Saturday saw thousands turn out to celebrate the opening of Ngā Hau Māngere, the $38m replacement for the Old Mangere Bridge – which had to close in 2018 due to safety concerns. The new bridge is a fantastic addition to the fabric of Auckland, and one that immediately and visibly improves connections between people and communities.
It has to be said that the opening of Nga Hau Māngere sits in stark contrast to what is happening with the ability to cross our other harbour by foot or bike.
Just 10 days ago, the Auckland Council adopted the city-shaping Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP) – which requires a reduction in travel by cars and an increase in use of public transport and active modes. Meanwhile on the same day at the other end of the island, Waka Kotahi was busy making sure that going for a walk or a bike ride was still a prohibited activity in parts of Tāmaki Makaurau by once again ruling out reallocating lanes on the bridge for active modes.
The Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Board has confirmed that it will not be opening lanes on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for a formal walking and cycling trial at this time.
“Waka Kotahi is strongly committed to providing a safe network for walking and cycling in the Auckland region, integrated with public transport, to support a shift to active and shared modes with better climate outcomes. However, the Board cannot support a trial of lane reallocation on the Auckland Harbour Bridge due to the significant health and safety issues associated with walking and cycling on the bridge structure at this time,” says Waka Kotahi Board Chair Sir Brian Roche.
Sir Brian says Waka Kotahi is focused on planning and delivering a range of projects in Auckland which include walking and cycling in order to encourage more people to use active transport.
Waka Kotahi will also continue with planning for opportunities to allow Aucklanders to walk or cycle over the bridge in a safely controlled environment as part of a series of single day walking and cycling festivities this summer.
“The Board has considered lane reallocation on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on a number of occasions, and it is clear that the risks for people walking and cycling on the structure cannot be mitigated to the level where we can be confident that it is an activity which can be managed safely on a permanent basis, alongside our other considerations of managing the long term resilience of the bridge as a critical transport asset and its key role in the region’s transport network.
“The most recent safety assessment, undertaken by Waka Kotahi this year, identified a number of safety risks which would be created by the permanent reallocation of lanes for walking and cycling on the bridge.
Waka Kotahi is making a big deal out of the safety risks of providing space on the bridge – but a more detailed look at what those concerns are highlights the hypocrisy of the organisation.
In short, their concerns relate to the width, length and gradient of any lanes crossing the bridge.
The assessment noted that due to there being a 6% downhill gradient cyclists could achieve speeds of up to 60km/hr. At this speed a head-on collision with another cyclist would increase DSI risk and a collision with a child or elderly pedestrian would also be of high severity
The first awkward moment comes when you realise that a brand new path designed, constructed and celebrated by Waka Kotahi – Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive stage 2, formally named Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai – has a downhill section which is the same width, a similar length and is much steeper (10%) than a pathway on the Auckland Harbour Bridge would be.
And it’s not alone: Grafton Gully, the Greenhithe Bridge, and even the Nelson Street cycleway all have similar lengths, gradients and path widths. It’s almost as if that’s…not a factor?
In any case, it would also still be safer than most of the non-motorway parts of the state highway network in Auckland which have no provision for cycling and in many cases have cars and trucks travelling at much higher speeds. For example, along State Highway 16 west of the end of the motorway, or even within the urban area – such as along The Strand where on-street car parking is prioritised over cyclist safety in the context of heavy truck traffic.
And the claims of safety further fall flat when you consider Waka Kotahi just raised the speed limit on the Waikato Expressway to 110km/h and yet cyclists are expected to ride with nothing but paint to protect them, including crossing off-ramps.
While safety concerns are what they’re hiding behind in public, the report shows the real concern against reallocating a lane is the “network impacts” it would have – another way of saying they’re worried it will make congestion worse. They make particular mention about being concerned with the impact it will have on the reliability of the Northern Busway, as if we couldn’t also provide bus-only lanes on the bridge.
There’s also the irony that if you look at Waka Kotahi’s Twitter feed, which from dawn to dusk reports on crashes and their aftermath, you’d see that drivers face daily “network impacts”… caused by their fellow drivers.
Simply put, for TERP to be successful, the cycling and walking networks need to be substantially expanded. Reallocating a lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge will have excellent network impacts for those modes.
