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.

Option 4

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.

Generation Zero – Defend Mt Albert Cycle lanes

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.

Option 3

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.

The approved option

But in any case, it is a great victory, and thank you to all those who submitted to save Mt Albert Cycle lanes.

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  1. A great victory? 75% of submissions were for option 3. That is the option which should have been chosen. AT should listen to the feedback from its two submissions or not waste money running them.

    1. I think there was support for option 3 because people didn’t want to lose the proper cycle lanes. The selected option also achieves that goal, making the tradeoff of retaining the right-turn at the cost of a bit of green-time for straight through traffic.

      A pragmatic solution and, in a way, a no-brainer that should have been the preferred option from the start.

      1. The part that I find the most annoying (if I remember correctly) was that the no right hand turn option provided lower traffic congestion.

      2. Like Jake, I think that, when the decision of the crowd is so clear cut, AT should just acknowledge that the people have spoken and let them have their preferred option. No further arguments – that’s called democracy. What they’ve done here is not justifiable.

        1. Good decisions aren’t made by popular vote. There are other elements to consider. As well as all the other affected people who didn’t submit. AT’s responsibility is to make good long term solutions for the whole community. Or the best decision possible within constraints.

        2. I could buy that if only one submission was taken. One submission take in feedback then act accordingly. That seams sensible. But run a short second submission days before Christmas with very limited lead up, publicity and issues regarding actually making submissions online. Then when the “wrong” choice wins by a land slide, simply ignore that in favor of a different option.

          Why was option three even offered as an option?

  2. So the chosen option impacts on straight through vehicle traffic. I wonder if this is a bit of a trojan horse so in a couple of years when straight through traffic is being too heavily impacted they will just get rid of the right hand turn?

      1. I’m hoping that they would decide that sandblasting off the right turn arrow would be easier than removing the hopefully permanent cycle lane dividers.

  3. A side effect of this new approach is AT have changed the traffic signals on New North Rd prioritising right turns and slowing all the buses down heading west. Very strange tactic.

    1. Yeah they’ve made some weird decisions when it comes to signal phasing around the area in recent times.

      Like when, shortly after introducing the Outer Link bus and redirecting all New North Road buses to go via St Lukes, they messed with the New North Road/St Lukes Road intersection signals to give right-turning buses from New North Road into St Lukes Road (heading towards St Lukes mall) less green time. Truly bizarre.

  4. I know it might sound crazy, but just thinking outside the square a bit:

    Is it not possible for rubber-wheeled vehicles to turn left, turn right, or go straight ahead all for the same lane?

    (I’ve driven on many 2-lane (and 1-lane) roads, and it seems to work okay. Yes, I know about traffic light-controlled intersection cycles, but too bad.)

    That would reduce rubber-wheeled vehicle traffic* and thus the potential for conflicts between it and pedestrians and cyclists, and thus give more time and also more space for pedestrians and cyclists to make their movements.

    (Yes, I know bicycles have rubber wheels, but they’re more an extension of the body than a vehicle proper.)

    * As I understand it, the induced demand phenomenon also works in reverse, i.e., it’s possible to induce “un-demand” by restricting vehicular traffic (maybe the vehicular traffic can use the Waterview tunnels instead – only one set of traffic lights on them after all (maybe two sets, but later) – or change mode to the parallel railway line, or bus or walk or cycle or skate or scooter (or hoverboard – is that a thing yet? (I thought it was, what happened, do they need to get new batteries that don’t explode or something?)).

    1. One lane is what you usually get around where I grew up, and unfortunately that seems to result in gridlock whenever more than a couple of dozen of cars try to get through a cross turn within an hour.

      I’d say it’s possible but you really have to know what you’re doing.

  5. Terrible solution. Now the 10 right turners per day will be delaying all the straight through traffic.

    Keep the cycle lanes, ban right turns, done.

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