Everyone who rides a bike in Auckland knows that we’re still far away from best practice bike infrastructure – even if things are slowly getting better.
But for all the places where there are no bikeways at al, sometimes what’s even more dismaying are the situations where the legacy of previous, limited bike infrastructure actually risks making things worse.
Take for example the ultra-skinny bike lanes on Greenlane West (see image at right), or the end of the westbound cycle lane arriving in Mission Bay on Tamaki Drive.
For those who don’t know Mission Bay, this cycle lane was installed as one of a few quick improvements after a spate of cycle injuries on Tamaki Drive half a decade ago.
It simply disappears as you enter Mission Bay from the east – because at the time, there was no appetite among the decisionmakers to remove or modify any parking through the shopping centre so as to improve the safety of people on bikes.
So far, so well known.
But it’s the way the cycle lane ends that seems a particularly cruel jest on riders.
No proper space for merging. People on bikes are supposed to know in advance to leave the cycle lane (or come to a screeching halt if there’s no gap in the passing cars). Meanwhile, drivers continue straight ahead, with the road markings clearly implying that those riders to the left are ‘not my problem’.
The good news is that Auckland Transport’s still very under-resourced cycling team has now – after many complaints over the years – finally managed to arrange a change here. No, it won’t be an extension of the bike lane (yet). But the traffic lane will be widened (by reducing the width of the flush median), and the greened bike lane will stop straight rather than suddenly expecting you to become 2-dimensional.
Works will occur some time in the next couple of weeks. Together with the removal of some car parking closer to the traffic lights as part of recent footpath widening for the cafes, this westbound section will be a bit less hazardous for road riders.
Now, let’s bring on discussion of a proper cycleway for the rest of Tamaki Drive!