The Grey Lynn cycleway routes – plus the related safety upgrades, including new crossings and traffic calming – have been paused for review since Christmas, and many readers will be wondering what’s going on. You can keep track of Auckland Transport’s official updates on this page, and you can also sign up for email updates by writing to bruce.thomas@at.govt.nz

The review process

The main thing to know is that AT has engaged urban design consultants Boffa Miskell to lead a technical review of the Waitemata Safe Routes programme. The review is in two parts –

  1. Richmond Road (including the West Lynn shops) and
  2. the Old Mill Road, Surrey Crescent and Garnet Road areas.

Regular monthly updates are being provided to two corresponding Community Liaison Groups, each with a diverse range of participants (the minutes of those will be posted online in due course). The review process is expected to take 4-6 months.

Updated 12 April: Per the April Business Report to the AT Board, the redesign will be completed by 30 June.

Boffa Miskell’s survey to gather feedback on travel habits and neighbourhood amenities received 300+ responses.  The last of three drop-in sessions at the Grey Lynn Community Centre, hosted by Boffa Miskell on behalf of AT, is this Saturday 14th April 9:30-11:30 in the Oval Room.

The blue and pink routes are the ones currently under review. 

Other updates

The half-built bump-out on Surrey Crescent opposite the end of Richmond Rd – which suffered a recent bout of unauthorised and unorthodox would-be demolition – is being removed starting Monday 16 April. Note: the intersection design is under review, which is good – it was one of the major issues highlighted in our original feedback, as it made no safe provision for people on bikes making right turns, and wasn’t especially pedestrian-friendly either. In particular, it’s traversed twice daily by parents and children from Grey Lynn School, who deserve better.

Through the West Lynn shops, it’s a case of one step forward and two steps back: in the shopping village the bike lanes have been greened and yellow-dashed and protected in various ways to prevent vehicles blocking them.

Dashed yellow lines at driveways haven’t prevented vehicles parking in the spaces, but seem to be stopping them parking on the bike lane.
The front wheel bumpers are helping keep drivers out of the bike lane, but seem to be taking some punishment.

From the Community Centre to Surrey Crescent, however, the markings peter out (and some have recently been painted out). On the one hand, there are design and implementation challenges along this stretch: the parking-protected bike lane leaves fewer parking spots, raising the spectre of free car storage versus safer bike travel. And parking-protected lanes seem tricky for drivers to get the hang of if there are no physical constraints to bump up against, although most of us seem to manage okay in parking lots.

On the other hand, this paused arrangement leaves people on bikes in an invidious position: just as you’re getting used to the protected lane, you have to rejoin general traffic, or (in the case of most children and some adults) take the footpath. It’s less than ideal, and as Russell Brown observed in a recent blog post, “It seems likely to stay that way, dangerous and dysfunctional, for another year.”

What would have been the buffer zone for a parking protected bike lane in the process of being painted out. Cars will continue to park curbside; people on bikes are back in traffic.

In slightly happier news, at the north end of the village, from Ray White towards the Peel St roundabout, marking is being added to discourage cars from blocking access onto and off the constructed off-road path.

Markings will discourage this sort of thing. (Photo: Russell Brown)

After some minor ‘make safe’ work, the Old Mill Rd and Garnet Rd sections remain unfinished for now, and under review. The completed on-berm cycleway is usable, albeit often blocked by parked cars, and the intersection at Old Mill/ Motions Rd/ Garnet Rd remains a gauntlet braved by schoolchildren twice a day.

Meanwhile, the local protest group continues its campaign for a halt to all cycleway projects across Auckland. It also continues to question the need for these bike routes, which connect to two primary schools and several kindergartens and daycares, provide access to local shops and parks, link to planned cycleways to the city and beyond, and form a key part of the official Auckland Cycle Network.

We’ll keep you appraised of specific design updates when there’s something solid to report. It could be months yet, and is costing time and money in both delayed contracts and redesign – but we’re hopeful it will all turn out to have been worth it. In Russell Brown’s words:

The gold-plated solution on Garnet and Old Mill Roads in Westmere would have been to move back the kerbs and take a metre and a half of the vast berms. But the moment you do that, you’re into serious money. So we got a series of awkward compromises to stay within budget while keeping the unnecessary flush median strip some residents said they had to have.

Same at West Lynn. A generous budget would doubtless have seen AT actually hire an urban design team and save itself a whole lot of grief. The actual lesson here isn’t that gold-plated schemes are trouble, but that very cheap ones might be.

The silver lining of this situation is that the revised design is bound to be an improvement – and, done well, it will set the tone for widespread bike-and-walk friendly retrofitting of local streets across the city, in line with the new government transport policy. The only way out is through!

Categories
Cycle lanes Isthmus
Share this