SkyPath lodged for resource consent!

By , August 21, 2014
Auckland Harbour Bridge 300x200 SkyPath lodged for resource consent!

Auckland Harbour Bridge, CC BY-SA 2.0 Noel Jones

It has taken a long time, and then it almost passed us by because we were hip-deep in other urgent projects as usual – but SkyPath has now been lodged for resource consent!

SkyPath Imagery 300x200 SkyPath lodged for resource consent!

Recent images of the clip-on by the SkyPath Team.

Cycle Action is of course enthusiastic to see this move to the next formal step on the journey to allow all of us to take a new journey in Auckland, and bring the Shore and the Isthmus together. If you have followed the politics and the concerns of the locals especially in parts of the Shore, you will know that there’s still a way to travel – but soon all Aucklanders will get the chance to publicly submit on the project. We are confident the positive case for the facility will be agreed by all of you!

As a side note – the Northcote Safe Routes close for consultation next week – please consider giving feedback, as there is severe local criticism about car parking loss, despite much of the existing parking actually being retained in the proposal (i.e. one side of the street keeps the parking, the other side loses it so protected cycle lanes are possible).

Such cycle routes will be important for all of us to cycle across the region (and to meet friends and go to businesses on the Shore!), and as such, it is only proper that people outside of Northcote can give comment as well for AT to consider. We don’t begrudge people from Northcote the ability to drive their cars through our suburbs, but we also need safe cycle routes through their suburb. Over 50 years ago, a motorway opend up the Shore. Now, SkyPath and local cycle routes will help connect it better.

Madrid’s new electric bike scheme

By , August 20, 2014
Madrid ebike share 2 300x245 Madrids new electric bike scheme

The Madrid ebikes

UPDATE: This post may have become even more topical after the release of the ACT policy on cycle helmets yesterday. I personally think that is way too simplistic in its expected effect but it means that every political party now has a cycling policy – a big step up from past elections where it wasn’t even addressed.


Madrid has recently become the first city in the world to start an all electric bike share scheme. Its electric bikes look great and have lights hooked up to the battery.

Madrid follows the lead of Copenhagen which had an ebike share trial programme in October 2013.

I think this is a great idea (with reservations) for Auckland. As you may know, I am a big user and fan of electric bikes. Although I think hills are a weak excuse not to cycle (I’ll take a hill any day over a Christchurch Easterly head wind) I think they do have the ability to get the more reluctant riders and older riders out on their bikes.

I don’t fall into any of those categories, I just like them and they make riding more enjoyable. I don’t subscribe to the camp that cycling is the two wheeled equivalent of jogging, i.e. no pain no gain.

Copenhagen ebike hire 300x135 Madrids new electric bike scheme

Copenhagen ebike hire

My reservation with this, and indeed any bike share scheme in New Zealand, is that the helmet law will be a major impediment. The experience in Australia, where both Melbourne and Brisbane have share schemes, has shown that helmets are a major obstacle.

People are reluctant to use a supplied helmet because of hygiene concerns and carrying around a helmet really defeats the purpose.

Spain has a very confused cycle helmet law which only requires helmets for children under 16 and for people outside urban areas. However, you don’t have to wear one if the weather is too hot (who decides that), on steep hills or if you are a professional cyclist. Pretty arbitrary rules and from my trip to Madrid in 2012, noone wears helmets in Madrid. A proposal to expand this to a universal law was recently defeated.

Tel Aviv bike share 300x225 Madrids new electric bike scheme

Tel Aviv bike share

Israel is a country that recently repealed a adult cycle helmet law, at least partly because of concerns that the law would jeopardise a new bike share scheme in Tel Aviv, a scheme which has been a success. The new law in Israel is now similar to the situation in Spain.

Another place to recently downgrade its helmet law, to include only under 18 year old riders, is Dallas, Texas. Although not a place known for cycling, dallas is set to follow dozens of other American cities and start a bike share service. There were real fears that the helmet law would doom that service to failure:

Not many people looking to rent a bike just carry a helmet around. And though there are helmet rental stations that could pair with the bike rental stands, they are pricey. Some have also cringed at the thought of renting a sweaty helmet just used by another person..

So without a change to Dallas’ bike helmet ordinance, the rules would essentially be in conflict with the city’s latest amenities.

