Dominion Road – these lanes are for cyclists, and therefore apparently don’t need to be greened.

Some three years ago, NZTA’s Auckland Region got a new Regional Director, Stephen Town. Remarkably, he was open to his agency doing more for cycling, and he came to speak to Cycle Action’s AGM, discussing how NZTA could help. One of his key messages was “paint is cheap” – he couldn’t change how much money was available for cycling projects (that was up to the Minister), but some things could be done quickly, without a need for a lot of money.

Since Stephen’s talk we’ve been disappointed to learn how hard it is to get fresh cycle lane paint on any part of our roads – particularly if we’re relying on AT’s maintenance programmes. And in practice, NZTA sadly also has been doggedly resistant and reluctant to add greening and cycle lanes on existing interchanges.

It’s time we drew attention to the NZTA’s poor delivery on this. Contrary to all standards and best practice, the existing cycle lanes across motorway interchanges are generally not greened (let alone for these lanes to be protected…).

Around SH 20 at Dominion Road or Hillsborough Road is a classic case in point. At first we thought this was a simple oversight – so three years ago we logged the matter, thinking it would be resolved soon. How foolish we were!

At first, nobody felt responsible to even answer – the issue actually got passed back and forth from Auckland Transport to NZTA more than once until they even found who was responsible. Eventually, we were told that due to maintenance contracts not including the cost of green paint replacement, it couldn’t be done.

So we started to kick this one upstairs in NZTA. With very little effect, before we got side-tracked by more urgent matters. Last year, we tried again, asking our stakeholder contact at NZTA to follow it up and ensure that the cycle lanes finally got the greening. After all, we know from NZTA that “paint is cheap”.

This is for cars (only), and as such deserves a new seal of asphalt (plus paint markings) even though it is about to be rebuilt.
St Lukes Road – These lanes are for cars (only), and deserve a new seal of asphalt (plus paint markings) even though they are about to be rebuilt.

Well, another 6 month plus, and several chases as to the outcome later, and still nothing has happened.

Yet today, we cycle past the St Lukes Interchange, and notice that there’s brand new seal (and road markings) on the westbound off-ramp. An off-ramp that will get totally rebuilt starting this autumn. But at least the reseal was high on the maintenance priority list.

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[Post-production addendum: Since we have a positive, and wherever possible, non-adversarial relationship with NZTA, we decided to provide them the chance to give comment on this blog before it went public.

The response from our new NZTA key contact was to acknowledge that while locations like Dominion Road and Hillsborough Road over the interchanges are both on the Auckland Transport network, they were managed jointly with NZTA. They would raise the matter with their counterparts in AT and are “planning to follow up quickly on a framework for the prioritisation”. Regarding St Lukes, they noted they understood the issue raised, but had safety concerns with the off-ramp that NZTA felt needed to be resolved even before the rebuild of the interchange itself. They also noted the future St Lukes layout would include cycle lane greening.

PS: The blog text itself was not changed from that provided to NZTA].

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31 responses to “Green paint just too expensive for cyclists

  1. Which goes to show just where cycling is in the list of priorities – dead last.

  2. There are some new lanes like this on the Mt Wellington Ellerslie Highway.. nothing to indicate they are for bikes.

    Who would really feel safe in any of these intersections even with paint on the road anyway?

    It’s hopeless. Maybe we should just give up.

    1. Keep the faith Tim!

      Remember even the Dutch didnt turn things around over night and that was in the relatively benign 60/70s. It took very agressive, sustained and active campaigning.

      I hate to say it, but a change of government to get us away from the current transport dinosaurs and their 1950s transport policies would be a good start.

      1. “Aggressive, sustained and active campaigning” is fine.

        On the other hand, in our engagement with NZTA / AT, we risk colluding with them.

        The images above, which could hardly be more anti-cycling if they tried, with or without green paint, and yet they are passed off as good practice.

  3. Cycling is the way of the future. It, and the green paint, are going to happen. There will be green paint everywhere!

    1. No, we need to wait for the Mayor of the city to declare it is the “Game changer in PPP for the city” first, and then you can crowd fund.

  4. It might be cheaper if they used green paint that didn’t have the glittery particles in it. It is a bit of a pain when the sun shines on it as you can’t tell how much actual broken glass is on it.

    1. It’s a fine balance, because then it wouldn’t show up well at night. But I agree that it can be a bit disconcerting if it looks like broken glass in front of you (and yes, it is often actually glass that they use in the paint, albeit smoothed so that it doesn’t cause punctures)

  5. Great to see fresh green paint in Mt Eden today but also very disappointed none has been applied to the newly completed New Lynn development. Instead we are banished to the driveway gauntlet of the footpath. Not a good message to promote road sharing and a gross missed opportunity.

