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”.
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.
[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].