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 5th and last post is about work planned at Watene Crescent, and about works at The Strand.

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

Watene Crescent (link at Google Streetview)

Watene Crescent is a relatively modest side street near the western end of Tamaki Drive, and the works proposed here are rather similar to those at Kohimaram Road.

Proposed Auckland Transport works:

  • Marking the transit lane across the side road
  • Adding a splitter traffic island on the Watene Crescent approach
  • Significantly build out the kerbs to reduce turning radii
  • Watene Crescent changed to a “stop” control

Some comments CAA is likely to make:

  • While the transit lane isn’t cycle exclusive, there may be a small benefit in making motorists more aware of cross traffic, including cyclists
  • The splitter island and the kerb build-outs are likely to make speedy turns / ignoring the stop control a bit less likely, and also helps pedestrians cross more easily
  • We will look a bit more closely at kerb-kerb widths to ensure no pinch points are created for cyclists coming from Watene Crescent
  • We are considering whether to ask that such side roads should be built with a speed table (just across the side road, not over Tamaki Drive itself at this location) to better control speeds and make it less likely that motorists will disregard the stop and give-way controls and thus pull out in front of cyclists

Overall, these works will primarily benefit pedestrians. Cyclists will only profit a little, mainly from reduced turn speeds – though this is not anywhere near the top of the list of danger spots for cyclists, so that’s okay.

Tamaki Drive / The Strand (link at Google Streetview)

This intersection has another example of a sad story. In the middle of the process of identifying future Tamaki Drive safety works after Jane Bishop’s death, a second female cyclist died here last year (strictly speaking, her accident happened here – she died some time after in hospital from her injuries). As far as CAA knows, the exact reason for the accident was never clearly established, due to lack of witnesses who could see why the woman fell under a trailer when riding westbound through the intersection on-road.

In describing the proposed works, we need to note that no plans are provided for public consultation at the moment, as the proposed works may still change. However, the below is what we understand is being proposed. Like with Jane Bishop’s death and the works now being intended at Kelly Tarlton, we can only hope that these works will help ensure that there will be no more cycle fatalities at this location.

Proposed Auckland Transport works (draft proposal):

  • Provide a westbound cycle lane on Tamaki Drive which starts at the point where the left turn extra lane into The Strand starts
  • Modify the kerb to reduce the length that general traffic will travel in the cycle lane to turn left (a more “sudden” start of the turn lane, rather than a gradual diverge)
  • Move all traffic lanes north (by cutting into the solid median and using some hatched areas) to fit in the new cycle lane
  • In a second stage of works, extend the cycle lane west past the intersection, until it feeds into the start of the bus lane
  • Potentially add zebra crossings to the two The Strand slip lanes
  • Resurfacing of a good length of the southern-side cycleway to make it more attractive for those who prefer off-road cycling
  • A variety of minor works to signs and street furniture on the northern side to make small improvements to the usable width of the off-road path

Some comments CAA is likely to make:

  • The westbound cycle lane will be an enormous improvement for on-road cyclists through this difficult area, where large amounts of traffic and heavy vehicles are common
  • We would like the designers to investigate whether a cycle lane coming from The Strand (for cyclists wanting to turn right) would also be feasible
  • We will discuss some further road marking to ensure eastbound cyclists are catered for better in this busy environment (an eastbound cycle lane will likely not feasible, but some edge lines to achieve better motorist alignment away from the kerb may be feasible
  • We will reserve our opinion about the zebra crossings until we know more about the plans

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.

Cycle Action’s committee will shortly meet about these works to complie our last set of comments to Auckland Transport before these works are intended to be built – if you have any input to us, please do so now, via the comments. We hope cyclists, locals and visitors will soon be able to enjoy all these improvements to one of the most stunning parts of Auckland!

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