“This is a 20th century versus 21st century approach to the way we live in a city,” Kingston said. “In order to do bike share, we absolutely have to get rid of the helmet requirement.”

 

 

Public transport bike parking- gearing up for action

By , August 19, 2014

Thanks to our FB correspondent, Monique Olivier for giving us the link to  this story published in the Dutch News last Thursday.

Record number of bicycles removed from stations

Bike parks around the main railway stations cannot cope and councils removed 126,958 wrongly parked bikes in 2013, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday. In Rotterdam, 11,462 bikes were removed, in Utrecht 25,063 and in The Hague 16,688. Amsterdam, which began the policy of removing wrongly parked bikes, took away 73,745 bikes, double the number of four years ago. The Netherlands has 22.3 million cyclists and around 40% of them use their bike to get to the station. That is a 30% increase on 2000, the paper says.

In 2011, transport minister Melanie Schulz-van Haegen wrote to parliament to say that ‘the bike is becoming an increasingly important transport link in getting to the station’. She calculated that by 2020 an extra 140,000 to 260,000 parking spaces would be needed for bikes.

The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles. – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/08/record_number_of_bicycles_remo.php#sthash.UBQy1LQy.dpuf
The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles. – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/08/record_number_of_bicycles_remo.php#sthash.UBQy1LQy.dpuf

The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles.

The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles. – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/08/record_number_of_bicycles_remo.php#sthash.UBQy1LQy.dpuf
The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles. – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/08/record_number_of_bicycles_remo.php#sthash.UBQy1LQy.dpuf
The main cities are all trying to find space for extra bike parks. Utrecht is currently building what will be the biggest bike park in the world, with room for 12,500 cycles. – See more at: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2014/08/record_number_of_bicycles_remo.php#sthash.UBQy1LQy.dpuf

I’m not sure what the Dutch authorities regard to be ‘wrongly parked bikes’ but imagine only some of them will be those broken and rusted bikes that we find tied up at ferry terminals around the city from time to time.

The real message of this article for me is the awareness that cycling is vital for public transport to work efficiently. All our readers will know the struggles we have had over the last year to achieve this. The good news is that our close contacts in AT now know how important it is, and are committed to working with us to put new bike parking in place by July next year. We are about to form a small working group with our AT colleagues plus people from Gen Zero and Cycle Action who frequently combine cycling and public transport. Our goal is to develop templates to simplify and speed up delivery, as well as achieve economies in design and construction costs.

Surveys and blogs we’ve done in the past year have consistently identified fit for purpose bike parking is not gold plated, but has these key features -

  • Direct, convenient, fast access to the bus, train and ferry loading points
  • Effective weather shelter from wind driven rain and sea spray
  • Good coverage by CCTV
  • High standard of direct lighting to ensure bike locks are easily read in winter and assist security
  • Located to ensure good passive public surveillance
  • Easy- use racks for males and females, providing effective bike support and to avoid bike frame scratching/twising
  • Scope to expand for future increased demand
  • Clear way- finding signs
  • Supplemented by wheel ramps on stairs at terminals – stations etc
  • Supplemented by easy safe access from adjacent road system. This will include protected bike lanes wherever possible
  • Lastly – if locked doors are included, they must be accessed via a HOP card. No one wants to have to carry another transport related card.

Have we missed any obvious items?

 

UPDATED: Govt adds new cycling money – a step change for New Zealand?

By , August 18, 2014
nz100 300x141  UPDATED: Govt adds new cycling money   a step change for New Zealand?

A million Rutherfords for urban cycling – what do you think? A great start, or way too little?

UPDATE: Unfortunately, once again, it turns out this announcement wasn’t quite as it said on the tin. CAA has confirmed that the money for the Government’s new initiative is not new money. It is underspend on the cycling budget from the GPS.

There’s more for us to learn on this score. We’ll report back when we do. There is little point in our asking for more GPS money if the current budget can’t or isn’t being spent.

—— ——

The Government has announced today that it will allocate $100m over the next 4 years from the asset sales programme for new urban cycleways.

The media release for the funding is introduced by this comment – ‘Mr Brownlee says National recognises that commuting by bike has health benefits and takes pressure off other transport networks, but says cycleways in our largest centres are fragmented and offer varied levels of service.’

