This is a Guest Post by Bike Auckland. It originally appeared here.

Feedback is now open on the revamped designs for Grey Lynn, which include not only neighbourhood bikeways, but great stuff for pedestrians, more trees, and quality landscaping. Here’s Auckland Transport’s project page with full info and detailed plans – and the consultation brochureFeedback is now open until Friday 14 December. 

We’ll be back with more nuanced observations, but for now we’ll keep it simple. This is beautiful, smart, proud design. It puts pedestrians first, creates safe and connected bikeways for kids and adults alike, and greens the streets by adding over 200 new trees. It’s a model for neighbourhoods across Auckland. We’re excited, and you should be, too!

So it’s time to say yes to beauty, and yes to streets that help the youngest and oldest get around. It’s time to rise above negativity and embrace positivity. YES to protected bike lanes for safety and comfort, for riders big and small! YES to raised side road crossings for a quality pedestrian environment! And YES to heaps of new trees and higher quality streets!

Ordinarily we’d have a few things we’d ask you to make a noise about to ensure AT will fix them before construction. (And if you prefer to give in-depth feedback, you can hold for a while longer until we identify any niggles we still have.) But this time, we’re confident AT is on the right track – so the main thing is to enthusiastically support this bold, exciting move towards beauty, safety, and connection.

So what’s the plan? 

As we previously reported, the designs for these two neighbourhood routes have been under review all year, with input from community representatives and design work by Boffa Miskell. Now it’s time for the public to see them. After the feedback, there’ll be more design, and then – fingers crossed – construction would start in late 2019, for completion within a year. That’s three years behind schedule…

… but, ultimately, should be worth the wait. Now is a critical moment, not just for Grey Lynn, but for Aucklanders at large. If Auckland Transport gets this project right, it will restore trust in the idea that our streets can be made both safe and lovely. And then we can all start to get excited about how our neighbourhoods can be transformed in our lifetimes.

AT is looking to prioritise the works, which makes sense. Everybody wants to see the work done efficiently and effectively, with a minimum of disruption, and with maximum value for money. But let’s be clear: the cost of not delivering this project would far outweigh the cost of just cracking on and building it right. People and design must come first, because this is about realising a fresh and complete vision for healthy, beautiful streets that can then be built anywhere.

What’s in that vision? Here we go…

Route 1 – Surrey Crescent to Garnet Road

This section features two primary schools – Grey Lynn and Westmere; several clusters of local shops, including Old Mill Village, and several busy intersections that are currently very forbidding for walking and biking, including the Richmond Road/ Surrey Crescent junction, the top of the Bullock Track, and where Motions Road meets Old Mill Village.

The design will add:

  • Raised tables at side streets and at pedestrian crossings, to calm vehicle speeds.
  • New pedestrian crossings.
  • 129 new trees!! Plus more greenery and planting in general.
  • A mix of bus-stops along the way.
  • And of course, continuous bikeways on both sides of the street! On-road, these will be protected from parked cars by a raised separator – and, wherever they pass schools or shops, they’ll be raised to the level of the footpath, but separated from it, Copenhagen-style.

You can see the detailed plans and typical cross-sections over on the project page. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so here’s what the combination might look and feel like in practice. [All renderings by Auckland Transport/ Boffa Miskell.]

Outside Westmere School: note the Copenhagen bike lanes and raised pedestrian crossing.
An example side street treatment (this is Garnet Rd and Cumberland). Note the raised, continuous footpath and bikeway, the threshold for cars, and the planted build-outs.
An example design for Old Mill Road, looking towards the Bullock Track: another raised crossing; and parking-protected bikeways with wide separators

Route 2 – Richmond Road

This section includes the West Lynn Village shops, where the works in general really weren’t up to scratch last time round, and the bikeways weren’t brilliant. Happily, the new design manages to serve all desired outcomes, straightens out the bendy bikeways (yes!) and miraculously also manages to keep as much parking as possible.

Major new features include:

  • Fixing the stormwater and ponding issues (this is an essential task, which adds to the overall cost).
  • New and relocated pedestrian crossings, with less steep access (this is crucial for accessibility).
  • 89 new trees (!!) and more planting for a greener, more vegetated streetscape.
  • Measures to slow vehicle speeds, like raised tables at all side streets.
  • Relocated bus stops, in line with traffic.
  • And, of course, continuous separated and connected bikeways, with people using the on-road sections protected by wide separators and parked cars; and adjacent to (but separate from) the footpath as they travel through the village.
An example view of West Lynn village, showing inline bus stops, new planting, and the separated (and straight!) cycle path for all ages.
An example view of Richmond Road, closer to Surrey Crescent, showing a side street raised table, and how the bike path reverts to on-road but remains protected.

So, that’s the quick overview. As we said earlier, we’ll be looking more closely at the details in the next weeks, especially the intersection designs, such as the Surrey Crescent / Richmond Road T-intersection, and the roundabout at Richmond Road / Peel Street. But the important thing is that these designs don’t need any loud calls to fix core issues.

What we need from the community at large right now is a huge vote of confidence in Auckland Transport’s new approach to neighbourhoods.

