In just a few weeks Auckland Transport will start construction on a separated cycleway on Quay St and even better news is it will be completed by the end of May. The cycleway which will run for about 1km from the intersection with Hobson St through to Plumber St will cost $2m and AT want to get it in place before the main CRL works start. Given how many bikes are already seen using Quay St this could possibly be the busiest bike route in Auckland once complete.

Quay St Cycleway - Along Quay St

The final design for the Quay St Cycleway was announced today, with the opening in late May. The two-way separated cycleway, which will go from Lower Hobson St by Princes Wharf to Plumer St, will make it even easier to cycle into the city centre says Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking manager.

“This cycleway is being fast-tracked so it will be constructed prior to works beginning on the City Rail Link in the downtown area,” she says

“As these important works begin and the network of cycle routes in the city expands, the growth in the number of people cycling into the city centre is expected to continue,” she says.

“People are choosing to cycle into the city because there is a certainty of travel time, it’s cost effective and for some people, it’s quicker than driving or public transport.”

“The pink Lightpath, Northwestern Cycleway, Grafton Gully Cycleway and Tamaki Drive are already popular routes for people cycling. Over the next three years we will add to these existing routes creating a network of cycle improvements which will give people better travel options.”

Construction on the Quay St Cycleway will begin in early March. A short section of the cycleway from Queen St to Commerce St has yet to be finalised.

The cycleway will join with the existing Beach Rd Cycleway at Britomart Pl. Future connections to the cycleway include Tamaki Drive Cycleway in the east and Nelson St Cycleway and Westhaven to City Cycleway at Lower Hobson St.

Cycling and walking paths are an important way the Government, through the NZ Transport Agency, is creating better travel options, says the Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zollner.

“Projects such as these make travel for everyone including those in their cars more reliable and safer,” says the Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zollner. “That’s why the Government is currently investing so significantly in the Urban Cycleways Programme. Our aim is to grow the number of cycling trips by more than 30% over the next three years”

Quay St Cycleway - Hobson St intersection 1

The plans look largely the same to the ones consulted on back in November with the a few minor changes such as ramps up to the footpath at the signalised intersections so that people on bikes can use it to wait at the crossing to get to streets to the south.

In other news AT say they should be able to finalise what the plans are for stage 2 of Nelson St soon

And while talking about bikes in the area, I’ve been thinking recently about bike storage. We’re now starting to see a lot of the bike racks all around Britomart very full a lot of the time – to the point I’ve heard stories of people struggling to find space. Soon AT will start building the CRL though what is now the bus stops outside Britomart. Once they finish the plan is to turn it into a public space.

Lower Queen Street - public space and facade

Given we’re digging the whole area up why not put in some underground bike parking when we rebuild the area. Something like this from Rotterdam under the square would be ideal – even if not quite as big. Like Rotterdam it could incorporate storage for both personal bikes and bike share

This could provide a fantastic first/last mile solution for a lot of the city, especially for people connecting from train or ferry to places like Wynyard Quarter.

Admittedly it would add to the cost but given the way things are trending, we’ll need to do something more serious about bike parking in the nearish future. Why not take the opportunity to do while we’ve already dug up the area. Not only will it link in to the Quay St cycle lanes but it would also link into Queen St too which will likely have bike lanes when light rail is built and it is turned into a transit mall.

So how about it AT?

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  1. Regarding bike parking, why not just re-purpose some of the 15 odd floors of car parking at the AT parking building on Sturdee St. No need for something gold plated, the asset is already right there.

    1. I like this idea, especially because it needn’t be gold plated to any great degree. Think you are on to something Matt.

      Thing with bike parking isn’t it doesn’t have many design constraints, much less than car parking decks and far less than any habitable space.

      Simple small ramps to access, low ceiling is fine, floor plate can be awkward shaped and doesn’t matter if there are pillars and stuff in the way. Also does t need a huge area. 1,500m2 is room enough for fifty carparks, but more like a thousand bikes.

      Make it users pays with a small fee to cover operations and security. You could even look at things like showers and long and short term locker hire, which would make it a defacto travelers centre which is quite common at major stations in Europe.

