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.

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Auckland Transport Cycling safety General News Infrastructure Quick Wins Regional Auckland Cycle Network
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13 responses to “Quick Wins for Cycle Safety – A pilot program of AT and CAA

  1. Hi RTC – would love to undertake such an initiative, but we have our hands full many times over at the moment – like the one described in this post (the linked project also seems to be a Council initiative, rather than one by a shoestring advocacy group like us 😉

  2. I had a look over the weekend, and interested in ppl’s thougths. The most part of New North Rd has clearways (which provides an extra peak lane either in the morn or afternoon, otherwise it is used for parking). When cars are parked space is available that can be used for cylists as a ‘defacto cycle lane’, that is if you don’t mind riding close to parked cars with the hazard of being ‘doored’. Is this a comforatble cycling experinece for people, and what about the issue at peak times?

    1. Hi Jym
      I avoid New North Rd at peak hour if I can, or if I have to ride on that route, I go on the footpath (I use the NW cycleway if I can, even though it’s slower and has a bit of a steep climb up to Newton Bridge and again up the path on Ian MacKinnon Drive). It’s especially unpleasant riding citybound on New North Rd at peak hour on the uphill sections (e.g. at the Morningside Shops), with traffic rushing up and overtaking at very close proximity, so if the uphill sections could receive special attention that would make a difference.

    2. Agree, Jym, the comments (including some that we got different ways, not on here) seem to say that cycling on NNR during off-peak / weekends isn’t TOO bad, but there’s issues during the peak, quite clearly. As I noted to sally further down, the traffic lane width issue is a tricky one, probably the most fundamental one in fact. We may be able to locally improve it, but not generally.

  3. I use New North Road on occasion and have a few comments to add (more might come up later).
    Main issue: too narrow for cyclists during the peak time, when the left lane is closed for parking. Especially on the uphills, I feel unsafe with oncoming traffic overtaking me at speed.

    Another issue relates to the path under the overbridge under the Dominion Rd Flyover: a small cycle lane diverts cyclists from New North Rd (citybound) onto the footpath heading up towards Symonds St. I use this myself but have noticed many other cyclists don’t use it, preferring to risk riding on up the narrow two-lane road as it emerges from under the flyover. Once I asked a cyclist why she hadn’t used it. She said she chanced it because she figured it was a bit quicker, which it probably is. (But it’s also very unpleasant if you get overtaken by a vehicle at that point).
    There are two problems with that particular cycle lane and shared cyclepath/footpath where it is diverted. One is that it often has broken glass on it, and I don’t think it gets swept (in general it seems that shared footpath/cycle-lanes e.g., on the Newton and Symonds St overbridges, are not cleared of glass nearly as often as the dedicated cycle paths e.g., on the NW motorway)
    The second problem is only discovered after heavy rain – a big pool of water accumulates in the flyover lane and if a car drives thru this, I’ve seen massive showers of water getting splashed onto the footpath below. (This may have been fixed, it’s a while since I saw this happen).

    1. Hi Sally. Having walked the route yesterday (easier to take photos and make notes than on a bike!) I certainly would agree with you that the road lanes in the clearways (i.e. where there is no parking in the peak) are narrow. Sadly, this probably will not fall under the “quick wins” as it is a more substantial issue. But thank you for raising it anyway, we need to know what concerns people, even if we can’t directly fix it.

      Thank you also for the comments about the Ian McKinnon flyover section. We had similar comments before, and will have a look if there’s something that can be done about the off-road paths.

      Max, CAA

  4. Agree with you Sally, good to hear your thoughts. There seems that more can be done around where NNR passes through the interchange with Ian McKinnon. I have often noticed glass is a problem in that area.
    Coming down the hill bound for Kingsland I often take the path that leads under Ian McKinnon alongside the rail corridor. I find it better grade wise. Rather than requiring a climb as is required by the road underpass. But how do people feel about perceived / actual personal safety when passing through there?

    1. hi Jym, I only rarely use NNR going back towards Kingsland. I’ve used that path a few times (after I discovered it!). I don’t feel unsafe using it – I prefer it to the main road but I think most cyclists seem to prefer not to have to divert off their main route.

  5. Interesting – I thought no one used that path, Jym, seeing that it is out of the way, and about 200m longer. Do you often see people using it?

    1. Yes it is a bit longer, but I always travel a bit further if it means I can avoid a steep climb or a climb at all. I have very rarely seen anyone along there. I think that is because it is generally unknown rather than being a little further in distance.

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