This Friday at 7:30am the second stage of the Beach Rd walking and cycling project will officially open – almost exactly 1 year after stage 1 opened. This extends the current Beach Rd cycleway another 400m from Mahuhu Cres to Britomart Place making it more connected to the city than it was previously. While stage 1 was largely built on space used for on-street carparking, stage 2 makes use of the wide expanse of largely empty space that exists in front of the buildings north of Mahuhu Cres – especially in front of the vile Scene buildings. Along with the cycleway there have also been some other positive gains such as removing the dangerous slip lanes of Tangihua St.

Beach Rd Cycleway StageTwo Overall Plan

One aspect that has changed from above is that some of the planned stormwater raingardens have been cut after it was found they sit too close to the rail tunnel

Part of the underground rail tunnel was found to sit close to the intended location for stormwater raingardens. To avoid any potential damage to this structure caused by excavation needed for the gardens, this area will instead become part of an expanded shared area for pedestrians and cyclists.

Here’s stage 2 in context of the wider Beach Rd and Grafton Gully project

Beach Rd cycleway map

All up the project including stage 1 cost around $3.5 million of which $1.5 million came from the City Centre Targeted Rate

I believe the works are now mostly complete and here are a few images from a reader what the outcome looks like.

The project certainly looks beautiful and will be an asset to Auckland. There is one big concern I do have from a number of the images that I’ve seen so far though. It seems that many people are treating the cycle lane as a footpath, this is shown in the image below. Perhaps there are still signs to go in and/or it won’t be an issue once open so I’ll hold judgement for now but it is definitely an issue that I’m sure we and others will keep an eye on.

Here are also a few more images taken from one of the Scene buildings showing the works

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  1. I can confirm more peds are using the cycle path than the pedestrian path. Can’t blame them though. There is no signage or pavement marking and the cycle path seems like the obvious route to take.

    1. Yeah, no signage yet. Hopefully it will be added? As a frequent pedestrian, I’d probably rather walk on that side (closer to the street) than the side intended for pedestrians, which although it’s a wider space feels a bit more hemmed in with the buildings on the side.

        1. As long as they’re somewhat visible, Patrick! I’m thinking of the signs on the Quay Street shared cycle/walkway, elegant little bronze plaques that are utterly ignored by pedestrians, since they’re too subtle, too small and too infrequent for people to register them. Mind you, I’ve encountered enough people walking in the on-road Beach Road cycle lanes to have my doubts about any level of signage working…

          Probably there’s no level of signage that will deter people from walking on a section that is a) more nicely paved, b) runs along an attractive line of plantings and trees and c) means they don’t have to walk so far to access crossings to the other side of Beach Road.

          It’ll just have to be a process of gradual learning and civil tolerance between users (yes, yes, I know, this is Auckland. One can hope).

          Anyway, I’ll most definitely be giving this new section a try, as it is right along my existing route to Princes Wharf – personally, since I’m not stopping at Britomart itself the only part I’m a bit dubious about is the quality of the connection across Quay Street at Britomart Place. Are we getting a larger two-can crossing there or other facilities or improvements? This will definitely affect whether I choose to ride the new section or keep taking my chances on Mahuhu Crescent.

        2. I’m almost certain I saw some pavement markings being installed a month or so ago, but looks like they were removed. May have been some issues with their installation so hopefully they’ll be up and running soon.

        3. My wife and I rode down here on the weekend and it felt very safe, although we didn’t encounter anyone coming the other way. AT should be consistent and mark the entry points with green paint and white cycle symbols. Also a dotted white line down the middle would help, like they did on the rest of the cycleway.

      1. One issue that is a problem is the night-time experience in front of the Waldorf Arena apartments. No lighting, and a very dark surface finish means all pedestrians naturally veer away from it into the well-lit, light coloured bike lane. Needs additional lighting.

  2. hmmm … I have two small question marks about the design:
    1) it looks somewhat narrow for a bi-directional cycle way, especially when dodging pedestrians; and
    2) the edges fall away abruptly into the garden in places, which seems to be a bit of a hazard.

