Last year Auckland Transport consulted on safety along Ash St and Rata St, a critical link from the west for public transport, freight, and cycling, as well as a busy local connection and a north-south severance through Avondale.

Matt wrote at the time about this “pre-consultation consultation” – in particular, asking why it was phrased as such an open question, given safety issues and safety treatments are so well understood.

The summary of public feedback came back a couple of weeks ago, and proposes a list of safety improvements:

In classic AT fashion, the plan is for multiple consultations. If they’d simply provided a best-practice solution from the get-go, it could have been a one-stage consultation process. As the Councillors complained to AT recently:

we believe that AT is over complicating processes where there is no requirement to re-consult on agreed political outcomes, plans and strategies.

And something else is missing here. A Twitter thread homed in on the glaring absence:

Auckland Transport has decided not to directly address safety for people biking, scooting, or otherwise attempting to use sustainable modes.

Remember, this was explicitly a consultation about road safety and was framed in these terms:

Tragically, three people have been killed on these roads in recent years. A further 46 have been injured or seriously injured in the 213 crashes that occurred on these roads between 2014-2019.

Ash and Rata have long been identified as a connector route on the planned Auckland Cycle Network.

This paragraph added 22 July 2021: The route is also noted on Auckland Transport’s fresh Cycle and MicroMobility Strategic Network, one of five “Future Connect” strategic networks – and for now, the only cycling strategy document on AT’s plans and strategies page. Thanks to reader Andrew for spotting this! Wouldn’t it be great if there was a clearer connection between strategy and delivery?

A closeup of AT’s “Future Connect” Cycle and MicroMobility Strategic Network map. Accompanying text says: “AT, our partners and stakeholders will take the network into account when planning, designing, operating and maintaining any part of Auckland’s transport network. The network also creates opportunities to deliver better outcomes for people cycling and using micromobility devices as part of other projects and developments. All infrastructure projects undertaken on the Cycle Network (Strategic and Supporting) should seek to enhance safety and suitability for cyclists.”

The original consultation asked specifically about bike safety:

• Your experience when walking, riding a bike or driving Ash Street and Rata Street.
• The parts of Ash Street and Rata Street you would like us to improve.
• Your feedback on the types of improvements we are considering

And the greatest volume of safety comments were about… cycling.

Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority (84%) felt unsafe or very unsafe riding on this route. (Keen to meet the brave dozen who feel pretty relaxed about it!) That’s an overwhelming call for bike safety treatments! So what reasons does AT give for its decision that “cycling infrastructure [will] not be installed along Ash Street and Rata Street as part of this project”? Let’s see:

Ash Street and Rata Street are defined on AT’s Future Connect ‘Cycle and Micromobility network’ as major connections. This safety project has investigated the feasibility of providing a suitable protected cycling facility. Due to physical constraints along the corridor and issues with removing street trees and on-street parking, the separate cycle facility cannot be accommodated in this project…

Space, the final frontier. But wait. This is a four-lane highway. What physical constraints? The letter to people who submitted on the consultation gives a couple of examples:

…along the corridor there are physical constraints that make it challenging to provide cycling facility along the route, such as the pinch point on the Whau River overbridge which requires significant widen[ing] and the frontage of the Avondale Racecourse.

This is the same Whau River overbridge that was famously built wide enough to accommodate a future fantasy motorway, and is now home to some nicely painted plant pots to fill all the extra space.

Aerial image of the over-spec bridge on the Whau River. via Google Maps. (What’s the opposite of a ‘pinch point’?)

As for the Avondale Racecourse frontage: not only are the weekly markets here one of the biggest attractors of bike travel, but also: housing is on the way for this coveted piece of land, making it a prime opportunity for integrated advance planning for meaningful mode shift.

There’s even more new housing coming at the eastern end of this route too – from Kainga Ora and Ockham, on the block bounded by Ash, Rosebank, and Great North Road. Hundreds of new residents, who’ll need adjacent roads to be healthy accessible streets, rather than the equivalent of shark-filled moats.

Back to the feedback summary: “The separate cycle facility cannot be accommodated in this project…

…and will be taken forward later as a separate cycle project when cycle improvement funding has been allocated.”

