Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Paths where we actually ride

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  • Julie Fairey, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Part of it is about the funding coming from different places. It is a lot easier for a Local Board to decide to widen a pathway (or install one) in a local park - not only does the Local Board control the budget it is also the landowner for the park too. With on-street it is more complicated, not least as technically the decisions are with AT even when it is the Local Board's AT capex fund.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

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    Excuse the multiple posts, above, responding to particular other posts, here is a more general one. May I point out the Puketapapa Greenways Plan, brainchild of former Local Board Chair Richard Barter, who continues to do sterling work advocating for implementation and local cycling initiatives to support increased use http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/representativesbodies/LocalBoards/Puketapapalocalboard/Pages/puketapapaplans.aspx#greenwaysplan This was put together a couple of years ago now, and I recently put together this rough summary of where things are up to, according to the original Greenways map.

    The biggest barrier to getting the infrastructure built (after funding) is threats to on-street carparking. The Local Board has faced some opposition in regard to two major linkage projects – Somerset Rd (a small part of the much larger Mt Roskill Safer Routes project and without the Somerset Rd stretch the rest wouldn’t have got funded or delivered by AT) in particular was a huge fight for the majority of the Local Board with one Board member constantly wanting to relitigate it and stirring up opposition. I can go on about that at length if anyone wants!

    In another case a project that AT undertook without the Local Board (as they are entitled to do) and had nothing to do with cycling resulted in the loss of a small number of parks and cycling is being blamed for that, even though there is no cycle lane there. That is still a very live issue (albeit no threat to cycling infrastructure, and AT’s problem really): http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/77456945/auckland-businesses-struggle-to-survive-with-yellow-lines

    Putting aside the issue of on-street parking as car storage for private vehicles, we do need to think about what to do for convenience based businesses like dairies who won’t get business without P5 outside them, or foot traffic driven by being in a town centre, near a PT stop, or in a dense enough community where a lot of walking happens. Do we have an obligation to try to come up with a solution? Do we let the market decide? Is there even a solution to be had or is this one of those hard choices? Genuine questions that I’m mulling over.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Perhaps because you are driving on a motorway and you have 99.9% of your attention on the high speed two-dimensional traffic matrix you are involved in?

    I understand your point - but you are quite wrong to describe the Grafton Gully motorway between 8 and 9 am as a "high-speed" environment. Average vehicle speed would usually be less than walking speed.

    As I said, it looks like a fantastic new initiative, and I am surprised how under-utilised it seems to be in the middle of the morning commute.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Davidson,

    Meanwhile in Sydney this week, two cyclists got fined AUD425 each for "trackstanding" (stopping without putting your foot down) at an intersection, the police have deployed the riot squad to fine cyclists, whilst there was a major accident on the harbour bridge during peak hour that was causing traffic chaos a couple of hundred metres away police resources were being utilised to enforce cyclists' helmet strap tightness, and the average driving time in peak hour on some roads is down to 10km/hr (via @icycleivote).

    Priorities much?

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • Walter Nicholls, in reply to Katy,

    If we are to see any kind of meaningful uptake of bike-riding then a place needs to be made for us in the form of separated cycle paths.

    And where places are made, cyclists clearly take them up as those statistics show(*). I regularly drive a car up Union St/PittSt around 5-5:30pm weekdays. Since December, nearly every time I go through the Union/Nelson St intersection, there is a group of cyclists waiting to cross from the top of the Nelson St cycle path over to, presumably, the start of the Lightpath. I get a kick every time I see it.

    Motorists are just going to have to suck it up

    Funnily, one intersection further up at Hobson St, I used to resent a point of the traffic light phase where I had a red light even though (if I had a green) I would not cross anyone's path. Frustrating grumpily at the wasted time (seconds :-) )
    Now however there is a special 'cyclist' traffic light which goes green at that point. It means the cyclists have a chance to get out in front, uphill and through the narrow gap, before the lights change fully and two lanes of cars come thundering up their backsides. Now I love waiting there.

    The real problem is that a perceived majority of motorists see cyclists as interlopers; and do not have nice bikes they enjoy riding at other times. As more people start riding bikes around, that will normalise it, and also bike-ownership will surely rise.

    ( * ok, if the whole route works. I cycled Nelson St/Lightpath exactly once soon after it opened. But sadly it is no use to me in any of my regular commutes)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gareth Davidson,

    Priorities much?

