Bike Auckland’s Liberate the Lane rally is taking place at Pt Erin Park this Sunday at 10 am. We urge you to take part.
The Liberate the Lane rally is to support Bike Auckland’s proposal of a trial of reallocating one lane of the Auckland Harbour Bridge to cycling for three months over summer 2021/22. Bike Auckland has called on Waka Kotahi to enable this trial while progressing a more permanent walking and cycling link over the harbour corridor.
Bike Auckland has prepared a FAQ page to answer questions about how the proposed trial would work.
How did we get here?
The Liberate the Lane campaign follows a (long) string of events revolving around enabling walking and cycling across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
The original Harbour Bridge Plan (from 1951) was for a 40 mph five lane bridge with narrow footpaths either side – not a motorway. As walking was intended, it is unlikely that cycling would have been banned: cycling was allowed on main roads with the same speed limit elsewhere in the city and country. However, a smaller design eventuated as part of a cost cutting exercise and the bridge was only built with four lanes and no footpaths.
The bridge’s width was doubled in 1968, an expansion that could have included provision for walking and cycling. Fewer lanes would have meant slightly less allowance for traffic on the bridge, but the growing bias towards motordom meant that active travel was not accommodated at this juncture.
From the 1970s until today advocacy for cycling and walking across the bridge has been a regular part of Auckland’s urban dialogue. In 2004 the Cycling Action Network took a petition to Parliament requesting walking and cycling access on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, crystallising the ongoing Get Across campaign.
A number of feasibility studies were undertaken in the years that followed, highlighting the need to ensure any option progressed could be accommodated by the existing structure. Eventually the momentum on the proposal stalled as Waka Kotahi (then the NZ Transport Agency, and formerly Transit NZ) declined to progress investigations further. This culminated in a 2009 protest coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Auckland Harbour Bride, which is now part of Auckland’s history.
The citizen-led development of SkyPath emerged off the back of this protest, with a vision supported by thousands. This saw a walking and cycling solution proposed that would be attached to the Eastern clip-on of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and was designed to work within some key constraints (e.g. light weight to minimise loading on the clip-on). This option progressed to a resource consent process in 2015 and was proposed to be funded and delivered using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach.
Following the formation of a Labour-led coalition government in 2017, the role of delivering a walking and cycling facility across the Auckland Harbour Bridge was mandated to Waka Kotahi in 2018. In early 2019 Waka Kotahi announced a significantly upgraded design.
This was further augmented in 2020, when the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP) was announced with tagged funding of $360 m allocated to the delivery of the Northern Pathway from Westhaven to Akoranga (including the Auckland Harbour Bridge). But earlier this year the NZ Herald reported that ‘significant and complex engineering issues’ had stalled the plan to build a walking and cycling path over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, suggesting that the current design would be ‘scrapped’.
While it is understood that other options are under consideration, it is likely that any alternative requiring a significant infrastructure intervention could be several years (if not decades) away. Accordingly, Bike Auckland has called on Waka Kotahi to utilise a three month trial of a walking and cycling segment using a lane of the existing bridge.
Reasons for Liberating the Lane
Greater Auckland support Bike Auckland’s reasons for liberating the lane, as follows –
- Less overall traffic: The effects on the road network would be positive. Less traffic over the bridge means less congestion throughout the road network, reducing emissions and collision risks everywhere.
- Lower emissions: Reducing road capacity is known to reduce emissions via traffic evaporation and enabling modeshift. This is an opportunity for a high profile demonstration of the principle.
- More transport choice: This is a great opportunity to demonstrate our support for cycling – not just across the harbour, but across the whole country.
- Cleaner air: this cycleway would enable many trips that would otherwise be taken by car, so we’d all be breathing easier.
- Cheaper travel options: Cycling is much cheaper than either driving or taking public transport. This critical link would be the North Shore’s equivalent of the North West cycleway – providing cheap travel options for all sorts of journeys.
- Healthier communities: The public health benefits of cycling are enormous for communities.
- Makes commuting fun: Cycling over the bridge would be popular for commuters, recreation and tourism, and give Aucklanders a chance to enjoy the harbour in a new way. Best of all, it would inspire the city’s residents to think about climate action positively, with a better understanding of how modeshift can deliver a better city.
So, what are the reservations?
We understand that Waka Kotahi has declined Bike Auckland’s request for a three month trial based on these concerns:
1. Impact on traffic and buses
Claim: Utilising a lane for cycling provision may have unacceptable consequences on the operation of the existing bridge for traffic and buses.
With space at a premium it is important to prioritise efficient modes like bikes (rather than cars). Providing a cycling link also increases the system’s resilience, so people have options even when the driving network is at a standstill. The bridge is not the main constraint on flow – the approaches are – and if there is a network-wide effect, it is likely to be an improvement due to a very slight reduction in traffic volumes and congestion. The effect on buses can be monitored – that’s the beauty of a trial.
Claim: Reallocating an existing lane on the bridge may raise significant safety concerns.
We have noticed that safety issues have been able to be addressed on bridges with lanes reallocated to cycling overseas, even as recently as a few months ago.
Claim: Reallocating an existing lane on SH1 would divert traffic to SH16/18, resulting in an increase of emissions given the longer distance of this route.
This seems like a stretch in the light of evidence that reducing road capacity generally reduces emissions. Standard traffic modelling used in New Zealand doesn’t model emissions well because it takes insufficient account of induced (or reduced) traffic; nor does it model active modes well. Waka Kotahi’s analysis of the emissions won’t be taking sufficient stock of the reduced “person trips” that occurs with a reduction in road capacity, nor of the reduction in emissions that would likely stem from achieving modeshift from private vehicles to cycling for shorter trips that would still utilise the bridge.
While Waka Kotahi would likely support optimisation efforts targeted to enhancing segments of cycling trips across the Waitematā Harbour (e.g. ferries), we think that this wouldn’t go far enough. It would be insufficient as a stop gap measure particularly if a more permanent solution ends up being years or decades away (touch wood).
In any case, we think that the proposal of a three month trial provides a great opportunity to test out some of these concerns and determine the ongoing suitability of a more immediate cycling option across the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It would also have the benefit of gaining an understanding of the demand (actual and latent) for trips across the bridge using walking and cycling.
Let’s Liberate the Lane!
Following more than 40 years of campaigning for walking and cycling over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, including 12 years of momentum behind the SkyPath proposal – it is time for Waka Kotahi to enable this three month trial.
Join in support of Bike Auckland and the Liberate the Lane rally this Sunday.
Where – meet at Pt Erin Park, Ponsonby
When – Sunday 30 May 2021, at 10 am.
Further event details can be found on Facebook here.
You can also sign the petition to Liberate the Lane here.
Given the volume of traffic that tries to cross the bridge in peak hours, surely the speed of this traffic greatly slowed from what it would be in off peak hours, and as a consequence this must lower any perceived risk to cyclists during these rush hours.
I was also wondering what the overall effect would be if the speed limit on the bridge and approach roads was lowered to 60 KPH. My gut feeling says that this would greatly enhance the safety of the traffic on the bridge and would make reducing the width of the clipon lanes far less noticeable.
No you can still drive at the speed limit southbound in the morning. They purposely limit capacity leading to the bridge so the bridge itself is downstream of the bottleneck. I wouldn’t want to cycle mixed with high speed traffic on narrow lanes.
You can signpost any speed you want. If the road looks like a motorway then that is how people will drive. If it looks like a quiet street then that is how reasonable people drive.
I work on this Harbour Bridge…almost every day. It is my job to maintain it within a team of 12 others. I’m a motorcycle enthusiast as well as a cyclist, but this harbour bridge can never be for us. It is hazardous to cross irregardless of traffic. But you have trucks and busses along those lane and ride next to them as part of an 80kmph zone and you’ve a death wish. The clip on lanes have been canceled indefinitely despite the onging yes / no retorica in media.
Could you clarify what this means, please: “The clip on lanes have been canceled indefinitely despite the onging yes / no retorica in media.”
WK’s position is “Our programme of ongoing monitoring, maintenance, upgrades and load management means the bridge is able to operate indefinitely as a key strategic asset in the Auckland network.”
Did you make a typo? Or have you info to offer?
The input from people with practical detailed experience is important when finding solutions to the long term goals. And people like you also need to keep the long term goals in mind when considering your work and the relevance of your observations.