Hang on. This is explicitly a safety project. Why is AT able to invest here in the safety of people walking and driving – but not those on bikes? Are the dollar bills marked with invisible ink saying “not for bike improvements”, as AT’s staff have insisted is the case with road renewals?

If the safety budget is tight, why wouldn’t you use it to improve one of the most vulnerable modes? Especially given that adding protected bike lanes demonstrably makes the road safer for other travellers as well. (Don’t take it from me, take it from the scientists.)

There’s gold in them thar street renewals: remember how only a few months ago, everyone was getting excited about leveraging AT’s maintenance budget in the upcoming decade for quick and continuous safety wins?

And when will this specially earmarked “cycle improvement funding” magically appear? Well, the route is not in the Connected Communities Programme. It is on the RLTP list of projects for the coming decade, as a “corridor improvement”: see number 67 on the map below, identified in the key as “Safety Programme – Ash Street and Rata Street”. (“Active” routes are in green: 21 is Te Whau pathway and 23 is the New Lynn to Avondale shared path.) (Note: this paragraph was updated on 22 July 2021)

A close-up of the map of projects to be funded in the 2021-2031 RLTP (see p75-76 here)

Does this approach – of ruling out safety for some road users, for now, for reasons – honour the AT Board’s commitment “in full and without question” to the recommendations of the 2018  Road Safety Business Improvement Review?

You know, the review that led to reorganising the whole agency around the key principles of a Vision Zero and Safe System approach, which includes:

providing facilities for safe enjoyable and healthy walking and cycling and separating these modes as much as possible from conflicts with motorized vehicles.

We interrupt this blog post for your regular reminder that protecting people from vehicles is driving  infrastructure, and should be funded as such.

As put so well in the Ministry of Transport’s 2015 Future Funding Strategy:

Pedestrians are legally entitled to be on the road. Motorists have a duty to pay for the facilities needed to keep them safe from motor vehicles. Cyclists are legally entitled to be on the road. Motorists have a duty to pay for the facilities needed to keep them safe from motor vehicles.

So, the “good” news is that deciding not to deliver bike infrastructure now doesn’t rule out maybe delivering bike infrastructure sometime:

This project does not make it any more challenging for a suitable cycling facility to be delivered in the future.

In the meantime, we can have raised platforms and bike boxes at intersections on this route, as a little treat.

This safety project will make it safer for people on bikes. From our assessment, intersections are considered to be high risk locations between cyclists and turning traffic, therefore a number of cycling safety enhancements such as raised safety platforms and cycle boxes are proposed at these high conflict locations.

Oh, and there’s a bike path under way on the other side of the burb:

The soon to be opened shared path between New Lynn to Avondale will provide a parallel route for people on bikes and safe connection to the Waterview cycling facility. People on bikes will only need to travel a short distance from each end of the project area to access the new shared path.

Aha, the “parallel route” argument (as rolled out re Dominion Road): we meet again! First, this is a special argument that seems to only apply to people on bikes. You’re far less likely to hear: “There’s a footpath a kilometre away, use that!” or even “You already have a lane for cars – why do you need another?”

Secondly, compare the location of the two routes. They’re two sides of a long lozenge, and 1.5km apart at the widest point.

This is the Ash St/ Rata St project area, around the north of the racecourse…
… and this is the “parallel” route of the New Lynn to Avondale Shared Path, which bends a couple of kilometres to the south.

Of course the New Lynn to Avondale Path is a welcome development. But it doesn’t do the job for safety on the route AT asked about.

  • What if you’re using Ash Street and Rata Street as part of your “short distance” to get to New Lynn to Avondale Path?
  • How does the New Lynn to Avondale Path help anyone make local trips involving Ash Street and Rata Street?
  • How does it help a family from, say, Nikau St, go by bike to the Avondale markets at the racecourse?
  • Or what if you’re heading from west of the estuary towards the Rosebank Peninsula? (Which is its own inexplicable bike desert, despite being the spine of north Avondale and a connection to the NW cycleway and beyond.)
  • Or, to cite research conducted in this very neighbourhood: how does it help kids get to the intermediate school, or anywhere they want? (Fun fact: the children interviewed for that study are in their mid-twenties now, and probably have children of their own.)