    This is nuts!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster,

    "Putting aside the issue of on-street parking as car storage for private vehicles..." Building a garage is why AC awarded us an out of scope change, leaving the neighbouring similar houses protected. Issue solved for now, but yet another example of bureaucratic disjointed thinking.

    We walk our dog along Oakley Creek, there are various signs about the new shared path from Pt Chev's Great North Road through Unitec and along the railway to Blockhouse Bay Road, complete with a massive bridge going over the creek, I took from these, and the preparatory works already done, that this is a happening thing. This post seems to confirm it - http://ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/articles/news/2016/02/work-begins-on-waterview/.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Julie Fairey,

    Putting aside the issue of on-street parking as car storage for private vehicles, we do need to think about what to do for convenience based businesses like dairies who won’t get business without P5 outside them, or foot traffic driven by being in a town centre, near a PT stop, or in a dense enough community where a lot of walking happens. Do we have an obligation to try to come up with a solution? Do we let the market decide? Is there even a solution to be had or is this one of those hard choices? Genuine questions that I’m mulling over.

    I'm not a fan of allowing folks to store their cars on the road. Roads are too important for that to be acceptable.

    But there are questions about some businesses. One brutal answer is to say if the business can't survive without a carpark out the front then perhaps it isn't a viable business. Many arguments around the carparks in Mt Roskill shops and Balmoral shops are kind of negated when you see cars parked there the whole day which argues that turnover of the cars is negligible anyway.

    But there is another response as well and that is to point to areas where cycling and foot traffic has been encouraged by removing parking and replacing it with shared spaces. In some of those cases drop in business increases because instead of going past at 40 kph more traffic goes past at 5-10 khp and is more likely to actually stop and drop in.

    I don't think the change will be easy but the fact of life is that given the cost of our roads we need them to work better and that means for some routes in particular allowing people to store their cars on the public roads is no longer acceptable.

    That's more complicated on suburban streets like Somerset (although protecting the schoolkids would seem to be a good idea) but on really critical routes like Gt Nth Rd, K Rd, Ponsonby Rd etc parking is a pretty low priority.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I’m genuinely surprised at how clueless mayoral aspirant Vic Crone is.

    From a report on an appearance with Goff at an East Tamaki business group:

    Crone hit out at the CBD cycleways being constructed when other areas like Rodney are still waiting on sealed footpaths.

    Presumably she plans to take the money that central government provides for the construction of urban cycleways and smuggle it out to Rodney to build footpaths. Cunning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    People from west Auckland: why don’t you use this new facility? Knowing the answer to this might help AT make better decisions in future.

    I can answer, as a West Aucklander who commutes to the University. At first, this path seemed like a boon. But in practice, every exit is then followed by a big ascent to Symonds St. So actually, the only real use for that route is to get to Parnell and surrounds. You get off it literally at the very bottom of Auckland, which is built on a hill, so you have to go back up a hill to everywhere else. It's not quicker and certainly not easier than just going down Queen or Symonds St. It is safer, unless you spoon off at high speed (something that could well happen since it's a continuous descent on a long sweeping curve and is frequently littered with leaf mess when wet), at which point you could lie injured for quite a while before anyone even discovered you. Fortunately you're not that far from the hospital, although no ambulance would be able to reach you. The chopper could get you out, maybe, if the overhanging trees were not impeding them.

    I don't know how many people commute by bike from West Auckland to Parnell. Those people have something quite useful.

    I can tell you what I had hoped would happen, which would have seen me a regular user - if the path did not start after the ascent up Ian McKinnon Drive, but instead bypassed that ascent, it would be very useful. But that would have meant crossing the motorway without using the Upper Queen St bridge. An underpass was suggested. If it went beyond suggestion, this route could become the path of least ascent, and would probably be more patronized. Instead it's the path of greatest ascent, unless you're going to Parnell.

    This might seem odd, because Upper Queen St also starts with a significant drop. But coming off the cycleway, it's effectively like a bowl - you zoom down one side and up the other without using much energy. This effect could possibly be better exploited on the Grafton cycleway if the exits were sweeping curves and high speeds could be used to climb back up to Symonds St. But they're not, for safety reasons.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Can I add to others’ points:

    - For most people riding in to work in the city, for an 8:30 start or similar, you’d want to get there about 15-20 minutes earlier at least (unless you have a very short commute and don’t need to change or shower – and as Ben says the Gully route is useless for short commutes around town). So most folks in that situation are already in town by 8am or not long after.

