It’s coming up nearly 7 years since I changed jobs, and with it my daily cycle commute route. My home location shifted more recently, but the final run into work still traverses Waltham Rd and Fitzgerald Ave, with all the biking challenges that entails. It would certainly be nice to have some improved cycling facilities along the way, which would be relatively easy to introduce here, and that situation hasn’t changed since I first mused on it back in May 2016…
So recently I went and changed jobs. On the upside, that means 15 minutes less biking each way; on the downside, that means 15 minutes less biking each way… 🙂 More pertinently however, it also means a change from my previous route, which featured friendly cycle lanes and pathways for the most part, to a new route where I have to contend with the fun of a number of multi-lane roads with few cycle facilities to speak of.
As I got buzzed by yet another car that doesn’t understand the concept of minimum passing gaps, it got me thinking that there are numerous places around the city that could be relatively easily improved cycling-wise by just rejigging the available space to fit in painted cycle lanes. Sure, these are not going to attract the “interested but concerned” in the same way that the Major Cycle Routes will but, in the meantime, I suspect that they would make a lot of existing riders (and perhaps a few fence-sitters) happier with their lot for now.
Of course we could always add plenty of cycle lanes to the city by going through the process of removing on-street car-parking, and all the consultation fun that entails. But actually there are lots of places where on-road cycle lanes could be added to existing road cross-sections with little to no removal of parking or other upheavals. For example, I was pleased to see recently that the ridiculously wide section of Hills Rd from Shirley Rd to Akaroa St is finally going to get some painted cycle lanes, for the loss of only a tiny handful of parking spaces.
Off the top of my head, here are a few other sites that come to mind:
- Clarence St, from Blenheim Rd to Dilworth St is crying out for some cycle facilities, as noted the other day. There is enough room to narrow the existing painted median to a “half-width” one (like on Wilsons Rd and Maidstone Rd), just widening it near the side-roads, and then provide cycle lanes in the remaining space.
- Waltham Rd, from Brougham St to Moorhouse Ave kind-of has a cycle lane in the southbound direction, although it disappears around Shakespeare Rd despite the expanse of space. But in the northbound direction there’s nothing until you get to the railway overbridge. Shuffling a couple of traffic and parking lanes over however should provide enough space to fit in a bike lane.
- All of the Four Avenues are candidates for on-road bike lanes. Moorhouse Ave is better than most for cycle facilities, but even it has a few gaps. Fitzgerald Ave and Bealey Ave could do with some rejigging of the three traffic lanes to create space for bike lanes. With Deans Ave south, I don’t know why two southbound traffic lanes are needed; with single lanes you could then fit on-road cycle lanes each way.
- Cashmere Rd, near Princess Margaret Hospital, is popular for cycling and is wide enough that cycle lanes could be easily added to the roadway.
- There are a few State Highway sections that could also do with some bike lane love by shuffling over some lane lines; these include parts of Yaldhurst Rd, Main South Road and Brougham St. Mind you, you’d need to petition NZTA about these, not the City Council.
There’s a lot of interest (and money) currently in the Major Cycleways, and we’re all looking forward to them. But perhaps a few minor funds could be found to also fill in a few gaps in the conventional cycle lane network too – perhaps you might even want to make a submission to the 2023/24 Annual Plan about this…
Where do you think that painted cycle lanes could be easily added to an existing road?