Lincoln Road – a sign of Auckland’s folly?

Feb 06, 2014
Lincoln Road – a sign of Auckland’s folly?

Bike Auckland

And we are back for another episode of transport planning quiz. Today:

Q: How many traffic lanes does it take to deal with a traffic jam?

A: One more than we had last year.

Coming to Auckland near you - more motorways, and the almost-motorway arterials that feed them.  [Copyright Atlantacitizen GFDL]
Coming to Auckland near you – more motorways, and the almost-motorway arterials that feed them.
[Copyright: Atlantacitizen GFDL]
That joke is bitter reality in the strategic planning for our “most driveable city” (thanks NonMotorist). Because another project is doubling down on our car-centric city, by adding more traffic lanes to Lincoln Road, Waitakere, so more cars can drive to the CBD! The standard layout will be 6 lanes (more than some of our motorways!) and at intersections, we will have up to 9 (!) traffic lanes.

But wait, AT say – that’s not what we are doing. This is a very, very busy street, and we are adding TRANSIT lanes, and shared paths. This is about getting more buses, more high-occupancy vehicles, and cyclists onto this street!

Yep, that anorexic thing could do with a few more lanes.
Yep, anorexic thing could do with a few more lanes.

Really? Because to most of us, it looks like you are trying to do do these valuable improvements while being deathly afraid of taking anything away from single-occupancy cars. Instead of say, turning an existing lane into a transit lane in the short term, or building a real busway for the long term, you are going to enormous expense (and taking property from 80 land owners) – for what? Turning an already very hostile road into an exhaust-choked, sun-baked dividing line (sorry, into more of one).

And the shared paths? Sorry, CAA has supported them in the past, but 2.5m strips of footpath are not state of art, and especially in these surroundings, do not make for good cycling. And they do not even meet current standards for AT shared paths, despite what your project website says (your own ATCOP clearly states 3m minimum).

Saying in your FAQ that wider shared paths weren’t possible because that would cause extra land take – that is just adding insult to injury. You can’t provide well for cyclists (and pedestrians, who would have to share with us in a cramped space) because you have already squandered everything on traffic lanes?!? What kind of argument is that?

So in short, if this gets built, there will be some improvements to buses and cyclists, many more cars using the road and crowding onto an also-widened motorway – at the cost of enormous amounts of dollars, large tracts of land paved over, and suburbs cut apart even worse than before. To us, this seems like the wrong way for this city to go on with.

The submission period ends tomorrow, on Friday! Please tell AT that:

  • They should not proceed with this expensive, strategically wrong project
  • If they need to widen, they should widen the road for a proper busway, OR
  • Take one of the existing lanes and turn it into a transit lane, while prioritising other options to reduce congestion, and
  • Instead of shared paths, they should build proper protected cycle lanes

Please submit here. Even if you just write three lines, it will be worth it.

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