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.
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.
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.
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.
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.