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?
Categories
Cycle lanes West Auckland
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  • Bryce Pearce

    A 2 way on Seabrook is nuts. Perfectly wide corridor can easily cope with 2 x 1 way cycle tracks.

    • George Joseph Lane

      +1, they’ve gotten so much right; separation from traffic, bus stop bypasses, raised crossings of side streets. Now all they needs to do is to build it on both sides of the road , 2m wide.

      • Bryce Pearce

        And with 17,116 AADT (2015) per day on Margan Ave, the AT favoured option for the Seabrook / Margan junction is completely mad.

  • Ed

    Thanks for doing some pre-analysis for us. It is a shame that more comprehensive facilities can’t be offered, because it probably means we’ll be stuck with them for many years. There are so many roads out west that are wide enough to have proper on-road facilities, which would have the effect of slowing the often ridiculous speeds at which west auckland drivers cruise at. but still. i’m in a ‘take what we can get’ mode here, because perhaps this will encourage a few more kids, and maybe it will put pressure on the almost pointless shared paths by the Aussie butcher (more designed to allow cars to cross the footpaths than to be a safe options for people on bikes and on foot) to be improved. and it makes a start on extending things beyond where the Avondale to new Lynn path will end (assuming that’ll ever materialise – it’s gone awfully quiet – assume just waiting for new financial year to tick over before progress is made).

  • Simon Malpas

    This is a step in the right direction but there seems to be great reluctance to challenge the concept of reducing car parks. This is a suburban street with no shops (except one dairy). As a general principle why can’t we push for one side of the street to be deemed no parking? Currently cars park on either side and it creates a weaving traffic flow where cars and bikes have to wait for on coming traffic. By moving to a single side for parking would not impact on residents (who mostly have off street parking anyway) and improve traffic flow for all. This scheme could be extended out throughout the network.

    • Ed

      Agree with this and reckon it could be done in so many places out west (or Mt Albert where i used to live) – and it doesn’t really reduce parking amenity anyway because these are streets where there’s only occasional cars parked. it does tend to mean accepting two way cycle paths on one side rather than dedicated one way lanes on each side though i guess…?

    • Bryce Pearce

      Seabrook Ave corridor is 30m wide. That is 10m wider than your average Auckland street. If we can’t accomodate 2 traffic lanes, existing parking and 1 way cycle lanes then we won’t manage to do so in any part of Auckland.

  • Bryce Pearce

    Note: Auckland Transport refer to the cycle path as a shared path in the documentation. A shared path as well as footpaths? Seriously? Correction: First part of path, near Lawson Park, is shared path.

  • timrob

    Can anyone explain how the rather oddly located hook turn boxes at the Clark Street intersection are expected to work? They look rather suicidal on plan without an explanation of signal timing.

    I also think there is a missed general traffic safety improvement opportunity at the Seabrook / Margan Ave intersection. It’s a really dodgy angle and set of sightlines in my experience, and this geometry and the intensity of traffic on Margan encourages lots of rash pulling out in front of oncoming traffic. It would really benefit from squaring up to be nearer to 90 degrees T-intersection IMHO, and this seems like a good opportunity to do so as they’re on site changing kerbs at that location.

  • This is a really weird place for a bidirectional path. I thought the rest of the world has moved on to one direction on each side of the street. And it’s not like this street doesn’t have room for it.

    And this intersection with Gardner Ave looks even more weird. I guess traffic law still forbids painting that path across side streets. Otherwise, what’s the thinking behind that?