Street design can no longer be about ushering cars like VIPs through every street and then squeezing everybody who walks, bikes, or buses into what’s left over. This is a wholesale rethink that finally taps the power of great streets to make things better for everyone – with greenery and beauty, smooth travel and safety – welcoming walkers and bikers alike, and bringing local streets and shopping villages back to life.

It’s been quite a journey, but we’re nearly there. As well as embracing the big picture of what healthy streets might look like, AT has lifted the idea of ‘cycleways’ out of the gutter and into the realm of everyday transport for everyday people. Our streets shape our whole lives. This design shapes them for the better, and sets a new standard for what Aucklanders can and should expect.

We love it. Please support it and spread the word. Thanks!

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18 comments

  1. Do this in Flat Bush please! They are already building roads and houses down here, and it would be nice to have separated cycleways from construction trucks. At least they are installing traffic-calming measures, though they should upgrade the roads literally 50m away!

  2. I’d like to see some mockups showing people using the cycleways on rubbish bin days. No doubt it’ll look just like Mt Albert, and be totally unusable. So cyclists are either forced to ride on the footpath, or in the narrowed vehicle lanes.
    At driveways, who gives way?
    Every driveway will be an up and down bump just like Maioro St.
    Every bus shelter is a narrowing of space, where hidden children can easily step out in front.
    Having parking on the other side provides another place for hidden children to step out. Nobody will check when opening their doors.
    These cycleways might be OK for children to ride to primary school but they’re of no use to a commuter cyclist. Clearly there are a lack of such people working on the project.
    The existing roads are quite wide and are OK to ride on. The Richmond Rd shops and the Warnock St intersection are two danger spots.

    1. I’d expect that commuter riders would ride on the road.

      I keep thinking about the speed of people in each zone of the space rather than the mode. I don’t think commuters doing 40-50 kmh should be mixing with pedestrians and low speed cyclists.

    2. Have a look at the plans:
      The cycle path does not dip for driveways (it does rise up at the raised tables).
      On-street parking has a generous buffer from the cycle path.
      Bus shelters are generally set well back from the path, and where they aren’t, blindspots can be mitigated with fencing (see Quay st – – or we could put in bus shelters without an adshel billboard)

      They look great for me as a commuter cyclist, and I’m stoked we’re trying to build infrastructure suitable for primary kids, intermediate kids, high school kids, and everyone else who doesn’t currently have the desire to ride or scoot on the road.

      If you’re riding 30kph+ getting sweaty racing to work, or zooming on an ebike, by all means feel free to stay on the roadway

        1. To be honest, on these roads at rush hour you can’t do 30km/h no matter how fast you cycle as you have to weave through queues of cars. Much safer and faster to go 25-30 on a segregated track.

  3. LOL, don’t expect Auckland Council to be interested in providing anything like this outside of Central Auckland.

    The kilometres of separated cycleway delivered last year in South Auckland equals the kilometres delivered in North Auckland equals the kilometres delivered in East Auckland equals zero. Plenty of money for Central Auckland though, plenty!

    1. Road projects are where the money is being sucked up. And road maintenance of all the roads, which of course is growing every year. Not charging for parking and congestion is where they’re not getting the revenue they need.

      We need to get this pivotal project through to show that AT can stand up to the minority voices who want to retain car supremacy. And then we need to roll it out across the city.

  4. Well done to the designers. There are so many things to like in this design. New pedestrian crossings – wonderful! Plantings – all the trees, but also all the low plantings providing a buffer between cyclists and traffic at the side streets.

    If people park illegally on the orange dashed lines, there might not be enough visibility for cars leaving side streets into the fast traffic… they might inch out over the raised table and cyclelane. Different solutions to that include replacing the orange dashed lines with plantings, and making the speed limit 30 km/hr. I wonder which is cheaper and which will offer other safety benefits? 🙂

    1. Yes it was about trees originally, but now it seems to be about money being spent on one thing that a certain person considers would be better spent on another thing (namely feeding the kiddies and stormwater separation on this occasion) – i’m not sure if this person understands how society works? They can’t set their own priorities (not that they are bad ones necessarily) and expect all funding and works on anything else to stop until those priorities are met. That’s just not how it works…

      https://www.facebook.com/occupygarnetroad/videos/1165901846919959/?t=89

      1. She’s never had the support of the peace-loving majority. She doesn’t have the support of those who plant trees and care for them. She doesn’t have the support of the people who care for children and want to make their travel safer. And in that video she’s also attacking someone who is a strong critic of AT and AC.

        She complains about money being spent on cycleways, yet claims she should be able to drive fast – the very reason the cycleways are needed! It’s a cost imposed by drivers. And meanwhile, multiple billions are being spent on roads.

      2. She has no answers beyond crazy conspiracy theories like Agenda 21. And that Bike AKL and Gen Zero are part of some nefarious corporate conspiracy to…get people riding bikes an out of their cars. Which is apparently a bad thing. Even though she also complains there is too much traffic.
        https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/central-leader/102298217/anticycleway-protester-arrested-after-destroying-traffic-island-with-sledgehammer

        Looking for logic or intelligence there is a futile exercise. She must be ignored.

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