Dom Road MapBy Paul Shortland, Deputy Chair CAA

Construction on New Zealand’s first cycle boulevard is due to commence this summer with completion due mid 2014. The concept and consultation phase of the Dominion Road project, including the parallel cycle routes has now ended, and the project moves into the next phase of detailed design, tendering and construction. The community will be able to enjoy the cycle routes well before the completion of the main corridor scheme.

Whilst the decision to not include cycle lanes on Dominion Road was a blow, particularly for commuter cyclists, CAA was determined to work constructively with AT to get a good outcome on the next best alternative. CAA has participated actively in the Dominion Rd Stakeholder Group over the last 6 months including providing detailed feedback on the plans.

I am confident that most our concerns have been taken into account and the proposed measures will create an environment that will make the route attractive to less confident cyclists. Once the work is done, it is going to have the look and feel of a real cycle boulevard.

For the first time in New Zealand sharrows (shared arrows) will be deployed along the route indicating to road users that this is a shared road environment. In addition to this, a considerable number of speed control measures (“LATMs” – most with special 1.5m cycle slip lanes) will be distributed along the route. Generally the route has low traffic volumes but there are a few sections, such as Valley Rd, where speed control will be critical. Cycle friendly designed signalised crossings are intended to provide safe passage across the main arterials of Balmoral and Mt Albert Rd’s. Other important features include:

  • Connections at the southern end with the Puketepapa Greenway projects and the SH20 cycleway
  • Cycle lanes on View Road, and connecting cycle lanes on Dom Road / Ian McKinnon Drive to link the routes to the existing cycle facilities there
  • Signalised crossings for both routes over Balmoral Road and Mt Albert Road – either built specifically for the cycle routes, or adapted to cycle use
  • An off road shared path will through the Mt Roskill school grounds
  • Way finding signage
  • Lighting improvements where the route travels through parks

What still needs to be resolved is the treatment for the Burnley Tce and King Edward St’s deviations where they intersect with Dominion Road. The narrow foot path and adjacent shops provides considerable challenge to make safe for both pedestrians and cyclists. In my view this is a critical to get right because the route is only as strong as its weakest link.

In the meantime I would like to encourage you to get involved and find out more information and perhaps provide your own feedback on the entire scheme. This is a once in a generation opportunity to be part of the reshaping what is a large part of the inner city and an important transport corridor.

Public open days are planned for:

Tuesday 23 July, 3.30 to 7pm at Deaf Society, 164 Balmoral Rd, Mt Eden.

Thursday 25 July, 3.30pm to 7pm at Dominion Road School, Quest Terrace, Mt Roskill.

More information

http://www.aucklandtransport.govt.nz/improving-transport/dominion-road/Pages/default.aspx

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank and acknowledge Phil Chase who ably assisted CAA throughout the consultation process, without whose help the task would have been considerably more arduous. Max Robitzsch of course provided heaps of technical assistance in his usual thorough style.

Categories
Central Auckland Dominion Road General News Infrastructure Key Projects Traffic Calming West Auckland
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29 responses to “New Zealand’s First Cycle Boulevard

  1. This look like a good project to introduce the 30 km/h ‘cycle street’ idea. Once any traffic calming is in, speeds will drop anyway, so we may as well make it formal. Let it spread to other local streets.

  2. Unfortunately I can’t help but see this project as simply putting lipstick on the pig that is Auckland Transport’s inability to do something visionary or intelligent.

    While it would be nice to implement this type of “Cycle Boulevard” in many areas, this kind of project should be taking place AFTER we have cycleways along major arterial routes.

    Those who devised this in the face of opposition to removing carparks from Dominion Road ought to be ashamed and disappointed. This compromise is much more of a shafting of cyclists than any sort of win-win, and I’m too disappointed to call it anything but what it really is.

    1. Sad to hear you feel that way, but as Paul says – after spending many months fighting for cycle facilities on Dominion Road (we certainly didn’t let that one go until it was lost for good) CAA felt it better to work with authorities on this, than to sit aside angry.