    2. I like this idea a lot too. As Nick says, you could fit heaps of bikes in just a small part of the ground level of that building, and a refit wouldn’t cost much (compared to the total value of the building, say).

    3. Why stop there. Why not include free bike parking in every AT parking building? Could start off small and expand as demand increases…

  2. That looks like its going to screw up Quay St. Shared through and right lanes? Are they serious? One car waiting to turn right would effectively make Quay st one lane eastbound. Screwing over 15,000 cars a day on Quay to cater for 1000 cyclists? I expect there to be some well heeled protests going on. Long term it is a must have and I’m all for more cycle infra like this, but this could have waited until after they finish digging up Albert st and not having an alternative with Customs St effectively closed off. At least my NEX bus won’t be too badly affected.

    Putting in more cycle parking should definitely be in the plans. Build it and they will come and what not. I get the feeling AT will just tack on some bike racks somewhere at the end of the project as an afterthought.

      1. BTW/FYI Stanley St runs at pretty much a 90 degree angle compared to Quay St – so completely different direction so I don’t see how this is relevant?

        1. Bruce the vast expense and ruination of Grafton Gully with the m’way and connection through the CMJ was sold to us as the means to remove most crosstown traffic from Quay St. Especially heavy port traffic which is not supposed to ever take this route to/from the bridge now. Didn’t happen of course.

          1. We could fairly easily fix this if we had a CBD congestion charge, just make the Quay St/SH16 path cheaper for heavy vehicles (with the other paths priced over the odds). Exemptions could be provided in cases where this isn’t desirable/practical e.g. construction projects around the universities. Frankly it would be worth it just to have fewer trucks in the CBD running reds.

          2. Ok so you are referring to Port-North Shore traffic. I was thinking more along the lines of Tamaki Drive-CBD…

          3. And the on-ramp traffic lights to SH1 northbound really don’t help, whereas Fanshawe St not only gets the traffic on-ramp lights turned off during peak, but they get an extra peak lane… WTH ?

    1. It will screw up traffic Ari. They are in a hurry to get started before the CRL works so they can create an even bigger screw up for no additional cost.

    2. Who cares? It’s council policy to wind back traffic provision on Quay St and make the waterfront a people space. Sounds perfectly aligned to me.

      1. Good point. I notice that most of Quay St is two traffic lanes each way, which is a lot of waterfront land being wasted.

        Would it be possible to reduce this to one traffic lane each way (using the two city-side lanes), and then to upgrade the current east-bound lanes to cycle and pedestrian lanes only, all the way to Mission Bay and beyond? The road seems plenty wide enough for this, remembering also that there would be no parking spaces on the waterfront side where the road narrows further to the East.

        1. One lane each way would result in gridlock. Please have a think about things thoroughly. 2 lanes will always flow MORE than double one lane.

          1. That’s simply not true, or at least far too much of a sweeping statement to be true anywhere. Depending on the conditions a single lane with turn pockets and stacking space at intersections can flow as well as, and in some cases better than, two consistent lanes without turn pockets.

            But to reiterate my comment above, who cares? It’s policy to reduce traffic on Quay St and allocate the space to making a pedestrian friendly boulevard. Better one ‘gridlocked’ lane than two gridlocked lanes to achieve that policy.

    3. Those turn lanes can only fit a few vehicles in them before they back up the second lane anyway so the difference will only be slight on the edges of peak traffic times. Anyone expecting a clear run down Quay St during peak hours can cry me a river. It’s flat and perfect for cycling.

      1. Additionally those cross streets within Britomart are so due de-tuning for traffic; ought to be much higher ped priority and less of a attractor for drivers. Shame about the buses still funnelled through there however.

        This could be a good step towards that…. what’s the bet there’s a bit of push and pull between the Britomart Co and Council about picking up the tab for repaving those streets flush a la Shared Streets….?

      1. And outside of morning and afternoon peak, in my experience, they don’t.

        Sometimes you are half expecting tumbleweed to roll down the street before the next car does.

        Hopefully the beginning of reclaiming the street as multi modal waterfront boulevard.

