Yesterday the first and largest section of the Canada St Bridge was lifted into place. Once complete in a few months it will provide walkers and cyclist’s access to the old Nelson St off-ramp which will lead them to the new cycleway being built on Nelson St.

Nelson St Cycleway visualisation

Phase 1 of the project which extends as far as Victoria St is already underway. Auckland Transport are now consulting on phase 2 which will see additions to the project at each end. At the southern end a cycleway will be added to Pitt St and at the northern end it will extend from Victoria St all the way to Quay St. They also say phase 2 will be completed in the middle of next year.

Nelson St Map

Here’s what’s proposed in more detail.

Pitt St

The cycleway will be built on the western side of Pitt St from Beresford Square through to Nelson St. From Beresford to Hopetoun St it will be a two way protected cycleway and from Hopetoun to Nelson St it will be a shared path. I’m not sure just why it stops at Beresford Square, AT say it will connect to the future K Rd cycle lanes but I guess it means until that happens people heading uphill will then presumably need to use the footpath to get to the pedestrian crossing. You can also see from the image below that the free left turn out of Beresford Square has been removed to create a short shared path at the start of the cycleway.

Beresford Square

Further down Pitt St where it crosses Hopetoun St AT are asking for feedback on two design options

  • Option A would see the free left turn removed and the left turn movement combined with one of the general traffic lanes. The space currently occupied by the free left turn would be built out. Cyclists would cross Hopetoun St with pedestrians.
  • Option B would see the cycleway extended through the intersection by removing left turns into Hopetoun St. In this scenario cyclists would cross Hopetoun St with general traffic. AT say this would likely give pedestrians and bikes more time to cross Hopetoun St.

The two options are shown below where you can also see that AT are planning on moving the bus stop on Vincent St to around the corner allowing the painted cycle lane to carry on to the intersection. With either option it will be interesting to see if more sporty cyclists bother using the cycleway at all or if they’ll continue up the general traffic lanes.

Pitt St - Hopetoun St option A
Option A
Pitt St - Hopetoun St option B
Option B

North of Victoria St

You may recall that last we heard AT were still considering whether they would use Nelson or Hobson St to get the cycleway to the Waterfront. As you can see they’ve chosen Nelson St.

At Victoria St AT are going to shift the cycleway from the western to the eastern side like how they’ve done with the Beach Rd cycleway. This presumably means another traffic light phase that will be added in and the concern here is that the phasing will be slow for cyclists. Once on the eastern side AT say they will need to remove a general traffic lane and 9 on street carparks, to compensate for this they’re considering adding 13 carparks to Wyndham St.

Nelson St - Victoria St intersection

Once At Wyndham St the cycleway will turn into a shared path for the rest of the way to Quay St. Below shows the intersection of Nelson and Fanshawe Streets. Cyclists will use the shared path and cross Fanshawe St with pedestrians before carrying on to a new shared path along Sturdee St.

Nelson St - Fanshawe Intersection

On Sturdee St AT say they will remove 24 carparks from the south/east side as part of the cycleway project but that they aren’t being removed for the cycleway but actually for the CRL project as the area will be used as a bus layover. It appears that for at least part of it the footpath isn’t being widened here to form the shared path

Sturdee St shared path

The path will continue on under the Hobson St viaduct with cyclists then to cross and weave around the existing island before crossing to a shared path on Lower Hobson St.

Sturdee St - Lower Hobson

And the last section along to Quay St. You can see from the image that there will be a raised table on the left turn into lower Hobson St along with a fence (the red line). AT say the pedestrian crossing will be upgraded at a later date to tie in to the Quay St cycle route.

Lower Hobson St - Quay St

When looking at what is proposed one thing I wondered was whether AT considered using Market Pl instead of Sturdee St. They could have then kept the cycleway on the Western side avoiding the diagonal crossing and riding down Market St under the trees would be a far nicer experience than riding along a shared path next to the Sturdee St retaining wall. That would also tie in nicely for people who have cycled down Nelson St and who want to get to Wynyard. The down side is it would about 100m longer but given the various phasing involved in the chosen route it could end up no slower.

Market Rd option

As part of this consultation AT have updated their City Centre Cycle Network map and there are a couple of interesting things I’ve noted since the last version we saw. In particular main changes they are now showing a route connecting Federal St/Vincent St/Hopetoun St and a route along Custom St West and Viaduct Harbour Ave.

