It seems it’s consultation season for bike related projects with not one, not two but three currently now underway by Auckland Transport and all could do with submissions to improve them.

Herne Bay cycling and walking improvements – Closes 18 December

This project came out of AT’s recent consultation on improving cycling options in the inner west of the city. AT say the original plan was for cycling connections via Clifton Road, Argyle Street and Sarsfield Street however they’ve now opted for area wide traffic calming measures using speed tables. All up 22 speed tables are proposed at intersections and mid-block, as shown below.

••••••Hernebay-A4

Here are some examples what is proposed. More can be seen on the AT website.

herne-bay-treatment-1

herne-bay-treatment-3

In a location such as this, an area wide traffic calming effort, if done properly, should deliver a good outcome and across a much wider area than a single cycleway as planned before. It will also have benefits not just for cycling but for pedestrians and a wider range of residents too.

But of course there are things that could be better with  the first thing that springs to mind being that there are no ways for bikes to bypass the speed tables, like Auckland Transport proposed recently for Northcote Point, one example of which is below.

northcote-point-speed-cushion

Further, while the traffic calming will likely help in reducing speeds, it surely wouldn’t hurt to back that up with an area wide change to speed limits.

Our friends at Bike Auckland have a few other ideas too.

There are two open days planned for the consultation, the first being today, details below.

  • Thursday, 1 December, 11am to 2pm at The Governor, 228 Jervois Road, Herne Bay.
  • Saturday, 10 December, 11am to 2pm at the Leys Institute (Ponsonby Library), 20 St Marys Road, Ponsonby.

Consultation closes December 18.

Westhaven to City cycle route – Closes 18 December

Many of the cyclists using the Herne Bay roads above, along with those from the future Skypath as well as other locations, will be heading to the city. Currently, upon passing the motorway noose the options are usually to take the scenic route via North Wharf and Te Wero Bridge, wind around Gaunt St and Viaduct Harbour Dr or to brave Fanshawe St. While only anecdotal, I notice a lot picking the later as it’s the most direct route.

AT are now proposing to upgrade Viaduct Harbour Dr to make it more bike friendly and they’re currently consulting on the section as far as Market Pl.

westhaven-to-the-city-route-map

Unfortunately, what AT are suggesting is a complete turd of a solution for a route that will likely have high numbers using it. The plan, like above is to just calm traffic using speed tables as well as some paint while making no changes to the road. That might be appropriate in an area like Herne Bay but in my view, is completely inappropriate in this location which is likely to have higher volumes using it including children. Based on what’s proposed, they’ll stick to using the footpath – a view some have already expressed on social media.

Below is an overview of the plans but more detailed versions can be found here.

westhaven-to-the-city-route-plan

One example of why this is such a rubbish idea can be seen in this more detailed view of the plan on the part of Customs St West north of Pakenham St East. As you can see people on bikes are meant to cycle on the road behind angle parked cars who could start reversing out without being able to see if any cyclists are coming. Would the people who proposed this be prepared to let their 8-year old child ride on the road here, I certainly wouldn’t (if I had one).

westhaven-to-the-city-route-plan-1

AT have already ruled out using Fanshawe St for a direct connection but I think they need to go back to the drawing board and look at as an option again. The road must be one of the widest in Auckland with the corridor in places over 38m wide. For the section east of Halsey St this width includes a massive 4.5m wide flush median. If ever there was a road that could do with some boulevard treatment, it would be Fanshawe St. That boulevard would include improved footpaths, cycleways, a separated urban busway and then the general traffic lanes

And Fanshawe needs some love too, while it is designed and treated like a giant motorway on/off ramp, it also had surprisingly high volumes of pedestrians who would also benefit from making the area more people friendly and less sterile. What’s more, given the width I think that could likely be accommodated without having to compromise on the number of traffic lanes

fanshawe-st-now

This idea is something we might flesh out in a later post but let’s get this option back on the table because what’s proposed won’t get anyone new cycling on Viaduct Harbour Ave and there is already the scenic route available via the waterfront for those that want that.

