A few weeks ago I highlighted the consultation for phase 2 of the Nelson St cycleway. Consultation finishes on 5th October and while I really want to see this project I feel that some parts of it are very sub-optimal and as such encourage you to make a submission so it can be better.
Below are some areas where I think AT need to make changes. Feel free to use some or all of these in your submission.
North of Victoria St
The diagonal crossing at Victoria Street will slow cyclists down as instead of being able to ride across the intersection with the normal North traffic flow cyclists will have to wait for a separate cycle. Like with Beach Rd that will likely see a lot of cyclists simply ignoring the cycleway and create confusion amongst less confident cyclists. I’ve heard suggestions that one reason for shifting the cycleway to the eastern side was because there is an aversion to removing or changing the slip lanes on to Fanshawe St.
Apart from the crossing a cycleway on the eastern side by itself isn’t bad however it doesn’t last long and just before Wyndham St becomes a shared space. Wyndham St itself causes problems too. Issues with this section include:
- Cyclists will be coming downhill, likely at speed and be clashing with pedestrians where it transitions to shared path.
- Those cyclists will then likely have to come to full stop at Wyndham St as due to travelling in the same direction it will be difficult for cyclists to know if a car is about to turn in front of them.
- This is made even more difficult and confusing as cars turning right into Fanshawe St use the same lane and indicate from before Wyndham St.
One alternative solution would be to reverse the direction of Wyndham St and make them give way to cyclists however that may have wider implications for the CBD road network.
Once at the Fanshawe St intersection cyclists will then have to contend with pedestrians to get across. My personal observations is that this intersection is surprisingly busy as Fanshawe St is used by a lot of people walking to work from the areas just west of the CBD. Further those wanting to get to Market Pl and around to Wynyard or eventually on to Skypath have to cross three sets of traffic lights which will mean a lot of waiting and therefore very slow. It’s worth noting that I already often see cyclists brave Nelson St and almost all go straight on to Market Pl before going around to the city as it’s a much more desirable route than Sturdee St.
Speaking of Sturdee St, from what I can tell AT plan to just make the existing footpath a shared path. For a shared path it is fairly undesirable as will be narrow and often a bit of a canon with a solid wall on one side and a row of parked buses on the other.
When it gets to Lower Hobson St there are more crossings to navigate including a pedestrian crossing for which it is not technically legal for people to ride bikes across. There are also issues in that there are frequent kerb cuts and ramps to negotiate transitioning to and from the path.
Things don’t get much better on Lower Hobson St as the space is very tight so the path is narrow and gets narrower the closer it gets to Quay St – especially when it gets to area with the pedestrian bridge as shown below. AT are effectively just legalising riding on a narrow footpath. Those wanting to get to the new Quay St cycleway will then two sets of lights to cross – again taking more time and adding further delays.
My alternative idea is
- Keep the cycle lane on left (Western) side all the way to Fanshawe St. (Green line below)
- Remove the slip lanes from Nelson St on to Fanshawe St and signalise the left turn after a bike/pedestrian crossing phase.
- Continue the cycle lane on Market Pl till at least Pakenham St.
- North of Pakenham St use traffic calming to ensure slow traffic speeds making the road a slow cycle friendly street. This may also require some parking changes. (Blue Line below)
- Less confident cyclists could then use either the area around the Viaduct while those more confident could use Customs St West and Lower Hobson St.
- Another solution I’ve heard suggested would be to also have a cycleway on Hobson St and have a cycleway on the Hobson St flyover to access Quay St. At the northern end of the flyover there are three lanes however only two lanes access it from any direction so there is likely space to spare.
There are also some issues at the Pitt St end. The biggest of these is that the cycleway stops short of K Rd and it’s not clear what cyclists heading uphill are meant to do to if they want get to K Rd. Also why start the cycle as a shared path rather than just starting the cycleway.
Additionally at the intersection with Pitt St, again multiple transitions to and from shared paths, it isn’t clear how cyclists riding up Vincent St would then access the new cycleway
All up these two sections seem like a bit of a clusterf**k of focusing on how a route could be added that had the least possible impact rather than thinking of something that would encourage people to ride. Cyclists will be constantly transitioning between shared paths and dedicated cycleways, waiting to cross numerous sets of lights and frequently having to check for turning cars. In short there is no sustained level of service afforded to cyclists. Auckland Transport, you can do better than this, please submit telling them to keep left on Nelson St.