Feedback from CAA: Onewa Road & Mangere Bridge

CAA recently provided feedback on the Onewa Road (Transit Lane & Shared Cycle Path) proposal by Auckland Transport, as well as the initial consultation on the future replacement of Mangere Bridge by NZTA.

On Onewa Road, we support the project, but ask for better safety for the shared across driveways and side roads – via traffic calming features and education campaigns – and also ask for shared paths to be provided on both sides of the road, not just on the southern side.

On Mangere Bridge, our main request for the future new bridge is a wide space for pedestrians and cyclists, to prevent conflicts with the recreational fishing on the bridge.




Cycle Action Auckland supports the proposal to introduce a westbound T3 lane on Onewa Rd. The T3 lane will improve the efficiency of Onewa Rd through both dual laning and increasing the priority of high occupancy vehicles.

We are pleased to see Onewa Rd’s status as a Regional Cycle Network route recognised in the works, and specific cycling provision introduced as part of the T3 lane work.  This will reduce the downsides westbound dual laning will have for on-road cyclists.

However, while we support the shared pedestrian/cycle path on the southern side of Onewa Rd, we have significant concerns about bi-directional cycling on this path, and strongly request the footpath on the northern side receive the same treatment for eastbound cyclists.

Our submission also makes a number of other recommendations to improve cyclist safety and amenity, as well as more general observations to improve the efficiency of the T3 lane.

Transit lane choice

We endorse the choice of a T3 lane over a T2 or Clearway lane as:

  • A T3 lane will reduce travel times for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs), providing further incentives for low occupancy vehicle drivers to carpool, or switch to active / public transport.  This will reduce congestion in the non-transit lane for those for whom active / public transport is not an option (such as freight deliveries, tradespeople)

  • It matches the eastbound T3, providing consistency

  • A T3 lane makes it less likely that parents will use it to transport a child between home and school by car.  It is preferable from transport, environmental and public health perspectives for children to walk or cycle to school

  • There will be a degree of congestion in the transit lane anyway due to non-indented bus stops.  A greater traffic density (ie clearway or T2) will exacerbate the problem, and reduce the incentive to use HOVs

  • It will keep the density of vehicles in the transit lane lower, reducing the likelihood of conflict with commuter cyclists who choose to use the lane instead of the shared path (where they have to give way to side road traffic)

  • We don’t believe there will be any negative side-effects of T3 compared to T2, as overall the throughput of the arterial will be improved through dual laning.

Our following recommendations regarding cycling facilities apply irrespective of the transit lane choice, including the do-nothing scenario.

Current observations re cyclists

In its current configuration, Onewa Rd is only suitable for experienced and confident cyclists. Eastbound commuter cyclists can easily keep up with the T3 traffic due to the downhill gradient, while westbound the single lane of traffic forced by the odd parked car provides plenty of kerbside space for cyclists, despite travelling more slowly uphill.

The only significant problem for westbound cyclists arises when approaching the Highbury intersection, where double-stacking forces cyclists onto the footpath at peak hour.

However, the Onewa Rd environment is generally hostile for cyclists not fitting into this small group of highly confident cyclists, especially for:

  • Children riding to / from school (Northcote Primary, St Marys and Northcote College)

  • Local residents wishing to travel to Highbury shopping centre, St Marys Church or other transport or recreational destinations in the area.

It’s interesting to note that Auckland Transport specifically excluded Onewa Rd from the most recent edition of the North Shore Cycle Map (user map) on the basis that it was perceived as too dangerous for cyclists, even though it is a part of the Regional Cycle Network (planning map), and has thus been identified as an important desire line for cyclists.

The focus of our submission is therefore to ensure young, novice, recreational and neighbourhood cyclists are adequately catered for, while not disadvantaging experienced commuter cyclists.

Issue with proposed design

Our primary concern with the proposed design is that the shared pedestrian/cycle path on the southern side is to be intended for bi-directional traffic as a matter of course, yet no facility is proposed on the northern side.  There are significant hazards with this approach:

  • Motorists exiting side roads and driveways will tend to look to the right to ensure there’s no approaching traffic, but rarely look left.  A cyclist approaching from the left at even a modest speed will have a much higher probability of a crash with a motor vehicle.  This risk is amplified on Onewa Rd due to the downhill gradient in the easterly direction, and it’s quite likely that children and other inexperienced cyclists unaware of the risks will be travel faster than exiting motorists will expect

  • The provision of a cycle path will encourage increased usage.  Despite widening, we believe there will be conflict between pedestrians and cyclists (including some dismounted and walking their bikes), particularly at peak school times

  • Congestion and conflict will be exacerbated by other footpath hazards such as poles, rubbish bins, transformer boxes, bus stop shelters, phone boxes, wheelie bins, shop signs and other street furniture.  Note that we agree with not indenting the bus stops, as this will prevent pinch points in the shared path.