Like above, the consultation closes on December 18

Parnell cycleway and residential parking zone – Closes 23 December

The government’s Urban Cycleway Programme identified a route from Tamaki Dr up to Newmarket. To facilitate that, AT are looking at putting protected cycleways along St Stephens Ave and Gladstone Rd.

parnell-cycle-path-map

We along with others like Bike Auckland and Generation Zero met with AT over this project some months ago when at the time they were planning to just install painted lanes. We told there was no point in having a fight over removing the parking they would need to if they were just going to put a bit of paint on the road. Thankfully they’ve taken that feedback on board and the proposed solution includes physically separated bike lanes. In some locations these cycleways will have parking outside them while in other locations there will be no parking. AT say that all up just 95 carparks are affected.

parnell-cycleway-artists-impression

This isn’t to say the proposal is perfect, for example at bus stops the cycleway just stops and cyclists would have to wait for it to depart again.

parnell-cycleway-plan

In this situation, a solution like floating bus stops, where the stop is pushed into the general traffic lane and the bus stop and bike lane become a shared area might be more appropriate, but that would mean AT getting over their fears about buses stopping in general traffic.

To go with the cycleway, AT is proposing a residential parking scheme for the area. They say that just 10% of cars parked on the street are from locals with most assumed to be commuters. They also think the scheme will help locals deal with the loss of the parking on Gladstone Rd.

parnell-residential-parking-zone

If you want to talk to AT about the plans, they’ll be at La Cigale French Market (69 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell) on Saturday 3 December from 8am to 1pm.

Consultation closes 23 December.

What do you think of what AT has proposed?

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69 comments

  1. Love the photo of the idiot cyclist riding the wrong way on the street endangering the pedestrian who is looking the other way whilst waiting to cross the road. Strike this everyday, cyclists need to up their game and obey road rules or they will continue to be treated with general contempt by motorists who’s lanes are increasingly being taken away to pander to them. The obsession with ‘traffic calming’ is counterproductive and frankly backward thinking. Roads are for moving traffic, not stopping or hindering.

    1. Humans do all sort of unexpected, unpredictable stuff. This is pretty much the definition of human nature. So you can’t have a space for people and expect everything to be precisely smooth and predictable. We don’t work like that. (Thank goodness!)

      Trying to remake humans into perfect little robots won’t work, and a whole bunch of people will die unnecessarily in the process. We need to plan for unpredictability rather than try to change human nature.

      In this case, perhaps give the guy on the bike his own lane, separated from traffic, so he can do his own weird thing without affecting people on foot or in cars. And the woman on foot looks like she needs a safe crosswalk so she doesn’t confuse the poor drivers while trying to get across.

      1. How come this guy Ricardo always manges to be first? And with his antedeluvian viewpoint.
        Maybe the mods here need to take some action?

    2. I’m pretty certain that the lanes belong to us all, not just those in motor vehicles, redressing the balance in priority seems fairly civilised.

  2. If we are talking about the allocation of scarce transport dollars, then I wish they’d stop building all these inner city cycleways for hipsters to cruise around on during their Sunday cycling soirees and start spending their money on thing like the non-existant footpaths in West Auckland, which makes (for example) safe walking impossible on roads in the Waitakeres.

    1. Wait you complain about cycleways bring empty, which the data shows they’re not, then state you’d rather the money spent on footpaths on roads through the bush.

      I grew up in the Waitakeres on a road that has no footpaths and my parents still live there. While footpaths would be nice there’s no way that’s a better use of money.

      Also relevant us with the government’s urban cycleway fund and the NZTA share for cycling, AT/council only incur about a third of the cost. For footpaths they incur 100% so wouldn’t get as much footpath (comparatively)

    2. West Auckland’s getting quite a lot of transport spending actually:
      * The ~$4bn Western Ring Route, which includes some upgrades/extensions to the NW Cycleway – note that diverting even a fraction of WRR spending would have bought a pretty great walking/cycling network throughout the West
      * The $2.5bn City Rail Link will have the largest benefits for travellers from West Auckland
      * Some major local road “upgrades” like the Lincoln Rd rebuild that have costs in the range of $100m – ie about the same amount of money as is being spent on cycling across the whole of Auckland.

