Photo of the Day: Auckland Pathways

If you’ve been wondering about the “radio silence” lately, it’s because I’ve been up in Auckland since Sunday attending the IPENZ Transportation Conference. Lots of interesting presentations that I can report on later, but I also took the opportunity to have a good look around the central city and see what they’ve been up to cycling-wise lately. Again, I will report on some of my observations there soon when I get a spare moment, but for now I will show you one “interesting” attempt at cycleway design:

Apparently the bit on the right is only for cycling…

The Beach Rd cycleway is a story of two halves; I’ll show you the (more successful) other part in a later post, but here is the second stage. If you look closely you will see some markings on the ground indicating that the lefthand side is the footpath and the righthand side is the cycleway. The urban designers have also made this abundantly clear by using different shades of grey for each section…

As you can see, the end result is slightly less conclusive: I observed person after person walking along the righthand path. It’s somewhat intuitive in hindsight, because the curve of the road makes this the shorter route. Perhaps not an issue much for now, as the cycle numbers aren’t huge yet, but it could become more contentious over time. Maybe a more obvious change in colour and/or elevation would improve “compliance”?

What do you think of this pathway design?

9 thoughts on “Photo of the Day: Auckland Pathways”

  1. The paint will soon fade and it’ll be ‘one’ pathway. I’ve noticed most pedestrians move across when they see cyclists approaching from their front but they instantly move back across full width with near zero thought about cyclists approaching from behind. Not sure of the answer other than something more solid or visible in the middle, plus lots and lost of educational signage

  2. The pathway closer to the road tracks the desire line for both sets of path users, so it’s no wonder everyone gravitates to it. As you say, at the moment it’s not a huge deal, as speeds are generally slow and numbers of both pedestrians and cyclists are manageable.

    What will become an issue as numbers increase, and gives me the willies: the sunken gardens on either side of the path. Not clear from the photo, but the garden surface is probably a good six inches lower, with a sharp 90deg edge to the concrete. I often feel as if I’m just one pedestrian-dodging swerve away from a bent rim and unhappy tumble.

  3. Certainly the fact that it’s the desire line is the reason pedestrians use this section. I think a lesson is that if we want to have cycle only paths, they need to look like roads, which is the case with the other part of the beach road cycleway.

  4. Unfortunately humans are designed to look forward not back. Same problem the country over and not just a cycling issue. As a Hagley park user for 40 years I have had more problems when out running round the shared paths as cycling. Keeping left, paying attention and looking over your shoulder when not keeping left seems to be something we don’t all get. As a pedestrian who has been hit by a car in my time, I can tell you that a close encounter with a bike makes the heart jump a bit, but rolling across a car bonnet while the driver change UP a gear focuses the mind on survival in ways that a brush with a cyclist just can’t compete with! Tolerance and a strong hand on the brake…

  5. At 3.00pm on a school day, the Rutland Reserve shared pedestrian/cycleway section of the soon to be built Papanui Parallel cycleway is used as a meet and greet assembly area for parents and children as they begin their journey home along the path. This makes it difficult to proceed without dodging ( and annoying ) everyone taking up both sides of the path . As kids we were taught to keep to the left when on any route, path , road , or track. It is disappointing to see parents ignore the signs , and walk over the painted instructions and setting a bad example to children about safety and etiquette. Disappointing also hear opponents of the cycleways describing this path as a complete failure, when in actual fact it is excellent in design and structure but used incorrectly. The Paparoa Street School imo needs to emphasise the fact that whilst this route is a nice safe route to walk children home from school, it is also a transport route and needs to be treated as such .

    1. Schools and businesses should be reminding their students (& parents) and employees about safety in the areas surrounding their sites. An obvious example on my commute is western end of Tuam Street. Seems like the majority of the CDHB staff going to the hospital don’t cross the road at the lights, pedestrian crossings or corners that are provided. Instead they go shortest route. It’s human nature to be lazy. Culture changes take much reinforcement and a long time before the change become habit

  6. More cyclists would probably help the issue – along with appropriate education. It seems that the issue – like with other issues of cyclist visibility – is that currently they are too infrequent to remain front of mind.

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