The facts are that our long term goals are to shift people from driving to other, more sustainable modes. Also, that drivers not paying to keep people safe when they’re cycling has caused the demise of the cycling network from what was once pretty reasonable. To recreate the cycling network in a world that sprawled to the north shore because of the bridge, this critical link needs to become suitable for cycling.
Your safety concerns are about the bridge in its current layout. Visionaries can see that with the application of modifications, it can be made safe. If the speed limit needs to be reduced and strongly enforced, so be it. There will multiple advantages to that.
Heidi, NZTA previously said that the clipons will need to be replaced at some stage. As you point out NZTA now says that the clipons can me maintained as a “key strategic asset in the Auckland network indefinitely”. However the question is what function the clipons would serve if they were retained indefinitely.
NZTA also says: “The likely need for future heavy vehicle restrictions: 32 Forecasts indicate that restrictions for heavy vehicles on the AHB (clip-ons) may be required by approximately 2030. Work done during ATAP by NZTA suggested restricting heavy vehicle weights on the AHB to less than 35 tonnes as one option.”
That means that the carrying capacity of the clipons is slowly deteriorating. Only time will tell how much it will deteriorate by 2030, 2040, 2050 e.t.c. At some stage use of the clipons may be restricted to walking, cycling and busses, which many will think is a good thing!
It is common practise the world over to replace infrastructure once the infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose. There is a compelling case for replacing the clipons and the central span with a new bridge with the same height and appearance as the original and the same width, 35 metres, as the existing. Replacement would cost in the order of $2 billion and could be done whilst maintaining traffic flows other than for a week or so from 26 December in two years.
Busses are heavy vehicles. The double deckers are up to 18 tons, but are short compared to truck and trailer units, and have the heaviest axle weights of any vehicle allowed regularly on NZ roads. They had to get a new category of more expensive RUCs to be able to run them and the routes have to be considered and upgraded where required. They really tear up the roads, you can see if you’ve ever been down Symonds street lately, so sooner rather than later they will have to be moved to centre lanes, or replaced with an alternate crossing. (light rail tunnel, or a new bridge)
It is common practice to replace ageing infrastructure and will have to be done at some point, but doing so when an asset would last another say, half century, doing 95% of the work it does now (with cars only on the clip ons, shifting heavy vehicles to alternate routes or the centre lanes) would be really crazy.
I know what you mean about Symonds St. I was riding down it last July at about 15 km/hr, something happened between my front wheel and the road and I ended up in hospital for 11 days!
NZTA has said many things about the Auckland Harbour Bridge including:
“The Auckland Harbour Bridge Long Term Strategy (May 2019 draft) sets out a long-term plan for the management of the bridge. The Long Term Strategy outlines the potential need to manage heavy vehicle volumes, so the Harbour Bridge’s structural integrity is protected into the future:”
“The key structural capacity issue is the density of heavy vehicles on both the truss bridge and the box girder bridges. A significant increase in the density of heavy vehicles may result in the safe live load capacity of the bridge being exceeded in very extreme circumstances.”
“Clipons not expected to be usable after event? This means that the Harbour Bridge is expected to retain half of its current capacity in the event of a major (2,000-year return) earthquake event.”
NZTA also said a lot about the Newmarket Viaduct including:
“With over 160,000 vehicles passing across it daily, the stretch of motorway between Gillies Ave and Greenlane represents a critical link in not just Auckland’s, but the nation’s road network. And at the very heart of this link stands the Newmarket Viaduct.”
“A pioneering piece of infrastructure when completed in 1965, the viaduct is now showing its age, particularly as it struggles to release peak hour bottlenecks. Frustrations also exist at ground level, with constraints associated with the present structure limiting Newmarket’s growth to the south. The decision to build an entirely new structure – rather than attempt to retrofit the exisiting one – therefore reflects the significant benefits a new bridge will have for both the road user and the surrounding community.”
“The conundrum of how to replace the viaduct without bringing the city to a grinding halt demanded a highly innovative solution. A staged approach to construction and deconstruction will not only achieve this, but allow for the completion of a new, wider (four-lane) southbound motorway in time for the Rugby World Cup 2011. The project will be fully completed by the end of 2012.” (for approx $220 million)
In the scheme of things replacing the Newmarket Viaduct wasn’t crazy. It wouldn’t be crazy to replace the AHB either.
I assume he means the sky path clip-on will never happen for technical reasons. He also seems to think that the proposal is to have a bike lane next to live motorway lanes with no physical separation which would definitely not be the case.
Ah, thanks. Could be. Yes, Glen, Bike Auckland’s proposal has nothing to do with a clip on skypath.
As much as a pedestrian/cycle lane MUST be added to crossing the harbour at this point or near to it, and now, a “temporary trial” of even a day in normal business hours will not work. Not unless those behind this idea want Auckland to crawl to a halt with growing commensurate anger from road users. The bridge is clogged with 8 lanes with Curran St being a major feeder lane, and no, suddenly commuters won’t be peddling their non existent bikes and gayly abandoning their cars in
celebration of their emancipation.
But the government deserves an upper cut for promising Skypath or whatever it was and then when the going got a bit hard, giving up and doing absolutely nothing. And promising reports or commissioning of reports does not cut it either!
How about honouring this promise Labour?
The bridge is not clogged. My experience of driving over the bridge at peak times is that there is hardly ever any hold up on the bridge itself, it is the motorway approaches that are the problem. I don’t understand why people constantly go on about traffic on the bridge as if it is a choke point.
You are clearly not on the same planet as the teat of us. South bound traffic is at a standstill from 6:15 am until past 9am.
North bound is also a night mare.
With bus lanes already in use T2 and T3 lanes thrown in for good measure. With Aukcland public transport poor why would you want to sanction restricting the flow of traffic across the bottle neck.
How many southbound lanes lead to the bridge? (4)
How many southbound lanes are on the bridge? (5)
The bridge is not the bottleneck, just before the bridge is.
@jack. So why do we have the movable barrier?
“@jack. So why do we have the movable barrier?”
The answer is I have absolutely no idea. (I used to teach traffic theory).
Lol. That’s really improved my day, miffy.
I wish we had more data about the bridge.
I’d be interested to know a few things.
a) where people are going. Do most people get off in the city, or continue on? I would love to know, We could concentrate on making replacing those trips a bit more maybe. We would need to set up some cameras that record plates, or some sort of learning that could recognize cars reliably. Could be anonymized data even, just to know what direction input and output cars are going in.
b) and my main point is I would love to see an experiment over a few weeks where they leave the bridge in a 4-4 configuration all the time. And measure ALL average travel times in the area. For sure some movements would be made worse, in particular northbound afternoon peak. But southbound afternoon peak is bottlenecked severely by only having 3 lanes on the bridge. and this would be improved markedly.
The barrier used to improve things a little, when counter peak flows were lower, but a lot of the growth of traffic has been counter peak lately, and so it might not be as useful any more.
That would be an increase in capacity on the counterflow, Jack, leading to more vehicle trips in that direction, without providing any improvement in transport choice.
@Heidi, for sure.
My interest is because of interactions with the future busway. Eventually we will have to have busses running on the center lanes due to the bridge wearing out for heavy traffic. Regardless of implementation (busses slipping into the center 2 lanes that are also T3 lanes on the bridge, or a reversible permanent bus only lane) would be very hard to implement if the barriers could still be moved. If this could all be done at once, it would likely be more politically acceptable.
Why do you think Auckland would crawl to a halt? If losing one lane would bring a city to its knees, we need to provide more resilience than that.
But three months is not enough. People won’t adapt in that time – it’s not long enough for people to get themselves organised with bikes or using the buses, etc. The results will take a while to be positive, and they won’t be bedded in long enough to be believed.
It needs to be a year.
What bridge are you referring to because it aint Aucklands harbour bridge. I use the harbour bridge daily and at all all different hours. The only time to a lane can be out is after 10.00pm, otherwise it’s chaotic for miles back.
It’s not a practical solution.
SH1 near the bridge would also be chaotic if there was one more lane. That’s the point: until we’ve transformed the networks and given people genuine travel options, traffic fills up until the congestion makes people rationalise their choices.
Reducing traffic is critical – see my post on that. The faster we do it – with more levers used all at the same time – the less chaos people will see. If Waka Kotahi actually understood this and acted comprehensively, they could start reducing congestion almost immediately, so that increased congestion is never a reason against improving travel choices.
But that’s the point – it’s chaotic from miles back. It’s the miles back, the approach roads where there is congestion. Because they are the bottlenecks. The bridge itself is not. When were you last actually stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge itself? It’s usually the point where the traffic frees up, because it has capacity.
