For the second time this week I’m able to say that AT have improved the design of a cycleway, this time on Franklin Rd.

Franklin Rd Impression

Franklin Rd is one of the most iconic streets in Auckland with its large established trees.

The plans to upgrade Franklin Rd have been fairly contentious over the last year or so resulting in multiple designs, redesigns and debates. There were cycle lanes, then there weren’t, then there were as AT kept changing how it responded to feedback from locals and others who use the street. The same applied for the painted median and parking between the trees.

During the last consultation AT presented three options

  • On road painted cycle lanes with a median and cars parked between the trees
  • On road painted cycle lanes with no median and cars parked between the trees
  • Raised cycle lanes inside of parked cars and no median

In the end they chose Option 1 saying amongst other reasons why it was preferred that “it provides for confident cyclists”

Franklin Rd - October 2015 -revised option 1
Option 1 from last year

But AT are now back with a new consulting on the plans following their more detailed design work. They’re now proposing to slightly raise the cycle lanes by 50-70mm above the road and on the inside of the kerb line. The kerb itself will be rounded rather than vertical so still easy to mount but will still be much better than what was proposed before of just paint.

As I understand it, one of the key drivers for the change was that the previous design would have required digging storm water catch pits in the tree roots – and AT are trying to avoid damaging the trees. This seems like a much better outcome for both the trees and those on bikes.

In addition to the cycle lanes there are other good changes too such as having raised tables over the side streets and at the intersection of Wellington/England streets where a narrow roundabout will be installed on top of a raised table with pedestrian crossings included and even cycle bypasses.

Franklin Road Roundabout Design

Positively the design also appears to be acceptable to local residents including Waitemata Councillor candidate Bill Ralston.

While I’m aware Bill hadn’t opposed them before, some others had and that AT have been able to come up with a solution that is acceptable to the various interest groups is a great sign.

In addition to the cycle lane changes, AT are also consulting on the street lighting. Traditional street lighting would require regular and ongoing tree maintenance and so they’re also considering using a catenary system – something they say could also be used for the annual Christmas lights further enhancing the street.

They are consulting on these changes with it open till 10 May.

Well done AT

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46 comments

  1. If the dark green stripes are the cycle lanes, then what appears to be happening is that the cyclist must join with the footpath before moving across the intersection. In this case, I suppose the cyclist is required give way to all traffic before being able to cross the intersection and continue along Franklin Rd. (They are probably required to dismount when they join the footpath).
    If that’s true then this is a very inconvenient design for cyclists. I hope I’m wrong. A more cycle-friendly design would be to merge the cyclists with vehicles giving them equal priority. In this proposal, I think confident cyclists will simply continue through the roundabout anyway, without merging to the footpath/shared path.

    1. The roundabout has bypasses with zebra crossings (but technically would have to dismount to cross), alternatively the cyclist can choose to take the lane and use the roundabout. This is a great design but needs a law change to support crossing side streets and cycling slowly with pedestrian crossings.

      1. Why cant we just use a dutch desigb with cycle lanes through the roundabout having priority. Isnt that the same thing but better?

        1. Thats not the only design the Dutch use and recent designs, using a similar design as presented here, a preferred by both David Hembrow and Mark at BicycleDutch.

          1. Please explain? The issue I have with this design is that it wont be legible for occasional users. I dont know what the design you are refering to looks like, but I would have thought continuous curvilinear paths are a good idea in gwneral (unless you dont want cyclist priority for some reason which is the case at some dutch roundabouts but not ones in this situation).

      1. I have heard legal interpretations from experts in field (admittedly still contentious) that cyclists CAN ride legally across zebra, like other parts of roads being crossed – but they don’t get priority over traffic on car lane…

    2. Almost no one dismounts to cross a zebra crossing now. I certainly don’t and hopefully in the near future there will be law changes to either formalise this or provide an alternative. As Patrick says, if you want to go right through with the traffic, feel free to do so. the other 97% of non confident, younger, older cyclists can use the provided crossings.

