Tamaki Drive works II – Long Drive & Auckland Road

Over the next days, CAA will do a series of 4-5 blog posts with details about the safety works Auckland Transport is planning on Tamaki Drive this winter. After Easter, Cycle Action will provide input to Auckland Transport about these designs (some of which CAA has already been involved in developing). Please feel free to contact us (preferably in the blog post comments) to give us your opinion on these works, and what we should be raising about them with AT.

We will discuss works from east to west, and this 2nd post is about Long Drive / Auckland Road.

[Click through twice on the plan screenshots to see large-scale images.]

Long Drive / Auckland Road (link at Google Streetview)

With this intersection it is hard to understand how it could ever have become this way – it breaks so many rules of good design. As if someone wanted to see how large he could design an intersection before being told off, and no one did.

By essentially merging two side roads in one huge… thing… the earlier designer (or likely, various designers over the years) created an intersection where one can turn without even slowing down from one’s accustomated 60 km/h residential suburb speed – while making pedestrians and cyclists cross a full 50m (!) distance across this speed trial course areas if they have the temerity to want to walk / cycle on the southern side of Tamaki Drive. Take some supplies, the crossing is going to take a while!

I am not aware how bad the actual safety record of this intersection is – but if it’s better than it deserves, then probably because many people know instinctively just from looking that they should better keep their wits about themselves. In short, seeing Auckland Transport propose a major overhaul here is very welcome.

Proposed Auckland Transport works:

  • The merged “two for one” is being split apart into two distinctive, fully separate t-intersections, one for Long Drive, one for Auckland Road
  • At the same time, the very wide turns will be narrowed down strongly to make it harder to turn at speed, and to clarify who has to give way (or stop, in the case of Long Drive)
  • A westbound cycle lane will be marked across both side roads
  • The footpaths will be built out to make pedestrian crossing much easier and safer

Some comments CAA is likely to make:

  • Overall, a very welcome design – the changes are going to ensure motorists will move slower through the intersection, everyone’s behaviour will be more predictable
  • While the cycle lane is only of medium length, it is still useful to highlight the presence and right of way of cyclists here for merging motorists
  • We will look a bit more closely and discuss with AT to ensure that the build-out of the kerbs does not create pinch-points
  • We will likely ask for the traffic island to be added to the centre of Tamaki Drive to be narrowed, to ensure it does not create a pinch point at the bus stop – this is not a pedestrian refuge crossing, as far as the plan shows it, so can be a lot narrower
  • We are considering whether to ask for the eastbound bus stop to be moved either further west or east, to reduce the risk of a pinch point between a stopped bus and a car in one of the right turn bays

So what are your comments? Are these designs missing anything crucial? Is there anything that needs to be modified to ensure they perform well? Please provide us your responses in the comments of the post.

Tomorrow, we will be discussing the proposed changes at Mission Bay, where quite a few different things are planned.

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