One of the best projects going on at the moment is the Grafton Gully Cycleway which will help to connect up the Northwestern Cycleway with the city. I’ve said before that I think this project will be fantastic and it that it will also give people a new appreciation of the impressive Grafton Bridge. On Tuesday the first (short) section – between Grafton Rd and Alten Rd – will open. Here is the press release from the NZTA:
Cyclists are being encouraged by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport (AT) to make use of the latest addition to the city’s cycling/walking network in Grafton Gully alongside the CBD.
The 300 metre-long cycleway – between Grafton Road and Alten Road – opens next Tuesday (16 July). It is the first stage of the 1.9 kilometre-long project to extend the popular Northwestern cycleway into the city centre and university campuses.
The Transport Agency’s State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker, says the extension is giving people more transport choices.
“There are already 700 trips daily on the Northwestern cycleway, and the Grafton Gully extension will encourage even more people to use this link,” Mr Parker says. “When completed, the extension will be a practical alternative to the car, creating a safer route into the heart of the city and help tackle congestion.”
The completed Grafton Gully Cycleway will cost $11m, and is jointly funded by the NZTA, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.
Mr Parker says walkers are not being overlooked. The new cycleway is 4m wide and provides comfortable space for walkers and cyclists to share the new link.
Auckland Transport’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Edmonds says it is great to see Aucklanders getting more transport options.
“We hope this cycleway will be a popular choice for cyclists and walkers heading into the city.” says Mr Edmonds.
The next stage of works will be the extension of the Grafton Gully link from Beach Road in Parnell to the city’s waterfront to connect with the shared cycleway/walkway along Tamaki Drive.
Next Tuesday, people will be able to take advantage of free bike health checks when the extension opens at 7.30am.
Date: Tuesday 16 July
Time: 7.30 – 8.30am
Location: Starting point – 20 Grafton Road
Of course the main section, down through the gully itself still needs to be built but it is good to see some progress on the overall project. I also suspect that this section will really come into its own once the Parnell Train Station opens – which is most likely to happen sometime next year – as it would provide an excellent route for students (and staff) accessing the University.
As shown on the map above, while the NZTA is building the cycleway alongside the State Highway network, Auckland transport is going to be building one alongside Beach Rd. Auckland Transport have now released some more details about this section. Here is what they say.
Auckland Transport is seeking feedback on the proposed construction of a cycle route along Beach Road, from The Strand to Britomart Place.
The proposal will provide a three-metre wide two way cycle path between Churchill Road and Britomart Place with a link through to Quay Street via Mahuhu Crescent and Tapora Street.
The cycle route is expected to be predominantly off-road and includes the upgrade of various intersections to provide a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
Due to limited roadway width and the need to improve safety for cyclists, there are many areas where the removal of on-road parking is proposed.
The proposed improvements which provide better access for cyclists into the CBD and waterfront are part of a larger Auckland Transport initiative to upgrade the city’s cycle network.
When completed, the cycle facility will link up with the existing cycle facilities on Quay Street to the proposed Grafton Gully cycle path which is currently under construction.
It is also part of a wider Harbour Edge Development Programme to better connect the many parts of the waterfront and re-connect the city with its harbour.
But more interesting are the designs which contain a lot of excellent elements that we (and others) have long called for. Starting from the southern end we can see that the cycleway from Grafton Gully will carry on the southern side of Beach Rd
At the Southern part of Te Taou Cres the cycle path crosses to the opposite side of the road across a new crossing (currently it is only possible to cross on one side of the intersection). From this point on it appears that the cycle path will be separated from the road traffic by a raised median which is excellent. There are also raised pedestrian crossings at both entrances to Te Taou Cres and at Ronayne St.
At Mahuhu Cres the slip lane is removed to allow part of the cycleway to branch off towards Quay St. Again there is a raised platform for both pedestrians and cyclists to cross the road.
On the branch out to Quay St we see the cycleway continued and a new pedestrian/cycle crossing on Quay St.
Back on Beach Rd we can see the path carried on to Tangihua St where once again a slip lane is being removed. The crossing here isn’t raised most likely reflecting that fact that a lot of trucks use this street to access the port. After Tangihua St the cycle path carries all the way to Britomart place which is where the project ends
All up this seems like it is going to be a superb project, not just for cyclists but for pedestrians and our general urban environment so well done to Auckland Transport. Features like raised pedestrian crossings across minor streets, additional signalised crossings of main roads and separated physically separated cycle lanes are excellent and long overdue. I just hope that the plans don’t get scaled back before this is built and we can see these features rolled out to more locations soon.