I biked back into town along the NW Cycleway last week after checking out the new Ranui Library.

I was on a high for quite a bit of the bike ride because the library is a gorgeous, spacious, light and airy little gem.

(Call in to see the inspired art works that reflect the history of the area perfectly. Check out the wall of tree shapes made from locals’ handprints, the intriguing carved spades and wonderful corten silhouettes on the exterior walls that add so much to the inside-outside views. Clever!)

I had a couple of friends with me, and was bursting with pride by the time I got to show off the super fun, dream cycling event that is the yellow Oakley Creek Bridge. Reality hit home with a big bump when we reached the St Lukes Rd crossing beside SH16.

Even at noon on a Wednesday, I would rather cross a river of starving crocodiles than risk my safety and that of my friends amongst the speeding cars whizzing to the motorway on-ramp and the tiny traffic island where we teetered to reach the pedestrian crossing. I am very fearful about the daily risks people are taking at peak commuting times with swollen cycling volumes!

The view looking east.
The view looking east. All responsibility is on cyclists (and walkers) to handle motorway onramp traffic rushing in from the right. And, once safely across St Luke’s Rd, same again, from the left.
slip-lane management, while construction takes place. But what's the future plan?
The crossing safety management plan while construction takes place: our eyeballs. But what’s the future plan?

Thanks to Richard Challis for sending me this next pic. And thanks to the NZTA for stepping up as soon as I contacted them last week to ask what can be done to improve it.

The plan.
The plan.

I know the road layout is under pressure and constrained. But this is a high priority link on the country’s busiest cycling commuter route. It absolutely qualifies as a Cycleway of National Significance.

When he invented the term, Steven Joyce told us transport routes of national significance will give the highest level of service to their users. It’s obvious this intersection should have a good quality cycling underpass – a la Grafton Gully. However, I’m fully aware there is no budget for a cycling underpass in the St Lukes Rd / SH16 project.

Despite the constraints, I know the NZTA will be looking to do the best they can. We’re very lucky to be dealing with the Auckland office of the Agency. I constantly give them credit for leading NZ in providing showcase cycling facilities that are changing the face of getting around Auckland on a bike.

We’ll keep you posted!

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14 responses to “Major hazards at St Lukes Rd/ SH16 crossing – is help at hand?

  1. Thanks so much for highlighting this, Barb! Fingers crossed for a quick good fix for now, and a great new crossing eventually.

    In fact, will the one in the NZTA pic be a controlled crossing the whole way – from cycleway to cycleway? How fantastic would that be?

    While we’re looking at this intersection, there are currently major safety issues with the Great North Rd crossing to Motat, too. A pedestrian signal covers most of it, but there’s an uncontrolled dash across an obscured slip lane. Very tricky for families, especially kids who can misread a green as “safe to cross all the way” — and perilous for cyclists aiming to come from the diverted GNR cycle lane towards the NW cycleway. Any fixes your NZTA friends can supply here would be urgently welcome!

    1. The MOTAT crossing of Gt North Rd is really dangerous at the moment. My son uses it every day on his bike and he says the island on the north side is so small that it can’t support the number of kids that have to wait there, so the back end of his bike regularly juts out into the traffic.

      1. Not only is the northern island way too small but the crossing itself is dangerously concealed from through traffic going east (thanks to all the orange crash barriers and other bits and bobs).
        I was never a raving fan of this intersection before but looking back now I didn’t realise we had it so good… oh well, at least the trees remain to soften the blow a bit.

  2. Actually, how much cooler would an underpass be, there. Especially given the proportion of straight-through cyclists vs those who hop on or off. Most would be going straight through, right?

  3. Isn’t it illegal to cycle across pedestrian crossings? cyclist will have to dismount twice!

    And a steady stream of cyclist crossing the intersection morning and evenings won’t be good for traffic flow either.

    Really needs an underpass here, good for cyclists and motorists 🙂

    1. When you have traffic lights that show a bicycle, you don’t have to dismount. These crossings also have a metal bar thingy next to the beg button so that cyclists can rest, except they often get munted by inattentive car drivers.

      On zebra crossings that don’t have these features, cyclists are supposed to dismount, – but there doesn’t seem any reason for it. Do the planners think that cyclists might fall off their bicycles while attempting to cross the zebra? Do car drivers want to wait a bit longer while cyclists push their bikes across? If cyclists use zebras courteously (i.e. wait for drivers to stop, which I think the vast majority do) in my opinion there’s no need for them to dismount. This requirement is just another tedious example of a culture where private cars have absolute pre-eminence over public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

  4. Well done for highlighting a danger zone along the cycleway, hope a good permanent fix comes quickly. But i think that the most perilous spot is actually on Newton bridge next to the sh16 onramp. This spot really needs to be a signalised intersection, and the footpath upgraded to a shared cycle path up to the intersection of K rd and ponsonby rd. There should be a safe way for cyclists to cross between k rd and the nw cycleway (and back). Currently, this is a very scary place to bike.

  5. Ha ha, I guess I’ve been boiled like a frog not to notice how dangerous it is at present. So basically it will work exactly how it does now, except even wider? I wouldn’t want to be a little old lady trying to cross the road before the lights turn green.

    The new pedestrian islands don’t look nearly big enough to cope with some of the crowds of bikes you can get at peak times.

    And does anyone know why they have cleared the trees and vegetation from quite so much of the corner of the golf course? That seems to be far more space than they can possibly need just to move a slip lane over a bit.

  6. I wonder if it might be possible to crowdfund an underpass here and maybe then another at Carrington Rd.

  7. Very diplomatic of you to only allude to it: it’s absolutely outrageous that there is no underpass as part of the current project!

    5 years ago I used to drive to st lukes from town, the exit queue during rush hour often went back to the port because of a steady flow of cyclists crossing that eastern pedestrian crossing.

    One additional hazard, I nearly crashed into a gate/fence going right across the cycleway on a blind corner, just on the western approach of the intersection. A single construction worker seemed to be pulling it open and closed for diggers to cross at times. Imagine the STMS if it was a road…

  8. If the underpass is a non-starter, a single light controlled crossing with a ‘beg button’ could take us across all traffic East to West. Existing phasing allows the North/South crossing to be made, but I’d also like to see a single crossing at MOTAT/Western Springs.

    Current arrangements on the slip roads are either non-existent (Western on-ramp) or apt to be ignored by the surprising number of drivers with urgent missions of national security (Eastern off-ramp, turning traffic by Western Springs).

    Non-toucan crossings also make riding illegal, a major faux-pas on the country’s most popular cycleway. Such design quirks will be acceptable when drivers are required to push their vehicles across intersections with footpaths.

    1. Sadly, NZ doesn’t have Toucan crossings at the moment – not legal. NZTA and AT are looking at doing trials, but at the moment, they are not in our official toolkit 🙁

      1. Not being familiar with the “Toucan Crossing” name… I Googled it…
        If they are not legal or in the official toolkit, then what are the crossings at city end of N-W cycleway on Upper Queen and Newton Rd? And also at the bottom of Grafton Gully cycleway? They seem like Toucan’s to my (limited) understanding of the term, no?

    2. Why is/should the underpass be a non-starter? (if there are genuine reasons I’d be interested to know them)
      My attitude is that if they can do it for 3+ lanes of traffic why not cyclists?

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