Auckland first section of permanent separated cycleway is currently under construction on Beach Road. This is designed to link in with the Grafton Gully cycleway that is currently under construction. When these are both completed (in about a month!) their will be continuous off-road cycling facilities right through from West Auckland to Britomart. The Beach Road section has only been under construction for a month, however substantial progress has been made. Note that building this cycleway was not just a case of installing some separators. The footpaths have all totally been rebuilt, and the road has been rebuilt and resurfaced. There have also been major storm waterworks undertaken at the same time, with sections of new pipe installed.

On Thursday we got the first glimpse of what the separated sections look like, and now about 100m of separators have been installed between Churchhill St and Te Taou Crescent. The lane will be  3 metres wide, and the separators 0.8m wide.

Beach Road 2
looking east towards Churchill St and Parnell Rise

While of course it is not complete, is already possible to ride it, and is a much safer and legal alternative to the busy road or footpath. I regularly use Beach Road to cycle into the city or to Britomart, and even this short section of separation made the journey so feel so much safer, and much more relaxing not having to worry about parked cars or fast traffic behind me. If you do ride this section, note it is still a construction zone so may not be advisable if people are working, and their are some services that still need raising to surface level.

Beach Road 1

Along this section this is a bi-directional cycleway on the southern side of the street. Unfortunately there are a number of driveway entrances along this side of the street, that explains so of the gaps that can be seen. However the cycleway will also be painted and stenciled, at least over the driveway entrances so that will ensure people know this isn’t just a separated parking lane!

At the Te Taou intersection their will be a cycle only traffic light phase so people can cycle diagonally, and the cycleway will continue along the northern side of Beach Road. Stage 1 will head up Mahuhu Crescent to link with a new crossing to connect to the shared path along Quay St. Stage 2 will be undertaken early next year and will continue along Beach Road in front of the Scene apartments, and finish at Britomart Place. The plans and more detail is available on the Auckland Transport website here.

This should help boost the profile and ease of cycling across the city, and build the case for a connected grid, starting by connecting the city and inner suburbs. I a really hopeful that in a few years this will be a common sight across the city, rather than a cause of excitement amongst advocates. Interestingly it is Wynyard Quarters third birthday this weekend, which highlights how amazing new developments can soon become part of city landscape, so cycling infrastructure should be the same in a few years.

Share this


  1. Hi Luke – actually, Cycle Action understands that even across the driveways, there will be a vertical element – similar to a half-height separator that can be driven across, but that slows vehicles down. However, these are a different type from the standard separators, and so simply appear to not have been installed yet.

    1. This half hump will be needed because there will be cyclists going both ways on that cycleway – so rather than just looking right, motorists will need to act like pedestrians do before crossing a road, and look right, left left, look right again, cross. And pedestrians will also have to do that as well before they step off the footpath.

      Both entering and exiting the driveways. Hopefully once car drivers get the hang of it they’ll soon learn to check, and it also means keeping the sightlines clear of parked cars and illegally parked cars so any cyclists can be seen in advance of them turning.

      But all in all a great outcome so far thanks to CAA pestering AT to get it done right from the get go. Another model cycling improvement to help “evangelise” the cause of better cycling.

      1. While CAA was closely involved at various stages, the proposed half-height separator came from the project’s consultants / from AT, not from us. Shows what can be done if a project gets sufficient internal attention from authorities.

        1. It’s a true wonder of projects, what can actually be achieved.

          I doubt we would of got this far without CAA getting involved.

        2. Max I think you and CAA are being too modest, without CAA hounding these guys, the low hanging fruit is all they’d do and we know low hanging fruit for cycleist in AT’s eyes isbasically Sharrows and nothing else.

          This cycleway isn’t low hanging fruit by any stretch and its taken constant proddding within AT and by organisations like CAA from without to get this moving, AND (more to the point) keep it moving.
          A few months ago it looked like the Beach Road portion of this cycleway was shelved – while the NZTA part was going ahead full steam – now look, both on target for opening in September.

