I’ve had a few recent trips to Auckland for work, and they’ve given me the opportunity to have a look at a few new cycleways installed around the city. Granted, the city has also encountered its fair share of “bikelash” in the past year, but they have also been quietly chipping away at a few more projects. Here are some pics:
(1) The Northcote Safe Cycle Route stretches across the North Shore, from near Takapuna (Smales Farm) to Northcote Point where the Harbour Bridge crosses. In due course it will form a valuable link for people getting to the proposed SkyPath into town.
This was another cycleway project that was affected by some local opposition. As a result, it’s an odd mix of facility types from one block to the next.
Some of it is “old school” shared path (a long-time staple of Auckland cycleways in the past), but the new route also features various sections of paint or kerb-separated cycleways.
Towards the southern end, that proved a bit difficult to get over the line with the locals, resulting in some traffic calmed streets with cycle bypasses.
Overall it’s not a bad route, although ruined somewhat by the crossing of busy Onewa Rd that has you doing some convoluted dogleg movements. Whether it’s enough to get people biking around here remains to be seen (we didn’t see too many others using it yet).
(2) On one of my recent trips to Auckland there was an official opening of a new cycleway link by Ian McKinnon Drive. Even the Mayor Phil Goff and Transport Minister Phil Twyford showed up.
This section of cycleway forms part of the very popular Northwestern Cycleway. Prior to this addition, riders had to slog up a hill to Newton Road overhead, dogleg and cross that, then down the other side, back up again, cross another busy road…
The new route shoots underneath Newton Road, minimising the extra climbing effort.
It then reclaims a traffic lane from Ian McKinnon Drive to provide a separated cycleway towards Upper Queen St.
At the top, there is no need to cross the road again any more, the route just swings directly around onto Upper Queen St.
From Upper Queen St, riders can access the city directly on-road, or veer off to the Lightpath (left) or Grafton Gully cycleway (right).
The end result is a very good quality cycling facility (about 4m wide mostly). There might be a few pedestrians using this route as well, although many may also be pleased to have the old path on the other side of the road back to themselves.
(3) A project that was completed some months ago, but I only got the chance to check out recently, was the introduction of a contra-flow cycleway on Federal St downtown.
What is particularly notable about this project is how quickly the cycleway was constructed – one week! This was achieved through the magic of paint and planters (there is a more permanent street reconstruction planned in the future).
The colourful street markings also encourage some traffic calming on the street, which is good for the many pedestrians in the area, and cyclists using the main roadway (where sharrow markings are the only other assistance).
The introduction of a “wrong-way” cycling route allows this quiet one-way street to become a useful cross-town connection. In time, the route will extend even further south through town.
(4) The last project to show you was actually constructed a few years ago, but I hadn’t seen it up close until recently: Carlton Gore Rd in Newmarket. This is a mixture of buffered and separated cycle lanes along a busy urban commercial street.
The biggest challenge to date appears to have been motor vehicles parking in the cycleway, often “just for a moment” (e.g. couriers and deliveries). Just goes to show that good infrastructure is one thing but it sometimes has to be backed up by strong enforcement too.
As you can see, there’s a fair bit going on in Auckland cycle-wise and a lot more in the pipeline. With a city as large as theirs, it’s a big challenge to get a comprehensive cycling network (linking with their rail network will be an important feature to make some journeys viable without a car). But the growth in numbers to date (albeit from a small base) certainly shows some good reward for the investment to date.
What do you think of these Auckland cycleways?