    I appreciate it may be as wide as was possible in this situation, and that my expectations may be too high because I’m spending too much time in Amsterdam. But the combination of constrained width and abrupt edges seems risky: If you veer off the cycleway even a little bit, then you’re likely to be brought off your bike completely by the drop.

    I would have thought you would want to avoid abrupt differences in vertical elevation right on the edge of a cycleway? And in this case it seems the issue could have been mitigated by building the height of the gardens to the same level as the cycleway, rather than sunken like ~20cm or so like they are now. While it’s not a critical flaw at all it might be something to think about for future designs?

    Nevertheless the whole area looks much better than what it did before.

    1. Agree. I wouldn’t feel comfortable travelling on that at even moderate speed with someone coming towards me (which should happen regularly if it is successful.)

    2. Stu the cycleway appears to bea decent width, I think you might be tricked by the fact that the whole corridor is very wide overall. The footpaths are massive as they are designed for arena event crowds.

      I just came past here on the bus and counted eight pedestrians as we went past. All on the cycleway section. To be expected really, why would we expect people to walk the long way around instead of taking the direct path? (and being so wide, it is quite a bit extra).

      1. Judging by the pedestrians shown in the photos suggests that the cyclepath is no wider than 3m (maybe less); really at the lower end of what you’d want ultimately (but at least it’s not shared, eh… 😉 ). Having the sharp drop-offs also reduces the effective width, as people will steer clear of the sides. It’s not like they didn’t have more space – the garden right next to it is wider again. I guess having the garden space does allow potential future-proofing space to widen it later if need be?

        I think from the moment that many of us saw the original plans for this section we did wonder “how will pedestrians know not to go on the cycleway?” That already seems to be realised and will need some fairly strong markings at the entrance/cross-over points to minimise the conflicts.

        Look, it’s a great improvement over the status quo and will no doubt get lots of use. But the missed opportunities to fix the (seemingly obvious) niggles do get a bit frustrating.

        1. Yes it’s 3m wide and as you say, it’s not like there wasn’t any more space. Also one if the photos in the tweet make it appear to narrow as it approaches Britomart Pl. Perhaps to slow bikes down, hope that’s not the case

          1. 3m is pretty wide. On the basis you aren’t sharing with pedestrians and bikes going in either direction are single file and keeping left, it seems adequate. How wide was Stage 1? Agree on the drop-offs.

            Once the trees have their leaves back, this is going to be a very nice stretch to cruise along.

  3. Looks great – I can’t wait to ride it! And it’s good to see that it’s going to be linked up to a Quay St cycleway next year.

    That being said, I do feel a bit nervous about the cost. $3.5m does seem like a lot for a fairly short cycleway, even if it’s coupled with some broader upgrades to what used to be a fairly grim stretch of pavement. Given Auckland’s overall deficit in cycle provision I’d hope to see a larger quantity of relatively cheap interventions – e.g. on-street cycleways protected by safe-hit posts or curbs. Here’s hoping we start getting our fair share of that as well!

          1. Very significant pedestrian and amenity upgrades too – the entire pavements have been replaced, seating and planting added, etc etc.

          2. Sure but it we are to make the entire city a bike city, we need to get much better at reducing the price. That’s ridiculous. That amount of cash could likely create an entire bikeable suburb.

  4. As a daily walker through this section i am very happy with the overall change.

    As others have covered, there are a lot of pedestrians walking on the cycle section. There are no signs to say it is a cycleway and it lines up perfectly with the lights crossing Tangihua St. The cycle way is made of a very smooth concrete, which is also used for some of the pedestrian section. I walked on this section on a wet day with crepe soled shoes and it was very slippery (possibly more the shoes’ fault) but i wonder how the cycle way will be for bikes. This section of beach road also gets a lot of falling leaves in Autumn which will make the ground very slippery. I think the whole cycleway section could do with a lick of anti-slip green paint.