And even for driving, the network will be improved! That’s because reducing traffic on the bridge will reduce traffic either side of the bridge as well, and on all approaching roads to the motorway network. As the TERP says:
Supercharging walking and cycling, massively increasing public transport patronage, and prioritising and resourcing sustainable transport are the key areas to make walking, cycling and public transport the preferred transport choices for short to medium-distance trips.
Reducing car dependency is important to address congestion.
There is limited space on the road network. So long as most people continue to travel primarily by car, congestion will only worsen.
The TERP calls for 13% of all travel in the region by 2030 to be made by cycling and micromobility – and for Aucklanders to halve the amount of driving they do.
By that maths, if we consider the approximately 200,000 Aucklanders who currently cross Auckland Harbour Bridge each day, we should expect that by the end of the decade, somewhere around 25,000 of them will make that journey via walking, wheeling, cycling or scooting.That’s totally possible, but only if it’s made possible. We also know that reducing road capacity is one of the most effective ways to help reduce the driving.
Earlier in the year, Waka Kotahi floated the idea of ferries as a substitute for walking and cycling access. This might move a total of 1,800 people per day – less than 10% of the mode share we need – and would be far more expensive than reallocating a lane. You’d have to purchase and staff the ferries for starters, and build landings at each end. And would they run 24/7, allowing for full access, e.g. for shift workers and early birds and late night returns from town? Doubtful.
if you thought it looked good in the daytime, you need to check it out at dusk.
— Alec Tang 鄧振揚 (@AlecTang_) August 27, 2022
Even if Waka Kotahi could manage to design, consent, construct and open another bridge over the harbour that includes walking and cycling by 2030, what happens in the intervening years – and we only have seven years to work with, so agility is of the essence – is critically important.
Their response is a timely example of the “organisational conservatism” which Auckland Council’s TERP so accurately describes.
In the meantime it seems the only thing we’ll get is a couple of one-off ‘festivals’ this summer. Waka Kotahi management describe these as:
The purpose of the series of events endorsed by the Board is to leave Aucklanders feeling positive about walking and cycling in their city – i.e. to promote mode shift
So a festival to say “this is what you could have but we won’t let you“. It will be very hard to encourage mode shift to cycling on a ghost bridge.
“If we consider the approximately 200,000 Aucklanders who cross Auckland Harbour Bridge each day, we should expect that by the end of the decade, somewhere around 25,000 of them will make that journey via walking, wheeling, cycling or scooting”.
The critical word being “if”. The only modelling I have ever seen was from Skypath and they had 5,000. If the figure is 25,000 then the case for immediate action is irrefutable but that’s massively bigger than the busiest parts of the cycling network. NW cycleway peaks at about 2K / day and averages 1K. You have given the caveat of 8 years growth but even if you take Skypath’s 5K as your day one starting point you need compounding growth of 22% p.a. to reach just under 25K a day.
That sounds a lot more like wishing than analysis. It’s all very well to set aggressive, aspirational goals but it’s also playing into WK’s strategy if there is no substance to them.
You picked the wrong word, I think.
“if” puts into question the number of people crossing the bridge.
“should expect” puts into question the proportion of those cycling.
dm, if you want to provide an evidence-based plan to achieve the required emissions reductions, go ahead. Currently, the only people who have done so are the TERP team. Yes, it has a different mode share for cycling that is “massively bigger than the busiest parts of the cycling network”. That’s what emissions reductions requires. Of course it’s ambitious. It has to be. It’s also drawing on the international evidence base – and I don’t see your naysaying doing that.
Now, we need to enable it, and that won’t be done by looking backwards and claiming – on the basis of sweet fuck all – that it can’t be done.
25k by 2030 is the extrapolation of what change TERP requires, not modeling.
By the way, you’ve queried an annual increase of 22% (from your starting point of the NW cycleway cycling count of 5000).
In Brussels for bikes and scooters they achieved an increase by a factor of 5.1 over just 5 years. That’s an annual increase of 40%.
It’s hard to imagine that change could happen when we’ve been doing nothing, and we’re all out of ideas, eh?
well spotted, yes, this is what the TERP says: to change things, we have to change things.
It needs a little asterisk at the bottom: “No one is actually going to change anything, but hey we tried”
The figure isn’t 25,000. TERP requires 13% of trips in Auckland by cycling. It doesn’t require that 13% of all existing trips on the Harbour Bridge are by cycling. Creating a walking and cycling path so a few people can stop riding a bus to the CBD doesn’t make a lot of sense, it never has.
Where’s your evidence base that the mode shift will be from taking the bus to walking and cycling?
