It’s déjà vu all over again with the Grey Lynn and Westmere routes back out for feedback. These cycleways were first proposed way back in 2016, and redesigned and reconsulted in late 2018. And in between, you even showed up on wheels and en masse to ask Auckland Transport to just please get on with it!
So we understand if you’re feeling a bit Groundhog Day. Heck, the little kids who’d just started school when these routes were first planned are already at intermediate. Six years is a lifetime for some of us.
That’s why we’re asking you to give AT one last giant shout of support. This route is more essential than ever. It will connect to cycleways to Pt Chev at one end, and along Great North Road to the city at the other. And around 4000 kids go to schools along these routes.
For everyone’s sake, we need to tell AT to get this done. They’re making all the right noises: “This is a last opportunity for the community to give design feedback before construction gets underway in mid-2022. We’re also asking for people’s thoughts on how we can best support the community during construction.”
Feedback is open until Sunday 27 February 2022 – scroll down for our recommendations.
Here’s the plan
To refresh, here’s just some of what this great project will bring:
- 5.6km of protected cycleways, new pedestrian crossings (including mid-block bike/ pedestrian crossings), bus stops, raised tables across side streets, and raised speed tables at intersections
- safe cycling access to Grey Lynn and Westmere schools, West Lynn Village and the Grey Lynn Markets, Old Mill Village, dairies, shops and doctors along the way, and the Richmond Road retail and office hub near Countdown
- and up to 100 new trees including Puriri, Titoki, Pohutukawa, Nikau, plus low-level native shrubs to green the streets.
The routes will link to existing paths, and planned cycleways along Meola Road to Pt Chevalier, and Great North Road to the city centre.
There are three key changes since the last consultation in 2018:
- The fixes for West Lynn Village (pale pink) are underway as a separate project.
- The eastern end of Surrey Crescent which was originally part of Route 1 (light blue) is now part of Route 2 (pink)
- And the Safe School Speeds trial around Grey Lynn School (gold!) will be incorporated into this project.
Our suggestions for feedback
Overall, these plans are pretty sweet. One consolation for the six-year delay is that the design guidance has improved a lot in the meantime!
But! There are still a couple of things that need resolving. When you answer Question 1 on the feedback form, here’s what AT needs to fix:
- At the Countdown supermarket driveway at Richmond Road, cars waiting to exit at the limit line will block the cycleway. Badly. On a downhill. Ask AT to remove the car parks on the opposite side of the road to the Countdown supermarket. This will allow the traffic lanes to be moved southward enough so drivers can wait fully off the eastbound bike lane!
Ask AT to make the Richmond Road Countdown supermarket entrance safer, by removing car parks on the opposite side to ensure exiting cars won’t block the driveway.
- Between the West Lynn shops and the Peel St roundabout, the cycleway doesn’t seem to comply with AT’s own cycle safety guidance for a minimum 80cm door buffer. This could be highly dangerous, and put people off riding this section at all.
Ask AT to comply with their own guidance for car door zones on Richmond Road, between West Lynn Village and Peel Street.
- At the intersection of Old Mill Road, Motions Road, and Garnet Road, the westbound cycle lane lacks raised tables across the side streets. This is weird, because every other side road crossing gets this safety feature – and it’s dangerous, given the higher number of turning vehicles here. With a slight detour (using gentle curves so it stays rideable at comfortable speeds) the cycleway can be lifted up onto a raised table at the side roads for a much safer outcome all round.
- Another intersection that isn’t quite right yet is at Great North Road. Sure, the project has to start and end somewhere – but this just seems to be missing a section, and that slip lane left into Surrey Crescent invites speeding.
Ask AT to start the protected bike lane earlier coming from Great North Road, and put the left-turn slip lane into Surrey Crescent on a raised table.
- And finally – let’s support the roundabout at Richmond Road and Surrey Crescent. It may not be perfect (to allow for proper separation of bikes and pedestrians, some trees would have to go) but it should work quite well. A traffic signal may sound tempting here, but is less likely to be convenient for bike riders than the walk/ cycle priority crossings.
Ask AT to construct the proposed roundabout at Surrey Crescent and Richmond Road – but to minimise the shared path sections, as they’re really not best practice.
The rest of the questions in the feedback survey are mainly about gathering local knowledge…
2. Do you have any comments relating to the Safe School Speeds trial, within the area around Grey Lynn School?
We’re huge fans of safe school treatments, so it’s great to see the plan is to deliver a more permanent version of this trial, with a raised crossing outside the school, and narrowing of nearby streets to slow down traffic.
3. Is there anything we should know when planning construction?
We’re big fans of making sure people on bikes – and pedestrians and disabled residents – can travel safely around road works, so we can all keep on shopping and visiting locally through the construction period.
4. How can we support the local community during construction?
Feel free to add your ideas here!
5. Any other feedback for the project team?
If you need any more reminders about why this is so important… check out this fabulous story and video from five years ago, showing a kid’s eye view of what it’s like to bike around this neighbourhood without safe bike paths.
And this one from four years ago, showing the massive local enthusiasm for safe cycling. Remember the post-ride rally, where Auckland Transport’s then-brand-new CEO expressed his “unwavering commitment” to building the paths? Let this be the year AT finally delivers on this promise!