Albany Expressway is a very wide multi-lane, high-speed straight road sweeping down to Greville Road Interchange from Albany – a road that only hardcore roadies could ever enjoy cycling on. Greville Road Interchange is a traffic mixer where two roundabouts suck in and centrifuge large amounts of traffic to motorway speeds* – until even more confident cyclists are willing to say “Sod this!” and get into their cars. Well, that’s going to change soon.
* [or slow it to a standstill, which is why NZTA is changing the layout to traffic signals]
Some months back, CAA got a plan set from NZTA showing a new shared path running from Mercari Way to (and through) Greville Road Interchange and to Greville Road on the east side. Staying north of the road & interchange, this would provide much better west-east connectivity, and provide a great off-road option.
However, we were highly concerned that despite a wide road reserve, the 3m shared path had been designed to run directly adjacent to an 80 km/h road. The safety implications of riding 20-30 km/h in one direction, while traffic comes at you at 90-100 km/h the other way – directly next to you – are obvious, once you spell it out that way. We also had a number of other, more minor issues and change suggestions.
Thankfully, NZTA and their designers have listened, and have now incorporated a 1m wide grass berm between the 3m wide path and the road – the buffer stays around even in the steeper section at the southern end of Albany Expressway, and through the interchange itself. Much more peace of mind when cycling along here!
A variety of other changes were also done according to our requests, for example a signalised crossing making it easier to get over to the right side of Tawa Drive (also a future Regional Cycle Network route – we love having the RCN maps which allows us to argue for such improvements, even if the other routes don’t have cycle facilities yet – future-proofing in action).
One thing that is still being discussed is whether AT can pull ahead one of their projects for a shared path on the north side of Greville Road (east of the interchange) so there is a more seamless connection further on soon, rather than in a few years. All in all, a very hopeful change – construction is expected to start in a few months.