The plans for changes to Mount Wellington Highway outside of the Sylvia Park shopping centre have now been finalised. We engaged with Auckland Transport about these plans before, and its good to see that both on-road cycle lanes and shared paths are now confirmed to make this currently absolutely horrid section of road much more suitable for cyclists.
Cycle lanes on Mt Wellington Highway on-road from Aranui Road through to just south of the motorway
Western-side shared path from Aranui Road to Sylvia Park Road (i.e. even further south than the cycle lanes)
Eastern-side shared paths for some short sections outside of Sylvia Park, where new office buildings are planned
The changes will also make the SEART cycleway westwards towards Mt Smart and Onehunga easier to get to, and will include a bus-only back route along the rail line.
Subject to land purchase, construction is hoped to start this year, and run up to 2015.
The Auckland Council Transport Committee recently heard some presentations that might be of interest to cyclists:
A proposal by “Heart of the City” – a City Centre business / area improvement group – is advocating for a relocation of the future west-east linear park (and walking/cycle route!) from Victoria Street to Wellesley Street. Amongst the arguments are the better onward connectivity for cyclists.
A presentation from the project team about the AMETI busway, which shows (particularly at Page 9 and 16-18) a variety of the cycle facilities planned for the area.
Some interesting ideas and concepts here. Shame the City Centre plan did not receive all that much funding for the coming years (some, but not nearly enough to press on with all the ambitions). And while AMETI’s initial stages are on track, the more easterly parts of it are still very far out – 10+ years – with our current PT infrastructure funding levels from Wellington…
AMETI now proposes a walk- and cycleway along Lagoon Drive*, directly connecting the Panmure Town Centre with the planned walking/cycling Panmure bridge, and from there, the future off-road path to Pakuranga Town Centre!
* In addition to the more recreational walking path that already exists on the lagoon side of the road.
As you can see in the sketch at the right (click through twice for larger view), the now-proposed link (green) will be more direct than the previously proposed deviation (dark blue) along routes via Church Crescent / Queens Road. Both of which would have been on-road – with no certainty of getting even painted cycle lanes – and which would have involved travelling through a rather hairy roundabout at Queens Road / Kings Road. By providing an off-road route (on the northern side of Lagoon Drive, next to the new busway), we make the route attractive to a whole new type of locals who want to ride bikes.
CAA had been able to comment to AT on their proposals for this path a while back, but knowing the costs involved in providing it, we didn’t want to celebrate too soon. But obviously, AT higher-ups have agreed with their own team that it makes sense to provide a high-quality link all the way, if you are going to the trouble of upgrading Panmure Bridge and the section east of it so significantly for cyclists. Great to hear, and we hope everyone who lives or cycles in the area registers their support (at the Open Day, or at future opportunities for comment).
Here’s a quick round-up of some Auckland Transport channel videos on YouTube. The videos that could be interesting for cyclists included this one about our coming electric trains:
You can see the dedicated cycle area in each centre carriage, and also the areas with the flip-up seats, where more cycles can be stored as long as the train isn’t already at peak loads. What you can’t see yet (because it hasn’t been finalised yet) is how the bikes will be held into place – the “bike rack”, if you will. CAA and other parties are still discussing the best way to incorporate this with AT, and the public will also have a chance to comment once the life-sized first train mock-up arrives in Auckland in a while.
Having no success convincing family and friends to “Give it a go!” with cycling?
Then you are probably talking to the “interested but concerned” part of the population – those 50-60% who kinda like the idea of cycling, but aren’t happy riding on busy roads – and won’t change their minds just because of some green painton the road. Or because you tell them how the risks of cycling are overstated in public perception. They need something more convincing.
Enter projects like AMETI. Cycle Action recently met with the design team for the second phase of that project, the future busway corridor from Pakuranga to Botany. The discussions about cycling facilities in this new corridor were very heartening, as the project team from Auckland Transport and their design consultants clearly “get cycling” – not only the current situation we have now in Auckland, but also the way Auckland could be for cyclists.
Following their recent work, Auckland Transport has now released concept drawings for the busway, which includes examples showing how the cycle facilities would be integrated. The team is targeting those people as future users who currently don’t cycle (except maybe for some limited recreational riding) and who want high-quality facilities before choosing to cycle for transport – in short, they are aiming at the wide majority of Aucklanders.
Below, we show some of the designs the project team is considering for the project: