Auckland’s first section of urban separated cycleway is now completed. The official opening of the Beach Road Cycleway will be on Saturday morning, where NZTA and Auckland Transport are holding a media event to celebrate the opening of the Grafton Gully and Beach Road cycleways. The Grafton Gully be open to the public around 11am. However the Beach Road cycleway is of course all on a public road, and is completed and ready to ride now.

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Currently the cycleway runs from Churchill St (near Parnell Rise/Stanley Street intersection), along Beach Road until Mahuhu Crescent (by Quay Park Health), then along Tapora St to connect with the Quay Street shared path. The second section from Mahuhu Crescent to Britomart Place will be constructed early next year and will be open early-mid next year, However once Grafton Gully opens this weekend this will link into both the North-Western cycleway, and the Tamaki Drive shared path. This will give a continuous safe cycling route of about 28km from Henderson to St Heliers.

The green line below on the Auckland Transport map shows the section that is open, while the black line is Stage 2.

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At Te Taou Crescent the cycleway crosses from the south side to the north side, and there are new traffic lights with a cycle signal, and a cyclist only phase to allow cyclists to cross the road diagonally (following dashed line on the right hand side).

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This is Mahuhu Crescent. In future the cycleway will continue straight along Beach Road, however in the meantime it heads off to the right. To allow for these complex movements the designers have just decided to make this a shared area between pedestrians and bikes. However the area should be large enough to allow for people and cyclists to cross over.

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Looking back along the separated section down Beach Road. Note how Te Taou Crescent has been closed to cars at Beach Road here, and a raised table has been added for pedestrians.

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The Mahuhu/Tapora intersection is also a shared area, including a large raised table to slow cars down. The cycleway heads to along the right hand side of Tapora Street to connect to Quay Street. This last section is a shared path because of need for access to the building.

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Finally a new set of traffic lights have been added for pedestrians and cyclists at the corner of Tapora and Quay Streets to connect to the Quay Street shared path. This is to avoid a 300m detour that would involve crossing 3 sets of traffic lights so a much welcome addition for people walking as well as connecting a desire line.

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Note how throughout the project things have also been improved for pedestrians. Several of the nasty slip lanes have been removed, and a zebra crossing added to the one that remains. Raised tables have also be added to the non-signalised intersections. This will all be of great help, and the design of Beach Road now matches its role as an urban street, and less like a fringe industrial zone. The interesting thing with these fixes as Auckland Transport have regally refused to do individual fixes like this across the city, however when it comes to an integrated project it seems as though they are happy to add them. I would like to see a programme fixing issues like this across the city centre, as the city is still dominated by road design suited for light industrial areas and motorway ramps, not an urban (and increasingly residential ) centre.

I am regular cycle down Beach Road so can confirm how much of a difference this has made. Previously cycling down Beach Road was a mad, adrenaline filled rush competing with fast cars, trucks and avoiding car doors. Now it is how cycling should be, and can casually cycle into town to catch a train or meet friends and arrive relaxed and ready. I can certainly see this attracting more people to cycling as feels like an everyday activity, not a sport. Lets hope this is the first of many of these projects across the urban area of Auckland.

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  1. I took a detour on my way to work so I could check out the new Beach Rd bike lanes.
    Very nice! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and look forward to the next phases of the project. Rather than focussing on safety measures that are akin to having an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff (like the cycle helmet rule), I hope to see much more of this kind of work. These types of measures actually do make it safer for all road users, and more enjoyable to cycle on.

    I will be interested to see the results of any observation studies they do to track how much the new infrastructure is used by cyclists. As long as cycle helmets are compulsory (and it is inferred that cycling as a whole is very dangerous, when it actually isn’t), serious growth in cycling numbers will forever be retarded.
    Australian cities have much more cycling infrastructure than we do, and they also continue to produce low numbers of cyclists due to their helmet rule.

    I really want these types of projects to succeed so that we can justify many more of these initiatives. Get rid of the embarrassing helmet law, watch the numbers in cyclists grow and then we can really fast-track these fantastic projects that we know actually do make cycling a more enjoyable and even safer experience than it already is.

    1. The sooner we all quit raving on about helmet laws the faster we’ll convince non-cyclists to take up riding again. Helmet laws are not the reason people do not cycle in Australasia. Most people don’t cycle down under for other far more complex reasons; a key reason being laziness. Another reason is the amount of time that’s passed since the last bike ride. Frequent cyclists who harp on about binning helmets just make these people more afraid to jump back in the saddle.

      1. “a key reason being laziness”

        Evidence please?

        Activity comes with activity. If you ride once, all other things being equal, your chances that you will go back for another time are higher than before – but in Auckland, the “ride once” too often ends in “Whoa, THAT was freaking scary, not doing that again” – *throws bike back into back of garage or sells on TradeMe*

        Safe cycle infrastructure. That’s what we are lacking.

        1. I think you’ve spent too much time on your bike, Max!

          The majority of people in this city are not actually able to ride the distances most of the commenters here take for granted. Hell, even 5kms on flat terrain would be too much for most.

          We live in a society where 60% of people are obese.

          You need to get out more and see what the suburbs really contain, I’m afraid.

          Aside from that; well done, for all your efforts over the past months to see this project through to completion…

        2. “We live in a society where 60% of people are obese.”

          One thing that could be done about this is to encourage more physical activity, particularly from a young age. One way we could do this from a Transport perspective is better provision of cycle infrastructure. Hence the remark earlier about the riding experience being scary, and thus a presenting a steep acceptance curve.

