Consultation Drawing (3)I know it’s a bit dramatic, but this intersection has the worst cycling safety record of any in Auckland. It’s a disjointed mess of pinchpoints, truncated cycle lanes leading into side-swipe collisions from Ngapipi traffic etc . I can’t think of a road or commuting cyclist who can’t recount horrific stories of near misses and fearsome travel through this intersection.

AT has spent the past year looking at options to improve cycling safety. They also want to give pedestrians a chance to survive a bid to cross from Ngapipi to the Tamaki Dr waterfront. The project team came up with 2 options; a roundabout and traffic lights, and after lengthy analysis have chosen lights as their preferred option. This is now open to consultation until 20 December.

The proposal includes these features ;

  •  Traffic lights for improved management of traffic flow through the intersection
  • Advance cycle boxes and cycle lane greening to reduce vehicle and cyclist conflict
  • Additional left turn lane from Ngapipi Road
  • Additional lane on the city bound approach to the intersection
  • Signalised pedestrian crossing points and shared path upgrade for improved access and safety
  • Sea wall extension to facilitate construction and support future improvements as outlined within the Tamaki Drive Masterplan

In September Cycle Action invited AT to present on the project to representatives from the road cycling community, ie clubs and shop riding groups. We did this because we’re aware that most of Cycle Action’s infrastructure team are commuter cyclists, and we don’t always have the same riding approach as bunch or individual road cyclists. The meeting had a good turnout, providing a lively night of questions, challenges and suggestions. I was impressed to find an atmosphere of mutual respect by the end of the session, and a good list of issues for Aaron and Howard from AT to work on.

They have since met us on site ( riding from town on their bikes) to discuss the issues and possible responses, and will be continuing to work on changes to the design as the project progresses. We’re impressed by the time that the various cyclists we have consulted to date have put into the project. We also value the genuine interest and collaborative approach from AT’s guys.

Cycle Action is backing AT’s traffic light option. We know it’s not a silver bullet and that the safety issues extend beyond the intersection to the bridge and the lack of connected cycling infrastructure leading through and both ways from the intersection. We’re working on these with AT, but our take is that lights give more security to cyclists at peak hours and other times of the day, given the volume and speed of cars, trucks and buses on this section of Tamaki Dr.

We’re putting hours into the project, (on top of many other projects we are working on with AT), so need you to step up to make your own response. And to pass it on to mates, so AT gets heaps of feedback. Raise extra issues by all means, but we hope you’ll consider the merits of the lights seriously.

There’s an electronic form at the end of the AT document. Please use it asap!

Categories
General News
Share this
  • Tad

    Most of the Tamaki has cycle way as well as shared path. Why? Why not just build really good cycle way and side walk? Then you can ban cyclist from using the road.
    Also seems that AT is still trying to reduce traffic by providing more road space (two lanes towards city for morning comuters) and that’s why their model is strangely favouring traffic lights. Providing better traffic flow for cars will encourage more people to drive to the city therefore this is very short term solution.
    Can someone explain what other benefits traffic lights have over roundabout other then theoretical faster way for cars? In my opinion round about in general means slower speed which means safety for everyone including drivers.

    • Max

      Tad, roundabouts can be positive for cyclists, but only if they are really small, and have small radii. Because there is so much traffic (cars) going through here, and buses too, AT felt that the only roundabout which would work would be one with multiple lanes. Multiple lanes also mean very large radii (as you can’t keep it small anymore on the other lanes). So the roundabout design they proposed (but didn’t like much themselves) was quite large and would not have been safe – even for confident cyclists, it would have been a danger spot, I feel, having seen how complex it got.

    • Max

      The other advantage of traffic lights is that pedestrians have a much better deal.

      • Max

        Until we follow the Dutch of course, and put zebra crossings across all arms of a roundabout, then it suddenly changes again more in favour of a roundabout. But again, works only if we are willing to keep to a single-lane roundabout.