          Question though: your (CAA website) post last week on the Grafton Gully Cycle/walkway walkthrough you did indicate no link up to Symonds St from it was do-able just yet.
          But plenty of discussions about it you said.

          Any progress to report on that? I could see one way to do it (with NZTA’s help) using a similar idea to the K’Rd overbridge ramp proposed for the old Off-Ramp access method, but raps down into the green “triangle” of land between the Southern Motorway North, Grafton Gully off-ramp and adjacent SH16 overbridges to link up with the existing Grafton Gully cycleway near where the top of the “downhill straight”.
          Don’t know the cost, but it would be a way to get a link to/from Symonds St overbridge without impacting the cemetery or its residents.

          1. Hi Greg – as you hinted at, one of the key issues with linking to Symonds is not money (well, it is always at least in part about money) – but heritage issues. Basically, heritage groups / Council are concerned about cyclists in the cemetary, and more to the point, that any cycleway works would take away cemetary space or disturb old graves. So the project – or any future cycleway access – has to act respectfully here…

            Once you get to go on site, you’ll also see that there’s quite a bit of vertical difference to be overcome – so not easy from an engineering perspective. I agree that a link in the triangle between Symonds and the on-ramp looks most feasible – unless we eventually can get heritage agreement to a link just west of Symonds Street instead. All would probably affect protected trees (?) and any eastern-side solution would either come out in the middle of a set of very busy bus stops or have to cross the motorway on-ramp so there’s a few more complications for us! I don’t want to sound negative, but this is likely to take a long while yet to sort out…

            As an interim solution, we have been advocating for cycle lanes on Alex Evans, so it’s easier to get to and from the Upper Queen Street access from Symonds.

          2. Hi Max,
            I agree anything near the cemetery is “too hard” what I meant was the following idea, linking off the Eastern side of Symonds St, but off the Symonds St bridge itself – further south from any bus stops, much closer to the Off-ramps/Alex Evans/Symonds St intersection on the southern side of Symonds St. Then the walkway/cycleway ramp goes down to the triangle of land in this map link:

            (which is also bisected by the Southern motorway heading south, but a cycleway could ramp down from Symonds St on to the land between the two motorways, then a cycleway/walkway could go under the southern motorway lanes that head south and then go alongside the SH16/SH1 North lanes, and then under the two adjacent SH16 on/off ramp bridges (near the Grafton Gully off ramp lanes), linking to the (about to open) cycleway near where the current cycleway “bends right” (going uphill) to head towards Symonds St bridge now.

            By my measurements its about a 250 metre “diversion” but that distance would be able to overcome the grade issue which is I estimate some 15 metres.

            And the vertical drop from the Symonds St bridge down to the highest point of land below at that point is about 7 metres and the cycleway there has room so that it can zig-zag across the slope if needed to get down to the SH16 motorway lanes level (a further 7 metre drop) – the initial bridge drop is about the same as the K’Rd to old off-ramp height, so once the “over” land topography distance is factored in lets say its 350 metres.

            Of course, its all on NZTA land, and they’d need to approve it in principle (and pay for it too I think), but it would complement the Upper Queen St portion well, and avoid the need to take a diversion down Alex Evans on to Upper Queen to get the current Cycleway entrance which would also avoid the need to “double back” to get onto the cycleway heading downhill (or when coming to Symonds St going uphill).
            By my measurements the distance from the “merge point” would be 350m from the upper Queen St entrance about the same distance to the the Symonds St bridge ramp.

            And furthermore, it could link longer term to the old Motorway off-ramp which is (hopefully) being linked from K’Rd bridge.
            Speaking of which any progress on that to report?

          3. Yes, I agree – likely anything that will work will run parallel to the on-ramp…

            Re Nelson Street, NZTA is currently narrowing down the options for getting down to Nelson Street off-ramp (last we talked with them about 2 weeks back, they were favouring a South Street bridge, but hadn’t fully ruled out other options). AT is looking at the design of the route to the waterfront, which will likely look a bit like Beach Road.

          4. Wouldn’t be easier to simply close the Symonds St off-ramp, and use that instead? Should K’rd be effectively a NZTA off-ramp?