          I don’t really want to jump into the helmet debate that much, but suffice to say that in a city like Auckland, with its patchwork cycle lanes, ambiguous markings, dangerous approaches and lack of space (see here http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/08/27/cycling-in-manukau-ready/ for example), and a not insignificant amount of hostility from other road users (which seems to apply off the road as well, see comments here http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/01/07/cyclist-killed-in-auckland/), I’m tempted to think that helmet laws are probably not the number 1 reason that cycling is an unpopular activity.

        3. While it sounds like a great idea on paper, the challenge we now face is that so many people have grown up in an environment where their parents are inactive and have never done anything in the outdoors with their children.

          It’s a personal passion of mine, but the barrier I always face is convincing the parents to give it a go, let alone letting their kids giving it a go…

          This is a much broader problem than just cycling…we need to get real about this.

          Plus it doesn’t help to see everyone on bikes taking gigantic risks in the traffic; riding far too fast and wearing lycra…out of shape people are completely intimidated as a whole by that picture….

        4. Sure, but where will they ride? If you’re just looking to encourage people to go down to the local park and do some laps, then thats fine, and in fact may very well be helpful. But its not going to do much to broaden the usefulness of cycling (for example, to the shops) if you have to weave through an inconsistent and patchy set of cycling lanes.

          Just to be clear, this isn’t a suggestion that if we build some cycleways that obesity will just vanish overnight. But as long as the confidence and skill level required to cycle around Auckland in any reasonable capacity remains the same, it will continue to be a niche activity, and from a transport perspective (since this is a transport blog, after all), I think this is something worth doing, and furthermore (in my opinion at least), represents a bigger barrier than helmets do.

          If, as you originally claimed, laziness is the real factor behind the low uptake of cycling, then surely lowering the barrier to entry is exactly the thing to do. As long as cycling in Auckland is inconvenient and dangerous, then the barrier to entry will remain high, and in turn it will be easy to be lazy about cycling.

        5. I have a partner who had not ridden a bike for 20 years when we got together. She’s quite fit physically, works a lot of physical stuff – still doesn’t ride a bike in Auckland for anything. Yeah, she might struggle with the hills a bit initially, but it’s not that what keeps her from riding.

          And we don’t need to get the obese cycling. If we got the 10-20 percent who are already reasonably fit cycling, then we’d have a groundswell for more and better.

        6. “You are all clearly well meaning people, by the sound of it; but you will make no progress until you accept reality”

          I’m not having a go at you or anything, but what do you think should be done? The core of your thesis is that a large number of people lack the motivation and the environment to combat obesity, and that the real problem is that they need encouragement to maintain healthier lifestyles, which you then think renders debates about helmet laws somewhat academic. I don’t dispute any of this, and I think its admirable if you are involved in the community trying to make a difference, but noting the fact that this is a forum for discussing transport issues, why do you think advocating for or providing better cycle infrastructure will result in no progress, or is a denial of reality?

        1. Groan. Did you really hire a Nextbike today? Really?

          I’m really sick and tired of hearing this nonsense. Commuters may be upset by helmets; you all seem to forget that 99% of Auckland currently commutes in cars…they won’t be seen dead on a bike without a helmet……horses for courses.

        2. Yes. I did.1st time. I wear a helmet on my bike as I am opposed to handing money over to the government unnecessarily. I have a nice helmet. It’s comfy. The Nextbike one wasn’t. And I’m not carrying my helmet around every time I take the NEX into the city.

        3. The helmet was too big and even when I adjusted the straps it flopped around on my head. Yes, it was uncomfortable, and a distraction. The bikes, on the other hand, are great.

        4. Maybe next time, try the bike hire shop in Commerce St; I’ve been there a few times and they are awesome…you get to talk to a real person and get fitted out…they have different bike and helmet sizes…their setup is really good. I’ve been there a few times and highly recommend their service.

        5. Because it’s your own helmet? And you don’t always need (or want) personal service. There’s times I’d rather have quick, great takeaway than a sit-down meal with great service.

  2. Great post. All of the advocates who helped shape the result and make the city more liveable should take a bow.

    Let’s hops that this is the start of visible change for cyclists and pedestrians all over Auckland.

  3. This is great to see, although I’m interested to know how others view bidirectional cycle lanes as have been created here. A recent post on Copenhagenize.com (see http://www.copenhagenize.com/2014/06/explaining-bi-directional-cycle-track.html) reviewed bi-dis and said:

    “One thing that baffles me, however, is why on-street, bi-directional cycle tracks are actually being promoted and implemented.

    For clarity, when I saw “on-street, bi-directional” I mean the creation of one lane for bicycles separated by a line, allowing for two-way traffic – on city streets. I am not referring to a two-way path through a park or other areas free of motorised vehicles.

    In Denmark, the on-street, bi-directional facility was removed from Best Practice for bicycle infrastructure over two decades ago. That in itself might be an alarm bell to anyone paying attention. These two way cycle tracks were found to be more dangerous than one-way cycle tracks on each side of the roadway. There is a certain paradigm in cities… I’m not saying it’s GOOD, but it’s there. Traffic users all know which way to look when moving about the city. Having bicycles coming from two directions at once was an inferior design.

    You hear the same excuses in emerging bicycle nations and cities… “But I saw them in the Netherlands?!”

    Yes, you might have. But I asked Theo Zeegers at the Dutch national cycling organisation, Fietsersbond, about this issue and he said,

    “Bi-directional cycle tracks have a much higher risk to the cyclists than two, one-directional ones. The difference on crossings is about a factor 2. So, especially in areas with lots of crossings (ie. builtup areas), one-directional lanes are preferred. Not all municipalities get this message, however.”

