GG Gully 02Just wanted to tell everyone that the newest cycleways in Auckland are open – after our Barbara cut the ribbon together with John Key and Len Brown, cyclists (and pedestrians) are now free to use the new path, and then glide down Beach Road as well, protected from trucks and cars.

There were many interesting items in the speeches and side conversations I heard.

Like how apparently Grafton Gully was “my project” (I supported it happily as an advocate, but I wouldn’t claim that – concept and built by NZTA).

Or how John Key supports SkyPath in his speech!

Or the conversation I had with a high-ranking NZTA manager who noted that Nelson Street has lots of capacity, and nobody will miss the traffic lane that will change to become a cycleway early next year (now that one I definitely see a bit as “my project”).

And the weather held as well. And the cycleway turned out to be nowhere as steep as many, including I, had thought (I had only walked it before during construction). Lots of happy and hope to go around in the many talks I had with people in the crowd of maybe 100+ people.

So I’ll leave you with a few photos of the whole event, and hope you are able to check it out yourself soon.

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  • julie carr

    How about a map.

  • Bryce P

    Are there auto counters on either Grafton or Beach Rd?

    • Bryce P

      Not auto as in automobile….of course. 🙂

    • Barb Cuthbert

      I have asked AT to put auto counters in asap. They agree it is vital we capture the stats from as close to Day 1 as poss, so hopefully they will be installed soon.
      I think one on each route would be good so we can understand how many cyclists join and leave the route around Grafton Rd for the Uni etc and if Beach Rd has a separate catchment.

      • GlenK

        Wouldn’t it have been easier/cheaper to install loops at the same time the path was built?

      • Bryce P

        Thanks Barb. Seems quite rational and important that we catch this dats as soon as possible.

      • Christopher Dempsey

        Yesterday (8th Sept) I counted 31 cyclists in the evening rush hour from 5.30pm to 6pm.

        As Jenette Sadik-Khan said, data is God. I’m VERY surprised that no agency has thought to put in counters if only to measure ‘return’ on investment.

        I really hope either NZTA or AT put in counters very soon.

  • Tim

    What a great speech from Barbara: “Our first connected cycle way.. Day one of a new era.. We have waited a long time.. And we are impatient!”

    The new route is great, especially Beach Road. Will be even better when the new connections / extensions are open. My only complaint the is the cycle lights at the diagonal crossing are miles away and way up high.. and the bike light is left of the road light, counter intuitive for bearing right across the traffic lanes. I very nearly rode right across on a red in my hurry to get to the opening ceremony. Oops.

  • Richard A

    I cycled down to devonport and caught the ferry.

    I went up and out to te atatu in the early afternoon. It was great. I wish there was 20x more cycleways just like this one though.

    I commute everyday by bike and I hope people start to realise that this stuff isn’t just for recreation, but for actual active transport.

    I’d love to see shared paths have setbacks with traffic giving way to shared path traffic like in the netherlands.

    • Max

      Hi Richard – both cycle advocates and engineers at AT/NZTA are looking at ways we can improve the giving way issue for cycle paths with infrastructure or signage – but it may not get solved really well until we change the give-way rules nationwide, though – good explanation of goal here:

      http://www.livingstreets.org.nz/node/4794

      • Bryce P

        Yip. Change the law and we’re on our way. Simplifies things quite a bit.

  • Beatle Treadwell

    I cycle from the Ferry Building to Auckland Hospital. Can you tell me if there is an “off-ramp” from the cycle way at or near Grafton Bridge?

    • Max

      Hi

      I think the best option is that you ride all the way to the top of the cycleway, get left onto Upper Queen Street Bridge *which now has cycleways), along Alex Evans, then onto the cycleway along Symonds Street (west side) – which gets you to KRoad / Grafton Bridge. A bit of extra length, but well worth it I think, because it spreads the climb over a bit of extra distance.

  • Stevo

    Hi,
    Well I rode the new graft on cycleway today from dominion road and I must say congratulations to all those who worked to make this happen, Its awesome and long overdue.
    Really nice to see lots of people out riding and walking it today and people of all sizes on all sorts of bikes, hardly saw any lycra…. fantastic.
    The Beach road part is really nice and shows the potential for separated cycleways, its seems very short and kind of leaves you a bit confused when it runs out and there seems to be some confusion about where to go from there and which bits of the footpath are shared and which are not. However fantastic start and look forward to more of it..

    • Max

      Hi Stevo – the Beach Road cycleway will continue along Beach Road to Britomart in the future (early 2015, knock on wood), so that’s part of why it feels a bit short. Already does remove the worst section of the old experience, tho!

      • stevo

        thanks Max, that will make it much better, still lots of annoying little bits but Iguess its going to take time to get it all right, certainly on the right path though…
        question for you The footpath on the seaward side of quay st is that a shared space all the way along to the Viaduct or does it stop somewhere, I couldn’t find any markings on it after you pass the countdown heading towards the viaduct?