Good to see the Government understands what has been internationally accepted for some time in relation to the benefits of cycling. And it’s a relief to know the Government agrees with the weeping sore that is cycling in all our major cities – the lack of safe connectivity. 

The release refers to the cycle funding given to Hastings and New Plymouth, which are small cities where a relatively small level of new cycling money has delivered transformational change as part of a pilot programme. With this compelling evidence we record our surprise that the Government has not seen fit to invest equivalent and therefore larger amounts of money in the 4 main cities – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

To quote the media release again -“Many people cite safety concerns and a lack of infrastructure as reasons for not cycling, so we’re going to begin building cycleways to a standard that delivers real incentives for commuters to make a change.
“Building more comprehensive cycling networks will require new infrastructure to connect existing routes and expand the network into wider urban areas.

This is a good start and we applaud the move. But we have to ask why the Government has taken such a timid step. Let’s remember 60% of Aucklanders told Auckland Transport last year they would cycle if they could use safe connected routes. This is hardly a fringe element in Auckland.

$25m would part fund the Tamaki to Glen Innes cycleway that is being fast tracked in Auckland as a collaboration between the NZTA and AT. In time it would help with other vital priorities for Auckland – cycleways up and down SH1 that were flagged as vital by Cycle Action in early 2011. Of course, this overlooks the SkyPath which is the top project supported in Auckland and likely to remain dependent on funding from people cycling and walking across the harbour.

This focus on Auckland takes no account of the major new routes needed in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Or of the safer routes to connect with public transport hubs which are the real game changer for transport choice. $25m a year will barely touch the sides of this need which grows with each year that passes.

We take heart from the comment at the end of the media release that the GPS (Government Policy Statement) for transport may also increase cycle funding.

‘Aside from the $100 million announced today, is there any other future funding available for cycleway developments?
The draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2015/16-2024/25 (the draft GPS 2015) proposes up to $103 million be available for walking and cycling projects (including cycleways) over the next three years. This investment will be complemented with funding from local government, and is in addition to this urban cycleways funding.
The national campaign led by cycle groups in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and Generation Zero recently sent 3,500 submissions asking the Government to triple its current proposal to spend $30m per year for cycle and walking investment.

Can the Government be trusted to listen and respond in good faith when it considers this serious response to its draft GPS?

 

 

Angled Parking – eliminating the door zone

By , August 18, 2014
reverse parking 1 US 300x211 Angled Parking   eliminating the door zone

Reverse angled parking in the United States

One of my biggest fears when cycling is the dreaded opened door. I can watch out for oblivious motorists at intersections, ensure I make eye contact and all that good stuff. But as the tragic death of Jane Bishop on Tamaki Drive has shown us, even avoiding the door can put somebody on a bike in danger.

This article talks about a great project in San Francisco to put in a protected cycle lane. As part of that, back in angled parking will be installed. This requires drivers to back into the park rather than back out, always a dangerous situation for cyclists.

Wherever angled parking is installed in the city, the SFMTA says it has recently been using the back-in arrangement since it helps drivers pull out of the parking spots safely while removing the danger of the door zone for people on bikes.

You will see that the cars act as a buffer for the separated cycle lane on the inside of the cars. Therefore the danger here was from the passenger door being opened. But of course it works just as well to protect cyclists if (as unfortunately is almost always the case in Auckland) the cycle lane is on the outside of the parked cars.

Angled parking Devonport 300x204 Angled Parking   eliminating the door zone

Angled parking on Victoria Road in Devonport

So in one fell swoop, this project has eliminated the risk of dooring, while also eliminating the back-out danger of angled parking. One place in particular this could work well would be in Devonport on Victoria Road. Speeds are generally low here (though it would be nice to see the limit at 30Km/h from the Albert Street roundabout) and the main risk is someone reversing from these parks.

It appears from this article that reversing into an angle park that is facing towards on coming traffic is actually an offence. But that article and this one from CAN in 2010, seem to indicate that NZTA is in support of the concept of reverse angled parking (but the AA isn’t).

Does anyone know anywhere in NZ where this has been tried?

angled parking bay street level 300x134 Angled Parking   eliminating the door zone

The concept for Bay Street, San Francisco

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