      It is still several million of cycle investment, and to get the best benefit for cycling out of this AT Board decision, we felt we should be involved. I also believe that if this is well integrated with the Greenways projects, it will be more useful than people think.

      1. Max – just looking at that map, what percentage of the cycle facilities are a real grade separated cycle path like you might see in Northern Europe? 20%? 0%?

        I see some symbols denoting cycle paths but hard to tell how far they extend.

        Great work on this. I know it is a real uphill battle to get anything done in Auckland to improve cycling.

        Cheers

        1. Hi Goosoid – bicycle boulevards are mostly on-street, with no dedicated cycle facilities. The idea is to remove pinch points and slow traffic down, so cars and bikes can coexist better, without needing large-scale infrastructure.

          Explanation here from Portland, Oregon (they recently rebranded their bicycle boulevard projects to Neighbourhood Greenways). I don’t quite expect to get there to this level of facility in one go, but we will get closer to these standards than I initially assumed. The rest is mutual respect, and, eventually, we would hope, slower formal speed limits as well, as Bryce notes.

          As for your original question – there will be some short sections of cycle lanes at the northern end (new pieces on Ian McKinnon Drive and View Road to connect these routes to the links onward) to the north. As for actual separated paths, those will be provided only in sections where the route goes through parks, so I would say, maybe 10% of the routes, most of it in the south, near Puketapapa’s Greenways?

          1. As someone who lives in the area (on Grange Road) and has ridden these routes allot I think its worth pointing a few things out:

            1) many sections of the proposed routes are part of what in England we always referred to as rat runs, IE back roads which motorists use to circumvent busier routes and slower moving traffic,

            2)Because allot of the motorists on these roads particularly at peak periods are using them mindful of the fact that where they on the main arterial they would probably be moving slower they speed up to help justify there decision – the reality is cars move slower and safer at peak periods on Dom Rd than they do on these back roads

            3)many of these routes also have quite allot of up and down hilly type terrain compared to the relatively gentile gradients of Dom Rd, if I was choosing I’d would pick Dom Rd

            4) changing the street scape and slowing traffic to make Dom Rd more attractive for pedestrians (as the plan outlines) will also mean its more attractive place for cyclists

            5) just sticking up a few sign posts with a picture of a bike on them along some back roads it does not make a cycle boulevard,

            6)-once again speaking as someone who lives on Grange Rd which has traffic calming measures in the form of speed bumps the length of the road- I can tell you that most drivers (particularly the increasingly large proportion of which that drive large 4 wheel drive vehicles) barely slow down for the speed bumps with many accelerating hard then braking heavily in-between, whilst this is a source of much amusement it illustrates that the current traffic calming doesn’t really work, so you really do need the 30Km/h Bryce is suggesting

            7)I’m all for rewarding good behaviour with a ‘well done’ which is what AT deserves for making some reasonable effort but that ‘well done’ should really be tempered with a ‘could do better’, the extent to which other cities (eg New York)have made bold moves and been rewarded is very well documented. I’m sure that CAA told AT just how it should be done and they agreed and understood the good ideas the problem is AT still need to grow some balls.

      2. I ought to offer congradulations and thanks to CAA, which I do.
        But as someone who lives on Dominion Road, knowing that there was originally a proposal for dedicated bus and cycleways the length of the road, and that this was scuttled by a group of ill-informed NIMBYist morons will leave me spiteful for quite some time.
        Auckland Transport is doing it wrong, and will end up doing it twice. The problem is, Dom Road will be unlikely to get another makeover for 20 years, but the time for a change has already long since passed.

    2. I see where Paul is coming from and it is a bit jarring to CAA trumpeting this as a “first cycle boulevard” — that bit sounds like a press release from the council.

      The Burnley Tce/King Edward st detour is simply ridiculous. AT should purchase the house at the dog-leg on King Edward and make a path there through to Burnley.

      SOme of the southern connections do look useful — I imagine this is where most of the money will be spent? But further north, most of this route is already pretty decent and mainly needs good signage to get you through all the annoying twists and turns.

      I hope the design of the actual Dominion road upgrades take cyclists into account. That is still the most interesting and direct route and a good cycling environment should be created there.

