The red fence gets a green path.
The red fence gets a green path!

UPDATE: Consultation closes this Friday. Have your say ASAP to make sure our new hot pink pathway has a safe connection all the way to the red fence, the whole wide waterfront, and round the bays and beyond!

Auckland Transport has finally started the public consultation on the Quay St interim cycleway! A new urban cycleway that, due to tight timeframes around the City Rail Link enabling works in the area, is intended to be constructed in the next couple of months!

So we were somewhat worried when the October consultation date came and went. We had been shown the plans in advance, and were pretty happy. What was keeping things?

We heard rumours that the traffic modelling was proving a bit of an issue – and related to that, that bus operators were worried that the two projects (City Rail Link and possibly now the cycleway) would create too much delay.

Get ready to zoom along...
Get ready to zoom along…

So we were relieved to hear, at last week’s catchup meeting with AT, that modelling had shown that the cycleway was going to have little to no impact on delays, and that consultation and construction would now proceed.

That means within less than 6 months, we will finally have a waterfront cycleway – a dedicated two-way space for cyclists, along the northern (seaward) side of Quay St, protected from vehicles by a Beach Road Stage I-style buffer.

It will close that glaring gap between Princes Wharf and the Ferry Terminal where for decades we only had the bitter choice between a crowded footpath and a busy, fast road. Further east, the new cycleway will go as far as Plumer Street at the ports. It will form a much-needed gateway into the lower City Centre for Tamaki Drive and Grafton Gully, and – very soon – for the Nelson Street and Westhaven cycle routes.

Our relief at seeing the project proceed, however, came with one frustrating caveat.

Because of consenting agreements between Council and private property owners as part of the CRL construction works, parking cannot be removed (at least not during that multi-year period, as we understand it) on the southern side of Quay St in the section between the Ferry Terminal and Commerce Street. Apparently, keeping these parking spots was offered up by Council as one of the measures to balance disruption in to Britomart Area businesses during the tunnel construction works.

What that means is that along the corresponding northern side of Quay St, for about one block – 100m or so – the new cycleway will have to be a shared path. Right past the Explorer Bus stop, which apparently also has contractual arrangements that make it impossible to shift in the short term (and it seems that Council doesn’t want those buses moved onto Queen’s Wharf).

AT’s cycle designers seem to have made the best out of those frustrating constraints, and at least the very narrow section at the bus stop itself will be modified somewhat – there will be a new buffer island which will mean that people getting out of the bus won’t step straight into the shared path. You can see it in those plan images below.

It’s not ideal – but we were told that it was either this, or not see the project happen at all, because the CRL works will start soon, and those changes need to be made now, or wait for several years. No real question how we answered that one!

It’s going to be okay – more than okay in fact. Its the next big step to a real people’s waterfront, and, in 5-10 years, a full-on Quay Street Boulevard.

What do you think – is this okay? Should we push for the bus stop to be removed/moved [even though this may not be possible in time for the initial construction of the cycleway, maybe it will be possible with a bit more thought and time]?

Quay_Horizontal 2
And this is where Quay will join with Nelson St Stage II Cycleway (it hasn’t been decided yet on which side of Lower Hobson St that one will run).
Categories
Auckland Waterfront Central Auckland Cycle lanes Waterfront / Quay
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27 responses to “Quay Street’s gonna be okay

  1. It’s great progress, but like Beach Road (which I’ll come to in a moment), It’s fiddly. A lot of trying to please everyone, some shared path, some good path, it makes for a frustrating ride – if the plan is to get people out of cars onto bikes, then the more straight line, consistent cycleways the better. Imagine driving along the Southern Motorway and suddenly it turns into a shared road like say Fort Street?! But I do recognise the retrofitting challenges and am grateful for the improvements. So good news overall. Beach Road now: what is it with this new extension? Are the stretches with painted cycle markings (only) supposed to be dedicated cycle lanes or not? There is no sign (so I’m assuming it’s not legally enforceable), and it’s absurd at present. Every day it’s meandering pedestrians using it. And I know there are bits where it’s obviously shared, but the others? Shouldn’t there be signage for us all to know?

