Should cycling highways be a priority for investment?

Should cycling highways be a priority for investment?

Bike Auckland

Guest blog by Lucy H.

Over the last ten years the various transport agencies in Auckland have built a number of cycle highways. By cycle highways I mean cycle ways that are a decent width, are specifically built for cyclists to use (i.e., they’re not just walking tracks) and that run off road. In Auckland, such cycle ways often tend to follow motorways.

The mains ones I can think of in Auckland are the:

  • North-Western cycle way
  • Onehunga cycle way that runs along SH20 from Mt Roskill to Mangere Bridge
  • The lesser known but still rather awesome cycle way that runs from Onehunga all the way down to Hugo Johnston Drive along the coast through a cemetery. Check this out if you are in the neighbourhood [PS: This would be the Waikaraka Cycleway]
  • The (rather short) cycleway that runs between Greenhithe and Hobsonville along SH18

Two other major cycle highways that will soon be built are the:

  • The Waterview cycle way
  • The Grafton Gully cycle way (extension of the Northwestern Cycleway)

It’s hard to work out what the exact spend on cycling in Auckland is because the costs are divided up between many different agencies and it gets complicated when you start looking at roading projects that include cycling upgrades. But I think it’s entirely possible that we are spending up 50% of the total cycling budget on these cycling highways. I’m pretty sure it would be at least 30% of the budget.

This is not to say other cycling improvements are not always happening in Auckland. The recent upgrades to the on-road cycle lanes on Triangle Road are a good example. But it does seem that a lot of time and funding has gone into cycling highways in Auckland recently. There are some good reasons why that have happened which are largely about the way our transport system is funded. I’ll get to those in another post.

For now, the question I want you to consider is whether cycle highways are really the best, most cost-effective transport investment we could make to get more people cycling for transport purposes (rather than recreationally).

What do you think? Do you think they should be a priority for cycling investment in Auckland?

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