Sometimes Keith we just can’t imagine what is possible. Every Sunday one lane of Sao Paulo’s (population 12 million) busiest street, Paulista Avenue, is converted to a cycle lane. I’ve seen it and it seems to work. Thousands of adults and kids use it and this hugely vibrant city continues on.
Maybe some North Shore people who are affected by congestion will work from home and some may take the bus. Sadly the world has reached the stage where our efforts to reduce carbon emissions will not be achieved by changing only those things that are convenient.
The bridge is maybe not a bottleneck *right now*.
It will be after you take out one lane.
In the afternoon peak, the 3 southbound lanes are actually a significant bottleneck right now. The 5 northbound lanes sort of are a bottleneck as well, ask any bus passenger how long it takes to go from Fanshawe Street to the bridge right now.
So yes you should expect extra congestion.
Every weekday morning the northbound lanes drop to 3 lanes. The bridge is the bottleneck.
As it stands queues both south of it on SH1 & 16, Fanshawe St and Curran St are normal. Lose 33% of the lane space and gridlock will ensue, money back guaranteed.
You also have to factor in high winds at times combined with bikes, that carnage will ensue.
I am not arguing there should not be an anything but motor vehicles crossing, or the urgency of this, its the thinking the Harbour Bridge is the answer. Its not.
@keith. The bridge would operate in a 4-3 configuration, not 5-2. As it’d be crazy to do otherwise.
So AM would not be impacted, 3 lanes north, 4 lanes south (motorway southbound only feeds in 4 lanes max anyway)
So therefore the only impact would be on pm northbound. Where there are currently 5 lanes feeding the bridge and 5 lanes on the bridge. The spare lane leading up to the bridge should be a bus lane to minimise average delay.
So 4 lanes south bound at peak rather than 5? I’ve been on it with a lane out at peak, its diabolical because you still have Onewa Rd/Sylvan Ave feeding lanes 1 and 2 solidly. Whilst the motorway north starts picking up pace as it goes from 3 to 5 lanes. Close a lane and everything telescopes backwards. Lane 5 is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
The tail as is with 5 lanes is beyond Greville Rd Albany, so let’s make it somewhere north of Redvale at least.
All this will do is seize traffic movements.
And how do you find it on a bike, Keith? Where’s the tail back to when you’re on a bike?
Onewa / Sylvan already merges into one lane long before it makes it to the motorway, its one lane plus 3 on the motorway = 4. Plus the busses. The 5th lane southbound is very underutilized.
I have had this off the record confirmed by an NZTA traffic engineer.
“Whilst the motorway north starts picking up pace as it goes from 3 to 5 lanes”
I’m sure it does. But that doesn’t help the traffic behind in the queue. Its still the same bottleneck of 3 + 1 lane slightly further north. Sure, You might not get going past 60 until you’re on the downhill slope without the 5th lane, but that will not make the queue any longer.
What situation was the 5th lane out? stuck vehicle stuck / broke down on the bridge? Taking a random lane out and forcing people to merge back together halfway across the bridge is totally different from not opening that lane in the first place and having lanes optimized pointing in to the right place. And the extra split and merge would have flow on effects for a long time, even once they have the lanes re-optimized.
Just for the record, I really don’t know how good of an idea this lane removal is at the moment. Given the mediocre cycling connectivity on both sides. If it were better and were likely to have more than 2000 people per hour crossing, then this would be a no brainer. The max throughput of the lane as a cycleway is vastly higher than as a car lane. The northbound PM impact will be more pronounced.
Connectivity is complicated. I don’t know about the south side, but I think you can go along the waterfront.
To the north there is a cycle route from the bridge towards Takapuna. We are getting a pair of new bridges over the motorway at Northcote Road as part of this. However there are a few barriers that would be hard for “normal” people to cross, like Onewa Road and the roundabout in Northcote. And the painted lanes through Northcote have a very poor layout around the pedestrian crossings.
Apart from this one route there is not much. Contrary to what AT believes you cannot cycle along Onewa Road during rush hour.
Yes this will take a long time.
You need to buy a bicycle first.
Well, no, you need to have more than 3 bike shops on the North Shore first. It is a PITA if reaching the closest one takes an entire hour on PT.
And then you may still come to the conclusion that you can’t actually park a bicycle at work.
So yes definitely more than a few months. I’m not sure if it is even possible to trial this.
There are four bike shops one one road in Takapuna
Yes could be 4 over there, but they are all clustered in one single street.
Apart from this there is a bike shop in Rosedale, and one in Devonport. That’s it as far as I can tell. Torpedo7 in Albany also sells bicycles however they’re kind of but not really able to service them.
It’s probably worth having a look on google maps. There are loads of places that sell bikes on the North Shore including more than half a dozen dedicated cycling shops. Torpedo 7 Albany also has a full service workshop for bike repair
Well yes — Google Maps. Where do you think I found those places?
About Torpedo 7, they don’t. I know this because I actually bought a bike there, and they are not able to service the brakes on it.
I don’t understand your point. Why do we need more bike stores?
I went to a bike store and I bought a bike 4 years ago. Have commuted several thousand km’s with it since then and still do when the sun is out. I had one puncture 2 years ago and went to the bike store to buy a new tube. Haven’t been back the bike store since.
How does peak hour traffic during January compare with the rest of the year? Is it more than one lane less?
While I would love a walking and cycling option living in birkenhead, unless there is a bus lane too this will be terrible for buses going northbound. In the last few months every evening the traffic is getting worse, it’s slow from Fanshawe on ramp until Onewa Rd, holding up all buses including NX. Not to mention how bad the lower portion of Onewa Rd has become now. 10 mins has been added to the journey i would estimate.
I agree. That’s exactly what Waka Kotahi should be designing now, to increase travel options and increase people carrying capacity.
After decades of constantly “driving” the narrative through WK and its predecessors, to lose control of it,has come to them ,as a bit of a shock,the pesky climate change issue has got in the way.To have been able to avoid doing anything meaningful about calls for cycling on the bridge,is regretful,can almost see a person/s devoted to ensure all proposals are quashed.
Having a higher authority(Govt),push for and fund Skypath,was a minor setback,but WK ,quickly turned that to their advantage, to push for another bridge,easy to get more vehicle lanes on that.
I think we all know that squeezing in cycle lanes,just won’t wash with the general population, “the sky would most certainly fall in” and realistically would probably
make cycling in Auckland, less safe as more of these “entitled pricks” take up the road space,which the more “entitled ” motorist has a “god given” right too.
I’ll be there with a big group of friends.
If those are Waka Kotahi’s answers it shows their recent mumblings about modeshift and emissions reductions are absolute lies.
They don’t get it. Still. This is the agency that should be leading all the councils and they still don’t get how to reduce emissions and improve congestion through network effects. Unbelievable.
The sky is not going to fall down if a lane is taken. I agree liberate the lane.
I take it you’ll be happy if I liberate a cycle lane and drive my car in it?
Don’t worry motorists already do this. They drive, park and queue in cycle lanes. That’s why we have to fight so hard to get bollards to keep them out.
On any road with 8 cycle lanes and no car lanes, I am happy for you to liberate one of the cycle lanes for driving.
How would we be able to tell its you?
Take a look at bike lanes, footpaths and berms outside the CBD to view a selection of unofficial ‘bike calming’ and ‘pedestrian calming’ pop-up measures by radical motorists.
Time for some enforcement rather than authorities practically endorsing illegal parking.
“RUR 6.14 A driver or person in charge of a vehicle must not stop, stand, or park the vehicle on a footpath or on a cycle path.”
(I’m sure Vance will agree as someone who is very keen on the letter of the law being obey without exception.)
Vance: Hopefully such action by you would result in your drivers licence being liberated from your possession…
So Waka Kotahi raised no structural or pragmatic reasons against liberating a lane other than traffic flow, safety and emissions – none of which stand up to scrutiny.
This is simply about valuing the different modes and the networks that these links support.
Given the GPS’s focus on modeshift, the Minister should get involved. This is a refusal to follow the GPS.
Would we be able to walk in the liberated lane or is it just for cyclists
Looks like it’s a cycling plan, but achieving it would mean WK would be likely to do something for walking too, so it’s worth supporting if walking is your thing. I think the ultimate solution is:
– create a two way cyclelane on the west side by liberating a lane.
– create a footpath on the east side by narrowing the clipons.
Why Are Bike Auckland calling for this to be a timebound trial instead of being an indefinite interim solution?
