TL:DR: Waterview Cycleway delayed. Cycle count numbers in October behaving oddly.
As every month, we had a look at the business report of Auckland Transport to review any items of interest for cycling. Where possible, we will also provide additional context from our own discussions with Auckland Transport.
Note that where the below is italicised, we have copied the text from Auckland Transport’s report directly, without changing it. Where news is of particular importance, we have bolded the item.
- Tamaki Drive (Ngapipi Intersection): Preparation of a Scheme Assessment Report (SAR) is underway. Consultation with key stakeholders will take place over the next month. This seems to have been delayed, as no communication has occurred with CAA yet.
- Tamaki Drive (Kelly Tarltons to Millennium Bridge): The project scope is under review and will be finalised pending the outcome of the Tamaki Drive Master Plan and the Tamaki Drive/Ngapipi/Kohi/Kepa Corridor Management Plan. This review is possible as the construction of all short-term safety interventions has been completed, thereby allowing this project to recognise the long-term needs for Tamaki Drive. It is in fact somewhat more complex than that – as we are still waiting for works to finally occur at The Strand / Tamaki Drive, where a female cyclist died in 2011. We will be doing a separate blog post on this soon. Regarding the Kelly Tarltons to Millennium Bridge project, again, AT have not yet begun to consult outside their internal circles…
- Federal Street Streetscape Upgrade: Public consultation has now commenced on the shared spaced proposal. CAA submitted in favour of this project
- Domain Cycle and Walking Improvements: All consents have been obtained and procurement of the construction tender is underway.
- Waterview Connection Cycleway: The procurement of the SAR, Assessment of Environmental Effects and Notice of Requirement has commenced. This hides some great good news and bad news.
- The good news is that Auckland Transport has chosen to stick to high quality standards, and not cut corners in terms of the route – this means that there will be some difficult property negotiations ahead to ensure that the preferred route can be used, and doesn’t have to re-route through a whole series of local residential roads (think of the old Kingsland section of the Northwestern Cycleway).
- The bad news is that the whole process of approvals is likely to take 1-2 years, because it includes approvals to go across private land, over a railway line, and through various ecologically sensitive areas. And that doesn’t yet include the up to 2 years for the construction. So CAA and the local community around Waterview and Owaraika have sadly been informed that it is unlikely that the Waterview Walk & Cycleway will open any earlier than the motorway tunnel itself, i.e. we can hope for 2015-16, but no earlier. Sad, but we won’t be blaming AT for this one. It is mainly due to decisions taken at least 3-4 years back by NZTA, when they decided that the Waterview Motorway need not to include a walk & cycleway. The Board of Inquiry disagreed – but could not prevent pathway from now having to play catch-up.
- Cycle way; Don Buck (Triangle to SH16) – Stage 2 – Construction from ~February to May 2013. Sadly, the level of cycling facilities at the Triangle Road / Don Buck Road intersection will not be added to – this tricky roundabout will remain an issue for many cyclists as they traverse from one road to another, despite some refuge crossing improvements planned. We are currently pushing for further cycle improvements to be done here in the future.
Regarding the cycle counter numbers from Auckland Transport’s 10 (from this month on, 15) counter sites, we have to report a bit of a downer – that this year’s October was not looking all that great at all. We only had a 0.2% increase on the 2011 October. On the other hand, the morning peak cycle numbers rose by a staggering 37.6% – make of that what you will!
We would love to think that the 2012 October had a lot worse weather than October 2011, so the casual & weekend cyclists stayed home – yet the much increased numbers of morning commute cyclists battled on. But that’s just speculation – we will need to see whether this one month was just a strong outlier, seeing that otherwise the trend over the whole year has been strongly positive, averaging about +10% overall.