As you will probably have read in our Tamaki Drive jubilation blog, a lot of big decisions are currently being made on cycleways in the Orakei area.
Hot on the (w)heels of the decision that Tamaki Drive between Solent Street and Ngapipi Road would get a proper, protected two-way cycleway on the north side, AT have now opened consultation on two other items, both closing 8th October.
- The last section of Stage 4 of the route from Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive (see blog post here), and
- The new Ngapipi Bridge (which, despite the name, is the outlet bridge on Tamaki Drive just west of Ngapipi).
Please consider giving feedback on both!
Read on for our key suggestions on the Ngapipi Bridge widening, and a more detailed analysis below that…
Ngapipi Bridge widening: the quick feedback guide
Q: What do you think?
- Strong praise for the project – it’s a major feat by Auckland Transport to achieve the widening for dedicated cycleways, on both sides, and in time for the other projects.
Q: How would you improve it?
- Eastbound riders need to be able to cross over safely with westbound riders – whether they’re coming from the shared path from Mission Bay or from Ngapipi Drive. This will require looking closely at the eastern end of the bridge / the north side of the Ngapipi Rd signals to ensure the give-way works well.
- Getting on/off the bridge should be smooth and direct – particularly for westbound road riders who will use the southern (westbound) clip-on only for a short distance to avoid the bridge pinch point.
- Parking (west of the bridge on Tamaki Drive) should not pose a hazard for road riders, particularly off-peak westbound, when parking is proposed to be allowed in some sections between here and Solent St. This may mean more stretches of no parking on the south side, as per the original Tamaki Drive concept consulted on.
Q: Any other comments or suggestions?
- Any other comments you may have on the bridge.
Let’s take a closer look…
What the issue was
The bridge over the Hobson Bay outlet has been a limitation on the cycle route for a while now. On-road riders struggle to be safe with the four narrow lanes that have been squeezed in here, while shared path riders have to, well, share their space – which can be too narrow too.
The fact that the bridge was not included in the recently-started Ngapipi / Tamaki Drive signals work was one of our bigger concerns when this project was being designed at the time. Many of the benefits of the new signals to the east, like protected cycle lanes, couldn’t really be maximised unless the narrow bridge lanes provided more space for bikes.
But AT’s team promised us that their new signals layout would work with various possible options for the future cycleway to the west, and that they were hard at work getting things into line to improve the bridge itself.
Well, look at this beauty – they were 100% right.
What’s being improved
As soon as in-depth investigations found that the bridge was structurally sound, AT’s engineers went away and looked at options for providing more space for walking and cycling.
What they settled on was that if you removed the heavy current surfacing and railings from the shared path sides and replaced them with lighter options, then there was enough load capacity to provide clip-ons for new pedestrian-only footpaths. Which in turn allows the new Tamaki Drive two-way cycleway to be seamlessly carried across the bridge, in the space where the current shared path is.
Win-win for walkers and cyclists!
Extra protection will be provided by a crash barrier (needed in part so vehicles can’t drive onto the more light-weight new footpath). The streetlights will also be moved out of the way.
Beyond just improving the northern side, AT have also given thought to those westbound riders who will stay on-road (for example because of the for-now-remaining gap in the cycle-only path between Solent Street and The Strand). On the south side, a similar clip-on will be added, providing a westbound-only cycleway. Together with the Ngapipi signals, this means that the slip lane and bridge section – currently one of the worst parts of the road ride – will now be safe and easy. Details of the transitions on and off the bridge path will need to still be designed, but be assured that as a dedicated cycleway, it won’t be forcing you through ugly bumps or tight turns.
Criss-cross, apple sauce
The last complexity still to be resolved concerns the eastbound riders on the two-way path. These will be a mixture of three groups – riders towards Mission Bay who prefer to stay on the narrow shared path, riders towards Mission Bay happy to go on-road east of Ngapipi, and those riders wanting to turn right onto Stage 4 to Glen Innes.
The second and third group need, at some stage, to cross the flow of citybound off-road riders, including those joining the two-way cycleway from Ngapipi:
This will be a detailed-design exercise, and will mainly depend on whether one of the two directions will be expected to give way. We have already asked AT to put on their thinking caps, and will be working with them to come up with a safe solution.
Overall, the designs for the bridge and the signals really just need some fine-tuning to make sure all parts play well together. As a coherent whole, we feel this will be a massive step forward for safety and convenience at this location.
Head over to AT’s feedback form now to give comment! See our quick feedback guide at the top of this page.
Got more questions? Ask them in the blog comments, or meet up with Auckland Transport at one of the two open days below:
- Wednesday 20 September, 7am to 10am at Lilliputt Mini Golf car park, 3 Tamaki Drive, Parnell.
- Saturday 23 September, 8am to 11am at Orakei Bay Village 228 Orakei Road, Remuera.