I think it’s the advocates’ trap of “trying to appear reasonable” in the face of decades of completely unreasonable treatment by the authorities.
The other solution that’s been proposed – narrowing the clipon lanes to provide a narrow lane suffers from the same thing. “Trying to appear reasonable” by not actually taking a lane.
This should be permanent.
A pathway trial on the western clippon might be carried out at weekends during daylight saving hours if both clippon lanes were set aside, but NZTAWK will not spend time looking at a temporary barrier next to motorway traffic. Anyone who thinks this has a realistic chance is dreaming.
A temporary fix is a free circular electric shuttle (not like the last one) from the Police Depot onramp to Curren St onramp. That’s a feasible, realistic solution that makes the connection.
Expect a big police presence near Pt Erin on Sunday….
The police wont do much regardless. Their only goal is to make sure people don’t die or do too much damage to property. If the group were to go on the motorway they’ll do what they did last time and stop traffic at the first hint of it. The last thing the police want is to look bad using their riot gear on some cyclists and a lot of people dead getting run over / panicking.
They might do some light crowd control and protection of the group to prevent panic and stampeding.
If they were extra clever they might pre-emptively block the northbound clipon lanes and allow traffic to continue northbound on the middle of the bridge.
In this day and age there’s no excuse for only serving motorised vehicles.
So if that’s going to be their response, we’ll need to liberate two lanes.
The last 60 years of investment in roads – without protecting people walking and cycling from motor vehicles – has decimated the active travel networks and caused our safety crisis. Drivers have not paid their way – they’ve not paid for the infrastructure needed to keep people safe from their driving.
This focus on motorists has left too many families destroyed, it’s left our children with an environment that stunts their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development. And it’s set our children up for a degraded future.
Waka Kotahi and AT and the various alliances are unethical continuing with this, and they are refusing to follow the direction given by the GPS, which is to provide safety, encourage modeshift and create a low carbon transport system. And the freight priority would also benefit if they could get their heads around how to reduce traffic.
As an example, there is supposed to be a focus on active travel to the rapid transit stations. Yet look at this travesty: https://twitter.com/gallicist/status/1394259561100439557
No cycling on the Normanby Rd bridge approach to Mt Eden Station?
This persistent bias towards motorists is ruining our city and country, leaving us with a deficient, unsafe, high emissions, regressive system.
Providing a link between two major parts of the city should have been provided at any stage in the history of the bridge. It most certainly should have been done last year during Covid. And it needs to be done now to help form a network swiftly.
That roundabout is so close to being right, but also so far away :/ All it needs is priority for cyclists and pedestrians crossing the approaches and departures and tweaks to make the crossings fit the desire line. This isn’t difficult!
It is taboo, which makes it extremely difficult.
That is definitely true.
“NZTAWK will not spend time looking at a temporary barrier next to motorway traffic. Anyone who thinks this has a realistic chance is dreaming.”
There are dozens of kilometres of temporary barrier next to motorway traffic *right now*. There is one less than 9km from the bridge.
They have already tried a shuttle?
It does seem to be a much more efficient solution to getting bikes across the harbor – perhaps they could try it before deciding on the dedicated lane to get an idea of the numbers who might use it. They could even make it free for the duration of the trial.
I envisage something like a Minibus with a trailer to hold the bikes.
I think a shuttle only works in this context if you are only expecting very low numbers. A minibus will seat -what 20 at most, then there is time to load and secure bikes on trailer etc. A shuttle only really works for things like recreational trail riders.
It also only works if you are expecting high numbers or you’d have to sit and wait for some more cyclists to arrive.
Isn’t it an offence to walk/cycle on the motorway itself?
I’m keen to come and support, just a bit scared of getting arrested when we start to march onto the outside lane.
The rally is at Pt Erin park not actually in the motorway. There are no “official” plans to ride the bridge itself – there might be some personal plans but that would be up to you to decide.
The likelihood of getting arrested is essentially nothing.
Especially because at the moment the protest is supposed to just be in the park, not on the motorway. (they said that last time too though).
If people go on the motorway the police wont want to cause a panic / stampede in a constrained area, or just look bad arresting protesters. So again, highly unlikely. Just don’t be the first one over the fence. Or let everyone else go and do the illegal thing, while you remain totally legal sitting enjoying the park.
Yeah, if you have a big enough mob behind you, the police don’t bother enforcing the law. It works pretty well. Until the mob does something you don’t like.
Its really quite simple.
WK, on behalf of drivers, won’t consider an ounce of inconvenience to give walkers and cyclists equal access to what we drivers enjoy whenever we so wish. Even when capacity is there, we are not prepared to let others in. Not one single minute.
Safety, etc is just a smokescreen. WK could do it tomorrow if they wanted. They just do not want to.
This is not going to happen – better to deal with reality than live in a fantasy world.
Firstly, according to data provided by the MOT, the bridge is at peak capacity for many hours of the day and reducing a lane would extend the ‘peak’ longer.
Secondly, there needs to be safety barriers in place to stop jumpers and the wind. That’s a significant construction undertaking in itself and it would not be done for a 3 month trial.
Thirdly, the Government ministers reapply for their jobs every three years. Michael Wood is a decent guy and he wants to provide a walking/cycling option over the Harbour, but he’s not an idiot. Michael Wood knows and so does Jacinda, that far more voters drive cars than ride bikes.
It’s a shame that Skypath wasn’t built 5 or 6 years ago. All it needed was a bit more empathy towards the people living either end and it would have been built by now. OK, the PPP would have been bleeding Auckland Council dry of funds that would no longer be available for other cycle paths, but at least there would have been a crossing.
Instead, because we (and I include myself because I was also against changing the landing designs at the time) will now have to wait for the AWHC to be built/dug before being able to cycle the bridge.
“the bridge is at peak capacity for many hours of the day and reducing a lane would extend the ‘peak’ longer.”
So what? Seriously – if everyone wants to use the same corridor at the same time, that’s what’s happens. That’s the “cost”. And we are effectively subsiding that cost by letting them take over space that could be used by other, more efficient users, so they aren’t in peak for as long. The congestion they currently experience at peak is not what they should be. And its other potential users that are paying the price by being shut out. Its nonsensical.
To repeat my post above, what is proposed is giving a group access who have been shut out from access. Can we not give a little for the greater good?
Make the change and there is rarely, if ever, the carmageddon we all claim. If they did we’d see changes; changes in travelling times, changes in mode shift. I’m sure that we would see unnecessary trips (at that time) disappear all together. Right now, we are just enabling congestion.
Hell, we’d likely see *more* people getting over the bridge at peak.
More than 170,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day and you want to make traffic journeys longer for them, so a few hundred people can cycle across??? Seriously??? That doesn’t sound like ‘the greater good’.
I am taking the patronage based on Skypath’s weekday projections.
There might be an argument for allowing one lane for cyclists on the weekend, but that isn’t doing anything for mode shift, it would just be cool for weekends Lycras.
We have to be realistic and sadly, that now means waiting for the Government to admit they are going to build an AWHC.
Yeah well being “realistic” has got us into the reality we have. Stuff that. Do you see 170,000 vehicles and think, “got to make that trip easy for them”? I see 170,000 vehicles and think, “got to make it easy for them to use another way of getting around.”
How many of those 170,000 are at peak? How many are actually inconvenienced? And by how much relative to their overall trip? Would it matter?
Do those at peak actually need to be there, or be there by car, at that time? If capacity was reduced, how many would shift to walking/PT/bike?
Are there a material number there at that time, simply because they can? How many trips would disappear?
Can we make decisions so that vehicles is not the goal but people?
How does allowing cars this unfettered access fit into the plans for the central city?
We are not even asking these questions. We are saying “thats the way it is, find someway else to get across the bridge. Cars were here first, no matter how sub-optimal it is”.
With all due respect KLK, there are people in those vehicles. What you are suggesting is that a minimum of 170,000 people in vehicles should be inconvenienced because of a few hundred people on bikes.
It doesn’t make sense on any level.
I just wish the Government would crack on and build a rail tunnel between the city and the shore. That would create a massive mode shift and give the space to free up a lane on the bridge. This is the best outcome for PT, the best outcome for Cycling, the best outcome for the bridge and the best outcome for the tax payers.
Unfortunately the people at Waka Kotuia cannot decide if they want a new bridge next to the existing one (for Cycling/peds/rail), replace the 2 lane clip ons with 3 lane ones, build a rail tunnel, or build a road tunnel.