          5. Well, yeah, closing the on-ramp would be the best solution for cyclists (especially if we can then repurpose it for a cycleway towards Newmarket 😉 ) but that may be a fight for another day…

  2. But knowing kiwi drivers rather than wait to pull out before the cycle lane, they will block the lane itself, just as people so often do to pedestrians on footpaths.

    1. That’s a risk, but would be a risk in almost any design – hopefully, since there are no cars parked between the road and the cycleway, drivers won’t pull out all the way and then stop there (because even sitting further back, they can see the road well). Though if they don’t pull out all the way because courteous to cyclists, then they may block pedestrians on the footpath. No easy answer. But massively better than now! I think what we will need to look out for and call in are illegal parkers on the cycleway and footpath mainly.

      1. Now that would be a good addition to the AT smartphone app – let you record illegal parking (or other road issues like potholes and dangerous problems) directly from your smartphone and sending it directly to AT, with the location already tagged and date and time. Hard to argue you weren’t parked illegally then and in most cases, no need for AT to send a parking warden out, unless its to get it towed.

        Be great for bus lane parkers too – quick photo, and they’re sorted, won’t do it a second time I’m sure.

        1. Greg N – I think trams in Melbourne have camera to catch naughty drivers. Would be easy enough to do on buses, I would think.

          1. Slight difference here – trams can’t move out of the way, buses can and do though,so thats probably why AT don’t bother with this tech here to catch offenders.
            So we need a citizen army to do it for them.

          2. Greg N – buses can’t always move out of the way, and often when they can it’s to the inconvenience of passengers, eg not able to get to the kerb at stops. Many buses already have cameras, eg monitoring the back door on ADLs, so it wouldn’t be hard for AT to do this rather than relying on citizens being able to do so.

            Back sort-of on topic, vehicles on driveways always have to give way to pedestrians on footpaths/shared paths (though you wouldn’t know it): do they have to give way to cyclists on shared paths or cycleways too?

          3. Hi Mike

            They already have to give way to cyclists on shared paths. As for the Beach Road cycleway, that is a legal traffic lane on-road (I presume technically it is TWO traffic lanes, not absolutely sure) – which they are crossing, so yes, they have to yield, like any other lane they would cross/join at a driveway.

        2. A low tech but very effective way is to call AT Parking on 09 355 3553.

          They will respond pretty quickly even on the weekend in the suburbs. I have called them many times to report cars parked in the Lake Road cycle lanes and always seem to get the job done.

          I think we can all improve the city by helping AT out with their enforcement. They can’t be everywhere.

    1. Same issue Mobil in greenlane by the racecourse. Cycle way runs across the driveway. Always dangerous in these situations.

  3. It’s great to see this infrastructure being built, but what I am really pleased about is the upgraded footpath. It’s been my observation that where footpaths are upgraded, there is an increase in pedestrian numbers, which will be great for the area.

    1. Which begs the question, was the cost of the road upgrade, road resurfacing, storm water pipe upgrades etc all folded into the cost of the cycleway? If so it makes the meagre budget all the more meagre as it’s in effect being spent largely on non-cycling infrastructure. I’d love to be proven wrong?

      1. Hi BBC – the cycling budget in reality always was the “cycling AND walking” budget (there’s no separate cycling budget to start). So yeah, money isn’t plentiful. But as a strong walker myself, I don’t begrudge them a better footpath – the costly thing in any case is not pouring new footpath paving – what’s costly is relocating services and kerblines, and that had to be done for the cycleway anyway. Leaving behind a crappy, half-patched walking surface would just not be good financial or pratical sense (not saying you supported that, just noting the background of the costs as I understand them).

      2. Usually different bodies come to party with money. So probably, Watercare paid for upgrade of stormwater, and road surface upgrade would have come out of road renewal budget, and footpath upgrade out of that renewal budget. If there was an upgrade to ITC, then Spark/Vodafone/2Degrees etc would pay for that bit. The new money is likely the cycling infrastructure stuff; concrete separators, new paint, etc.

