Between last November and February this year Auckland Transport ran consultation for a plan to further widen Lincoln Rd. It’s a road I’m particularly familiar with seeing as I use it regularly.

The upgrade seeks to

  • widen Lincoln Road to provide an additional bus and high occupancy vehicle (transit) lane on each side of the road to increase capacity and improve passenger travel times.
  • upgrade existing intersections to reduce congestion and improve safety
  • build a solid raised and planted median to replace the existing painted median to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety
  • install shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the road
  • implement stormwater treatments to minimise surface flooding
  • relocate and upgrade existing utility services
  • integrate with the NZ Transport Agency’s current motorway interchange upgrade.

The plan raised a number of concerns for me, in particular that despite all the widening buses still wouldn’t have a dedicated lane. That despite having to buy up land for the widened road AT were still only proposing shared paths for walking and cycling – which happens to go against the region wide standards they were separately consulting on. Lastly that the intersections where horrifically massive blowing out to 9 lanes in places in a bid to try and cater for every single direction of movement in a dedicated lane or two. Here’s a cross section

Lincoln Road cross section of proposed development

And a video of the proposal

Auckland Transport have finally provided the feedback from the consultation and all up they received 162 responses and here are the results of some of the key themes.

Of the 162 people who made submissions, only 12 did not support any aspect of the proposals. Of the 162, 79 made a postal submission and none opposed the project overall.

The major issues identified by submitters, were:

  • AT’s proposal is to widen Lincoln Road to create include a bus/T3 lane in both directions. This would convert to a bus-only lane when demand is great enough

23 submissions supported having bus lanes
25 submissions suggested that if Lincoln Road is to be widened a bus lane should be installed immediately and not also be a T3.

It may not be possible to make bus-only lanes immediately. This is being explored.

17 submissions supported T3 lanes.
27 submissions supported T2 instead of T3 lanes
19 submissions suggested converting an existing road lane to T3

Many more vehicles would use the transit lane if it is a T2 and this would interfere with the efficiency of the bus service.
Converting an existing lane to T3 was explored and will cause greater congestion and delays because it will restrict the majority of vehicles to one lane

  • AT’s proposal is to have off-road shared paths on either side of Lincoln Road, for pedestrians and cyclists.

16 submissions appreciated improved cycling provisions and a further four supported improved pedestrian provisions.
60 submissions favoured separated cycle-ways.

A separated facility for cyclists will be investigated as part of the detailed design

  • AT’s proposal is to have a raised solid median which would enable centreline planting and restrict right turn opportunities, including right turns to and from driveways.

29 submissions supported a solid median and only six submissions opposed a solid median.

With clear support for the solid median, AT will include this in the final design

  • AT’s proposal included connecting Preston Avenue to Lincoln Road.

31 submissions opposed this aspect of the proposal.

Because of the clear majority opposed, AT will not make a vehicle connection between Preston Avenue to Lincoln Road.

  • AT proposals covered a variety of other measures, such as pedestrian crossings, slip lanes, right turns, signals, etc.

39 submissions were received in total in relation to these issues, but no more than five submissions on any one individually

This feedback raises some questions. Why do they say AT may not be able to make the new lanes bus only, after all they do control the road and the widening project. In addition why do they only say separated cycling facilities will only be investigated as part of the detailed design. That seems very non-committal and hints that they may turn around later and say “we investigated separated facilities but decided against doing them”.

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  1. That the consultation material highlights “increased capacity” and “reduced congestion” kind of says it all.

    It’s not a surprise to see their response to the consultation submissions summed up as “anything other than cars as number one priority, nah, too hard”

    The 1950s are alive and well in some parts of AT.

  2. Bus and cycle priority, along with good pedestrian should be the focus, with car traffic a secondary concern. The overbuilding at intersections (9 lanes!) is completely over the top. Several lanes can be trimmed without much problem by the looks – e.g. removal of 2 laned slip-lanes, also no need to go to 3 general lanes at intersections for straight ahead when there’s usually only two. You can’t reduce congestion by adding lanes!

    The only way to manage congestion it is to move more people to active and PT modes.

  3. Changing the design of the cycle facilities from the shared paths proposed WOULD be a pretty major step, so presumably felt it needed to be looked at in detail first, rather than a decision made during the “summarise feedback” stage. That’s my “I live in hope” take however 😉

    1. But Max it’s only a ‘major step’ in terms of AT culture. Shared ped/cycling here in practice means putting cyclists on the footpath. Many cyclists will mix it with the traffic instead because 1. The possibility of hitting pedestrians is terrible and 2. footpaths are poor cycleways.

      1. Your mistaking my comment – I look at it from the perspective of the designer. Changing the design to incorporate protected cycle facilities at the stage they are at is NOT minor, it has quite a few implications on the rest of the design. I am not stating it can’t or shouldn’t be done.

        Heck, I submitted on this too, and CAA led a campaign to get people to submit on it, which seems to have had at least a bit of impact.

        1. But it should never have got to this late stage in such a flawed state, 6-9 lanes for cars and then claiming there isn’t the space for cycling or for dedicated bus lanes?

    2. But why did they let it get to this stage so that it became a major step to change. It highlights exactly what is wrong with the current processes that they even think of suggesting such substandard outcomes.

  4. Instead of the raised centre median, run the busway down the middle. And of note, I’ve been using Lincoln Rd a bit lately, and at something resembling rush hour. From Henderson to Universal Drive, it does not need 4 traffic lanes. Total overkill.

  5. Quite impressed with it, but lack of cycle lanes is bad especially on this brutal stretch of road, surely they can widen a bit further for bike lanes, cut out some of the slip lanes and reduce the footpath a little bit (but not a lot – hate the regular width footpaths) since its no longer shared.

  6. Notice also that they haven’t tried to connect the extended northwest cycle way to triangle Rd. They have left it as it is now with cyclists having to dismount and use the pedestrian phase to get across central park Dr. A diagonal crossing phase is needed.

  7. In my experience of using Lincoln Road the problem has not been the road itself, the problem has been how the road transitions on to other roads.

    In particular the motorway end is a troublesome piece of roading with congestion resulting from poor design. I’d also like to see a focus on removing traffic lights where possible and making some minor side roads one way turn only to make turning across the traffic illegal, thus negating the need for the lights.

    1. I agree. Not only do we have to have roads everywhere but everyone needs to be able to get to every road from every road.

      We should be making the journey more circuitous for cars while making it more direct for bicycles.

      As you say, one way to do that would be to block cars from turning right into roads and therefore make roads more direct. There will always be somewhere further on where that car can turn into that street. It might just need to travel another km or so.

  8. Aren’t the slip lanes a positive in this case? Without them left turning cars would be queued in the bus lane. If someone was crossing the road and the cars had a left turn red arrow, the bus would have to wait.

    1. Cars shouldn’t be queuing in the bus lane for starters, however, people ignore most rules in regards to bus lanes. The reality is that these are the usual flawed lanes Auckland builds in which turning traffic gets mixed in and priority gets lost half at intersections.

    1. I disagree, last time I was there ALL the buses were 30 mins late going INTO town at PM peak, yes PM peak not AM peak. Improved priority and services in this area is a must due to the large amount of congestion from the motorway from people going to Waitakere Hospital, going to Henderson/Ranui way, Super-Pak’n’save and other things in the area. The road itself needs safety improvements as it is, glad they are adding a bit of green paint for the buses too, not that much of an extra expense.

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