    3. This is what AT have to say about it

      Roundabouts are not as easy for cyclists to get through and around and we have provided two options for cyclists in this design. The raised cycle path will stop just before the roundabout and connect to the footpath. It will re-join the road after the roundabout. Cyclists can choose to either join the traffic flow, staying on the road to get through the roundabout, or move up onto the footpath, cross using the pedestrian crossing then rejoin the cycle path once through the roundabout.

        1. This roundabout is not that far off – do some tweaks with the cycle-only paths (well be talking to them about it) and in a year or two, when the legal option finally exists, we can see about making the zebra crossings legally cycleable too. As it is, I think this works reasonably well for all groups. Slows down cars most, which is of very high importance here too.

          1. Yeah, that’s kind of my point, it’s so close lets do it properly. I’m quite big on legibility for cycle infrastructure. If I was riding this for the first time and didn’t know the design beforehand, I would get pretty confused about being thrown up onto the footpath and then expected to cross at the ped crossing. Cycle infrastructure is about taking the stress out of cycling and confusion /uncertainty can add to it.

            I know you and other advocates have a good/hard job to do by the way, I don’t want sound negative about what has clearly been achieved, just expressing my thoughts.

          2. That makes me feel better. The lane configuration simply needs to provide an easy way for cyclists to merge on to the movement lane, if desired. In this case it’s most useful coming down hill, where cyclists will be very keen to ride straight through. Uphill, its about halfway so may a quick rest while you cross the road wouldn’t hurt ;P
            As (probably) the first cycle-roundabout example in Auckland (and therefore a template, in some ways), I think a bit of healthy critique is OK. We do have different laws than Denmark etc.

            It’s probably not illegal to ride across a zebra crossing – as long as you arrived at the crossing via a cycle path (or shared path).

  2. Good work, AT.

    On the topic of Franklin Rd and Christmas lights, closing the street On the busy nights to non residents would make a huge amount of sense. Watching last year, a lot of drivers temporarily do this anyway stopping in the middle of the road to look at the lights. It would turn the street from chaos, pollution (cars jammed stop starting up hill) and road rage to a festive relaxed environment.

  3. Not sure about the lighting situation. All good if it costs the same but it sounds like it is going to cost a lot and is simply to pander to some pampered Ponsonby residents…

    1. If you read the AT material it say normal lights cheaper to install but with the trees there are higher maintenance costs. Also combined with the driveways, spacing will be inconsistent. The catenary system is more expensive to install but has cheaper ongoing costs as would be down the middle of the road and so trees not an issue and would be more consistent light too.
      https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/franklin-road/franklin-road-design/

      A case of lower CAPEX with higher OPEX or higher CAPEX with lower OPEX. Don’t know what the actual cost differences are but over the life of the system, the higher capex solution might be cheaper overall.

      1. Thanks Matt, that explains it better. Option C might be a bad choice if the bollards are anything like the ones on Civic Cres Albany. Those bollard street lights are downright dangerous! They blind everyone as the light is shining right into your eyes rather than down from overhead. Motorists/cyclists/buses/pedestrians can’t see if there is another vehicle/bike/pedestrian there because they all can’t see past the glare of those lights. It is even worse when it’s wet. The number of close calls I’ve seen is amazing. At least they probably wouldn’t be right on the roadside and would be blocked a bit by trees/parked cars etc.

    2. It seems like a good solution to me and I think it is something a lot of town centres/ CBD would actually benefit from (the removal of lighting columns from the footpath)

      1. You still need columns (unless property owners agree to have the wires fixed to the buildings). But they can be positioned a bit more flexibly, as AT state.

        1. yes, agree only if they can be fixed to buildings. its something I have noticed (and appreciated) whilst travelling around Europe.

