Back in December AT re-consulted part of the Mt Albert Town Centre Upgrade even though the previous consultation had 94% support. The consultation was about how to deal with right turns into Mt Albert Road, as AT Engineers were concerned as they usually are about cars. The options were:
- Option 1: Right turn at all times
- Option 2: Right turn banned part of the time
- Option 3: Right turn banned at all times
- Option 4: Changed layout with right turn allowed at all times
The AT engineers supported Option 4 which removed cycle lanes through to the intersection to make space for a dedicated right turn lane.
In response to the potential loss of cycle lanes, Bike Auckland, Generation Zero, and us here at Greater Auckland created a small campaign to defend them by encouraging people to submit for Option 3. As a result over 1,485 people submitted of which 75% supported Option 3, 19% Option 4, and 3% each for options 1 & 2. However, the Consultants who collected the Submission Data also included Facebook Comments, as well as comments here on the blog as part of the date collection which brought the number of feedback to 1,695. It is great to see the inclusion of feedback not traditionally submitted used, and we hope Auckland Transport continues to do so in the future creating a more inclusive/representative data collection. The full report is found here.
The original submission mentioned an online option; however, the website had none. As a result, we tweeted & emailed to ask for electronic submissions form to be added. It was lucky we did this because 98% of the 1,485 responses were submitted electronically. Of the 23 submissions made by post, 57% were in favour of option 4, 22% supported option 1, and another 17% of option 2. Without the online option, it is possible that option four would have been selected.
In response to the massive support for cycle lanes, as well as submissions from the local community wanting to keep the right turn, AT took the easy way out by selecting option one which keeps the cycle lanes while having combined straight/right turn lane. While the retention of the cycle lanes is excellent, my fear is that in the future we will want to add bus lanes to New North Road, and due to the right turn being preserved the traffic engineers modelling may say no.
But in any case, it is a great victory, and thank you to all those who submitted to save Mt Albert Cycle lanes.