In our pilot project with Auckland Transport to improve a variety of particularly problematic locations for cycling on New North Road, we have made a large step forward. Two design schemes have been developed – and have been found to be feasible and viable within the budget of the pilot project. The two schemes are:
- New southbound cycle lane at Symonds Street / New North Road / Mt Eden Road
- This will give you dedicated space riding south through this currently very tricky intersection [sadly, adding a northbound lane as well was too costly within the pilot project budget - we will get there another day].
- The extent of the cycle lane is going to be approximately 100m length, in a nice reversal of the common “cycle lanes stop just as you get to the intersection” situation…
- Wider eastbound (uphill) traffic lane on New North Road near Porters Avenue
- By narrowing the solid median, we will be able to widen the through lane to around 4.5m, allowing uphill cyclists to be overtaken much more safely than at the moment, where the right turn lane into Porters Avenue creates a serious squeeze point.
- As AT were concerned about less experienced cyclists having to merge with the faster fly-over traffic joining from the left from Dominion Road, the current road markings will remain and still encourage cyclists to deviate onto the shared path. However, for those of you who already continue straight on anyway, this location will now be a lot better.
These two schemes do not have final approval yet, but are well-developed and feasibility tested, and have had constructions costings developed for them. There are no more known issues that are likely to prevent them. Funding for them is available. So – knock on wood – they can be constructed pretty soon. We will keep you in the loop on that, of course.
Regarding the “No Stopping” markings proposed for the car park merge issues identified in our earlier work, the first scheme above would fix the worst of the four locations, while AT are still working through consultation responses and potential layouts for the three other locations.
This pilot project has at times been frustrating for both Cycle Action and Auckland Transport – and it wasn’t made easier for AT by having to mediate between very strongly opinionated local residents, various stakeholders and a stroppy cycling advocacy group. This project is now going to provide good change for cyclists – many thanks to the people at AT who have worked on this!
I hadn’t been to Waiheke for a year – but CAA organises our annual ‘hui’ on Waiheke, in the hospitable home of our chair, Barbara Cuthbert. Half a weekend celebrating the past year, planning for the next, and enjoying the company of others working to make Auckland friendly for cycling.
I won’t talk much about the hui itself – though we hope that you will notice the improvements planned to CAA and for cycling. But I can tell you that it felt like a nice omen when riding up from the Matiatia ferry terminal, I reached the top, and saw the stretch of Oceanview Road north of Mako Street.
Gone was the cycle lane marked right in the door zone (see old photo) – gone was the car parking that made it into a deathtrap waiting to snap shut. Now, a cycle lane stretches all the way past Korora Road (see new photo).
I knew the changes had been made after we raised the issue last year (thank you, AT) – but its nice to have gotten around to finally have a look at it myself. As I have said before, for me personally its these small wins that keep me going in between working for the large ones.
Happy riding all, and also a shout-out to Cycle Action Waiheke. Always nice to visit your patch.
The Auckland Domain, at first glance, may appear a quite typically English park. Lots of imported deciduous trees shading the slopes, and on mowed green lawns, you see people playing cricket.
It takes a bit of a closer look to see that there’s a volcanic cone in the centre. And an appreciation of history to realise that this was an important pa site for Maori – well-protected by a swamp where the playing fields are now. And what is much-loved can also be much-fought over – hence the name: Pukekawa, the “hill of bitter memories“.
We think it is neat to see more Maori symbolism being integrated into the park upgrades to reflect this older history – such as in the road renewal of Lower Domain Drive. This didn’t only get us an uphill cycle lane and a proper footpath, it also added great-looking fencing and carving poles reflecting that heritage. You rarely see a cycle lane framed that neatly.
On the more technical side, we found the cycle lane makes an enormous change to riding this route, especially if you aren’t really that good on hills. It is relatively steep, and not feeling like an impatient driver could be hanging on your heels does a lot for peace of mind. Downhill, of course, no cycle lane was added, but many people will be fine with that, as the cycling goes faster, making things a bit less stressful in more than one way.
So – well done, Auckland Transport! We look forward to see the other planned changes to make the Domain better for walking & cycling.
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.
A very quick update on some infrastructure issues:
- The Strand / Tamaki Drive – we have had a recent update from AT that they are discussing improvements with NZTA (as this is a state highway to the port). This will include the details of the cycle upgrades (westbound cycle lane on Tamaki Drive), and potentially also changes to the slip lanes. Construction is loosely envisaged in June 2013.
- In a recent blog post, we discussed the proposed Albany Highway (South) upgrade. After that post, we went to AT to discuss the fact that the plans didn’t show cycle lanes on Upper Harbour Drive for the new signal intersection with Albany Highway. AT have confirmed that they don’t intend to build the intersection w/o cycle facilities on that leg, but simply hadn’t had finalised plans for the future UHD cycle layout yet. They will stay in touch with us on this. They will also look into whether a feeder cycle lane can be added where Unsworth Drive joins Albany Highway.
- CAA’s and ATs “Quick Wins” project on New North Road is marching on – slowly, but deliberately. Current focus is on a number of potential parking removals downstream of intersections, and on getting more advanced design for cycle lanes at the Mt Eden Road / New North Road / Symonds Street intersection.
- We have contacted the fine folks of the Whau Greenways project to see how we can assist making their great vision of a shared coastal path through West Auckland come true.
- We will be meeting with NZTA / Waterview Connection construction alliance to discuss how cycling in the Waterview construction area can be made safer during construction, for example on the cycle path past the petrol station at the northern end of Waterview.
As you see, we try to keep true to our motto of having our fingers in as many projects as possible, to make sure cyclists are being considered. Sometimes, this doesn’t pay off until many months or even years later down the line, but we are slowly getting the runs on the board.