The letter to submitters concluded with some of the usual wording about Vision Zero…

AT wants to make our roads safer for everyone, including children, senior citizens, people with mobility issues and drivers. Our Safe Speeds programme is a key step towards our goal of achieving no deaths or serious injuries on our roads. We are guided by the Vision Zero approach to transport safety, which prioritises human safety. AT is committed to bringing down deaths and serious injuries to zero by 2050.

By 2050, the children in the 2009 Avondale Intermediate survey may be lucky enough to have grandchildren: will that generation finally have safe routes to school?

To put it plainly:

This project has not been guided by the Vision Zero approach. It doesn’t prioritise human safety. For the growing number of Aucklanders travelling by bike or scooter – which includes children, senior citizens, and people with mobility issues, and everyone motivated by climate, health, and budget – it completely fails to provide the promised safe system, let alone mode shift and carbon reduction.

If the AT Board and management are still confused by the despair and disbelief (from Council and the public) at the ongoing failure to provide healthy streets and comfortable cycling – and all the missed opportunities for quick wins! – consider this yet another example.

Locals gathering for Bike Avondale‘s Matariki Night Ride, June 2021 (Image: Jody McMillan)

A post-script on speeds

This is a consultation about safety, yet it doesn’t include safe speeds – which are a proven way to improve conditions for people walking, scooting, biking. A Greater Auckland reader, Jak, recently commented that they’d asked AT exactly this question about this consultation:

“I ended up speaking with the AT staff about it, they said eventually that their research from NZTA shows that lowing speed limits alone is not enough and that physical infrastructure changes are needed as well. What was even more confusing is the manager of the AT consultation staff talked about blanket speed limit reductions as something that will happen at some point. Spending millions on every bit of road, then reducing speed limits, sounds backwards to me.”

As Heidi notes here, the paper that AT sent to Jak actually “supports the lowering of speed limits without having to make the built environment changes.” What are we to make of this?

Current and future AT customers in the Avondale area, gathering at Bike Avondale‘s recent Matariki Night Ride. (Image: Jody McMillan)
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  1. This inaction is happening all over Auckland. The Ash / Rata example seems particularly egregious. It looks like there is a basis to take legal action to require AT to halt the present plans and deliver something for for purpose. Time to get LCANZI involved?

    1. Wouldn’t you be so mad if someone you loved died cycling along there after AT couldn’t be bothered sorting it out. I don’t get why there isn’t legal action. What kind of country is this when you can sue the council for trying to make things safer (because you might lose some kind of perceived amenity such as driving fast or on street parking) but you can’t sue for keeping things incredibly unsafe. Maybe the government should open AT up to legal action, make them responsible for every death. I mean our company has to spend millions every year making sure no one gets a paper cut!

      1. My husband, cycling, was hit on Monday by a driver, on a stretch of road that had the initial cycleway consultation in April 2016.

        He’s OK. But other friends are not. The Meola Rd pedestrian crossing should’ve been done by now – the route has been consulted on three times now (2016, 2017, 2019) but a friend’s mother has ongoing head injuries and sleeping disorders from being hit there. And many others I don’t personally know.

        1. Sorry to hear that. Reminds us all that this is not an abstract exercise. How do some managers in AT not grasp that?

        2. Actually I can think of more: a friend with long-term injuries from cycling on Meola Rd where we should have a cycleway by now, and having to flee a truck that was barrelling along super fast and giving him no space so he diverted up the Motat second (rarely used) driveway, but – as the driveways were built poorly and have an enormous lip – he went sprawling and broke bones.

          A friend who was doored on Pt Chevalier Rd where we should have a cycleway by now – and is lucky he only broke bones and didn’t die.

        3. I think these lips are part of the design. Driveway crossings appear smooth if you drive over them. However if you look around for newly built crossings you will consistently see that little upstand. Just big enough to trip bicyclists, baby strollers and anything else with small wheels.

          I have no idea why that is. Maybe nobody really thought about it; as far as I can tell footpaths are considered a vestigial feature on our streets. From official point of view they no longer have a function.

        4. The lip is intended to, but completely ineffectual at, slowing drivers. It would be much better to have a flush entry with a 1 in 4 ramp up to footpath height. Instead, we get the footpath dropped right down to road level and a 10mm upstand. A perfectly designed trip hazard that does nothing to slow drivers.

