At the beginning of last year, Auckland Transport consulted on what, if fully delivered, will be an exciting, safe cycle network for Henderson comprising of eight routes in addition to the existing off-road paths that that currently exist.

To me, the two biggest issues with that consultation were:

  1. That Rathgar Rd wasn’t included in the network. Rathgar Rd is important as based on our various national and local plans and strategies you would struggle to find a better candidate for a cycleway as:
    • there are three schools within 500m along it with connections to three other schools off side-roads
    • the Sturges Rd train station is close to the southern end, so would help to provide better access to the rapid transit network.
  2. At the very earliest we wouldn’t see any construction till 2024 and it would likely be many more years before we saw the whole network.

There doesn’t seem to be much action on the second point but there is on the first and AT have a new consultation for it.

Feedback from the initial consultation concluded that the Great North Road route should be delivered first, and that the Rathgar Road route should be added.

More assessments have taken place to prioritise this cycleway and the Cycling and Micro mobility Programme Business Case (CAM-PBC) was being finalised. The CAM-PBC provides the funding for cycling over the next 10-years.

The focus is on creating safe local areas to ride that will be connected to other main cycleways.

  • Henderson, is a hub for West Auckland with bus connections and train stations nearby, making it easier to get to school or work whether its locally or an easy connection into the city and the rest of Auckland.
  • A cycleway on Rathgar Road helps people to connect between the Henderson township, Sturges Road train station and existing shared walk and cycleways, such as the one that connects to Corbans Estate through Henderson Park to the Twin Streams Walk and Cycleways.
  • Sections of Great North Road and Swanson Road were prioritised as these are the critical links between Rathgar Road and the Henderson town centre.
  • This route will eventually connect to cycling facilities that are planned for future Lincoln Road Improvements.

One thing that is different from earlier consultations is that AT are explicitly saying which side of the road the cycleway will be on. I also think it’s good that AT are being clear about the change to on-street parking in order to implement this – though I don’t think they do themselves any favours by including the Lincoln Rd to Sturges Rd section on the map as that already has no parking. I think it’s good that AT are being clear about the change to on-street parking in order to implement this. There are also a number of existing raised tables pedestrian crossings on Rathgar Rd that are not currently shown and should be.

Repurposing parking lanes to movement lanes

  • We’re planning to turn the median lane and parking lane on part of Swanson Road, the Western side of Rathgar Road (Waitakere College side) and Universal Drive into a cycle lane
  • Widening the road would cost ratepayers too much and the parking lane and median lane is not the best use of road space – the focus is on safely moving people, whether that be by car, on foot or by bicycle.
  • We’ve checked usage of the parking lanes in these locations, and it is low (at least 79% of parking spaces are unused). There will still be plenty of parking on surrounding streets, but on these specific roads we need to move more people.
  • There will be 97 parks that remain on the Eastern side of Rathgar Road (Liston & St Dominic’s College side) so 61% of original parks on Rathgar Road, will be retained.

My main feedback is that the Rathgar Rd cycleway should be on the eastern side of the road. This is because

  • It provides better connection to more schools
  • It provides better connections to the Pomaria Rd cycleway and to the plans for Universal Dr
  • Between Pomaria Rd and Larnoch Rd there is a small set of shops on the western side and having the cycleway divert around the parking is less ideal.

This isn’t the first time cycleways have been proposed for Rathgar, AT once said they’d install them in 2011/12 but then never did.

Also related this propoal, AT will soon be finishing up the implementation of a signalised intersection at the Rathgar Rd/Universal Dr intersection which includes a small section of protected bike lane

It’s not entirely clear what’s happened to the other Henderson routes from the consultation last year as they seem to have disappeared from ATs website so I hope they’re still prioritised and that AT haven’t just scaled the network back to this proposal.

