Yesterday I highlighted the investment in the rail network that is planned in the draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). Today I’m looking at the Cycling budgets. They start off by talking about the growing demand for cycling, especially where new facilities are provided. They also explain the proposed Auckland Cycle Network – which I think is largely a piece of junk due to its numerous holes and comprises.

Cycling in Auckland is on the increase (19), not just as an increasingly popular leisure activity, but for a variety of transport-related trips. Surveys indicate a sizeable latent demand for safe cycling facilities. The number of people cycling is growing fastest where new facilities are provided as part of the Regional Cycle Network, proving that the “build it and they will come” approach is working.

To keep up with this trend and to spur further growth in cycling, Auckland Transport plans to accelerate the construction of the Auckland Cycle Network. The Auckland Cycle Network comprises more than 1,000km of connected on and off road cycle facilities that provide a safe environment to accommodate likely latent demand and encourage more growth in cycling. The network is shown in Figure 23 and has three levels:

  • Cycle metros are separate facilities on main routes, for example the North Western Cycleway
  • Cycle connectors may be on-road cycle lanes, or off-road shared paths, designed to provide safe and direct routes for cyclists
  • Cycle feeders link schools, parks and community destinations to each other and to the network.

Auckland Cycling Network

However it’s the next paragraph that explains the situation we’re in.

The target set in the Auckland Plan is to complete 70% of the Auckland Cycle Network (Metros and Connectors) by 2022. This RLTP contains a programme of dedicated cycle projects and of cycling links delivered through road construction and road maintenance projects. The proposed investment package will not complete 70% of the Auckland Cycle network until after 2040.

So the council want 70% of the network completed by 2022 yet that figure won’t even be achieved by 2040 at current investment levels. The map below shows what parts of the network that are meant to be completed within the next decade under the basic transport package which is what we’ll get unless the alternative funding issue is resolved. You may notice that many of these are beside motorways where the NZTA is paying for them.

Auckland Cycling Network completed in 10 years

This position is further highlighted in the financial table which shows that other than the Waterview cycleway there is no money planned to be spent on cycling till after 2018 unless a local board uses their share of ~$10 million Local Board Initiatives budget on it.

RLTP Cycling

Things do look a bit rosier – but not by much – with the NZTA


At this rate it looks like we’re once again set for some stormy weather over cycling. The only bright spot on the horizon is the Urban Cycleways Funds however even then that will require funding from council

The recently announced Urban Cycleways Funds will inject $100 million of funds nationally to deliver cycleways over the current financial year and the first three years of the RLTP 2015-25. The funding proportion for this fund is one-third local Council share investment, one-third NZTA funding, and one-third Urban Cycleways fund. The proposed budget does not include any new cycling projects in the first three years, which will mean that Auckland Transport does not receive a share of the $100 million national Urban Cycleways fund after 1 July 2015, unless it is for projects funded by local boards from the Local Board Initiatives fund.

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  1. And Waterview is not Council money (except possibly a small top-up). It is not even NZTA cycling money – it is mitigation funding to counter-balance the negative effects of the motorway. The court even specifically ruled against NZTA being allowed to pull it from the GPS cycling funds.

    In short, the basic transport budget for cycling looks like a step back into the dark ages. So another fight to change that – one that we shouldn’t have, not in 2015.

  2. We give space for protected cycle by removing parking and flush medians. Cost zero or at worst a remark and sand blasting obsolete lines. 1m separation space. Use the money for a smart concrete planter boxes that will both look good, give some plant life and protect the people on bikes. Also conversion of intersections to Copenhagen examples, all very possible within that budget if space given for free. Then the next 5 to 10 years peel off asphalt add 100mm thick concrete so no need to reseal ever again.

    1. Good plan Stephen – it’s inexpensive, and gets bikes moving along arterials. There will need to be some extra work to make intersections and turning lanes safer but nothing that hasn’t been tackled successfully somewhere else.

      How about Symonds Street as a candidate for the Copenhagen treatment? I was walking along Symonds Street the other day and what a dangerous road for cyclists it is, with cycling space having to be shared with a combination of cars, commercial vehicles and fast-moving buses. And in some places it looks like it’s six lanes wide, so an ideal prospect.

      1. OK David sounds like a great place to start. I’ll measure kerb to kerb widths near each road junction one evening this week. 2 lanes bus ( or tram?) and 4m protected cycle is 11m, I’ll see what is left for car/commercial vehicles. If 2 lanes or 6.5m don’t see a problem.

        1. Stephen, what method do you use when measuring kerb to kerb, and at which parts of the intersection. If you measure ‘at’ the intersection, the width is likely to be a fair bit wider than at, lets say 50m down the street. Also, two transit lanes only need to be about 6 or 6.5m wide. A 2 way cycleway should be a minimum of 3m wide according to AT cycle lane design manual. Add a narrowish visual barrier (0.5m plantation or a concrete ‘kerb’) and you should be sweet. That would give you 9.5m/10m. Symonds Street is about 14-15m wide from what I am aware of, and 17-18m on intersections. Overall, if Queen Street becomes a BRT/LRT spine, I don’t think we need 24/7 bus lanes on Symonds Street. A peak time transit lane (parking or traffic lane at other times) should be fine imo.

