Logos 1-3 Ian McKinnonHave you submitted yet on a great proposed bike project that could be a lot better for bikes if pedestrians (!) were given more space?

Or maybe you are a pedestrian, and would love to see better walking conditions here? This is for you too!

Go ahead – use Auckland Transport’s simple online form, and our simple request list (at right) to make it quick – or read our extended article below giving all the nitty gritty details.

Consultation closes the 29th!

Remember that cunning plan to lower the central city by 6m for people on bikes? Consultation is now open on a flatter link between the Northwestern Cycleway and Upper Queen St, with construction planned by mid-2018 (latest). We’re excited about this – and of course, as with every cycleway design, we’d love you to add your voices to make it even better.

Feedback is open until 4pm, 29 August 2016.

As AT puts it, this is the missing link connecting the Northwestern Cycleway and Dominion Road cycle lanes to the Grafton Gully Cycleway, Lightpath and Nelson Street Cycleway. Here’s how it’ll all hook together… (click to enlarge).

IanMcKinnonlanesnewmapNote the connection between the new Ian McKinnon facilities and the existing Dominion Road bike lanes which currently stop just south of Newton Road – this improvement isn’t just for Westies!

Section 1

Section 1 is the new, flatter connection from the NW Cycleway through Suffolk Reserve, under the Newton Rd overbridge.

Our thoughts: this is currently proposed as a 3m wide shared path – but we are urging AT to build separate paths for walking and cycling through Suffolk Reserve.

Yes, there’s a pinch point at the houses at the end of Takau St, but across the reserve there’s plenty of room for each to have our own space. Separate paths are best practice and common sense, to encourage both modes while making each safer and more pleasant – especially as the park will come to life with more visitors, dog walkers, etc.


The current ramp at the end of Takau St. The new pathway will enter Suffolk Reserve just to the right of the ramp – where the silver car is parked.
Suffolk Reserve, as seen from the Newton Rd overbridge/motorway onramp.

Section 2

On Ian McKinnon Drive itself from the Newton Rd bridge to Upper Queen St, there are two proposed options: both add separated two-way bike lanes on the left as you head uphill. (The existing shared path on the Golf Warehouse side will stay as is). There are two options here…

Option A proposes a 3m wide two-way cycleway up the CBD side of Ian McKinnon Drive, protected from traffic by concrete islands.


Where the trees shade the road - that's where the protected cycleway will go.
Where the trees shade the road – that’s where the protected cycleway will go.

Option B is the same as above for the upper part of Ian McKinnon Drive – but at the lower/ Newton Rd overbridge end, the two-way cycleway moves into the greenspace and away from the street, via an existing motorway maintenance road.


View from the same spot as above… with a glimpse of the motorway service road reserve.

Our thoughts below apply equally to both options:

We know the new pathway up the city side of Ian McKinnon will be as popular with walkers as it is with riders – and we’ve been telling AT so for over a year. There’s already heaps of pedestrian traffic on the NW Cycleway from Kingsland into town, and that will only grow with the improved link to town.

So, as much as we love dedicated bike lanes, we think it’s unrealistic to expect this one to remain bike-only in practice beyond the opening ceremony. As happened with Grafton Gully’s upper section, we give it a week or two before AT have to concede and officially call this a shared path!

Add in the pedestrians on the current shared path up Ian McKinnon Drive… once there’s protected space on the city side of the road, why would people walking from Kingsland or Eden Terrance want to cross the road twice – east at Newton/Piwakawaka, and then west again at the top of Ian McKinnon? Most likely, they’ll just continue directly on the new cycleway, green paint or not. There’s just something inherently attractive about protected space on a busy road, especially when it runs right along your ‘desire line’.

Let’s accept that reality now, and plan for it.

Blue at the top is an indicative plan of the (effectively shared path) AT is proposing. Red shows our proposal to add a separate footpath at least until the motorway embankment gets too narrow - turning this section into a real cycle-only path, and keeping the shared section to the very top only, where riders are slower and can share better with pedestrians.
Blue is the indicative path AT is proposing (which will effectively become a shared path) . Red shows our proposed separate footpath until the motorway embankment gets too narrow – ensuring the green section would be a real cycle-only path, and keeping the shared section to the top only, where riders are slower.