Consultation for this closes on 14 October and the feedback form only takes a few minutes to complete


Meanwhile, closing the same day AT also have a consultation for upgrading an existing pedestrian crossing outside a school on Sturges Rd to a raised crossing. This is pretty standard stuff from AT from what we’ve seen over the last few years but what interests me about it is how there is no mention of, or planning for, how this will work with the cycleway along Sturges Rd that was consulted on last year.

I get that AT haven’t done the design work for the cycleway yet but given this crossing is on a route they’ve already consulted about you’d hope at least some thought was put into this so the cycleway team aren’t having to go back in few years time and rip out this crossing to replace it with a new one that aligns with the cycleway.

Or course this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen one part of AT ignore plans from another part, including nearby on Swanson Rd.

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47 comments

  1. 18 months since the “main” consultation ended, they propose almost 3km of bike lane on road they didn’t consult on? They then go back to the public have 4 in person meetings and another round of consultation. In a years time the detailed designs might be finished, which would require further consultation, so that construction might start in in 2024? This would be the first bit of bike infrastructure added to West Auckland in at least an election cycle. Oh and maybe if you are lucky, a parallel route (which was in previous consultation) might randomly get built by some undefined process?

    This process is farcical and desperately needs to be streamlined.

  2. AT and forward planning/coordinating between teams re the pedestrian crossing and cycle lane? Good one!! Why do that when they can waste over $100k of ratepayers money and cause unnecessary disruption instead?!

    1. Designs are now routinely checked for whether they a step towards future network, or an obstruction to the future. Many of these crossings are now designed with at least flexibility for cheap alteration when cycleway design is finalised, if it isn’t clear where it should be put in later. That Sturges Road crossing might just need the refuge island removing, if kerbside cycle paths are used.

      1. Agree – in this particular instance, it doesn’t look too problematic, and the re-work is likely to be limited. The problematic cases are usually where they rebuild traffic signals or roundabouts with no cycle facilities and leave it for later “when the cycleway along this route is progressed” (which then means said cycleway also has to find the money – and the political backing – to dig up said intersection all over again. In town centres particularly, that basically is asking for the locals to revolt. Any major intersection change on a cycle network route – no matter when it might actually happen – should include at least basic facilities and/or futureproofing to avoid digging twice.

        Does it happen? Rarely, and often only if they get challenged by advocates. Because it DOES add cost and complexity now, instead of kicking the can down the road. But not nearly as much cost as doing an intersection twice.

  3. No doubt this will get the Facebook boomer brigade riled up again. Sadly an incoming council dominated by the gerontacracy (Wayne Brown, Maurice Williamson, Mike Lee, George Wood) will kill off anything to do with removing parking.

    I really hope none of these dinosaurs get elected. On the other hand they’ll be in their 80s soon so there’ll be another opportunity for progressive people next decade.

    1. The reason some people think we are building so many cycleways is that we seem to consult 3 times on a FAST project (one for the area, once more for the concept design, then once more before construction), and 5-6 times on a slow one (well, we decided to change the design, because the previous one is now outdated. well, we felt that since the last consultation was so long ago, we can’t just build now, there’s many new people / people who have forgotten).

      So there’s a constant wash of consultations to get the opponents riled up – and not enough actual progress to get more riders on the paths.

  4. “ This isn’t the first time cycleways have been proposed for Rathgar, AT once said they’d install them in 2011/12 but then never did.”

    So wait – IF this version gets built in (as Jak estimates) 2024 at the earliest, the tiny children who were just starting primary school when first promised a safe cycling route will… mostly be finished with high school. Old enough to vote, but another generation of young Aucklanders actively deprived of their right to active independent transport.

    I’d use the word “glacial” here, but unfortunately we’re running out of glaciers as well as time.

    1. If you have kids right now, and you really want them to grow up somewhere where they can go out without you taxiing them around, the only possible way to achieve this is to move overseas. There is such a thing as time to give up.