      In terms of the strategy for cycleway investment: The budget’s not infinite, so AT needs to prioritise where (and what) they will build first. From what I understand, they’ve made a decision to start by building a relatively high-quality, gap-free network in and around the city centre as they think that it has the highest potential to boost cycling demand in the near term.

      This is important because AT needs to be able to point to successes from previous rounds of investment in order to get approval for more. So I’d suggest that the counterfactual to the current strategy isn’t that kids in South Auckland get a safe, connected cycle network. Rather, it would probably mean that cycling investment stalls out before ever reaching those parts of the city.

      1. I should add: Good access to safe cycling facilities will have the largest positive impact on the lives of low-income people, who are least able to afford to run a car or pay PT fares, and children, who can’t drive but who would value the freedom.

        Meeting their needs means that we *have* to have a longer-term aspiration of safe cycling everywhere in the city. But we’ve got to start somewhere.

      2. Peter, he’s not even talking about actual west Auckland, but rather bush roads in the waitakere ranges. You know, the place that has half as many residents as the Waitemata local board, but has a road network covering an area fifty times the size.

        Probably useful to point out that a fair allocation of resources therefore means the waitemata LB area should have 100 times more spent per sq km than the waitakere ranges LB area.

      1. No, if you’re paying the same rates you deserve the same expenditure… but not the same outcome if it means spending ten times more per head to achieve it.

          1. Why should you get more expenditure per head of population just because you choose to live in the country? Try living in a number of districts around NZ such as Ruapehu, Tararua, Clutha, Far North etc and see how that works out for you.

          2. How about this Tony. Within every Local Board Area we spend exactly as much rates as the ratepayers within each area pay in each year. No more, no less. That’s perfectly fair, right. Deal?

          3. I get the same service/$ for electricity, phone, internet and mail as anyone else why not rates? It’s a charge for services right?

          4. OK, Tony we’ll give you a metre of footpath outside your place. I have about five metres of footpath outside my place and there are five houses in my complex, so it’s about a metre a house. Seems pretty fair to me.

          5. Tony; you seem to be totally confusing privately provided, user-pays, largely placeless services with place-based services. Apart from coming across as self-entitled, your basic economics and understanding of social dynamics sucks.

            If you want community-based resources (all that stuff a Council provides, plus shops and all the stuff private enterprise provides to a local community) then move to a community that is big enough to support it. Otherwise, enjoy the view and the quiet and be happy with your choice to live without the other stuff on your doorstep.

          6. Actually Tony you don’t get the same service for your dollar with electricity, internet, mail etc. Outside of the true suburbs you won’t have fibre or VDSL broadband for example, you’ll have simple ADSL and pay just as much for it. Likewise with the mail, they’re actually stopping many deliveries in more rural areas and shifting to group boxes or pick up only, and indeed it costs much more to post or courier something to a more remote location. And, sure, try an get a new electricity or water connection in the waitakere ranges, see how much that will cost you.

            Simple fact is if you choose to live a lifestyle of seclusion and low density, you’re also choosing to not have many neighbours to share the cost of infrastructure with. That’s your choice, but don’t expect the rest of us to subsidise your lifestyle.

          7. Again you’re wrong Nick. I could tell you about 4G and the postie who comes 6 days a week and being able to post from the letter box even and blah blah blah.
            But it’s true. Even the council agrees. That’s why I get a 10% discount and larger blocks get a 20% discount to reflect the lower levels of service we receive.

  3. anyone know why they use tables rather than modified watts profile (can still be used in a table) They absolutely destroy cars (and bikes) that go over the steep ramps, where the modified watts provides a much smoother ride.

    1. Tables don’t really work unless they are very high and modified Watts profile is worse as there is no need to slow down at all. Meanwhile SUVs drive over both with impunity.

    2. Surely the point of a table is to make it uncomfortable to travel over at speed, if it’s too easy or comfortable to cross then why would people slow down?

  4. Paint on the road is cheaper than building a new footpath. As long as they are extending the existing network where there are noticeable numbers, its a good thing, not piecemeal all over the place which is mostly useless.

