Auckland Transport has recently opened the door to discussing ‘tactical’ upgrades – quick and affordable fixes to instantly improve road safety. Which is good, because we have some ideas!

For example, you’ll have noticed that as double-decker buses move around the city, shop verandahs and trees have been protected using simple hit-sticks and bumpers.

Call us crazy, but we happen to think people on bikes are just as deserving of quick-fix safety measures as trees and verandahs.

Of course, raised and/or fully separated bikeways remain the Holy Grail: protected and connected bike lanes save lives – not just for people on bikes – and are a key part of any respectable modern urban transportation strategy.

But temporary elements like rubber bumpers and plastic uprights do provide a modicum of visible and physical protection that’s far superior to mere painted lines on the road. And painted lines definitely no longer cut it: a recent study suggests that drivers make closer passes in the presence of paint-only lanes; and the recent viral ‘Red Cup Project‘ vividly demonstrated the gruesome insufficiency of painted lanes.

So, dear readers: can you help us make a list of existing painted bike lanes* around Auckland that would benefit from additional pop-up protection? NOTE: We know there are heaps of places that don’t even have paint-only lanes, and certainly need them! The reason our call for action focuses on ‘resolved’ bike lanes (to use the formal term for existing infrastructure) is because there’s no official/ legal impediment to adding protective measures (beyond budget, logistics, and time).

We’re sure you have a few in mind! We’d even love to put them on a map, and are talking to our friends at Generation Zero about that. Also, feel free to point out any existing tactical bike lane protection that’s in need of refreshing, or other opportunities you perceive.

It’s true that hit sticks designed for temporary use can start to look tatty or sad if they’re in place for a long time waiting for a street upgrade, or are regularly run over and need replacing (which kind of demonstrates the point, when you think about it…).

We certainly understand this perspective, and trust us, we’d much rather have quality permanent treatments. But given the slow pace of delivery of cycleways (currently struggling to reach even 10km a year, even amidst a climate crisis!), we’d argue that tactical fixes are a vital, life-saving interim approach, needed everywhere possible, now.

We’d also point to examples like Great North Road, where interim protection for trees has been in place for a while now, and will remain so until this road is made over, a project that’s been delayed and is still at least a year away from even starting. If trees can benefit from perma-temp treatment, surely so can we?

Great North Road, home of the “cartruckparty”, where the trees benefit from temporary bumpers and hit-sticks, but people on bikes must duke it out with buses and car transporters. (Image: Bike Auckland)

Because you know what else starts to look sad when it’s been in place for years, waiting for a street upgrade?

Ghost bike on Tamaki Drive (image from 2014; the painted bike lane remains unprotected).

Maybe it would help if we plumped for monochrome versions of the affordable separators, with cute names like ‘armadillos’ and ‘wand-orcas’?

The main point, though, is that safety is now Auckland Transport’s stated #1 priority. And Local Boards each have a significant Community Safety Fund  in addition to their Transport Capital Fund, with which to make quick local fixes that make active modes (walking, cycling) safer and more appealing.

Upgrading streets for active mode safety whenever maintenance or renewal happens is another money-saving and life-saving approach that we’d love to see bedded in, once the current contracts are up for renewal (within a year or two).

Interestingly, AT already has at least one tactical fix success story to trumpet to the skies.

In April 2017, using a minor cycling safety improvement fund, it added temporary dividers to the pre-existing painted lanes on St Luke’s Road, with the backing of the Local Board. In the two years since, daily bike traffic has doubled… and then tripled!

Of course, that 200% rise is off a small base – which is hardly surprising, given that the bike lanes peter out into nothing at the railway bridge. Even so, note how the sudden recent growth on St Luke’s Road is almost exclusively amongst weekday traffic, i.e. commuters and school kids. Many of them likely use this safe and direct link to connect to the Northwestern Cycleway, which is Auckland’s fastest growing bike route.

In other words, a simple tactical safety fix – even a short one that’s disconnected at one end from any other cycling infrastructure at all – is demonstrably helping AT achieve its mandate to give people transport choice, lift cycling numbers, and is proving the network effect on top of that.

It’s almost as if giving people the occasional moment of even basic security from (and greater visibility to) passing motorists unlocks a whole lot of previously suppressed bike riding.

If you build it – even in a low-key, temporary sort of way – they will come.

So tell us: where else would work?

An early user of the St Luke’s Rd protected lane in 2017. The hi-vis uprights have since gone the way of all flesh (like people, they don’t stand up well to being hit at speed by vehicles) but the basic bumpers continue to do the job.
The St Lukes bike lanes in June 2019; even with the uprights gone, the low bumpers still manage to keep cars at bay.
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22 responses to “Pop-up protected bike lanes: let’s make a list!

  1. Please put in a pop up protected cycleway on Hinemoa Street between the Birkenhead Ferry Wharf and Birkenhead Town Centre / Highbury (both directions!). Pop up cycle parking at the Hinemoa Street shops would be a bonus!

  2. Those shoulder lanes on Mokoia Road, Birkenhead always look inviting. Probably a bit too narrow for bike lanes, but we have a central meridian to work with there.

    And other places — basically everywhere… as long as we’re willing to sacrifice some of those sacred parking lanes.