Add to that this Government is one that is strong on ideas, weak on delivery and I can sadly predict that we will still be talking about this in another 10 years.
“What you are suggesting is that a minimum of 170,000 people in vehicles should be inconvenienced because of a few hundred people on bikes.”
Why not? Why should the most inefficient user of the space hog almost 100% of the capacity and shut other users out? Just because we have always let them? Just because they can and do, does not mean they should. I don’t believe we would allow it to happen now if we were building the bridge again. Why can’t we change course?
My suggestion is to repurpose just 1/8th of the bridge to allow greater use by greater people and for people to be able to make better decisions about how they use the bridge and when.
The only people who *may* be impacted are those travelling during peak, who must travel at that time, and for whom a shift to biking, walking or PT is not feasible (my changes would also have priority for buses). But just what is “inconvenience”? a 45min trip instead of 40mins? Is that really such a big deal to have active modes and PT using the bridge and using it more efficiently than cars ever could? But I am not even sure there would be a material difference once people make those choices. We closed central city streets for CRL works and all predicted carmageddon. None of it happened. None. The thing that has worsened congestion over the bridge in recent decades? Adding capacity for cars.
Finally, there is not much point in repeating the “170,000” cars claim. Its not the peak number and many of that number are using it just because they can (and that the current “congestion” is not bad enough to be a deterrent for all but essential trips) and because they do not have viable alternatives.
Daniel, if we had a safe cycling network as connected as our driving network currently is, and if we had a driving network as connected as our current safe cycling network is, the numbers would be reversed.
The 170,000 and the “few hundred” doesn’t represent some kind of ‘normal state’. All it represents is decades of investment in driving and decades of neglect to invest in cycling.
We’re attempting to create a cycling network. There’s a gap between the isthmus and the north shore. Bridging that gap will just take one lane out of eight. Resisting this doesn’t show care for other people’s needs.
Please don’t argue for it on the basis of driver travel times. The best research shows that designing for driver travel time savings is how to ruin your city. We can move on now.
A couple of points here.
Firstly, I am not against a cycling and walking lane on the bridge. Quite the opposite actually.
Secondly, not all vehicle journeys across the bridge can be replaced with active modes. The majority of the traffic is not lower north shore to city traffic and very few (if any) people would switch from driving to cycling to travel from Albany to Otahuhu.
I was just pointing out the obvious, that a three month trial bike lane on the bridge will never happen.
Let’s just start with the first issue of Health and Safety. Do you honestly think OSH would allow this? Without a wind barrier to stop cyclists being blown into a vehicle lane or without barriers to stop jumpers?
These measures can’t just be ignored and they can’t be put in overnight. Wind tunnel tests would need to be done, engineers would have to design them to meet legal standards and it would take weeks to erect.
Hands up who seriously thinks that is going to be done for a 3 month trial.
I get that emotions are running high, I am disappointed that Skypath isn’t going to happen (probably for another 10 years), but try and think rationally. This is not going to happen.
I agree with you on those points Daniel.
Its why there should be a 1 year trial – to cover seasons, holidays, etc and get a true picture and let things like traffic bed down – and if it was, the proper protocols and (temporary) infrastructure could be put in place, in time.
A year would be better than three months, and even better, this should be designed, established, monitored, and when there is a better option, replaced with that. But the link needs to be made, and protected henceforth as important.
Man, can you imagine the sh-t storm.
There will be that awkward period where traffic is horrible while the bike lane is still empty. Congestion is non-linear. A bit less capacity can cause a lot of mayhem. We will have to live with that until people adjust. Meanwhile the bike lane will at first appear empty — look at how quiet the northwestern cycleway still is after all this time (busy on that sort of path means 1500 per hour, not per day)
Right now the ferries create an upper bound on how many people are commuting with a bike across the harbour. How much is that, two dozen maybe? It is impossible for the rest to cross the harbour, so why would you bother investing in a bicycle or gear if you go that way? Would you bother with a 3 month trial (that maybe will be cut short)?
Also for this to work we had better figure something out for streets like Onewa Road and Glenfield Road, fast.
“Why should the most inefficient user of the space hog almost 100% of the capacity and shut other users out? Just because we have always let them?”
This statement is so important and should be at the heart of the debate. This issue isn’t just about transport, it’s about safety, the environment, land usage, housing costs. The car isn’t the answer. It is the problem. We have built our entire society around accommodating the car and now we are suffering the consequences.
Yes, Ari. Its amazing (but not surprising) the effort that goes into wanting to maintain a sub-optimal outcome.
Its why the “numbers” debate (no. of potential path users v current drivers) should not be the focus. We know 8 lanes of cars funnelling into other bottlenecks, the air pollution, the absolute contradiction with City Center Master Plans, etc – that’s not the result we would want if we started this today. We should not lack the courage to reverse that.
If 2020 showed us anything, its how adaptable we are. It will never be as bad as the predictions. It never is. We’ll wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.
The alternative is $400m+ on a Skypath solution which will ultimately be deemed to expensive to proceed. We’ll then have to wait a decade for a second harbour crossing, which will no doubt have car capacity so as to allow the lane liberation to finally happen. We will exacerbate the exisiting problem just to provide a solution to the issue (Nth-Sth active network).
“OK, the PPP would have been bleeding Auckland Council dry of funds that would no longer be available for other cycle paths”
haha. AT only has to remodel a single intersection for the cycle path funds for that year to be decimated.
It wont be Auckland if we get active transport on the bridge. 50 years of “where are the footpaths” conversations will grind to a halt. What would be next ?
Im thinking on mobilising/activating the Angry Pukekohe mob. “They took a lane from your town center – now’s the time to take a lane from their bridge…”
In retrospect – we don’t want tractors on the bridge.
Where is the evidence that a cycle option on the bridge would reduce vehicle traffic? Who is to say that the people who might choose to cycle are not currently using public transport ? Or that many of the cycle trips might be recreational?
So are you suggesting people don’t drive for recreational use? That would be a new one to me.
I imagine quite a few of the people who might choose to cycle are those using public transport. These are the people who’ve already decided that adding to the congestion isn’t something they feel good about, or who don’t drive at all. By switching to cycling, they’ll free up space for others on public transport – and it is to public transport that many drivers will switch when they take their first steps to more sustainable transport choices.
On reducing vehicle traffic by removing a lane, this article has plenty of research listed at the bottom. But just treat it as a starting point; the evidence base is massive.
Any dedicated lane on the bridge should be for public transport. It would provide benefit to a far greater number of people and not be so ableist.
I support public transport lanes on the bridge, but how is it ableist to provide for the only two transport modes that can’t currently cross at all…
FYI at least one person with a hand cycle crossed the bridge yesterday, can’t get too many of those on the NEX.
If supporting bicycling makes you ableist, then so be it.
Sky Path was a great idea but this one is just doesn’t add up.
Less than 1000 people use the relatively flat reasonably well connected NW cycleway (less than 2000 trips per day).
Realistucally how many cyclists will use the exposed bridge to commute? Would be interested to hear peoples estimates.
I would guess less than 200 per day. Or a couple of buses.
That’s why there should be a 12mth trial.
But my guess is if you count commuters and recreational, both cyclists and walkers, you double the daily count of the NW cycleway within a year.
What’s your source for “less than 1000”? April 2021 weekday average was 1340 at the Kingsland counter.
As far as I understand the 1340 is the total for both directions. It is likely a lot of people are being counted in both directions.
Sorry, I was being generous.
Is it well connected?
It’s not even a cycleway, it’s a narrow path shared with pedestrians
How much segregated cycling infrastructure actually plugs into it out West?
Also how much segregated cycling infratstructure is present at the City end?
Also how many people don’t use it because they have to cross a dozen traffic crossings at motorway intersections despite the pretense that it’s a high quality, high capacity cycleway
Realistically, the NW shared path (not cycleway) is actually exceptionally poor infrastructure compared to any standard in the world, which shows how strong the desire for cycling is that it is still heavily used even though it’s not very good
+1, I use the NW path daily and am always telling friends about it but the most common response is ” but how do you get to it safely” – the needs to be safe, easy connections – maybe call it a network.
I was in attendance in 2009 when the section of the NW through Kingsland was opened to great fanfare as a “cycle superhighway”. Even that relatively new stretch is now badly, badly degraded and in need of an overhaul.
E-mobility is the real potential commuter customer that’s locked out right now.
The assist makes you less bothered by headwinds and the haul up the slope; the weight helps overcome crosswinds.
