Cycleway construction can never happen soon enough for us, and with all the current flurry of motorway and arterial projects being proposed, funded, or already begun construction (is the worldwide bitumen supply going to run out soon, and we need to build a few last roads?), we are particularly sensitive to delays of the many cycle projects we are eagerly waiting for.
As I have said before – we don’t ride on the fancy plans of the future, we ride in the messy situation of today, and we want it improved. Announcing projects isn’t the same as doing them…
So here I give a quick recap of some things that are going on at the moment, including where things are happening – or not (list not exhaustive):
Vegetation has been cleared for most of the section between Upper Queen Street and Wellesley Street East. That section should be proceeding to actual path construction soon, probably while we are all lying in the sun on the beach (spare a thought for the construction workers).
The link between Wellesley Street East and Grafton Road is still being optimised in design, after some issues cropped up near the university land. A very steep option has recently been discarded and a much less steep one proposed.
At the Alten Road / Stanley Street intersection, the new signalised crossing should see a contractor chosen soon – construction is hoped to begin end of December. It will remove the northern of the Alten Road slip lanes (left onto Stanley Street), and signalise the whole crossing, including the southern slip lane (left off Stanley Street) – with cycle signals, so we can legally ride across (until that particular issue in our law is fixed).
Upper Queen Street Bridge – I hear that Auckland Council may soon go public with the future look of this bridge, which will see us get a new city gateway with LOTS more cycle and walking space. The main worry is that Auckland Council (who are leading this part of the project) has construction slated for 2015/2016 only. Hopefully, that is just for the urban design parts of the new gateway – we don’t want to wait another 2 years for the walk & cycleway improvements!
This one is more depressing – while it was nice to have the project engineer meet us on site on his own bicycle (something which happens more often in AT these days, but is far from common), we are concerned that nothing for cycling seems to have been done, even though the main road project is nearing its end. So much for the “we will do the parallel cycle route first” promises we got in 2012…
Another story of delays. Property negotiations have kept this one from going for consultation as it was originally intended to do in July. Now the “public reveal”, so to speak, is not to be until maybe March 2014. They are still hoping to finish the path before the motorway is built, but sadly, the history on other projects of this kind makes us somewhat sceptical. Surprise us folks, that would be great!
In better news, it seems that a good bridge option over the railway line at Soljak Place has now been found, and the ideas to cross at grade (!) or have a cycle elevator have both been kicked off the table, as unsafe / impractical.
Beach Road Cycleway
We have not heard much progress about this one since the consultation some months ago, though CAA did emphasise to AT that we weren’t happy with “business as usual” in terms of delivery. A flagship project – stated so in AT’s own plans – deserves a strong push. Seeing this slated as another “Construction 2015/2016” project in a recent Auckland Council document worries us.
New Zealand Cycle Trail
AT is still refusing to give timeframes for this one, almost 3 years after the project was conceived by CAA, and given the in-principle OK by the New Zealand Cycle Trail organisation. Last I heard, they were re-looking at some further improvements to the infrastructure on the route from the airport to the CBD.
That’s fine, but could you please do the works that you have already planned in your last report, open it officially, and THEN discuss further improvements? We understand that you want perfection, and so do we. But we’d rather have something good today, and something even better a few years after, than nothing now.
A bit early to be in this list, but we have heard that AT has called for consultants to produce the scheme assessment report (needed to apply for funding) for an Eastern Cycleway from Tamaki Drive to Glen Innes train station. The works are likely to include widening of the 2.5m existing boardwalk between Orakei Point Peninsula and Meadowbank. The difficult parts of the design process will be finding a good link between Orakei Point and Tamaki Drive (along the rail line, or along Ngapipi Road), and the most rideable route up the hill crest at St Johns.
Good stuff, though we will need extra cycle money from Council to get this built anytime soon.
Te Atatu Interchange & Causeway
We should soon get a look at the design for the cycleway underpass through the Te Atatu Interchange (though the recent press release from NZTA showed an outdated plan from 2011 – with the previously proposed four-stage signalised crossing, as if to give us a bit of a scare). There will be cycleway works going on (started in many areas already) all the way from Lincoln Road to St Lukes Interchange.
We are rather disappointed that they are mainly adding more lanes to these motorways (instead of a proper busway), but the upgraded cycle facilities will range from pretty good to very good!
As one of the design team on this project, I can’t really talk about this, but there’s been a few visuals of the updated design in the North Shore Times here. On the 19th of December, Auckland Council will vote on the big yes / no question.
If agreed, this should proceed pretty quickly after that.