          Btw, as I just came back from Melbourne, I figured out that not every arterial needs fully dedicated transit and cycle lanes. As long as you have one every second arterial road, then it works perfectly. Just take a look at Melbourne’s CBD. In the SW-NE direction, there are trams on La Trobe, Flinders, Collins and Bourke Street (some of it is tram only) with two traffic lanes, and some cycle lanes. Lonsdale street has ANGLE parking as well as off peak parallel parking (transit lane in rush hours and no cycle lanes at all) In the NW-SE direction there is little/no cycling provision on King, Queen, Russel and Exhibition Street. In fact, Russel and Exhibition street even have angle parking as well as parallel parking. Elizabeth Street has trams, two traffic lanes, parking and next to no cycling amnesties. Swanston Street is mostly bike and tram only. Spencer Street, William Street and Spring Street have trams, two/four lanes of traffic and parking…Then again having 30m width building to building helps a lot I guess

  3. Well that would be great, Stephen F, if AT had the guts to do it. But look what happens when perfectly good cycling infrastructure is mooted that requires the removal of on-street parking. The locals are instantly up in arms, whether residents or businesses. How dare AT remove “our” on-street parking for a bunch of sweaty cyclists. We see it on Carlton Gore, at Westhaven, at Queen St in Northcote Point…

    AT need to stick to their guns here. They manage the road corridor on our behalf, and safe and efficient movement of people and goods must take priority. Sadly politics often gets in the way.

    1. Well Carlton Gore is sorted, see this announcement from CAA today

      Max can probably advise/confirm how much parking has been removed to make it so.

      But it sounds like a sensible compromise was reached with fully separated cycling on both sides at the top end of Carlton Gore Road (uphill of George Street).

      See this

      So, its not all doom and gloom, but agreed could be a lot better and easier to do than it is.

      1. There was quite a bit of car parks removed for CGR – I think upwards of 30 in the final design.

        No, it is not all doom and gloom. But at the speed CGR proceeded, I would not be surprised if our already anemic rate of new cycle infrastructure slows down even more. Especially when consdiering retrofits only. Newer suburbs get cycleways more often, and that may occasionally lift the overall numbers of cycleways built – but we need more active work in the existing parts of Auckland. That’s were the people are who want to cycle, but don’t feel safe to do so.

  4. Why are we holding back our potentially highest.mode for parking and flush median space? Coppenhagen 41% am mode share for trips to work and educational institutions. Even 30% would completely zero out congestion on all motorways without any increase from bus and rail and that is another blocked network. Auckland is not that hilly overall and there is always electric assist and mobility scooters as well. Bang for buck, seems like a no brainer in terms of reducing congestion, liveability, health and environmental benefits.

  5. Looking at the “cycle” network in manurewa….it is not quite a lie but it is the closest thing to being as misleading as possible without actually lying. The “feeder” networks are coastal walkways (which you could walk or cycle on but would be the longest way to get anywhere). The connector network is only a line on a council map (i.e. not even a painted line on the road or a sign on the roadside). Besides 4 or 6 batted plastic sheds at Manurewa bus/train station there is no secure location to locked them up (I think the same would be true for Homai and other nearby train stations). I can not remember any bike stands at Southmall (there use to be some by the public library but I am not sure if they are there anymore).

    I know there are partial cycle ways along the Great South Road but I wouldn’t call it a pleasant experience and if you are going to Rainbow end/Vector center/Manukau shopping Centre/Botanical Gardens/Totara park etc just how many secure locations are there to lock up your bike ? The Auckland Transport cycle, run & walkway map is not helpful in identifying them (the P normally is associated with carparks).

    I doubt if there is any serious plan within the councils to fund decent cycle infra-structure in the suburbs or really prompt it beyond one or two glossy leaflets. I would rather they would say it like it is…. use the local roads, avoid park cars, buses pulling out, take care at roundabouts which are designed to make it as difficult as possible to cycle safety though and when you get to your destination lock your bike to the nearest tree, fencepost, lightpole or fence but there is a reasonable chance it might not be there when you come back.

    rant over

    1. Look with no protected cycle network, current numbers mean bollocks anyway. Look what is possible like Copenhagen, they are people too in a city aren’t they?The just have space, safety and some infrastructure for that mode recognising the importance of it. Put a focus on all arterials, then see the rise. Design for something get something. Car has a global network, protected cycle paths does not!

    2. Not sure, but all the bike parking I’ve tried to use in the last couple of weeks in Devonport and the city have all been full despite being boosted significantly.

