On Friday, CAA met with one of AT’s safety engineers and one of their stakeholder managers to get an update on a variety of Tamaki Drive topics. Partially, this meeting was created by our grave concerns at the lack of progress on especially the works at Tamaki Drive / The Strand intersection.
So here is a recap of a few matters we discussed:
The Strand / Quay Street works
AT clarified that the works are now hoped to be done in April. This timeframe was caused by AT being informed some two months or so ago by Vector that they also intend to undertake works on this part of Quay Street (including the intersection) sometime in 2014/2015.
AT was worried that ripping up the road twice within 6-12 months would be a bad look / bad use of money. After discussions with Vector, these works were brought forward to be able to be done in one go with the roading works. There was also fears that the works could conflict with some sports events like Round the Bays. The downside of course is that the “cycle lane is coming sometime this summer” has now moved to “hopefully this autumn”.
We also discussed our concern that this means that the cycle lane safety works will by then have taken 3 years from the original serious crash in 2011. AT noted serious challenges due to the complexity of the stakeholder matters involved (AT, NZTA, Ports of Auckland, Vector), but agreed that the time taken hadn’t been particularly impressive…
Tamaki Drive / Ngapipi signalisation
Assessment of the (signals) design is still going on. It was great to hear that AT is seriously reviewing whether they can provide a cycle bypass via the shared path, where cyclists could legally go around a red eastbound signal. Key considerations will be space available, and whether it will be safe for pedestrians.
We of course think that these are matters that can be safely achieved, so we have to hope that AT will agree…
Cycle lanes in Mission Bay
The question of cycle lanes in/through Mission Bay is something CAA has been pushing for since the first row of changes following the 2011 cycle crashes. It is proving difficult, but our own traffic engineer agrees that it is for somewhat unexpected reasons.
Unlike the usual situation, it’s not a case of “if you were just willing to remove car parking“, as AT and the local business association are already planning to do this, and replace car parks in key areas near the Patterson Avenue signals with wider footpaths. That, combined with the very wide tracking requirements of buses turning in and out of Patterson Ave and the need to retain the flush median for a number of uses/users makes the area much tighter than it might look. AT, with CAA’s encouragement and suggestions, will continue to look at ways to extend cycle lanes throughout the Mission Bay town centre – both ways – but it is proving harder than expected to get them consistent, and not have them cut out in at least 1-2 sections.
Continous cycle lanes would of course still be feasible even with the above constraints if one undertook large-scale changes in the area to move things like car park driveways and kerbs – but with the longer-term Tamaki Drive plan showing a cycle-only two-way path on the northern side, there will be a lot of push-back to spending substantial work, money and political capital (with the more sceptical locals) on an “interim” solution.
We are of course worried that the ideal long-term solution may indeed take a LONG time to arrive, so we will keep pushing for the best possible “interim” changes to be rolled out instead.