Sailing down Nelson St on the protected cycleway is fun… until you reach the current ‘end of the road’ at Victoria St. Good news: work begins this week on Phase 2 of the Nelson St Cycleway, and should be completed by September 2017!

This is not only a major step towards completing a full safe cycleway loop around the central city, linking Nelson St to Quay St – it also links Nelson St to the future Karangahape Rd protected bike lanes.

So, here’s what’s happening. (Forgive the low-res images; they’re the best available versions we’ve been given.)

  • On Nelson St: separated and protected one-way cycleways on both sides, from Victoria Street down to Fanshawe Street. Downhill on the west side, uphill on the east side. As we discussed recently, protected one-ways are a good thing in pretty much any situation – although it can get complex when they meet two-way cycleways. In this case, heading uphill, you rejoin the two-way cycleway by crossing diagonally at Victoria St.
  • The cycleway will continue along both sides of Market Place to just past Pakenham Street East. NOTE: We understand the design may have slightly changed since the image below was produced – specifically, a more direct cycleway crossing from Market Place to Nelson St (rather than via two pedestrian crossings and a traffic island).
  • At the intersection of Nelson Street /Fanshawe Street/ Market Place/ Sturdee Street, the major change is the removal of the double-left turn slip lane from Nelson onto Fanshawe, to allow the cycleway to continue across the intersection safely. This also allows for significant widening of the footpath, so pedestrians will no longer have to be stranding lots of pedestrians on a narrow curb or perilously insufficient traffic island.
“Pedestrian Island”, via @geogoose on Twitter. This will be replaced by a much widened footpath on the right after the removal of a double slip lane.
  • It remains to be seen how AT plans to curb the stream of cars that regularly make illegal U-turns from westbound Fanshawe into Sturdee Street, across pedestrians legally crossing on Sturdee. Will the new traffic light phasing for the changed intersection make this less risky? (As noted above, bikes likely won’t take this route in the newest design anymore, but regardless, now is surely a great opportunity to fix this dangerous movement.)

  • Pitt St is also part of the ‘Nelson Street works’ – a shared walking and cycling path from Beresford Square to the motorway on-ramp at Hobson Street, along the western side of Pitt St. The slip lane from Pitt onto Hopetoun will be removed to make things safer for pedestrians and people on bikes.
  • NOTE: this section is a shared path for now, because of CRL works creating the new Karangahape Station. After the CRL works in the area are complete, the design will be upgraded to a Quay Street-style two-way path and will be better integrated with the Karangahape Road cycle lanes. We’re not exactly thrilled with the interim solution – shared paths in busy parts of town aren’t brilliant. But because bike funds remain tight, the ‘do it twice’ option – a more substantial cycleway that would need to be dug up in a year or two – was voted down.

As for Phase 3, which will complete the safe and continuous connection to the waterfront – that’s still in the design phase, but should go out for public consultation soon. That will bring more bike infrastructure to Market Place, and a connection to the Quay Street cycleway via Customs Street West and Lower Hobson Street. Construction on Phase 3 should start in late 2017.

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  • Ed

    finally! the lack of this connection is a major thing which prevents me from taking the family into town more often on bikes. i didn’t realise however that there’s a part 3 – i thought the connection to quay would be done in this bit. the cynic in me wonders whether end of 2017 is that realistic given the delays for part 2, but oh well, progress is progress, even if slow.

    • Max

      Lot of potential parking impacts for the next bits. We understand they are working through that with property owners at the moment, before they go for the public consultation…

    • Lisa

      That part 3 will make for a faster/more direct route to Quay St. For a family/weekend ride, once you cross into Market Place you can turn left into Pakenham St East (or continue down Market Place) and join the shared path that snakes around the viaduct basin.
      It’s a slow shared route as it’s also popular with walkers, especially once you reach the viaduct where walking speed is best. Also, there’s a right-angle turn to take at slow speed just before Waitemata Plaza, to go around the stairs. (The Plaza is named on Google Maps so you’ll be able to see where I’m describing).

  • George Joseph Lane

    Please don’t support a single stage crossing for southbound cyclists at Fanshawe Street! That’s 60m of unprotected crossing (roughly 12-15s for the average cyclist and only one crossing signal per phase!

    • Max

      Appreciate the concern, but you probably get as many riders to prefer this more direct route, with less pedestrian conflicts than the other option across the two pedestrian crossings (which you can still use, in practice). Also, Bike AKL support / opposition didn’t really come into this late-stage decision by AT…

    • Matt H

      This reminds me of my concern about traffic light phasing and bicycle speed. On certain hills around Auckland, if a cyclists enters an intersection just as the lights turn orange there is often insufficient time to the bike to get through before other traffic gets a green. Remuera Rd westbound at Orakei Rd is a good example.

  • ChrisW

    How do you get from Market Place to the Quay St cycle way? Currently, the route that feels the safest is along the promenade in front of the restaurants of the viaduct but I can’t imagine this will cope with a deluge of bikes.

    • Max

      The proposed design is likely to provide cycleways along Customs Street West and Lower Hobson, but will have to wait until AT releases it for public consultation…

    • Lisa

      Easiest is turn left down Pakenham St East or continue to the end of Market Place. That route around the viaduct basin already is a shared cycle path with discreet cycle symbols panels embedded in the pavement every 10m or so. You’re right though, it’s designed for slower riders only – the path is super busy near the restaurants so it’s really only walking speed there most of the time. Great scenic route in my opinion, and merits a low speed!

  • Pete S

    Looking forward to the loop being completed. I took a colleague out for her first bike ride in the city, and riding up Nelson St on the footpath wasn’t much fun.