London? But of course. Two-way for cycling in Fitzrovia. (Pic via here)
Increasingly commonplace in London. This example is in Fitzrovia. (Pic via here)

In an exciting development, Auckland Transport has announced a proposal to allow two-way cycling on half a dozen quiet one-way streets in the city centre.

We’ve pushed for this for quite a while, as an essential part of a permeable network for travel by bike, so we are more than thrilled to see it happening.

The idea is, these streets already have a calmed traffic flow and are pedestrian-and-bike-friendly; allowing people on bikes to legally travel in both directions on these quiet streets will enhance the cycle-friendly grid.

The six initial trial streets are all in the central city – but obviously the wider potential of this design for enhancing bike travel across Auckland is pretty huge. AT says: “If well received, the next step may be to use this technique to sign an on-road contraflow cycle lane on a quiet one-way street.”

In other words, it’ll be one more tool in the toolkit for unlocking a decent grid for bike journeys. [Edited to add: in fact, is that a northbound contraflow bike lane we see on AT’s designs for Captain Scott Rd in Glen Eden? Why yes, yes it is!]

Here are the first six streets:


In practice, here’s what you’ll see:

An “Except Cycles” sign at the no-entry point and an information sign at the vehicle entrance to advise motorists that people may be cycling towards them. (These signs are already legal but have not been used in Auckland before.)

Image via AT

Auckland Transport will monitor the locations via:

  • Cycle counts, road usability and road user interactions analysis.
  • Business owner perceptions of safety and usability survey/interviews.
  • Cyclist perceptions of safety, usability and comfort surveys/interviews.
  • Expert route assessment for safety and usability.
  • Audit of infrastructure conditions.

Sounds good to us – we can go with the flow, and flow where we want to go. Speaking of which – we asked last year which streets could this work on in your neighbourhood. Feel free to start another wishlist below!

A contraflow example from Cambridge, in the UK
A contraflow example from Cambridge, in the UK (via
An example from Paris: no entry except bikes. (Via I Love Biking SF)
An example from Paris: no entry except bikes. (Via I Love Biking SF)
How about the Czech republic? Yep, them too. (Image via here)
How about the Czech republic? Yep, them too. (Image via Bicycles Stack Exchange)
Cycling safety General News Quick Wins
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18 responses to “Permeability is a two-way street… for bikes!

  1. One that’s not included in last year’s list: Cross Street. Also, Federal Street.

    1. Federal street is my go to, should really be in the list, it’s so wide and quiet and has a really easy gradient

      1. AT has some slightly more involved cycling plans for Federal, stay tuned.

        1. Huzzah! Full linkage to Nelson Street, too, right? They couldn’t be acting on my submissions already, surely? 😉

  2. Isn’t there one of those on Alfred St at the University of Auckland, from Symonds St through to Princes St?

    My recollection when I was cycle commuting through there was that you still had to be wary of pedestrians walking in front of you, as they don’t expect to see cycles heading from Symonds St.

    1. I think in any shared space you have to do that – take care of peds (and Alfred St probably would be a shared space if those had been around more at the time it last got changed).

  3. Coincidentally I requested to AT yesterday that Stevie’s Lane in Hendo gets a contra-flow for bikes. It’s just across the road from Henderson Creek/Twin Streams and leads to Henderson Station. If you don’t use Stevie’s Lane to get to the station, you have to use Gt North Rd/Railside Ave which has multiple parking hazards and 2 right turns.

    1. Great idea Carol. I might have a project coming up this year that could piggyback your suggestion. Will keep it in mind

  4. Also, it’s also the *only* time I’d say sharrows are useful – for telling other road users that bikes have a right to be going the “wrong” way. They’re used a lot in Cambridge UK for that purpose.

    1. Yeah, sharrows or some other sort of marking would be great. I hope AT will quickly follow up with some.

      Toronto has a lot of one-way streets with contraflow bike lanes as well. They tend to use sharrows to remind drivers that bikes are sharing the ‘main’ direction with cars and also paint a lane for the contraflow direction. Works really well, especially as the narrowness of the streets (visually narrowed further by the contraflow lane) slows cars down pretty effectively.

  5. This would be great at the top of Hepburn street where it has a short one way section before it joins to Ponsonby Road. Hepburn street is a nice quiet downhill to Freemans Bay as an alternative to Franklin Road, and it ties in nicely to Williamson which is a quieter route than Great North Road. It would also be good if the lights at the bottom where it joins to Wellington Street could be triggered by a bike, currently they only change if a car is there.

  6. I’d like to cycle counter the one way flow through the Three Lamps area, Ponsonby Road. Would be much better than Pompallier and around Redmond St and then wait at the lights at Jervois. Although that loop can be exhilarating dicing in and out with two lanes of cars, now its getting darker its time to think about safer routes. Three Lamps seems to be struggling with the centre of the universe being pulled towards Ponsonby Central. It needs a refresh and a re emphasis towards people. Evidence maybe that cars don’t spend money in local shops.

    1. We have asked for that / suggested it at various time. Sadly, so far it’s always been in the “too hard” basket. Hopefully by the time we finally make biking better on Ponsonby Road (or earlier, lets never say never) this will be in the mix.

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