    - As you’d know if you had ever ridden it, the path from West Auckland to the city is NOT continuous and unbroken, and most people will be sharing the streets with traffic for at least part of their ride – and it’s a lot safer and faster to leave well before the traffic builds up. I find anytime before 7:30 is a hell of a lot safer than after. So, again, the people you are not seeing have probably already gotten to town, partly so they can avoid traffic on local roads further back in their commute.

    Hence the cycle "rush hour" is more like 7 to 8am than the drivers' 8 to 9.

    I’ve ridden to town beside SH16, for study and fulltime work, on a continuous daily basis for eleven years so I feel I have a reasonable period of observation to draw on here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Agree with this Bart - the case for shared spaces providing more business not less seems to be clear from the evidence, even if it has yet to win over everyone *cough* High St *cough*.

    I'm talking more about the dairies in particular that are on their own on an arterial road - shared space isn't an option (and wouldn't work anyway).

    Parking is usually the lowest priority use of the limited space of the road corridor, as it should be imho. I was at Skye Duncan's talk last week and liked her hierarchy about this - pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, private cars moving, parking. There will be specific circumstances in which you move that hierarchy around a bit, but I can't imagine a scenario in which parking ought to come first.

    And arterials are exactly the roads which often have the most difficult decisions, because they are most in demand for the full range of uses, particularly in proximity to schools and town centres.

    Mt Albert Rd is the one I think about most, as from Sandringham Rd almost to the Royal Oak roundabout it is in my area and I use it a lot myself by car, bike, walking, and sometimes bus. There's a dairy part way along, near Kiwitea St and Gifford Ave, and it's all alone - there's a (minor) bus stop nearby but otherwise nothing that would mean foot traffic. The P5 outside becomes vital for survival, to supplement the small number of locals who would walk there when the milk runs out, or grab an ice block for the walk home from the bus on a hot day. What do we do? (genuine q!)

    PS Parking surveys show Mt Roskill Village (cnr Mt Albert & Dominion) has plenty of parking, as does Roskill South. The parking is primarily behind the shops, and not as well known as it could be, but that's not something that needs on-street parking to fix. I don't know about Balmoral.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Is it true that Phase II of Nelson St cycleway from Union to Victoria St is estimated to cost $13.9 million?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Julie Fairey,

    Parking surveys show Mt Roskill Village (cnr Mt Albert & Dominion) has plenty of parking, as does Roskill South. The parking is primarily behind the shops

    Apparently since Dominion Rd has two lanes at that point it's OK to park in the left lane to go into the post office ... sigh.

    There’s a dairy part way along

    I know the one. We drive past it every day. We stopped going to it when they decided to carry on advertising tobacco long after the law changed.

    But yeah there are a lot of dairies like this. Legacies of the days when it was OK for a business to use public land as their source of income. That's what they are doing, relying on parking provided by the ratepayers to sustain their marginal business.

    I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for them.

    As for real solutions for shops like the one you describe, there are only two options, you continue to subsidise them or you don't. At some point the balance of pressure from the needs of the road users must outweigh one businessperson.

    It really isn't that far from the shops and petrol station at Mt Roskill or the Sandringham road corner shops.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Pat,

    I use the current Grey Lynn Park to Richmond Rd route. If it is to be improved then I hope that includes provision for the privacy of the pensioner who lives in the flat next to the driveway between Sackville and Westmoreland street

    Arch Hill • Since Mar 2016 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Julie Fairey,

    Agree with this Bart – the case for shared spaces providing more business not less seems to be clear from the evidence, even if it has yet to win over everyone *cough* High St *cough*.

    Unity Books!

    Apparently a bookshop with a large window display doesn't want more foot traffic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Pat,

    I use the current Grey Lynn Park to Richmond Rd route. If it is to be improved then I hope that includes provision for the privacy of the pensioner who lives in the flat next to the driveway between Sackville and Westmoreland street

    That's a very fair point. It should.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

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    The new, improved path from Hakanoa to Sackville Street, part of the Grey Lynn to Cox's Bay route. Not quite finished, but very nice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

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