Much of Bike Auckland’s work happens behind the scenes in meetings throughout the week with AT, NZTA and their project teams. We also make formal submissions on cycleway projects. This work is done gratis by engineering-savvy volunteers who have really full-on day jobs. They love biking so much they sweet talk their families into allowing them time in the weekends and nights on their keyboards for all of us who make up Bike Auckland. Are they heroes – You bet!
Here”s an example – BA supplied feedback on Stage 2 of NZTA’s GI-Tamaki shared path, the grand eastern cycleway project funded by the Urban Cycleways Programme, that will run along the green spine from Glen Innes station to Tamaki Drive. Once completed, it will be a second wing stretching across the isthmus, allowing city cycling to really soar – as well as creating local connections where they’re currently sorely needed.
Everyone BA talks to and hears from tells us they want this landmark project to be a showcase of the new cycling infrastructure in Auckland. (Think Westhaven Shared Path, Pink Path, Grafton Gully). So we’re sharing our submission with you – it’s an exemplary piece of work: beautifully constructed, articulated and supported by clear maps.
It was crafted by committee stalwart Tim Duguid (you may know him as the author of a highly popular recent piece on side-street priority. He’s also a mover and shaker in our newest burb group, Bike Eastern Suburbs). We’re chuffed to have Tim’s expertise, alongside our chief infrastructure liaison Max Robitzsch and our North Shore hero Steve Southall. Cheers to them all for representing Bike Auckland – and Auckland’s bike people – so very well!
Read on for Tim’s words –
Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path – Section 2
Submission from Bike Auckland on Plan Modification 384, Notice of Requirement for Designation
Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on NZTA’s proposals for Section 2 of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path [the Path] between 377 Kohimarama Road and the Eastern end of the Orakei Boardwalk.
What we like about the proposal
We support the proposals for Section 2, and are delighted that this part of the project is moving ahead towards construction. We are especially supportive of the following aspects of the proposals:
- The bridge over the NIMT railway line;
- The high level bridge and at least one other crossing point over the Pourewa Creek;
- The prospect of local access points to the Path, both north and south;
- In this context, we regard the use of the Watercare property at 64 John Rymer Place as a construction access route as particularly helpful, and would like to see it made permanent;
- The improvement of the local environment (which is ecologically unique, being by far the largest tract of estuarine native bush in the isthmus), through the removal of weeds and restoration of land during construction, and from the improved access to the south of the Pourewa valley;
We support the broader contextual objectives that Section 2 of the Path facilitates as a continuous off-road route that “connects the existing sections of the Auckland cycle network between Tamaki Drive and Glen Innes”, “provides for a cycle metro level of service for commuter cyclists” and is “a strategic component of the Auckland Cycle Network.”
However we expect local journeys using parts of Section 2 to outnumber long distance commuters using the Path end-to-end. We note that Section 2 is 2.7 km long. The NZTA reported in 2011 that the average trip length by bicycle in New Zealand is 2.8 km and in ten European countries is 2km. In countries with well-developed cycling infrastructure, the majority of bicycle trips are made for the purposes of socialising, shopping, or getting to/from places of education. Less than a quarter are for commuting to work. We expect similar norms to develop here in Auckland, as our cycling infrastructure develops.
We therefore strongly support the objective “To improve walking and cycling accessibility and connectivity for the… Meadowbank and Orakei communities.”
These communities are interlinked most notably by the fact that two school zones, Selwyn College and St Thomas’s School, straddle Section 2 of the Path. In addition, there are shopping centres, businesses and health centres, and probably 3,000 homes within 1 km of the Path along this corridor.
Yet, today these communities are connected by two only busy main roads: Orakei Road and St Johns Road, as shown in the following map.
By providing crossing points over the railway and Pourewa Creek, and by providing local access to the Path to the north as well as to the south, the proposals offer the prospect of substantially addressing the present severance. We are therefore delighted to see that the following potential access points are identified in the proposals:
North: 64 John Rymer Place, Selwyn Bush;
South (via Tahapa Reserve East): 26-28 Harapaki Road, 43 Tapaha Crescent, 15-16 Mamaku St, 63 Tahapa Crescent
Related to this, we strongly support the opportunities that the Path offers for improved connections to public transport, notably to Meadowbank Train Station (especially from Kohimarama via John Rymer Place and St Johns via Harapaki Road and Tahapa Reserve), and also to bus services to Newmarket along the Remuera Road corridor.
Finally, in terms of the detailed design of the Path, we support the proposal for a high level bridge over the Pourewa Creek, because this provides for a substantially reduced impact on the valley environment and facilitates relatively gentle gradients. We support the provision of lookouts and attractive design features to encourage walking and running as well as cycling.
We note that steps to encourage use of the Path in an otherwise isolated part of Auckland can be expected to contribute towards actual perceived safety.
What else we would like to see
- Access points (north)
Firstly, we believe there would be considerable value in providing a boardwalk-style bridge across the Pourewa Creek to link with the existing trails in Kepa Bush, and the existing access points at 35 Thatcher St and 251-253 Kepa Road. The location is shown below.
This is 500 m west of the proposed links at John Rymer Place and Selwyn Bush, and as such would provide excellent “loop” options for walkers and joggers from both sides of the valley, adding significant amenity and providing further improvement to the safety of all Path users. We expect that such a link would likely match the style of the local trails, rather than the standard proposed of the Path, and could accordingly be delivered at very low cost.
