It’s AT’s Business: July – Cycling is Up [Updated]

It’s AT’s Business: July – Cycling is Up [Updated]

Bike Auckland

TL:DR:  Albany Highway project still a-waiting to proceed. Travel planning effectiveness much better than initially reported. Annual cycle count 11% up! Northwestern Cycleway up 27%! Dom Road alternative cycle routes promised to go first. Tamaki Drive / Ngapipi Road design work proceeds. Delays. Portage Road cycle facilities about to start construction.

As every month, we have a look at the business reports of Auckland Transport, to review any items of interest for cycling. In the past, this has several times allowed us to “catch” important projects before problematic decisions because irreversible. This time, we review the July report. Where possible, we will also provide additional context from our own discussions with AT.

Note that where the below is italicised, we have copied the text from Auckland Transport’s report directly, without changing it. Where news is of particular importance, we have bolded the item.

  • The Albany Highway project has just applied for detailed design funding (a whopping $4.7 million). Is that an issue? Well, only because even if they get it straight away, one would expect that a few months (at very least) will go by before the design is done, and every last kerbstone is specced… Then a few more months for getting a contractor on site… it doesn’t look like this much-anticipated project will start construction anytime soon, certainly not “mid 2013”, the way AT projected end of last year. Shame. While there is no indication that the project itself is in trouble, more waiting for one of the best cycle designs of Auckland is disappointing.
  • The Esplanade upgrade, a significant project on Waiheke Island, was successfully completed this month. The project involved extensive collaboration between the RCM and RCO teams and close liaison with the Local Board and the community. Presumably, this is this project. We can’t really call it an upgrade, sadly.
  • The annual evaluation of the 12/13 Commute and Travel Planning programme showed a 3,684 daily morning peak reduction in single occupancy vehicle trips on the network and providing a benefit cost ratio of 1:11.3. Mmmmh, that doesn’t sound particularly good. $1 benefit for every dollar spent? We don’t want to be down on the good efforts of the travel planning teams at AT, but maybe the problem is that the cycle infrastructure (and walking infrastructure too!) is simply still way too bad in many areas? You can only “sell” active modes that much, when your “customers” then get almost sideswiped in a pinch point on the second morning they give cycling a go…  Look at that – since we published this, AT has clarified that their earlier Board Report had a typo! The Benefit-Cost-Ratio of the Travel Planning wasn’t 1:1 – it was 11.3 times that! Well, that’s more something they can brag about, and it certainly puts a lot of other projects to shame. Though we still wonder what the ratio would be if we had better cycleways…
  • In another example of “hiding your successes” (?), we are wondering why AT didn’t publicly highlight the annual cycle count across Auckland in March this year seeing another great increase? There’s enough criticism going around – tell people when things are going well!
    • The yearly manual cycle monitoring undertaken in March 2013 recorded 14,864 cyclist movements during the morning and evening peaks at 85 sites across Auckland. Recorded cycle numbers represent an 11% increase in total movements across the region when compared with 2012. The monitoring also indicated:
      • The Northwestern Cycleway showed a 27% increase in cycle numbers from 2012 to 2013.
      •  The recently completed infrastructure on Rosedale Road, Albany showed a 60% increase in cycle numbers from 2012 to 2013.
  • A cycle refurbish project…… in partnership with the Manurewa community is being undertaken with a group of 12 students form the ages of 8 – 11. The students are building and refurbishing donated old bikes together with learning cycle safety and maintenance skills. Sounds like a cool little project. We love it.
  • The official opening of the Rosedale to Unsworth Heights Shared Cycle path was held on Saturday 22 June. This new section of the Auckland Cycle Network connects the residential areas in Unsworth Heights with the commercial areas of Albany and Rosedale Park. Good on the Unsworthians! We blogged on it here.
  • Dominion Road Upgrade Project – NZTA has recently approved funding for the detailed design phase of the project, and over the next three months a contract will be awarded for this phase of the work. Priced bids have been invited from three shortlisted consulting firms and 16 July is the close off date. The design team will initially focus on completing the detailed design for the parallel cycle routes. This is to enable the parallel routes to be delivered early so that meaningful before and after statistics can be obtained for a trial of line marking for cycleways. NZTA has included the line marking for the Dominion Road upgrade in a national trial of line marking schemes. Nice to have official confirmation on all this – now here’s hoping the alternative routes will actually BE delivered early (sadly, the record on other recent projects is spotty, with such promises often not coming true – we are feeling grumpy today, despite the good news on the cycle numbers!).