So, what can be done?

  • Initially, in our discussions with AT, we asked for a dedicated pedestrian path inside the protected zone and alongside the bike-lanes – but we accept this won’t work all the way up the hill, because the available space narrows as you approach Upper Queen Street, and there’s no budget for costly cantilevered structures over the motorway, nor is AT keen to lose more than one lane at the intersection.
  • This means the top third of the project may yet have to work as a shared path. But we still think that on the lower two thirds (Suffolk Reserve and the lower half of Ian McKinnon) pedestrians and cyclists can and should each have their own space. Especially as this is where cyclists will be faster and thus the potential for conflict is greater.
  • Moreover – at the top, where a separate pedestrian path isn’t feasible, the protected lane shared path must be widened, to 3.5m or more. Space can be borrowed from the road lanes, which at a proposed 3.5m are very wide, compared to the 3.3m or even 3.2m common on arterial roads all over the city. (Narrowing traffic lanes will have the additional benefit of reducing vehicle speeds on Ian McKinnon Drive, which are generally too fast).

AT may have been somewhat reluctant to go for more here, as this section is due to be reconstructed in a few years if the light rail plans go forward. Still – as shown above, we think an easy improvement is not only possible, but crucial to avoid yet another problematic compromise with walking!

Our feedback in summary: make space for pedestrians now!

  1. Separate paths for walking and cycling through Suffolk Reserve – this is a key WALKING link too. Lets not treat pedestrians as afterthoughts in bike projects. Unlike Ian McKinnon Drive, which may well be rebuilt for light rail, this path through the park is likely to stay around for decades in the way we build it now.
  2. Separate walking and cycling on the city/northern side of Ian McKinnon Drive from the get-go, by adding a separate footpath for as far as possible up the hill (and only then merging into a shorter shared path) and/or widening the protected space, especially where that is the only option.

And, while we’re at it, a few other things we’d love to see…

  • LookingdownTakauStRampLet’s improve the ramp linking up to Newton Road / Ponsonby Rd at Takau Street – while building the Suffolk Reserve path in the section past the houses, and sorting out the new access of the path into Takau Street, we’d like to see at least some improvements to the existing ramp – a bit longer, gentler and a better surface would be well appreciated.
  • Let’s add some cycle lanes to Alex Evans Street. It’s a quick easy fix, and now is the time – there’s plenty of space to do this – Alex Evans has four traffic lanes (one more than Ian McKinnon will have after the cycleway goes in) – so it would be easy to add in bike lanes / bike paths on the approaches by removing one of the two lanes heading east. No need to blow out the budget, AT –  just make it easier for people to ride here while you’re already changing the intersection anyway.
  • Let’s sort out the Upper Queen Street crossings between Lightpath and Grafton Gully! For pedestrians and people on bikes, crossing Upper Queen Street is a pain – a two-step process, compared to the one-step turn for a car driver. We’d like to see a signalized crossing on the southern side of Canada Street / Upper Queen Street / Grafton Gully, which is the perfect desire line for many commuters, as well as recreational riders connecting directly between our two iconic paths.

By all means, echo our points in your response – and please share any other thoughts or questions below.

Above all, we really don’t want another fast and steep shared path, pitching cyclists against walkers – because that’s not fair to anybody, and would inhibit both walking and cycling numbers.

Right. Thanks for reading! Here’s that link for online feedback – go for it.

The current ramp up to the Newton Rd overbridge… steep!
Looking back down Dominion Road at the shared path that will tie into the new protected cycleway.
If you were walking to town, would you cross here, knowing you’d have to cross back again further up the hill?
Ian McKinnon Drive
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30 responses to “Flowing uphill with the pedestrians – Ian McKinnon Drive consultation

  1. So looking forward to this, very disappointed it has been pushed back to 2018. One thing, the link on the Option A image to expand the image actually links to the Option B image.

