A new link to New Lynn – take Seabrook Ave into town!

A new link to New Lynn – take Seabrook Ave into town!

Bike Auckland

Auckland Transport is seeking feedback on cycling improvements in New Lynn. Feedback is open until Sunday 21 May 2017 – use the big blue button on the project page, or this direct link.

This is the first project out of the gate in response to last year’s area-wide consultation, which revealed a huge local demand for safer cycling links in New Lynn and Avondale. The proposed wider cycle network that will (eventually) emerge from that exercise is here: New-Lynn-proposed-network-map [PDF]

And this is the section that’s currently funded and being consulted on for construction:

The main part of the project is a new cycleway along the berm on Seabrook Ave between Willerton and Margan Ave, which will connect with existing shared paths on Margan Avenue and Rankin Avenue, and provide safer access to New Lynn Primary School.

Looking at the fine print, this starts as a shared path (a widened version of the current footpath) beside Lawson Park. People on bikes would then transition onto a newly constructed two-way curbside cycleway on the berm along Seabrook Avenue (i.e. pedestrians would continue walking on the existing footpath).

A typical berm section for the future two-way cycle path on Seabrook Avenue.

So, it’s a dedicated off-road cycleway leading to existing shared paths to New Lynn town centre and train station – a plan with some pros and cons. (If you are keen for a bit more detail on their reasoning as to what they are proposing, you can see AT’s thinking behind the design decisions here)

The good stuff includes:

  • The location is right! More cycleways linking to New Lynn (and its train station and its future local cycleways) – and this section also leads to a local school and a sports park.
  • The new section (except for the bit along the park) is a dedicated cycle path. Like cars and pedestrians, people on bikes get their own space. This is the kind of choice we want AT to make more often!
    • [For those who are into these details: yes, we would like it even more if they built protected one-way cycleways on each side of the road – but in this case, that’s a lot more expensive without rebuilding the whole road]
  • Where the path pases bus stops, it will go around the back of the shelters / waiting areas – ensuring a better quality of ride for people on bikes, too.
  • Raised intersection platforms (higher than the rather tame existing one at Willerton) are planned where Seabrook Avenue crosses Willerton Avenue and Gardner Avenue. This will slow down traffic, making things safer for all users, including drivers and pedestrians – as will more traffic-calming speed cushions on Seabrook itself and at the intersection with Margan Ave.
  • There will also be new zebra crossings, which will be great for pedestrians. We think these could be modified to also serve cyclists better.
  • At New Lynn, traffic signal crossings will be changed to make it easier for people on bike to reach the town centre and train station without having to ride on-road.
  • There will also be some upgrades to bike parking, wayfinding signage and street lighting at various places along the route.
A mid-block example – showing the dedicated cycle-only path, a bus stop bypass – but also the fact that there will still be parking alongside the path without a buffer zone…

Some things that ain’t so great:

  • Much of the existing ride into town (and one small section of the new path) will remain a shared path. Bike folk arriving at the shared path sections will face the unpleasant choice of either slowing down a whole lot, hoping pedestrians let you past, or riding on the road. Either way, it will be a pretty discontinuous ride for all except the very slow or the very small. The problem is, funds are rather tight (especially given construction costs in the whole industry have gone up massively in the three years since the Urban Cycleway Programme money was initially allocated). Any future improvements will have to wait for future projects.
  • The new path is hard up against the kerb. And while car parking will be removed near intersections to improve visibility and thus safety, the parking next to the path will stay, over long distances. So the 3m two-way cycle path will be a good bit narrower in practice – because people cannot safely ride in the door zone. Admittedly, it’s not like in a shopping main street where car doors are constantly thrown open – but surely a bit of a buffer zone here would be both good & possible?
  • A couple of more detailed design decisions aren’t so great, but could be improved. See the next section, where we recommend what you should say in your submission…
A lot of good stuff here – raised table and smaller intersection size for traffic calming. New zebra crossings… – but really, the cycleway needs to get priority too, or everyone will be very confused, especially with pedestrians just adjacent on the zebra crossing walking in the same direction, and having right of way!

The feedback form is very quick and simple, with just three questions. Here’s what we think you should highlight in your feedback:

  1. What do you think about the proposal in general?

    •  Support in general – a new dedicated cycleway to New Lynn and to the local school and sports park is worth building!

  2. What do you think about the proposed off-road cycleway on Seabrook Avenue?

    • New shared paths, even short ones, ain’t great – so please review the section alongside Lawson Park, maybe redesign this as a (protected) on-road path?

    • The new two-way paths should be at least 0.5m away from the kerb (the car door zone)! Otherwise it will be risky for those riding near parked cars.
  3. What do you think about the proposed intersection improvements? (Please specify which intersection)

    • Support the raised intersections and traffic calming at Margan Avenue, Gardener Avenue and WIllerton Avenue  – traffic calming is great for both pedestrian & bike safety!
    • Add formal cycle priority to the crossings over Gardener Avenue and Willerton Avenue, so riders can ride across legally without dismounting.
Along Lawson Park – sure, we don’t want to get too close to the tree roots, but it seems possible to continue the cycleway instead of widening the left-hand footpath into a shared path. What about using a wee bit of roadspace?


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