It’s been a while now since a large part of Ian McKinnon Drive was changed from a “faux-motorway” into a more walking & cycling friendly road. Some time after the initial construction works in 2011, Cycle Action was contracted by Auckland Transport to undertake a user audit of the completed scheme.

We raised a variety of issues, some significant, some minor, and asked AT to look at fixing them. Some of these have since been done, others will hopefully occur later this year, as we have just had confirmed. The two most important ones to note were:

  • Exposed Section Of Cycle LaneHeading southbound into the big interchange, there is a long section where cyclists are “out in the open” between the through lane and a sweeping left turn lane – a remnant of the “let em go fast” speedway design that gave us the interchange in the first place, some decades ago.
    • Auckland Transport have now confirmed that they will extend the traffic island (where the ramp physically splits off from the road, tip shown in photo at right) further northwards, and will change some road markings. This will reduce the length of the exposed section where cars can suddenly cross the cycle lane.
  • We were concerned with the speed limit of 70 km/h on Ian McKinnon Drive. This has since been dropped to 60 km/h. Not quite as low as we had wanted, but there’s some truth in the decision they made, which is that the road still “feels fast”, and that a 50 km/h speed limit would not be likely to be obeyed by many. All the more reason, then, to keep pushing for further improvement of the walking and cycling facilities here, such as uphill from Newton Road bridge to Upper Queen Street.

There were also a variety of further minor issues, such as markings or signage that were not yet installed, or that we asked them to tweak. So how do you feel is Ian McKinnon and the northern part of Dominion Road working for you nowadays?

Auckland Transport Cycling safety General News Ian McKinnon Drive Key Projects
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11 responses to “In brief: Ian McKinnon follow-up

  1. I think it is a lot better. The lower speed limit makes me feel safer and so do the much more clearly defined cycle lanes. I no longer feel threatened by the left turn you mention as the cars have plenty of space to turn (either behind me or in front of me). The thing that kills it though is still the bit up the other end where you have to either a)go from the left side (facing towards Queen) and cross the road to get onto the cycle way on the right side and then what feels like a few minutes back go through two crossings to get onto Upper Queen Street or b)just cycle straight up the road with no cycle lane and vehicles zooming past you at 60 km/hour to avoid having to do the three crossings.

  2. Fair enough, Lucy. Maybe a campaign is needed once Grafton Gully cycleway is in, to close that gap – costs for a cycleway on the western side up to Upper Queen Street could be massively reduced if AT was willing to have only 2 lanes at the top, rather than branching into 3 lanes at the lights.

    (Of course if anyone is keen to start that lobby work NOW, they would have all our blessing – but we are swamped already, so we have to take it step by step…)

  3. What they need to do is get rid of the quasi-motorway feel by getting rid of the flyover. Turn the junction back into a 4 way intersection.

    1. Big initial investment, in the size of dozens of millions minimum. We should probably wait until property prices rise in the area (City Rail Link!) and then Council can fund it from selling off the released land for office and residential development.

      1. Leave the on / off ramps as they are but change them into cycle lanes. Just raise / lower the roads to remove the grade separation. Costs nothing to dream :-).

    2. It’s just a matter of time, I don’t think there are many people who are fans of it. Ultimately, Ian McKinnon Drive will have trams running down it to make use of it’s width and this ugly intersection could be rebuilt with trams. The day can’t come soon enough IMO.

  4. From the few times I’ve used Ian McKinnon Drive as a cycle route I think the changes have been worthwhile, but it’s a long way from feeling safe when you’re headed south. I applaud the proposed changes that will reduce the distance where cars can drift over the cycleway on the left to go under Dominion Road and onto New North. (I have enough problems with a similar stretch of left-turn/cyclelane conflict where New North Road itself goes under the interchange headed east.)

    The other thing holding me back is that going left from New North and along Ian Mac to the city means dropping way down into the motorway gully and slogging way back up again (my current route avoids this), the same reason why I don’t use the NW cycleway in the mornings (big drop from Kingsland down to the motorway and back up again).

    LucyJH is right about the awkward route north – and I find it amusing that the on-pavement cycle lane carries on another 20 metres or so into nowhere past the traffic lights – but to be honest I may be tempted to give it a try anyway, to cut out the dangerous crossing I do at the moment from Exmouth Street across Newton Road and onto Upper Queen… will report with findings…

    1. Okay, I gave this a shot this morning. Two things to note:

      1) As silly as the dog leg from left to right side of Ian Mac is, and as annoying as the climb up to Upper Queen can be when you’re not feeling super energetic, this route is still safer and more convenient than having to navigate the Exmouth Street onstreet carparking gully of death and a crossing of Newton Road in peak rush hour (and the two sets of traffic lights that route involves).

      2) I think the 60km/h limit signs are a bit optimistic – once people in cars are up to 60 kays rather than 50 the creep up to 70 is inexorable, especially as Ian Mac encourages motorway-like habits. To make it more comfy for cyclists, either the limit needs to come down or there needs to be some kind of physical separation of the bike lanes (planters or raised kerbs).

      And no, still not going to chance it headed southbound in the evenings until that drift zone is sorted out…

      1. Hi Sam – thanks for the comments.

        Regarding the “silly dogleg” – well, fully agree with you, but apparently all they had money (or space) for at the time. As long as they weren’t pepared to sacrifice a lane at the top of Ian McKinnon (something which we should re-visit once the Grafton Gully Cycleway is connected all the way to Upper Queen Street, at the latest).

        The “stub” past the pedestrian signals on the western side of Ian McKinnon however is very much intentional – it is to connect to a future western-side extension of the Northwestern Cycleway that is to run UNDER Newton Road bridge, so that the “up and then down again” is removed. We pushed for this stub, as it reduced the gap we will have to fix up one day in the future.

        I was also especially interested in your Exmouth route – can you describe more, or have you now decided to not use it anymore?

        1. Oh, agree entirely about the stub being an entree to bigger things later – I had assumed as much. Hopefully if anyone with decision making power is reading this they’ll take my comments about as a reminder that the current dogleg is an interim measure and not something to quietly leave as is forever 🙂

          Exmouth Street – well, my cycle commute is from Morningside to Quay Street via K Road and Pitt Street, so I’ve been using it as a way to get quickly from New North Road to Newton Road and Upper Queen Street, as previously I was going via upper Symonds Street and then left down K Road all the way to the Pitt Street corner. Exmouth runs down past Basque Park between New North and Newton and cuts out a lot of distance, which makes up for the fact that it involves a swift descent and climb back up to Newton.

          However, as an old narrow street with cars parked up on both sides it’s virtually single lane in the mornings and ripe for clashes with vehicles coming down in the other direction, not to mention doorings. The more I think about it, the more I realise it’s an accident waiting to happen, although I might still find myself going that way from time to time again if I tire of the big climb up Ian Mac…

  5. I used the ride that road regularly when I lived in Prospect Tce but I have since moved. I could never understand heading souTh how the lane suddenly just stopped opposite target, and going north the same thing happened at the bottom of the road where you are expected to stop cross the road and carry on, on the footpath

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