Good news for downtown cycle connections – Stage 2 of the Beach Rd bike path starts next Monday. What that means: by early July (weather permitting!), you’ll be able to swoop right down the Grafton Gully cycleway and then pedal safely and easily into downtown, connecting smoothly to the laneways off Queen St – shops, bars, cafés! – and to Quay St and the waterfront.
Here are some more details and pretty pictures from Auckland Transport:
The project will extend the cycleway from Mahuhu Crescent through to Britomart Place and connect with the laneway network starting in Fort Street. The route will be a mix of separated cycleway and sections of shared path around intersections, with paving designs and painted cycle symbols helping to separate pedestrians from cyclists.
Beach Road’s upgrade will include features such as small pocket parks, along with information plaques and coastal plants to reflect the location’s history as Auckland’s original foreshore. The large attractive London plane trees and protected pin oak will form part of the feature lighting at night. Stormwater rain gardens will be constructed at the intersection with Tangihua Street.
Cycle Action was asked for comment about the design plans, and overall, we were pretty happy. Some things to note:
- At the Waldorf Hotel, we asked AT to add a separated footpath betwen the road and the cycleway, so that people arriving and departing from the hotel on foot are less tempted to stride off into the path of bicycles.
- We will need to see in practice how well people will keep to the cycleway and footpath sections, and how clear it will be to everyday users that these are two separate things. On the eastern section of Beach Road, they’re easier to tell apart, because the cycleway is on the road carriageway level.
- West of Britomart Place, we have been seeking better links through the Britomart area to bring people on bikes safely through to the station and beyond (via the many other attractions here, like great restaurants and shops). It’s currently very difficult to move through this zone on a bike because of inconveniently placed one-way roads. AT did not seem to feel that a bike route through Britomart was possible at the moment; perhaps because of the impending major CRL works, during which a lot of bus stops in the area will be relocated.
- In the meantime, however, as you can see from the map above, AT has added a new shared path north-south through Britomart Place. This creates a link to Quay Street where there will be a new crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. So, we’re getting there!
- Talking of getting there – while they are at it, AT is also adding a new signalised crossing over the eastern side of the intersection of Beach / Customs & Fort Street – so the new cycleway will get you right to the CBD shared spaces.