    1. Hi Tintin – re Beach Road, yes, the sections with bike markings are supposed to be bike-only. AT acknowledge that what they did with the markings alone didn’t work out, but note that they didn’t have permission (yet) to do anything more substantially changed in terms of path markings, because those need NZTA approval as the regulatory agency for signs and markings, and all they managed to get in time was a permission to replace the 60-odd signs that would have been required with path markings that look and are sized exactly like the signs. Which only added to the confusion in some areas, where cycle markings and pedestrian/shared path markings seem to apply for the same path.

      The good news is that they now have achieved a more substantial permit for more extensive trial regimes, meaning they will be able to look at what didn’t work and test better markings.

      1. It may have actually been a mis-communication in the original approval; the recollection was that the approval cm’tee said they had to use the same standard cycle SYMBOLS, which was interpreted as having to use the exact same SIGNS marked on the ground.

        1. No, it was confirmed to us that it had to be exactly the same sign & size. Mind you, that was the interim permission before actual TCD trial approval.

    2. I agree. Cycling infrastructure like this needs to be separated/protected, continuous and wide. Any compromise on these aspects and it either won’t be used, not won’t be used properly. For example, the mess that is Beach Road: start with an excellent separated two-way cycle lane, throw in some madness with a diagonal crossing, then a shared path with dozy pedestrians, then an attractive but confusing combination of separate cycle path AND shared path. It’s no wonder many people abandon the Cycleway at the first crossing and go straight ahead on the main carriageway!

      Carlton Gore Road is another example. Great protected cycle lane turns into an average unprotected cycle lane, then… nothing. Thrown into a busy intersection. What’s the point?

      Continuous… from Glen Innes to the city via Tamaki Drive, Quay St, Nelson St or GGC without sharing the space with a motor vehicle. Continuous.

  2. As I have commented elsewhere this is not going to be good for my commute making it more frustrating than playing with cars at the moment. I accept this will be good for those not comfortable with the current situation but I feel it comes at the detriment to a few of us regularly using this patch at the moment and doesn’t address many of the real dangers along the Tamaki Drive/ Quay street corridor.

    1. Hi Duncan – agree that there will be some tension between traffic and on-road cyclists choosing not to use the path. In particular eastbound, it seems reasonably doable though for cyclists to merge back onto the road for the shared path section and then return back to it once that stops. And the cycle boxes on the road won’t disappear – and well be asking for a few key ones not in the plan to be added back in too. Not making on-road conditions worse will be a key thing even as we improve off-road.

      Westbound will probably be the key issue for riders like you. I guess you could use the traffic signals at Commerce or Gore to return back on-road – or do you feel that will be a waste of effort?

      At The Strand section, about one third of all users currently (well, during the 2014 counts) rode off-road. Probably similar further west?

      Any other comments on this section, please email me or note down in the comments, for discussion for CAA’s submission.

      1. Hi Max, Coming in from Glendowie I’d cross to the cycleway either before Tangihua or more likely at Britomart place. Heading for the ferry terminal I’d be unlikely to cross back due to the time and hassle involved.

        The challenge will be staying off the shared path to cross Tangihua heading east as they seem to have rubber barriers at the end of the cycle lanes preventing this behaviour.
        Glad to hear cycle boxes etc. will be retained as this will give some hint to our right to be on the road.

        1. Thanks Duncan – when I write CAA’s feedback, I will look at all the comments you and others made here and on TB and see what we can recommend in terms of changes.

  3. I’m a regular user of the section of Quay St. between the ferry building and Tangihua St. and I’m very disappointed with this scheme.

    Going east in the mornings I always ride on the road, and with this scheme I will continue to do so, I’m not waiting for 2 separate traffic light cylces to cross Tinley St. and then Quay St.

    At present I take the shared path on the way back to the ferry if I catch the traffic lights at the right time, but the Explorer bus stop has always been a pain. Not it looks even more so, so I’m likely to just ride through the stationary traffic instead.

