The discussion over the future design of Franklin Rd has be going on for some time now and has taken a number of twists and turns along the way. The most recent of these was a few months ago when Auckland Transport suddenly dropped the two of the four options they were considering – the two with any kind of cycle infrastructure included. Since then a lot of work has been going on to push for a better outcome and to cut a long story short, AT now say:

Since options A – D were presented in June 2015, AT has been continuing with technical investigations to address the safety issues raised by residents and in safety audits. As a result of this further work, options have been revisited and further revised to address safety issues and meet the project objective.

In addition to a “do minimum” option (which is maintaining the current design), the 3 options outlined below are currently being considered.

The great news is that other than the no change option, all three now include cycle infrastructure of some kind. They are shown below

Option 1 – Parking is between the trees and 1.5m wide on street cycle lanes that are buffered from the general traffic lanes by 0.6m of paint. This option retains the central median for those turning.

Franklin Rd - October 2015 -revised option 1

The cycle lane and painted buffer is similar to the setup they’ve put on Upper Harbour Dr as shown below. They are certainly better than a normal painted cycle lane but I’m not sure it’s necessarily going to encourage a lot of less confident people to get on their bike and use them.

Upper Harbour Cycle Lane with BYL
Note: incase anyone was concerned, the courier wasn’t parked there and moved before I reached the driveway

Option 2 – This is very similar to Option 1, the key difference is there is no flush median and the space it used has gone into making the cycleway wider to keep it further away from the door zone of parked cars. I wonder if this is one of the first times we’re talking about removing a painted median in Auckland, good to finally seeing it suggested.

Franklin Rd - October 2015 -revised option 2

This option is better than the first one but can three be better again?

Option 3 – Option 3 takes a very different approach by moving the cycle lane to the inside of cars and raises the pavement, something much more akin to a Copenhagen lane. The lane itself is only 1m wide however there is also a 0.5m buffer to the trees and a 0.7m buffer to for car doors meaning all up the lane is about 2.2m wide. Further it widens between the trees. In my view this is a considerably better option than the first two and the only one that really enables people of all ages and abilities to ride comfortably.

Franklin Rd - October 2015 -revised option 3

When the whole process started one of the first things AT tried to do was stop parking between the trees to help protect their roots. This option would also achieve that much better than the other two options.

We’ve even a real world example of what it would look like, from the Netherlands of course. This is Molenlaan, in Rotterdam

Rather than repeat things too much I’d highly recommend you read this post by Cycle Action Auckland on the options. They have a much more detailed look at the proposals including many more features and downsides for each option, a more detailed look at the safety issues and a better look at the Molenlaan example.

In my view only option 3 would make one of Auckland’s truly iconic streets even more so – and a goal to aim for with other streets across the region.

Photo is copyright to Sydney.
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55 comments

  1. my reservation about option 3 is that car passengers are even less aware of passing cyclists when opening car doors, I have had some neat misses with school kids getting out of the car at traffic lights with no thought as to whether there’s anything coming up on the onside

    1. Option 3 still has a door buffer on the passenger side, admittedly taken by directing cyclists to the left via a narrower cycle lane. And only ~1 in 4 cars HAS a passenger, so the risk is quite a bit lower than on the driver side.

  2. Option 1. In my opinion the flush media isn’t necessary as all it caters for it a few driveways. I don’t recall Frankin Road being overly busy so it’s added space for not much gain
    Option 2 and 3 are much better designs given more protection for cyclists and less priority for cars. Option 3 makes it slightly easier for parallel parking in the way it does not interfere with the cycle lane

  3. Franklin Road does get busy, especially in December when it crawls along with people looking at all the lights.

    Option 3 makes the most sense to me, and all you have to do is look at the profile views. People on the outside, then cyclists, then cars in the middle. The other two options mix the modes up which can only lead to disaster.

    For those worried about car doors, there’s plenty of buffer room – you just have to be aware (like when cycling along Tamaki Drive near Mission Bay), and even then it’s only when going past a tree at the same time. I also like how they’ve left a long gap between entrances with the yellow lines which gives everyone better visibility.

