AT is consulting on an upgrade to the shared path at Western Springs, on the south side of Great North Road as it passes the sports grounds and MOTAT – a key pathway for kids en route to local schools. Feedback is open until Monday 7 May 2018 – please take a moment to add your voice!

A quick feedback guide

We see three things to support here, and three ‘could do better’ points:

  • support the raised crossings that give priority to pedestrians and people on bikes
  • support the widening for better footpaths/shared paths
  • support the improved connection to Ivanhoe Rd
  • please pay more attention to signage clutter along the shared path
  • please make sure surfaces are smooth (some recent paths have been pretty badly undulating)
  • please add bollards to ensure that the Ivanhoe Rd connecting path isn’t parked over, during events

Feel free to use these points in your feedback here’s the direct link to the form.

The section of path up for improvement – click to enlarge (Image: Auckland Transport)

The wider picture

The design ((check out the PDFs here) aims to make travel safer where Great North Road crosses a major motorway interchange. The really big win here is the two proposed new raised crossings over the on ramp and the off ramp, which give priority to pedestrians and people on bikes – meaning cars must give way, and you don’t have to dismount your bike.

These new crossings will provide a crucial ‘gateway’ alert to drivers – and, along with a tightening of those swooping curves and an enlarging of the traffic islands, will serve as a message to motorists to slow down and pay attention.

The plan also upgrades a popular and useful shortcut into Ivanhoe Rd, which connects under the motorway to Western Springs. Combined with safer passage for bike and foot travel across the motorway on-and-off-ramps, this will be especially important for the many kids from nearby and from the other side of the motorway, who use this route to get to school.

The Ivanhoe Rd connection, and the new raised crossings across the motorway slip lanes. (Click to embiggen.)
The existing pathway through to Ivanhoe Rd. Note the concrete barriers, which don’t do much to prevent people using the grass as temporary parking for big events.
The current state of the citybound motorway slip lane, with the former crossing painted over. (Photo: Luke Christensen, via Twitter)

Likewise, where Great North Road passes the service station, the path will be widened, and the entrances to the service station will also get the raised and red-paint treatment to provide walk/bike priority and an alert to drivers that they must give way when swinging in and out from their petrol top-up.

The path to be widened past the Caltex service station. (Click to embiggen)
The existing path past the service station on Great North Rd: barely fit for purpose.

Elsewhere, journalist, cyclist and local Russell Brown has delivered a pretty withering assessment of this wider stretch of Great North Road. The overall situation is far from ideal, we agree. The Great North Rd/ St Lukes Rd intersection rebuild pitted traffic against trees and left bikes in the lurch, even after the trees were left in place. And the recent signalization of the bottom of the Bullock Track, while intending to address some issues at a notorious black spot, has inevitably created others.

Everyone who regularly rides through here no doubt has their own series of ‘life hacks’ for safer passage. Great North Road is a key cycling route into the city – a more direct alternative to the NW cycleway, it gets you up onto the ridge route and will connect to the future protected cycleways along the city end of GNR and K Road – and yet this section overall remains a harrowing gauntlet for people on bikes riding on-road.

Even so, these quick fixes through the motorway junction are very welcome and well worth supporting.

Below is some footage of the current situation on a typical Monday morning – note the school kids on bikes on the traffic island at right. (You’ll also see vehicles making illegal left turns into the motorway on-ramp instead of queuing for the slip lane. Enforcement is the only thing that will stop these dangerous movements.) Please take a quick moment to speak up for the widened path and raised priority crossings on behalf of these kids!

Here’s the direct link to the feedback form – go for it! 

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12 responses to “Bridging a gap on the map at Western Springs

  1. Thanks Bike Auckland. This wasn’t on my radar so appreciate your bringing it to my attention. I welcome the improvements. I’ll be adding to my submission that the missing element is enforcement. Your video shows what drivers do through intersections. Similar shenanigans at the St Lukes Rd intersection with people driving in the bus lane. But also, your final point “please add bollards to ensure that the Ivanhoe Rd connecting path isn’t parked over, during events” wouldn’t be necessary if AT was enforcing parking rules. There’s a clear law against parking on verges and traffic islands, etc, but it’s a joke. AT won’t enforce it, and the safety of our kids is reduced as a result.

    1. Actually I have been told in a previous complaint to the council is that parking on verges is completely legal! AT cannot enforce this.

      1. Hi Dave, Would you care to share the reply from AT? Very interesting! From the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004:
        “2.14 Driving on lawn, garden, or other cultivation – A driver must not drive a motor vehicle on a lawn, garden, or other cultivation adjacent to, or forming part of, a road.”
        So I’d love to follow it up with AT.

        1. My understanding from previous discussions was that it is enforceable, but needs to be specifically prohibited with a sign first. So, sadly, the way our rules are written we have to clutter the city with signs first 🙁

          1. Max, again, that doesn’t fit with the actual law, which prohibits it. If AT has interpreted that they need to provide a sign, I would like to take it further. Does anyone have AT communication they can pass on? The problem has become so widespread and egregious and it’s stealing play space and the ecological services provided by healthier trees and well-aerated soil. Worst of all, it’s reducing safety and walkability. Yet another consequence of car dependency.

          2. Here are a couple of articles with AT comment but they only say the signs were added to “enable the enforcement of the bylaw”. If it’s in the RUR 2004 then it doesn’t seem like it’s a bylaw.

        2. The same issue occurred in the Auckland Domain, from what I recall. Now has signs at the entry point prohibiting parking on grasse / verges, from memory. Could still do with a lot more enforcement and blocking off more parts of the Domain against cars entirely…

        3. Vehicle parking on a verge, vehicle crossing, footpath, cycleway, traffic island or flush median breaks rules 2.14, 6.7, 6.14, 6.9, 6,6 of the RUR 2004 (as amended up to 2017). Breaking one of these rules breaks S4 or S10 of the LTA 1998. They are stationary vehicle offences enforceable by a parking warden or police officer (S2 and S128E of LTA 1998). AT and the police need to enforce them across the country – putting up signs in special places is counterproductive as the public need to understand the rules and know they will be enforced. The draft Investment Assessment Framework is seeking submissions by 18 May, and has a section on Road policing. This widespread illegal parking culture significantly reduces safety for vulnerable road users and supports car dependency so I believe we should be submitting that adequate funding for widespread enforcement (without confusing signs) is necessary.

  2. Thanks Bike Auckland, those are great, succinct points that make my submission super easy.

  3. Love to know the technology for the on ramp warnings for vehicles. The previous warnings at the Tamaki Drive/ Ngapipi Rd intersection relied on your bike being steel and didn’t work for many bikes! This could be really dangerous as cars come speeding off the motorway.

    1. Hi Dave – not sure whether we are talking the same thing, but there are no active warning systems proposed. The “variable message sign” is very likely unrelated, and just added at the same time – more likely something related with how the motorway is flowing (or not) at that time?

      The point of the upgrade is that with physical measures (speed tables), there is hopefully no active warning needed (at least not for the slip lanes).

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