    4. Manukau needs this! There are hardly any bike lanes around Manukau.
      Hmmm maybe lets start with a cycle lane to the new bus station!!!

  3. Auckland needs a better and widely spread bike share scheme. The current scheme is very limited. But I’m proud to see Auckland growing up.

      1. Is that really the reason though? Melbourne still has a bike sharing scheme despite helmet laws. It seems to work fine there although a law change is still required to truly tap into its full potential.

          1. But even with helmet laws you’re still likely to increase cycling numbers in the CBD with a bike sharing scheme. Also by having implemented the scheme wouldn’t it prompt a need for a law change?

          2. First point; well no if it fails financially. Second: maybe.

            There is a lot of interest even at the highest levels in scaling back the law, perhaps keeping it for kids, after all it’s very Nanny State, and proven to be a failure. Key point is: Helmets are good; helmet laws are dumb.

          3. Yes helmet law for under 16’s makes sense. After that let people use their own common sense. I think a lot of people will still use helmets as they do serve a safety purpose but yes the overall benefits of more people riding (with no helmet law) vs protecting lesser numbers who ride (with helmet law) makes sense.

          4. I thought bike helmets are designed to protect your head when you accidentally tip over and hit your head. So wearing them makes sense for beginning riders (which would be mostly kids).

            You also don’t tend to fall down head first when riding an upright bike.

          5. Melbourne bike share is very mediocre because of a planning failure, or rather a lack of planning at a strategic level. It was a solution in search of a problem.

            In Melbourne the put all the bike share stations in the Hoddle Grid, all within a a two mile block downtown. The same block that has an easy walkable grid, a grid of frequent tram routes on almost every street, and five linked train stations. In short, there is no lack of quick transport options. However due to wide roads with plenty of traffic and a lack of on street cycle lanes (for the most part), it’s not an easy or pleasant place to cycle.

            At the same time, they priced bike rental as free for up to 30 minutes but with increasingly punitive costs after that.

            So what, they designed a system for short trips within a city centre, arguably the worst place to cycle in Melbounre, and a place that already has a wealth of easier options for short trips.

            They should have peppered the stations around the inner northern and south eastern suburbs, places that are fairly good to ride in but critically lack crosstown transit links. At least there the bikes would have a use.

          6. So Nick R – How do you explain the massive failure of the Brisbane scheme as well?, While a similar scheme in Dublin has been a roaring success.

            I know you are a fan of helmets, but the grounds for arguing for any cause of the failed Australian bike share schemes (by far the least successful in the world) other than the helmet law are starting to get pretty thin.

            As Israel and Spain have acknowledged by scaling back dramatically their helmet laws to ensure the success of their bike share schemes, a mandatory helmet law is anathema to bike share.

          7. Goose, I didn’t actually mention helmets once nor made any claim either way. However I’m certain Melbournes scheme would be the mediocrity it is with our without them. I’m not trying to use a failed scheme as evidence for helmet laws, I’m suggesting it is evidence against schemes that are poorly planned and wilfully ignorant of the fundamentals of transport planning.

            There is no deficiency in access or capacity that the Melbourne scheme solves. There is no latent demand for ten minute trips within the CBD that is going unmet. I’m sure they could redistribute their bike stations to target an actual transport deficiency. Particularly the inner northern mixed use suburbs. Here trips are a few kms apart so a bit to far to walk, yet crosstown roads are narrow congested lanes, and crosstown PT is non existent. The easiest way to get from Melbourne Uni to Victoria Park is to tram into Flinders St and train back out again. Meanwhile a bike would do the trip in less than ten minutes flat straight ride. But there’s no bike station in VIctoria Park and you have to deposit the bike back in one within 30 mins to avoid penalty rates. There are station at Uni, and down in town, but there is also a tram a minute between the Uni and the CBD. See my point, you can only use it in places you don’t need to, and you can’t use it in places you do!

            I don’t know the first thing about the Dublin or Brisbane systems so couldn’t pass judgement, but I took a very keen interest in Melbourne as I was living and studying there at the time of the roll out. The simple fact is it was a greenwash deployed for political reasons, without any thought to anyone who might use it. And sure, both having a legal requirement to wear a helmet then not even supplying them with the bikes is clearly indicative of that total disregard for any sort of useful functionality.