        1. Well it’s probably a bit like that. They wanted a cycling network, the locals moaned at actual cycle lanes, so next option is a calmed street network that’s ok to ride on.

  5. So just to clarify, no dedicated cycleway on Clifton/Argyle/Sarsfield now? Just traffic calming on the streets that everyone uses as shortcuts to the Harbour Bridge? Someone in Herne Bay has friends in high places

  6. Good grief AT. You really have given up now. No separated route between the SkyPath and the city? The CRL of the cycling network and all the new routes converging on Quay St. You know this is just unprofessional, right? The street calming is worthwhile in its own right but it isn’t the provision of a safe cycling route, do it, but you also need to provide an actual cycleway between the end of the Westhaven Path and the city routes.

    Has there been a policy change to oppose the Minister’s push to transform the numbers using bikes to meaningful levels?

    1. It’s a bit like they can’t choose between an arterial design and a local street design. I’d argue for the latter — turn these back streets into what the Dutch call a “woonerf”. Those don’t come with cycle lanes, but they’re still appropriate for appropriate for 8-80 cycling because of slow speed limits, and a street design which strongly indicates the street is unsuitable for speeding.

      The arterial street here is Fanshawe Street, which could indeed get cycle lanes.

  7. I’m not sure what AT are smoking but these raised tables and speed blocks etc do nothing for cycling whatsoever – just more of the “hey guys we have money in the budget that has to be spent so let’s just build some random pointless tables” rather than “hey guys we have money in the budget that has to be spent so let’s use it to actually make improvements that benefit pedestrians and cyclists without causing disruption to buses or cars if possible”.

    The Northcote point speed table is a good example of it done right, the example above that is just pointless and actually more dangerous for cyclists (besides also slowing cyclists down – a lose-lose).

    The other raised tables are just narrowing the road… where are the cycle lanes? Not only would it be cheaper to just actually build cycle lanes there it would be better for cyclists (again not having to go over raised tables).

    AT only has a limited budget and there are so many better uses for their limited funds than building stupid bloody tables/speed humps. All tables and speed humps do is create additional noise (braking and accelerating – hardly making the city more liveable), and increase fuel consumption and therefore pollution while at the same time making it less safe and harder for cyclists.

    1. If tables and speed humps are creating additional braking and accelerating for motorists, perhaps it’s not the fault of the speed hump, but the drivers approaching them incorrectly? The whole point of these is to restrict unnecessary speed. The two new ones installed in Great North Road Avondale have essentially created a de facto 30km/h limit and the only noticeable extra noise is from construction around the area, certainly not by vehicles.

      1. if an object requires a user to act a certain way, and the users are not doing this, whats at fault? the object or the user? It is always the object’s fault.(within reason). Design is about making an object do what you want it to do, not relying on others to choose use it the way you want it be used.

        its like doors with a push or pull sign on it – why is the sign there, flat panel for push, handle for pull, no need for a sign.

        design, if done well, makes everything work so easy you don’t even notice the design – unfortunately we live in a world that does not get it.

    2. I have these narrowing with speed bumps near where I live and I truely hate them while riding, my partner calls them the pinch of death.

      What happens is you have to push out into the middle of the lane to go over them, rather than keeping a straight line. A bike can go over them quite quickly but a car has to be slowed right down. THis means drivers get a bit pissy and race to overtake you in the next block. Round my place this inevitably results in drivers flooring it to swoop in and cut you off just before the next pinch point, which is exactly when you need to be moving out to take the lane.

      End result is I ride up the footpath on that street, after two near misses in two days I’m not risking it. Having the cycle bypass lanes would be much better, and having totally separated lanes would be ideal.

      1. What you describe will also happen if there are cycling bypasses. Maybe not at the bypasses, but every parked car creates a similar pinch point. The bypasses have the additional downside that, if there are a lot of parked cars, they force you to deviate from your line to the right of the door zone.

        The problem as you describe it, is the antisocial behaviour of drivers. That cannot be solved with any amount of street design or traffic calming.

    3. It’s the difference in speed between cars and cyclists that is most scary. Speed tables are great for slowing down motorists. Case in point: going through the very narrow Domain Drive in the Auckland Domain. It’s 30km/hr but it’s the speed bumps that enforce/enable this – and allow all to share the road more safely while there is no separate cycle path. I’m thankful the speed bumps are so steep and frequent. Leave the cars who want to go faster to take the main roads.