Where’s your evidence that the future dense cycling network throughout Auckland, which takes 17% of trips and 13% of distance, doesn’t require a link over the harbour?
If networks can have big holes in them like that, it’s really, really hard to understand WK’s concern that reducing the driving capacity on the bridge by 1/8th will have a big effect on the network. Clearly, if that link isn’t needed for a network to function, as you claim for cycling and walking, we can just remove the bridge altogether…?
You’re on the losing side of this one, bridge troll. 🙂
Car trips also need to reduce by two thirds. So how about half the bridge for cars, rest for PT, bikes and walking?
1/ People making shorter trips are more likely to change to a bike trip than people who need to make longer trips.
2/ The CBD is a closer destination to the North Shore origins than than other major destinations.
3/ People travelling to the CBD are more likely to drive if they have a carpark and more likely to use the bus if they don’t.
4/ The people most likely to divert to biking or walking are those making shorter trips (probably to the CBD from the southern north shore suburbs) who don’t need a car for work. ie people who should be using a bus now.
Removing capacity for longer trips from the bridge (State Highway 1) so a few well paid north shore types can pretend they are green isn’t a good use of the available people moving capacity. They can sit on a bus.
Or a ferry.
It’s abundantly clear that the mode share of people travelling to the city centre by bike over the harbour bridge is currently zero. Beyond that, you’re plucking trends from the ether. You need to imagine the network fully transformed with mode share as per the TERP.
By your logic there is no point in doing anything anywhere: any improvement to PT or walking or cycling just converts non-car people from the old infrastructure to the new and car people will still drive regardless. Makes you wonder how so many other cities on earth can have decent PT / walking / cycling…
Trends from the ether? It seems clear that practically nobody using SH1 to travel from Northland to south of Bombay is going to swap from car to bike. It is similalry clear that many people who live in Northcote travelling to the CBD will swap to walking or biking. Why? Travel time.
We can realistically deal with trips to the CBD through PT. That is kind of what it is for. So why the hell would we ever want to make the longer trips worse and increase congestion and emissions for them, just to divert people away from PT? Why the hell would we build something to favour the over-privileged who live in the fancy suburbs who already have some of the best PT options at a cost to the people who don’t.
It is a show off project with no real merit.
“It is a show off project with no real merit.” [miffy]
In that case how about a 1 month trial to prove how accurate this assessment is. Or are some people afraid such a trial might demonstrate that the project does indeed have merit! No-one likes to be shown-up for being wrong in their gut-instincts, so they tend to obstruct and block anything that might do this.
You could consider the northwestern cycleway as a trial for this sort of setup, and given that it doesn’t even reach 2000 movements on most days, it would count as a failure. I am not sure why this is but I suspect it is a lack of safe routes from surrounding areas to this cycleway.
A trial would be welcome, but when this happens you should already make sure you can actually ride a bicycle to the bridge from at least Takapuna, Northcote, Birkenhead, and maybe Glenfield, Milford and Birkdale. Similarly, how would you reach the other end from areas like Grafton or Ponsonby? If you do a trial without functioning local networks, it is hard to see how it could not fail.
Overall the situation feels quite similar to that with public transport. An extra crossing (of either kind) would be great, but at the moment probably the more valuable improvements are more mundane and less inspiring for cutting ribbons, like plain old bike lanes, and extra buses and drivers to make routes like the 942 frequent.
I have just looked up Sydney Harbour Bridge, which has a walking and cycling lane. Even with the higher population compared to Auckland there were (in 2019) about 1500 – 2000 cyclists per day. Taking that benchmark I think 25,000 per day is a fairy tale.
I say take the money which might get used for the Auckland Harbour Bridge and use it for connecting up local networks.
Sydney harbour bridge has a large set of stairs at one end of the cycleway. This is obviously a huge barrier. The bridge also has a double track rail line, and a dedicated bus lane. The public transport offering is much (much) better than aucklands.
Regardless, the bike network at either end of any bridge is hugely important. If there isn’t a reasonable way to get to the bridge then of course numbers will be low.
The Northern Cycle Path is being built, once completed they aren’t expecting anywhere near 25,000 cyclist per day.
Yes, a bus lane in both directions seems like a better use of the space. How much could it improve frequency and journey times?
Trips that I ride alone are impossible with the kids, the bus is more inclusive.
If it’s safe to ride a short run to the PT and stow your bike, you can get the whole family out to city destinations.