        • Tad

          Thanks for your reply. AT states on the website that traffic light option has benefits but they don’t bother to say what benefits other than theoretically more traffic through this intersection.
          In my opinion Tamaki should have two way cycleway on sea side only and separated from vehicles and pedestrians. I really don’t see need to try to accommodate for cyclist on the road and on the footpath.

          • Max

            Hi Tad – yes, high-quality cycleways are actually in the plans. But they won’t be continous to serve commuter or sports cyclists until they are long enough (people don’t want to hop on / hop off / cross the road twice just to go off-road path for 100m…)

            So this traffic signal design actually builds the seawall wide enough that we can get a proper cycle-only (!) path through here later. About ~8m space. But until they change a lot more in the area up and down Tamaki Drive, this intersection needs to accommodate road cyclists. Otherwise, you’d be endangering the up to 1000 (!) cyclists who go through this intersection on road every day (~1500 cyclists daily in total, a large proportion on-road).

          • Tad

            Do you have a link to what is the long term solution for Tamaki Drive?
            For me and general public it is not obvious that this is short term solution only.
            I am still not convinced about the traffic lights but thanks for your comments.

          • Max

            Hi Tad – long-term plans are not finalised yet, but several quite separate strategic documents I have seen are heading into the direction of having a dedicated two-way cycleway (cycle only, physically separate from both peds and cars).

            The big question will be when we realise that we don’t have to spend hundreds of millions for seawall widening, we can have it much cheaper and quicker by removing car parking. That will be the big discussion in the coming years.

            In the meantime, look at the top of the plans for the signals – where it says “future proofed road reserve to be grassed until required”. I know we are all a bit sceptical at times, but for once I can confidently state that AT has not added that to be able to add more car lanes later…

            http://caa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Consultation-Drawing-3.jpg

          • Max

            Also, it is hard to see, but that shared path in the current proposal is actually 6m wide (3m cyclists, 3m peds). Not physically separated yet, because peds are standing waiting to cross at the signals, but a lot better, and we are discussing further tweaks with AT.

  • Tim

    Is the irony of the juxtaposition of this post with the previous one intentional?!

    • Max

      Take your point, Tim, take your point…

      Well, I guess there’s some irony in that AT is still far away from from considering shared space for such a busy intersection, especially one that is far removed from an urban environment.

      But believe me, the roundabout option was the worst of both worlds. Nothing shared space about that at all.

      • Tim

        LOL.. Max, I wouldn’t want a roundabout at Tamaki / Ngapipi. Gut feel says it would be bad for drivers as well as cyclsits and of course wouldn’t provide for pedestrian crossing of Tamaki Drive.

  • Lennart

    How is anyone ever going to turn right from Ngapipi Road to Tamaki Drive? You have to cross two lanes of traffic to reach a tiny little cycle lane. Double left turn Lane seems excessive. What does the roundabout look like?

    • Bryce P

      Traffic lights.

      • Bryce P

        Oh, I see what you mean. Actually getting to the turning bay 🙂

    • Max

      The roundabout has multiple traffic lanes on the circulatory and approaches too.

      Getting to the right turn – I guess confident cyclists can just cross (especially if they do so while Ngapipi is still a single traffic lane, they don’t really have to cross at all) and others can use the traffic lights over the slip lane.

  • Barb Cuthbert

    Great having all these comments – thanks heaps. The reason for traffic lights is that there isn’t enough room for the sort of roundabout that would give cyclists safe protected travel thru’ it. The local police (who work on the Tamaki Drive Working Group with us) and who know the intersection intimately including from cycling it it frequently, say they can’t protect cyclists’ rights as road users on a roundabout anywhere near as effectively as they can with lights. Hence they favour the lights.
    But the big issue for us right now is to ask all of you to put your queries and ideas onto AT’s project response form and copy us in. We said details of the project design needs adjusting so it’s a work in progress. Cycle Action relies on your local knowledge to supplement our technical review teams – we simply can’t do everything on our own. Please help by responding and copy us in so we’re in the loop on your concerns. That makes cycling more powerful – thanks again, team!!

