There’s often a lot of focus on the big flagship projects to help cycling, like the Major Cycle Routes. And, to their credit, they have already started to turn around cycling demand and safety in the city. But many of us will appreciate that it is often the little details that can make the difference to a comfortable cycling route or not. Seven years ago, when this post was first originally published in Jan 2014, there was talk of a “minor improvements” fund for this kind of stuff. Frustratingly, it then got dropped from the Council’s funding plan. So it is pleasing to see that the Draft Long Term Plan currently out for consultation includes a multi-million dollar “local cycle connections” programme – how could that best be used…?
Hidden beneath all the hoopla about the City Council’s Major Cycleways programme, there is another small but potentially very useful line item in the Council budget. $250,000 was allocated for each of the next two years for “cycleways targeted improvements” (page 304 of the Three-Year Plan for those playing at home). In a nutshell, the aim of this programme is to identify some low-cost “quick wins” that might improve the lot of people cycling on some existing routes relatively easily. A similar programme was introduced in Auckland a couple of years ago, with reasonable success so far.
So what might fall under these “targeted improvements”? Some has already been allocated to a few other little cycling projects (e.g. recreational cycle route signage around the foot of the Port Hills), but there is still scope to implement various other bits’n’pieces. Some possibles examples were suggested in my earlier “1000-day challenge” proposal, including:
- Improved route/destination signage
- Removal of barriers on some pathways (esp. at the end of alleyways)
- Addition of some cycle lane separators at curves and intersections (we’ll cover potential locations for these further in a future post)
- Kerb ramps at the ends of well-used pathway links
- Removal of poorly located car parking spaces
- Addition of hook turn boxes for tricky right turns
A good way to think of potential improvements is to simply consider your regular cycle routes, to work, shops, school, etc. For example, from my own trip to work I can think of a few things that would be nice to fix up:
- Removal of car parking on one side of the narrow winding section of Centaurus Rd east of St Martins Rd (no house frontages on one side anyway).
- Smoothing the kerb transitions onto the separated cycleway along Tennyson St.
- Some cycle lane separators at the Strickland/Milton intersection to keep the left-turners out.
- Changing the priority of the pathways in Hagley Park so that they have right of way over the access roads.
- Adding a short path link where everyone clearly wants to access the Deans Roundabout crossing point from.
- Putting bypasses around the horrible speed humps on the Riccarton Bush driveway (with vertical posts to prevent motorists doing likewise).
No doubt you have a similar short-list of simple fixes on your regular rides. It might not be possible to deal to everyone’s wishlists in one go. But hopefully if the success of this minor fixes programme is demonstrated, it might become a regular line item in Council’s budgets.
What would be your top five “quick wins” on your regular cycle routes?