    Fortunately, the Dutch are used to a constant flow of cycling. They’re not new at this. They also have space issues in many of their small city centres that few other cities on the planet have. The bi-directional tracks you may see there are sub-optimal solutions.

    In the recently published OECD report about Cycling Health and Safety you can read much of the same. Bi-directional are not recommended for on-street placement. One way cycle tracks on either side are the Best Practice that should be chosen.”

    I personally found the article quite convincing, so I’m wondering what others’ thoughts about this are, as here in Hamilton it’s something that’s probably going to come up as we start on a “30 year cycleway plan”. In addition to the danger and inconvenience of changing sides and cyclists popping out of places motorists don’t expect them, I think bi-dis also tend to necessitate bigger changes to intersection layouts, etc.

    In their favour, they give a wider effective dedicated cycling corridor by allowing cyclists to swerve into the oncoming lane to overtake, etc.

    1. I’ve cycled in bidirectional in many other cities and have found them fine. I guess their disadvantage is that by definition they mean one side of the road won’t have a cycle lane and ultimately you want both sided to be safely accessible. On Beach Rd it works well IMO. And I’d happily see them rolled out elsewhere. One on Queen Street could be done tomorrow by turning a traffic lane into a cycle lane with some planters. That’s a project I’d love to see – replace vehicles with no place to stop and no reason to be there with cyclists who will actually visit the businesses. It’s a win win for everyone.

      1. > I guess their disadvantage is that by definition they mean one side of the road won’t have a cycle lane

        But isn’t that a bit of a false argument?

        – With a bi-directional path, one side gets easy access to both directions, the other side has to cross first. So 50% get all the convenience, 50% get all the hassle.

        – With uni-directional paths each side, you only get direct access if you want to go left from where you start. If you want to go down the street in the other direction, you still have to cross. So 100% of all users get 50% of the time convenience and 50% of the time the hassle of having to cross.

        So from that perspective, it doesn’t look like a bi-directional path provides any less accessibility than two uni-directional one.

        The only thing that would be better would be bi-directional ones each side, and short of shared paths (or really high-volume cycle routes in major cycling countries), that doesn’t really exist.

        1. Max,

          >> – With a bi-directional path, one side gets easy access to both directions, the other side has to cross first. So 50% get all the convenience, 50% get all the hassle.
          >> – With uni-directional paths each side, you only get direct access if you want to go left from where you start. If you want to go down the street in the other direction, you still have to cross. So 100% of all users get 50% of the time convenience and 50% of the time the hassle of having to cross.

          Frequent crossings, problem solved. Helps pedestrians, traffic calming and placemaking too.

          Crossing and intersection density for walking and cycling share similar geometric properties to a network of frequent buses/trains: it optimises access for more people to more places via more connections. Only on a smaller spatial scale.

          Also, does 50% winner-take-all plus 50% tough-luck sound like a fair allocation?

          >> The only thing that would be better would be bi-directional ones each side, and short of shared paths (or really high-volume cycle routes in major cycling countries), that doesn’t really exist.

          We could be a major cycling country if we supplied the infrastructure for it.

          Incidentally, other effective street layouts with bidirectional travel or convenient dual edge line access include: multi-way boulevards, shared spaces, car-free streets, etc. Why oversimplify the palette?

    2. As your quoted sections show, the key issue (where there is one) is with driveways. The only location where the Beach Road cycleway has driveways is really the section near Churchill Street – the rest either has no driveways, and all side roads are already signalised, so control/safety is given. For roads like this, and for roads like Nelson Street, where again we will see a lot less driveways than elsewhere, and all streets tend to be signalised already, I think they will work fine. Agree though that uni-directional protected facilities are the next step up. There in the plans on a lot of places in town, but the only road I am aware of where they are confirmed yet is Albany Highway North, to start construction in October…

    3. I for one am very happy to see a wider bidirectional lane over separate smaller unidirectional ones. At least the bidirectional lanes are wide enough for you to ride beside someone when there are no oncoming bikers. My big problem with unidirectional bicycle lanes is that they only really cater to people riding alone. I—and i assume anyone riding in a group of two or more—want to be able to talk to the people i’m riding with much like you would when walking…or driving a car. This is all but impossible in the unidirectional bike lanes that are typically installed which are pretty much guaranteed to be ridiculously narrow with no space for people to ride side-by-side. How much less enjoyable would walking or driving be if you could only talk to the people you are with when you are stopped at a light? When do you ever see groups of people walking single-file or the passenger in a car sitting directly behind the driver? Never. Yet this is exactly what narrow unidirectional bike lanes force people to do.

      I’m surprised that the issue of bike lanes needing to be wider so that people can ride side-by-side is never mentioned.

  4. I rode it yesterday and loved it. What was most interesting was connecting onto the Quay Street cycle path. The contrast of how poor that was in comparison was pretty stark. I hope Beach Rd is the new standard by which new projects will be based on. It was also nice to see the crossing signals appear to be programmed to switch relatively quickly once pressed. Not sure if this was simply because it was the middle of the day, or whether (hopefully) AT have made a decision to not prioritise cars over everything else. I did notice the Beach Rd diagonal crossing has a very brief cycle phase, I was only halfway across and it had already gone orange on me.

  5. I happened to come across the Beach Rd cycle lane whilst out on a run last night.

    At first glance I liked the look of what had been done. Most of the work has been conducted to create an additional transport option whilst having little impact on existing transport options. It will work as long as motorists and cyclists obey the rules and to that extent I hope the rules are strictly enforced for both parties. However I’m disappointed to see the congestion causing, pollution inducing raised tables have been utilised. They are pointless as we already have existing laws that give the same effect. The laws just aren’t enforced anyway near as often as they should be.