    1. Not sure why the need for trees. Don’t get me wrong, trees have their place, but any decent sized trees on busy streets just waste space and cause constant maintenance headaches and cost for the council with blocked drains, and roots mangling footpaths etc. Beautification at the expense of practicality is often cute on a plan but a nuisance in reality.

      1. “Waste space”
        Because other uses are more important than the life of a century-old organism
        Yes, why didn’t I realise some halfwit strolling down Franklin Rd, shirt untucked, to his job in a call centre is far more important than these trees. Idiot me

  4. a key difference with your netherlands example is that Franklin Rd is a very steep street. Cyclists go down it very fast. I love option 3 in general, but not sure how well it will cope with the speed on that street.

    1. Yes those going downhill on the cycle lanes would have to go slower but that’s not a bad thing. Those wanting to race at speed can still do on the street in between the cars – which they would be going at about the same speed of.

    2. begs the question why you need cycle lanes on both sides if cyclists can go at the same speed as the rest of the traffic, other than doctrinaire reasons of course

      1. Are parents going to tell their kids riding to school to go 50km/h down Franklin Rd because that’s the only option available? No they just won’t let them ride at all. Not everyone is riding to go as fast as humanly possible

        1. do drivers do 50kph down this street?

          when I was a kid I used to bike to school down a narrow windy road in the western hills of the Hutt Valley, overtook cars more than once, parent just made sure that the bike was equipped with two caliper brakes and a back pedal hub brake

    3. My question is whether cyclists are currently quite fast on Franklin because they are in the traffic lane and have to blend with e high traffic speeds?

      Having protected cycle lanes might let people ride s bit slower?

          1. Obviously we should design roads for the excitement of a tiny minority rather than the safety of the entire public. \sarc

  5. For goodness sake, leave Fraklin Rd alone!!! Why do we want to meddle with one of the few beautiful heritage streets in Auckland!!!!!

    1. The road is overdue for a serious maintenance on all infrastructure – not just transport. They are having to dig the entire road up and rebuild it and the question is if they return it the way it is or improve it. The road is very very wide and a lot of space to accommodate all modes.

    2. The proposed upgrade will further enhance the beauty of the street. There will be more green space between the trees. Currently curbs are broken and pushed up by tree roots. Cars are parked over tree roots and right up against the trees.

  6. The trouble with cycle lanes interspersed with traffic is that they only serve to determine who was wrong in court after a disater but don’t really create any safety for cyclists. Paint is no safety barrier whatsoever. Should cyclists share roads with other traffic or should have their own new dedicated routes across cities?

  7. Option 3 is the best. It gives more green space between the trees, so will be more visually pleasing. Keeps the cars further away from the tree roots. With the parked cars on the outside of the cycle lane, residents backing out will have greater visibility of cyclists. If the drive ways are extended out to the edge of the road, it will make the cycle lane smoother, as it won’t have to dip at the driveways. Also would deter parked cars from encroaching over the edges of the driveways and partially blocking them.

  8. Its great that this is finally moving.

    While London Plane are an attractive tree the roots cause problems if the tree is not managed as is show on Franklin Road. London pollards it’s trees to prevent excessive root growth damaging the pavement and underground utilities. Auckland used to do this but stopped it, so tree roots have made the roads and pavement uneven. This has lead to accidents when cyclists and pedestrians hit the uneven surface at speed. The close the bike lane to the tree the more of a problem this will be.

    Visually 3 looks good but would need to know what is proposed to manage the tree roots. If no management then 2 would be a better option.

  9. option 3 == “no-brainer”. Better for trees, safer for cyclists, and reduces vehicle speeds. Win, win, win.

    Plus by moving the parking out from the trees you may even end up with more on-street parking.

    1. Absolutely Stu. This is the design I’ve always favoured. We can, and should, do it. Thanks to MRC for taking the time to show the actual, almost non existent, risks.

    1. They will stop in the general lane and wait for a gap in traffic. If you were to go to any residential street in suburban Auckland you would see this happening very frequently. I would have thought it impossible as it prevents other motorists from speeding up the road but apparently it works.

      1. Turns out (via an AT-comissioned survey) that flush median is actually very low, except at the side roads, and at the supermarket. The vast majority of people turning in and out never stop on the flush. Disclaimer: The survey was done by my company (though not by me…).