Dave B I fully support a trial. As Mr Plod points out lower down, a trial will piss off enough of the public it will shut down further bridge cycle nonsense for years.
The thing that would, by far, limit usage for both the SkyPath and the northwestern cycleway is the local street network. It is often completely unsuitable for bicycling. You can’t use a path like this unless you can ride from your home to that path.
25,000 on a day is very busy, but for a key connection like this it is plausible. You would need a substantially better network on the local streets on either side.
+1 Time we got that, too.
Which is a completely bogus number, anyone who thinks Auckland’s bridge will attract 25,000 cyclists and pedestrians daily is living in a fantasy world. Compare this to Sydney, a city with a larger population than New Zealand, with a bridge better located for cycle and pedestrian crossing gets 3000 pedestrians and 1900 cyclists per day.
Sydney needs to reduce its emissions and transform its transport system, too. If you haven’t noticed, thousands of people are dying from climate change.
Sydney is building underground rail, they have 4 lines under construction at the moment, while we sit back and piss around talking about a cycling bridge which very few people will use and take the piss out of the govt for coming up with a plan for tunneled light rail.
I am trying to work out a way to use the new bridge to bike to Manukau. On path options look crazy indirect to most of the hubs.
Why do these bits of sexy infrastructure keep getting built without network rationalisation?
Well the best scheme is to ride your bike to Onehunga Station and lock it up on the bike stand then walk out to Onehunga Mall and catch the 36 bus this will get you to the Manukau transport centre with only a couple of deviations along some side streets. I am coming to the opinion that AT should make the 36 direct and 38 could do the deviations. Otherwise you could ride but I wouldn’t recommend it.
I usually take PT everywhere. This is biking for the sake of biking, was hoping to make the most of the early morning light before DLS.
That bad eh? SMH I don’t get the bridge investment in isolation.
Public transport and walking is a better option for most people. Walk through the interesting bits and use bus train or ferry for the rest. These completely off road shared paths are great though especially if they connect to public transport. In my opinion nobody should be riding a bike on the Waikato expressway they should be Te Huia which should have more service’s. A few e scooters scattered around helps as well.
Bicycling is not an option due to lack of bike lanes. If you are going somewhere less than 5 kilometres away riding a bicycle will almost always be faster than public transport. Most people can ride that distance in 20 minutes. If you set out for a bus trip, you’d be lucky to be on a bus at all within 20 minutes.
“networks” must be harder to showcase in a glossy brochure/ business case. This bridge does look beautiful, after all.
I had actually wondered the same thing as you, how can I get there with my bike from south of Manukau. Given that the trains don’t often run on weekends, I don’t think I safely can. Even when the trains are running, I think I would catch one to Penrose and then one to Onehunga. Or catch one to Otahuhu, somehow find my way around Southdown, and then along the waterfront. It’s not a well connected network. Imagine if we built motorways that just ended at a gravel footpath or with a 4WD track through a swamp.
Yea think you are right.
The south end of that bridge does not conect anywhere nicely. There are then three separate clusters of various levels of bike infrastructure with no connections between them. I am sure the endless business cases have identified this, but done nothing to resolve the issue.
I used to bike via Penrose, pretty bloody miserable. Rockfeild (which has bike “lanes” that so bad google doesn’t know about them) into Mt Smart into Onehunga (or Trafalgar/herd if heading for the western) is tolerable, Auckland biking. The traffic makes it slightly safer, haha.
Hopefully the court action will further expose the hypocrisy of WK on this. WK are under huge pressure at the moment,with their roading network crumbling beneath their feet, this is an unwanted sideshow,they wish, would just go away,but like the persistent mosquito ,it keeps coming back for another bite. Inventing safety problems is laughable,considering what happens elsewhere on their network.
The feedback(comments section) on posts about Ngā Hau Māngere,inevitably refers to the cost ,and how little use it will get,completely ignoring the fact that is more than a commuting link,albeit with poor connections at either end. I picked up a copy of AT’s South Auckland cycling network map on Saturday,what an embarrassment that is,could not justify the printing costs,basically telling you, “mate,you’re on your own here,good luck”.
Sounds like a copy of the West Auckland, East Auckland and North Auckland cycling network map.
Did you notice the map was a version from October 2018? Meaning in the 4 years since, nothing has changed (apart from the Norana Park shared path; but they haven’t bothered to update the maps to include it).