        2. Yes in cities in Europe you see a lot of things fixed to the buildings, like electricity wires, street lighting, and even overhead wires for trams. But usually streets there are a lot more narrow than in New Zealand, it’s not unusual to have less than 10 metres between the front walls of the buildings.

          Arbitrary street view image from Brussels: https://goo.gl/maps/95SXEQ1Vea92 . There are no utility poles at all. Electricity wires are visible on the left side.

  4. yes I would have thought that a Dutch roundabout design would work very well here. Only possible issue is the geometry of the roundabout may be rather tight – the Dutch roundabouts typically allow for one vehicle to exit roundabout circulating lane before having to yield to cyclists. This also “squares up” the vehicle to the conflicting cycle movement.

  5. Is there anywhere where AT states the illumination level, especially for the footpaths? Far too many streets in Auckland have very poor lighting levels for pedestrians. This discourage people walking and catching public transport, as the poorly lit footpaths means many people don’t feel safe making a journey by foot.

    1. Come by at 5:10 most nights, I’m the guy riding up the hill on the single speed riding to go pick up my son from day care. There is usually 5-10 other cyclists riding up the hill that I can see on the way up.

    2. Most cyclists tend to weave a little when going up steep hills like this, which is dangerous if they’re on the road with cars coming up behind them. When I’ve ridden up Franklin Road I’ve actually gone on the footpath as I feel safer this way and it is quite wide. Having these cycle lanes installed will make it a much more enjoyable and safer ride. I believe there will be other riders out there who feel the same way – some who may even be avoiding the road altogether because of the current layout. Build it and they will come!

      And because I don’t have an electric bike, the only other way that AT could have made this hill easier to ascend would have been to install one of these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j1PgmMbug8

    3. I grew up around this area, cycled it frequently (on the footpath), still use it on occasion as do a few hardy others. You’re making a logical fallacy here, the low numbers of cyclists isn’t because of low demand but rather the complete lack of any safe infrastructure to use.

    1. They’re getting done up as well 🙂 First item on the Franklin Rd Redisgn:
      – 3.5m wide asphalt footpaths.

  6. I can’t see any reason why the cycle lanes couldn’t offer the option of using the pedestrian crossings, as well as continuing on beside the vehicle lane. I’ve ridden up and down Franklin Road daily as part of my commute. There is no way I’d want to hop off and use the footpath, especially down hill.

    1. The law is the reason. Stupidly cycoles don’t have ROW on a zebra.

      Also cycle lanes on the main carriageway of a roundabout are far more dangerous than no cycling infrastructure, especially for children. Shared paths around the side is a good compromise that can be fixed if/when the law changes.

          1. Ricardo’s views on safety can be summarised as give total priority to cars, slip lanes big tick, zebra crossing a big cross. He’s stated on many occasion that it’s only unsafe when peds have any form of right of way, apparently people in cars are in capable of looking out for other road users, but once out of a car all responsibility lies on you to avoid being hit or run over.

        1. Bahahahahaha, Ricardo pretending to give a single shit about safety, especially of pedestrians, is humourously disingenuous.

  7. Firstly why bother with a cycle lane on the downhill side. Most cyclists will travel at the same speed as cars on the downhill side anyway. (unless they are trying to let cyclists past blocked traffic).

    Why is the traffic island on the side between the traffic lane and the cycle lane, not to the left of the cycle lane to protect cyclists from the “door zone”

    1. Yeah Scott, that’s fine for ‘most cyclists’, but not for all those not so confident people who are not yet riding because that feels too unsafe for them. The idea is to make the streets work for everyone, including bike users who are not confident ‘cyclists’.

      1. In saying ‘most cyclists, you’re talking about the status quo. The fact is that ‘most cyclists’ of today is a very small proportion of the number of people who will ride a bike when they feels safe. Build world class infra and the ‘most cyclists’ of today will be a minority in 10 years.

  8. Good consultation reaching a result that most are happy with. Who would’ve thought Auckland could do a better job than Wellington with their fuss with the island bay cycle way. A big tick to AT.

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