        5. “The lip” caused me to fall off in the wet. Crossed at 45deg and the front wheel slipped sideways rather than riding over it. Am VERY careful now when entering driveways. Try to cross as close as poss to 90deg

  2. At least they didn’t use their other excuse which is “we can’t build a cycle path here because there is no existing cycle path to connect it to”

    1. Ash St / Rata St should be connected back to the cycleway at Gt Nth Rd, Waterview. I had hoped the current end of path would be extended when the 1552 Gt Nth Rd housing development was built. While the plans include a 3m strip for the cycleway, its just grass, and has had pedestrian entrance footpaths built across it.
      The “parallel” Waterview – Avondale – New Lyn path has a lot more elevation change, and is indirect, and has lots of corners which are each hazardous.

    2. AT guide for cycleways, pick one:
      a) there are nearby cycleways to connect to, deny because there are “alternative routes”
      b) there are no nearby cycleways to connect to, deny because it wont join up to anything

  3. This is institutional level negligence and incompetence of the plainest sort.

    It is well understood that adding separated bike space to roads improves safety outcomes for all users. It is well understood that slowing speeds of motor traffic through lowering limits is also effective in reducing harm.

    Of course the lower speed outcome is magnified further by also lifting enforcement and changing the road design. But then, converting some parking/median/traffic lane for separated bike lane will achieve just that! Speed enforcement is a police issue, but fixing the street is all within AT’s power. Anything less is negligent (and climate denial, lets not forget).

    Presumably they are worried about driver delay (as well as having a consistent bike-sceptical institutional habit), well what about the suppressed demand that this unsafe and frightening road causes? There is a good chance that providing for the alternatives while squeezing the stroad is exactly what is required here. Why the focus on driver delay, not on mode-shift delay?

    As currently proposed this is an un-safety project.

    Start over, and consult once, confidently, and properly.

    1. Yes, it is utter negligence. And reminds me of the Councillors’ letter, in which they said, of the Victoria St cycleway:

      “AT has conceded “they wouldn’t design it like this now” but compromised the project because management would not sign off on necessary changes to the road corridor.”

      On this project, I hope the local board or councillor will demand to know the reasons why this project is so poor, and whether the reason is that “management would not sign off” on reallocating road space to cycling.

    2. Negligence is absolutely a word that should be actively applied for it’s precise legal meaning in response to ATs handling of projects in this way. Inexcusable decisions.

  4. I am really furious about this, I am someone who has cycled along this road with my young children and we use the footpath as the road it just to dangerous.
    I submitted into this consultation and was not happy when I received the final e-mails from AT.
    I really dislike it when people call for the heads of organistions to go, but I really think Shane Ellison is not fit to run AT and has to go – it is simply not good enough and it is my kids lives that are on the line here.

    1. A change in leadership has to be the beginning. Even with the most well-meaning workers on the ground, you can’t change the direction of the organisation from there.

  5. Another one is Mt Albert Road, an obvious cycle route and one of the few ways across town. They seem to do work along there all the time, but never improve cycling. I got a consultation about a Three Kings safety improvement a few years ago (which in typical AT fashion is obviously still in consultation or something), they were going to make some fairly big changes but no cycling infrastructure! They were even contemplating a new roundabout just to make it even worse for bikes (because the Royal Oak one is so safe I guess…). Greenlane is just as bad, so there is basically no safe way to cycle across the central isthmus. Good one AT.

    1. “There is no safe way to cycle across the isthmus.” This. Cycling in and around central Auckland, just about anywhere except along the NW shared path, is completely and utterly ignored. By any measure… population, number of trips, opportunity for mode shift, it’s a far more significant issue than crossing the Harbour. Must be an order of magnitude more. And if what other cities (Paris, Seville, etc) have shown could be sorted for safe cycling for far less than the $685m proposed for that daft bridge idea.

      1. The W and C bridge decision is all about WK maximising their chances of doing the tunnel their little Traffic Engineering hearts are set on.

        However, remember that it’s $7.4 billion + we should be spending on walking and cycling in Auckland over the next decade; the minimum of 20% of the transport budget that the UN recommends. The bridge is less than 10% of this, as would be expected for a difficult link.

