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 brochure. Feedback 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.]
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.
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!