Paris in the slow lane

By , July 23, 2014
france paris zone 30 2013 300x211 Paris in the slow lane

A map of Paris showing the new 30km/h zones

Following on from earlier posts on slow zones in New York and London and free right hand (in NZ left hand) turns in Paris, more inpirational stuff from Paris to create a better city for pedestrians and cyclists (and motorists).

Paris is to set a default speed limit of 30km/h over the whole city. The only exceptions will be a few key arterials and some routes down the banks of the Seine.

Having lived in Normandy for a year and visited Paris many times, I am glad to see that the French are finally moving away from their obsession with cars. At least in the early 2000s, so much of even small cities was being turned over to cars and previously pedestrian areas were being turned into defacto motorways.

Considering the huge number of people in Paris who walk as a means of transport, there is certainly plenty of enthusiasm for active modes. Despite that, huge swathes of Paris are still dedicated solely to moving cars around. Many of us have an image of French on bicycles but I can tell you that, other than sport cyclists on rural roads, I was usually the only cyclist on the road in towns like Le Havre, Caen and Rouen.

Hopefully one day Auckland will catch on to this trend of 30km/h zones which is a major feature of the much safer traffic conditions in Europe.

A stir-up from Auckland Council’s Bike User Group

By , July 21, 2014

On Thursday I dropped by the Art Gallery Cafe for early coffee /breakfast with staff from Auckland Council and Auckland Transport who are part of a  casual group which meets monthly to talk about cycling. It was set up by Andrew Trevalyn, who works in the Council’s Takapuna planning team, and commutes daily by ferry and along Sandringham Rd by bike.Auck Council BUG 17072014 300x196 A stir up from Auckland Councils Bike User Group

The group was fun to be with and interested in Cycle Action’s current hot projects and latest successes. They got me stirred up with some terrific offers of help in key areas where we need their skills and knowledge.  These offers align with  the practical partnerships we  are working on more and more with AT and NZTA involving projects like the Nelson St off-ramp and Nelson Street  pilot, bike parking initiatives and ‘behind the scenes’ collaboration to help fast-tracking delivery of the Tamaki to Glen Innes cycleway and the  cycling and walking projects at Waterview.

This all came about because of Andrew’s initiative to get speakers along to chat.  Stephen Town, has also been along least a couple of times since he became CEO of the Council. This doesn’t surprise me as  he was a superb champion of cycling while he was the  NZTA’s Auckland Regional Director. Ernst Zollner has taken over this role at the Agency, and is continuing to provide similar leadership for cycling at the regional and national levels.How lucky are we?

Andrew is a living lesson on the rigours of winter cycling, as he’s one of those multi-talented, broad-minded people who ride a bike for transport as well as for fitness/recreation. He takes sensible precautions about lighting up and wearing bright to be seen, but we all know that doesn’t make us bullet proof. Here’s the photo I took to show you how visible he is -Andrew Trevalyn in bike gear 172x300 A stir up from Auckland Councils Bike User GroupAndrew has had a few avoidable crashes in the past year caused by motorists not looking and seeing him. His most recent was on Sandringham Rd.  Here’s his story – “I was riding my bicycle in the cycle/bus lane travelling south  on Sandringham Road and was approaching Eden Park. There was a line of cars to my right and as I approached Walters Road a gap appeared within the line of cars.

I slowed down, (between 25-30kph) thinking there may be chance a vehicle might be going to cross my path. I kept looking at this gap and suddenly a vehicle did appear. I shouted repeatedly ‘no, no, no, but the driver kept moving into my intended path.

This meant there was no way I could avoid a collision. I eventually hit the vehicle’s rear left side falling onto Sandringham Rd at the intersection with Walter Ave.”

Andrew and his mates at Council and AT working for better cycling conditions are doing a staunch job, and we love having them on board to help Cycle Action. But their efforts and ours with the paltry budget available for cycling will not make the difference we all need. Our bottom line has to be Council allocating more money – 3-5 times the current annual budget – to allow those 60%  of Aucklanders who recent AT surveys tell us would like to cycle more on safer infrastructure. Allowing this huge increase in people cycling to occur will change our road culture so motorists start to expect to look out for and see people on bikes as a normal part of Auckland’s roads.

It is only when we make this culture change on Auckland roads that we will have a chance of avoiding crashes like Andrew’s recent one. Cycle Action is gearing up for a national and local campaign to boost spending on cycling  infrastructure to make the difference needed – we’ll be in touch soon to bring you on board !

 

 

 

A few views onto the Grafton Gully Cycleway

By , July 18, 2014

NZTA have kindly provided us with some great photos showing the progress of the works on the Grafton Gully Cycleway, and the Upper Queen Street Bridge. Enjoy!

View 01 A few views onto the Grafton Gully Cycleway

 

View 02 A few views onto the Grafton Gully Cycleway

Loads of space on both of these bridges that doesn’t seem particularly urgently needed for cars, doesn’t it? Well, at least on the Upper Queen Street bridge, the reduced layout is actually pretty much what we’ll get – oodles of space for peds and cyclists!

On a related note – a side access at Wellesley Street East remains still planned, but we understand negotiations are still ongoing with the land owner.

Waterview Shared Path – Route plan & OPEN DAYS invite

By , July 17, 2014

Alford Bridge 300x108 Waterview Shared Path   Route plan & OPEN DAYS inviteFollowing up on last weekend’s blog post, here is Auckland Transport’s Open Days invite for the Waterview Shared Path.

The AT brochure gives the times for the Open Days on the 23rd and 24th, and also some additional information about the path – see you there!Mapping 112x300 Waterview Shared Path   Route plan & OPEN DAYS invite

Bike Market Update

By , July 16, 2014
Bike market Mt Albert 300x199 Bike Market Update

The bike market at Mt Albert on Saturday

A guest post from Anja Vroegop of Auckland Transport reporting on the success of last Saturday’s bike market at Mt Albert.

Despite heavy rain and strong winds, plenty of people made it out to the Bike Market this weekend. The aim of the Bike Market trial was to target some barriers to cycling (55% of people report having no access to a bike and for many the cost of buying one is a barrier to trying cycling).

With the help of Tumeke Cycle Space, Bigfoot Adventures, Adventure Cycles and ChildFund, the Bike Market saw around 300 people looking to buy and sell bikes. There were a range of bikes available on the day from $30 kid’s bikes through to $400 second hand commuter bikes with some weird and wonderful bikes in between!

The bike mechanics were kept busy doing ‘pre-purchase checks’ and fitting newly bought bikes to people. Around 50 bikes were sold on the day.

Auckland Transport will evaluate the success of this event and look to run another similar Bike Market in Spring.

Thanks to Cycle Action Auckland for your support and for spreading the word!

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