City Centre Cycle Routes

When it comes to Quay St, Waitemata Local Board member Rob Thomas posted this yesterday

Consultation for phase 2 of Nelson St open till 5 October and there are two information days which will take place in the Foyer of the YMCA off Vincent Street:

  • Thursday 24th September (12pm–1pm)
  • Friday 25th September (6pm – 7pm)

On a related note, later this month the council is Expected to release it’s designs for the surface of the Canada St bridge.

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  1. Any word on how the Fanshawe busway would fit in with this? Particularly at Nelson/Fanshawe intersection? Could be why they haven’t kept the cycle path on western side and continued to Market Pl, gets too messy if you have busway phasing to deal with too.

  2. You would have to remove all that reverse angle parking and cut down the trees to put in a cycle way on Market Pl. At least they aren’t pohutukawa.

    Looking at that Albert St design for the Quay St cycle way, it looks kinda crazy. 1 through lane and one right turn lane at the intersection? Are they trying to gridlock the city (and all the buses with it) ? It has to be a joke, because that design looks like one. I don’t see that happening until after they finish digging up the city for the CRL.

    1. Hardly Ari: either switch the parking to parallel with a lane between it and the trees, or run it as a shared space, again with parallel parking.

      Market Pl would be much more direct for Wynyard/ SkyPath journeys, and probably no longer for those heading east.

      1. Shared space makes some sense, but how does the cycleway connect up to the Quay St cycleway? Continue through the waterfront past all the shops? You can’t exactly put a cycleway through there and it is so busy with pedestrians some times that cyclists wont want to ride through there.

  3. As someone who lives on Market Place: it will be far easier to stay to the left going down Nelson st and go straight ahead to market place and then either though the Viaduct or right at the end of Market Place. This way you lose all momentum and has too many stopping points.
    And I agree – Market Place is a much nicer route. It might be hard managing trees and cycle lanes, but the car parks can disappear with prejudice.

    1. Presumably the shift to the right is because (apart from the route heading there in overall terms) that if it stayed left, you’d be crossing the double slip lane turning left into Fanshaw? Not safe without either removing the slip lane or crossing bikes&peds on a separate signal to the triangular island in the southwest (but then you’d also lose that downhill speed you are talking about Lance).

      I heard that the cycle phase at Victoria / Nelson is going to run in parallel with some of the ped phases (unlike the Beach Road one), so waiting times there hopefully won’t be too long.

      1. Do we need that double slip lane? You can also turn left earlier into Wellesley and Victoria Street, so maybe 1 left turn lane is enough?

        It’s definitely possible to have a left turn lane (does it need to be a proper slip lane?) and the cycle path on the left of that. The traffic lights can stop the cyclists going straight while letting the traffic turn left for a while. Outside that, turning traffic has to give way to cyclists and pedestrians going straight. If it has to be a proper slip lane, the cycle path can cross it just before the intersection (and the slip lane would still have a proper traffic light which will be red when the cyclists have green).

        Or have a standard one-way cycle lane on either side of Hobson Street, and only cyclists going south would cross the street at Victoria Street.

    1. Usually not paint these days; it’s either coloured chip or thermoplastic. We’ve got stuff down in Chch that was installed five years ago and still almost looks as good as day one (unfortunately it’s the old red colour)

  4. I foresee a big safety issue with people riding downhill on the separated cycleway and all of a sudden having to come to a full stop to wait for potential cars turning into Wyndham. By crossing to the other side of Nelson Street there’s too many added stops and we’ve actually made it a lot harder to reach Market Place. It will now take THREE(!) light phases to get to Market Place.
    It’s not like Sturdee Street is going to be so nice to ride on, it’s basically just legalising riding on the *narrow* footpath. Not ideal.

  5. But surely people can still use Market Place? It seems a decent street for cycling on as it is. I’m all for cycle lanes but I think sometimes people forget that you can actually ride your bike on the road itself.

      1. Yes, that’s a good point. But I suppose the answer is that you use the existing road junction. Don’t cross to the right hand side of Nelson St when you get to the Victoria Street junction, just use a normal traffic lane and head straight on to Market.

        It’s an interesting problem though – how to handle junctions as you introduce more cycle lanes. How do you provide cyclists with the opportunity to choose any entry and exit whilst still being separated from cars, without designing some hugely expensive, complex junction? One option could be to add a bike-only phase which is a free-for-all for riders no matter which direction they’re going in, like a cyclist’s barnes dance. It wouldn’t need to last very long.

        1. The Dutch do it (as a very, very simplified explanation) by running signalised cycle phases together with the ped phases (or with the car phases where this doesn’t conflict), and also simply allocating more overall cycle time to bikes and peds than we do.