    I thought it was a little ironic the cycle lane seemed to stop around the Shell station but the post above explains why. It will be fascinating to see how patronage works out.

      1. Very amusing Patrick!

        What happens when everyone slows down around a crash site or through roadworks? It causes a backup of cars and congestion. Whenever we slow cars down it has the potential to create congestion.

        The longer it takes to get from point A to point B the longer we are running our polluting cars and the more pollution results. By filling our roads with traffic obstacles we are lengthening journey times and growing emissions.

        Our current obstacle course approach to traffic management goes against the evidence that clear roads are both quicker and safer. Here is a German example https://www.minds.com/blog/view/248215469679448064/german-town-abolishes-traffic-lights-and-codes-accidents-are-now-almost-non-existent

        1. Probably worth pointing out that the road in the video is a shared space, which is explicitly mentioned at 1:07. In fact, the quote from the narration is

          “The main principle is that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all have equal rights on the road…”

          which is not quite the situation on Beach Road at this time

        2. Um, you do realise that the reason the “traffic light/sign free” examples from Europe work is because they create a slow-speed environment where everyone pays more attention (and the consequences are less severe if someone slips up). One of the key tools used to create such an environment: platforms at intersections…

        3. Hi Mathew, as someone who has lived, walked and driven in this area for the last 4+ years, I’ve had plenty of time to observe the way traffic have interacted at the intersections which are now raised tables. At Te Taou Crescent, there was always a pedestrian crossing, but with the “Give Way” line about 0.5 metres past it, it’s very common for cars to drive up to the line, at least partly blocking the crossing. It’s also very common for cars to not stop for pedestrians at all. This is dangerous, especially given that there are often quite a lot of pedestrians these days. The raised table emphasises that the cars are going into the pedestrian realm and should be giving way (and ideally, stopping before the hump if they’re going to have to “give way” to passing traffic anyway). Similar deal at Mahuhu.
          I should note that both these intersections would see much higher pedestrian movements than vehicle movements.

        4. Oh, and I forgot Ronayne St. There’d be higher vehicle counts here, because it’s used for rat running to get from Beach Rd to The Strand. It’s also ridiculously wide and car-oriented, with very little amenity for the 500-odd residents of The Landings and the 180-odd residents of Parnell Terraces. The raised tables are very welcome here, hopefully slowing cars down for at least a little while as they enter the street.

        5. Anything that slows cars down is a good thing. It saves lives and creates a better environment for everyone. If it means people travelling by car reach their destination 30secs later, I can live with that frankly.

          Still no evidence I note.

      2. I’m delighted to see more table crossings. One of the things they do superbly is help people with impaired mobility or pushing prams across intersections smoothly and safely and quickly.

        There’s no need to sacrifice footpath width for kerb cuts (which are always too steep anyway). The extra height also make pedestrians stand out more (including those riding wheelchairs or prams).

        When I drive over one in a car, it’s no big deal. I’ve never understood why traffic engineers hate them other than because they successfully slow down traffic.

        1. I am a traffic engineer, and I don’t hate them. My boss is a traffic engineer, and he don’t hate them. In fact, we recommend them in our designs all the time. Just applied for engineering approval for a retail development and local street upgrade up in north Auckland recently, and stuck six of them in there in less than 600m of total road lengths.

          They are at times disliked by the old school traffic engineers, it may well be true. And they can create issues on bus routes, and make stormwater drainage tricky. But those can be overcome. Which is why we are seeing more of them.

    1. Raised tables are not installed across major traffic flows where obviously vehicles would have priority. They are installed across minor side-turnings which are not intended to be high-flow vehicle-thoroughfares, and across which pedestrian flows are likely to be higher. Therefore the argument that they significantly hold up traffic is weak. The argument that they worsen pollution is even weaker. The same nonsense-claims are made about speed-humps. The only way they worsen pollution is if drivers brake from a high-speed for them, then floor-it as soon as they are across. This is not good driving practice in traffic-calmed areas and the fault lies with such drivers, not with the speed-hump or raised table.

  6. “Previously cycling down Beach Road was a mad, adrenaline filled rush competing with fast cars, trucks and avoiding car doors.” – spot on description of what it used to be like.

    I used the full route from the ferry building to Parnell Rise this morning and it was without a doubt the best urban cycling experience I have had in the Anglophone world. Not only did it feel safer, it was also faster and easier.

    I love the cycle lights if only for the fact that it recognises that those of us using bicycles are real road users too.

    Next step is to get the Nelson Street off ramp up and going. CAA had some mixed news on that from AT last week. Once that is done I think we will start to see some real change and a big uptick.

    I look forward to complaining about cycle congestion in Auckland!

    1. “Next step is to get the Nelson Street off ramp up and going. CAA had some mixed news on that from AT last week.”

      Can you share the news or is it still under wraps.

      Let me guess, something like “Our engineers have advised its going to cost a lot of money to get a ped/cycling bridge onto the old off-ramp from K’Rd or South St so its going to be delayed.
      But yes NZTA say they are committed to doing it.”?

      1. Sorry that sounded mysterious but it was to a public meeting so not confidential.

        Basically AT have determined that a ramp from K’ Road is not doable because of structural issues with bridge. So likely solution is a bridge across from Day Street to the ramp. NZTA are currently looking at the options and costs – which as you can imagine are potentially high as the distance is about 50m. So that is the bad news.