        • Max

          The path is shared all the way to where the bus stop pinches it down, just east of the ferry terminal. Have a look at the brass plaques inlaid in the path (cycleway markings with style – but sadly invisible even to many cyclists)!

          • stevo

            Thanks Max, after all the gawdy white paint everywhere else obviously i didn’t notice the subtle brass work !
            I will have a better look next time.

  • Richard B

    Hi. Is this new cycleway meant to improve access to the cbd? If so I think the money could have been more effectively spent reallocating existing road space to cyclists on Ian MacKinnon drive, upper queen street and great north road.

  • Great work, lets hope the truck drivers/courier drivers and tourists get the message quickly that they can’t park on the cycleway (as shown in the Herald this morning). Contraflow cycle paths still scare me, as I ran down a couple of kids on my bike once due to them not looking both ways before crossing. I’d rather take my chances and benefit from the increased speed/flow of riding with traffic on Beach Rd, but I might be in the minority….

  • David vs

    Rode with my 12 year old from Epsom to Grafton cycleway on Dads day via Grafton bridge. Pleased that we can cycle much of route in reasonable comfort for him due to concrete pathways. Connection at either end a great step up in safety from the poor design of some cycleways. Like the link through to Quay St/Tamaki Drive mixed use pathway.
    And safe to get a good speed downhill when no other bikes about!

  • Monica

    This is great news! Thank you to everyone involved.

  • Been watching people using it all today.. very cool (I work opposite on upper queen st)

    • BenL

      Great to know Geoff. Anyway you could keep a rough count?

      I have heard via AT that businesses there are already saying it is not being used. Have they realised how quiet that road is during the day as well?

      Of course, somehow the businesses are struggling by without their precious parking. What a miracle!

    • Monica

      I have seen quite a few people using it, while I’ve been walking by on K’Rd. And this is just the beginning.

      I like how the new cycle path makes the cycleway more visible from K’Rd and Queen St.

  • Andrew

    Great cycle routes! I tried them on my way home today, even though they make my commute a bit longer. A few issues though:
    -The barriers (that are wider than half the path) are a bit excessive. Simple bollards would prevent vehicles using the path
    -Crossing Grafton Road and Alten Road is annoying. Underpass like Wellesley St would be nice 🙂
    -The separated cycle path on Beach Road is good, until it dives across the road. Let’s have one on each side of the road
    -I got lost on Mahuhu Cres when the path suddenly ran out. Turns out it kinda leads to Tamaki Drive which is where I was headed. Better signposting?

    Let’s make this the minimum standard for new infrastructure, and aim even higher next time!

    • BenL

      I do agree there is a gap there in the intuitive design on Mahuhu. You have to cross the road on to that extension to the footpath to get to Tamaki.

      A bit of paint with cycle stencils would solve that problem.

      Perhaps also a zebra crossing for bikes to get across the road?

    • andrew k

      I’ve ridden Grafton gully every day and concur with your comments and add the following:
      – Tonight in the dark the lighting was great.
      – Why are there separate ped. And cyclist buttons at Queens,Wellesley and Quay street crossings ? At Queens street,tonight, I had the bizarre situation of a green cycle whilst the pedestrian beside me had a Red man !
      – Also why is no audio for the green cycle as there is for the green man ? Yesterday I missed the green and had to wait for a full (& very well long!) phase at Queens st.

      Minor issues that could be considered for the next cycleway.

      • Max

        Hi Andrew – I understand that the separate buttons have been added by Auckland Transport because if only the cycle button is pressed, then they can make the phase shorter as cyclists take less long to get across… so getting more time for the other movements (well, for cars…)

        For the “why is there no sound”, I believe it’s the same reason – if the cycle-only phase is shorter, then vision/mobility impaired pedestrians might think the buzzer is for their phase, and start out, but only get a shorter phase and still be in the intersection when other movements start…

        • Greg N

          So on that basis, if there are more than 2 cyclists trying to cross be sure to press both cycle and ped buttons to ensure:
          (a) you get the most amount of time to cross and
          (b) peds get a fair go too?

          Seems a bit of loose thinking here by AT that once again shows that they basically consider the only true users of our roads to be drivers not cyclists.
          And so we get the shortest lick of any mode?

        • andrew k

          Thanks Max.
          I can understand the theory but I feel the solution over complicates a simple shared crossing. There is no distinction between the buttons except they are on opposite sides of a pole. I used both buttons as I tried to rationalize why there are two.
          Will AT now have to produce educational material to explain this to pedestrians and cyclists.
          I’ll probably continue to use both buttons for the assurance of the buzzer and register a cyclist using the crossing.

        • andrew k

          Tonight I note that the ped. button activates both ped and cycle phases.

  • Stuart

    The traffic lights at the intersection of upper queen, ian mckinnon and alex evans are a complete disaster. They take absolutely forever to change and we are expected to sit waiting for two separate crossings to get diagonally across.