      2. And this is a further key reason why the cycle lanes then need to be behind the parked cars to prevent them from being used as an overtaking lane of cars turning right and as a de facto left turn lane as seen all over Auckland every day for painted cycle lanes. We know painted lanes don’t stop them being encroached on, parked in, and generally ignored by car drivers so time we stopped building that as cycle infrastructure.

        1. or, this is another reason why the cycle lanes shouldn’t be behind parking because drivers turning may not see or even look for cyclists obscured by parked cars

          there were recurring crashes on the isthmus bus lanes where turning drivers hit motorcyclists using the bus lanes to bypass queued traffic, or hit drivers using the lanes on the cusp of the restriction period, I don’t see option 3 as a good one at all

          1. I’m not looking at it through any sort of lens other than the dynamics of people, and therefore, vehicle movements and I see some fishhooks

            International best practice is always a useful guide, but good design has to respond to the specifics of the situation

          2. Responses such as providing large sections of roadway free of kerbside parking to improve sightlines for turning motorists.

            This is particularly weak concern trolling.

  10. That street in Rotterdam is almost a perfect comparison, but for one thing – gradient. Is there any reason why the options are all symmetrical? I know a lot of people are going to be unhappy at the aesthetics if it isn’t, but if the two most important aspects are retaining the trees and safety…

    Option 3 is definitely a no-brainer for the uphill side. But for the speeds people will get up to going downhill, that seems like a fairly narrow slalom course, close to car doors and trees. I’d wonder if Option 3 uphill and Option 2 (with a physical buffer, not a painted one) downhill would be best.

    Another option could be eliminating the parking completely on the downhill side, and making up for it by moving to angle parks between the trees on the uphill side (with the cycle path weaving outside the trees, then going on the inside of the parking bays). This would also make the centreline.

    In any case, Option 3 should involve the kerb moving in and out to create parking bays between trees and driveways, while keeping the cycle lane as wide as possible at the pinch points.

    1. +1 Totally agree. Was thinking the same thing about option 3 uphill since cyclists are going slow, and option 2 for downhill.

  11. Hi all – great discussion, and lots of very good points being made.

    Important reminder: if you would like your thoughts on these 3 options to reach Auckland Transport directly, please take a minute to fill in the form at the bottom of our blog post: http://caa.org.nz/gold-franklin-sense-and-more-3-fresh-designs-for-franklin-rd/

    Given the very short timeline, the sooner the better! We’ll be collating the responses on Monday to send to AT.

    (NB consultation on the options is being done via the Community Liaison Group, of which CAA is a part, rather than via open public submissions – hence the feedback mechanism we’re using to make sure we’re representing people on bikes as best we can. The more responses, the stronger our voice on your behalf :-))

  12. Lane width seems to have a direct bearing on speed. Is 3.3m width really necessary. Also medians seem to have the effect of raising the traffic speed generally however I see merit in the way it enables right turns.
    So I favour narrowing the lanes and removing the median strip as a means of keeping traffic at sensible speeds within built up and residential areas.

  13. @ things that may be off topic however I cant find any more appropriate place to ask these questions:
    1 Is there a case for local taxi’s to have a sticker inside their rear right door “Watch for cyclists before opening this door” or something similar? see this from Melbourne.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/look-bike-stickers-set-to-adorn-melbourne-taxis-in-bid-to-reduce-cyclist-doorings-20150327-1m9gvu.html
    2 When I found the need to ride a bike with gears I opted for a mountain bike and added handle bars from an “old lowline 20” which enabled me to ride with a more upright stance and found looking over my shoulder much easier. Since being bowled off the handle bars were not salvageable so now ride with the originals and they are wider and I feel would be more of a hidrance in bike parking areas and being so wide they seem wider than necessary to maintain good control.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on good modifications for this problem?
    One other question, the carrier got a bit stressed and has now snapped at the seat post fastening. What sort of repairs have others made in this area?

  14. Ted, try the Second Hand Bike Shop on Upper Symonds St, or Adventure Cycles in Premier Ave Pt Chev, either should be able to help with the handlebars you’re looking for

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