Auckland Transport and the NZTA are celebrating increases in number of people cycling across Auckland.
The number of cycle journeys through Kingsland on the Northwestern Cycleway has gone up by more than 16% in 2015 compared with 2014. This has contributed to a growth of 7.4% of cycle journeys throughout Auckland in the same period.
The number of people cycling on this route is expected to increase further with a major upgrade to be completed this year and a city centre cycle network which continues to expand.
The NZ Transport Agency is upgrading the Northwestern Cycleway from Westgate to Waterview as part of the Western Ring Route. The cycleway currently joins the Nelson Street Cycleway and the Grafton Gully Cycleway.
With the government, council and the NZTA all increasing how much they spend on cycle infrastructure there obviously needs to be some targets and monitoring to ensure that what gets built actually has an impact. As such the NZTA have set a target of a 30% increase in the number of cycling trips across New Zealand by 2019 based on 2015 levels.
To go with the increases in funding for cycle infrastructure that we’re now seeing the NZTA obviously want to ensure that it has an impact and as such they’ve set a goal for the number of cycling trips to increase by 30% increase in New Zealand by 2019.
To monitor cycling numbers, over the last five years or so Auckland Transport have installed automated cycle counters at a number of locations across the city and they’re installed in new projects too – such as the Lightpath. AT report some of this data on their website however it is only for nine of the original sites which are:
- Upper Harbour Drive
- Great South Road
- Lake Road
- North-Western cycleway – Kingsland
- North-Western cycleway – Te Atatu
- Orewa cycleway
- Tamaki Drive (east bound)
- Twin Streams path
As you’ll see below there are quite few more sites now.
Based on the results of those nine sites the charts below show the 12 month rolling total of cycle numbers for both across the total day and in the AM peak. As you can see there has been growth in cycle numbers and as the comments above note, the total is up 7.4% over the last year while the AM peak numbers are up stronger at 9.9%
The biggest problem with the data is that it is limited to just nine sites and there are a lot of trips by bike that take place nowhere near any of them. Over the coming few years some of the biggest changes for cycling in Auckland will be occurring in and around the city centre as highlighted below. AT have now installed cycle counters on streets all around the city centre, creating a cordon and the numbers from that will be used to judge the effectiveness of the cycle investment occurring.
AT kindly provided me with a list of all the cycle counters and the data from them for December. As you can see by how many NAs are in the list quite a few are only new having been installed in the last year or two. Of the ones that were around last December all but two have shown some very good growth with Grafton Gully and Beach Rd showing the strongest percentage growth. Based on the percentages the largest increase in total numbers is on Tamaki Dr with over 7,000 more trips this December than December last year (I’m sure bike rave helped with this a little bit). Tamaki Dr is also Auckland’s busiest place for bikes. The counters in bold are the nine that contribute to the charts above.
|12m rolling % change from previous year||% change from same month previous year|
|Dec count||Dec ADT|
|Carlton Gore Rd||5,074||164||NA||NA|
|East Coast Rd||4,190||135||-2.7%||17.8%|
|Gt Sth Road||2,666||86||-4.0%||-7.0%|
|Nelson St cycleway||12,101||390||NA||NA|
|Nelson St Lightpath||29,176||941||NA||NA|
|NW Cycleway (Kingsland)||16,295||526||16.3%||24.0%|
|NW Cycleway (Te Atatu)||13,545||437||7.0%||31.5%|
|SH20 Dom Rd||3,293||106||5.3%||21.0%|
|Te Wero Bridge||23,060||744||NA||NA|
|Upper Queen St||4,286||138||NA||NA|
|Victoria St West||3,519||114||NA||NA|
At the very least this we should see the NW cycleway as far as Lincoln Rd complete along with the rest of Nelson St and Quay St
There are still diversions at Western Springs and Patiki Rd at the Causeway which will be in place until late February. In early February the section from McCormack Green (just west of the Te Atatu underpass) to Henderson Creek will be open with the completion of the Te Atatu Interchange Project scheduled for March and the Causeway Project scheduled for August.
The Northwestern Cycleway is one of the busiest cycle routes in Auckland says Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking manager Kathryn King.
“We know that these routes are popular which is why they are being improved and soon other routes will connect with them to further develop the cycle network,” she says.
“Construction will begin early this year on the Quay St Cycleway and by the middle of the year the Nelson St Cycleway will be completed all the way to Quay St. This is only the start of the three year programme of cycle improvements in the city, so to see an increase like this already is very promising.”
“By mid-2018 we will have an inner city cycle network to be proud of with great connections to the inner east and west suburbs. We are already working on plans for projects beyond 2018 which will further develop the city’s growing network of cycleways,” she adds.
The NZ Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zöllner says the agency has a target of increasing the annual number of cycling trips across New Zealand by 10 million, or 30 per cent by 2019 compared with 2015 levels.
“We’re thrilled to see these figures showing more people are choosing to get on their bikes in Auckland. There is strong customer demand for a cycling network that provides predictable, safe journeys for people wanting to cycle to work, study and for recreation.”
In some more good news cyclists (and bus users) Auckland Transport’s traffic operations team have informed us that they’ve examined the results for the first quarter of the trial to let taxi’s use Grafton Bridge. They say the impacts have been more than minor with the main areas of concern being the failure of them to adhere to the 30km/h speed limit and the number of recorded instances of taxis overtaking cyclists on the bridge. As such a recommendation is going to AT’s Traffic Control Committee late next week to terminate the trial and return it to bus and bike only.
We were critical of the trial when it was announced assuming these exact issues would arise but in hindsight perhaps the trial was useful to prove that exactly what everyone expected would happen did happen.