Cycle Action generally supports two-way shared paths on only one side of an arterial road, depending on the risk profile.  In this case the significant downhill gradient eastbound leads us to conclude that safety and amenity swings the design balance in favour of shared paths on both sides of Onewa Rd.

Cycle Action’s Proposed Solution

Our proposed solution is that:

  • The footpath on the northern side of Onewa Rd is also designated a shared pedestrian / cycle path, and is upgraded to suit

  • The south side path be designated for predominant use by westbound cyclists

  • The north side path be designated for predominant use by eastbound cyclists.

This would alleviate most of our concerns, provide more cycle capacity, and ensure cyclists travel in a more consistent and orderly fashion with less chance of conflict with either pedestrians or vehicles.

Irrespective of solution, we recommend the following to enable us to support the project from a safety perspective:

  • Have the shared cycle path cross side roads on raised speed tables (as per AUSTROADS designs), so turning traffic has to slow down in the conflict zone.  This does not necessarily need to give pedestrians and cyclists on the shared path priority over motor vehicles (though AUSTROADS allows for such layouts) but the key change would be to reduce speed during a conflict situation

  • Ensure that driveways be designed for good visibility onto the footpath, and speed bumps / speed control features are included in the driveway sections in the public road reserve, so that a quick “rush” into or out of the driveway is discouraged.  An education campaign to draw residents’ attention to the hazard would also help.  Promoting greater visibility through lower fences / hedges, and fronting out of driveways slowly to prevent collisions with school children should be referenced in a leaflet drop to residents.  The Nelson Council’s “Think like a snail” campaign springs to mind here.

Designs for side road speed tables as discussed above have been used successfully in various streets around Auckland, in particular on the Park Road bus corridor through Grafton, and are also being implemented as part of the Albany Highway designs.

Other recommendations

Church St

  • With a westbound cycle path accessible at Church St, many cyclists from Northcote Point will be travelling north on Church St to turn left onto the new Onewa Rd path so they can avoid the Queen St/Lake Rd intersection.  The presence and design of the traffic island and lack of smooth ramps to the footpath make this a particularly difficult manoeuvre.  This intersection should be redesigned to improve the cyclist approach with better visibility for both cyclists and pedestrians.  Signs on Queen St should also suggest the Church St route as an aid to new westbound cyclists coming from the Northcote Point ferry or (in due course) the Harbour Bridge cycleway


  • Depending on the widths available, it would be desirable for the westbound T3 lane to be sufficiently wide (ideally over 4.2m) for vehicles, including buses, to overtake a cyclist within the lane.  This will allow experienced cyclists to remain safely on-road. The non-transit lanes could be narrowed slightly to facilitate this

  • The grassed areas in the footpath near the Highbury end will need to be replaced by concrete to provide adequate shared path width.


  • The footpaths along Onewa Rd are in generally poor condition and are in need or renovation.  If the entire footpath length cannot be resurfaced, spot treatments will be required where there are surface irregularities, which are often hazardous for cyclists


  • Western transition – the shared path will rejoin the roadway at the Highbury intersection.  For road cyclists, the shared path should transition cleanly to Advanced Stop Boxes (preferably through a stub on-road feeder cycle lane starting before the left turn filter), and allow head starts in both the straight-through left lane, and the right turn to Birkenhead Ave. The split footpath on the south-eastern corner of the intersection should be removed to provide adequate width for the cycle transition. Sensitive presence detector loops within the ASBs should facilitate signal triggering.

  • Eastern Transition – the new T3 lane appears to start at Church St.  While this makes sense to allow motorists to transition from the Lake Rd intersection, it should not serve as the start / end point of the shared pedestrian/cycle path.  To cater for the needs of Northcote Primary pupils, the shared path should extend all the way to the Lake Rd intersection (on both sides). Transition to Advanced Stop Boxes should also be provisioned for on-road cyclists, including those in the right lane feeding in to the Queen St right turn filter.

  • Locations where cyclists are likely to transition between the road and the shared path should have smooth ramps.  The current driveway kerb lip design is very dangerous for new cyclists, particularly when crossed at an acute angle.

Onewa Rd crossings

  • The pedestrian crossing at St Marys School will be well-patronised by cyclists.  As there is good width with scope for expansion, consideration could be given to providing separation for pedestrians and bi-directional cyclists, with the inclusion of a cycle crossing light in conjunction with the pedestrian light.

  • The same comments apply to the pedestrian crossing near Wernham Rd, however it will need to be widened to provide adequate separation for both cyclists and pedestrians.


  • As shared path widths are likely to be narrower than desirable for effective pedestrian/cyclist separation, we suggest shared path markings and signage delineate cyclist and pedestrian sections.  The cyclist section should be closer to the roadway, both to enable easy cyclist transition between the shared path and the roadway, and to maximise the distance between cyclists and cars emerging from driveways.

