Those who have been following Cycle Action’s campaigns will be aware of the saga of the Lake Rd cycle lanes between Devonport and Takapuna. First was the battle to get them in, and that of course should have been the end of it. But never underestimate the motoring lobby if they feel their precious roadway space has been subverted for other means. A group of disaffected Devonport motorists claimed the cycle lanes caused traffic congestion(!), and mounted a petition with a concerted lobbying campaign to have them removed. With Cycle Action’s support and endorsement, Devonport cyclists raised a counter petition, and the battle was finally won to retain them. A victory for common sense, but it really was touch and go.
From March 2010, with the existing cycle lanes secure, our focus shifted to improvements. While the route between Devonport and Takapuna was generally good, the dangerous half kilometre section between Hauraki Corner and Esmonde Rd still needed serious attention. We had actually been engaging with North Shore City Council since 2008 on plans for this stretch, as we were anxious to avoid a repeat of the rancour emanating from the south.
While we had good buy-in from the engineering team for the continuation of on-road cycle lanes, there was still considerable political opposition from various members of the Takapuna Local Board and the powerful Council Infrastructure & Environment committee. It was mooted at one stage that all cyclists might get was a single bi-directional off-road path – crazy, as this is one of the highest density cycle routes in Auckland, being a key route between the Eastern Bays, Takapuna, and the Devonport ferry terminal.
Fortunately engineering judgement prevailed with the support of some key councillors and staff, and as the on-road cycle lanes didn’t limit traffic lanes, we didn’t have significant issues with the motoring lobby. However as we engaged with the design team in 2009 we became aware of a significant problem – the new works stopped at the Hauraki Corner intersection, and did nothing to connect to the cycle lanes further south. As the scope and costs were cast in stone at that point, there was little we could do but put this item on a future agenda, and finally applaud the Lake Rd construction completion between Esmond & Hauraki in mid-2011.
As responsibility lay with Auckland Transport at this point we re-raised the Hauraki Corner issue. The primary problems were that the on-road cycle lanes started 300m south of the intersection, so southbound cyclists were dangerously squeezed by merging motorists, while northbound cyclists had nowhere to go at rush hour except illegally up onto the footpath.
The Investigation & Design team at AT took our concerns seriously, and we were delighted to engage constructively with transportation professionals without the intrusion of parochial politics. We found a way to provide a southbound cycle lane by narrowing the traffic lanes, and the northbound share with care path extended closer to the intersection. Not perfect, but within pragmatic design and financial constraints a very acceptable solution that’s enhanced cycling safety and amenity through this busy intersection.
But, we hear you say, what about the other big issue on Lake Rd – the Bayswater Ave intersection? Particularly diabolical northbound, and not much better southbound in heavy traffic.
We understand the next stretch of Lake Rd to be renovated is from Hauraki Corner (where further improvements will be made) to Eversleigh Rd (opposite Takapuna Grammar), so Bayswater Ave remediation will be even further away. We’re proposing to raise the Bayswater intersection with Auckland Transport as a special case for more urgent attention, and will keep you posted as to how we get on.
If you’re a regular Lake Rd cyclist we’d like to hear what you think. What are the pleasure and pain points on Lake Rd for you? Where do you think remediation efforts should best be directed? Let us know by posting a comment on this page, and we’ll take it on-board as we talk with Auckland Transport.