      Finally, wouldn’t the Sandringham side route proposed here be a more sensible NZCT route to the airport than the one discussed the other day?

      1. Hi David, lets see if I can respond to some of the questions:

        “and it is a bit jarring to CAA trumpeting this as a “first cycle boulevard”

        Why? Because you don’t believe that it is a cycle boulevard? Or because you don’t think its the first one? Not sure what you mean – please elaborate?

        In any case, CAA has pushed for AT to think of this as a cycle boulevard (some of them hadn’t known the term when we started working with them on this) – to ensure they take more pride and ownership in it, and build it to a higher standard than just a “signs and paint” job. I think there’s nothing bad about that, and from our perspective, it is already gathering rewards, and has led to a good attitude among the people designing this.

        Burnley / King Edward detour “punch-through”. Yep – we’d love to see that. However, there was angst about the loss of any of these older buildings, plus you’d have to find one of the 2-3 owners who is willing to sell. We wouldn’t want to kick out someone against their will, even in the unlikely case that the Public Works Act would be on our side. On the positive side, there’s nothing here that prevents AT/AC from still buying one in the future.

        Re Dominion Road itself – David, when AT decided they weren’t widening Dom Road to save money, the bus had left the station. There’s not going to be any cycle facilities on the road at any time in the near future. In fact, as far as I am aware, there’s not going to be ANY real changes to most of the mid-block along Dom Road. They will only do the town centres. In the mid-blocks, there will be some footpaths / ped crossing upgrades – and new asphalt on top of the road. No widening, no new cycle OR bus facilities. Choice of the AT Board, not ours.

        Lastly, NZCT route using this – yep. That would be an option we can consider once they are in place. But we wouldn’t want to delay the NZCT route for another year or two, so lets run with the one that has been announced for now.

        1. If it proves successful then it doesn’t count out buying a property and creating a link later. From what I can gather, there is less angst over loosing an old house than loosing an old house and building a new, modern house :-). A mini park would be pretty cool I think.

          1. Still, it’s a pity AT didn’t bite the bullet and do it once and right. Expensive yes, but cycle paths down Dominion Road would be very well utilised I would expect. I’m thinking there will be plenty using the bus lanes and if this proves correct then it will show the exclusion of cycling from Dom Road to be an error. If they use the AT route then it is a success. Time will tell but I think I know what will happen.

        2. It is jarring because it appears you are selling it as a success when really we failed to get a proper treatment for cycles on Dominion Road. I don’t blame CAA for this failure, far from it. I’m clearly less politic than you about all this as it still sticks in my craw.

          I’ve cycled on these neighbourhood greenways plenty over in the States and agree that they can be nice. I have found them most successful where they have small cycle-only access ways, such as bollards at the end of a block, to really reduce traffic (some good pics in Glen’s linked article below). But I often prefer to cycle where the action is because that is the point of going to Dom Road, to go to shops etc.

          On Dom Road itself, every one of the pictures shown on the overview plan has a cyclist. I know dedicated paths will not be made but there is still design work to be done at intersections, ped crossings, car parks, bike parks and so on, no? I’m just saying I hope AT do this bit well and not consider these by-pass routes to be dealing with the cyclists for the project.

          For the King Edward/Burnley, could AT/AC indicate this as a future route so the appropriate purchase can be made when an owner is willing?

          Hopefully a project like this will get people cycling and allow us to more credibly push for a share of the main drag.

      2. Fair comments on the lack of new and safe cycling facilities on Dominion Rd. Cycle Action asked and argued for them, but it was AT’s call to decide the related road widening and disturbance of services would cost too much. We’re 100% behind the right of cyclists who prefer using Dominion Rd for a direct commute into town and to local shops and cafes. We have asked AT’s Community Transport dept to sponsor bus/bike programmes to achieve safer road sharing between bus drivers and cyclists to keep buses moving efficiently and cyclists being given recognition. We’re open to ideas from local cyclists – stop boxes, ‘B’ lights to let buses and bikes get the jump at traffic lights …. tell us more.