  4. I live in an apartment right by the constructions zone… you must be the only cyclist using Beach Rd…. because I walk into the city and back each day (including weekends) and I have hardly ever seen a cyclist… You must be suffering from a massive attach of Say’s Law….

    1. You’ll see a hell of a lot more soon. Perfect proof of build it and they will come. I’ll use Beach Rd but prefer to avoid it if possible given it’s one of the more precarious roads to cycle on in Auckland – and I’d consider myself a very confident rider.

        1. Yep, and I’ll make a point of cycling to beach road and riding up and down the cycle lanes just to make sure its seen as being used by cyclists.

      1. at night Is it safe to go along eastbound into head on traffic with my white strobe light flashing won’t the cars want to go to my left? we need one on the both sides of the road

    2. You might want to get stronger glasses Boris as you are obviously missing a lot.

      I cycle down there 3 times a week and I am never the only cyclist. Even with the awful conditions along there, I would share the road with at least 3 or 4 other cyclists at around 8.30am.

  5. Just a thought. Given the cycleway is bi-directonal, would it not be a good idea to add small speed humps over the driveway access areas? Don’t get me wrong, this great and a huge step forward for Auckland but was just wondering if speed humps like this would help to further reduce potential car-cyclist collisions at these crossover points.

    1. Noooooooo! Would you ever see that in Holland, Dave K? We need to change he the culture, and the issue here is the way people are driving their cars, not the way people are cycling (or walking or running for that matter).

      1. I actually think that speed humps between the cycleway and the footpath (on the driveway part), and also between the cycleway and the road would work well (again between those concrete separators). This means as a driver coming into the driveway, I would need to slow down twice, once for the cyclists, and once again for the pedestrians.

      2. I agree that we need to change the culture/behaviour of drivers, but a leaf out of the JSK book to do experiments at the places we have the most issue with, using non-permanent materials and with the ability to move them around may be required to assist with the change process.

        1. Maybe. But this may be a non-problem.. I doubt many of the users of the segregated 2-way cycle lane will be lycra-wearing speed merchants. Not riding eyeballs out anyway.

          1. I am occasionally a lycra clad speed merchant but as you say, this section won’t be a full out sprint, too many lights, too many driveways, slow and steady through here.

      3. TheBigWheel, I think you’ve misunderstood me but I could’ve expressed myself more clearly. I meant smaller speed humps running longways the gaps of the high-kerb cycle lane separating barrier.

        1. Hi Dave K.. indeed I did. Sorry about that! Your idea is a good one. Anything to slow / stop people driving vehicles across the cycle path without slowing / stopping / giving way is a good thing.

          At the very minimum a painted line at any kerb-less gaps. Typically, cycle lanes are not marked at all like this.. instead the painted white line implies that a driver egressing a driveway should wait across the cycle lane. This happens of course. Duh!

  6. First I have to acknowledge that I’m not a cycle infrastructure design expert.

    In my opinion, however, this cycleway design seems to make for a very ugly street. It effectively amounts to inserting an additional kerb into the carriageway just for cyclists, which then needs to be “broken” at each vehicle crossing. In contrast, the approach which is common in the Netherlands is for the elevation of the cycle lane to be closer to that of that adjacent footpath. Vehicle crossings can then be managed just as they are for normal footpaths and you avoid the need for two kerbs. The latter, by the way, creates an additional barrier to any pedestrian who crosses the road.

    Max do you know why such an approach was not used here? I accept it involves changing kerblines, which would be more expensive (and AKL’s cycle budget is stretched too thin anyway). So if it came down to budgets then I completely understand. But at some point (maybe when Beach Road is upgraded) it’d be good if we could get a more aesthetically pleasing cycle treatment.

    1. Hi Stu

      Sorry, no – CAA aren’t privy to anywhere near all discussions, so not sure if and why Copenhagen lanes weren’t chosen. It may have to do with budgets, but not so sure on this particular project that that would have been the deciding factor, as most of the kerbs will be re-laid anyway. It may have been partially to do with the idea that (less confident) cyclists on the Waterfront Cycleway and Grafton Gully should get a “two-way cycleway” option all the way through. Not sure. May ask the folks who did the original concepts about it one day.