I think in the long term, many would prefer the low capital outlay; the lack of ORCs, parking fees, fueling and queuing.
E-bike and e-scooter riders could come from much further north, with no sweat.
Sure seems like a lame reasoning by NZTA not to try this.
You think health and safety are ‘lane reasoning’ hmmmm
They didn’t say health, Daniel. Health is a reason to take the lane. They said safety, and safety can be accommodated. It just needs WK to want to design it.
Research shows that implementing a safe cycling network improves safety outcomes for all users including drivers.
Heidi, you are choosing to ignore the safety issues.
1. Fencing would need to be in place to stop jumpers
2. Significant barriers would need to be in place to separate road traffic from cyclists (it’s a motorway).
3. Some sort of barriers either side would need to be in place to stop bikes being blown into traffic from gusts of wind (if it can blow a truck over, it could blow a cyclist into traffic).
Wind tunnel modeling would have to be done, significant engineering design work would be needed and weeks of lane closures for construction set aside.
It is NEVER going to happen for a 3 month trial. You and I both know that and all Bike Auckland is hoping for is that enough idiots think this could be a reasonable idea, that once it’s started, there is no going back.
The problem with that strategy is that it is such a stupid idea, with so many insurmountable problems, that NZTA will never give into it.
Apart from it being on your ‘wish list’, can you really come up with a reason why this is a good idea? Permanently taking out 1/8 of the bridge capacity and at a huge cost in tax payers money to build and lost productivity because of increased journey times for hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders.
I am all for cycling and walking over the bridge, but I’d rather save my energy for supporting projects that actually provide a solution to our congestion, not wacky ideas that cause more problems.
What Bike Auckland and Greater Auckland should be doing is demanding that the Government tells us what went wrong with The Northern Pathway and how and when they are going to come up with a new plan.
You’re right, Daniel, to do it all properly makes sense economically if done permanently, rather than for a trial, let alone a trial for only 3 months. I support their call for the trial, but I’ve advocated openly for a long time that I think this should be done permanently. And sufficient width needs to be provided to ensure there’s both walking and cycling.
There is plenty of research into the phenomenon of people claiming there’d be congestion mayhem and lost productivity from reducing highway capacity – which didn’t eventuate.
The capacity of the bridge could be increased at the same time, if we implemented bus lanes.
Worrying about one lane when entire highways are removed is simply lacking vision. This is a nice graphic of the Seoul highway removal:
We don’t agree on the requirement for emissions reductions and have each laid out our position on it. Maybe we’d agree on the solution here if we did.
“1. Fencing would need to be in place to stop jumpers” Very easy retrofit for a chickenwire fence
“2. Significant barriers would need to be in place to separate road traffic from cyclists (it’s a motorway).” Bolt down barriers are available
“3. Some sort of barriers either side would need to be in place to stop bikes being blown into traffic from gusts of wind (if it can blow a truck over, it could blow a cyclist into traffic).”
Fences would be needed, chicken wire fences, just like on the causeway or the other harbour bridge, where wind is also an issue.
“Wind tunnel modeling would have to be done, significant engineering design work would be needed and weeks of lane closures for construction set aside.” No it wouldn’t, bolt down barriers are installed overnight all over the network.
I get that these seem like major concerns to you, but if you know that little, can you at least pose them as questions?
I think the solution for active mode across the bridge will require an AWHC.
I think all main political parties know this, but keep putting it off because of the high price tag.
For me the best thing would be a light rail tunnel that connects LR from the Airport to Albany in a North/South line via Britomart and Takapuna.
This won’t be cheap, but it would take a lot of traffic off the roads and the bridge.
The bridge then could have a cycling and walking lane on the top deck, where it would be easy to add a ramp for access at Northcote Point, either side, without too much fuss from the NIMBYs.
What really annoys me is the silence surrounding the Skypath/Northen pathway project now. It seems that the politicians were very available for the announcement of this as a shovel ready project 18 months ago, but not a squeak since.
Why don’t they just come clean, admit we need a clean sheet approach and give a timeline on when the pathway will be completed.
I would rather know it will be 5 years away than just sit and wonder.
I live in Milford and work in the city. My life would be transformed if I could have the option of either a fast light rail journey into work, or be able to get some exercise and ride my bike in, even if admittedly only on sunny days.
I actually see the protest this weekend and the very likely illegal crossing of the bridge by cyclists as being counterproductive. It risks having the majority of Aucklanders turn against Skypath.
“For me the best thing would be a light rail tunnel that connects LR from the Airport to Albany in a North/South line via Britomart and Takapuna.”
Even if this is the best solution, it would take decades to complete from planning to finish, so what do we do in the meantime?
‘Chicken wire’. Can you please name one bridge where chicken wire has been used to stop people jumping off.
Bolt down Armco barriers are not a realistic solution for a 3 month trial. Firstly they are expensive and secondly, The bolts have to be set in concrete which again is not practical for a 3 month trial. Concrete barriers could be used, but that’s assuming that NZTA have a few kms of them to spare.
As for what to do in the meantime. Sadly the only answer is wait and be patient. It’s been 62 years on Sunday since the bridge opened, we have managed to do without a cycle lane all that time and for the years before the bridge. We will all survive another 10 years.
Waiting for a cycling option over the Harbour doesn’t mean all other works to make cycling safer has to stop. Better to spend your time and energy advocating for things that can be delivered, rather than wasting it on pipe dreams.
| ‘Chicken wire’. Can you please name one bridge where chicken wire has been used to stop people jumping off.
The Sydney harbour bridge does basically use chicken wire https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Sydney_Harbour_Bridge_pedestrian_path.JPG
Brooklyn Bridge is the same. Ok not literal chicken wire but it’s just wire mesh like a cyclone fence. A lot of bridges across the motorway in South Auckland have the same.
2km of transport portable concrete barrier is no problem for WK, or their contrsctors, they literally have tens of km of it sitting around for use in maintenance. They put it down on the bridge for the annual resurfacing of the clip ons.
All of the “discussion” here is working on the assumption that an actual lane is to be removed from use for the almighty god the car and handed over to some sort of devil the cyclist.
What is actually being proposed is to narrow the lanes on a clipon so they are the same width as those on the main bridge and then from the extra space created assign that as a cycle lane with some form of light weight barrier to separate the two modes.
I’d also go a step further and suggest that at least during the peak periods the speed limit on the bridge be dropped to 60 kph.
And before you start screaming about slowing the traffic down and causing more congestion, I’d be surprised if the average speed during peak periods is as high as 60 kph so you’d actually not change the speed as such, although what international experience has shown is that with a lower speed limit the traffic tends to flow better.
The Bike Auckland proposal is to take an actual lane, yes. One of the other solutions explored by NZTA and various advocates is to narrow the two clipon lanes and take that space for a narrower lane.
I actually think they complement each other. One for each side of the bridge. One for walking, one for cycling. It puts cycling on the west where the ingress and egress is easiest. And walking on the east where the view is better. Elevators might serve the walking path? I haven’t looked at that without the need for a ramp.
I agree about slowing the traffic down; that it will enable the traffic to flow better. It will also reduce crashes considerably, reducing not just DSI, but the number of those crazy days when traffic is really slow.
I’d love to know more about it
Craaaig and Ryan see this link from the two minute mark.
Since Arvind Daji and I sent the proposal to the Ministers of Transport and Infrastructure in October 2020, circulated it on social media and then presented the proposal to the Auckland Council Planning Committee on 3 December 2020, we have tweaked it just a little.
The clip-ons are 9.15 metres wide barrier to barrier. An additional 0.45 metres can be gained by moving the existing side barrier in to form the path barrier, and constructing a new side barrier to the line of the inside of the existing light poles.
That provides 9.6 metres of width allocated from the outside:
– 2.4 metre path
– 0.2 metre barrier (existing side barrier moved in)
– 7.0 carriageway: 2 x 300mm shoulders and 2 x 3.2 metre lanes
The February 2020 Waka Kotahi Northern Pathway business case shows an option of a 7.0 metre barrier to barrier carriageway for two lanes. No safety concerns are raised by WK. On the central span 6.1 metre wide carriageways are used for two lanes.
The gradient of 5% is the maximum suggested by Ausroads for a downhill cycle path.
2.4 / 2.5 / 2.6 metres width is a little cosy for a bi-directional cycle path. We have modified out proposal to one way-cycling and one-way walking in the opposite direction, on each path.