The major problem with the festival approach that WK want, is that it will cause disruption – one-offs always do. And that plays into their hand; ‘see, we told you about the disruption!’ Meanwhile, the average motorist gets mad too, which supports long term doing nothing.
It’s like removing a plaster, you can try to slowly peel it off, making it more painful over a long period; or do what the pros (nurses) do, rip it off in one go.
My question is, is there some sort of structural issue with WK where they can not do what the minister has requested? Or is the issue the minister not being strong enough with them?
There is no reward or upside to anyone in WK championing this. If they make it happen and there is any disruption or negative press it will all be their fault and if it is successful they won’t get any credit for it and will likely have a mark against their name for being a bureaucrat that takes risks (which is obviously frowned upon).
Do you think Ngā Hau Māngere and Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai don’t improve Waka Kotahi in the eyes of regular Aucklanders? I think they do, and a path on the AHB would do the same. People would love to stand out in the middle of the harbour.
The longer Waka Kotahi resist, the more they’ll just appear to have been pushed into it. There’s a small window of opportunity still for them to look good.
Trying to write a post that explains it from an ideology point of view atm. Problem is I’m at 4100 words and have more to say… ha ha.
In short, the leadership uses mythology rather than contemporary transport planning. They are refusing to shift to Vision-Led planning, continuing to make decisions on the basis of models that are not fit for the purposes they are putting them to.
Yes – when we still cant have bus priority or even safe pedestrian crossing outside schools because it will impact on traffic flow we know there is a lack of vision and worse at play.
If the govt wanted to make the harbour crossing cyclelane happen it would happen, but they don’t want to risk any backlash and political damage. So they (indirectly) request WK to provide issues/risks and why they cannot install the cycle lane over the harbour bridge, and can then point to the experts and not make the tough calls that might upset some people.
Yes, Waka Kotahi know it’ll cause disruption and that it’ll play into their hands.
The Minister must be able to see through this.
Optimal time for a ministerial push would have to be straight after an election win. Anything else poses too much political risk sadly.
Political leadership on transport planning that improves transport freedom and liveability has been well-rewarded at the ballot box. Politicians advocating for half-arsed plans full of so many compromises they impress no one, or mired in political risk aversion of an out-dated kind, on the other hand, aren’t so well-rewarded.
Where is Patrick Reynolds when you need him? I had high hopes that he would be able to challenge the jurassic-era views of others on the WK board. In fact wasn’t the whole board renewed by Phil Twyford when he was Transport Minister a few years ago, for exactly the purpose of updating its thinking? Are there still dinosaurs lurking there, yet to become extinct?
Did the Minister turn up on his bike to open the bridge I got there to late but heaps of people and the traffic didn’t seem to bad so maybe we are learning. But yes we’ll done to all involved in the construction it wasn’t an easy design to build. Now we just need an underpass from Onehunga Station under Nielsen Street and down the old rail right of way to the port. Could have a platform on both sides of the track with boarding through all doors to allow access to both sides of the station.
I thought Roche was retiring this year.
Waka Kotahi is not been on public transport or walking and biking.
The high cost to NZ families commuting, emissions and danger to health and lack of exercise, hours lost in congestion, the high cost of oil imports is harming all NZers.
WK should be more business friendly and support our economy
It’s truly remarkable that Waka Kotahi are persisting with trying to rule this out on safety. The shared path would be almost identical to Greenhithe Bridge and very similar to the fairly recent upgrade to the Dunedin Southern Motorway which doesn’t even have a barrier between the roadway and the shared path.
They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Removing a lane will not be popular at all with a hell of a lot of people. Their ideal world is one where they can say it isn’t possible.
The Waikato Expressway is not suitable for 110kph, in a lot of places the surface is barely suitable for 90kph
Agreed! Was just driving on it yesterday. The 100kph section is littered with potholes at the moment too.
I was quite surprised too. I drove along on one of the last weekend’s before it was made 110 and was thinking about some of the deficiencies. Obviously the surface, but there are big bits with no side barriers and where if you were to go into the ditch at 110 then I don’t know if you’d have a very good time: https://goo.gl/maps/qQuNNHinpmhJKwCd9
The bits without side barriers do not have a 110km/h limit yet. They are under a temporary speed limit until the barriers are installed.