  8. I thought raised tables, speed bumps and this sort of crap went out in the 1990’s which probably goes to show where AT’s thinking is at.

    Safe roads are uncongested roads where traffic flows. Unsafe roads are roads where traffic obstructions cause artificial congestion. Furthermore all the braking and speeding up by drivers creates more problems than it solves in that it makes it harder for drivers to make safe passes on cyclists. From a cyclists perspective it’s more dangerous to be passed by a group of cars which is far more likely due to the artificial congestion that will be created.

    I agree with Patrick Reynolds, there should be a dedicated cycle route from the Viaduct to Skypath.

    1. Exactly, there are none! I ride Westhaven to Quay St at least once a week and Beaumont St is by far the most dangerous part of the journey. There are buses and huge trucks driving fast towards the motorway on ramp and no cycle lane. I take the scenic route (North Wharf and Te Whero bridge) so I avoid the right turn into Beaumont but on the return journey I often have to pull over to the pavement to do a right turn into Westhaven Drive if a long line of cars and trucks are overtaking me and it makes it impossible to safely get to the middle of road for a right turn.

      In my opinion the Fanshawe Street route should be looked at but the scenic route needs to be safe too. I’m guessing the proposed route (green dotted line) is an attempt to avoid the nasty right turns but if its not combined with a Quay St styled cycleway all along Beaumont it won’t be much safer. The scenic route is the way anyone with kids or tourists heading to Skypath will take so fixing Beaumont should be the priority.

      Add the Fanshawe option for those wanting to get there quickly I guess.

    2. I spoke to someone from AT and they confirmed that the Eastern footpath is a shared path and that it’s likely that that’s all that will ever be there.

  9. What’s going to happen when you take away 85% of the vehicles in Eastern Parnell? So there’s demand for something, let’s somehow make the alternatives more viable by just taking that thing away completely. Only in Auckland.

    1. Easy, they’ll take the train and get off at the shiny new soon to open (hopefully) train station, or take one of the frequent buses that pass through the area.

  10. The proposals for Queen Street, Northcote Point are completely useless and a stupid waste of scarce funds. The first time apposing vehicles approach a road choke, cyclists will be floored under the vehicle that finally gives way by pulling left. If separated passage for cyclists is necessary at this point, it could be provided on Seapath. End of story.

    1. I remember when I was living in Belgium, and all of a sudden councils got into a pissing contest as of who can build the most fancy chokers. Where I lived, we got a relatively simple kind, very similar to the ones proposed on Queen Street. But without any speed bump. The consequence is so obvious, I don’t understand why traffic engineers don’t see this coming. If you bring traffic on collision course, then those collisions will happen.

      Luckily for cyclists most streets over there have proper cycle lanes. Some don’t, and in those places don’t even think about going through the bypasses, because you’ll have to merge back in with cars coming from behind you.

      Looking at the Queen street proposal, at least the image above has a speed cushion, so it actually slows traffic down. AT is however considering an option without the speed cushion as well. They’re also not proposing to put up priority signs, so drivers will have to play a dangerous game of chicken of who is going to give way.

      1. There’s also two approaches to building these things:

        What our council did

        1. build those chokers.
        2. figure out that it’s not really working well
        3. Well, too bad. Building these things already cost a heap of money. They don’t have another heap of money to break them up again.

        In contrast this is what one of the neighbouring councils did:

        1. go to an orchard and get a few of those big fruit crates
        2. paint, add traffic signs and put them on the streets to create chokers
        3. figure out that it’s not really working well
        4. move the crates
        (Repeat steps 3 and 4 a few times)
        5. figure out this is not working
        6. remove the crates

        Now we can guess which one blew the most money on the exercise, and which one ended up better off.