          1. Is this because I noticed that the Sky Bus starting station is not on the wharf now but 1 Queen Street, Auckland (nice address)? Temporary due to CRL disruption?

      2. Hello Patrick – Sorry to read your thoughts that bike share is doomed to low usage so long as there are compulsory helmet laws. You may like to consider the same logic could be applied to cycle lanes. It isn’t… and it shouldn’t be for bike share.

        In a country with such low levels of bike use for transport, EVERY means of making bikes available, cool, easy and affordable should be used.

        Each bike we operate for Panuku Development is used about twice a day 2. This is about x4 the usage of Melbourne. We have some challenges to expansion, but helmets is not one of them. The Melbourne scheme also choose to put bike stations where there was space rather than demand, and factored in almost no marketing

        Privately I’d raise a glass to making helmets a matter of choice, but I struggle to imagine any politician putting there name to the bill for removing helmet laws. Our press would crucify them with the first fatality. So rather than saying its somebody elses problem to fix I choose to focus on what I can control…. Making bikes (with helmets) available to those who want them, running lessons and guided rides, and working with Heavy Vehicle drivers to explain cyclist behavior. I hope this will at least in some way contribute to 1000’s of new cyclists every year

        We do have plans for the an appropriate sized scheme in Auckland and I’d be happy to share those with you over a coffee

        Kind regards

        Julian Hulls
        Nextbike New Zealand Ltd

        P +64 9 373 4590
        M +64 21 154 8371
        F +64 9 579 1782
        S julianhulls

        1. Hi Julian

          All strength to your elbow, but we know it’ll struggle till reason on mandatory plastic hat rules are relaxed.

          Where you are completely wrong however is the there is any similarity between helmet laws and the provision of bike lanes. The later are the best and only way to get people riding. The international literature is absolutely clear about that; they have the directly inverse outcome to helmet laws. Auckland’s bike boom will continue as long as we keep building safe infrastructure and your programme should grow with that.

          Keen to have that coffee, will be in touch.

          1. Hi Patrick. I could have been clearer:

            If helmet laws hold back bike share success, helmet laws also hold back the success of cycle lanes.

            Would you stop promoting new cycle lanes until the helmet law is repealed? I’d guess not…

        2. How do you explain the success of the Dublin scheme. Many of the problems of Melbourne and Brisbane you identify plus low existing bike use in Dublin of 1-2% (but growing) and yet Dublin scheme has been a massive success. Use per bike has exceeded London bike share.

          Not the same issue with cycle lanes – no one wants to use a helmet that some stranger has had on their head. And buying a helmet from a vending machine is just weird.

          The simple fact is that the helmet law has killed the Melbourne and Brisbane schemes as well as your own. Although I wish for nothing more than cycling to grow in Auckland, I will oppose any publicly funded bike share until the helmet law is scrapped. Otherwise its failure will be used as evidence that cycling can’t work in Auckland – as it has in Melbourne and Brisbane.

          1. To reiterate my comment above, I don’t think you can say that helmet laws killed the Melbourne scheme, because they never had the chance! It was stillborn regardless of the helmets and removing helmet laws wouldn’t have fixed it.

            But don’t get me wrong, I think if they had planned it better but had helmet laws it probably wouldn’t have been a success either. It’s clearly a barrier to the hop on hop off concept of bike share. This is my biggest issue with the more zealous anti helmet campaigners, they seem to suggest that removing helmet laws will fix everything, but it won’t do anything for bad plans and crappy conditions.

    1. But seriously, why not on Queens Wharf? It seems to have plenty of room.
      People getting off the ferries could go directly to a bike share, and it’s not too far for people arriving on trains.

  4. This is excellent. Congratulations to AT and the NZTA for making it happen. When linked up with the eastern and western cycle-highways we’ll have the beginnings of a very real network.

    Auckland is starting to transform into the city it was always meant to be.

  5. I hardly see any bike rental stalls in Auckland. There is a business case for people who wish to hire a bike for a couple hours in city for sightseeing and recreational.