The upper level of the San Rafael – Richmond Bridge in the Bay Area was modified in a not dissimilar way to create a shared path on the 13 km long bridge in 2019, for US$20 million.
We set a date of end of 2021 for the active transport to be available across the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Since the above post we found out that Cycle Action, now called Bike Auckland, had proposed the same thing back in 2006. This is a document from 2008:
The top image on the “2008 Optimised Design” document shows 300mm shoulders and 3200mm lanes, a total of 7 metres exactly from barrier to barrier. That is a good choice as it is the width that Waka Kotahi provides in their February 2020 business case in which no safety concerns for traffic were noted, so 7 metres for 2 lanes has WK’s has approval. The 2008 Optimised Design shows 500mm wide barriers but such width isn’t necessary, the barriers on the clipons right now are only 200mm wide have done their job without fault since 1969 and on the northern side already have top mounted screens.
The Bike Auckland 2021 proposal is to “Liberate a Lane”. One lane of traffic on a clipon would require 2 x 300 mm shoulders and a 3500 mm lane, wider per lane than with two lanes because there is only one lane. That’s 4.1 metres in total. Even with moving the 0.2 m wide outside barrier in, that would leave 5.3 metres for two way cycling and walking. That’s only 0.5 metres more width than taking a quarter of each clipon, but would reduce the vehicle capacity of New Zealand’s most critical piece of transport infrastructure by 12.5% from a modest 8 lanes to only 7 lanes which would generate huge opposition, not just from petrol heads, so is unlikely to ever happen.
The western clipon could be used for a ciclovia event every Sunday.
I’d really really love to know more about this
Does Bike Aucklands’ FAQ answer your questions, Ryan and Craaaig? https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/faq-liberating-the-lane/
Out of interest, can anybody remember what happened to the bus and trailer experiment many years ago.
I can remember all the hoo haa when it was launched, but can’t remember the excuse for not continuing with it.
There seems to be some many questions about the engineering aspects of bolting on a cycle lane. Why not get on with the cycleway from Akoranga to the bridge and upgrade from Westhaven to the city. Then run a couple of free ferries for cyclist and walkers back and forth beside the bridge as an interim solution. If Mapua can do it why not Auckland.
Auckland Harbour Bridge will be open for walking and cycling tomorrow, Sunday, May 30 in response to the GetAcross Rally at Point Erin @ 10am.
Details are on Auckland Transport’s website:
Can’t see any reference to the lane closure at that link.
Can you check and it possible repost
It was there last night, but its gone now
And we wonder why crime is out of control in this country.
The appalling lack of respect shown towards police by a few selfish protestors on the Harbour Bridge today is a good example of why things are this way.
I look forward to the culprits being arrested and hauled before the courts.
I’m sure this blog doesn’t condone this lawless behaviour.
Lol. Wait till I tell you about the daily red light running, speeding, and illegal parking undertaken by cars. You’ll never leave the house.
Love the faux outrage Vance
And we wonder why crime is out of control in this country’. Followed with appalling lack of respect shown towards police by a few selfish protestors’
Which one is it mate? Is crime out of control or was it a few people?
Breaking the law is not the way forward. It is exactly this sort of thing that give the Nimbys an argument against any future RC.
What did today actually achieve? Sadly I can predict another protest in 8 years time for the bridge 70th anniversary.
This looked more like a Trump rally than progress 🙁
I like to think Barb and the Bike Auckland crew are pretty politically savvy, and have far more information about the current political winds, and more experience than most of us in the activism world. I give them a bit of credit / trust to do the optimal thing to move cycling forward.
My speculation is that this is more to signal to authorities that sky path cannot be delayed indefinitely again and while I seriously doubt we would get a car lane re-allocated to a cycle lane, a pretty robust short term solution is going to be set up and a long term solution actually in the works.
Breaking the law protesting is certainly accepted and fine, within reason. No one got hurt, and as no property damage was done (as far as I know). A friend went and he said that it was the most wholesome protest he’s ever been to. The tone of the event wasn’t angry at all mostly, more excited, and people there with kids and their pets etc. Lots of bicycle bells jingling.
About as far from a trump rally as one could get
Sometimes breaking the law is the way forward Daniel.
Whether your ‘outraged’ or not depends on which side of any given issue ya sit.
See Otahuhu LTN vs Harbour bridge cycling.
Without some law breaking in the late 1970’s Bastion Point would now largely be covered with low density housing.
So many examples.
And at the same time, WK are breaking the law with continuing to build climate damaging infrastructure and AT are breaking the law with their RLTP and their failure to manage a safe transport system.
The police were there, they were part of the traffic management and monitored the lane closures.
Like every other protest that blocks a street (happens a dozen times a year on Queen street).
Many hundreds of protesters.
If you think anyone’s getting arrested you need to get outside more.
Plus overall the crime rates have been decreasing on average for decades. https://www.parliament.nz/media/5083/rp1802_from-offences-to-victimisations.pdf
The barrier machine is broken today on the bridge. Meaning only 4 lanes going south. Traffic is MUCH worse.
Previously I thought loseing one lane wouldn’t be so bad (I note NZTA is now talking about 2 lane bike path which is unacceptable) I now realise that’s wrong. Any bike path needs its own new structure.
You’re ignoring what happens as people adjust. Disruption on a day when people weren’t expecting it has nothing in common with a steady long term situation.
James, last year a truck hit the struts and without notice, 4 lanes were lost on the bridge, Peak time carmageddon? Absolutely. A 6hr trip from city center to lower north shore suburbs, apparently.
Then the authorities adjusted: bus priority onto the bridge and additional ferry trips and the public encouraged to use them. They were also reminded of the Upper Harbour Highway/Western Ring Route, that they should shift their travel time from peak or work from home if able.
The result? a 30% reduction in traffic across the bridge. Within DAYS. And traffic “eased”. We created a massive modal shift, would have done wonders for emissions/air pollution downtown, as well as congestion. We may even have used the route more efficiently, with more people crossing the harbour than usual, rather than focusing on the number of cars with 1.8 people in them (on average). Imagine would what have been achieved over a longer period, with more long term decisions and infrastructure.
It can be done. But people have to shift their mindset that car drivers must not be impacted one single degree. I am a driver and would be. But when we don’t use the space efficiently resulting in others being shut out 100%, something is wrong. Last years incident shows it can be done and over time, many would make different decisions and we’d barely notice the difference in the end.
There’s still a lot of weasel words in this article but it is a huge change in NZTA’s approach to this compared with 12 years ago when the last protest ride happened.
I don’t think the idea of re-prioritising lanes is as far-fetched as it was even a few years ago.
It is a huge change. Reallocating lanes on the bridge has even been dismissed in the comments here without proper consideration.
But the idea itself was never far-fetched.
The problem is an agency unwilling to work backwards logically from where we need to get to to steps to take now. And a population that seems to believe what people say is politically unfeasible instead of realising that most people will be happy to do what is best for our people and future if we simply manage the communications well.
I am very much aware of what happened last year as I was dealing with it.People ended up doing odd things like just staying home. Using the ring route which ruined traffic there as well. Or in my case I left home obscenely early in the morning and still was stuck in traffic. Those solutions are not sustainable long term and traffic over the bridge never got to an acceptable level and in fact congested other parts of the system.
I guess I’m not convinced many people would take up the cycle commute to make up for the worse traffic not just for cars but public transport users also. I wouldn’t be super opposed to a trial of a single lane conversion (absolutely not 2 lanes though as nzta now talking about) but the parameters for success/failure should be clearly defined beforehand.
We’re talking about changing to seven lanes here not four.
Exactly. If we can’t manage 8 lanes of traffic into 7 to allow for users currently shut out, that says we do need to do something.
Agree though on a trial period (I would have 12mths to cover seasons, school holidays etc) and then ome back with a full picture. One lane should suffice.
And on “success or failure”, increased travel times for the private car would not be a failure. I don’t know why we are so concerned about maintaining a result which results in so many negatives. And why that particular group must be untouched while all others suffer.
Well drivers did pay for the bridge. Not cyclists.
The toll was removed in 1983, only a fraction of those who drive over the bridge today have contributed to its cost.
Like the Northern Gateway the toll only covered part of the cost, the rest was covered by everyone, drivers or not.
Every single one of them is contributing to its maintenance. Nobody on a bicycle is.
Nigel – Yawn.
Every single taxpayer is contribution to its maintenance, car drivers are the ones that are not covering the full cost that they themselves create
They’re also the reason it requires maintenance. People walk and cycle across the Sydney Harbour Bridge every day without contributing to its maintenance and no one bats and eyelid.
