Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Change for the Better

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  • BenWilson, in reply to FletcherB,

    for me it’s 2-3 km extra (10-20%) distance in exchange for a nearly flat ride and nearly half on protected cycleway

    Presumably the alternative is New North Rd? Or perhaps a sneaky back street route to Mt Eden Rd I can see why you'd avoid those. Hilly and dangerous. I'm pretty glad to be near the Northwestern, although I concur with previous posters saying that the route from Waterview to New Lynn is pretty much hopeless so far as cycling infrastructure is concerned. There's basically a half-arsed footpath/cycleway that ends about halfway up Gt North Rd, at which point you can either ride on the footpath (I consider this the more dangerous option since every driveway is blind, it's very narrow, and most days there are bins taking up the entire thing) or the road, which is a busy highway, the main feed to inner West Auckland.

    Particularly dangerous along that stretch is the Blockhouse Bay Rd turn off, if you want to go straight. Many times I've had drivers overtake me, then do a sharp left turn directly in front of me, often cutting the corner. Now, I make that impossible just by taking the whole lane for 50m before the corner. Having the option to be a dick taken away seems to make drivers not be dicks. So far.

    In rush hour, coming the other way up to that corner, I often take the footpath. If nothing else, it's just much quicker. But then at the top, the lengths involved to get to the cycleway are just stupid now. I have to merge off the footpath into traffic, then cross two lanes, then ride down the median strip, then turn across two lanes onto a shitty bumpy footpath covered in leaves, cracks, potholes, those spiky seed pods, pedestrians, dogs, cars pulling out of the servo, cars pulling into the servo, and then the tiny narrow gap right at the bottom which has a fucked up jarring bump right in the middle, and invariably has 3 pedestrians standing together discussing whether they should go into Oakley Creek Walkway. Then it's a stiff climb to Pt Chev (I was hoping that at the very least this could have been avoided in all of the billions spent on the intersection upgrade - that the cycleway could have followed the motorway under the bridge), followed by having to cross Carrington Rd on a pedestrian crossing, and then finally, finally we get to the cycleway goodness, which is very good (well except that for about 3 months they just used the stretch of it past St Lukes Rd to park digging machines and diverted all bikes up a whole bunch of suburban hills to get across what was a 100m downhill cycleway stretch before - I don't know if this is now fixed).

    I don't know exactly what could be done to improve the Waterview to New Lynn stretch, though. It's naturally very narrow going up to BB road - the only way to widen the road would be to acquire hundreds of millions of dollars worth of housing. Same goes all the way to New Lynn - this is just one of those shitty old ancient routes, the "Great" North Rd, which would have seemed a marvel of engineering when Auckland was mostly forest, but now is just shite. Avondale used to be the end of the line, prior to bridges being built, so it was probably not planned that this road would be feeding the hinterlands of West Auckland. The Ash St bypass could certainly have a painted cycleway added at almost no cost, although I don't find that stretch particularly dangerous myself, except when it's littered with parked cars, something I can't really understand. Why make a bypass and then let people park on it?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to BenWilson,

    (well except that for about 3 months they just used the stretch of it past St Lukes Rd to park digging machines and diverted all bikes up a whole bunch of suburban hills to get across what was a 100m downhill cycleway stretch before - I don't know if this is now fixed)

    Confirmed for no. Anyone going east of St Lukes is apparently going to be climbing those goddamned hills for another 2-3 weeks minimum (I've learnt not to treat AT's claims about when paths will reopen as gospel).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Andre, in reply to Sacha,

    The BSA is New Zealand's most toothless organisation. They would probably just rule that Mike Hosking is expressing 'an opinion'. Remembering, of course, that he is not really a journalist.
    I rode bikes to work through the 80's and 90's while living in the CBD (Hobson, Albert, Emily, Anzac, Whittaker, Symonds, Pitt etc) and Ponsonby/Grey Lynn/Herne Bay. I worked all over too. The traffic was crazy but the worst offenders were the buses. You spend a huge amount of time looking behind in your mirrors and casting ahead to see if people are entering or exiting vehicles. It took me 17 minutes by bike to get to work from Whittaker Place to Great South Rd Greenlane in 1996. It took 27 minutes on a bus and 7 minutes on a motorbike cutting through queues on the motorway. The bicycle took only a few more minutes than a car back then.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Come to think of it, I suppose there would be insane arguments for doing so …