    I understand the contractual difficulties around the Explorer bus, but not being able to get from the cycle path to the turn-right lane to Tangihua St and the cycle infrastructure at the end of it seems like madness to me.

    1. You already have a signal at Tinley Street though – whether you ride on-road or not! I appreciate it will depend on actual phasing, but it’s not like this adds a traffic light…

      Also, I don’t see how you feel the Explorer bus is getting *worse* – it’s getting better, by ensuring that pedestrians getting onto / off a bus aren’t standing/disembarking right on the footpath. Much safer, and essentially, 1m wider.

      Right turn into Tangihua – fair point, will have a look at how that could impact and see what we can recommend to make it easier for people wanting to make that turn.

      1. Just to be clear, because a right turn can’t be made into Tangihua St, I would be on the road going past the Explorer bus stop heading east, and it looks like this will now project further into the street, so from that aspect it looks to be worse. Luckily, it’s on very rare occasions the bus is at the stop when I go past, and I tend to wait for both lanes to be clear before turning out from the ferry terminal onto the street.

        And as for the two crossings comment, that is, by staying on the shared path and trying to get to the correct side of Tangihua St. to ride up it, you can either cross Tinley St, then Quay St, or Quay St. and then Tangihua St.

        In both these scenarios the problem is that the Quay St. cycleway as proposed doesn’t seem to provide timely access to Tangihua St. I find this very odd, because Tangihua St. is clearly marked as forming part of the Grafton Gully / Beach Road cycle network. Also, there don’t seem to be any contractual and space issues at the eastern end of the plan to warrant such a restriction.

        1. Sorry, Andy, I am still somewhat unclar here (though I now get what you meant with the Explorer bus stops). But Tangihua is the street east of the Countdown supermarket. It is not on any cycle networks. The official links to Grafton Gully / Beach Road are at Britomart Place and Tapora… Assuming you mean “Tapora”, not Tangihua, then I still would say that there is no reduction in convenience (and for people who prefer not riding on-road, a strong improvement) to get to it. You always had to cross Tinley to get to Tapora.

          Assuming you DO use Tangihua, then yes, you could argue you have an added signal because you are waiting for Tinley, and then for Quay Street crossing (not that the latter is a big problem – its one of the fastest signals I know for cyclists! May not be quite as quick during peak times – I tend to use it during the day going to meetings etc).

          But going Tangihua – well that’s a pretty hostile street, and so I think it’s pretty sensible that the cycleway for people who dont want to ride that isnt making you go down that monstrosity of a cross-road.

  4. It’s definitely an improvement especially as far as safety is concerned. Congrats to all involved.
    Remember everyone small steps still get you to your destination, no steps don’t take you anywhere we can still get improvements later on.

    Now how about safe cycle-ways heading south?
    Newmarket and Greenlane (Great South Road ) are a total nightmare?

    1. Hi Roy – the whole southeastern central Isthmus is a bit of a cycling desert, sadly. And not much planned. I will however raised it with AT as part of the “next tranche” (whenver that will be – hopefully, we will get another announcement before the 3 year Urban Cycleways Fund is over, rather than a “lets wait and see” approach).

  5. Looking at the image of Quay and Hobson which I appreciate is a mock up but I note a couple of things.
    Currently there is a row of bollards along Quay St extending all the way to the Ferry building. They’re seriously ugly but serve a very useful purpose. They were erected as the wide footpath was just too tempting for taxi’s courier vans and the like. Given the number of incursions I’ve experienced on Beach Rd some pretty substantial curbing will be in order.
    The other thing is that there is a Barnes dance at this intersection currently. This image suggests a 2 stage crossing to transition to/from Te Wero bridge car park.

    And as an aside I’d also like to see improved pedestrian and cycle priority through the Te Wero car park could be achieved inexpensively with planters and paint.

  6. For those wanting a leisurely cruise from the ferry building to Tamaki Drive its a good start, but it really does need to continue all the way to Tinley St. For my commute/lunch time rides I’ll stick to the road (westbound) and hope that the eastbound cycle path is quicker (having one less traffic light it might be).