    Someone is going to get hit, crossing at a red because they get frustrated with the wait. It’s not just the wait it’s the fact that for most of the time the lights are at red nothing is coming the other way!!! Then you think about jaywalking/jayriding across and then suddenly out of nowhere a car comes over the rise at 60 km/hr and speeds around the corner.

    I can also imagine cyclists are going to go on the road instead of waiting for the crossings ans using the new separated paths on the pavements leading to motorists getting angry about us taking away the lanes and then us not even using them.

    Couldn’t AT have used the new road layout / reduction in traffic lanes to change the phasing of those stupid lights?

    And the barriers across the path at the entrance are horrible. Why on earth?

    • Andrew

      I can’t agree more about the traffic lights. At Upper Queen St / Canada St the lights often stay green for Upper Queen St (where there are no cars) while cars on Canada St and pedestrians are waiting.

      Last time I just crossed because I knew the road was clear. After all, it’s legal to ride on the road, right?

    • Max

      We did ask for a Barnes Dance, but AT felt this wasn’t appropriate – will keep pushing.

      Please log your concerns with AT here.

      https://at.govt.nz/about-us/contact-us/

      CAA will definitely discuss these concerns with AT, and we’re hoping to get chances to re-visit this also with the other cycle projects in the area to come yet, but the more “general punters” raise the issue, the more weight we have in these discussions.

    • Monica

      I agree Stuart, the lights take a very long time to change at the intersection of upper Queen St and Ian McKinnon Drive, and pedestrians have to wait a long time there. I think that pedestrians and cyclists should be allowed across more frequently.

    • Monica

      I have now sent a comment to Auckland Transport on this, at the link which Max has helpfully provided.

    • Jan

      I just made a search if someone else had complained about these lights. Indeed they have. It’s a disaster. It’s such an inconsistency to an otherwise world-class cycle lane. Am I the only one who see’s a Ped & Bike “X-Crossing” aka. Queen Street/Customs Street crossing here? That would be perfect – bikes could cross diagonally on to the cycle way, pedestrians could do the same. Blissful thinking!! Or more realistically, a diagonal crossing (Similar to the new one on beach road) from Ian M Drive onto the new wide cycle lane on the bridge, which then connects to Grafton Gully. Now that would make sense! Critical when going both directions as I see lots of cyclists doing risky crossings from left lane on bridge, to right lane when heading towards the Grafton Gully cycleway

      Something has to be done with those lights. I’ll write to AT.

    • Monica

      I have now received an email reply from AT that states:

      “Thank you for contacting Auckland Transport on 2 October 2014 regarding your concerns on pedestrian crossing phasing at the traffic light at Upper Queen Street and McKinnon Drive intersection.

      Please note traffic signal phasing is only temporary. Currently there is a new traffic controller software been tested which will replace the current phasing once testing is completed. Once the new software is installed by the end of October 2014, the lights will run on an adaptive system with shorter cycles.

      We appreciate your feedback and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

      Kind regards,
      Bhavna Dahya | Auckland Transport”

      This may be some good news for cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users.

  • Damian D

    It would also be great if AT could look at making it easy for cyclists to identify Tapora Street and Quay Street foot paths as shared paths(safe cycling route). Painted sharrows would look a bit odd but maybe improved signage.

    And completely agree Queen street/Canada street really needs to be a Barnes Dance!.

    I’ll be sure to send AT some feedback 🙂

  • Matt H

    Regarding the barriers at the ends of the path, could these have been something less ‘restrictive’, such as simple bollards as recommended in AT’s CoP:
    “13.4.6 Path terminal/entry treatments.
    Simple end and entry treatments for shared paths or cycle paths at road intersections or park entrances are recommended, as entry to and exit from a path should be as easy as possible for cyclists. The main function of barriers should be to discourage or exclude access by unauthorised vehicles.
    Barriers should not be designed as a tool to slow down cyclists. If this function is required, the path design on the approach should provide for this. Bollards are the recommended
    end/entry treatment for shared paths and cycle paths. They should leave a gap of 1.4 m, leaving enough space for wheelchair and wide stroller access but keeping narrow cars out.

    Are cyclists assumed to be silly enough to ride straight out onto the road at the end of the paths?

  • Sam F

    Not sure if this post is still being read, but just a reminder to anyone riding on the Beach Road “protected” lanes to still be as alert as you would be on the road – I was nearly knocked off last week by a left-turning driver going into a carpark. Yes, he was on his cellphone. No, we aren’t yet at the point in Auckland where we can just relax and use on-road protected lanes in safety, unfortunately.
    Can I also suggest AT put down some green paint or other signalling to let drivers know about the diagonal crossing over Beach Road? I’ve been beeped and shouted at by a few people who obviously think I am just “scofflawing” my way across the street, because the cycle traffic lights aren’t easily visible to anyone who is not on a bike.