Our regular Bike Breakfast was on the move in April – this month, we met at Devon on the Wharf in Devonport, with the topic of bike parking on the wharf top of our minds for discussion.

Our special guest was Rachel Freebairn from Auckland Transport, who oversees bike parking at transport terminals. The discussion was detailed and wide-ranging, but now we need more data. If you ride to, through, or from Devonport, please take our quick survey about bike parking. (And for background on why this survey, why now, scroll down.)

Help us help AT get the picture – answer a quick survey on bike parking at Devonport Wharf!


Just some of the Bike Breakfast bunch in Devonport, April 2019. Including our special guest Rachel Freebairn of AT (second from right in the gorgeous frock).

Background on the Devonport bike parking survey…

This is a starting point for a bigger discussion about the mutual relationship between bike parking and public transport. We’re beginning with Devonport because it was once the poster child for public transport bike parking, and has gone through a bit of a shake-up.

We know fewer people have been parking their bikes at the wharf, despite rising numbers of people out on bikes. Is it to do with the bike parking being shifted away from the ‘elbow’ on the boardwalk by the ferry berth? Or because the rise of e-bikes means people don’t want to leave higher value bikes on the wharf all day? Or is it that people prefer to take their bikes on the ferry to ride to destinations on the city side? It certainly it feels like we’re seeing more bikes on the ferries, many of them e-bikes.

We also hear concern about bike thefts at the wharf, which may be connected to loss of good and convenient bike parking since the wharf makeover.

Devonport ferry terminal used to be the poster child for popular bike parking. Remember those halcyon days when there were over 90 bike parking spots, and most were full each day? Those of us who biked to the ferry also couldn’t help noticing our bikes took up a tiny fraction of the space devoted to public carparking on the swathe of tarmac that dominates the harbour frontage.

Image by Chris Werry, Bike Devonport.

Best of all, if you got there early, you’d be one of the lucky 30 or so to find a park in the covered space on the boardwalk close to the ferry berth. We all knew bikes were least likely to be stolen here because there was lots of ‘eyes on the street’ as people came and went to the ferries. The only downside was the poorly designed bike racks, with alternating ‘up/down’ spaces that meant an inefficient tangle of handlebars and baskets..

Devonport Ferry Terminal bike parking, as it was. Sheltered, surveilled, handy to the ferries: a dream customer experience.

Those days of secure, sheltered, and super-convenient bike parking came to an end with the ferry terminal’s makeover, with new floor to ceiling glass and wide doors opening onto the boardwalk, and public seating both indoor and outdoor to allow people to enjoy the sunny aspect and views of the Harbour Bridge and Downtown.

While more bike parking has been provided on the ‘back’ side of the terminal building, it has none of the attractions of the parking spaces that were lost.

The new spaces are under cover of a canopy sail, but they re-use the inefficient, awkward ‘up/down’ racks. And although the racks were set further from the wall in the hope that people would use both sides of the rack to avoid handlebars and baskets clashing, in practice it hasn’t worked that way.

Other aspects of the new layout are causing frustration. We hear you miss the convenience of being able to see the incoming ferry as you park your bike, so you can time your run. We also know you aren’t happy with the slow response of the swing doors installed near the bike parks.

Most vitally, we’re hearing that the back side of the terminal has little or no passive supervision and no security presence, which makes it easy for an opportunistic thief to cut a bike lock and wheel a stolen bike away.

On the plus side, we now have more of the basic Sheffield bike racks along the back side of the terminal – but they’re all out in the weather, and the ones further along the Victoria Wharf open to salt spray, so it’s not surprising that they’re rarely used.

The Sheffield stands nearer to Victoria Rd and across from the Devon on the Wharf cafe have a bit more passive supervision and are used more frequently. Still, the most popular bike parking spots seem to be those immediately by the seawall at the foot entry to the Ferry Terminal. Once again, this points to public surveillance and ease of access to the ferry berth as top of people’s minds when parking at the wharf.

Lots of food for thought. Share yours with us, via the survey link. Here it is again!

Help us help AT get the picture – answer a quick survey on bike parking at Devonport Wharf!


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