          It’s not necessarily complex at all – only in our environment, where we still have very limited consistency, and also, often only provide for cycling on 1-2 legs per intersection, rather than four. The lack of dedicated cycle crossings in the design to cross over to Market Place (even if the primary path takes a different route) has been a point that Cycle Action has been telling AT about for the last 9 months… please add your voices too.

  6. How do the connections work between lower Nelson St and Wynyard Quarter/Western Connection to City Centre?

    If people are on the south side of Sturdee St, are there plans of how they get over to Custom Street West?

  7. Looks fantastic. Not perfect, but pretty good. AT are starting to put together the bones of a cycling body, which I think will revolutionise Auckland.

    This is how change happens – one road at a time.

  8. Thank God that they are also neckdowning the intersection of Nelson and Wyndham, hopefully they make Wyndham single lane at the same time!!

  9. Some parts look awesome, others not so great. I am interested in how easy it would be to get to Fanshawe St and catch the NEX with a folding bike.

    1. I’d suggest you turn left at Wellesley St West and go through the park. In 1-2 years, you should also see the new cycleway being built along Victoria St West, which will give you a dedicated path to the park and thus the bus stops.

  10. It’s good news that at least on the surface, AT seems to support cycling.

    But if you’re thinking of cycling there, you had better take some time to look at those plans, and give feedback.

    I kind of trusted them with doing a reasonable job at putting that shared path along Onewa Rd. Bad mistake.

    There are quite a few dead-end side streets on the south side of Onewa Road. And at every of those, the shared path stops just before the side street, and “begins” again after those side streets. So rather than having a proper continuous right of way, at every intersection as a cyclist (in practice) you have to stop and give way to turning cars. If you drive there just look at all those traffic signs. If you look closer you’ll see the stop lines aligned with the edge of the roadway, not the shared path. I would say, thumbs up for trying (let’s not be too cynical) but that’s a pretty badly broken bone.

    1. I’ve not looked at what has been done on Onewa Rd. yet – I don’t have a use for it until the SkyPath is open – but that start-stop side road thing is my main problem with cycle lanes on the pavement and shared lanes.

      At the moment I get from the ferry to Grafton via Quay St, Tangihua St, Anzac Ave and Symonds St. I’ve tried the Grafton Gully Cycleway on the way back to the ferry, I enjoyed the first section up to Wellesley St, but I had to go out of my way to get on to it and found the discontinuous nature of the lower end of the path to be a major inconvenience, it was a longer route and took a lot longer to cycle.

      My concern is that the cycleways are being implemented in a way that will be less convenient and not necessarily any safer than riding in traffic on the road, and at the same time giving motorists more ammunition in their arguments against cyclists – “Get off the road and onto the bike path where you belong!”

    2. Hi wsomc – correct, that is one of the big issues with shared paths (which is why Cycle Action raised significant concerns). The thing is that the Onewa Road path is an “add-on” to a transit lane project, and was also designed before the current crop of cycle funding and urban cycleway projects. The standard is being raised – appreciate though that unless you’re on one of the new routes, this may not become apparent quickly enough… so the best course of action we see is to improve the new routes, hope to see them succeed, and in the meantime, keep pointing out the issues with the old-style designs.

    3. This is the same problem I have with East Coast Road and it’s shared path. It’s a lot slower and you give up right-of-way compared to on-road cyclelanes. I guess they are a good compromised for kids though.

  11. When looking at the Pitt st, Hopetoun Road junction, option B, has left turns banned, this is unlikely as St John’s, Fire Brigade and police all use this for both emergency and non emergency work. Removal of the left turn would be a major inconvenience to all three services when they are re-positioning vehicles and in the case of the police, looking for the local ‘girls’.
    Looking at the Sturdee road, Custom St East junction the proposed crossing will be great, but not sure about having to use the island if I was on my bike as it can be very busy with pedestrians.

    I like the idea and recognise there are some difficult choices as to where to put the cycle path. Personally I like the idea of using Market place as I think this would enable a better connection to the new builds in the Viaduct and the Sky Path when this is built.

  12. Looking at the Quay St tweet, what is the point of having those advance stop boxes when there is a two way cycleway right next to it?

    Overall, not bad at all.

  13. from the point of view of a pedestrian, I find the proposed stretches of shared path pretty horrific – not just because they make life worse for people walking along those stretches of footpath (but who cares about them?), but also because they strengthen the perception that seems to be becoming all too common that it’s OK to ride a bike on the footpath.

    I’m wholeheartedly in favour of improved cycle facilities, but not at the expense of that most fundamental (and only essential) means of transport, the foot.

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