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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.