Auckland Transport are currently consulting on adding cycle lanes to Carlton Gore Road. Major infrastructure work requiring road rebuilding has led to an obvious opportunity to add quality cycle lanes. See the full story on the Cycle Action blog here. However in brief, initially a typical rubbish Auckland design was proposed with a narrow painted lane on one side only, and stopping well back from intersections. However thanks to some good work from Cycle Action Auckland a much better design has now been proposed.
The cycle lanes will generally by 1.8m wide, plus a 0.6m buffer. Also parking on the eastbound or downhill side of the road from Grafton Road to George Street will be removed. Overall this is a decent solution for the corridor. High quality, wide and buffered painted lanes can be options for some side streets, just not the main corridors where we need separated cycleways. The design does also show a slow evolution in cycle lane design, so we hope things keep getting better.
Carlton Gore is key east-west connection in the cycle network. Firstly it provides a safe link from the city and Grafton Bridge to the heart of Newmarket, avoiding the awful Khyber Pass Road. It is also a useful cross city link from Parnell towards Mt Eden and Balmoral. Currently Carlton Gore Road feels really unsafe because of the excessive lane widths, high speeds and amount of parking. I used to cycle the corridor a lot when I was a novice cyclist, but often ended up sticking to the footpath or walking this section, as it felt so dangerous. These painted lanes would have made me feel comfortable cycling this corridor, so they are very important.
Unfortunately the cycle lane plans have brought out some classic NIMBYism from the local residents. While most of the street is offices with plenty of off-street parking, or abuts the Domain (which has parking everywhere!) there are a few apartments, including a couple of older ones with minimal off street parking. A few residents have issued a press release calling for the halt to the bike lanes, as reported by Newstalk ZB.
Residents are calling for halt to Auckland Transport’s proposed central city cycle route on Carlton Gore Road, between Grafton and Newmarket.
The designated, buffeted cycle lanes are being considered, as a way of improving access for cyclists, to and around the Auckland Domain.
But in a statement, lobby group Concerned Residents of Carlton Gore Road says the proposals would cut out most of the on-street parking on the road.
The group says the parking is used by residents in historic buildings, who have no off-street parking and no other place to park.
For a start only parking on one side of the street is being removed so will still be a decent amount of parking. There is also plenty of off street parking in the area, notably at a number of commercial sites surrounding the apartments. The residents can surely approach the local businesses and find a carpark, even if only for overnight use. I wonder if Auckland Transport could help broker this to calm the residents concerns. This case will be a big test for Auckland Transport to see if they value cyclists and safety over keeping a small amount of parking.
This situation does once again bring up an interesting question around on street parking. We have seen this before with debates over Minimum Parking Requirements, and Dominion Road bus lane proposals. However there is a feeling by many residents that they are entitled to the on-street parking outside their property, and act if the council has no right to remove it. I feel the entitlement to parking relates to the cities historic auto-dependence. As alternative modes continue to improve we should hopefully start to see this obsession reduce, as reallocation of land from parking is a key part of transforming the city.
Consultation is open for the cycle lanes until May 9 (this Friday). It is essential that the voice of cyclists is heard, not just a few vocal local residents. So if you are a user of this area, or would like to be if it is made safer please write a brief email to Auckland Transport at this address (aaron.hutching (at) aucklandtransport.govt.nz) telling them you support the cycle lanes. A letter with some more detail about the proposal can be found here. The one fix that would be great to see from the proposed design is adding cycle separators to the eastbound lane, and next to intersections to keep cyclists safe and stop cars using the lanes.