Secondly, we would like provision to be made for access to the Special Housing Area proposed for 223 Kohimarama Road. We note that the south western edge of the SHA is potentially suitable for an access path, provided that the SHA itself does not form a cul-de-sac. This access point could be connected to the link to Selwyn Bush, as shown indicatively below. As above, we anticipate that a low cost boardwalk style creek crossing could be implemented here. This link has the further advantage of potentially enabling access to Selwyn College playing fields via steps.
- Access points (south)
The existing access way at 26-28 Harapaki Road represents the logical access point for cyclists (and walkers) from the south who want to use the Path to go east (for example to Selwyn College) or west (to Meadowbank Train Station).
For those heading east, having to access the path any further west is obviously disadvantageous: using the access way at 26-28 Harapaki cuts about 500 m each way of the trip length. In addition, this avoids two right turns (heading towards the Path) from Harapaki onto Meadowbank Road (which can be busy at peak times) and from Meadowbank onto Tahapa Crescent. This is shown in the following two maps.
We would also like to see the provision of additional access points to the south, especially into the Gowing Drive neighbourhood; noting that this would require one or more property purchases. Related to this, we believe there is considerable local support for an additional railway crossing at the eastern edge of the cemetery.
In our view, whilst we are keen to see Section 2 designed and built as soon as possible, we are confident that both of these features would encourage much more cycling to/from Meadowbank East, displacing a variety of short car journeys via Gowing Drive, St Johns Road, Kohimarama Road in particular. This would offer significant amenity to the local community.
- Path width
We accept that forecasting daily usage of Section 2 is difficult, because it will deliver entirely new connections for which there is of course no historical data. That said, we have not been provided with forecast data that gives us confidence that the Path as designed will adequately manage potential capacity. On the contrary, we note that cycle counts on recent new connections, notably LightPath, are far higher than anticipated: demand is growing and many years ahead of forecast.
Because of its amenity and the attractiveness of its route, Section 2 of the Path may well attract a wide variety of users, comparable to or more than Auckland’s busiest cycleways. There are likely to include many more pedestrians than on other shared paths, such as the Northwestern Shared Path or Grafton Gully.
Therefore, where there are no physical constraints, it is important that the path is built sufficiently wide to minimise conflict between different users: in the case of Section 2, this will include walkers (many with dogs), runners, families on bikes, school children, tourists and relatively fast commuter and recreational cyclists.
In line with our recommendations for other similar paths, such as SeaPath, we propose a width of 5m for Section 2. In our view, and in line with international practice, a 5 m width is the best compromise between cost and amenity and will future-proof Section 2 for many years.
As with SeaPath, we encourage the Section 2 design team to visit LightPath at peak periods. The pink section on the old motorway off-ramp is 6m wide, and offers generous space for both pedestrians and cyclists to avoid close interaction. Conversely, the slightly less than 4m wide section that connects between the old off-ramp and Canada St is uncomfortably narrow, leading to conflict when commuter cyclists interact with slower pedestrians and tourists.
The images below (from Brisbane) are intended to show width and means of separation, rather than colourings or specific surface treatments. The first two images show the Brisbane River cycle path; the third is the Brisbane River New Farm cycleway/walkway which opened last year and is approximately 6m wide.
- End connectivity
The eastern end of Section 2 meets three busy roads: St Johns Road, St Heliers Bay Road and Kohimarama Road, which is a designated arterial “trucking route”. Kohimarama Road runs past three schools and is a very poor cycling environment. Frustratingly, Kohimarama Road has recently been rebuilt with kerbs and channels replaced where they were before, and with no improvement to the situation.
We support the proposal to develop cycle crossing facilities across St Johns Road to Section 1 of the Path. Other than this, there is however essentially no provision for cycling at the eastern end of Section 2, other than the very short on-road cycle lane on St Heliers Bay Road west of Apirana Ave (which is routinely ignored by car drivers).
We would therefore like to see, as a matter of urgency, plans for substantial improvements to St Johns Road, St Heliers Bay Road and Kohimarama Road.
For Kohimarama Road, particular consideration should also be given to making urgent improvements to provision for cyclists at the intersection with John Rymer Place and Allum Street, and west to Selwyn College.
 ‘I’ll just take the car’ Improving bicycle transportation to encourage its use on short trips, February 2011, Paul Smith, Massey University, Wellington, Mike Wilson and Tim Armstrong, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, NZTA Research Report 426 http://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/resources/research/reports/426/docs/426.pdf
 Based on geospatial modeling done, we estimate that the proposed link via John Rymer Place brings several 100 houses within 3 km of Meadowbank Train Station. We are very confident that many city commuters will find the option of a 2-3 km bike ride plus a 10 minute train trip preferable to a 45 minute bus journey via Kepa Road and Tamaki Drive (which are often congested and have no transit priority lanes). https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/the-difference-150m-makes-on-the-tamaki-drive-gi-path/
 Map retrieved from Auckland Council web page: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/housingsupply/Documents/specialhousingareamap201405kohimaramaroad.pdf
 This was identified in a number of submissions to Auckland Transport when the Path was first proposed to the community.