        1. Maybe before the earthquake, but I seem to remember they basically cancelled the rebuild in the city centre, and the entire rebuild materialised as far flung car-based suburbs instead.

          But yes I have always had the impression that this is worse in Auckland than most other places in NZ. For example Rotorua is crossed by a few 2×2 lane roads, but pedestrians cross these wherever, with impunity. (as a car driver, you have to watch out for this if you are used to driving in Auckland)

        2. I’d recommend a visit to Christchurch. While there are some issues with the design of cycleways and there is less intensification than many of us who comment here would like, the cycleway programme is widespread and of some of the best quality in New Zealand. The bus network is good by New Zealand standards, probably on par with the isthmus in Auckland. And the city centre is vibrant and walkable (even if it was deliberately shrunk post-quake).

        3. Trouble is, car dependence on Christchurch will continue to create huge risks wherever people on bikes leave the network, and indeed at conflict points along it.

          I think some of the smaller cities and towns that are actually making good use of Streets for People, and where Reshaping Streets will provide much needed assistance, are the places to watch. (In contrast, AT approaches those developments from WK by looking for further legal barriers to actually using them.)

          Monday’s announcement means young people I speak to are seriously considering all options for leaving Auckland.

          There is a way for Auckland to up their game, of course, but we’ll need a refresh of the ELT and the Board

  5. “Widening the road would cost ratepayers too much and the parking lane and median lane is not the best use of road space –”
    So retaining medians,along with parking spaces, has been agreed upon as “not the best use of road space”,presuming now this is official AT policy,major change in thinking.

    1. Its been official policy for a long time. It just doesn’t tend to be actually done. And until it’s built, it isn’t being done here either, despite being consulted like this.

  6. Universal Drive is a ridiculously wide road with the majority of houses having off road parking space. It relatively recently had it’s kerbs redone, so why on earth did AT not provide separate cycle lanes then?

    1. AT maintenance argues they have no money for more than “like for like” replacement. Which is “true” in a narrow sense (their department doesn’t), and is a major issue in how they (AT as a whole) fund maintenance work and overall investment.

  7. For me:

    Why the hell is it not on Lincoln as proposed? Way more direct northern connection, gets wider Henderson people to the Henderson shops, hospital etc. This route just detours away from that, then rejoins, only allowing access to the more-northern shops. Also much more sluggish to get to the NW cycleway and beyond (i.e. if you are travelling north-west/north etc.).

    Rathgar is still great, but my understanding was that was more of a feeder, as its mostly residential and perhaps some schools. Sturges Rd station also was supposed to be captured by the “H” route.

    Also where this reconnections to Lincoln in the North is horrible, those exits from PNS/Mitre10 on one side and KFC/Animates/Sushi/Bank/Other shops on the other are just hideous to pass on a bike!

    Also 2024 construction? For “A”, when are B/C/D/E/F/G/H going to be built? Bloody never by the looks!

    This has been in 3 rounds of consultation now, since 2017/2018, how sluggish! Especially considering WCC was on track for a complete network by 2016 pre-supercity. Spanning even wider than this Henderson-based one!

    1. ACC were about to put cycle lanes and a rapid bus service down Dominion Road from memory too! It’s hard to see how the old councils could have done worse than AT have…

      1. Well, Auckland City Council in its dying days had a “1km of cycle lane a year” target, and North Shore City Council tried – unsuccessfully – to zero out all bikeway funding – so one could argue that AT is, pro-rata, exceeding that! Low expectations and all that.

        [Auckland is actually doing a lot of new cycleways – but they are in greenfields areas out in the sticks]

        1. If all 4 councils had built 1km per year that would be 48km worth. Voters and councillors have progressed a lot since then, it isn’t the councillors that don’t want cycle lanes, it is AT that either don’t want them or are incapable of delivering them.

        2. Jimbo – that would have required someone to pick up the slack for Manukau, as there wasn’t a hope in hell of them building 1km of cycleways per year.

