Small steps adding up… do one, get two extra?

GNR PonsonbyRemember a few weeks ago when we were happy to announce that Great North Road will get a feeder cycle lane at Ponsonby Road, eastbound?

We weren’t mainly happy to see this because of the extent of the works – what really made us enthusiastic was the fact that AT had changed their previous “We can’t see this happening” stance, which had prevented attempts by CAA and the Waitemata Local Board to add this little fix for the last three years.

The project this cycle lane was born from consists of CAA and AT cooperating on minor and medium fixes on the “existing cycle network” – and it is creating more benefits. Without any special pleading from us, AT have come forward and noted that they would also provide a westbound feeder cycle lane – a mirror image of the above image, but on the east, the Karangahape Road approach. Because what works on one side, works on the other side too. And when AT decided that they would extend their current maintenance works a little bit further into K’Road, they thought of cycling too!

This extra feeder cycle lane is pretty firmed up now, but AT has yet another potential in their pocket – they are also looking at adding a third feeder cycle lane on Ponsonby Road coming from the north. That will take either some kerb works on the side, or a relocation / removal of the solid median – so this isn’t confirmed yet, but again it is great that AT are considering these kind of fixes themselves now.

As a further example of a slowly maturing cycle culture at AT, there is the intention that the people we work with on the cycle projects will be more in the loop with the regular maintenance project schedules, so when roads are resealed, any such smaller works can be looked at, and hopefully rolled in. Many thanks to AT, and in particular thanks to Albert and Krishna – and Amit, their predecessor in the same role liaising with CAA.

[Oh, and a small and important note: Both the confirmed feeder cycle lanes will not be marked / greened for about a month yet. The reason is that apparently applying the greening too early after the reseal can make it last a lot less long. So have a bit of patience – even though the current lane markings may not look like it, the cycle lanes have not been forgotten!]

Other projects / potential projects coming up out of this cooperation:

  • A new drop kerb allowing cyclists to enter/leave Bond Street easier south of the bridge, to get to the Northwestern Cycleway. Already been done.
  • Repainting the cycle lane on Vincent Street and narrowing the parking markings, plus cutting back some obstructive planting. Already been done.
  • Test designs are currently being explored to extend the Vincent Street cycle lane all the way to the top of the street (currently shorts out some distance ahead of Pitt Street).
  • There may also be potential to have a short section of northbound feeder cycle lane at the north end of Vincent, to get you to the ASB’s at Cook Street intersection. That’s still in the early stages, so not clear whether feasible.
  • At Valley Road / Mt Eden Road, the proposal is to tighten up the side street throat (as much as feasible for an arterial) to make turns across the path of through cyclists slower and add a short bit of cycle lane too.
  • At Normanby Road / Mt Eden Road, we have asked AT to revisit an earlier design for an uphill cycle lane past Normanby Road, to ensure that the redesign includes a downhill cycle lane as well, if at all feasible.
  • On the Northwestern Cycleway at Takau Street, plans are being explored on how to improve the cycle ramp from Newton Road down to Takau Street (this will also include fixing the potholed ramp surface, and looking at how to make the railing / bollard at the bottom less of a hazard). Sadly, the interchange itself is currrently still out of scope, being NZTA’s turf and not part of this project’s scope.
  • The little bridge on the Northwestern Cycleway near the golf course (halfway between Carrington Road and St Lukes Road) is likely to get a new surfacing with more camber, so rain doesn’t keep ponding on it.
  • At Park Road / Park Avenue, opposite the Auckland Hospital, a raised table across Park Avenue is being explored, which would slow motorists turning across cyclists’ paths on Park Road (and help pedestrians).
  • Also outside the Auckland Hospital on Park Road, we are looking at ways of making the large eastbound bus stop area less intimidating for cyclist – though this is probably one of the most difficult areas to fix within the smaller scope of this retrofit project, so we can’t really say yet whether we can do a lot here.
  • At a variety of locations (initially Park Road and Tamaki Drive), AT is also looking to raise at least some particularly problematic sunken catchpits that force cyclists to suddenly move away from the kerb into traffic.

Feasibility of the above projects will still have to be shown in a few cases, and budget finalised, but the ones listed are all relatively likely to happen, and happen this year.

In coming months, we will also with AT be looking at further parts of the “complete cycle network” for areas needing improvement, including in other parts outside of old Auckland City. Small steps adding up, paving the way for bigger ones.

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