Skypath Open Day – Thanks For Your Input – And Keep It Coming

By , April 17, 2014
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Just some of the crowds who turned out in Northcote to find out more

A massive ‘ thank you’ from the SkyPath team to everyone who came on Saturday to the Open Day sessions. It’s hugely affirmative to get your  “Just make it happen!” endorsements. It’s also important to get specific feedback on the latest designs, so we appreciate the many helpful, positive comments we received.

There were two sessions on Saturday – at Westhaven and at Northcote Point. We got a good turnout to the Westhaven session in the morning, despite the gusty conditions near the AJ Hackett base. This is where the entrance to SkyPath will be, as it exits on the western side after tucking under the bridge close to the southern abutment. In general the feedback was positive on this plan, which eases concerns about congestion at the bottom of Shelley Beach Rd, while still allowing cyclists  and pedestrians to connect to Westhaven Promenade.

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The proposed design for the Westhaven end of the SkyPath

The session at Northcote Point was also close to the proposed entrance to SkyPath, under the bridge at Stokes Point. This session attracted a bigger crowd as there is intense interest from the Northcote community about the project. Many Northcote people came along to tell us that they loved the benefits that SkyPath would bring to their community, seeing it as providing a way to get into the city by foot or cycle, and also commenting that SkyPath would bring vitality to the local area and humanise the space under the bridge.

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The proposed design for the Northcote end of the SkyPath

Some residents who live close to the Northcote Point entrance in particular continue to have strong concerns about the impact of SkyPath on their neighbourhood. We respect these residents’ views. SkyPath will bring changes, and we want to work with affected residents to continue the discussion regarding the issues that they feel strongly about and that came up again and again on Saturday.

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Another angle of the proposed design for the Northcote end

Parking continues to be major issue for most residents. We talked to many Northcote locals who were concerned that a large number of commuters and families will drive to SkyPath and disrupt existing on-street parking and clog narrow streets.

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Spreading the word

We’re looking at a range of proposals to respond to these concerns. Improved bus services and additional ferry services to Northcote Point will also be investigated. A residents’ car-parking scheme is another option which will be discussed with local residents and the Council family. The other big opportunity is the NZTA’s project (subject to an investigation and funding) to develop a northern link for walkers and cyclists from SkyPath to Esmonde Rd/ Akoranga Bus Station vicinity, which will open up connectivity for the communities severed by the motorway.

We value all the input we’re getting and want to hear from you all with specific comments on the latest designs. Help us make SkyPath a superb facility by contributing your feedback online at www.skypath.org.nz, or email us at info@skypath.org.nz.

Bike Te Atatu – a peep into our cycling future

By , April 16, 2014

This is a guest blog from CAA Associate, Bryce P.

If you would like to submit a guest blog, please feel free to email Ben L at goosoid@gmail.com. We love getting guest blogs about what is happening in your neighbourhood or an aspect of cycling you are passionate about.

Over the weekend of the 29th and 30th of March, Bike Te Atatu made a short film based around cycling in Te Atatu.

The spirit of this short film is to show just what we have in Te Atatu but also what we could have in Te Atatu and indeed Auckland using well known techniques from overseas.

While driving into Te Atatu, I knew we were doing the right thing as I came across this full to capacity bike rack at the Luscious Food Store. These guys have got into the cycling culture bit and offer a 10% drink discount to people who turn up on bikes.

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Food store parking in Te Atatu – popular with customers

Jemma, Laura and Andrew were the main ‘crew’ and started with some casual shots of people riding around town.

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Cycling scenes in Te Atatu

One of the key things that has had a lot of airtime recently in blogs and twitter posts is protected cycleways. So, how do we get a protected cycway when we actually don’t really have any? Luckily for us the good people from Fulton Hogan, (yes the same Fulton Hogan who are the contractors for the Te Atatu interchange rebuild and who are bringing us an underpass on the NW cycleway) are a nice bunch of people and arranged necessary traffic permits, traffic control and bollards to install along 100m or so of a local street. I can now tell you from experience that, although the bollards were merely sitting on the road surface, there was an immediate feeling of safety in knowing you had your own lane. It even felt safe to ride the wrong way, such is the power of the cheap old bollard.

 

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A cheap, easy separated cycle path

Next up we mocked up a 30 km/h neighbourhood slow zone. There’s not much to say about this other than there are many already traffic calmed streets in Auckland that could easily be made to look like this tomorrow. How many km’s of cycle safe streets would that add for very little cost?

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Slow roads = safe roads

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Yes, that’s right – those are children cycling on the road!

From there, we made a quick detour to the Te Atatu Peninsula Primary gala day for some more general footage. Luckily in Te Atatu we have the services of an Auckland Transport employee – Simon Vincent. He is awesome and always turns up to events with bike stands, little giveaways and a free bike check.

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A beautiful sight – a full bike stand

We finished Saturday with another residential slow zone. Everyone loves this idea.

On Sunday, the team added a professional sound recordist (Craig, another local who donated his time and equipment) for a day of interviews with Te Atatu people who cycle for various reasons. We even managed to get that famous nano scientist Michelle Dickinson

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Cyclists have science on their side

For one of these interviews, I was asked to make an appearance as a 30 km/h street sceptic. As someone who feels strongly that these are a great idea, I’m not too sure how convincing I was. Jemma seemed to think I’d done ok.

