Bike to the Future on Saturday 17th February at 10am is a community ride around Grey Lynn organized by our friends at Generation Zero. The idea is to showcase the huge local potential once the safe bike routes are completed – by giving people a chance to experience the routes as they currently are, winding past the schools and shops, and to imagine them as they might be.
It’s the perfect chance to show that there are lots of very real people and families, in this neighbourhood and neighborhoods like it, who just want greener ways to travel, safer streets, and better connected biking for all of our communities.
And it’s an excellent opportunity to visualize and discuss the design tweaks (scroll down for more about this!) that will make these routes even better.
We hope you’ll join the ride!
Why this ride, and why now? Well, as everyone who follows us will know, AT began constructing the Grey Lynn bikeway projects late last year, but they’ve been on hiatus over the summer after protests brought work grinding to a halt (discussed extensively here with overflow effects on Quay St, too). And you’ll have seen the recent palaver over AT’s proposed investment for the next ten years (thankfully, that proposal to slash walking and cycling funding by 90% has been sent back to the drawing board – see a round-up of links here – but we’re not out of the woods yet).
The good news is, work on Quay St continues at pace, and AT has been clear in communications to us that the Grey Lynn project is just paused – not stopped – while they look at improving the design, both through the local shops, and along the full routes.
Given there were indeed compromises in both design and implementation that could definitely be revisited to everyone’s advantage, we’ll be engaging enthusiastically and constructively with this review.
Just for example, we’d like AT to look at:
- softening / improving angles on the parking protected lane through the shops, and better buffering
- addressing the width and materials of the buffer zones along Richmond Rd, to make them safer for those on bikes, and more intuitive to those in cars
- using more attractive and stronger alternatives to the plastic protective hit sticks – such as traffic islands and cycle lanes raised above the road level (Copenhagen lanes)
- redesigning the Surrey Crescent/ Richmond Rd intersection, which is far from ideal for pedestrians and people on bikes
- as an alternative to the berm cycleway on Old Mill/Garnet Rd, re-apportioning street space (i.e. parking or the flush median) to create room for on-road protected lanes.
The goal will be to complete these routes as soon as possible and to the best standard possible, so the rest of the network can proceed with confidence.
But we also want to make it clear that Auckland just can’t afford to spend a few more years kicking this particular ball down the road. The time is now, the place is here!
We know that safe, protected cycleways encourage more people to ride, and different people to ride. More kids, more women, more people who are keen in theory but currently discouraged in practice. We know that every time Auckland builds a new safe cycleway and creates new connections, people flock to the new paths.
We also know that people in our suburbs are keen to enjoy safe, comfortable, beautiful and connected bike access through our neighbourhoods, not just along some motorways and in the city centre. And we know that across the city, people support sustained investment in a healthier streetscape, with options for young and old.
So how can we show decision-makers, politicians, and the wider public that this is the case? By getting out there and riding!
Everyone’s welcome to Bike to the Future – because how Auckland embraces the future of biking in Grey Lynn will have powerful effects on how and when (and even whether) other suburbs get bikeways.
At the culmination of the ride, Gen Zero will hand over a petition (have you signed it?) to representatives from the Local Board and Auckland Transport, expressing support for the bikeways, for an even better design, and for cracking on with delivery.
See you on Saturday the 17th, at 10am – with bells on!