this is in a city of 20m people of which the Guardian writer (previously a London resident) states:

Mexico’s sprawling capital is one of the most bike-friendly cities I’ve been to.

Mexico City also has a successful bike share scheme that started ahead of London’s Boris Bikes.

Such simple ideas can lead to so much. Come on AT, car free Queen Street on Sundays is a no brainer. Make it happen.

Franklin Road proposal: AT must do better

By , October 17, 2014
armadillos 300x200 Franklin Road proposal: AT must do better

Armadillos in Seville – proper concrete ones not the cheap plastic alternative

Auckland Transport has now released its plan for Franklin Road (or download the PDF brochure here) which runs from Victoria Park up to Ponsonby Road. It is a steep road but also one that offers a quick link from the city to Ponsonby and beyond. As such, there has always been a hope that it would be made more cycle friendly.

To put it kindly, we are giving AT a C- on this one. They have to do better than this if cycling is to grow in Auckland.

AT’s Option 1 is the best of a bad bunch. This provides for a painted cycle lane on the downhill route and a shared path on the uphill route. Option 2 has no downhill cycle lane, only a slightly widened traffic lane – totally useless to most cyclists except the “brave and fearless”. It will certainly not encourage anybody to get out and try making some trips by bicycle and even less to encourage children to cycle.

flexiposts protected bike lane 300x225 Franklin Road proposal: AT must do better

Flexiposts in San Francisco

The plan also does not do anything to reduce vehicle speeds. The street landscape should ideally be narrowed to encourage speeds of 30-40km/h. The weekday traffic volumes on Franklin Road are almost 14k (!) vehicles (13.8k, to be exact) a day. This is a level where separation is generally acknowledged as needed for cyclists.

The real problem here (as always) is AT’s unwillingness to remove on street parking – their options have stubbornly stuck to full on-street parking on both sides.

One of the most disappointing parts of the proposal is that it will actually increase parking (currently parking is interrupted by trees, so two parking lanes outside of the trees provide more space). This in a suburb close to the city centre and when the Auckland Council and AT have both made a lot of noise about wanting to make Auckland less auto-dependent and more walking and cycling friendly.

There are very few businesses on this street and lots of parking in the adjoining side streets. The New World supermarket at the bottom of the street has lots of off-street parking for its customers.

Cycle path walking cycling 300x211 Franklin Road proposal: AT must do better

A typical Dutch cycle path with a raised footpath to the side and a clear colour difference. Ideally the cycle path should be slightly elevated from the roadway as well.

Why again is a thoroughfare for the conveyance of people being designed to allow much of its precious public space to be used for the storage of private property? There should be no parking on streets that are intended to move people. This is not a quiet residential street, it is a high volume route and provides a vital link to Ponsonby from the city centre.

Our Alternatives

CAA’s alternative design proposals can be downloaded here (4.12MB PDF).

These proposals require either separated cycle lanes (kerb, armadillos or flexiposts may be options) on both sides, or a separated cycle lane on the downhill side and a “mini-Copenhagen” cycle path as part of the uphill shared path. This will ensure there is much reduced conflict between people walking and cycling.

An example of this kind of cycle path can be seen on the right in a typical Dutch street – though the Franklin Road option would be narrower at the trees.

CAA ShaCyl 03 200x300 Franklin Road proposal: AT must do better

One of the CAA options proposed – less parking than there is now, but much better cycling.

Depending on the option chosen, CAA’s proposals could result in less parking than is proposed in the current AT options – some significantly. But we are sure many of you will agree that this is a small price to pay for a plan that will increase the number of people cycling and get more of the large “keen but concerned” demographic out on their bikes.

Please do all you can to get the message out to your Local Board, Councillor and anybody you know in the area that this project as proposed by AT has some major flaws. It is so bad that it would almost be better if AT did nothing, as the proposed changes will allow AT to claim that Franklin Road has been “fixed” for cycling – stopping any further improvements.

It would also give ammunition for cycling skeptics to claim that there is no appetite for further cycling infrastructure as AT’s options are unlikely to result in any new people cycling on Franklin Road.

AT has shown us what can be done with the fantastic Beach Road and Grafton Gully projects. As residents and ratepayers in this city, we should not accept anything less than this quality for any project going forward.

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