The thing about Tuam St…

Now for something different to ponder, while we have the time… a couple of months ago, pre-lockdown, I was riding down the separated cycleway along Tuam St. For those who are familiar with it, you will know that it is a one-way cycleway behind concrete dividers (and often car parking), in the same easterly direction as the adjacent roadway.

Tootling along the separated Tuam St cycleway

The thing I was trying to figure out was “how come Tuam St doesn’t get the same amount of grief about its design as St Asaph St does?” Because that’s the thing: these two cycleways are one-way equals. And yet, all we ever hear about is how bad the design is on St Asaph St.

St Asaph St cycleway – is this really so terrible?

Here’s the thing: Tuam St has the same roadway/cycleway dimensions as St Asaph St. It has the same 30km/h “green wave” signal timing along it (which to be honest is pretty hard for the average rider to keep up with – a story for another day…). So how come I’ve never heard anyone grumble about this cycleway, certainly not adjacent businesses?

Perhaps having fewer retail/hospitality outlets fronting Tuam St helps its reputation?

Perhaps a key difference is the relative land uses: St Asaph St has a lot of bars/restaurants and other retail places along it, whereas a large part of Tuam St is fronted by a Justice precinct and a bus interchange (in fact, the bus interchange entrance probably attracted the biggest concern about this cycleway and yet that has amounted to nothing in practice). Mind you, both streets also feature a number of car sales yards, well known elsewhere in the city for complaining about cycleways and on-street parking…

Even this separator on Tuam St is not immune to having vehicles break it…

That aside, it seems that the difference is more one of perception over reality; a few more noisy people made a fuss about St Asaph St, and that resonated through the media and ultimately into the public consciousness (to the point that many see it as our equivalent of Wellington’s Island Bay cycleway controversy). Fortunately, over time that noise is fading as more people start enjoying using these cycleways (including Tuam and St Asaph) around the city.

Do you think Tuam St and St Asaph St cycleways are different?

7 thoughts on “The thing about Tuam St…”

  1. They are both as bad as each other. I have had many near death experiences on these cycleways on my commute to and from work. I no longer use either road, preferring to use cashel st mall and high st

    1. In answer to the question, they certainly feel different to me. The # of left turn entrances off St Asaph St between Colombo and Antigua is the problem for me (we need to do a count and compare with a couple of blocks along Tuam). There is a lot of vehicle movement turning off St Asaph into the car dealerships and that is where the scary stuff has happened the most in my experience. Comparable to left turns into petrol station forecourts around the place. You get distracted drivers focussed on getting to the pumps, or getting the vehicle to a service centre as quickly as possible. These are additional jobs to do in the daily schedule and having to give way where you wouldn’t always expect it ( even to pedestrians) may not be the highest of priorities when time is at a premium. This is probably the main concern that car dealership folk had from the start, and it is justified to an extent. Sadly the validity of concerns and arguments are weakened when vehicles are deliberately parked on the separator pads. This restricts visibility considerably for both driver and cyclist/pedestrian. Coming down hard on this dangerous practice needs to be the first step for improving both actual safety and the perception of it. I also agree with Andrew’s comment.

  2. My suspicion is that St Asaph has parking on both sides for more distance, whilst the lanes in Tuam & St Asaph are the same width it’s the perception of narrowness when there a cars parked both sides, it’s particularly bad between St Asaph/ Madras & Manchester

  3. Both streets have the same fundamental design flaw of comprise, without imagination.
    As your article says Tuam St does not yet garner the same volume of business, hence it is perceived to be better.
    I confess my solution, like Becky, is to avoid both as far as possible.

  4. I use both and don’t find them that bad at all. Tuam I use mainly during commuting hours and St Asaph’s tends to be more of a weekend thing. The irony is, we have ended up going to a few eateries on St Asaphs Stree purely because we noticed them whilst cycling past……
    I do find it annoying that the phases for the signals on the Tuam street lights are different from most others and I’ve had near misses both as a pedestrian and as a cyclist when drivers have turned left off Tuam through a red light for car drivers. Cyclists often also go through the junction with Montreal on a red so I think everyone gets confused

  5. One of the light sequences on one of the Tuam St intersections is different from all the rest which means some people go when they are not meant to.

    The car sales yards on St Asaph are also the worst because of the arrogance of the owners. One big fat guy in a Maserati threatened to punch me out when I mentioned he should not park up on the raised median as it obstructed turning traffics view.

  6. I have cycled from Sumner to the University everyday for the past 3 years and by far the most near misses (and incidents) I’ve had are on the St. Asaph St cycleway. I had one major crash with a pedestrian who stepped out in front of me while I was doing the 30kph green wave dash. Inspite of the music I play from a bluetooth speaker and my loud yells, he was oblivious to me, but still blamed the lack of visibility allowed to him on the sidewalk due to the large street poles that obscure vision. And with prevalence of cars (generally old men in utes) who think that it’s okay to sit in the middle of the cycle lane and wait to turn or wait for their friends while blocking cyclists coming along, I’m much more inclined to do my riding in the middle of the street where I can be seen easily.

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