In a week where a few people were noisily skeptical about cycleways, it was exciting to get our hands on the November automatic bike trip data. We knew the city centre counts would most likely be up a bit: new connections (notably Nelson St through to Fanshawe/ Market Place), fantastic weather, a big old festival, and that grab-and-go bikeshare experiment.
We knew there’d be a bump – but we didn’t quite expect a spike like this! Can we call it the Mike spike, or the Hosking curve? Or as one wag on Twitter suggested, it looks like a classic ‘hockey stick’ graph… a hosking stick?
As always, the numbers are up on the popular connected routes that are going somewhere: Tamaki Drive took a giant leap; Quay St is monumentally up, and the Northwestern Cycleway continues in leaps and bounds. The city centre cordon, a collection of counters that tracks trips into and out of the CBD shows bikes are an increasing share of the picture:
Even Lake Rd, still waiting for a proper paint job, is delivering more and more people on bikes to ferries and to work and school.
And look at the Waterview path network effect on SH20 (even with a detour for the exit lane widening at Maioro Rd):
Meanwhile, many of the peripheral and recreational routes (or those that languish, waiting for improvement) stayed relatively flat. It’s not rocket science.
We can’t say it often enough: if you build it (improve it, connect it, make it work), they will come.
And these are just the routes that are officially counted. Anecdotally, we’re hearing of more and more biking on the neighbourhood level, and more variety. Cargo bikes, three-wheelers, more ‘quaxing’ to the shops, high schoolers using OnzOs. Are you noticing the same?
While we wait for tangible infrastructure (suburban cycleways on the ‘high street’ will be Auckland’s next big leap) and crucial legislative fixes like slower speed zones, give-way priority for people walking and biking across side-streets, and legalised footpath cycling for kids, etc – this is a vote of confidence from ordinary Aucklanders.
We want to ride. There’s a bike boom afoot. It’s happening. It’s normal. Our city needs to catch up with its citizens.