    As many YouTube videos from nutbar mountain bikers testify.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Lifehack for the diagonal cycle crossing at Victoria/Nelson Street: if you want to go down towards the viaduct or Quay Street quickly and in peace, punch the button to activate the crossing, then when it goes off, head along it for a couple of metres and then drop straight downhill on Nelson Street in the regular lanes. You get the nice downhill run and the activated crossing will keep the traffic off your back until you get to Fanshawe Street at very least.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sam F,

    Wish I'd read that last night. I just got punked by a diagonal crossing that led me to sign saying "Cyclists, Dismount". Oh? OK, so I'm going here then, am I? Color me confused as to what that crossing is for. I was at least halfway across before I could even be sure that the image was a bicycle in the light. So, being a cycle crossing, it's purpose was to stop me being a cyclist, immediately it was done with me.

    I guess it was specifically designed to be lifehacked...that one is a keeper, thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Wellington court case - including footage - results in no conviction for off-duty bus driver using his suv as a weapon against cyclist.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    Wellington court case – including footage – results in no conviction for off-duty bus driver using his suv as a weapon against cyclist

    The video, which Simeon claimed was edited, shows Simeon driving up close behind Emet on Kent Tce, before tooting at him to get out of the way.

    Simeon then moved into Emet's path of travel, swerved and connected with Emet.

    That is terrifying. Not only did this professional driver not think the cyclist had a right to the lane, he seems to think it was OK to hit him with his SUV. How can it be all right to intentionally hit an unprotected human being with a multi-tonne vehicle, even if that human being is in the wrong?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    No worries, Ben. Yup, I've seen similar confusion over diagonal cycle crossings' signs and lights elsewhere - I think it's a byproduct of their being fundamentally a stupid idea.

    I practiced what I preached on Nelson Street this morning, using a new secondhand bike with lovely big 700c wheels - the big caveat is to watch the lights at Fanshawe carefully, as it's a hard downhill haul on the brakes if you're moving at a clip and the lights at the bottom of the hill shift to yellow...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    results in no conviction for off-duty bus driver

    Does anyone know why? The article doesn't seem to make that clear.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    On a related topic to Russell's post, yesterday's Mediawatch contains a 7 minute segment discussing media coverage of Auckland's Nelson Street cycleway and Wellington's Island Bay cycleway.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    It doesn't. Guessing it would have cost him his job - which seems quite fair to me, given the nature of the offence.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to izogi,

    Why is Duncan Garner (an Aucklander) campaigning against our popular female Greenish mayor in Wellington?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    He is?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Listening to that Mediawatch link izogi posted above. It follows on from a nasty op ed piece in the DomPost a couple of weeks ago

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sam F,

    I'd be going 50km/h within 10 seconds. I'd judge the light the same way I would in a car - if it's safe to stop, I would stop, otherwise I'd just go through on yellow at 50km/h and clear the intersection in about 3-4 seconds. Since you don't have rear mirrors on a bike, it's a particularly dangerous time to pull an emergency stop, since a car behind you can't tell if you're braking, and that is one of the times they're most likely to tailgate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    She might be popular but she’s also very polarising. I think part of her success was probably that the main alternative put up was John Morrison.

    Duncan Garner’s problem is likely just a Green Party hating thing, and not wanting to give any credence to the possibility that someone with affiliations could possibly be doing something beneficial.

    It’s a shame, because national media used to employ people with an intent of report non-Auckland issues with some semblance of objectivity. I guess employing people to research and know stuff is less cost effective than having talking heads spouting vacuous opinion as a substitute.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to izogi,

    Just watched the last 3D. They all lamented the end of the serious journalism TV genre and gave examples of the sort of voices that would not be heard anymore.

