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.

SkyPath Southern Connectors

By , October 15, 2014

This is the second part of our look at connections to SkyPath, following on from our recent post on connections on the North Shore side.

Waterfront Auckland Westhaven Cyclist 300x209 SkyPath Southern Connectors

Westhaven Marina (Credit: Waterfront Auckland)

Wynyard Quarter cycling improvements 300x257 SkyPath Southern Connectors

Wynyard Quarter cycling improvements (Credit: Auckland Transport)

Now let’s have a look at how people will access the southern entrance to SkyPath at Westhaven. The access picture is rather different on the city-side than it is on the north, thanks to great cycling and shared space initiatives which are already underway.  These deliver users right to SkyPath’s main entrance from the city centre via Wynyard Quarter using the grand Daldy St Linear Park or the the North Wharf shared space, the Beaumont St separated cycleways, and finally the fabulous new Westhaven promenade off road shared path and boardwalk.

Continue reading 'SkyPath Southern Connectors'»

Cycling and women’s rights

By , October 14, 2014
Atalanta cycling club Chch 300x205 Cycling and womens rights

Atalanta Cycling Club

In the last 100 years, New Zealand has often led the way in women’s rights, from being the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote to having women dominate our political and legal scene.

The bicycle played a part in this revolution and not just in New Zealand. This article points out how in the United States, the bicycle gave women a new freedom of movement which inspired a movement away from traditional roles and attitudes.

There is a great chapter in the Kennet Brothers history of cycling in New Zealand, Ride: The Story of Cycling in New Zealand, that describes in some detail how cycling was important to women from the 1890s onwards. The Atalanta Cycling Club in Christchurch had as members some prominent suffragettes including Kate Shephard. It wasn’t easy for the first women cyclists:

The women met with some opposition from the public as they cycled around Christchurch and at time brothers of the women accompanied them on outings to ward off attacks by stone throwers.

Now of course things are much more equal. In Auckland, both men and women have the chance to have objects thrown at them. Ah progress!

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