    If there are multiple bike stations run by the same company, it would also supports commute by picking up and dropping off at different stations.

      1. Yep, NZTA acknowledged last year that sharing helmets as required for bike schemes is looked on by users of bike share schemes as slightly better than sharing other peoples underwear…

        Even if its not the actually that bad: perception is the reality.

        So change the helmet laws and make the problem go away.

        1. I was in Christchurch a few months ago and saw a bike sharing scheme (sponsored by Spark I think). Would have loved to grab a bike – the only obstacle was not having a helmet.
          So yes, if we want to have a successful scheme that visitors can use, we need to remove the legal requirement to wear a helmet.

  6. Really hope that the engineers involved will have the bravery to fix the Queens Wharf section properly, this was a brilliant cycleway let down by 100m in the middle.

    1. Agree, japanese one offers security both for bike and person.
      It‘d certainly be good to have one at each station.
      Also at each CBD station I‘d like to see underground 7/11, fast food, pharmacies, cafe, etc.

  7. What I do like about the Quay St cycle ways are that they are level with the pavement rather than the road. I realise this is just because there were wide pavements there anyway so minimal work is required. But it results in a good outcome. No matter what colour of asphalt you use, no matter what signs you put up, no matter what kerbs you install, if you put a cycle way on the same level as the road, some idiot will park on it. I’m not saying it never happens when it’s at pavement level, but it’s far less likely.

    1. They’re only level with the pavement for a small section at the western end. The rest used concrete barriers like on Carlton Gore Rd to separate from traffic.

  8. I’ve complained everywhere else, so may as continue here as I’ve not seen any proper response to the issue:

    For context: I live 100 m from this in the city and doesn’t make my life a single percent easier or provide any utility to me in any way.

    How is this superior, utility wise, to the existing shared path?

    Lanes on the wrong side of the road (logic: less stopping/starting. God forbid anyone wants to go to actually use anything on Quay street or *gasp* turn into a side street. We’d rather build a bike motorway. After a few points previously highlighting that they are designing this for everyday users, not the lycra clad crowd. Help?)

    How do you get on or off in the city? The doc has vague rumblings about dismounting/toucan crossings but shouldn’t this be the primary purpose of the lane – getting you to into the city streets safely?

    Could have built uni-directional lanes too, simplifying the intersections, but what do I know.

    1. I get this David, but the answer is that getting a more ideal network is a process. I simply regard the addition of a new two way lane on one side of an important route as stage one of a programme that eventually gets to it being duplicated on the other side and changed into two decent one way lanes. It would be impossible to jump to this state now, but building this, and it becoming unworkably busy, is the way to get there.

      In my view it is more important to recognise how much of a change it is to get the median and turning lanes repurposed for cycling than to complain that it isn’t instantly an ideal outcome. Celebrate the improvement while always pushing for it to be more perfect… Max has it right here, in my view, its a process, lets enjoy the ride, after all it is clearly speeding up:

    2. As Patrick says this is a process. There are a couple of key factors at play here.

      The elephant in the room is the CRL. Once construction proper starts in late May then everything in the city gets frozen i.e. no changes till at least 2018, possibly longer. The southern side of Quay is needed as part of that CRL works for trucks turning in and out of Queen St. They don’t want a cycleway there conflicting with truck movements. As a result of all of this a full Quay St upgrade can’t happen till after the CRL (and likely timed with the seawall upgrade). This is a temporary cycleway until the full Quay St upgrade happens. What all of this means is it was this or nothing and the only way this got though was because it had government funding.

      I also think there is a lot of value in doing it. Already that path is overcrowded with people and bikes. Separating those out is a good thing.

      1. Patrick, Matt (and Max who I always feel bad for getting my rants): I really do get it, compromises, realities,politics, CRL works – everything. I get it. I’d love perfection, but that’s not what I’m asking for – I’m asking for something so fundamental that I can’t believe I’m the only person who can see the issue.

