Last week, Auckland Transport launched consultation for the western section of the midtown cycleway as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleway Programme. It will run along Victoria St from Beaumont St through to Hobson St. Along the way it will link in the Nelson St cycleway and the under-construction Franklin Rd cycle lanes. In the future, it will also connect in to plans for cycle lanes on College Hill.
Here’s what AT say:
The Victoria Street Cycleway will be a one-way cycle lane on each side of Victoria Street West, from the Beaumont Street intersection to the Hobson Street intersection. The cycle lanes will be physically separated from motorised traffic for the whole route.
Where practical, the cycle lanes will also be physically separated from pedestrians with a small kerb. This creates a clear separation space for pedestrians and people on bikes. In some places, technical issues such as drainage and location of services may necessitate the cycle path be flush with the footpath.
The goal of the Victoria Street Cycleway is to create a continuous separated, safe, and attractive route to and from the city.
Physically separated cycle lanes maximise safety, efficiency and comfort for people on bikes of varying skill levels. The aim is to encourage more people to consider cycling as a transport option to get to and from the city, while also catering for people who already travel by bike.
The Victoria Street Cycleway will be the first section of a larger midtown cycling connection. This connection will provide safe, separated cycling facilities between Victoria Park and the Auckland Domain, creating cycleways to and through the heart of the city centre from the west and the east.
In a marked difference from many of the cycleways that have been built in the city, this one features two single direction cycle lanes rather than the bi-directional lanes on routes like Nelson or Quay Streets. Also in the press release, AT say this, a shame they couldn’t say it with the midtown bus consultation.
The planned cycle route will not prevent the construction of the Victoria St Linear Park as proposed.
The route has been broken into a number of different sections, each with slightly different details depending on the conditions in that section. Here are some details on each of them moving West to East. Here are the plans for those interested in more detail.
Beaumont St to Halsey St
There are different outcomes for each side of the road. On the Northern side the cycleway is level is proposed to be a Copenhagen lane which means it would have a slightly different elevation to the road and the footpath. On the southern side the lane is buffered from the road with separators. Bus stops will share the cycleway so some care from cyclists will obviously be needed. The buffers on the south side are shown extending through the Beaumont St intersection.
This general configuration continues, with some slight differences in places, through to Halsey St
Halsey St intersection
This intersection will undergo some positive changes with the removal of three of it’s slip lanes with only the Wellesley/Drake St lanes retained. This will help improve conditions for pedestrians too. As the eastbound cycle lane approaches the intersection, it too moves back to road level and gets some horizontal separation.
Halsey St to Nelson St
Westbound things are fairly similar to the designs above wire the route is at road level separated with barriers. The only major difference is that due to the presence of a lot of driveways, there are fewer solid barriers and more mountable speed bumps, like can be seen in the image below approaching Halsey St.
Eastbound sees a lot of variation between Halsey and Nelson St though. Mixing between being at the same level as the footpath to being at road level, and between being behind bus stops to next to the road.
It would be interesting, if following the midtown bus consultation that AT remove buses from Victoria St – remember they were never meant to be on Victoria St anyway. I assume that would allow for more space for the cycleways and a more consistent design.
Nelson to Hobson St
On this section, the tables get reversed with the westbound section at footpath level while the eastbound section is at road level but with separators.
Overall, while not perfect, this will be a useful addition to the city. Feedback is open till 5th June.