        The good news is that both agencies are fully on board and want it to happen ASAP. Another piece of good news is that AT are pressing on regardless with the bi-directional separated cycle lane on Nelson Street.

        We at CAA are hoping they will go for a cheap and cheerful planter separated lane on Nelson Street and not have to do the full bells and whistles of the Beach Road lane (as great as that is).

        1. West Terrace vertical difference very high – tricky to work for a ramp – would need multiple switchbacks…

          Anyway, final location not decided, we hope to be able to tell you more in a while when NZTA has completed investigations.

    2. goosoid,

      >> Next step is to get the Nelson Street off ramp up and going. CAA had some mixed news on that from AT last week. Once that is done I think we will start to see some real change and a big uptick.

      Surely the next step should be to multiply the value of Beach Rd by bike-enabling the surrounding neighbourhood. Every side street should have calm traffic and unambiguous support for turning movements, and there should be frequent crossing opportunities for opposite side frontage access on Beach itself. A grid of treated streets (including diets and calming for neighbourhood roads), given the high-density catchment and high-volume PT nodes here, would pay off in spades. Right now, Beach Rd is a linear funnel for hardy commuter users who make it all the way via the Northwestern/Grafton Gully, or who brave the untreated and deadly Parnell/Stanley intersection. There’s a lot to do just to establish this piece of infrastructure as a real local utility.

      And then, surely, the next step should be to repeat that procedure (with improvements) for another neighbourhood, and another — where people actually live, work and play — not some disused off-ramp? Why must so many bike projects begin by the motorway?

      1. They all sound like good ideas. Why don’t you make a presentation to your local board suggesting that or make a submission to the Council? Or is it easier just to criticise than be constructive?

        1. goosoid,

          >> They all sound like good ideas.

          Great, glad you agree — at least when prompted.

          >> Why don’t you make a presentation to your local board suggesting that or make a submission to the Council?

          I have made submissions. Several of my criticisms were duly noted in detail ahead of Beach Rd, but seemingly not considered and certainly not responded to.

          >> Or is it easier just to criticise than be constructive?

          Criticism, discourse and dialogue can each be constructive. You must know this from your professional perspective.

        2. When prompted? So I should agree with your ideas before you express them? Constructive criticism is always good – just not constant, “Cameron Breweresque”negativity.

          Great, good that you have made the presentation. However, we have found at CAA that you need to keep hammering them. In the Devonport-Takapuna area, we are trying to get in front of the Local Board every couple of months at least. It is a case of the squeaky wheel unfortunately.

          I know you have a thing about CAA, but I am sure you would find your advocacy much more effective if you were prepared to be backed by CAA. We have the ear of AT/NZTA/AC and we are not overly ideological. You are obviously passionate and motivated, the two key ingredients.

          The only viewpoint that won’t be supported is the vehicular cycling “we don’t need any infrastructure, just act like a car” attitude. We believe the Dutch/Danish solution is the best and the only one that works. Happy to meet and discuss.

  7. This looks great. Do you know if there will there be any additional bike parking in the area? The Central City cycle map (https://at.govt.nz/media/imported/5149/cycle-map-central-auckland.pdf) shows that there are hardly any P’s in the area.

    I cycle to Beach Road about once a week to visit a couple businesses, and at the moment I just lock my bike to some bars on the side of a building.

    The carpark opposite Te Taou Crescent has space in the corners that could make a great Bike Coral.

  8. “Note how Te Taou Crescent has been closed to cars at Beach Road here”

    For those who are wondering – the northern Te Taou Crescent entrance has been closed off the way it has because it may still be opened when there’s large events at Vector Arena etc… needing less complicated access – at that time, there would be active traffic management to ensure vehicles can safely cross the cycleway (i.e likely some form of control like guys with stop/go paddles or similar). However, it is great to see that the default state will be closed, as shown in Luke’s photo – having uncontrolled turns into this side street was one of the greater concerns Cycle Action raised with AT during the design phase. So, well done on AT.

    1. It’s a very good solution indeed. Thanks for all your hard work on this. A quick question, I realise Churchill St is now a no-exit but any reason why the raised table on the top section isn’t a zebra-crossing? Given the small number of vehicles that need to access this street it makes sense that they give way to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road.

      1. [Cue long diatribe about how hard it is to get new zebra crossings in Auckland, because they first need to have a minimum number of pedestrians… there’s some sense and safety logic behind this, but especially when added onto raised tables, I personally feel we should be much more proactive with new zebras].

        On a slightly more topical note, a zebra crossing would technically require a cyclist to dismount. As our current traffic laws don’t allow cyclists to cross them on bikes…

  9. That. Is. Spectacular.

    No, it’s not perfect. And no, it may not comply with the current best practice in Copenhagen & the Netherlands. But my gosh, that is one MASSIVE STEP FORWARD for Auckland.

    Thanks to all involved.

    1. +1

      A huge thanks to Max and everyone who has worked so hard on this project. I’m not sure I’ll use it much personally, but it’s great to see such quality infrastructure going in for lots of other people to use, and to set an example for future cycling amenity in Auckland. Thanks again! 🙂

  10. Took a brief detour on my way home from the university today to give this section a go. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a sea-change.

    I do have one gripe though regarding the diagonal cyclist phase. Does anyone know if this is phase is likely to be reprogrammed soon to prioritise bicycle traffic because it’s clearly not at present. I waited for, I kid you not, 4 minutes waiting to cross…and there really wasn’t much vehicular traffic at all. In fact, I’d estimate the intersection was clear of any moving traffic for a good 2 minutes or so.

