Mixing bikes with trains, buses and ferries

Bike Parking Blog 01Mixing cycling with public transport has been top our minds for quite a while – ever since we realised that a huge part of Auckland lies within 3 km of a smart bus service like the Northern Busway, ferry terminals and train stations. And cycling 3km is a breeze for anyone who has basic cycle skills [if the infrastructure is right, that is].

The sea of bikes parked around the Devonport ferry demonstrates the need for good bike parking to make cycling to PT an easy transport choice. We recently did a short contract for Auckland Transport to investigate why so few Northern Express bus users choose to bike to the terminals. The top reason was that the roads around the terminals are hostile to cycling. Second top concern was that the terminals lack easily-used, secure, undercover bike parking.

Bike Parking Blog 02The project highlights that if Auckland wants to do more than just write reports and talk about integrated transport it would pay to invest quickly in safe routes to transport nodes. More about that aspect coming soon!

The other big lessons from the project for us were that  we have a legacy of inadequate or no bike parking at transport nodes across Auckland, and this needs attention and better co-ordination across Auckland Transport.

We’re about to collaborate across AT on a new project to fix these issues. The goal is to bring all departments together to programme and prioritise ‘fit for purpose’ bike parking for transport nodes and town centres.

The project will draw on the trials that AT has underway with bike cages providing swipe card security, due to open in the next month at Papakura and Papatoetoe train stations; a bike corral of uncovered parking on Ponsonby Rd; a bike cage with swipe card security built but under review at Birkenhead Wharf,  and the new smart weather shelter built over the existing bike rack at Onehunga train station.

Bike Parking Blog 03Recent blogs on bike parking suggest that as cyclists we prefer to have weather-shelter and security when we park our bikes for the day, and that we like to park close to train platforms, ferry berths etc. However, we have yet to learn whether cyclists prefer more expensive swipe-card bike cages, or if they will accept cheaper facilities with weatherproof canopies with CCTV security, like those at Devonport. It seems that the lower-key facilities are easier to retrofit, (maybe if something low-key had been built at Birkenhead, it would more publicly acceptable?).

Here’s some high level issues we’d like to get feedback from you on for our first meeting.

  • We’ve flagged to AT that the first priority in the short term should be to retrofit all PT nodes with ‘fit for purpose’ bike parking. This would mean we would have to lock our bikes to signs and street furniture in town centres for a year or so longer. But we suspect this could be a reasonable trade-off, as most town centres have poles and passive supervision, so it’s ok for a coffee or a quick shop. PT parking tends to be all day long and almost always lacks even the basic security of town centres, so bike locks are easily broken by a determined thief.  This won’t mean we forget town centres, just that the major part of AT’s bike parking budgets would focus on PT nodes for the next year or so. How does this sound to you?
  • Our other priority is to make sure the public has input into all new bike parking facilities from here on. We think that deciding on ‘fit for purpose’ is best decided site by site – it’s not about getting a city- wide bike parking blueprint and rolling it out, regardless of local sensibilities and local cyclists’ preferences. This means some roll-outs will take a bit longer while we conduct online surveys and use other ways to tap into local opinion

As we said, we’ll be checking in with you lots as this project progresses. Hope you’re up for it!

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Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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