We try to be across most projects that affect people on bikes in Auckland. Here’s one that nearly slipped our attention: a package of road safety improvements in Henderson, funded by the Local Board and to be built by Auckland Transport.
Not only do local residents deserve safer streets, more than 4000 kids go to school in the immediate area. Heaps of them would love to ride, walk or scoot to school. Some already do, making the best of adverse conditions. They all deserve better.
We’re submitting on this project, but your voices will help us be heard. Please take a moment to support safer streets in Henderson!
Feedback closes Sunday 8 March at midnight!
Hit the big pink button to add your voice.
To make this quick and easy for you, here are the two feedback questions, plus our suggestions for answers. (You can scroll down for way more detailed info and photos.)
Quick Feedback Guide
1. What do you think of the Henderson Road Safety Improvements project?
- Let AT know you support the project – and say why it’s important to you.
- Support the outcomes of safer speeds, safer crossings, and better visibility at intersections.
- Say that this project offers a huge opportunity to create greenway bike routes through the traffic-calmed area, using tactical treatments, signage, and pop-up protection.
- Point out that this area can also be designated as a 30km/h zone in future, to be safer for all road users.
2. Do you have any issues or concerns with any of the proposed road safety improvements?
- Please review the raised tables to ensure consistency in terms of how they function as safe and accessible crossing points, since people will be inclined to use them as crossing points.
- Please ensure the raised table at Fairdene and Edwards is a proper zebra crossing, and please investigate raising that whole intersection as a table.
- Please tighten the turning radius at corners wherever possible near the new treatments, to slow vehicle speeds. Use paint/ hit sticks/ planters/ robust separators as necessary. This is especially important near the schools.
- Please make sure the speed bumps on Pomaria work well with the existing (painted) bike lanes.
- Please investigate “pop-up protection” for the existing painted lanes on Pomaria.
- Please add a bike ramp where Pomaria meets Lincoln Road, for greater safety at this intersection.
- Please consider raising the threshold red-paint treatment on Larnoch Rd at Swanson Road , to underscore safer speeds.
- Please investigate and plan the current works with a view to the aspirational greenway bike route along Larnoch Rd. If possible, please include signage and road treatments in this project to accelerate this key desire line.
- Please investigate upgrading the existing raised crossing at the Rathgar Rd shops to a dual walk-bike crossing, as it will be a major desire line for the greenway.
- Please think beyond the basics and raise your eyes to the skies! Speed bumps work, to a point, but don’t necessarily make a neighbourhood feel nicer. Every road upgrade should take the chance to add greenery. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have a Local Path Design Guide and a new Transport Design Manual that can be referred to when designing projects like this. And there are great examples from elsewhere of how to make safety interventions attractive, healthy and fun.
That’s it. That’s the feedback. Feel free to borrow our wording or use your own, and hit the quick feedback form here…
Background to this project
The wider context here is the push for safer streets across Auckland, knowing that 80% of all deaths and serious injuries happen on 50km/hr local urban roads. Note: this particular area is not currently in line for a 30kmh zone yet, but could be in future – and with so many schools, it would make a great priority area for safer speeds.
Henderson is a growing hub, full of great parks, shops, and plenty of schools. It’s set for a lot of investment in coming years, including Panuku developments in the town centre, and in the form of better local bike connections
Note that this is a Local Board project, so the budget may be limited. However, there are opportunities for some tactical fixes alongside the physical works, using paint and signage to smooth the way.
- Red paint threshold treatments around the outside of the zone
- Lots of new speed bumps, including on some dead-end streets (!)
- New speed tables, including some with pedestrian crossings
- Additional road markings, including upgraded bus stops, and more yellow dashed “no stopping” lines for better visibility at crossings and intersections.
Our thoughts and suggestions…
1. Get the best out of the raised tables and crossings
- Some proposed speed tables have access ramps and are designed to be used as crossings, and some aren’t. For consistency and legibility, wouldn’t it be better if they are all designed and located in the expectation people will use them to cross the street?
- The proposed speed table near the intersection of Fairdene/ Edwards should surely be a full pedestrian (and bike) crossing: it connects to an alleyway and back gate to Henderson Intermediate, has existing pram ramps, and is well used. The technical drawing shows a simple raised table, but the artist’s impression shows a zebra.
2. Upgrade and integrate the existing bike lanes on Pomaria Road
- Pomaria Road has painted bike lanes already, and we trust the new speed tables will play nicely with the bike lanes.
- As per Exhibit B below, Pomaria is a good candidate for some quick-win protection via our “pop-up protection” proposal.
- Also, Pomaria Road meets Lincoln Road at a scary intersection. The proposal is for a painted red threshold treatment – but driver abuse of the existing bike lane is relentless (see Exhibit C below), so this will need something more robust. The road opposite Pomaria (Te Pai Place) has a really good shared path, so many riders will likely be using the pedestrian crossing here. At the very least, a bike ramp on Pomaria back onto the footpath would help improve safety options.
3. Plan towards a vital local Greenway/ Quiet Route
The painted bike lanes currently end when Pomaria Road meets Rathgar Road. Larnoch Rd is the logical continuation of this “quiet route”/ greenway through the traffic-calmed area, and has been noted as an “aspirational” path on the Henderson-Massey local links plan, which was consulted on last year.
Here’s the current state of play on Larnoch Road. The proposed added speed tables will help somewhat, but it’s clear a road diet in places would help more.
Our related question: could the existing raised crossing to the Rathgar Rd shops be marked now as (or planned to become) a dual walk-bike crossing, to make this future route safe, clear and legible?
What other signage or tactical treatments would help create a quiet bike route through this treatment area, to leverage the safety improvements and provide alternatives to the busy roads bordering the neighbourhood?
Ensure robust threshold treatments
The red-paint thresholds marking the area boundaries won’t be on raised tables. They’re just paint on the road – and as we know, paint is not protection.
At the entrance to Larnoch, the red threshold is indented well into the street, perhaps because there are signals at the corner, and a set of shops. Is this all the more reason to make the proposed “red carpet” on Larnoch a raised table?
4. Tighten up those wide-mouthed streets
- The wide, rounded off corners near all the proposed treatments should be tightened up and squared off for safety, especially near schools, e.g. Fairdene/ Edwards. But also where they create unsafe conditions for walking, e.g. the wide mouth of the (dead-end) Alan Ave where it meets Larnoch.
5. Aim higher!
Speed bumps work, to a point, but don’t necessarily make a neighbourhood feel nicer. Fortunately, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have a Local Path Design Guide and a newly adopted Transport Design Manual that should always be referred to when designing projects like this.
We’d like to see some more engaging designs applied for local traffic-calming projects like this one. It’s not always easy to retrofit into Auckland’s existing car-first streets, but that’s why we have design guides, right? And there are so many great examples from elsewhere, we’d be silly not to learn from them.