      Personally, I don’t quite share your feeling that this will be ugly though. I just consider it part of the interesting complexity of the city. But then, I am likely to be biased by now!

        1. Yes you could, but arguably there would be very little advantage over this one? In fact, for a TWO-way cycleway, I see almost none? Maybe you could use a bit more of the same width, but then would you want to ride against traffic, hard close to the kerb? Probably not, so you would need a buffer or a little bit of shy space, so you are back at the width of the current design…

          In fact, since a Copenhagen cycle lane would be off-carriageway, our weird traffic laws would then mean that at side roads you’d have to give way. Admittedly, in this case, they are all being signalised…

      1. Oks, I’ll put up my hand here. Wearing my elected rep hat, I had been insisting to AT for months that they needed to do something about the dozens of cyclists that would pop out of the GGC onto Beach Rd. Knowing that several hundred use the NWC daily, it’s not unreasonable to suppose that quite a few of them would carry on down the GGC. I was hopeful that AT would a) acknowledge this issue, and b) at the very minimum, put some paint down i.e. a green cycle lane to at least ‘merge’ cyclists with regular traffic. My basic concern was safety for cyclists (and cars actually).

        Imagine my surprise when AT presented the design that is currently be constructed. I was floored to be honest – who knew AT had it in them to do something like this? I was very delighted, and my typical manner said, build it yesterday! I use this route on a daily basis so I’m familiar with the cycling environment. I offered some observations about the design, and other Board members made some observations as well.

        Stu’s comment about using a different design is probably a good reminder to brush up on cycle infrastructure. We have been asking for infrastructure for years, and when it pops out, design is secondary in a real sense. It’s just a marvel to have something! I’m (and other politicians are) reliant on AT having the professional knowledge about how to build cycle infrastructure. But Stu’s point I don’t think is lost. It is necessary for elected representatives at least to get an idea of different kinds of infrastructure on offer, here in NZ and in other places. This knowledge will at least help inform design criticism of proposals, now that AT is willing to install cycle infrastructure.

        I should note that I’ve ridden in Perth, which was a joy (compared to here), and Adelaide. And in my cycle touring, the best bit of infrastructure was the Nga Haerenga trail leading into Rotorua that went through a thermal area by lake. Quite remarkable. But I need to synthesise that knowledge!

        Doffing said hat.

        1. Addendum: the fact that Beach Rd is being constructed now, as opposed to later, was helped in no small part to Pippa Coom’s insistence on bringing the construction forward to match NZTA’s construction timelines for the GGC.

        2. Christopher we appreciate you and Pippa’s efforts to keep AT in line here, as it would (and no doubt, almost was) too easy for AT to put it into the too hard basket and say “we’ll do it in the next financial year”, knowing that may never arrive, meanwhile as you say a flood of cyclists is about to come down the GGC come September and AT have to put something in place for them now not next year.

          And right now, despite the minor issues, its a million miles better than anything else in Auckland we can currently point to as model cycle infrastructure.

          So good on you and AT for being keen to do “something” even if its not perfect (yet) and as long as learnings are made from this and used to improve future cycleway designs, I’m really really happy with it as it stands.

    2. Surely a cost issue, building little islands on the existing roadway is cheap, quick and effective.

      I also think it is better for this site. Beach Rd is notorious for cars and vans parked all over the kerb and footpath. These chunky islands will fare far better at keeping the cars out of the cycleway than a two inch kerb with an Amsterdam style treatment.

    3. Stu, that is used in the Netherlands on quiet streets and where there are parked cars between the road and the cycle path. But just doing a search on Google Images for “separated cycle path Netherlands” brought up these:

      All have a kerb separating from the traffic because they are high traffic roads (as is Beach Road). Though I agree that will usually be more popular where there are few kerbs to cross. But I think the main factor for the Dutch is the traffic volume.