        (some context, all of this happened in a rural area, kind of. In the north of Belgium many streets between towns are completely built up with long ribbons of houses. A consequence of lax rules, and we have the exact policy Tony suggested: services to anyone, anywhere, which amounts to subsidies for infrastructure for people living in the middle of nowhere. You can’t have traffic driving at the usual 90km/h speed limit over there because people will die. This problem ended up being solved in a rather old-fashioned way — lower the speed limit, hand out speeding fines like Halloween candy).

  11. I am still waiting for a safe cycling bridge connection between Pakuranga and Panmure,

    From my point of view and from the location of my bike, such a connection would be worth about 100 of the road modifications discussed here.

    1. It’s part of AMETI, a project which incidentally also probably should have been well underway by now but keeps looking like a mirage on the horizon.

  12. Re: Parnell cycleway: Having a cycleway of 1.5m is certainly nice. But, with a buffer of 0.3m from either moving traffic or a parking lane, the opportunities that lie within this wide street’s cross section are not fully utilized.
    Cars speed quite fast up and down Gladstone Road and St Stephens Avenue, which is why I don’t bike there presently. Speeds in excess of 50 km/h, most cars easily drive 60. Being separated from that by 0.3 metres is not enough to get the majority of people who like to bike, on a bike.
    Then there is the issue of ‘dooring’. Imagine doors swinging open from cars parked in the parking lane adjacent to the cycleway on many parts of the proposed cycleway. These doors occupy about a metre, and thus 0.3 metre is not enough to protect cyclists from riding into a door that may suddenly slam open. As someone who has experienced this, I can tell you, it is a really miserable experience.
    A buffer of 1m is the bare minimum you need to feel safe in both instances. The traffic lanes are presently 3.2 along most of this route. This is extremely wide and generous towards motorists. In fact, most cars are only 2m wide. A width of 3.2m invites motorists to speed. Reducing traffic lanes from 3.2m to 2.5m leaves sufficient width for motorists to drive down this route. It’s plenty, it’s all they need, they might slow down a bit and become more careful in the process (as narrower lanes invite more cautious driving behaviour). Narrowing the lanes down to 2.5m provides the additional 0.7m that’s needed to provide a full 1m buffer. Only than will the maximum potential of this cycling facility be realized.

    1. I raised the 0.3m buffer being insufficient to protect against dooring in my feedback, especially as people are not used to having fast moving vehicles to the kerb side of their car when they exit.

  13. What I like about these of consultations, is that they appear to be tackling a new problem with cycling over here: what to do with local streets. The cross-section of Gladstone Road shows the root problem: these streets are very wide. For local streets, a 5 metre carriageway is often enough for local traffic, cyclists, and the some cars parked on the street. I lived on such a street in Belgium, and it seemed to work well even for cyclists. The key is really making sure you don’t have fast moving cars around. Doing that on a 12m wide street will be an interesting challenge.

    At least we’re thinking about this now. We’re still getting a lot of details wrong. For example both designs for that Pakenham St intersection have obvious mistakes: the roundabout doesn’t have any pedestrian crossings, and in the other design the alignment of the stop lines is wrong (imagine walking along Pakenham St).

    The other hairy problem to solve is stomping out the antisocial behaviour of drivers, otherwise this will all be a waste of money.

  14. How lovely for the inner city dwellers and renters. Will AT also provide exactly the same for Mangere, Otahuhu, Papatoetoe and other Southern suburbs or is this only for high value areas where the cycling lobbyists live?

    South Auckland we have wide 1960’s “racetracks” as suburban roads with little if any traffic calming facilities. I have written to AT numerous times, including just over a week ago, requesting traffic calming on Gray Ave in Mangere East/Papatoetoe due to the large number of accidents (including a truck roll over last month). Previous replies generally state there is “no budget”.

    One house on a Gray Ave intersection has been hit twice in the past 10 months by cars misjudging a corner. AT have not even built a barrier even though it is clear that particular stretch is dangerous.

    Container trucks recently started using Gray Ave as a through road and at night can speed at around 80kmph. Time AT did some serious traffic calming and cycling enhancements in South Auckland.

  15. Before getting to the Wynyard area I suggest a rethink of Westhaven Drive at the entrance to Q pier. Visibility is very poor for all modes and in all directions. I’d say there is a high risk of a cyclist getting bowled by a vehicle pulling in or out.

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