There were quite a few interesting little transport news stories today that are worth covering off. The first one is that one of long promised projects is about to be delivered. The NZTA and Auckland Transport have been working with Cycling Action Auckland on extending the extremely popular NW cycleway through the CMJ and all the way to Beach Rd. This is great news and will only help to boost the popularity of the existing cycleway. Here is what the NZ Herald has to say about it:

Auckland cyclists should be able to ride their own off-road “super highway” from Te Atatu to the Waitemata waterfront by the end of 2015.

The Transport Agency expects to start construction in October on a 2.1km extension of the popular Northwestern Cycleway, to be built in two stages through Spaghetti Junction and Grafton Gully to Beach Rd. From there, it will be up to Auckland Transport to complete a link across the eastern railway line to the waterfront, along a route yet to be finalised.


The 13km Northwestern Cycleway now ends at the intersection of Ian McKinnon Drive and Upper Queen St, although its final section from Newton Rd includes loops and bends avoided by many commuter cyclists.

Although Cycle Action Auckland hopes for a third stage, involving a cantilevered addition to the edge of Ian McKinnon Drive, Transport Agency project manager Scott Wickman said that was deferred after being estimated to cost about $3 million. Riders wanting to stay on the cycleway will therefore still have to dismount at two sets of traffic signals on Ian McKinnon Drive.

They will have their own cycle lane on the road bridge across Spaghetti Junction but will have to dismount again at an enhanced pedestrian crossing of Upper Queen.

From there, the cycleway extension will follow the motorway corridor east and then north through Grafton Gully, skirting historic cemetery land, to Wellesley St.

Cyclists will be then be able to head to the city centre either along Wellesley St, via the university precinct or through the gully to the waterfront.

Mr Wickman said it was expected to prove popular with university students, and giving cyclists an alternative to the dangers of riding among traffic down Symonds St had boosted the economic case for the project. It had a projected economic return of $4.61 for every dollar of cost.

Being in Henderson I am quite far from town but perhaps I need to think about getting a bike as with the completion of a few other cycle lanes that are currently under construction near where I live there would be nearly continuous cycle lanes all the way from my house to town.

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  1. “but will have to dismount again at an enhanced pedestrian crossing of Upper Queen.”

    Notwithstanding the likelihood that cyclists won’t bother dismounting, why don’t they add a cycle phase at the lights?

    And why, after having done a cycle phase at Newton Rd and (sort of) at St Luke’s Rd, why have no other cycleway installations or upgrades at Te Atatu Rd on the northwestern, and Dominion and Hillsborough on the Southern Isthmus cycleway, included them? They legally require cyclists to repeatedly dismount (sure).

  2. Great to see this project happening, though I too hope that the money can be found to “finish the job off” around Ian McKinnon Drive so there’s an actual continuous cycleway.

    That said, it’s certainly very important the project proceeds ASAP.

  3. As someone who cycles the northwestern every day, I think this is a waste of money.

    It serves the university, people wanting to cycle from west to mission bay, and very very unconfident cyclists.

    From the west, it doesnt serve the city, it doesnt serve the hospital.

    NZTA more interested in using designated land, than getting it right

    1. It will serve the hospital. See this from Cycle Action Auckland:

      During our meeting, you will be shown the route chosen for the cycleway extension, and also get a glimpse of how other Council cycle projects in the area could tie into it in the coming years. The Northwestern links the western suburbs of Auckland to the Waterfront (and will soon also pass the Symonds St university area as well as Auckland Hospital and the Domain), so we know there will be lots of ideas about how to extend the benefits of the project across the city – so bring your ideas to the meeting.

  4. What is going to happen to the cycleway when they are building Waterview/Te Atatu causeway? It will be very difficult to keep it open given the huge construction vehicles and equipment that will be operating in this area.

    Doubt very much anyone will be able to use the NW bikeway much before 2017.

  5. I went to the meeting tonight and it is great to see NZTA, AT, and AC working together on this and even spending a little bit of money. Very excited about how this will lead to an opening up of the cemetery to more civilised uses and how this is almost certain to really only be a beginning.

    I understand that this involves a huge culture shift for NZTA and probably older parts of what are now AT and AC and hopefully is a sign of things to come. And by this I mean that I hope we will soon have transport agencies that work for transport solutions whatever the mode and are not just road builders and vehicle prioritisers.

    For example I was very disappointed to hear that this new cycleway still involves riding up to Newton road from the existing path, across Newton Rd, up the footpath on the east side of Ian McKinnon, across that road, along Upper Queen [replacing car park space] then across Upper Queen before becoming a cycleway again. Two huge problems with this: One it involves unnecessary steep grades and; Two delays and interruptions crossing three main roads. The first is plainly suboptimal as grade is everything when riding and is the second shows that there is still no real seriousness given to the mode as a transport route as these delays will add minutes and minutes to any journey. And we know how important travel time savings are to NZTA.