    Also, the sloped curb between Beach road and Anzac is too narrow on the Beach road side. There are a lot of people crossing there but the actual sloped section is narrow and there is about a meter for sharp curb left open which looks very odd. It would have been better if the sloped section went the full length between the two garden sections.

  5. The other issue is that, in order to appease design, cycle path users must decide before using the path, if they want to access any of the buildings along there. Motorway building.

  6. The reason that people walk along the cycle path is simple – it’s the desire line, and the shortest route. Also, it is nicer, being under the trees and buffered by planting on both sides, rather than against the bulk of the Scene buildings.

  7. What is wrong with cyclists and walkers sharing the same path? The Westhaven promenade is a shared walkway cycle path. I have read no where that these cycleways are for exclusive use of cyclists!

    1. Because the whole purpose of a cycle lane is to protect cyclists from vehicles while allowing them to still ride at a reasonable speed. This is virtually impossible if cyclists are having to avoid pedestrians. There is a footpath right next to it for pedestrians, the cycleway needs some green cycle lane paint!

  8. AT have told us that ground signs will be marked today. But we (CAA) were and are worried that the path will essentially be treated as a shared path.

  9. $7000 per liner meter WTF! Someone should call in the Auditor General. Is this being managed under a Rodney District Council maintenance contract?

  10. Incredible costs for such a short section cycle way…..as a sustainable mode why are they paying for unnecessary premiums for these type of projects ?

    Based on these type of projects the $130M national investment in cycling infrastructure wont go far

    couple in Grafton gully & stage 1 & 2 and we are approaching almost $25 million!!!!

    scrutiny of the business cases which would harm the over benefit of a well connected cycle way network

    This also does not deal with the horrible intersection at the Parnell / stanley street where there has been fatalities in the recent past…..!

    1. Take a look at the photos, people; most of the cost is clearly not going on the cycleway itself, but all the associated footpaths, gardens, street furniture, kerbing, etc. A bog-standard cycle path like this might work out at about $1million/km, plus throw in some intersection signals. Blame the urban designers if you want; most people cycling would be perfectly happy with a basic facility that provides adequate space and separation.

  11. Is it lit?

    I can see lighting for the Pedestrian path near Scene, and lighting directed over the roadway, but I couldn’t see anything directing light over the Cycle way?, surely I must be missing something, ……

  12. Initial thoughts: look great.
    Secondary thoughts: OMG, what inept fools put this together?
    Adam Parkinon’s photos really highlight where they have failed. For $3.5m I’d expect to have a cycleway that is clearly delineated as such ie not made to look like a footpath. And that’s putting aside the obvious question: how do you spend $7,000 a lineal metre for a cycleway? (Not withstanding GlenK’s points above about street furniture above)(and why is ‘street furniture’ so damn expensive then either?)
    This seems like it was designed to play into the hands of Auckland Ratepayers Group – it’s not money well spent. Looking at this, and the Great Wall on the Nelson Street Off Ramp and it seems like some people have embraced ‘Cycleway’ as a new teat to suck dry.

    1. It’s not a cycleway, so much as a full rebuild of a 16m wide corridor with cycleway, footpath, planting etc. At about $450/sqm it’s not so bad.

        1. Neither, it’s a streetscape upgrade based around a cycleway extension. If you look in the City Centre Masterplan they had planned a big upgrade years ago. What makes you think they lost control of the scope, it always had quite a big scope.

          This is the downtown waterfront area we are talking about remember, Albany Highway it ain’t.

          1. Your point being?

            That work within an existing road corridor to convert a footpath to a footpath and cycleway is almost comparable in cost to a project that involves actual substantial physical works just because it’s in the CBD? Can you expand on your position?

            I don’t understand. Perhaps one too many glasses of wine at this time in the evening?

            (For those reading the conversation it is a bit disjointed because they are read not in the consecutive order written in)

          2. The point being that this street has orders of magnitude more pedestrians and cyclists in it that a semi rural highway in Albany. It has more people living in those apartment towers facing this one block than the whole of the snapper rock suburb.