  • Glenfield Road Widening Stage 4 – This project is now complete except for greening of the cycle lanes which has been delayed by wet weather. This really seems to be the “delays” edition – though in all fairness, AT can hardly be expected to control the weather. Anyone know whether these cycle lanes have been greened now?
  • Whangaparaoa Road (Hibiscus Coast Highway to Red Beach Road) – Additional investigation work into improved bus and cycle facilities in support of the draft Regional Public Transport Plan, the updated Auckland Cycle Network, and the anticipated changes to cycling design standards is now underway. Due to delays in getting permission to access private properties, the results from the investigation work will now be available in July. Plus ca change…
  • Shared spaces – Fort Street – Construction of Fort Street (Stage 3 of the shared space project) is progressing well. Some additional work for stormwater drainage in Gore Street Lane had to be undertaken which has caused some delays. Paving works and furniture installation are focusing now on the last section of Fort Street towards Customs Street. Targeted completion date is early September 2013. From what I hear, this one is on track…
  • Options for development of road corridors are being recommended through the Tamaki and Ngapipi, Kepa and Kohimarama Roads (TaNKK) corridor management plan. Competing uses for the limited road corridor space need to be reconciled (cars, parking, cyclists, pedestrians, PT). This will inform the implementation of the Tamaki Drive Masterplan. CAA was shown a variety of plans during recent meetings for a new layout at Ngapipi / Tamaki Drive. AT (and CAA) favour a signalised solution, as there are concerns that a roundabout of the size needed for the traffic flows that happen here would make the existing cycling safety issues worse. Not what you want at an existing black spot.
  • Rail Station Upgrades – Papakura Station – Papakura station reconstruction and track reconfiguration works are complete. Cycle facilities have been installed, with only the side glass wall panels remaining to be installed. The formal opening will be in mid July 2013.
  • Newmarket Crossing – In order to meet the proposed March 2015 completion date there needs to be early enabling works carried out during the Christmas period. Subject to confirmation of a preferred option, the detailed design will commence in late August 2013 with the view to commencing the enabling works during the Christmas closure. The next three months will include progressing towards the preferred option for removing the existing rail crossing. We blogged about retaining the cycle crossing of the rail line here.
  • Waterview Connection: Pathway – A geotechnical sub-contractor to Beca’s has drilled into a WaterCare sewer and we are working with the parties to ensure the damage is repaired. Ooops. The memorandum of understanding between NZTA and Auckland Transport is on hold pending the investigation of a further option for the bridge at Soljak Place that may avoid expensive land purchases. Bit worriesome – we are in favour of reducing the cost IF the alternate solution is good, but again, this sounds like delay. Public consultation was hoped to be underway soon.
  • Portage Road Cycle Way – The detail design work is now completed and the resource consent is scheduled to be complete in August. Enabling works to relocate four power poles will be done in July, and construction work is planned to start in 2013/14. That’s presumably the financial year 2014, not the actual 2014? If they are doing enabling works now, this should probably start soon. CAA was involved in the design, and we are happy to report that south of Golf Road, we managed to convince AT of an alternate solution near Sister Rene Shadbolt Park which allowed the existing shared path to be connected to without interruption (north of Golf Road, the design will switch to cycle lanes).
  • Consultation and Engagement – Dominion Road – Stakeholder meetings regarding the concept design elements of the project have now finished and feedback has been collated and added to the detailed design tender documents. Preparations are underway for consultation on the parallel cycle routes which will involve a letter drop to surrounding properties and two public drop-in sessions. Following early consultation about the cycle lanes with businesses at the northern end of Dominion Road, the project team is looking at modification to plans which originally involved removing some parking on both sides of Dominion Road in order to fit the cycle lanes into the busy road corridor. Before you get too worried, we understand that the designs still include cycle lanes to connect the View Road link to the Ian McKinnon Drive cycle lanes, but parking removal now only on one side.
  • Campaigns and Promotions – Community Transport – Winter Cycling Safety Campaign: A radio only advertising campaign ran on the Edge, Newstalk ZB, Rock and ZM from 10 June to 28 June. This targeted motorists during the am and pm commuter peaks, reminding them that people still cycle in winter and to take extra care. The provisional results from the evaluation survey show a pleasing 13% awareness of the winter cycling radio advertising among commuter motorists.

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