        With all the arterial routes throughout both isthmus and outer suburbs fitted with cyclelanes, and with LTN’s between them – and this can (and should) be done over the next decade if AT put their focus onto it – the link over the harbour would be a critical one, and the cost justifiable because it would remove the need for an AWHC for quite a long time.

        That much modeshift, citywide, would have a stunning effect on reducing vehicle demand on the Harbour Bridge; lane reallocation to buses or light rail would further assist this.

      2. The bridge spend is less than that, but the tunnels it will be used to justify will be all of that and a bit more.

        Of course, they could just build a PT & Active bridge instead, but that solves too many problems.

        1. Double in fact. $15 billion, according to that recent dump of NZUP documents. Imagine that amount of money!!

  6. Look, it’s very straightforward. To get chickens, you need eggs. And to get eggs, you need chickens. So to meet our chicken requirement, eggs must come first. But there’s no sense in making eggs without chickens, so we’re waiting for guidance on that. Please check back in 3-4 years. In the meantime, the small number of chickens that might or might not exist may experience delays and/or death in crossing roads.

  7. I recall a few years ago someone submitted a complaint against the road/traffic engineer who did a design that was unsafe (similar to this it was unsafe but pretty typical for AT). I don’t remember if there was any outcome to it but if we can’t sue AT this could be a way to at least annoy them and/or their designers into actually doing their jobs.

  8. You have to wonder about AT. The people who got rid of the dedicated bike team are getting more bold about giving the finger to any bike infrastructure. When I cycle along this route I have resorted to riding in the middle of the lane and just soak up the abuse. If you ride to the left of the lane everyone just tries to squeeze pass within the lane.

    1. “The people who got rid of the dedicated bike team are getting more bold about giving the finger to any bike infrastructure. ”

      AT is obsessed with the creation of expensive custom made apps in the belief that this will help “mode shift”. In the real world, people are more concerned with safety.

  9. Hmm, how could we change the road design to reinforce slower speeds?
    How about a road diet, a narrower roadway that provides side friction? OK, but what do we do with all that extra space?
    I guess we could provide separated bike lanes?
    But that would address both vision zero safety outcomes and extend the cycling network, terrible idea, let’s do neither.

    1. This is so obvious, where ever the layer in AT is that suppresses this standard and strategically aligned type of road upgrade then it needs to be removed. Stat.

  10. Ash Street is the example of what we are not supposed to do anymore. When they gave up the motorway plan they simply connected two quiet residential streets together and destroyed any amenity the people living there had.

  11. The Whau river bridge being too narrow is so absurd, the engineers I spoke to about it said they did not realise how big it was. They also did not pick up on the fact that the Whau path will cross the river into the back of the race course. Their BS reasons don’t even stack up.

    Oh well AT, I’ll be lane blocking proactively on you car arterials, tell the car you forced me to do this and it’s legal for me to do so.

    1. Even more embarrassing!

      Reminds me of Meola Rd where the school students organised a petition and presented to the local board for a pedestrian crossing so they could get between school and their buses safely!!! Years later there’s still no pedestrian crossing, and they’ve been ignored by AT, except for a “site visit” – in which the AT staff went to the wrong road.

      1. Haha. Classic AT.

        Since the the previous thread I have spoken to two other engineers about this project and road safety.
        The rata and Ash street engineers, tip toed abound saying the real reason we can’t have a bike path, car drivers won’t like it, but they were not sure about speed reductions and then passed me on to the safer speeds engineers. The safer speed engineers said things are difficult, but a larger safety low speed roll out may happen in 2 years time, but that their long term plan is to never have lower speeds on roads like Rata Ash because they are arterials. Which goes against what I had been previously told and makes the need for a bike lanes on the 5 lane fat road even more important. Arterials need bike lanes more than anywhere else.

        As time goes on I am realising that this lack of action is a bigger issue than I thought. Rata street is the way that people will connect to the north western/ the city. The way the city has been set up to grow, the west side of New Lynn to Henderson is going to have huge population growth, much of which will be carless like myself. There is no safe way to bike into new Lynn nor will there be based on ATs west Auckland bike plan (ie use the central funded paths). Anyone west of Titirangi road realistically should take Rata if headed into town, and many will need to bike down Rata street to access the Whau path. Even if only Rata had a bike lanes this would be less terrible.