  • The green roadway markings being trialled in various parts of Auckland City to indicate when a vehicle can enter a transit lane prior to turning should be applied to the Onewa Rd transit lanes in both directions.  This makes it much clearer and more predictable at which point a vehicle will enter the transit lane.


As well as driver behaviour at driveways mentioned above, it will also be important to communicate to:

  • Residents and commercial premises: that rubbish bags, recycling and wheelie bins need to be positioned carefully and wheelie bins collected promptly so they don’t present a collision or bottleneck hazard

  • Additionally for commercial premises: that sign boards are positioned carefully at the roadway edge and not in line with other street furniture so they don’t present a bottleneck hazard.


While not part of the scope of the T3/cycle path implementation, it’s important that new cycle paths link up with existing/proposed paths if at all possible.  If this cannot be included in current scope, can planning for these be accelerated:

  • Extending an eastbound shared path down Onewa Rd to link up with the Onepoto cycleway, linking on to the Sylvan Ave path.

  • Provisioning Birkenhead Ave links to the north and south (to  the Birkenhead ferry), Mokoia Rd link to the west, and Queen St/Lake Rd links to the north and south (to the Northcote Point ferry).

Thank you for considering this submission. Cycle Action has a long history of working constructively with Auckland Transport on cycling initiatives, and we welcome the opportunity to be involved with the Onewa Rd project as a key stakeholder as it progresses through detailed design to construction.



Importance of Mangere Bridge

Mangere Bridge is an important connection for a large number and variety of cyclists, and for a number of reasons:

  • Commuters: It links the southern commuter routes such as Buckland, Bader and McKenzie Roads with the off road bike paths (Waikaraka and SH20 South Western Motorway) on the northern side. It is also important for shorter trips between Onehunga and Mangere Bridge townships.

  • Recreational & new cyclists: The off road shared path parallel with the Kiwi Esplanade and the designated trails within Ambury Regional Park attract recreational riders seeking a safe and pleasant riding experience.

  • Cycle tourists: Cycle tourists arriving at the Auckland Airport will use Mangere to connect with routes towards the Central Auckland and other parts of the city. Auckland Transport is currently preparing an application to the New Zealand Cycle Trail, and Mangere bridge will form part of this route connecting the Auckland Airport and Central Auckland.

  • Regional Cycle Network: The bridge forms part of Regional Cycle Network adopted by Auckland Transport.

  • Except for the unpleasant and insecure link under the SH20 motorway, it is the only cycling link north-south across the harbour for many kilometres.

The Old Mangere Bridge currently caters for a large number of different user groups. Cyclists are currently fairly well provided for with the raised pathway, shared with pedestrians. However, significant parts of the access and egress paths are poorly designed and maintained.

Design Comments

CAA generally supports the broad design elements outlined in the “The New, Old Mangere Bridge” newsletter. Cycle Action Auckland would like to note the following points about the proposed replacement of the Mangere Bridge.

  1. The proposed 6 meters width will be much reduced in useable width when fishermen are handling long rods on the ground to re-bait or swing them out to land a fish. At certain times of the day, fishing uses could also occur on both sides at the same time, thus further constricting the width. This could force cyclists to slow down to unattractive speeds (especially considering the length of the bridge), and cause conflicts with fishers and pedestrians. Mopeds also use the bridge (Albeit illegally), a further concern.

    1. We therefore ask for a wider bridge than 6m and/or design that ensures that fishing uses do not encroach onto a movement zone for cyclists and pedestrians that should be at least 3m, preferably 4m wide. It maybe possible to include small holes for the fisher people to stand their rod butts in whilst they are baiting or unhooking a fish.

    2. Extra width could be supported by separating the uses via different height levels (internal kerbs), separating the fishing platforms / fishing “levels” on both sides of the bridge, or similar.

    3. Due to the large volume of bicycle users, please consider whether it would be feasible to designate a space solely for cyclists (3m minimum width), that is shared neither with pedestrians or other uses. Design should discourage use of this space by others.

  2. Please include lighting on the future bridge, and also on the approach paths north and south.

  3. Please ensure that the approach paths are fixed up from the currently partially very badly maintained state.

  4. Ensure that any additional height on the bridge for boat access underneath does not produce any unpleasantly steep gradients for cycling.

  5. Please consider any surface material with cyclists in mind (slip-resistance, etc… generally, concrete surfaces work best).

  6. Please ensure that any bollards preventing motor vehicle access onto the new bridge comply with Austroads (current bollards especially at the north end are too low, too narrowly spaced, and too inconspicuous).

  7. During demolition of the old bridge and construction of the new bridge, please ensure there is still cycle access. This could include extra signage, lighting, safety and security regimes for the link under the SH20 motorway.

Cycle Action Auckland would welcome the opportunity to participate in consultation on the first draft of the designs.

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