  2. Hi Bike Auckland.
    Our primary school newton central has a ‘shared path bridge’ on the Waima/ Haslett end over the motorway on to Takau. It is neither wide or high enough to the AT bridge recommendations. It has very difficult access on and off for kids as well but is a direct feeder for our school.
    It has been complained about by parents, BOT and Headmistress to AT/NZTA.
    Our understanding is that this was to be addressed.
    Just hoping we can get your support in making this area primary kid school friendly. Obviously for walkers and bikers.
    I am also wondering if you have been updated about this at any stage.
    Kind Regards

    1. When you say “high”, do you mean the railing is not high enough? But when it comes to the width – it’s a lot wider than a lot of bike paths I’ve been on, not necessarily up to the current standards, but so is most of our infrastructure… To be honest, instead of building a new wider bridge, I would rather have a new connection built somewhere else… If it’s a safety issue, then surely AT would be interested.

      1. Weirdly reply last year from AT and NZta was it wasn’t safe enough and so people would have to walk their bikes signs were to come. It was then taken off their cycle maps. I guess everyone would rather money spent on their infrastructure so I see your point but it doesn’t bode well if Bot and head and parents all highlighted issues.
        We managed to get an apology for being taken off the cycle paths but clearly it has gone no further. Try travelling across it with 5 year old on bikes with pedestrians at 3.15pm.
        The improvement in the McKinnon road steeps will be good but it sounds like another way to keep the mamils going faster. bike Auckland has already highlighted the speed issue on the nw shared path which putting off parents and primary kids.
        Yes I reckon more connections would be cool – seems crazy we are the only primary school with a current connection.

        1. To get the whole picture, can you clarify the “high enough” comment earlier?

          1. For a cycle / pedestrian bridge over a 5 m drop the height needs to be ideally 1.4 high and 3.5 wide. For a pedestrian bridge 1.2
            It is 1.15 and not particularly wide. Maybe 2.5 meters.
            Bridge manual Nzta pedestrian planning guide chapter 14.

          2. OK, so the main issue is with the height of the railing. That’s definitely something worth pursuing and very reasonable to do so. On the Southern motorway they enclosed a bridge after someone dropped something and killed a driver, so this is definitely something you can pursue them. But as for widening you might not have so much enthusiasm from either me or AT/NZTA… There are busy shared paths such as Te Wero bridge, that I have to dismount too – it’s normal – lots of people means possibility of dismounting irrelevant of the width of the path. So here’s my half support for your call.

          3. Issue was access through car park/ turning bay, exit via seriously steep thin path with steps and steep, width was a side issue. Dismount I am cool with though weird that they decided that last year and still havent placed a sign. But again issue is for small children as it is directly beside primary school.. Stuff was thrown in 2014. No deaths. No changes. Thanks for your half support as long as it is the top half I imagine no one will go over the rail ;/

          4. Back on the topic then, your support for the McKinnon Drive as described above is also appreciated. The current setup is unsafe. Be careful however, Bike Auckland is crawling with mamils. I am not of one of them… yet, but they’re mostly harmless…

          5. “Bike Auckland is crawling with mamils.”

            Lolwhut? If you are talking about us as the “Bike Auckland” group, you couldn’t be more wrong. We have maybe 2-3 out of a committee of 12 who sometimes wear lycra. The rest is a mixed bag of you and old, male and female, and mostly transport riders and pootlers.

          6. in response to Sarah’s “The improvement in the McKinnon road steeps will be good but it sounds like another way to keep the mamils going faster.”

        2. Hi Sarah – the removal from the bike map was a mistake during the consultation and possibly some miscommunication? The head of the AT cycle team has since confirmed that it is still very much on the cycle network.

    2. Hi Sarah – I am aware that AT currently has a consultant looking at the issue of bridge safety & accesses to the bridge. That’s bound to take at least a month or three until they will come back to anyone on that. So we haven’t heard anything since. If we hear, we will make sure to tell you (if we are allowed) or recommend they contact you directly (if AT isn’t keen to go public yet).