That’s because there are walking and cycling lanes in the Sydney bridge. There aren’t on the Auckland bridge.
Nobody on a bicycle also owns a car and pays fuel or general taxes?
Besides, motorists aren’t exactly paying for their emissions….
While they’re driving they are. Not while they’re on a bicycle.
Nigel, this is a silly argument. People are people; they’re not “drivers” or “cyclists.” We all have family members who use a range of modes including biking at some stage of their lives; we all walk sometimes. We are a society.
Why would you want to underfund what people need, if that thing allows them to get around safely and sustainably?
And if you’re going to go down that rabbithole of division and hatred, then you need to face the fact that driving is the most subsidised mode. When we drive, we don’t pay for our emissions – neither the climate change nor the poor health from air pollution. We’re not paying for the traffic trauma caused by driving. We are not paying for the water pollution, the cost of all the land we use for parking – which is often free or heavily subsidised, and always a lost opportunity for better uses.
When we drive we don’t pay to keep other people safe from our driving and that is stopping us from walking and cycling more. That’s silly, cos it reduces our society’s health. We need to invest our money better.
Nigel’s right. That’s why I drive my kids everywhere. It would be wrong of my kids to walk on the footpath because they haven’t paid for it. By driving I know we’re paying for it. Nigel, do you think children should be allowed into schools or hospitals, given they haven’t paid for it?
Lol. Quite how you get to that sort of nonsense from what I said is beyond me.
A few words if i might. Being from down south – i tried my hardest to use PT to get to point Erin to support the notion of getting across Auckland without fossil fuel.
1st problem trains not running. 2nd problem – cycling up gt sth road is a death wish, more so if i took my 12yo, and plain suicide when thunderstorms predicted. My partner suggested i ride up the southern train tracks – probably the safest way in to the city.
So i fossil fueled my way into Pt Chev and started the hunt for a carpark, then rode to Pt Erin and shared an hour of great inspirational speeches, which stopped abruptly, leaving us wondering… do we go home now. Nup – gravity pulled us all down to the curran st onramp – staunchly defended by 6 of Auckland’s finest. We were in the thousands – the sun out, and the day perfect. I had the feeling the cops put up token resistance, then let us through – i don’t believe that was the case upon watching the videos – they did their best. Got to wonder at the planners who sent 6 cops only. The next hour i am still buzzing from. All Aucklanders must spend some time on our bridge, and not whizzing along at 80kph but at people speed. even stopped to take in the view. Its magic. Its ours. A quick trip down, and a u turn at the bottom and back up, the surprisingly easy gradient. Only two dickheads observed the whole event, One was a traffic cop on his motorbike – doing 80kph? between cyclists. He was in a hurry. Nothing was that urgent. They other – a cyclist confirming that all populations contain sub-standard members. Upon return to curran st, I said thanks to the 6 cops genuinely for their efforts. No smile or acknowledgement back. These guys were in the zone. Not there to chat – they were not impressed.
I read the debate above, all valid, all real. Engineering concerns, safety concerns, equity, funding. That debate is over 50 years old. If you get a chance – even if its another 12 years from now – grab a bike and a friend – and go ride the bridge – its amazing.
Great comment SAR.
My partner took the kids over to it and they came home buzzing!
I thought Laila Harre’s tweet from the top of the bridge saying ‘Basically baffled this isn’t normal’ summed it up quite well.
Each traffic lane carries 30,000 people a day. The busiest cycleway in Auckland is under 2,000 people a day, so even if this trial became the busiest cycleway in the city by a factor of two, that means a downgrade of usage for the lane from 30,000 to 4,000.
I look forward to seeing the business plan that has a goal of lesser usage of transport infrastructure.
Wow, great stat. All those high capacity cycle lanes over Auckland that are maxxed out constantly because they are wide, direct and have gold plated conneting infrastructure.
Such a valid comparison
The most valid comparison is probably that other cycleway that also follows a motorway — the northwestern cycleway. This one too, in terms of amount of people it is moving, is a waste of space compared to motorway lanes.
There is a lot of potential there — a 3m bidirectional bike lane can easily carry the same amount of people as a *pair* of motorway lanes next to it if you have the usual tidal commuting pattern. But most of this potential is wasted because there are not a lot of safe ways to reach the cycleway.
The same can happen with a Sky path trial. The Northcote cycle route reaches at least some people but that is only a small fraction of people living in the wider catchment.
Geoff, if priority should be based on numbers, buses win. About 40% daily mode share with just 1000 vehicles. So I guess if its not a cycleway, a few more lanes should be given over to buses?
There would be a lot more support for dynamic bus lanes. At least if there is an an incident they can be switched to all traffic. Of course much of the above commentary says that the bridge isn’t a bottleneck so there isn’t a need yet.
Stu, that’s a good point about support for dynamic bus lanes. Think about where this came from: the public having seen the bus way, so they understand the benefits of bus priority. When people see principles in action, they get on board. AT is getting bolder about bus lane priority, too, as their staff have become comfortable with it. If WK decided to demonstrate the traffic evaporation and modeshift that road reallocation to cycling can bring, we’d start to get some great, vocal support for good projects. It’s hard while they resist this.
The last thing you should do in an incident is to use the bus lanes for general traffic. Public transport needs to be as isolated as possible from the congestion that general traffic causes. The lanes are an important piece of resilience for emergency vehicles, too.
The bridge not being a bottleneck is even more a reason to implement bus priority. Its sort of inevitable that traffic will saturate it eventually. And once traffic is saturated, then re-allocating the lane becomes even more difficult as the short term effects are more pronounced.
EG taking space off the northwestern to make dedicated transit lanes now would be met with public hangings of officials, and massive short term travel time increases.
Yes, and the other comments above are also true – that the counterflow direction does get congested, meaning the bridge has already started to be a bottleneck, which is slowing down the buses.
Bus lanes should be part of the solution sought now.
My thoughts exactly KLK. A bus lane city bound in the am and shore bound in the pm should have happened long ago.
My point was that bike advocates are asking the NZTA to conduct a capacity reduction trial, but the agency has no mechanism by which to do that. Investment is tied to growth.
They had a defacto bus lane city bound when they opened the busway, the easternmost lane was exit to Shelly Beach Road only except for buses. They removed that arrangement in favor of more cars when they opened the victoria park tunnel.
Brilliant. Checking the GIS data, buses don’t even register 1% in terms of traffic volume on the St Mary’s bay part of the system.
Incredible how wasteful passenger cars are.
Geoff. You forget that BA and GA use the argument that capacity of that lane is 14000 theoretical cyclists per hour. Of course those 2000 real cyclists will be very tired by the end of the day 😉
I’d be a lot less tired if I could cycle over the bridge Stu.
It’d shorten my commute from Takapuna to the airport considerably.
As of now I have to ride around through Greenhithe so being able to go over the bridge would reduce my ride from 52km each way to about 30.
That is a great commute by bike. Well done!
You didn’t get the meaning of my comment which was that while theory has a much higher capacity for cyclists, reality us different, do to reach theory you would have to cross back and forward multiple times each hour. I found there would be more than a handful of people doing that commute each day.
In contrast bus lanes make sense as shown by volume of buses with passengers across bridge.
Stu, its not totally unreasonable for there to be 2000 people per hour cycling a route. This would be a very high number in Auckland though and likely wouldn’t be realised for years and years (decade or so?), even with the buildout of extensive connecting cycle infra on both sides of the bridge. However without the connection then there is no way it can build up to those levels at all.
It depends on if we think short term, or very long term. I personally think the political capital required would be too much, and more productive wins could be had.
Arguments based on potential throughput are no friend to the private car.
But I guess, we’ll continue to invent all sorts of reasons why they should shut out a group of users and cant share 1/8th of the space. Talk about ideologocial.
Hi Geoff, have a read of the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (which NZTA is legally required to give effect to), both the 2018 and 2021 editions have the goal of lesser usage of transport infrastructure (see required results in Sections 2.7 and 2.6 respectively).
Which lane would be used for cycling if this goes ahead and how will that affect the on and off ramps at both ends of the bridge for cars ?
Bike Auckland’s proposal is for one western lane. I think it doesn’t affect the on and off ramps at either end. The photo in the post that’s been modified to show a green cycle lane shows the Curran St end. I haven’t seen the details for the North Shore side but I’d be surprised if they haven’t managed the same there.