In cycle advocacy, we often face the question whether we should work to improve cycle safety incrementally, step by step (and more or less everywhere), or whether we should focus on transformative projects, real game-changers (but which, given the limited funding available, would translate to only a small number of such projects).
Last year CAA focused on our “Radial Routes” program to advocate for a number of high-quality (mainly off-road) regional cycle routes, and we are continuing to work on this long-term project.
Acknowledging that there are a lot of roads in need of faster attention, this year we started a new initiative, which we call the “Quick Wins for Cycle Safety“, or sometimes simply the “Pinch Point programme“. It is mainly aimed at cyclists who are already slightly more confident, but still don’t ride all that often, or not during certain times of the day, or not on certain roads.
Because we find that often things boil down to quite localised issues in our road network. It could be that single car park which forces cyclists to swerve out into fast traffic, that deeply sunken stormwater grate which, if hit by an unsuspecting cyclist, will sprawl him/her all over the road. It could be that intersection which has really wide traffic lanes, but no feeder cycle lane.
Many of these issues do not require a whole road upgrade for many millions to fix. All it takes is an agreement between cyclists and authorities that there is a safety issue, and a willingness to spend some work and money to fix it. In the past, we have taken these problems up with Auckland Transport individually – now we want to make this process more consistent.
We are thus happy to report that after exploratory meetings, Auckland Transport has now agreed to a pilot project, in which several roads will be subjected to a comprehensive cycle safety review. Parallel to a Cycle Action review of these pilot roads, Auckland Transport has committed to engaging a third-party safety audit, with a particular view to cyclist safety.
These two audits will then be combined, and the most promising changes identified and actioned (of course, constrained by funding – Auckland Transport has however set aside funds specific to fixing issues identified via the project, so this is not going to be just a paper exercise). And now we would like your help in identifying the issues!
The pilot project routes will focus on the Central Isthmus area, though we hope to be able to later extend the review to more of Auckland. We proposed the following streets on the basis that they are on the Regional Cycle Network, yet do not currently have any significant cycle facilities, but already provide routes important to cyclists:
- Mount Eden Road (including a section of Symonds Street) – from south of the Symonds Street motorway overbridge, to Mount Albert Road
- New North Road – southwest of where it branches off Symonds Street / Mount Eden Road, to Mount Albert Road
- Manukau Road – south of Broadway, to Mount Albert Road / Royal Oak roundabout
In the first instance, we are intending to review New North Road, with the other roads following in the coming months. The pilot project will, on CAA’s side, involve a number of walk- and ride-overs, to investigate the road for issues and opportunities. We are of course very interested in hearing what you think are issues on this road:
- Fading and poorly maintained cycle lanes, (ie lack of symbols, and faded green paint) or a need for new greening and symbols where they are inadequate.
- Lack of safe merging provision across intersections, including onto or from cycle lanes
- Kerb buildouts or traffic islands which create pinch points
- Parking spaces that create pinch points / dooring hazards (note: particularly critical locations only – this project will not be able to call for wholesale parking removal of the type that might be considered if the street received an overall upgrade)
- Areas where sufficient kerb-kerb width is available to mark new feeder cycle lanes leading to existing or new advanced stop boxes
- Areas where cycle lanes could be marked over side streets (using existing intersection parking restrictions) to highlight cyclists’ presence
- Locations where sunken cess pits or other maintance issues present cycling hazards.
If you want to participate in the review work, or raise any specific issues on New North Road which could fall under the “Quick Win” remit, then please contact us, or provide comment directly on this post. Please include a good description of the issue, and particularly, a clear location.
Google Streetview, while it may not show the problem itself well, is perfect for the latter, because you can use it to show the area, and then use the link function – see the little chainlink icon on the Streetview interface – to paste a direct link to the exact location into your response.