    1. Yeah if you have the bad luck of turning up just after the diagonal phase would have run, then you have to wait another 2 minutes. The cycle phase probably is 10 seconds which means 8-10% of time goes to cyclists even if they only make up 5% of the volumes.

    2. Do you happen to know if you were on the “sensors” – black tar filled lines in a box shape – is a reasonable description

      Best to have your bike tyres ON the tar filled lines to be sensed. This can be easy to forget, but genuinely works well at most controlled in intersections

      I understand AT’s contractors can alter the sensitivity w these sensors if requested

      1. Does it work via a sensor or does the traffic light have a separate button attached to the pole to activate the cycle phase? In Palmerston North we have one intersection with a bicycle phase and you press a button to activate it (just like a pedestrian).

      2. Hi Julian, I didn’t take note of any in-ground sensors but I did hit the cyclist’s button which triggered the red bicycle light to come on – 4 minutes later it went green. I was positioned pretty much parallel and in line with the cyclist hand rail that’s installed there.

        1. I’m not surprised, as the traffic light sequences in this entire area are long and phased to suit a wide variety of vehicles. It would be unlikely that cyclists will be prioritised over and above motorised vehicles given this is a key arterial onto the major motorways from the Port…? Keep in mind that motorised vehicles have to wait for long periods at intersections in this area as well…

  11. You guys should profile the section at Upper Queen St – where they have widened the roads and created cyclist only crossing points (the link between the North-Western) and the Grafton cycle way. Very nice for a pedestrian as well as a cyclist!

    1. Just what the city fathers said back in the 50’s about motorways – “Concrete roads – Attractive, durable and not too expensive. More of these please in our modern beautiful city”.

      Just be careful what you wish for, after all, it might come true.

  12. Heading home on the train tonight I gazed across towards Beach Rd and in a brief glimpse saw three people riding on them,, two outbound from the city and one inbound. I think this is going to be really popular and once people really start to see them in action they will demand many more at this level of quality.

      1. Have had a senior AT manager say they think they might have to too but for the time being they are avoiding it as they expect that side to see a lot more development and therefore have carpark entrances to deal with. The suggestion was that anything on the southern side would just be a single direction though

        1. That’s my theory about Skypath also. It’ll be such a huge success that’ll make sense to add one on the western side too; either separate walking and cycling or have a one way system, or perhaps even better leave them both free range for people to do what ever they like….? But anyway that’s a discussion for another day…..

  13. Beach Rd evokes a mixed reaction from me. There’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Overall, I’d give it a solid ‘C’ grade. One day, I hope, we’ll all look back and laugh at how excited we were by this scrappy hotchpotch of a bike project…

    The good:

    – It’s on-street, at eye level.
    – It’s not a shared path, mostly.
    – It’s confidently separated, and wide, mostly — lifesaver given heavy freight traffic.
    – It was built cheaply and quickly (relatively).
    – In principle, it’s in a populated, central urban area, not some forest in an outer suburb.
    – It has driveways, with protective humps. Sounds bad, but most of Auckland’s existing streets are like this, so it’s a good sign that AT will tackle it at all.
    – It’s a bit of a road diet — narrows the carriageway for motoring, and makes walking and jaywalking in the area a lot more pleasant.

    The bad:

    – It lacks finish: surface drain grates, pick’n’mix intersection treatments, patchy paint job, other inconsistencies.
    – It has poor frontage access over kerbs, despite being so close to buildings: kerb edges are harsh, still only designed for car access. On one stretch, AT even added a new, planted edge with abutments at about pedal height.
    – Its adjoining driveways could have had ramps to calm motor vehicles some more, instead of reinforcing their priority with kerb cuts and aprons.
    – It has no support infrastructure like bike parking along frontage, rest areas, staging areas to mount/dismount, etc.
    – Motor vehicles on Te Taou Cr exit directly into the bikeway and use it as a slip road, because of crap bollard and paint layout. This is just bad design from AT, but trivially fixable, assuming they’re not already on it.
    – Churchill St has a shared path, why?

    The ugly:

    – It flips sides arbitrarily. (No excuse about driveways justifies it, since driveways are fair game now.)
    – It has horrendous support for turning movements into side streets — either tricky or outright forbidden. Intersections are the hard part for most bike trips; moreso than door zones, especially where right turns are concerned. AT has solved the low-hanging fruit of straight-ahead movement, but is neglecting or struggling with managing turning movement and conflict.
    – It suffers tunnel vision in terms of network design — a real missed opportunity. It fails to roll out a red (or green) carpet to the maximum number of front doors of where people live or work or play, to take them to a multitude of places in the area on short bike trips. Instead it’s a linear, mono-modal, motorway-oriented, regional-scale bike highway, that only accidentally spills into a street environment by sheer, inevitable inertia. The Beach Rd project could and should have been a human-scale grid spanning a neighbourhood of streets with high-density buildings, enabling short, local, direct trips within a catchment, especially around PT.
    – Currently, if you live on or near Ronayne St, for example, you can’t just hop on the Beach Rd bikeway from there to head to Britomart, because it’s blocked off across the road — how bizarre!
    – There is a weird painted unidirectional lane spur heading towards Parnell, while there’s a bidirectional path on the opposite side, both of which actually terminate well short of the deadly Parnell/Stanley intersection. Confusing, especially at the eastbound fork at the intersection flip.
    – In fact, there’s zero help at the deadly Parnell/Stanley intersection.
    – Bus stops not floating — approaching from Parnell/Stanley, the painted lane is chopped up by a bus stop, even though there’s real estate for floating it.
    – That same eastern bit is also not protected, only painted, until it reaches Churchill St.
    – Meanwhile, the northern bit leading to Quay through Mahuhu/Tapora is just overengineered. It’s a side street, but built like an arterial. Again shows how insensitive this project is to the fine grain of the neighbourhood, instead trying to extend a grand white-elephant regional link.

