Last week I started introducing you to the first section of the South Express Major Cycle Route, as far as Upper Riccarton. That section of the cycleway has been mostly in place for well over a year already, but many of the bits further west have only been installed in the past month or two. So I was able to finally have a good look at them a couple of weeks back to see the finished route to Hornby.
Let’s start where we left off last time; at Main South Road about to turn into Craven St towards the Sockburn suburbs.
The route here consists largely of separated cycleways alongside the suburban streets. A couple of times the cycleway crosses to the other side via a simple raised crossing.
At Taggart Park, the cycleway leaves the road corridor and takes a shortcut through to Taggart Place.
Taggart Place is a low-volume cul de sac, so the cycle route becomes a 30km/h neighbourhood greenway until it returns to an off-road path heading around onto Epsom Rd.
Midway along Epsom Rd we come across another signalised cycle crossing providing prompt service for any approaching riders.
The cycleway then heads through the Pararua Stream Reserve, which provides a convenient connection through to Racecourse Rd.
The existing pathway through here has been widened where possible, although it’s still a bit tight in places next to the waterway.
At Racecourse Rd is the last piece not quite complete, with the traffic signals still waiting to be commissioned when we visited recently.
The cycleway now follows the existing power pylon corridor alongside Riccarton Racecourse (hopefully they will provide easy access to/from the Riccarton Markets…).
Throughout the off-road sections, the shared paths are a good width for walking and cycling.
Eventually the cycleway encounters one of the new subdivisions adjacent to the racecourse. There is a bit of a fiddly crossing of Kahukura Rd – would be nice to improve that point.
The cycleway then reaches State Highway 1 (aka Carmen Rd) and swings around to a signalised crossing.
Perhaps not surprisingly for a state highway, this crossing is not always as prompt as the other ones, and you also have to do it in two staggered parts.
The cycleway then heads down Carmen Rd and swings into Buchanans Rd where the shared path splits off into a separate off-road cycleway again.
At Hei Hei Rd, the cycleway turns south, again with a signalised crossing to get you across to the other side.
Hei Hei Rd has quite a lot of side roads and driveway crossings; there is also a school halfway down. The separated cycleway does a pretty good job of handling all of these conflict points.
As the cycleway approaches Waterloo Rd, there is a bit of an annoying jink around the corner to the crossing – why can’t it be more direct?
The signalised crossing of Waterloo is currently the end of the line for the South Express; at least it connects to the pathway through Kyle Park towards the Hornby shops.
The next part of the South Express is planned to head west along Waterloo Rd and run past the Waterloo Business Park and then on to Templeton and ultimately Rolleston. Last time I checked, there was just a bit of path built near Halswell Junction Rd – more still to come…
Even without the last bit to be constructed, already the South Express is providing a very handy route for lots of people in the western suburbs. If you want to watch a full video of the cycle route in from Hornby to Riccarton, you can check out this video of the ride by Jono D.
What do you think of the South Express cycleway?