BBollards In Lanelog by Ben, a CAA member

Recently I came across this interesting article on how something as simple as a flexible bollard can really improve cycling infrastructure at a very low cost – the Fifty Bollard Game.

This, of course, comes from the guru of cycling growth David Hembrow, who went to school in Auckland and has fond memories of it.

New York has been one city that has used bollards in some very effective ways to create cycle safe areas, as this report from Transportation Alternatives (who are coming to Auckland soon!) shows. It has also been adopted in other US cities, such as Washington DC:

The bollards have often been used as a way of selling the infrastructure as a temporary trial situation that can be removed if it is proven to be unpopular or proves inappropriate. What seems to be happening though is that very few are being removed and eventually I expect they will be replaced by more permanent Dutch style concrete berms.

Here is an example of what one “guerrilla” group did in Seattle to create a de facto separated cycle lane where before there was only a strip of paint. How much would it cost to put such markers down, for example, the cycle lanes on Lake Road or other secondary arterials in Auckland (as scarce as they are) where on-street parking has been removed? Surely even Auckland’s anaemic cycling budget could handle that?

This is where I would put my 50 bollards:

  1. 10 bollards – 5 at each end of the block of Queen Street between Customs Street and Victoria Street. That would create a fantastic walking and cycling area. It would also lead to a massive increase in retail spending as can be seen by the effect of the shared space in Fort Street. I know there would be an issue with buses so ideally these would be bollards that can be raised and lowered to allow buses and delivery vehicles through.

  1. 10 bollards – each end of Elliot Street. I know this is intended to be a shared space but I rode down there at about 6pm on a Wednesday and it was being used as a rat run between Wellesley and Victoria. It was nose to tail cars all the way down. Is that what a shared space is meant to be?

  1. 20 bollards – 5 each end of High Street and O’Connell Street. There is no reason why traffic should be accessing these streets. I believe even the retailers in High Street have conceded that a better pedestrian environment would be to their benefit but are now being told by the Council they have to wait in line. For the cost 10 bollards, these streets could at least be made pedestrian/cycling friendly at a very low cost.

  1. 10 bollards – one for my local neighbourhood. Bollards to narrow Roberts Avenue to a one lane bottle neck (with two way cycle access) on the Bayswater peninsula at: (a) 50metres after the turn off from Lake Road; and (b) just after Bayswater Park where it becomes Norwood Road. This route is used by a lot of school children because of the local schools and the football training at the park. Vehicles often pass me on my bike at 70-80km/h. I know the principal of Bayswater Primary School is very concerned by the excessive speeds on Bayswater Avenue as well but nothing is being done. The safety of school children is apparently not worth as much as 2 minutes extra drive time in Auckland.

So, where would you put your 50 bollards?


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9 responses to “Improving Auckland cycling with fifty bollards?

  1. I’m 100% behind this approach, Ben. It drives me wild that we don’t have easier ways to get around the city centre core on bikes. Britomart is a classic. All those short one way streets I’d like a few bollards on so we could officially contraflow. (I do it all the time already.)

    1. Yes I agree, there is no need for those streets like Gore, Commerce and Tyler to have cars on them. If they were made car free it would make that whole area so much more pleasant.

      Again, the retractable bollards could be used for deliveries. Or cargo bikes!

  2. Another idea along the same lines – large plant pots. Chucked at each end of a road they make an effective and visually appealing of temporarily closing the road to large vehicles. Not as cheap as the bollards though!

    1. Much agree, Ross. The Transportation Alternatives report in the article has tons of photos of how planter pots are being used to traffic calm streets, or cordon off cycle paths.

      CAA has also submitted on closing Queen Street temporarily with such measures as early as several years ago. Shame nothing happened, even though this is even in the City Centre Master Plan! [Correction, there was a single event where they cordoned off part of Queen Street.]

      Planters are also still ridiculously cheap compared to most other roadworks…

  3. Really enjoyed this! I’m down in Wellington, so couldn’t comment on where to put them in Auckland. Main streets would be best, but would entail the removal of a handful of the masses and masses of on-street parking spaces here. Equally importantly, I’d place two or so bollards halfway along certain rat-run alleys, Dutch style, to prevent rat-running and make it far nicer to ride/walk through.


    1. Adam, would be just as interesting to hear where you would put them in Wellington.

      I was cycling around Wellington on the weekend when the All Blacks were playing and it is not very cycle friendly except of course the great waterfront area. Auckland could certainly learn a lot from how Wellington has developed its waterfront.

  4. Oh how I would like give 5 bollards each to some of our more recalcitrant councillors and traffic engineers and invite them to put them somewhere…

    …but yeah, what a great game!

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