And yet another big roading project is being kicked off by Auckland Transport this May – funding has just been confirmed for the Tiverton-Wolverton project, which will upgrade a major corridor in southwest central Auckland, running from Maioro Street in New Windsor (southwest of Sandringham) to Clark Street in New Lynn (see car route in Google Maps).
So what’s in it for cycling? Well, the project is similar to the otherwise quite different Dominion Road upgrade in one key respect – the designers feel they cannot achieve both cycle facilities AND the planned motor vehicle upgrades in the same corridor together.
At least not without much larger impacts on private property (which is politically fraught, and on Tiverton-Wolverton also very costly – more property purchases, much larger retaining walls…).
In the past, this generally led to cycle facilities quietly… being dropped… from the project scope – and that was it. It is to Auckland Transport’s credit that these days they do think a bit differently. Where the main corridor cannot provide, they now generally look at providing alternative routes for cyclists that run parallel to the main project, and provide better safety and amenity. We describe how AT will provide for cyclists in the project.
Going from west to east, we understand that the proposed cycle facilities are (see cycle route in Google Maps):
- A shared path to run along the northern side of Wolverton Street, past Olympic Park – ending at the signals of Saint Georges Road
- Crossing at the signals to the other side, to the start of the on-road section through relatively quiet residential back streets:
- Miranda Street
- Margate Road
- Mulgan Street
- A shared path on New Windsor Road, to link to the shared paths along Maioro Road (which then go all the way to the Sh20 Cycleway)
- Various smaller scale improvements are planned for cyclist safety on the route:
- Short shared paths at crossing facilities at Blockhouse Bay Road, a busier north-south road crossing the route
- Some minor upgrades to the Mulgan Street / Whitney Street roundabout, another road crossing the route
- A new crossing facility from the shared paths on one side of New Windsor Road to those on the other side
- Street lighting upgrades for night-time cyclist safety in the residential streets
Having ridden the route, we can also confirm that it is less steep than the main corridor – there will still be some sections uphill, where we requested parking to be banned on one side to give cyclists more room as they make their way up.
Also part of the project (or associated with it) are some other cycle-relevant features:
- A (likely informal) shared path on the main Tiverton-Wolverton route. Mainly intended for locals living there, so they don’t have to compete with the heavy car and truck traffic. Through cyclists, as described above, are to use the alternative route to the south
- Potential shared path links (not part of the main project) through Miranda Reserve to Blockhouse Bay Road, potentially with a direct link to Wolverton Road too
Overall, the route is aimed mainly at reasonably confident cyclists – not “road warriors”, but also not quite at the “interested but concerned” types of cyclists who will avoid on-road riding wherever possible. Since such a facility would have been very hard to provide here, we think the proposed solution is a good one. Maybe we can one day upgrade it to a full Bicycle Boulevard (have a look at an interesting video at the link) to attract a larger share of novice cyclists.