  6. Its been two weeks since (that I know of ,could have been longer) they ground all the green paint off the Devonport/Takapuna cycle lanes, lets see how long it takes them to reinstste the green paint and fix the rough surface they left behind.

      1. The green paint was ground off because it lacked the ‘sandy’ top surface which creates friction for safe travel by cycles. I see that Paul is complaining above about the ‘glittery’ particles which generally come as part of the ‘sandy’ surface, but it is vital we have a surface that can be griped by bike tyres. The ‘half’ job, (green paint only) at the Lake Rd side road intersections caused a number of cyclists to slip and fall in wet conditions, hence was removed urgently. The full reinstatement works were intended to follow immediately – we’ll remind AT’s man in the hot spot who makes things happen.

        1. Maybe you could send them this so they know what the word immediately means…. 1im·me·di·ate·ly adverb \i-?m?-d?-?t-l? also -?m?-dit-, British often -?m?-jit-\
          : with no person or thing in between

          : without any delay……

        2. That makes sense, but what I’m really complaining about is the amount of actual broken glass in the cycle lanes, they need to put a rebate on the bottles like in South Australia.

  7. Perhaps time for some direct action?

    I cycle the Dominion/SH20 intersection daily, and cars are always zooming across the cycle lane at speed to get into the motorway lane.

    I’m certain they’d take more care doing so if there was some green paint there.

    Where do I get this stuff? Bunnings?

    1. You can probably get it there Michael.

      As always, should any member of your team be caught or killed (or you know, told off by the coppers), CAA will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will (not) self-destruct in five seconds.

    2. As Barb notes above, it is not just green paint! Paint on its own is slippery and not a good riding surface. Please don;t go round painting the roads!

  8. OK I will hold off on the trip to Bunnings for now.

    I therefore extend the offer to personally paint this section of cycle lane to Auckland Transport – you supply some road cones, painting utensils and green paint (non-slippery variety please) and I will take care of the rest.

    1. Or they could forget about much of the paint and actually put some form of physical separation along there? Call me crazy if you like ????

  9. Michael, have you seen the green stuff being applied?
    I watched some bus lane markings being done near my place.
    It is a thick slurry and needs moving into place like is done with concrete.
    Not an easy job for an amateur methinks.

  10. Julie without wishing to take for granted the skill and expertise involved in some aspects of preparing road surfaces I can’t believe that the technique required for applying paint could be that hard to learn. Michael may well have made a very helpful point even if it was done tongue in cheek.

    Dear A.T

    We, the cycling community of Auckland do hear by offer our time free of charge to apply green paint on to cycle lanes. In return we ask that you supply us with the paint and the permission. If you get out your abacus and calculate what the labour component of the cost of painting these lanes would be I am sure you’d determine this will result in a saving. If you still think its to expensive to provide this (the most basic form of cycling infrastructure) – don’t worry we can do it without you however we can’t promise to only put cycle lanes in locations you approve of.

    Yours Sincerely

    Auckland Cyclists

    1. It’s a bit misleading to keep calling it “paint”, as if it’s just like the stuff we mark lines with or put on our houses. Typically it’s either thermoplastic or an epoxy resin; you don’t just slap that down with a paint brush/roller. The reason for using these kinds of materials is (a) suitable skid resistance and (b) resistance to wear-and-tear by traffic. Want to know more? Have a look at http://www.nzrf.co.nz/techdocs/NZRF-Materials-Guide.pdf. Also, don’t underestimate the cost and labour associated with temporary traffic management while putting this stuff down, especially in some of the busier locations mentioned.

      1. It’s only so expensive because it’s needed to battle all the cars that abuse it and drive across it, if it was physically separated with bollards then expensive ‘paint’ that can handle cars wouldn’t be needed. If only bikes were riding on the stuff it would probably last 100 years. Once again, it’s actually a cost borne on cyclists because of poor design and abuse by cars. If anything it should all be coming out of the roading budget. Or better yet why isn’t NZTA and AT actually building proper segregated cycle ways when they spend vast sums ‘upgrading’ these motorway bridges.

        1. So I wonder how price per m construction costs compare between our way and the Dutch way once you add maint. costs in? After all, on most new Dutch paths, the colour is added into the hotmix so this kind of issue is avoided. Also, they can then maintain the roadway separate of the bike paths. Will following the NACTO ideas consign us to worse outcomes? (I still would rather the red look paths.)

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