    Now fully into the era of vacuous opinion.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    (well except that for about 3 months they just used the stretch of it past St Lukes Rd to park digging machines and diverted all bikes up a whole bunch of suburban hills to get across what was a 100m downhill cycleway stretch before – I don’t know if this is now fixed).

    This is still the case. And it really is some bullshit. Especially given that they'd undertaken not to disrupt the cycleway during the motorway-building.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I noticed that the first thing they strategically did was dig the old cycleway up, so there's no going back now. We await their pleasure, on a work that would take them about 1 day, if they actually worked on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to BenWilson,

    We await their pleasure, on a work that would take them about 1 day, if they actually worked on it.

    I've been avoiding this stretch as much as possible - mainly by reverting to the old on-road cycle route parallel to the motorway and then taking the underpass at Mountain View Road - but the times I've been past St Lukes intersection lately it does look like progress is happening (at least that's what I think the shifting fences and lumps of rock all over the temporary path mean).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sam F,

    I honestly find it easier to just ride up Chinaman's Hill sometimes. You get to skip the irksome ramp to Newton Road that way too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    ah, you mean attacking her as opposed to standing for election against her? #asyouwere

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to BenWilson,

    Sorry, I haven't been back to PA for a while to reply.. yes, I completely concur on nearly all your observations re: Gt North Rd and cycleways between Waterview and and Avondale, inc BHB-Rd intersection...

    I have invented my own hand-signal for such situations (bicycle going straight ahead, where you are likely to be overtaken by left-turning cars)... I take my right hand off the handlebar, and point with my finger and a horizontal fore-arm, moving it back and forward in a straight ahead direction (think choo-choo train motions). I have no way of knowing if this is clear to the following cars, or if the lack of over-taking left turners is merely luck, but I havent been knocked off (or even close) while using it... And yes, taking the lane helps too...

    But I also frequently approach intersections (both lights and round-abouts), when I'm going straight ahead, where there is a left-turn only lane... I believe the correct approach, for a cyclist, is (or should be?) to ride up the white-line splitting the two lanes... So cars going straight ahead can overtake, and left turners can take their lane and pass on the inside...

    Cars going straight ahead know what to do and behave as expected... cars turning left? Maybe half stay behind me, and only commit to the left when we are both approaching the intersection stop-line... well, I'm trying to be helpful, but if they want to play safe.. I'm not going to argue or complain... But how many "undertake" me on the left as I expect compared to those who go past on the right and then cut dangerously across my path into the left turn lane? It's about 5 to 1 proportion who make the wrong/dangerous/scary move....

    Also- heading towards Waterview from Avondale shops... If traffic is light, I ride on the road to BHB rd and then merge across to the flush median as traffic allows.. to take to the start of the cycle-way halfway down to the BP station...

    But in rush hour... I ride up the wrong-side (ie. right side) foot-path on Gt Nth... its wide (but not smooth) until BHB Rd.. I cross the end of BHB Rd with the pedestrian crossing... and then, depending on traffic coming up the hill from Waterview... will either stay on the narrow/bumpy/bin-lined footpath at 15km/h, or if a gap presents itself, ride across the empty right lanes after the BHB intersection onto the flush-median (where 30-35kmh is easy), and stay there all the way down to where the cycle-way starts...

    I'm looking forward to the already planned (and budgeted?) cycle-way alongside the railway corridor from Olympic-park in Portage Rd that will follow the railway through Avondale to behind Mt Albert Pak-N-Save on New North Rd and then join onto the planned cycleway and walking path upgrade that will go above the new tunnel and meet up with Oakley creek path? Or just ride on the road to Carrington through Mt Albert, or Asquith to St Lukes Rd at Western Springs? Should be ready in 2-3 years? :)

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 887 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    choo-choo train motions

    A signal possibly interpreted by drivers as “stay clear of the obviously crazy cyclist”; but that interpretation has the desired effect.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1887 posts Report Reply

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