            The level of investment and standard of finish is accordingly far higher than in Albany because far more people will use this footpath and cycleway.

            This is an apples and oranges situation. If you want apples and apples compare Albany to something else with a basic finish and simple design that serves far fewer people.

          3. The footpath area is a highly trafficked route, and until a couple of months ago it was an eyesore which hadn’t had any maintenance done on it for many years – at least as long as the six years I’ve been living around there, and probably much longer. The pavements were cracked, the sandy bits around the trees looked terrible, and the whole thing was pretty much an embarassment when compared to most other parts of the area. Hence, it needed an upgrade. Since it was such a wide area (and therefore many square metres) it cost a bit, and also because it was such a wide area, there was plenty of opportunity to chuck a ‘cycleway’ in there too. But they’ve dug up the entirety of what was there and replaced it, so that was inevitably going to cost a bit. Small fry in the overall scheme of the city centre.

  13. Albany Highway job I think is about 40million for 4k or 10,000 per m.

    For that we get road widening from 2 lanes to 4, plus off road cycle paths and seperate foot paths.

    Beach road cycle way upgrade with half the job on an existing footpath is nearly the same as a highway upgrade. As a rate payer I can only say “Fuuuuuuuucccck”

  14. This must have been the original rail corridor to the first Queen St. station. Was it intended to run the line along here again when Britomart was proposed? Would knock 2 min off the time it takes to do the s blend.

  15. I’ve ridden this a few times now since the opening last week.

    So far most of the people walking that I’ve encountered are sticking to the “footpath” section – where people are walking on the cycle path it’s wide enough to get around them courteously. It might be more of a problem in summer, however.

    I think the way that the plantings and nifty seating areas are laid out will encourage people to walk on the cycle path – they seem to be oriented naturally in that direction, whereas if you go along beside the City Scene apartments you’re basically faced with the butt-end of everything.

    As I feared, they haven’t thought out the intersection at Britomart Place very well. On a bike headed to Quay Street, you have to round that massive raised ventilation grate to the right, and then make your way past the gym/parking building where people are streaming out of the walkway to Countdown. Once you get to the new two-can crossing across Quay, it’s a very slow signal phase indeed, and the crossing lacks the handy central island further up Quay Street near Vector, where you can slip partway across when it’s quiet.

    So it probably won’t replace my current commuter route to town, but for people looking for a good route to Takutai Square by bike or foot, it’s nice and will get even better in the warmer months.

    1. > As I feared, they haven’t thought out the intersection at Britomart Place very well.

      I understand major changes here weren’t in-scope (certainly not at the time this was designed last year) as they were / are preparing for all the CRL changes (including moving buses all over the place).

      The ventilation grille… well, for now they will still need it (possibly for quite a while longer, until we get totally rid of diesels, including tourist trains to Welly). They did widen the paths around it though.

      The crossing over Quay – yeah, the crossing further east near Tapora does seem ti have much better / faster phasing, probably because mid-block. They couldn’t add a median island because all existing median islands are going to be ripped out to make space for the west-east Quay Street cycleway, so adding a new one was obviously not possible.

  16. Having finally found time to check this out it seems pretty clear that the priorities ought to be flipped; ie the route marked for bikes should be for pedestrians and the other wider section could contain the bikeway on half its width. The desire line is roadside, and this naturally suits walkers more, furthermore it has better natural security by being less concealed than at the building edge. Of course it makes sense to have the walkers next to the building line were it activated at street level but it mostly isn’t, and won’t be soon. On the bike a dull grill concealing car parking goes by quicker and is less of a drag.

    Anyway people are using it like this already. Desire lines demand respect.

    That does mean that the seats are connected to the wrong route, but that could be fixed with the addition of boardwalk extensions to the peninsulas of paving, changing the materials would keep the design complete [which is good] but allow more random access.

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