Updated Thursday 15 August: Good news! We’re told the cycleway bridge at Mountain View Road is now re-opened to bikes, pedestrians, motorised wheelchairs, and scooters, with signage to be made and installed ASAP. (Maintenance vehicle access will be restricted).
Stay tuned for further news from AT of how and when the repair will happen, and whether it will affect access over the bridge.
“Why is it taking so long for tangible action? This should be an absolute priority.” We’re 100% with Newton Central School’s principal Riki Teteina on the matter of the bottleneck on the busy Northwestern Cycleway, as reported last week by RNZ’s Rowan Quinn.
Auckland’s second-busiest and fastest growing bike route has urgently needed widening and separation for a while now along the narrow strip through Kingsland, where the busy morning commute coincides with the school run on a section of barely wide enough for one-way bike traffic.
We first raised the issue in early 2018 and, with the support of the school, offered a design proposal to help AT solve the problem.
A year later, in early 2019 and with no immediate fix in sight, the school cancelled its walking school bus for safety reasons, bringing the issue to wider public attention.
Auckland Transport says it is now well into the design process, with consultation and tendering to follow; and that all going well, they hope to have the project completed by the end of the coming summer.
We’ve seen early designs, we like what we see, and we look forward to a speedy resolution. And in the meantime, we encourage everyone on wheels to slow down through this section, use your bells, and be thoughtful, especially around kids and slower, less predictable travellers. Treat it like the village path it is.
Our thanks to Rowan Quinn of RNZ for her tenacious and insightful coverage of this safety issue.
And then, slightly west of the bottleneck section, this happened.
On the afternoon of Friday 9 August, a truck hit the walk/bike bridge over Mountain View Road, causing significant structural damage. This section of pathway between Finch St and Myrtle St was closed that same afternoon, and has remained closed while Auckland Transport inspects the damage and works out how to repair it.
AT has advised via social media that people detour along parallel local streets. However, as of Wednesday 14 August, there is no signage on site advising of the detour route, and the expectation seems to be that people will just follow their noses.
We’ve asked for this situation to be remedied ASAP, as it would be for travellers on any other part of AT’s road network. It’s simply not safe to make universal assumptions that people understand the nature of the detour and have sufficient information to get where they’re going. In the meantime, please help us spread the word and inform anyone you see looking in need of help.
The length of the detour is about 450m, a two minute cycle or a six minute walk. (The good news is, unlike the infamous lengthy detour of 2015-2016, it’s not especially hilly, although there is a short hill at the Finch St end).
We’ve also registered concern about the fact that the detour introduces around 1000 bike movements a day (and an unknown number of pedestrian movements) to the intersection of Mountain View Road and Levonia St. This is a favoured rat run, where drivers do not reliably observe either the speed limit or the stop signs. Additionally, it features a downhill in one direction, and a dark underpass with limited visibility in the other direction. If the bridge is to remain closed, we’d expect some traffic management through here to reduce risk and make drivers aware of extra bike traffic.
Over the weekend, we also saw quite a few questions about how the bridge could be closed and yet Mountain View Road remained open underneath it. AT tells us this is because the bridge is not at risk of collapse through dead load (the weight of the structure itself), but it’s unknown how “live load” of people walking or biking would affect that. AT expects to make a decision by the end of this week about whether to reopen the path, or keep it closed during the repair process, and we understand the decision is “imminent.”