Some good news yesterday with Auckland Transport confirming that their plans for a greater Gt North Rd will start construction later this year. The project has been a long time coming, first being consulted on in 2016 and then again last year, but better late than never.
Auckland Transport (AT) is delivering 1.6km of bus, safety, walking and cycling improvements along Great North Road, between Ponsonby Road and Crummer Road which will help move more Aucklanders along one of Auckland’s most iconic roads.
The changes will include safer crossings and intersections, a protected cycleway, extended bus lanes, longer loading zones for large vehicles (including car transporters), and more trees and landscaping.
Construction will take place from late 2022 till late 2023. Before major construction begins preparatory work is planned from August which will involve some minor work getting underway on the street.
AT’s Integrated Corridors Programme Director, Matthew Rednall says this project is the first step in a larger programme which is reimagining many of Auckland’s main roads to ensure they can keep more Aucklanders moving and meet the needs of people travelling by bus, bike, on foot, or in cars.
“Previously, AT often made changes, such as better bus services, as isolated projects. With this project and into the future we will be looking to make improvements to all aspects of the street at one time.”
Great North Road is one of Auckland’s iconic roads, carrying large numbers of people in and out of the City Centre. The area is changing, with more residential apartments being constructed. Around the project’s section of Great North Road, the population is expected to grow by approximately 24% by 2031.
Matthew Rednall says the improvements support Great North Road’s mix of commercial, industrial, and increasingly residential use.
“These changes will make accessing Great North Road safer and easier, whether by foot, bike, bus, or car,” he says.
AT’s Manager of Active Modes Planning, Courtney Groundwater says the 1.6km of new protected cycleways will connect the area to the rest of Auckland’s cycleway network.
“For people thinking about jumping on a bike in the area, this stretch of road is going to be a big draw card. It links with the city centre cycle loop on Karangahape Road, meaning a safe, protected ride in from Grey Lynn to all corners of the city centre.”
The changes on Great North Road are part of a range of upgrades in the inner west, creating protected cycleways that will link Point Chevalier, Westmere, Grey Lynn to the city centre and beyond” she says
Great North Road will be a greener street, with around 60 native trees and landscaping replacing 23 trees being removed to accommodate the new street design.
You can see more detailed designs for the upgrade here.
There’s also a video about the changes which highlights some of the other key features the upgrade will deliver, such as raised tables at intersections and across side streets, which we included in Friday’s Weekly Roundup, but it’s good enough to include again:
This is a good project and it’s great to finally see it moving forward. We hope Auckland Transport can act quickly to resolve the two glaring anomalies.
Mind the Gap
In both the press release and video, Auckland Transport talk up how the project along with others underway link up Point Chevalier, Westmere, Grey Lynn with the city centre. But there’s one major issue with this, can you spot it?
There is a 200m, Grey Lynn Centre sized hole in the network. I wonder how they manage to keep a straight face every time they say it’s all connected up when they’re standing in front of that map, especially given all of their claims about trying to create a safe system and knowing just how dangerous it is for cyclists to be riding past parked cars.
The Bond St Intersection
Sometimes the latest changes to drawings don’t make it onto the website, so hopefully there’s been an improvement here that simply hasn’t been reflected yet online. The issue is in this location, right next to a four-story apartment block:
The drawings show that AT intend to carve into the footpath to create a section of cycle lane on Bond St. Adding a section of cycle lane into this end of Bond St is the right thing to do, allowing another project to continue it across to New North Rd. That is a critical connection in the bike network. However, this could be done much better. This is a part of town where apartments are popping up, and people will be using the streets as social meeting spaces.
AT needs to be treating this part of Bond St as a high pedestrian area, not narrowing the footpath and removing a tree, as shown in the drawings:
The solution here is to reduce the number of turning lanes for vehicles, and to provide a short stub of cycle lane on both sides of the road, so that it’s truly useful to connect up to in the next project. This is such an obvious flaw – easily remedied once the Vision Zero priority for “safety over traffic flow” is applied to the decision – in an otherwise good design. As I said, perhaps it has already been resolved and the drawings have simply not been updated yet.
Keep up the good work Auckland Transport. It will be great to see this project finished.