  3. I had a look at the routes with AT when I was up there last month, and I think they have the potential to be very useful. The slight indirectness is a bit of a pain (esp. the Burnley/KingEdward detour) although I suspect that it may not make a huge difference to travel times – would be interesting to check. It will require very good route signage however – we struggled not to get lost a number of times when checking it out (and we had AT designers with us).

    For an alternative example from overseas; here’s some info about Vancouver (more than half of their cycle network is “local street bikeways”) – http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/general-a2b-by-bike/vancouver-neighbourhood-greenways/. I also wrote a paper and poster on this concept last year for the 2WalkCycle Conf in Hastings – see http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/6832. And we’re investigating them for Chch too; I have a couple of 4th-year BE students doing research on this for me in conjunction with Chch CC.

    1. Apart from landscaping, there is no difference between these and the Dutch ‘cycle streets’. The only real change that I want to see is a formal 30 km/h speed limit on these roads. Where roads have to stay as 50 km/h (for whatever reasons) then provide segregated paths of some type.

    2. Agree on the signage — I often try to take this sort of route but not often enough to memorise it. I invariably end up in a dead-end or a main road before I intend to.

      I agree with Bryce too that 30km/h would make a huge difference here.

      AS for difference in travel times, that depends what yr journey is. If you need to pick up something from a shop on Dom Rd on yr way to somewhere else, the indirectness would be annoying enough to not use it.

    3. Those greenways in Portland look great.

      I especially like the idea of creating cul de sacs – which developers/motorists seem to love in modern developments – but make it a throughway for cyclists. This creates a double benefit of quiet roads that only residents go down and a connected system. Also one way roads that are two way for bikes – great idea.

      The signage is crucial. The way they do it in Portland looks great. How much could that cost AT? Surely even Aucland’s anorexic cycling budget could manage those? No?

      1. Hi Goosoid – the signage system is far from sussed out, got any examples of the Portland way you are talking about?

        Sharrows will be part of the “signage” as well, so you (and motorists) are aware of this being a cycle route too.

        1. Nice carpark :-). That could easily be transformed into a really nice walking / cycling cut through.

  4. Max – do you know if there are any discussions around improving the Greenway from Devenport to Takapuna? I know the cemetery bridge is getting developed (which is fantastic) but any other plans?

    The Greenway is right at the end of my cul de sac where it comes up on to Plymouth Crescent. I think it has so much potential with a few tweaks and some pinch points addressed – especially at the end of the small footbridge at the end of Merwood Lane where the path just needs to be redirected and widened. In particular some signage would really help.

    I would be happy to get involved. I am a CAA member.

    1. Goosoid, I will tell Barbara and Steve, our North Shore experts about your request. I would also suggest to talk to Chris Darby from the Local Board, a great CAA ally.

      1. Great thanks Max.

        I will talk to Chris Darby – Is he the young guy who is on the Board?

        1. Goosaid – as a Devonport local, I’d love to hear your ideas on improving the Devo-Taka Green route. The new pipe bridge is coming along well, but you’re right – alot more needs to be done. I did a report as a planning consultant for North Shore city about 6 years ago , but it was ignored as it involved cycling and that Council wasn’t interested. However, it is still v relevant. Mike Cohen, is the Parks person on the Devo-Taka Local Board, so let’s get him on board too,as he has put his hand up to be on the Pipe Bridge community project team. Can we meet up over a coffee sometime- would before work, 7 – 7.30 suit you in Devo? Email me – cuthash@worldnet.co.nz

        2. Hi Goosoid – yes, Chris is Chair of the Devo-Takapuna Local Board.

          Hope you get a chance to talk to him and/or Barb about the Greenway.

  5. So anyone using these work-arounds?
    After finding this article a bit late I finally figured out why I have two new headaches in my commute along Balmoral road!
    The intersection of these boulevards with Balmoral road create high frequency traffic light sequences (where there was previously no lights) and I don’t see any bikes crossing, only cars (‘rat runners’).
    I rarely get a green light and means that I have to stop at nearly twice as many traffic lights on my commute home or to work 🙁
    Hopefully worth it for the greater good if the routes are befitting others, but from my own perspective (daily snapshot as I intersect) I just haven’t seen it.

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