Quick, submit by October 25th! Public transport improvements for the Northwest

Oct 15, 2020
Quick, submit by October 25th! Public transport improvements for the Northwest

Mary-Margaret Slack

Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport are calling for submissions on their plans to upgrade the Northwestern motorway to create busway stations at Te Atatu, Lincoln Rd and Westgate.

It will mean faster bus trips, which are urgently needed for the public transport network in the West. As this will encourage more people out of cars, we support the proposed improvements. But it could be that much better with a few more provisions against potential hazards for cyclists!

Bikes, after all, are the secret sauce of maximising Auckland’s growing public transport system.

Feedback closes on Tuesday, 25 October 2020.


We’re here to help you call for good access and parking for bikes to be integrated into the bus station designs.

We’ve prepared answers for you to copy and paste into AT’s submit form as you please:


Question #1:“Do you currently use buses to travel around or to/from northwest Auckland?”

Your choice between yes or no.

Question #2:Would you be more likely to use the bus to access the city centre and/or wider northwest Auckland when the interim improvements are complete?”

Your choice between yes or no.

Question #3:What do you think of the interim improvements proposed within the next five years?”

  • I support the bus improvement works and new interchanges in general. They will make Auckland easier to get around by public transport, which is a positive change.
  • However, the design, particularly at Te Atatū South and Lincoln Road South, needs to make sure that the new bus stops and new bus passengers don’t create hazards for people on bikes
  • Wider paths and wider signalised crossings are required where cyclists will have to share with a lot more pedestrians. 
  • Crossing signal times need to be better for both people on bikes and on foot. Existing signal delays, such as at Te Atatū North for the existing shared path, should not worsen.
  • Where bus stops are proposed on shared paths, the shared path needs to be detoured safely around the back of the bus shelters. Especially at the southeast of the Te Atatū and Lincoln Road interchanges, it is crucial to avoid waiting passenger groups stepping into pedestrians’ way suddenly.
  • Design should particularly avoid placing any dangerous or problematic hazards into the bikeway paths, such as chicanes, bollards or similar.
  • At the Westgate end of the project, the new bus improvements should also include providing for the extension of the Northwestern Path, from the current end at the Yellow Bridge (Westgate Drive) to the new interchange off Gunton Drive.
  • At all interchanges, weather-sheltered bike racks should be provided, in highly visible locations, and with CCTV coverage provided.

Question #4:What do you think the long-term (beyond five years) investigations for rapid transit along the Northwestern Motorway (SH16) should consider?”

The long-term rapid transit investigations must ensure that the bikeway will be grade separated at the motorway interchanges alongside the new rapid transit bridges or tunnels. Designs recently built at Lincoln Road or Royal Road with numerous sequential traffic signals are not safe or acceptable anymore for a city that wants to encourage active modes over car use. The rapid transit construction is an opportunity to fix these design faults in one go, which is considerably more economical.

Question #5:“Are there any other comments you would like to make?”

Your choice.

Read on for more detail on our suggestions to improve the design…

We’re all about local links, and the three bus interchanges at Westgate, Lincoln Rd and Te Atatū Rd will be excellent for locals.

The basic idea of these interchanges is that express buses on the motorway can pull off at the interchange without undue delays, and people can switch to and from local buses. Even if this doesn’t improve things for bikes, getting more people on public transport helps create a city where the car doesn’t automatically get first priority.

The northern part of the Te Atatū Interchange – with the main cycleway movement through it

At the northern part of the interchange, the key pedestrian movements between bus stops and the key cycleway route don’t overlap much. However, the new buses will be crossing diagonally through the north-south bikeway traffic signal (the red arrow in the middle of the sketch). This crossing is already slow for bikes. We are concerned that adding yet another movement onto it will make it even more difficult for people wanting to cycle to Te Atatū South, or the Northwestern Cycleway.

The southern part of the Te Atatū Interchange – with two key cycle movements through it

Passengers switching to buses to Te Atatū North from the city will have a very short walk that doesn’t really affect the cycleway (bottom left stop to centre left stop in the drawing). But people exchanging between the westbound express buses and the southbound buses on Te Atatū Road not only have a long walk – much of that walk will be along the cycleway. Particularly if they go through the underpass (that Bike Auckland won at the Waterview hearings). A speed calming measure here could be hazardous so we raised this as a serious concern when we met with Waka Kotahi and AT.

The southern part of the Lincoln Rd Interchange – with two key cycle movements through it

The extension of the cycleway through this interchange, and further towards Westgate from Lincoln Rd was only opened a short while ago. While much appreciated by locals, it also highlighted how frustrating it is to be in 2020 and still have to go through four traffic signals per interchange just to keep going on a main bikeway.

This third proposed interchange is to be located in the new part of Westgate, sandwiched between the motorway and Gunton Drive, some distance north of Hobsonville Road. It is not going to be directly connected to the motorway – nor are there (at this point in time) any major bikeways affected.

We think that as part of the bus works connecting SH16 to the new station, they should also build the proper long-term cycleway link, at least from Fred Taylor Drive / Hobsonville Road as far north as the new interchange (some 500m. Ideally, the works would also close the gap between Fred Taylor Drive and the end of the cycleway at the yellow bridge to the south (another 500m or so – but admittedly due to space constraints, a lot more difficult to fit in). The point here is to add new safe links, and avoid having to dig everything up twice.

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Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better region. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

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