    (This review might’ve been more useful with photographs attached, but I don’t know how to do that in comments on this site.)

    1. Anthony,

      Well, you could say the same of this blog’s views on matters such as the ITP or the official approach to a number of public transport projects — let alone roading. We need to be equally rigorous when it comes to bike planning and street design.

      Sure, it reads negatively. I won’t shy away from that. But it deals with the facts and in loving detail, so please don’t dismiss a review for being contrary to taste.

      On this front, Auckland has for far too long lagged behind its own targets, nevermind competing with anyone else’s standards. There’s no time to waste — not with climate change and the deepening social impacts of urban form. We need to be far more analytical in order to lift our game, and not simply cheerlead our way through AT’s and NZTA’s bumbling progress.

      How can we do better? A cycling network designed at a finer-grained, more human scale, would be a start. If each project were planned with the objective of making a neighbourhood bike-enabled, and took advantage of the dense connectivity of the street grid, more interesting places will become bike-accessible to more people more of the time, and will especially hook up to PT so cycling can be an effective last-mile multiplier. Here’s a pretty decent proposal from the community one such neighbourhood: http://www.biketeatatu.org.nz/our-proposal/

      Meanwhile, the strategy we’re currently pursuing of rolling out long lines on a map that look pretty from a birds-eye perspective — and mostly alongside motorways or bush, with little frontage and few intersections — doesn’t technically reflect the right priorities and is a sub-optimal use of limited resources. It’s broadly insensitive to the real needs and opportunities that cycling offers the city and its growth market of potential bike users.

      1. CAA is constantly asking for just those things and AT is keen to get it done – the problem is NIMBY opposition like we are ow seeing for the Northcote safe cycle routes – exactly the kind of project you are advocating:
        http://caa.org.nz/auckland-transport/taking-the-politics-out-of-the-northcote-safe-cycle-route/

        However, it is really on arterials that most people are out off cycling. Quiet residential roads don’t need a lot of treatment.

        What I think these big projects will do is normalise cycling. We need to create a beachhead and a critical mass of people who recognise that cycling is a realistic transport option.

        Please get out into your community and press for these things yourself. CAA is happy to help where it can but we are not some big organisation with lots of time or money. Your volunteer time would be valuable to the progression of cycling in Auckland.

        1. goosoid,

          >> CAA is constantly asking for just those things and AT is keen to get it done

          I won’t dwell on CAA, but I’d disagree with this characterisation, based on experience dealing with both organisations.

          >> the problem is NIMBY opposition

          True in the first instance, but that’s not the full picture.

          NIMBY opposition is a given; what matters is how we deal with it. Sadik-Khan in New York, with the help of such groups as Transportation Alternatives, approached neighbourhoods more broadly and built grassroots support before a project was even floated. Auckland Transport, Auckland Council and CAA do not do this (the latter does moreso, but not effectively). Auckland Transport does not leverage local support for projects even when it is offered; instead they override it by amplifying the NIMBY reaction (“see, we told you so, you crazy cyclists!”). Also in contrast to NYDOT, Auckland Transport rarely tables a decent proposal worth backing in the first place: usually there is nothing in it for even supporters to promote with conviction, nevermind being relevant and useful to other locals — not even the assurance of a trial term.

          >> the Northcote safe cycle routes – exactly the kind of project you are advocating

          Northcote is an impovement in many respects, but it is not nearly the kind of project I am advocating. Again, Northcote is a linear extension of a (very worthy, in this case, due to geography) motorway-aligned project, i.e. SkyPath. Unlike, for instance, Te Atatu, Northcote does not span across the street grid of a neighbourhood-scale area, but focuses mainly on one long route. The proposed cross-section is nicer than we’re used to, even better than Beach Rd, but again falls short at intersections and frontage access.

          >> However, it is really on arterials that most people are out off cycling.

          Yes, main streets, not shared paths off to the side of a motorway or park or whatever.

          >> Quiet residential roads don’t need a lot of treatment.

          There’s more to the street network than arterials and quiet residentials. There are in-between shades of grey all over the place; there are tricky intersections at the ends of a quiet road, with uncertain right turns; there are those one or two awkward merges on an otherwise tolerable route that put people off riding; and so on. If the network design stemmed from a human-scale user experience optimisation approach, and not a regional-scale network completion approach, we might come up with different plans.

          >> What I think these big projects will do is normalise cycling.

          I think getting people to ride to the corner shops, to school, or to the train station, instead of driving or even walking, will do more to normalise cycling than long-distance commuting by the motorway. People internalise these cultural signals by imitation, so I can see the point of something like Beach Rd (but not Grafton Gully) due to high profile and visibility — but applying this to a street grid for short, local trips, would have the same effect, only multiplied.

          >> We need to create a beachhead and a critical mass of people who recognise that cycling is a realistic transport option.

          Supply constrains demand here. The critical mass will come out when the red carpet is laid all the way to their front door. (That does not literally mean a separated cycle path on a quiet residential street, but that the design should account for all the awkward and anxiety-inducing bike movements in a neighbourhood.)

          >> Please get out into your community and press for these things yourself.

          Who says I’m not? Also, posting here is part of engaging with my fellow Aucklanders.

          >> CAA is happy to help where it can but we are not some big organisation with lots of time or money.