        Huge catchment are going to be locked out of the ability to ride safely, so more cars can crowd each other out at the next set of lights, insanity.

        1. Yes. You’re right.

          And the AT safety engineers are letting us down too, then. They’re compromising Vision Zero in order to get it past AT management.

          Not OK, AT. I hope this is taken up as a legal challenge.

        2. I made precisely this argument in my submission on the consultation (live in that catchment, ride Rata/Ash each day).

          The argument of the alternative rail corridor route is a joke for anyone west of New Lynn, and that’s before getting to the detail of how bad that new underpass on Av-NL is from a public safety/CPTED point of view.

  12. Why do AT management refuse to do better than this?

    Does there need to be a Lawyers for Safety Action group as well? Seems to me 95% of AT projects could be a lawyers’ field day.

  13. To be fair, there’s a few sections of that road that have no flush median, and already have no on street parking, so without moving kerbs (or a traffic lane) there’s not many options to provide separation for cycling continuously along this stretch.
    Not saying it cannot be done – but moving kerbs aint cheap so a ‘safety’ project wont provide cycling where it’ll cost lots of $$$ – and removing a traffic lane? That’d never get past the AT staff.

    1. On what basis would you have two lanes for general traffic and none for cycling? No need to move kerbs.

      The problem is getting it past AT staff, as you say. Or more correctly, past AT management.

  14. Auckland council has lost control of Auckland Transport.
    Mr Goffs letter “concerns have been raised” suggests little change to status quo.
    AT/AC are not the authorities we need near our city im thinking. Too many kids lives will be lost to this.

  15. I’m convinced that we need to start taking to the streets and staging protests. Weekly, monthly, whatever it takes. This negligence cannot stand. If a bunch of thugs can get a safety project removed using violence and vandalism then some dedicated decent people can get some changes made by purposefully stuffing up traffic on a weekly basis. It can even be done legally. All you need are about 50 people who don’t normally drive to all drive cars slowly around a specific area, making lots of right turns and the whole network in that area will be custard. Target the commutes of the upper echelon of AT and any place where people have ripped out safety features. Make sure it’s announced and publicised. The best part is that nobody knows who the protesters are because they’re just a bunch of other regular cars.

  16. A simple means of protest can be done at uncontrolled pedestrian crossings. Continually crossing recrossing road until traffic is brought to a standstill

  17. Why not put a bus lane on both sides and these can be used as a cycle lane. If the bus lanes are there, the motorists will complain, hopefully forcing them into using PT and on a bikes.
    No rocket science but the AT are either too scared or not bold enough?

  18. I was disappointed to receive this response as well, but in the engineers defence, the Whau bridge does act as a convergence point for traffic – geographical constraints mean that a large catchment of population in the west needs to pass through this narrow section of the isthmus to access the city or motorway – which might be what they meant to say. The racecourse doesn’t help matters.

    I’ve long given up riding along here though, now I either go a long way out of out of my way along the NW cycleway, or catch the train through to Avondale and ride from there. Much more safe and pleasant.

    I wonder whether we should just forget about Ash/ Rata street themselves and try to connect a parallel route through quieter streets (like Canal road), which would hopefully be able connect into Te Whau walkway as well. In fact that whole western pocket of Avondale is flat with a pretty porous street layout, so why not just make it all a traffic calmed safe zone?

    1. Good idea to make it a traffic calmed safe zone. And we need some new active mode bridge connections over the Whau between Ash/Rata and SH16.

      But if you don’t have a cyclelane on Ash and Rata, how do people of all ages and abilities cycle to the properties along those actual roads? There are lots of properties, and we should expect lots of quality apartment builds there, too.

      AT need to do an entire LTN / circulation plan for the whole of the city (or at least, relevant to here – of West Auckland) involving a radical reduction in vehicle travel and a radical increase in bus reliability and in safety for walking and cycling. Road reallocation par excellence.