  3. A pop-up bike lane on Victoria street from Victoria park to the Nelson street cycleway. Also one on upper queen street from the lightpath to k-road would be great 🙂

  4. Te Atatu road! And Railside Ave in Henderson, plus Rosebank Rd, Carlton Gore, and upper Queen St (just off the top of my head…)

  5. NW Cycleway to Great North or Greenways:
    Bond St from cycle way up to Great North Rd

    NW Cycleway to St Lukes Mall:
    St lukes Rd, from Asquith to St Lukes Mall

    NW Cycleway to Mt Albert and Vice Verca:
    Carrington road – all of it both sides

    NW Cycleway to K Rd:
    Upper queen from Bike path to Karangahape Rd

    NW Cycleway to Pt Chev Beach:
    From Pt Chev Lights to Meola Rd (safe route to beaches)

    Getting to and from NW Cycleway:
    From Mt Albert Shops, Carrington road – all of it both sides

  6. I have some suggestions from my ‘hood, but first I would ask – is there a good solution to cleaning the lanes after installing separators? A lot of painted lanes are full of debris because it gets swept off the car lanes by vehicle movement, making the bike lanes nearly unusable, this could be even worse if a street sweeper can no longer access it for the annual sweep.

    Anyway, in the Tamaki area there are quite a few bike lanes that would benefit from separation:
    – Ellerslie Panmure Highway outside the Panmure train station, heading towards the terrible Panmure roundabout that is soon to disappear
    – Point England Rd, Tripoli Rd,
    – Merton Rd, heading up to the College Rd roundabout (and at the same time extend it the whole way up, instead of the “shared path” on the footpath)

  7. Mount Albert road / Carrington road between Sandringham and Great North road could definitely do with this! All the way to Royal Oak would be even better or at least to Three Kings there is plenty of space

  8. If no one has mentioned it… please add the entirety of Triangle Rd to the list.

    And the cycle lanes on Don Buck could use them too.

  9. NZTAs domain, but the shoulders on SH16 from Brigham Creek to Kumeu could do with the plastic buffer treatment (except the bit up the gauntlet passing lane, which has no shoulder to protect). The whole road has PLENTY of space.

  10. As shown from the tweet from Liz Allen, I would also suggest shoulders like the one on Rosebank Rd should be added- whilst not officially a cycle lane it would make access to many workplaces by bike possible and help create a link from Avondale to the NW. Heard from an Avondalian recently the reason people dont ride is because ” we can’t get out of the front door to ride safely”

  11. Morrin Rd has a fairly useless paint-only lane that stops
    after 200m or so, which could definitely use some protection, and
    further extension. Also, Mt Smart Rd (seems plenty wide enough for it) and O’Rorke Rd, and on towards the South East path to Sylvia Park, please!

  12. How about the painted lanes on Massey Road in Mangere – we’re getting some good stuff at the kirkbride road end, but the painted green lanes between Buckland Road and Henwood are treated as extra parking. While we’re at it, how about extending it all the way to the bridge over SH20b.

  13. Other Valley Road in Albany – key route between the bus station and Massey University, and between the East Coast Bays and the bus station, wide two-lane road, but only intermittent painted cycleways, and when traffic gets busy, cars lurch into the cycle lanes when they do exist and wipe you out when they don’t. Ditto much of East Coast Rd.

  14. Botany Rd, connecting to future Ameti corridor and bus hub at Botany town centre.

  15. Carrington road motorway overbridge, between Pt. Chev shops and heading toward the new Unitec cycle crossing. In fact, the bridge already has a steel railing protecting the pedestrian footpath there, could this be unbolted from the footpath, painted brightly and relocated onto the road to protect both the cycle lane and footpath. Too easy!??

  16. I’m late to this, but Green Lane West has painted lanes between Manukau rd and ASB Showgrounds, but that’s a scary road to ride currently. There’s a heap of new apartments being built there, would be great to get the lanes protected.

    1. That is the archetypical example of what in Belgium is known as “moordstrookje”. Someone just painted some bike stencils on the shoulders, and that’s it.

  17. Also a bit late, but some comments on the bike lanes on Lake Road at the Northcote shopping centre. It is a nice try, but:

    – The left edge of the car lane is in the wrong position. There are a few kerb build-outs, where the bike lane currently swerves into the car lane. When driving I get the impression that the build-outs interrupt the bike lanes. The edge should be shifted right so it can be straight. I think the street is wide enough for that (judging from scrape marks the car lane used to be a bit smaller than it is now).

    One of those build-outs is hard to spot in advance due to being just over a crest.

    – The paint job is especially sloppy when turning left from Raleigh Road. The car lane should be narrowed in advance of the ramp where the on-street bike lane starts. Maybe extend the bike lane south a bit for those coming off the roundabout. Add bumpers (but be careful to not put them in the way for cyclists coming from the roundabout).

  18. Late to this also
    Mt Albert Rd bike lane really needs more than paint.

    One big issue is the Sandrigham Rd intersection where cars and trucks AND BUSSES routinely use the bike lane and footpath to reach the slip lanes – a redesign and/or protection is needed here.

    With the reduction in traffic on Mt Albert Rd (due to the tunnel) this would be an awesome Ridgleline route – if the bike lane was protected!
    At the moment it’s just paint that protects the schoolkids and workers that use it 🙁

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