Great its finally opened but it also puts into perspective just how long it takes to build anything in NZ. I worked on the project in 2014 (when the detailed design you see was essentially complete). The fact that its taken another 8 years is mind blowing. There is just no chance things like light rail or another Waitemata crossing can realistically be delivered before 2030.
Yep, somehow we managed to get 8 years less benefit as well as having to pay a lot more to build it compared to 8 years ago (although I guess in this case there was an existing bridge for some of that time). No one is accountable for the cost due to delays.
I’m surprised WK don’t press ahead with releasing a lane on the AHB to walking & cycling and then use the resulting backlash from the car brigade to bring forward the next harbour crossing. They need some Machiavellian thinking.
Yes it certainly worked to kill off the bike bridge.
Even as a native of Tamaki Makaurau, it never fails to astonish me the devotion of its inhabitants to Henry Ford and the private motor fossil Flintstone Jetson “PakiWaka” (all imported cars are imported therefore “Pakeha”. Some of us dedicate our lives to minimising our emissions, but that is made insignificant by the majority of the “kick the can” politicians and bureaucrats that seem to want to keep Auckland inefficient, unhealthy and essentially life shortening. Many instersections with heavy traffic on a still day make it sensible to wear a mask not just indoors, but anywhere near an exhaust pipe. Many international cities know this, and although the science may take a while before it is revealed, fossil fuels not only destroy our planet, they destroy our lungs. And all the biking / cycling and walking cannot let more than 7ish litres of air into any of us. Our life spans are predicted to be shorter than the baby boomers even if the planet outlives us. That older people can still make these decisions is irksome. I have a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old that I cannot look in the eyes and tell them that I did anything to save the planet. We cannot keep lieing to ourselves. But if Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport are essentially in the pay of the trucking companies and taxis and ubers and “save our carparks” mayoral candidates; then what hope have we of executing positive change? Incidentally Ngā Hau is a little reverse postcode lottery, that South Auckland has a genuine car free link to Maungakiekie does make one feel a little sorry for the good people on the North Shore.
There is hope. The original dinosaurs eventually died out.
Has GA done a review on using gondolas as an urban public transport option to add value to a multi modal transport system? Bill Mckay discussed this with RNZ. He believes gondolas would be ideal alongside existing structures to minimise visual disturbance. Perhaps for example beside Aucklands harbour bridge.
Pt wise I think Gondalas can provide a gap filler role. To overcome geographical or manmade structures like motorways that form barriers to multimodal transport systems.
Wow – a bridge ! and linking communities. Manukau Infrastructure. These are all very good things and thank you all who made it happen.
Nga Hau Mangere, is also a transport hub. Its a port. Its a railhead. It links back to the 1915 bridge. My guess the original bridge was $38M less in costs – but probably a significant investment in the day.
Today the port is all but unused. The train with its service now cut, stops short of the port by 500m.
Where is this going. When Bridges, Light Rail, Heavy Rail, and Ports come together – great things can happen.
The port once linked Onehunga to all the waterside communities of the Manukau – and will again soon, with floating wharfs and ferry services in the offing. Port Onehunga will become a center of urban renewal – a meeting place, even more than it is now with Nga Hou Manakau.
I salute you Waka Kotahi. This infrastructure is excellent – and you made it happen. You looked good up on stage delivering it to our communities.
NZTA – Take the momentum, read the room, either make the Waitemata crossing multi-model, or relinquish Auckland’s bridge to Auckland Transport – the days of cars only has passed, and so must you.
Just out of interest, how heavy is the counter peak traffic across the bridge, as I assume that would be where the lane is taken from to make a cycle lane? Is going from 3 to 2 lanes that big a deal?
There is an old post showing the volumes of traffic:
I would guess it would turn into 4 + 3 lanes during peak.
No the lane taken would be from the peak lane as the peak flow is almost always better than the counter peak flow over the bridge. 5 & 3 would become 4 & 3 which makes sense when there’s only really 4 lanes either side on the approaches anyway.
It really shouldn’t be too hard or expensive to build. Concrete barriers (like the ones used in motorway medians already – perhaps slimmer like the Harbour Bridge ones) with a mesh screen above would do the job separating pedestrians from traffic, a similar mesh screen to prevent jumpers on the other side too. I would probably add in a high grip surface treatment too.
Really the only legitimate argument against taking 1 lane is if there is bridge damage like that which occurred a year or so ago. That has happened once AFAIK in the history of the bridge.
There are serious and real physical limitations as to what more can be ‘clipped on’ to our bridge…