We deserve a long service award for the eight years we’ve been working with Auckland Transport to improve bike parking for public transport links and town centres.
Prospects improved when we met AT Metro’s Stacey Van Der Putten and her staffer Rachel Freebairn a couple of years ago. Rachel meets with us every 6 weeks; she’s amazingly positive and believes in our cause, which are the magic factors when it comes to making a difference. We’ve been joined recently by Roger Freakley from Commercial and Parking Facilities, and at our meeting last week I felt some traction that will start to change the real world where you and I live – so I’m sharing the news.
(Note: you’ll see as you read that other parts of the Council family are also involved in bike parking in town centres and in parks. If it’s individual bike racks you’re after, especially at public transport hubs and town centres, you can make requests via AT’s online map here.)
Better bike parking along the Northern Busway
This is the biggie: existing bike racks are full every weekday, and people have been calling out for years for more racks.
Just before Covid hit in March, plans were progressing to install additional racks at the big bus stations – Smales Farm, Akoranga, Constellation and Albany. The goal is to double bike capacity at each location. We’re expecting to hear very soon if AT’s budget still covers this work, and when work will start. You’ll be the first to know when we get the news.
Ramping up access at train stations!
For those who combine bikes and trains for commutes (or family adventures), watching a train arrive and then slide away before you can get to the platform is maddening. It’s especially an issue if you have a heavy e-bike or full bike panniers – because, apart from Britomart, station lifts are too small to fit two big bikes, and move soooo slowly.
We’ve been asking AT Metro to look at wheel ramps on stairs, because this would provide another option to get to the platform. One was installed recently at Otahuhu Station as a trial, and we’re keen to hear if it’s a help.
If you’ve used it, we’re keen to hear your thoughts – including if it needs improving in any way, and if it’s successful, which other stations you think should be prioritised for retrofitting with a wheel ramp.
Taking bike parking to the next level…
We were hopeful that the packed undercover bike parking rack at the Downtown ferry would be expanded by the addition of some double-decker parking, like the highly successful unit in Central Wellington.
Covid put paid to this plan, because the bike parking is linked to the project to relocate ferry berths on the western side of Queens Wharf… which isn’t dead in the water, as such, just delayed.
But the good news is that AT’s Parking team is now investigating the installation of a double-decker bike parking unit (with CCTV security!) at Britomart, between the Railway Station and the Commercial Bay complex.
This will be warmly welcomed by everyone who’s been asking for more bike parking to supplement the new set of racks at the Galway St entrance to the Terminal. As you can see, it’s already oversubscribed!
Hot transport take: Auckland is going to need to take bicycle parking much more seriously in the future. https://t.co/rfE701tURL
— Stu Donovan (@StuartBDonovan) August 6, 2020
(If you’re looking for longterm bespoke bike parking, by the way: our mates at Britomart offer secure bike parking just off Quay St, that you can reserve a spot at).
But wait, there’s (maybe) more! We’ve been asked to help identify high-demand areas to add more of these double-decker bike rack stations. We reckon Aotea Square, Wynyard Quarter and Karangahape Road would provide a good spread across the central city, for example. Have a think about it, and we’ll come back to you for your ideas.
Takapuna bike parking: now we’re cooking with gas!
The AT Parking Building team and Panuku are planning to boost public bike parking in Takapuna. It’s part of the new parking building project under construction on the former Gasometer site, to replace the existing Anzac St carpark. The scoop: 108 bike parks – with facilities to charge 36 e-bikes – will be provided in a secure space on the ground floor of the building.
It would have been great timing if the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board had been able to work together to progress the Lake Rd upgrade with protected bike lanes. But even without this on the horizon, we know that Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is charging ahead with the Northern Pathway (Skypath, SeaPath and the SH1 cycleway connecting to Constellation Drive), which will massively improve cycling access to Takapuna – and increase demand for good bike parking.
So we applaud Panuku and AT’s initiative with this parking project, and will be there to celebrate it on ribbon-cutting day.
Tasty bike parking for Otara Kai Village
Big ups are due to a nice collaboration between AT’s Parking team and the Otara Kai Village and Otara/Papatoetoe Local Board member and cycling champion Swanie Nelson, working together to bring bike racks to the Kai Village:
“The first ones in the town centre and they got immediate use straight after installation! We have a heavy bike riding community even though we don’t have the infrastructure or a local bike park to support it but this is a good start at least for in our town centre. Thank you Roger and the team for making this happen, we and I know the families who ride down here often together appreciate it and they no longer have to lean their bikes against the walls on the ground etc. Tumeke!”
The Village is part of a thriving network of resources for local people, and Swanie is committed to demonstrating the massive return on investment for increased walking and cycle facilities in Otara and its surrounds. Go Swanie!
The proof’s in the pudding at Newmarket
Lastly, if there’s one thing we know about bike parking, it’s that if you build it… they will come, as long as it’s well designed, handily located, and highly visible.
For example, this bike parking at Newmarket Station is highly used, because it’s tucked safely behind the ticket gate. You might recall that this time last year, some temporary bright yellow racks were installed here, to see if people would use them.
Talk about proof of concept – and all the evidence AT needs to roll out more of what works!