          This applies for AT/NZTA as well: limited resourcing only makes it more important to do the right thing. This is why I’d like to see us hold a higher standard for our urban form and infrastructure planning and design.

        2. If you are constantly attacking CAA, I have no time for you. It is so much easier to criticise than get involved and try to steer the ship in another direction (if that is what you want). If you volunteer even a small amount of time you will quickly become a lynchpin in the organization.

          I see too many talented and busy people give up their time with family and work to give my time to address in detail your negativity or see it as constructive.

          I agree with your frustrations, but what is the point of cheap point scoring rather than engaging and working from inside the tent? This is politics and is never straight forward. The fact is not everyone shares the vision that you and I share for a Dutch/Danish like cycling network. It is a slowly, slowly approach in one of the most auto dependent cities in the world.

          And it is working. If you want results overnight, then cycle advocacy is not for you.

        3. >> If you are constantly attacking CAA, I have no time for you. It is so much easier to criticise than get involved and try to steer the ship in another direction (if that is what you want). If you volunteer even a small amount of time you will quickly become a lynchpin in the organization.

          Reviewing a public road, considering the good aspects along with the bad and the ugly, based on facts, is some sort of attack on CAA? CAA may have a monopoly on the ear of AT/NZTA/AC, but one should not need to involve CAA to make a rigorous statement about public policy on cycling.

          >> I see too many talented and busy people give up their time with family and work to give my time to address in detail your negativity or see it as constructive.

          I’m not sure where you’re going with this. You could save time and effort by just agreeing and acting on it, if that’s your only concern?

          >> I agree with your frustrations, but what is the point of cheap point scoring rather than engaging and working from inside the tent?

          It doesn’t feel like a game of points to me. Just saying, it’s a surreal thing being overtaken on a bike, by a bus veering over double yellow lines on Grafton Bridge, while seeing a million dollar shared path being rolled out 40 metres underfoot beside a motorway. Perhaps more a case of missing the point, rather than scoring points.

          >> This is politics and is never straight forward. The fact is not everyone shares the vision that you and I share for a Dutch/Danish like cycling network. It is a slowly, slowly approach in one of the most auto dependent cities in the world.

          What a contradiction. The Dutch/Danish approach was to reprioritise their streets in comparatively rapid time (establishing a process of gentle, guided, evolutionary change, mind), and away from their own auto dependence, in a matter of 5 or so years.

          >> And it is working. If you want results overnight, then cycle advocacy is not for you.

          Why the false dichotomy between “overnight” and “20+ years”? Why not demand faster and better results without the outbreak of popular revolution by lunchtime?

  14. “If each project were planned with the objective of making a neighbourhood bike-enabled,”

    +1000

    Putting aside the poor land use of my local Forrest Hill area ( so much land this city has.. ), the terrible road and pedestrian/bike options mean that ” as the crow flies” journeys to what should be effective high freqency hooks into the busway ( East Coast Road , I’m looking at you..) , turn into meandering loops through the local streets.

    Oddly , some areas have great footpath cut throughs which would lend themselves to biking from say Forrest Hill to Sunnynook Busway , some have parks which are effectively ringed on three sides with walls of housing.. ( see crows flying). Private parks in all but name.

    Meanwhile, the unitary plan gets down to the serious business of employing lawyers to trawl the vast archive that the freaked out residents have gifted us and the “City” continues in largely the same old way.

    Various greenfield exclusive low density developments are gong on North of Long Bay. All coastal, the thought that if we plugged a busway through to the main trunk, and these were designed from the get go as “no car required” mid rise apartment communities, that they wouldn’t boom defies belief.

    I suspect this is probably happening all over the place and when Patrick asks Evolution or Revolution on his latest post; I worry we’ll evolve at some point in the next century at this rate.

    Which is fine aside from the fact I’ll be dead.

    Pretty cycleway though.

  15. goosoid,

    >> When prompted? So I should agree with your ideas before you express them?

    Actually, yes, but only because they’re good ideas, not necessarily my ideas. It would be great if advocates held a higher standard for our urban form and transport planning and design, with relation to cycling — as this blog does for public transport, among other things. Then it might drive strategy and have more of an impact, the limitations on resourcing being the same, and won’t require a debate to draw it out.

    >> Constructive criticism is always good – just not constant, “Cameron Breweresque”negativity.

    This is like Brewer? Really? I won’t honour that remark with any further comment.

    >> Great, good that you have made the presentation. However, we have found at CAA that you need to keep hammering them.

    I need to keep hammering them but should simultaneously stop droning on about it on channels that they pay attention to?

    >> In the Devonport-Takapuna area, we are trying to get in front of the Local Board every couple of months at least. It is a case of the squeaky wheel unfortunately.

    Good luck — the effort is appreciated.

    >> I know you have a thing about CAA, but I am sure you would find your advocacy much more effective if you were prepared to be backed by CAA.

    I try, and do support them in submissions wherever possible. Beyond that, I’ve found that they are indifferent or their official position is irreconcilable, on project after project. Look at it this way: even their members have asked why I don’t start another group to represent alternative strategies, but I don’t agree that splitting efforts is appropriate.

    >> We have the ear of AT/NZTA/AC and we are not overly ideological.

    This is exactly the difference between an individual and an entrenched group. You can’t argue that CAA is limited in its means, and so I cannot expect better of them, yet it has the ear of AT/NZTA/AC. That monopoly is a valuable resource in itself, as you suggest.

    >> We believe the Dutch/Danish solution is the best and the only one that works.

    I see this expressed in some CAA posts and aspirational statements, but not substantiated by strategies, standards and groundwork.

    >> Happy to meet and discuss.

    Likewise.

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