    1. +1
      There are lots of comments on how great Shane Ellison is, and that it’s his senior management to blame. But we have given him plenty of time to clean up AT. Either they go, or he should go

  19. Parking at the Sunday market is $3, from 5am-12noon, not bad for 7 hours.

    I know for a fact that much of the traffic in nearby streets is drivers too cheap to pay, been there, done that.

    We could trial a road diet every Sunday for a year by allowing parking in the left hand lane on both sides for free. You could throw in a variable speed limit, dropping it to 30kph on market day; sell it as protecting drivers parking and exiting their vehicles.

    If we’re going to get improvements for active modes, we have to repack them as benefits for drivers.

      1. Fair comment!

        I’d argue that making parking available on the road outside the market is providing side friction to back up your temporary 30kph limit without otherwise altering the road.

        You could also charge, but that requires more infrastructure and admin. The point is to get buy-in on road narrowing and speed reduction by any means necessary.

        The willingness to reallocate road space for Sunday parking can be leveraged to argue for reallocating to bus and cycle lanes during the week.

        1. The problem is that the discussion about parking is just as – or even more – important than the discussion about reducing the number of traffic lanes.

          Side friction is enormously overplayed as a slowing mechanism in today’s driving environment. It’s something that worked in the 80’s, when people slowed down as per the Road User Rule, to ensure they still had sufficient peripheral vision in case a child stepped out. It should not be used as an excuse for retaining parking today.

          A change in driver behaviour has occurred in which drivers are now driving way too fast close to parked cars. It’s occurred for a few reasons:
          – the “pedestrians give way to traffic” signs at pseudo crossings that have trained drivers to ignore people at the side of the road,
          – driving licenses being refused to drivers if they drive at the speeds that “side friction” should be encouraging them to drive at. (See – This practice doesn’t align with the legislation but is required by the Driver License Test Guide. Looks like one of the situations you can be refused a license has been removed due to my exposure of the situation, but not the other, and I know that the examiners haven’t changed their methods at all.)
          – street design has encouraged a “keep moving constantly wherever possible” style of driving, with corner radii that are unsuitable for urban areas
          – lack of enforcement of appropriate speeds
          – general media and sector attitude that slower speeds hinder productivity.

        2. There’s a long list of perfectly sensible things that work overseas, but not here.

          Side friction *should* work. On a shared space the lack of a kerb and the fact that you’re driving right next to benches and tree pits *should* tell you to drive slowly. You *shouldn’t* need to “protect” your bike lanes (the Danish certainly don’t).

          And even though our infrastructure is often substandard, the above problems are not problems with infrastructure.

          For on-street parking specifically, it should be required to either not allow it, or to set a lower speed limit than 50.

        3. “You *shouldn’t* need to “protect” your bike lanes (the Danish certainly don’t).”

          Have you ever been to Denmark? Funnily enough, most of their cycle lanes (at least in Copenhagen) are ‘Copenhagen’ lanes, protected by a half height kerb.

        4. A half height kerb isn’t protection, it’s delineation, I would’ve said. Able to be mounted at reasonable speeds. Quite different from a concrete island.

        5. It’s on the cusp between the two IMO. These devices sit on a spectrum that goes from an impenetrable barrier through to a painted line. The good thing about the kerbs is that they are really good at preventing accidental or incidental incursions where motorists ‘drift’ into a cycle lane. Most people consider the hit sticks to be protection and you can drive over those at speed!

        6. Importantly, VZ videos I’ve seen have specifically said that a kerb or a small island is not sufficient “separation” to put a cyclelane within a higher speed limit classification. 30 km/hr tops.

        7. Yes that is what I mean, I thought a kerb doesn’t count as protection.

          In Auckland cars somehow end up on bike lanes even if they’re lined with planters or concrete blocks. Or on footpaths which have a full height kerb. And they’re not getting there by accident.

        8. Cars end up on cycle lanes like that all over the world. The Netherlands and Denmark are probably the only countries I’ve been to where it isn’t routine. They only prevent it by huge social pressure to stay off of cycle lanes, which only works because so many people cycle. protection will never stop the a driver deliberately accessing and park up on footpaths or cycle lanes. What you want from protection is to stop is motorists in cycle lanes because they couldn’t be bothered merging or are drifting left because they are about to turn. Ideally you also want to make it really hard to use the cycle lane to skip queues.

