Auckland’s good cycle infrastructure: A mythical beast revealed

Dec 18, 2013
Auckland’s good cycle infrastructure: A mythical beast revealed

BenL

We all know that generally Auckland’s cycle infrastructure is less than ideal (Note: I have carefully avoided the use of any offensive four letter words in that last sentence).

However, I am sure, like me, you periodically see a piece of really good infrastructure that goes for a few hundred metres and then disappears. I really dont know if that makes me feel better or more frustrated. Many of these are things that CAA regularly asks for and are told they are not possible or they do not meet design parameters.

Here are a few examples from around Auckland:

Filtered permeability

What is filtered permeability, you cry? It is basically when we make a street one way for motor traffic but two for cyclists. This of course happens all the time for pedestrians but the idea is quite new in New Zealand for cyclists. As you can expect, the Dutch use this as a tool for increasing the convenience of cycling and it has also had great success in Hackney, London.

Here is an example in Devonport, Auckland at the intersection of Church Street and Cracroft Street:

Church Street filtered permeability

Not perfect (in particular, it would be good to see a cycle path through the traffic island) but I cycled down there recently and it definitely felt cycle friendly. It just needs signage to make it clear that cyclists are allowed to cycle both ways.

Mitigation of pinch points

There are a couple of good examples of these around Auckland. One is on Clayburn Road, Glen Eden and although not actually intended as a cycle lane, the open area on the curb side prevents the creation of a pinch point:

Clayburn Road pinch point lane

The other is on Summerland Drive, Henderson. This is not a perfect example – the remaining pedestrian space between the cycle lane and the traffic lane is too narrow. But it would work really well with wider kerb extensions:

Summerland Drive pinch point lane
Summerland Drive

Separated on road cycle path

But wait, I hear you say, we dont have these in Auckland, our political masters have decided we dont deserve them – they are only for Northern Europeans and North Americans. Well we do, in patches. Here is a short pretty good quality one on the outside path in Hamana Street, Belmont:

Hamana Street cycle path
Hamana Street cycle path

Of course, it isnt really signposted and only lasts for about 1km but it is actually pretty good. The distance it has been placed away from the entrance to the driveway means cyclists have plenty of time to deal with the occasional car exiting a property. There are many locations in Auckland where very wide berms could be converted into cycle paths like this, especially now the Council aren’t mowing them!

This street will also be part of the sharrow trial coming soon to streets in Auckland. They have worked so well in North America and Australia, so I am sure we will see the same success here.

Shared spaces

I regularly cycle down Fort Street just because it is such a nice atmosphere. Cars are slow and respectful. It isnt for lycra clad speed merchants but that isnt the intention. Just as a reminder, here is the Fort Street shared space:

Work On Fort Is Ongoing
Fort Street shared space

Shared spaces are not ideal (the Dutch abandoned the idea quite quickly, although it was originally a Dutch concept) and it is generally agreed that shared spaces only really work where there are very low traffic volumes. This is usually true of Fort Street but it would be good to see access further cut back for motor vehicles, perhaps by putting bollards at the Shortland Street end of Jean Batten Place. The Shortland Street, Jean Batten Place intersection is a disaster waiting to happen with so much increased foot traffic and cars racing down the Shortland Street hill.

However, by Auckland standards Fort Street is a cycling and pedestrian paradise. Not only that, it is good for business with revenue in the area increasing exponentially, especially in the hospitality sector.

Bicycle boulevard 

Bicycle Boulevard in Berkeley
Bicycle Boulevard in Berkeley, California

I also have high hopes for the bike boulevard parallel to Dominion Road. I know it is less than ideal and we would all have liked to see separated cycle paths on Dominion Road itself, but if the bike boulevard gets high numbers of users it will show the Council, AT and NZTA that there is a big latent demand for cycling facilities.Boulevards have been very successful in North America, particularly Portland which presents the best template for advancing cycling in Auckland.

 

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