    • Bryce P

      The only roundabouts that work for cyclists are single lane (not 2 lane) and light controlled roundabouts. Anything else is purely for moving as many vehicles as possible and as quick as possible thus removing any safety for people on bikes.

  • Bryce P

    I think the lights are a great compromise and my main question would be over the keeping of the left turn slip lanes, especially having them as 2 lanes rather than a single lane.

    • Bryce P

      And why not have the east bound lane as a protected lane that goes right through rather than having to stop? It appears that there is lots of room to do so.

      • Tim

        Bryce, both these issues are points of discussion, well worth submitting on in my view.

        I understand the main objection to a segregated “rolling through” eastbound lane (which would be very welcome) is how to make it work with the (also very welcome) proposed pedestrian crossing of Tamaki Drive.. easily done with a set of cycle stop lights of course.

        Or not. During a recent visit to Amsterdam I can’t recall seeing any signalised pedestrian crossings of cycle lanes (and of course there are literally 1000s of instances of such crossings).. pretty sure these aren’t pedestrians or cyclists any harm?

        Another issue raised with a segregated eastbound “rolling through” lane is how a cyclist turning right out of Ngapipi could access the lane. This seems to me to be so easily solved it’s hardly worth debating.

        As you say, there is “lots of room” on the north side of the road as proposed to build a really excellent segregated lane.. and a segregated pedestrian / shared path. I am a little woried however that we’re more likely to end up with a massive shared path that will be shunned by many cyclists and an inadequate on-road lane tat wil still fail to offer adequate real or preceived safety.

        I am depressed 🙁

        • Barb Cuthbert

          Tim, I have a remedy for your depression! Please suggest away on AT’s on line form, as I assure you the project team is very focused on getting the best practical result to improve cycling safety thru’ this intersection. A protected lane on the north side was one of the suggestions to come from our meeting in September, and was discussed on site this week. The project team is working on it right now, so adding your voice on this and other issues will be very helpful. Please ……?

          • Bryce P

            I will be submitting. It is a pity that there are so many pieces to submit on so close to the Christmas break. The cynic in me almost believes that was intentional 🙂

  • David

    I agree lights are a good option here. But those big slip lanes? surey they defeat the purpose. Screw flow, let’s get safety here. I’m sick of all these pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Auckland, they are preventable and should be prevented.

    • I think you’ll find those slip lanes are on traffic signals. So main road cyclists and peds/bikes crossing over will be protected. I’d say there are two lanes because, the minute you start holding that side traffic, the queue will get rather long back down Ngapipi.
      As someone mentioned before, getting to that right-turn bike lane off Ngapipi doesn’t look easy. Arguably a rider could use the signals on the slip lane to cross over, but I see nothing in the plan to suggest that it has been designed for anyone but peds.

      • Bryce P

        The slip lanes appear to be controlled by lights as well so they don’t need to be designed as slip lanes. They could just be 2 x left turn lanes off the ‘t’.

        • Bryce P

          I presume the slip lanes are there to allow turning of container trucks. The next question of course is “why are container trucks still using Ngapipi Road?”

          • Max

            The design of the slip lane is to a big degree also due to bus turning radiis. Buses are big things. Also Ngapipi is the freight route to the eastern suburbs. Every suburb has to have at least one route where trucks CAN go. Doesn’t mean its encouraged…

      • David

        Good point about the signals being there!

        Agree that the right turn of Ngapipi would be difficult as drawn. How about bringing the slip lane lights back quite a bit down Ngapipi to make a nice wide cycle crossing here?

  • Bryce P

    I just looked at the roundabout option. A roundabout with an added slip lane? Who is designing these things. FFS!

    • Max

      And the partial cycle lanes are really fun too – talk about really confusing matters.

  • Kirsten

    The post gives the final submission date as 20 December 2013 – but ATs website says 20 January 2014. Can you confirm if we have another month to send submissions via the electronic form or direct by email?
    Thanks

    • Max

      Not sure, Barb and AT’s coms on that got a bit mixed up with the wider Corridor Management Plan feedback deadline. Better you put in ur quick feedback now.

      • Kirsten

        Done