  20. All of this dancing around the point from those involved when what they actually mean is ‘we are only willing to improve safety if it doesn’t impact driving at all’

  21. The report states in four places that “on-street carparking is a valuable community asset and AT will look to retain this where safe and practical. Furthermore, on-street parking provides natural narrowing of the road carriageway and has a positive effect on reducing the operating speeds.”

    Perhaps it is time for AT to consider how cycleways and wider footpaths are also a valuable community asset. The question then becomes whether on-street carparking is more of a community asset than alternative uses of this space, and whether the on-street parking is “safe and practical” for other users.

    1. ‘Valuable community asset’ of private property storage on public land versus the valuable community asset of not suffering death and injury just trying too get around. On what planet are these two things even slightly equivalent?

  22. This little gem is in the feedback
    “Furthermore, on-street parking provides
    natural narrowing of the road carriageway and has a
    positive effect on reducing the operating speeds.”

    1. Meanwhile, on-street parking in front of busy shops was removed in the Glen Eden Town Centre project, which *was* going to have speed reductions as part of a pedestrian safety project. I submitted that keeping parking here was appropriate for that side-friction effect, but that was dismissed. The parking was removed, no speed reduction, and vehicle lane capacity increased. Flow, baby, flow.

      Always selective use of arguments.

  23. Is the real agenda (as opposed to the publicised one), simply that AT don’t want cycling in Auckland to grow? That they don’t want to encourage it, and would be quietly happy if people would just stop riding bikes and make the ‘sensible’ choice of all going by car instead. It would be so much easier just to focus on a ‘cars-only’ policy, and not have to reluctantly bother about pesky cyclists.
    This is certainly how it looks. If AT came out and simply admitted this, it would at least stop people being misled by what seem like false promises.

    1. I think we tend to mistakenly anthropomorphize AT as if it has a single desire or goal. That quite likely is the actual opinion of some people there but AT itself doesn’t have its own opinion. It is made up of many people with very different opinions and goals. I think we do ourselves a bit of disservice when we simplify it down like this because we can only make change when we understand the complex systems that underlie the results we get.

    2. Yes. The most powerful people in AT think cycling is a bother that should be fitted around everything else.

      This is why they focused so much on “other delivery agencies” in their reply to the Councillors. They’re hoping “recreational activities like cycling” can be accommodated by “recreational organisations” on land other than the road corridor.

      This is actually what needs exposing by a journalist happy to do an interview to take them on a little journey of verbal hazards.

  24. I stumbled upon an apparently recently generated (April 2021) map of a supposed future bike network in Auckland on the AT website:

    (found here:

    It would certainly be nice if that were to be manifested in the form of actual bike lanes throughout Auckland. Surely that must be the intention, if they went to the trouble of making this map? Could this be a hint of a brighter future for cycling in Auckland?
    But then I noticed that it says on the document, “This network is not an indication of what our future cycleways will look like”. WTF? What is the point then? Just an exercise in making a nice-looking map? Is there any chance of it becoming reality?

  25. Let’s all email the Minister of Local Government ( and the Minister of Transport ( and demand that AT be disbanded with the exception of Public Transport Operations. All other responsibilities should go back to Auckland Council. And nobody senior from AT should be considered for a position there.

  26. his is a consultation about safety, yet it doesn’t include safe speeds – which are a proven way to improve conditions for people walking, scooting, biking. A Greater Auckland reader, Jak, recently commented that they’d asked AT exactly this question about this consultation:

    “I ended up speaking with the AT staff about it, they said eventually that their research from NZTA shows that lowing speed limits alone is not enough and that physical infrastructure changes are needed as well. What was even more confusing is the manager of the AT consultation staff talked about blanket speed limit reductions as something that will happen at some point. Spending millions on every bit of road, then reducing speed limits, sounds backwards to me.”

    It sounds backward to me also. Thte speed is to be reduced now. Cycling is going to take the lane and that will reduce the flow. Unfortunately that may increase the loss of life as well as increase the journey times of the motorists.
    What can be done to censure the design as promulgated and the report f the submissions that were presented. T

    It would seem that the AT design team is not fulfilling it’s function in regard to the brief for this project..

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