  3. Thanks for the long and very clear post on this. Totally agree re thoughts on providing for people walking.

    I guess my only question is how only having one lane down (southbound) Ian McKinnon will affect people on bikes going to Dominion Rd or New North Road. At present, you can head down the left hand traffic lane in splendid isolation mostly, because there’s just so few cars using this road (hence why it can happily go on a diet). Will the one remaining lane be wide enough to keep doing this, because we don’t really want the unintended consequence of forcing these people on bikes back onto the narrow and sometimes crowded shared path for their downhill run. If only there could be a single direction protected lane here similar to Carlton Gore……

    And I still wonder if AT couldn’t do the Suffolk Reserve part sooner to remove the Takau ramp, and then stick planters up Ian McK as a temporary measure till they do the permanent works. Still waiting for that elusive project that is done quick and dirty to make fast progress…..

    1. actually, perhaps we could go for option B, but instead of the road widening at lower ian mck to 2 traffic lanes, it could remain at one but use the extra road space for a proper downhill bike lane? even if it was just a painted one it would be better than nothing, though it seems to me there’d be room for a protected one.

    2. Hi Ed, yes, I agree this could be a bit of a concern. However, there will still be a flush median, so cars won’t necessarily have to go across the centreline to overtake a cyclist. But a fair point to remind of.

      Generally, I expect downhill road cyclists to be a lot fewer (better choices off-road AND fewer pedestrians on east side) but yes, very fair comment.

      Ian McKinnon WILL likely be some sort of “temporary” solution like Quay Street. AT are just not wanting to overpromise timing, I guess. In that sense, Suffolk Reserve in some ways could be slower to build…

    3. Agreed on the downhill speed issue. The limit is 60kph and even a tired old bloke like me can clock close to 70 if getting a rolling start from Alex Evans.

      I stay on road so I can turn right onto Devon Street to join the NW Path/Cycleway without using the pedestrian crossing (less time waiting around). This will be rendered unnecessary with the new bidirectional path, but I can see the appeal of getting some momentum up to climb the hill towards Dominion Road from the Southern side.

      Big thumbs up for getting rid of the need to cross twice between NW P/C & Upper Queen Street.

  4. 2018 That’s way too long 🙁
    The little map shows the cycleway alongside Tikau Street, not on top of it, is it getting seperated there too? 🙂

    1. We hope it will be before 2018, but AT have gotten cautious in stating dates.

      Its not yet decided if / what gets done on Takau Street itself. We’d love to see improvement there too of course, but other key topics we raised are more important, especially if the budget is tight, as it always is, even with Urban Cycleway funding.

  5. If the guardrail is taken off the kerb, that could become a defacto footpath alongside the cyclelane (upper i.mckinnon).
    Could even recycle the guardrail – put it between bikes and cars

    1. Guardrail would need to stay. Very steep drop-off to motorway behind it at relatively short distance. But yes, guardrail can be relocated, or the pedestrians could be behind the guardrail. Lots of options.

  6. In my feedback to AT, I also asked that Takau St be made into a shared roadway, with appropriate signage and controls (ie Stop Sign) when entering it. It is in effect a locals only road but it freaks me out that cars can enter it without having to stop or give way. It’s worse now entering from a steep downhill than from Suffolk Res, but I expect that the numbers of walkers and cyclists will continue to grow.

  7. I agree and support separating pedestrians form cyclists, especially where there is ample space to do so such as through Suffolk Res. The volume of bikers on this route at peak make it darn right dangerous to mix with ped’s. This is not some meandering recreational bike path. As such the width should be increased as much as possible. Why is the buffer 0.5m seems excessively wide.
    It’s Not clear how AT intend to treat the path where it intersects with Takau St. Who will have priority here, will bikers have to give way to the occasional car.
    My feedback will also include support for Alex Evans connection and the improvement to the dogs breakfast at Canada St. How about a bike lane of some sort along upper Queen St to Krd.
    On another matter but related matter there remains no signage on Krd or anywhere that I can think of directing you to the pink path

    1. Hi Paul

      The area around Takau hasn’t been designed yet (or at least, we haven’t seen it, and we have seen designs for the rest), but we will keep a watchful eye.

      0.5m buffer is in our view very necessary – you might have cyclists going downhill at 40 km/h, and cars / trucks going uphill at 60-80 km/h just a breath away – with that kind of 100 km/h-plus closing speeds, if anything you want more distance. But we’re fine with 0.5m for now, though we’d also love to see Ian McKinnon slowed down more.

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