We’re all buzzing about the exciting big budget package including $111m for cycleways. But what might it mean for bike-friendly infrastructure at the local level? Carol Green from Bike Te Atatu reports on a visit to the peninsula from AT’s Kathryn King.
A couple of Saturdays ago, Bike Te Atatu met Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s walking and cycling overlord (overlady?). Kathryn generously offered her time on a weekend and cycled out to Te Atatu with her partner and very cute little boy.
The weather smiled on us. We met up at the Luscious Food Store before heading out for a tour of our beloved ‘burb. (Luscious is one of our Bike Te Atatu-friendly businesses, offering a discount on coffee for anyone who arrives by bike – it’s a great spot for a meet-up of any kind, and family-friendly as well as bike-friendly).
Bike Te Atatu has a vision, and a master plan, which we’ve presented to our local board and the local business association, but until now we’ve felt a bit like we were all talk and not much action. We’ve found approaching AT a bit daunting – despite having a few members who also work for AT, we’ve been unsure of the next step to take to have some of our dreams realised.
We shared our hopes and our frustrations, and Kathryn updated us with some imminent developments and some more long term plans. AT are establishing a community fund for cycling in the new financial year, which would be useful for achieving some of our goals.
In the short term, we’re hopeful of getting a bike corral in the centre of town – one which replaces a car parking spot, not only providing extra bike parking, but loudly and visibly showing support for bicycle transport. We see this as Bike Te Atatu’s symbol of intent.
Kathryn was generally very supportive of our goals. Among the other exciting and, we think, quickly achievable possibilities:
- Sadik-Khan-style temporary measures to slow down traffic on some streets and discourage rat-running
- a suburban Open Streets event, possibly piggy-backing on an existing event or road closure
- an adopt-a-walkway scheme (beautifying and signposting walkways to make ‘quaxing‘ easier)
After coffee and chat, we took Kathryn and her family on a short tiki-tour of our neighbourhood – first showing her the site next door to Luscious which the developers want to alter to include a 24-hour drive-thru (next to a 3-lane road and a cycleway, with no safe pedestrian crossing for 300m in one direction and 500m in the other). We rode through the village centre, pointing out the hot spot for the corral, then down Taikata Rd and Kervil Ave, showing which roads we thought should be slowed or otherwise traffic-calmed, and where we think cycleways should be.
We’ve had some follow-up correspondence, and Kathryn is helping point us in the right direction within AT so we can get the support we need to develop our grand plan of making Te Atatu a walking and biking paradise. We’re looking forward to getting on with it!