Bike parking shelters – #3: Birkenhead [Updated]

Birkenhead 01It’s interesting to see how the issue of sheltered bike parking has gone from having no traction with Auckland Transport, to one where their latest well intentioned efforts are earning them a bit of unwanted notoriety.

I’m backing Auckland Transport’s new investment, as our survey work on the Northern Busway, comments on recent blogs and our own experience as cyclists who often leave bikes at train stations and ferry terminals has taught us that undercover, secure bike parking is a vital accessory for getting around Auckland on bikes.

Birkenhead 02It’s true that the trial bike cages publicised in a recent blog, planned to be built at Papakura and Papatoetoe, would not look out of place at Paremoremo Prison. But our second blog – from guest blogger Nicholas jones – showed that undercover, secure bike parking is both important to cyclists and can enhance the streetscape.

Birkenhead 03Late last week we heard from one of our members living in Birkenhead that AT has built a bike parking shelter by the ferry wharf. He and other locals are concerned that the design blocks views, and is too open to sea spray, and want it moved off the wharf for use somewhere else. I sympathise with residents’ concern that the Local Board approved the design and siting without consulting the local Residents’ Association. Contrary to our agreed protocol, Cycle Action had not been consulted by AT either. But the bottom line for me is that this is a well designed facility, conveniently sited to serve the local cycling community using ferries at peak hours, and needs to be open for use asap.

We have 120 bike parks at the Devonport ferry, (many undercover and with CCTV), which are full most of time. I know Bayswater cyclists would love to have better undercover secure bike parking.  Isn’t it fair that cyclists from Birkenhead and further afield suburbs, who don’t want to squeeze their bikes onto packed ferries at peak hours (or get their gear soaked as they load and unload their panniers), should have covered, secure bike parking as well?

Cycle Action’s goal is to serve as a voice for the city’s cyclists. Tell us if we’ve got this one wrong. In the meantime, I will be guided by what we’ve heard from cyclists across the region to date, by standing beside AT’s latest bike parking project at Birkenhead Wharf.

UPDATE: Cycle Action continually tells Council and AT that cycling extends the reach and flexibility of  public transport – ie  PT runs on fixed networks, so passengers need an efficient way to link to their local bus, ferry or train. Yesterday’s story in the Herald in ‘Ask Phoebe‘ reported the upgrade of the Half Moon Bay ferry will be accompanied by a 3 story carpark! Imagine if that money was put instead into connecting up the local walking & cycling network and good feeder buses!

Today’s Herald story from Peter Calder gives more compelling evidence of the smart transport that deserves more transport dollars. Cycle Action is delighted with new PT investment, but if we’re serious about reducing congestion and giving Aucklanders the transport choice they want we also need to translate Auckland’s spin about integrated transport  into integrated investment for PT plus walking and cycling.

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