      The bigger issue is the bi-directional path (which is definitely not best practice) but I think we have to accept that this is stage 1. Once the concept has proven itself and there are heaps of cyclists, there will be more lanes built on each side. Baby steps.

  7. Also curious, will vehicles be permitted to turn into these driveways from the northern side of the road? Speed humps in the gaps of the barrier will help alleviate this but it strikes me that making these driveways ONLY accessible from the southern side of the roadway will maximise safety. Drivers looking for a gap in the busy traffic so they can turn right across the southern lane into these driveways are unlikely to notice cyclists heading east (i.e. towards Parnell Rise). This isn’t through their own fault since such a manoeuvre requires timing and co-ordination beyond that of the average person.

    In short, my point is that there should be centre islands separating the north and south vehicle lanes at these driveways sections which will prevent vehicles from being able to undertake the manoeuvre mentioned above. It’s cheap, there’s plenty of road space to allow this, and most importantly, it makes the cycle lane a hell of a lot safer.

  8. So will cyclists eventually have to pay some sort of registration fee to bring them in line with every other person that uses the road, or is this just throwing money at the pretentious minority without sort of recourse?

    1. J E, that is such a failed argument. I drove my car to work today. Roughly speaking my rates and yours pay for 50% of the roads around here. My use of my car and your use of your pays the rest. Sometimes I ride my bike to work. If there was better cycle infrastructure I would do the latter a whole lot more. So would many others, maybe even you. All of us would then be better off, if the cost to benefits ratios of cycling infrastructure are correct. Please tell me, how is it pretentious to want to reassign a relatively tiny proportion the vast amount spent on roads towards better cycle infrastructure?

      1. Plus the fact that over half of all money spent on roads is for maintenance and that maintenance is only necessary because of the damage caused by motor vehicles (let’s not even start on trucks).

        On top of that, the complicated roads and control infrastructure that mean our roads cost so much is also only necessary because of cars. If only bicycles (and even scooters) used the roads they could be much smaller, have almost no intersection controls and would hardly ever need to be repaired.

        So motorists don’t even pay their fair share and yet people on cycles don’t complain.

        You’re welcome J E.

      2. (Can’t reply directly to J E for some reason, so please excuse me BigWheel)

        If paying registration fees is really so irksome, you could always opt to side-step the issue by getting a bike yourself (comments above notwithstanding)…

    2. What Patrick, TheBigWheel and goosoid said pretty much sum it up. We could go into specific details of figures and funding structures if you’re genuinely willing to re-evaluate your position J E but given sentiments like yours have been ripped apart and proven defenseless time and time again my money’s on it falling on deaf ears.

      But here’s one for you: I jointly own a car with my partner and we clock up less than 10,000km in a year, so bugger all really. The figure’s low because we actively choose to walk or cycle whenever we can. But we still need to pay the same registration figure for a vehicle we hardly use,* likewise we pay the same local body rates and taxes as you do. The bulk of all this goes to funding roads and infrastructure that caters almost exclusively for cars – i.e. for stuff my partner and I don’t use all too much. On the other hand, only a fraction of the funds we contribute to goes towards the infrastructure we use often. Now, tell me, where’s my refund? I’m sick and tired of subsiding all those people in their single-occupant vehicles on their huge wide motorways.

      *Of course there’s a little more to this in that we consume products carried by trucks on the roads but my point still stands. And yes I know when we ride our bicycles we ride on the road (because cycle lanes are few and far between) but let’s not forget that when we ride our bikes we cause ZERO damage to road surfaces (road maintenance and upkeep carrying significant costs), the same cannot be said for 1.5-tonne-plus vehicles.

    3. “So will cyclists eventually have to pay some sort of registration fee to bring them in line with every other person that uses the road”

      Lol, did I miss the “Pedestrian Registration And Licensing Act of 1962”, or something?

    4. J E may not have heard that the government is using state asset sales funds to fund roads. A subsidy for motorists to the tune of $212M. From a pool of cash that has zero to do with what motorists have paid via RUC or fuel excise.

Leave a Reply