Those dashed yellow lines – we jolly well need them!

Seen a bike lane blocked or invaded by cars lately? We need your help!

Matt Lowrie’s blog post Friday before last had me shouting “Yes! Yes!” Have you read it? It’s a powerful photo essay illustrating what happens when dashed yellow lines are removed from a cycle lane, leaving it to rely on intermittent bike symbols alone to prevent takeover moves by predatory parked cars.

We’ve been tackling the same issue with Auckland Transport in a variety of ways for years. Our lack of success has recently got me daydreaming about buying bulk lots of yellow and white paint and grabbing a flash mob to spend our nights painting dashed yellow ‘NO PARKING’ lines in all our cycle lanes. And while we’re there, let’s re-stencil those sad, wasted cycle symbols that have lost their mojo.

Cyclelane faded Lake Rd

Sounds extreme? Maybe… but what’s the alternative?

I’ve met AT cycling bosses every month for the past four years to discuss cycling improvements. Every 3 months I’ve asked AT to repaint faded or disappearing markings on parts of the Auckland Cycle Network.

Despite pitiful success with this, in 2012 I expanded my requests to include action to prevent cars from parking in bike lanes. My AT colleagues have been sympathetic, but their best offer was to promise to act if complaints were logged to AT’s action line at (09) 355 3553 or via their handy online form

We put the call out to enlist our readers to call/ email/ photograph problems to log onto the action line. A staunch regular rider out West on Portage Rd proved to be the star of this campaign. Rudy first contacted us on 10th September last year, when new cycle lanes were marked on Portage Rd.

Hi Barb – just had the cycle lanes extended in Portage Rd, New Lynn.
All good but no broken yellow lines to reinforce “no parking”. Seems strange as every other lane I use has the lines. Spoke to AT. Changes made, council and/or AT have decided that the broken yellow lines are no longer needed, people know not to park there! Seems crazy to me. We need those broken yellow lines!

Cyclelane Portage Rd parked cars for blog

The new Portage Rd bike lane was an extension of the Clark Rd one. Like many areas of Auckland, the Clark Rd bike lane had yellow dashed ‘no parking’ lines, which pre-dated its installation and had been left in place when the bike lane paint was added.

I quickly saw that Rudy was a seriously committed correspondent. He diligently logged complaints on AT’s action line with photos of lines of cars parked in the Portage Rd cycle lane, and copied us in on his messages. By 29th October – three complaints later – Rudy was desperate.

It’s now the end of October and whatever you are doing is NOT working.

His message went on to report (with photos) cars parked in the bike lane between 6.30 – 8.35pm. He also noted the arrival and departure of a marked AT vehicle (a parking officer?). Rudy ended with the comment:

8.35 took photo of car still parked in cycle lane. I was there and observed everything.
The officer ignored the car and filed a false report... It is obvious that AT cannot monitor and keep this cycle lane clear for the safety of cyclists at all times. What are you going to do to sort this out?

Rudy’s smart move in keeping us informed meant I was able to back him up in asking for dashed yellow lines for Portage Rd at my monthly AT meetings.

Imagine my delight to get this news from Rudy in December last year!

I am now the proud parent of a bright new broken yellow line and I would like to show you how much joy it has brought into my life. Last week my life was one of frustration, with unreturned phone calls, ignored e-mails and up to 20 cars parked in my cycle lane. With the birth of my new BYL, on Wednesday evening the legal carparking was FULL but my cycle lane was CLEAR, not one car!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it, who ever said that car drivers don’t respect the BYL.

One minor point, there was a few bits missing off my new baby….. [Rudy goes on to request a bit more yellow line for a dangerous pinchpoint needing more yellow lines on Golf Rd near Portage Rd.] Looking forward to seeing this little problem sorted and enjoying a relaxed cycle in my new and much safer cycle lane.

Rudy’s campaign struck a chord with me, as I’ve had the same experience on the Devonport – Takapuna bike lane on Lake Rd. This cycle lane presently has symbols of varying visibility. Some parts have no symbols or greening (because of a  resealing job months ago) and other parts have dashed yellow lines and bike symbols.

Cyclelane yellow dotted lines Lake Rd Devo

These yellow lines pre-date the Supercity and AT, but I love them because motorists never park in this part of the cycle lane. Compare this with the other sections where my path is regularly blocked by people parked in cars to use their phones (well, at least they pulled over first…) or simply parking and walking off to leave their car unattended.

North Shore Councillor Chris Darby and I regularly ask AT to improve its monitoring and maintenance of cycle lanes across the city. AT tell us that new seal needs to ‘cure’ before the cycle symbols and greening are reapplied. But we don’t understand why AT is so nimble when it comes to remarking lanes for vehicles, and so tardy and forgetful in attending to symbols and greening for those of us on bikes.

I suspect cycle symbols and greening are often only remarked or remembered when a cyclist notices and logs a request to AT’s action line.

I’m still daydreaming about my bulk paint order and calling up the flash mob of ‘tactical urbanists’… But Matt Lowrie and I always prefer to work beside AT to help improve its delivery of public transport, walking and cycling. So we’re meeting AT to discuss its bike lane woes on Wednesday this week.

We’d love to hear more from you on places where cycle symbols and greening are faded – or waiting to be added after recent resealing. And please tell us where you have regular problems with cars parking (or indeed driving) in bike lanes.

My line’s open now and I’m keen to get your emails before Wednesday – send me details at barbcuth@gmail.com

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