        ‘It’s a compromise’ doesn’t answer the question – how am I supposed to get my bike to it from Commerce, Gore or Britomart place (and vice versa). This is not a rhetorical question – I’m looking for a diagram or animation something to explain how it’s supposed to work, because I can’t figure it out:

        Scenario 1, from Britomart Place, wanting to go east:
        Scenario 2, coming from west wanting to turn into Britomart Place:
        Scenario 3, getting to countdown:

        1. I don’t see your problem; cross the road and use the cycleway, cross with peds, or cross with the cars, with a bike you can do either. In any case it beats what’ll be doing on Ponsonby Rd; dicing it with drivers and door-flingers.

  9. It’s decent enough I guess; yet another CBD project though.

    I’d love to see some progress in cycling projects in other areas, esp in the east.

          1. The difference of course is that within the CBD you not only have the LB on board, you have access to HOTC, Ludo, etc etc. Once past the CBD boundaries, it get’s considerably harder. The 1st preso to HM LB was moved to AT for investigation. AT did absolutely nothing other than to say, without any evidence, that it was too expensive. Every single preso to AT and the LB is the same thing – no money, too hard. Te Atatu update. They were offered a couple of bike racks. Maybe.

          2. Of course not. What a silly thing to say. I would add that when the Dutch flipped from building for cars to building for cyclists in the mid 70’s, the focus was on local trips not commuting 15 km each way a day.

  10. I’m looking forward to the cycles using the cycleways and keeping off the footpaths especially around the ferry building.
    This then brings up a point: Will there be traffic lights that stop the cycleway when the pedestrian crossings that cross them are green?

    1. A red light for general traffic is also a red light for bikes at those crossings, surely. Don’t see how an extra light would make a difference.

      And yes, I’m looking forward to not having to ride on the footpath by the ferry building too 🙂

          1. Just because you have a bicycle it isn’t compulsory to ride it everywhere. And it is legal to ride it on the road…. some people actually do! 🙂

  11. Great, but can we have better concrete barrier design? i.e. lower and without breaks. The breaks in the barriers mean when you fall you’re sure to meet a piece of concrete flat on. Brain damage material or worse.

    1. yes I have also been wondering about all the edges created by these kinds of concrete barriers – anyone who comes of their bike gets a free concrete edge and a trip to the hospital.

      Not sure what the alternatives are though?

        1. Good suggestion – those raised edges really look hazardous, and could easily tip a cyclist into onrushing vehicle traffic, and your plan sounds like an easy fix.

    2. I cant believe so many people still worry about just falling off their bike. Does that actually happen very often?

      I have cycled almost every day since I was 10 and I have never just fallen over. I have been nudged by cars sure, but never just toppled over for no reason.

      I thought that only happened to children. No?

      1. True, except that in this case we have two relatively narrow lanes where bikes travel in opposite directions. If the west-bound bike for any reason has to take evasive action, or loses concentration momentarily, and hits one of those buffers it looks like the bike cannot help but be flipped straight into the oncoming traffic. Usually of course a cyclist would take corrective action and get back on track, but here it seems there may be no margin for error.

        1. Hi Goosoid
          I thought that too.Until I tipped off going up a driveway at an angle with 50mm lip. I lost consciousness for 15 minutes and have no idea what happened between watching my wheel go out and then people fussing around me in my living room. My helmet did the job. Still get headaches 2 weeks later

  12. Could someone point me at some good wording for submissions on Transport Policy that make the case that we will need to address the carbon fuel reduction in the same time periods as they are planning for the roads as if the road usage will not change from the present single occupant vehicle predominance?

    1. Umm, carbon pollution, let me think, traffic ‘calming’ stupidity, reducing lanes from 2 to 1, on-ramp traffic lights, lowered speed limits so vehicles are not running efficiently, non sequenced traffic lights, opposition to making roads FLOW …hmmmm .I wonder what causes vehicular pollution to rise?

  13. A bit off topic, but I’m aware of a project for a facility in central Auckland with 37X carparks. Council has requested 3X cycle racks based on an Auckland Transport standard and the traffic engineer has come back arguing that this is excessive, in part because they expect a maximum of 10X visitors at a time. Can anyone enlighten me on the logic of traffic engineering? If it isn’t necessary to provide spare bike parking why is it necessary to provide spare carparking? Obviously there are other things that make the case more complicated, but still…

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