    3. There is data from 10 automatic cycle counters around Auckland, though these of course only show the situation where someone already has built at least SOME cycle facilities. Those have shown 5-10% growth per annum in recent years. Overall, numbers are still low, but ironically, they have been bigger in terms of mode share than the funding given to cycling for many, many years – yet we still have to fight this stupid battle every single time when funding is announced. Politicians love to say they’re in favour of cycling, including our mayor – but look away for a while, and the money disappears or the projects get delayed.

      1. Cycle funding is like a pool of mercury. Its wonderous for everyone to look at when you have some.

        But if you leave it anywhere – it will simply slip away – with no sign of it ever having been there afterwards.

        Its also easy to break it into smaller puddles and if you do the “whole” never seems to equal the sum of the parts ever again.

        Only fix is to get a whole lot more funding so that what actually gets spent delivers benefits.

        1. Ignoring the (nice) poetic image, I think the key issue with cycle projects at the moment (beyond the bare funding issue) is that the people pushing them forward in their relevant Council departments either don’t get pushed enough (for some) or don’t get support enough (for those that try hard). I.e. – politicians and upper management don’t care enough to push you if you slack off, but if you try hard and then hit a road-block, they don’t have your back either. It’s rather different for car projects…

        2. I think the one begets the other – if you don’t get supported, you don’t push hard enough, you don’t push hard enough, you don’t get a cycleway (or support) and so the cycle goes.
          And eventually you give up and get another job.

          You are right, they can move/remove mountains (and Pohutukawas) for 6 or 7 cars, but 60 or 70 (or even 600 or 700) cyclists – nah “too hard”, not enough in it.

          I also believe that unless Skypath Trust had pushed so very very hard we wouldn’t even have had anything yet to show for years of effort (like a resource consent hearing)
          – as no one in Council would be there for that long or work that consistently to this goal if it was Council fighting for it.

  6. Will the government’s $100m in urban cycleways fill much of this gap? Do we know what is planned with this money?

    1. Sorry just read that last para! Apparently there is an announcement on Friday over the use of the urban cycleways funding. Does that last para basically mean Auckland is going to miss out on this?

      1. No, but there is a real danger of Auckland taking this money to top of their own reductions and saying “See, we didn’t do any cuts!”

        1. Max I think that’s exactly what’s happening, council has deliberately cut the cycling budget to use elsewhere on the belief it will be made up again by the extra govt funding. It’s worth noting that the council were talking about doubling the cycling budget then last minute swapped to cutting it

  7. And don’t forget the majority of the “Walking” funding is actually footpath renewals, replacing like with like.

  8. Cycle – wash – spin.

    Looks like a cycling policy but in reality just a greenwash layer on the BAU roads policy.

    Propaganda for spin purposes – e.g. if trees need to be removed for roading projects then blame the “commitment” to cycling.

    Next step: Hang cyclists out to dry.

  9. To be honest right now we just need clout. A global announcement that parking and flush medians (and maybe some solid medians need adjustment) will be removed for cycling on all arterials. Even with half the local board money I am confident we can get a full protected cycle network. We would obviously need some road maintenance budget for intersection changes. But just a commitment and space could turn this mode around.

    1. It is all the consultation about carpark loss etc. Take that away with a global directive, it is then just a conc barrier with planting or large 800mm dia flower pot about 1m high every 2m and a remark to reallocate lanes. The physical cost is peanuts in comparison. Clear the path and make it a directive for at least two way cycle on one side on all arterials. We need a leader to clear the path, parked cars and medians isn’t the Red Sea but would set a large proportion of our population free and safe. Plus even congestion reduction benefits.

      1. Even pots like the red in Wellington would be ideal. Mass produced, get them delivered and placed in one go. Every 2m or a 4m gap if driveway. Place so 3m clear on preferred side for cycling. Place one in middle to block car off at each int. We just need parking removal authority from the top, zero consultation , just doing it. Road maintenance to convert to Copenhagen examples. Network in. Seems easy if it is done this way and every dollar on pots or remarking and intetsection.improvements not pushing shit uphill.

  10. Is it just me, or is funding for cycling deliberately hard for communities to understand? What’s the best approach for a group wanting improvements in their local area? Is it to tell their local board they should try and get a piece of the Local Board Initiatives fund?

    1. I’d suggest the most effective approach is for your local group to project manage the improvements you want. This may involve fund-raising, surveying the locals and obtaining AT’s approval. It’s a lot of hard work but if done well is likely to deliver what you want.

  11. Providing transport is a basic Council obligation.
    Hence, along with improving parks, libraries etc my rates should be used to to pay for better cycling.

    Given the high level of public demand for safer cycling facilities, I agree with Bryce we need to be firm in the 10 year plan to ensure we achieve more investment for cycling.
    Let’s remember -for each Council $ invested in cycling facilities it is helped by 47c from national transport funds. On top of this the Council can now bid for 66% matched funding for projects funded from the new Urban Cycle Fund.

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