Tamaki Drive works IV – Kelly Tarlton’s (Takaparawha Point)

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 4th post is about the works planned near Kelly Tarlton’s / Takaparawha Point, probably the most significant works Auckland Transport is planning for this winter.

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

Kelly Tarlton’s / Takaparawhat Point (link at Google Streetview)

Most of you will be aware of the fatal accident in 2010 when a women cyclist struck an opened car door, and then fell under the wheels of a truck, just east of the Kelly Tarlton bend. In some ways, her tragic accident – discussed extensively in earlier posts, and the media – was the catalyst for the works now to be done on Tamaki Drive.

The tragedy was not only Jane Bishop’s death itself, but also the (anecdotal?) story that she always preferred to use the off-road path, until that fateful day when she went on the road at this location – because she had gotten sick of the path (which here narrows down to less than 1.5m) being too narrow to share with pedestrians.

It’s thus only fitting that Auckland Transport is proposing some extensive works here – not only those described in this post, but also a widened off-road path proposed further down the line (still in draft, and the subject of a future post, not part of this series). Because the works cover such an area, they are broken down into three zones / plans.

Proposed Auckland Transport Works (Zone 1):

  • Provision of cycle lanes both ways around the bend, including extending them past the Jane Bishop fatality location and past a new bus parking bay, as far as where a normal off-road path width is provided again.
  • Provision of a kerb build-out / kerb ramp at that location to allow eastbound cyclists who prefer the off-road path to return onto it past narriwng and past the new bus bay (where pedestrian volumes reduce slightly).
  • Narrowing of the solid median around the bend to get space for the cycle lanes.

Some comments CAA is likely to make (Zone 1):

  • The consistent cycle lanes through this zone are very welcome, as is their eastward extension past the bus stop into the straight section – this was one of the requests CAA had made during initial discussions with Auckland Transport’s designers.
  • CAA supports the restaurant loading bay on the outer bend, as we think not providing such a bay would risk trucks being parked “just for a few minutes” in the cycle lane.
  • However, we would like to ensure that most of the outer bend shown hatched in the drawing is blocked off (with traffic islands, landscaping, or bollards/wheel stops), to ensure that except for the loading bay, the bend does not get used for parking after all – which would then encroach into the cycle lane.
  • Potentially request a traffic island between the kerb and the cycle lane where the eastbound cycle lane swerves around the back of the bus stop, to ensure the triangle west of the bus stop is not used for parking (good enforcement could also prevent this, but physically preventing this from happening would be preferable – as with the hatched strip on the outer bend).
  • Ask for rumble striping on the edge line of the inner bend cycle lane to reduce encroachment by drivers into this cycle lane as they drive city-bound.
  • Ensure the stormwater grates in the easternmost part of the westbound cycle lane are cycle-friendly replacements / are already fit for purpose.

Proposed Auckland Transport Works (Zone 2):

  • A westbound (well, citybound) cycle lane through the whole of the zone (we are happy to see that this could be achieved after our initial comments remarked that the citybound cycle lane seemed to unnecessarily stop early, after the first pedestrian crossing).
  • An eastbound cycle lane through part of the zone (due to the bus drop-off locations, this could not be continued all the way through the area, see also our comments below).
  • The pedestrian refuge crossings (vehicles have right of way) will be upgraded to raised table zebra crossings (pedestrians have right of way).
  • Changes to the stone walls and bus drop-off positions to ensure people walking to Kelly Tarlton’s use the pedestrian crossings and do not step into the traffic / cycle lanes.

Some comments CAA is likely to make (Zone 2):

  • A useful design, which should also have some traffic calming effects, without being too irritating for motorists or faster road cyclists when no pedestrians are crossing (the speed tables are going to be only 75mm high).
  • We are concerned that between the bus drop-off and the right-turn bay into the Kelly Tarlton car park there a pinch point could remain. This will still be better than at the moment, due to the fact that the area is slower-speed (between two speed tables), but it would be better if the bus drop-off area could be slightly “indented” (into the area where the stone side-wall is now) to ensure the through lane is wider. We will look at this closer before deciding how to comment.
  • 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 (though we are aware that with the bus stops, it may be useful to have them rather than simply retain the full width – as long as they don’t create a width hazard), and that the raised ramps do not create jarring for cyclists.
  • We will discuss visibility around the bus stop to/from pedestrians using the northern pedestrian crossing, to ensure fast road cyclists (especially bunches, which cannot stop as quickly as individual cyclists) will not suddenly be surprised by pedestrians stepping out in front of them.
  • At the southern end, the flush median seems to move significantly sideways, narrowing the through lane next to parking, thus creating potential issues for on-road cyclists. It seems more appropriate to narrow the flush median here, instead of narrowing the general traffic lane shared by motorists and cyclists.

Proposed Auckland Transport Works (Zone 3):

  • A westbound (well, citybound) cycle lane as far as (and connecting into) the start of the transit lane.
  • A large new bus bay, which we understand is supposed to serve as the main pick-up point for tourist buses collecting passengers from Kelly Tarlton’s (after drivers drop-off outside of the aquarium, and then u-turn at Hapimana Street).
  • A wider footpath on the eastern side to access the bus pick-up areas.

Some comments CAA is likely to make (Zone 3):

  • We are concerned that the downstream transit lane will tempt many drivers to ignore the rules and simply use the cycle lane (plus the buffer next to the buses) to access onto the transit lane – worse, they could enter the transit lane, but then not be able to advance forward (for example if a bus sticks slightly into the buffer), so resulting in a total blockage of the cycle lane – a Triangle Road kind of situation. We will discuss ways to ensure this does not happen – for example, by short kerb-buildouts which do not encroach into the cycle lane, but narrow the lane sufficiently to block cars using it.

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, our 5th and last post in this series will be discuss works at Watene Crescent, and potential works at The Strand.

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