  7. Possible to turn from/into Britomart Place? Nope.
    Possible to turn from/into Commerce Street? Nope.
    Possible to turn from/into Gore Street? Nope.
    Possible to turn from/into Queen Street? Nope.
    Possible to turn from/into Albert Street? Nope.

    Who is supposed to use this?

    1. Britomart Place: Has signaised cycle crossing, and can also be accessed by on-road cyclists (large gaps in buffers).
      Commerce Street: Can be accessed on-road (large gaps in buffers)
      Gore Street: Very large gap with traversable buffer.
      Queen Street: Large gap in buffers / use of existing Queens Wharf driveway (plus, Queen Street north end will be closed for the next years due to CRL works anyway)
      Albert Street: Large gaps in buffers.

      Plus, you can use the signalised pedestrian crossings (politely and safely please).

      Then of course, there’s the large amounts of cyclists already accessing from the west and east.

      So I think you’re being a wee bit harsh. Cyclists will find their way, and this is hardly the cyclist equivalent of pedestrian fencing…

      1. Oh, I also forgot the existing signalised cycle crossing at the easternmost end near Tinley / Tapora, which will be the main acces from beach Road / Grafton Gully / Parnell direction.

        1. We need that on every street, we’ve gone 99% of the way and then abandoned the user.

      2. It’s certainly possible, but it’s certainly possible to ride here as it is.

        Lack of any intersection treatment at all is unacceptable when best practice exists. Not even space for turning into the unprotected areas. I appreciate the effort and I’m sure getting even anything built was, as always a challenge, but it’s another half arsed implementation that I’ll worry about my girlfriend using.

        Everyone knows how to do this properly and we’re not. I’ll be back in March but I’ve tested the sweet nectare and this looks bitter.

      3. (My last reply sounds too curt to you – I intend my scorn for the designers at AT, not your contributions!)

        I don’t see anything about phasing in the designs, but that is only half the battle.

        But this is what I mean – here are 4 examples that are bad by dutch standards that I deal with regularly, but would be great to have in Auckland: http://imgur.com/a/0aA6Q

        With phasing, you just need a turning bay and some painted lines and presto! you’ve got an intersection treatment – clear space for cyclists. It also needs some space from all approaches. This can be upgraded later to proper kerb buildouts, whatever, but the space is needed no matter what. Even where they will give bikes space, people waiting to turn need space to wait to not block users going straight – I don’t see anything of the sort in the designs. The bike boxes in hornby (1/3rd way down: http://blog.davidroos.co.nz/content.html?id=20150301bikelanestowork) are barely passable, but at least consider the needs of turning users.

        My apartment is right by these, but I cannot access them without navigating the intersection full of cars, busses and trucks. This is not the grid you are looking for. I’ll of course be submitting, just looking to get some discussion up – all the stuff I see being built now is ‘backbone’ with no ‘last-mile’ service. You’ve got a highway with no onramps. 1Gb fibre connecting to your $20 wireless-g 2.4ghz router. We need local grids to connect together, not the other way around.

  8. This looks more like a solution to keep traffic moving than to encourage pedestrians and cyclists. So far as I can see both of these groups of users will find the so-called improvement acting to reduce opportunities to cross Quay Street in part because the raised medians have been removed and because pedestrians now have to cross a cycelway as well as the lanes of traffic.
    If the objective is to increase walking and cycling then cars and trucks must have their speeds and numbers reduced. A reduction in the number of traffic lanes along Quay Street would help achieve this objective, rather than removing raised medians and corralling pedestrians into using signalised crossings.
    It looks as though the traffic modelling had the wrong objective. Some of the objectives are surely to increase the accessibility across Quay Street (and reduce the distance travelled) for both pedestrian and cycling traffic, improve the environment, and reduce the speed and number of vehicles on Quay Street.
    The result of these proposals looks like an abject failure because the modelling objective looks as though it’s intended to maintain or improve car traffic flow or throughput (e.g. by maintaining or increasing mean or median car speeds) rather than achieving other more appropriate objectives such as encouraging walking and cycling.

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