        3. It seems quite convenient for those councillors though. They can virtue signal all they want about bike lanes without any consequences.

        4. Roeland is spot on there. Several councillors ‘support cycle lanes’ but have no problem with every proposal dying as soon as AT get pushback consulting on a plan that removes any car parking at all.

        5. Yes the councillors want cycle lanes as long as they are consulted on and nobody opposes them, just like they want to save the environment as long as nobody has to change anything to do so.

        6. Mayor is the same. Saying the nice things about getting more people on bikes, visits the openings of uncontroversial bike projects – but runs for cover or actively tells AT to “consult better” when a cycle project gets blowback. Especially sad considering he must have known for a while now he wouldn’t see re-election. Even then he wasn’t willing to talk his own talk.

      2. In 2010 the council proposed separated cycle lanes on Dominion Road.

        2022 is coming to a close and there are still no cycle lanes on Dominion Road. (There are bus lanes which only operate 15 hours per week.)

        I would put money on there not being any by the end of 2032 either.

        1. They would need to start consultation now to be able to paint some lines by 2032! Median strips and right turns are super important, people dying less so.

  8. Off topic but terrible news just in…. Major disruptions to Auckland’s train network next year. THE EASTERN LINE, which I catch, won’t be operational for the whole year after March….
    Time for me to seriously think about leaving this clusterf*^% of a city.

    1. At least that is “fixing sh%t that was done wrong (or neglected) long ago” rather than “doing things wrong or slowly now”. I am not a rail expert, but replacing the whole rail bedding? Kinda hard to see how to do that without closures. So I agree that closing it fully and doing it once – rather than in bits and pieces closures for a decade – seems the right way to do it. I know, poor comfort for the users in the interim…

      1. It’s a major disruption for my household and I am sure many many more. And it risks many of us turning away from PT forever.
        Basket case of a city / country

        1. If they are removing the track and digging out the entire substrata, doesn’t this mean a lot of the work they have been doing for the past few years every weekend etc (ie tamping, tensioning, ballast grading etc etc) is down the drain, so to speak.

    2. I’d love to know why they couldn’t have done this work in conjunction with the track replacements in 2020 and 2021. While they would obviously have been longer shutdowns it would have got it done in one go and during a time of significant covid disruptions with office routines anyway.

      I left Auckland last year, this announcement is definitely not making me wish I was still there.

      1. From the sound of it, it looks like it’s a much more extensive work? Presumably the track replacement was the most urgent, and the limit of what they could afford from the budgets they had then (*noting the budgets probably were agreed a few more years before that*?), and this was pushed down the track (haha).

    3. AT tell me it is exciting news! Its a rebuild, an upgrade – to what we had before…
      In partnership with KiwiRail, we are excited to announce the Rail Network Rebuild – a major upgrade of the entire Auckland rail network. When this work is finished, we’ll be able to remove the existing speed restrictions, we’ll have more reliable trains and a more resilient rail network.

      1. Bullshit
        Some of us have made life decisions around where we live close to railway stations etc.
        Personally this is going to be a major disruption to my household’s way of life.
        Wouldn’t be as mad if they hadn’t stuffed around previously with works on the line and the significant disruption that created…
        Very angry.

  9. It’s unbelievable how long this process is taking. Every single route should be, at the very least, under construction by now.

  10. Safe cycling route between New Lynn and Henderson when? It would be nice to bike to the pools instead of drive.

  11. Please submit on this! As someone who commutes by bike and operates a business in this area I would appreciate AT being sent the strong message that people need safe routes and waiting all this time is not good enough.

  12. Why are there no east west routes joining this into a proper *net* work? Eg: Summerland, Palimino and Pine.
    The proposal is all very well if your goal is a feeder to Henderson or the NW cycleway. But what about if you just want to get across the suburb.

    1. Yes -as ‘Please send in your submissions” says above – please send in your submission and raise that point.

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