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A grumpy ex-mechanic who doesn’t like cyclists (aka Bryce) – “Bludgers!”, he cried.

All up it was a great weekend and we’re all eagerly awaiting to see the finished results. No doubt Jemma and Laura are editing furiously while I write this. We’ll let you all know where to view it once it’s ready. A final thanks to Jemma, Laura, Andrew and everyone who contributed.

Another small step for Great North Road cyclists

By , April 15, 2014

With the Waitemata Local Board having reproduced the plan in their Local Board Agenda, we can now publicly talk about one of the first wins from a project CAA and AT are currently running to improve “completed” cycle facilities in Auckland that are sub-standard. An eastbound cycle lane on Great North Road approaching Ponsonby Road intersection.GNR Ponsonby 300x118 Another small step for Great North Road cyclists

As part of the project, some months ago we walked the section of Great North Road between Bond Street and Ponsonby Road (and a few other roads and paths). This section counts as “completed” in the old reading of our cycle network standards because the road has bus lanes.

Now, we won’t (at least not in this blog post) discuss the issues with that basic premise about bus lanes once more. But even if one were minded to accept it, there are actually sections through this corridor where there’s nothing. One of these being the approach to Ponsonby Road from the west on GNR – a route many cyclists are riding, because GNR’s “ridge route” character allows a gentle climb to the City Centre.

Well, CAA and the Waitemata Local Board have long sought at least the simple concession to cyclist needs that would be provided by a simple feeder cycle lane here. This was rebutted several times – but to their credit, there is a new wind blowing in parts of Auckland Transport.

CAA pointed out to them that if it was really impossible to to add a feeder cycle lane here, on a 25m wide (!) road reserve, on a key cycle route – then where would we ever find space for cycle routes? That meeting obviously created a result. So thanks to AT for progressing this. It’s a first step for Great North Road, and we are increasingly seeing these things happening.

[And for those who are concerned that such small changes lose sight of the large-scale stuff - we are also currently providing feedback to AT about the long-term cycle facilities on Great North Road. And again, there's a strong hint of change in the air in what AT is proposing. Sadly, these longer-term plans won't yet align with the re-seal works for GNR starting end of this month, which include this feeder cycle lane]

NW Cycleway @ Te Atatu – temporary diversion

By , April 14, 2014

NW Cycleway Te Atatu diversion April 2014 NW Cycleway @ Te Atatu   temporary diversion

Fulton Hogan’s Project Manager has flagged to us that the cycleway route needs to be diverted temporarily as part of the cycleway and other upgrades happening along the NW Motorway -

“We’re gearing up to begin work on the Te Atatu project and one of the elements of the job is a shared use path along the westbound carriageway which will link up with the Lincoln Road path we are building that ends at Henderson Creek Bridge.   

The current cycle path that joins in to  McCormick Rd is hard up on the designation and needs to be removed while we install vector Cable ducts under it and then replace the current path with the 3m shared use path.  We are proposing to divert cyclists and pedestrians along the current footpath / access way on the west side of Te Atatu Rd until Royal View  Rd and then along Royal View Rd until they meet McCormick Rd where they currently exit into Royal View Rd.  This will allow us to do the work along the old route as quickly as possible in the very limited space we have to work in.  Once we have the path concreted up to the current point it bears left towards McCormick Rd we can get the cyclists back on to the new path in this area.

 We would like to start work in the next couple of weeks and will have the detour in place until around August this year when we will move back to the new path.  If we can finish earlier we will move everyone back as soon as we can.   As usual space is at a premium on site but we are sure we can provide a safe route that does not cause too much inconvenience to users.

 On a positive note our design for this project has allowed us to reduce the contract duration and we will be able to commission the new cycle route much earlier than the specimen design so your members will hopefully be able to use the full new route to Lincoln Road in early 2015!  Something to look forward to.”

One of our regular NW commuter and sports cyclists has reviewed the diversion plan for us, (thanks Carl), and advises us that -

‘I can’t see this being too much of a problem – the benefit outweighs the drawbacks, and although Royal View Rd can get busy in the morning with eastbound traffic, the traffic is slow moving, and traffic in both directions is almost non existent in the evening.  As for inconvenience, the distances are similar and small (barely 100m difference), so that should not be a factor in delaying work.

One thing that Royal Rd might need is some sort of temporary sign asking for a gap for cyclists in the westbound lane, as they tend to queue hard up against the curb in the morning traffic – one just past Milich Tce and another just past Vera Rd would be good …’

Any more comments for us to take on board?

 

Stellar cycling event tomorrow – Be there !

By , April 11, 2014

The Northcote and St Mary’s Bay Residents Associations want 600 carparks provided for SkyPath! It’s time to help them understand this is a cycling and walking facility – not a supermarket !

We need hundreds of cyclists to turn up at either Northcote or Westhaven tomorrow, so the Residents’ Associations see how it’s done.

If you want Sky Path to happen faster, go to either Westhaven or Northcote tomorrow and make your support known. 

SkyPath Open Day poster Stellar cycling event tomorrow   Be there !

 

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