The Nelson St Cycleway was completed just over a year ago and has been a fantastic addition to the city.
Since then we’ve been patiently waiting for Phase 2, which has had a particularly long gestation period. It is intended to extend the cycleway to the Quay St cycleway and also includes extending it along Pitt St to Karangahape Rd. Auckland Transport originally consulted on a design way back in September 2015, months before Phase 1 even opened.
We weren’t thrilled with the design which would have seen the cycleway cross diagonally to the eastern side of Nelson St before sending cyclists along Sturdee St and Lower Hobson St, across in some places incredibly narrow footpaths, before reaching Quay St. We, and others, wanted the cycleway kept on the western side of Nelson St and linked into the tree lined Market Place. We also liked this well illustrated idea from reader Jonty to send it via the Hobson St Viaduct.
Just before Christmas, Auckland Transport finally announced the outcome of their consultation and the final design. Like we’d see in some earlier board reports, AT confirmed that the cycleway would now link into Market Place rather than using Sturdee St.
The link that will complete Auckland’s city cycle loop is a step closer.
The route, announced today, will connect the Nelson St Cycleway with the waterfront.
The connection along Nelson St to Quay St via Market Place, Customs St West and Lower Hobson St, will complete the loop.
The city cycle loop includes cycleways on Quay St, Beach Rd, Grafton Gully and the pink Lightpath.
Phase 2 of Nelson St Cycleway will include protected, on-road cycle lanes on both sides of Nelson St and Market Place from Victoria St to Pakenham St East.
Construction of this section will start in April and be completed by July. Plans for the remaining section of Market Pl, Customs St West and Lower Hobson will be made public in early 2017.
The major difference from what we suggested back in 2015 is that instead of the cycleway being completely on the western side, it will be split with northbound (downhill) cyclists staying on the western side but southbound (uphill) cyclists using the eastern side. We’re comfortable with that change.
As we understand, the biggest hurdle, and the reason it’s taken so long to confirm the design, has been the need to convince the traffic engineers that carmegeddon wouldn’t ensue from removing the two lane signalised slip lane from Nelson St on to Fanshawe St.
So here’s what AT plan to build (click to enlarge)
The cycle lanes on either side of the road will be protected. The biggest challenge will be the driveways and so all road users will have to take care here.
It’s the Nelson/Fanshawe intersection that will see the most change with the left turn slip lanes removed to allow the cycleway to be built and the kerb built out on the western side which will be a welcome addition to the many pedestrians that walk past here and who are currently squeezed into a narrow space. The cycleway heading southbound will have a short section of being a shared path till it gets past Wyndham St. It will also require two legs to cross from Market Place which is a bit annoying.
Finally on Market Place the cycleways continue past Pakenham St.
AT are still working on the final design for Market Place which is why it hasn’t been included yet but from what we understand of it, it will good. From Market Place the intention is to use Customs St West and then Lower Hobson St.
The news for the Pitt St section isn’t so great though. Here, AT have scaled the design back to a simple shared path. They say this is caused mainly by the CRL and the significant disruption it will have on the area both during construction and after it with where they’ve decided to put vents.
Since design for this cycleway project started in January 2015, there have been changes to the CRL (City Rail Link) design, particularly the vent location in Pitt Street. The CRL team have advised that the CRL project will cause significant disruption including a very large excavation across Pitt Street in the Beresford Square vicinity.
AT met with key stakeholders in the area, including local businesses, NZ Fire Service, and St John NZ, to listen and understand their concerns.
Based on feedback received from submissions and also from meetings with key stakeholders, we have decided the cycleway should be re-scoped to provide an interim off-road shared path facility for Pitt Street.
AT is developing a design for CRL in the vicinity of Pitt Street and Beresford Square, incorporating the Pitt Street and Karangahape Road cycleways.
Here are the designs, which as you can see still retain a gap between Karangahape Rd and Beresford Square. It’s not clear how less confident cyclists will bridge this gap, presumably most would use the footpath.
As the press release earlier said, construction of the first section down Nelson St is expected to start in April and at least that and the section to Quay St are expected to be completed in the middle of the year.