    My suggested solution to these two issues is here on this post:

    Just requires the cycleway to take over one northbound lane of the needlessly over supplied Ian McKinnon. Come on AT pretty simple really. But I guess we’ll take this to start with. Baby steps.

    1. The Newton Rd section is certainly strange- forcing cyclists to climb up an overpass when there’s nothing underneath except unused land.
      Assuming the Grafton gully cycleway is a success, fixing Newton Rd to Upper Queen St at a later date shouldn’t be too hard.
      It would be good to re-do Ian McKinnon Dr, but at least there’s enough land on the North side to fit a cycleway in there if they won’t give up the road.

  6. There’s also a good argument to made than segregated cycle ways miss the point and make it seem like the only safe places to cycle are on cycle ways – when the aim should be to make cycling an option that can be safely done anywhere.

    Getting cyclists off the roads so that drivers can behave like idiots when they do encounter one, rather than develop an understanding of how to safely share the road is something that cycle ways impede happening. The existing NW does what is required – it allows people to cover a lot of ground from Te Atatu into the city without tangling with fast traffic on major roads. I cross the M-Way at Mountain View Rd, and head up to Gt Nth Rd for a better way to get to where I want to go in the CBD.

    Also, wasn’t there a post on here a while back about Don McKinnon the mini-me motorway. Far better than spending 3M hanging a cycle way off the side of it, or whatever the proposal is, would be to close a lane to cars and get rid of that insane inner city faux motorway!

    In Tokyo at present and amount of shared pavement pedestrian cycling is interesting to see – lots more cyclists around than in Auckland. Of course it’s flatter too…

  7. David, if anyone says this serves the hospital, they are either delusional, or trying very hard to sell this project.

    From start of project (top of Ian McKinnon), cycle lane will cross cemetery, go under symonds, under grafton bridge, and down the gully.

    This leaves hospital goers with options of
    1) Current Ian McKinnon option (then cross grafton bridge)
    2) Riding all the way down grafton gully, then back up grafton road (a helluva hill)

    I doubt anyone would double their distance, and add some massive hills, and grafton road, to avoid approx 800m of Symonds street

    I still fail to see any demand (actual or potential) that this project fulfils, scrap this, and spend the money on Ian McKinnnon, elsewhere on the western, or better yet, put it towards getting over the bridge!

    1. Adam the demand is very real, stage one of the project terminates at two Universities and the centre of the country’s biggest city. Stage two links the country’s current busiest cycle route, the waterfront, with the second busiest, the NW cycleway. So no issue there.

      Ian McKinnon is still causing grief…. another even cheaper option is to simply put a controlled crossing smack in the middle of it. This would slow done and usefully frustrate drivers on a road that has all the physical signals ehcouraging drivers to accelerate to motorway speeds.

      Yes Grafton Bridge is the best route from the west for the hospital, I know I ride this route almost daily at the moment…. creative use of the lights mean you can generally ride the whole thing before the buses catch up, so it can be a lovely ride despite being a busway.

    2. There is a proposal to have a spur leading off the Grafton Gully Cycleway at the top of the Symonds St Cemetery – by the Roman Catholic memorial if you know where that is – and leading down through the cemetery to K’Rd, at a point about 20 metres from the K’rd/Symonds St intersection.

      Funds for this will be from the Waitemata Local Board which will consider it in the near future. If this is built it will be very attractive for a number of people wanting to go along K’rd to Ponsonby, or down Symonds St, or across the bridge to the hospital and Newmarket, and vice versa.

      It’s these little links that really unlock the potential of the Grafton Gully Cycleway.

  8. Great news this is finally getting done and connecting to the waterfront. Could be great for tourists to use with options to feed down to Mt Eden, Domain, Mt Albert and MOTAT and other destinations that may develop.

  9. So could somebody who went to the meeting tell me – when they talk about it finishing at Wellesley in Grafton Gully do they mean right down the bottom of the hill (i.e., down where the motorway is)? Or do they mean up the top where Wellesley crosses Symonds?

    Becuase I think it if was at the bottom of the hill I just wouldn’t be arsed using it, whereas if it was at the top I might. Having said that, I accept that I (like Adam) am not the intended audience for this particular cycle way – it’s about getting people who aren’t so confident in heavy traffic on their bikes, and that’s a good thing. Especially because if we can get students cycling to uni and they keep it up when they leave then we’ll be creating a generational shift in travel modes.

    1. Lucy stage one terminates at Wellesley St, ie goes under Symonds St and delivers riders directly to AUT and the CBD. Other riders will have a direct link to Elam etc. stage two involves an underpass under Wellesley St Grafton side onto the rest of UoA and then Beach Rd.

  10. ok. So if you were going to UofA and only stage one was completed then you would basically either have to cycle up the very steep hill between say Elam and Symonds Street or go through Wellesley street, come out under the university on the Queen Street side and then cycle back up the hill? I doubt many people will be willing to do that. But once Stage 2 is built it could have a huge potential catchment among uni students.

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