Hard News: Paths where we actually ride
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I love the freedom and health benefits of getting around by bike but agree with others on some problem areas -
1. The steep hike up Newton Rd from the nw cycle path only to drop back to access the pink path. Good to see that will be addressed.
2. Traffic terrors from Kelston along Gt Nth Rd/ Ash St/Rata St/ Waterview. Passes several significant schools so some safety improvements would be welcome.
3. Hillsborough to Onehunga - I tackled Hendry Rd on Sunday then returned via Onehunga and Herd Rd. Both were very fitness-inducing if not repeat the feat-inducing.
Katy, in reply to
Grey Lynn Park is a wide open space and there are always people there. Would you not go there during the day?
Yes, though just for me personally Cox's Bay park is the only one on the list that is near where I need to go regularly, and I would never ride in there on my own. Too many sharp turns and stairs which mean I have to either dismount or slow right down, which unfortunately just isn't preferable to the visibility of being on the road.
The proposed network goes past every shopping centre in Western Bays, and dozens of cafes. It’s really very good. As I said above, it’s really just a matter of how and when it’s executed.
Totally agree. I suppose I would prefer to see the funding/priority go to these on-street routes first, rather than upgrading park pathways and implementing large scenic cycleways. Don't get me wrong, it's brilliant all that is happening too, but it's the streets that need to be cyclable first in my opinion if we are to see a culture shift, and I can't see the point in waiting another 3+ years to start. I had been secretly hoping P Rd would get works started sooner so I'm just nursing a little disappointment :(
Allan MacLachlan, in reply to
Hillsborough to Onehunga – I tackled Hendry Rd on Sunday then returned via Onehunga and Herd Rd. Both were very fitness-inducing if not repeat the feat-inducing.
Agreed - that's quite a stiff climb. But there's not a lot getting away from the fact that you are climbing 60-80m over a short distance to get to Hillsborough Rd from the Onehunga Foreshore.
Russell Brown, in reply to
Yes, though just for me personally Cox’s Bay park is the only one on the list that is near where I need to go regularly, and I would never ride in there on my own. Too many sharp turns and stairs which mean I have to either dismount or slow right down, which unfortunately just isn’t preferable to the visibility of being on the road
Yeah, I can see that with respect to the proposed upgrade of the greenway on the eastern side, which leads to the bottom of Wharf Road. They’d take out the irritating steps at the bridge over the creek and widen it where possible, but it will still be away from the road.
Otoh, my most common ride is from Point Chev to Farro and Countdown, so the improvement of the path in from Nottingham Street on the west side will be an absolute boon. It’s the way I ride anyway, but it’s awkward at present – I generally end up using the grass slope rather than fiddling about getting through the bars at the bottom of the path with a pannier attached. The tyre tracks over the grass suggest I'm not alone.
I am a bit surprised there’s no plan to improve the existing path through to Hukanui Crescent. That’s potentially a nice way for people to get to and from Ponsonby without braving the road madness of the retail strip (where cycle lanes would help but won’t fix the problem of cars flooding in and out of the various carparks).
Russell Brown, in reply to
Agreed – that’s quite a stiff climb. But there’s not a lot getting away from the fact that you are climbing 60-80m over a short distance to get to Hillsborough Rd from the Onehunga Foreshore.
That's a showstopper that makes the route beyond many cyclists. Can't see it being remedied, unfortunately.
Russell Brown, in reply to
Totally agree. I suppose I would prefer to see the funding/priority go to these on-street routes first, rather than upgrading park pathways and implementing large scenic cycleways.
But from my point of view, the Grey Lynn Park path isn’t just pleasant, it’s immensely practical and the most direct, flat route – it's literally something you couldn't do in a car. As you may have gathered, I’m excited about it :-)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant all that is happening too, but it’s the streets that need to be cyclable first in my opinion if we are to see a culture shift, and I can’t see the point in waiting another 3+ years to start. I had been secretly hoping P Rd would get works started sooner so I’m just nursing a little disappointment :(
I wonder if they’re a little gun-shy after the Franklin Road nonsense.
And what plans for the major blip in the NW cycleway when crossing Carrington Road. With all the infrastructure at Waterview going in, why hasn't that been fixed? It seemed the perfect opportunity to have continued this flush with the motorway, rather than having to terminate in side roads and necessitate a dismount at the Zebra crossing. At Patiki road and Te Atatu they have done wonderfully well tunnelling under the roads. Its a shame they haven't done this at both St Lukes and Carrington Roads when other works at these sites would have allowed this. Have I missed something?
Russell Brown, in reply to
At Patiki road and Te Atatu they have done wonderfully well tunnelling under the roads. Its a shame they haven’t done this at both St Lukes and Carrington Roads when other works at these sites would have allowed this. Have I missed something?
Agreed – it's annoying. The NW cycleway is NZTA's gig, but preparing the roads on their side of the new bridge at St Lukes Road is Auckland Transport's job. I wonder if that complicated things.
I just have to post this somewhere, after cycling to the university this morning: Sufjan Stevens at The Civic last night. Magnificent!
Apologies for the distraction.
The Newton Road Problem will be subject to consultation in the next few months, and then, hopefully sooner than later, a new path will be made through the small reserve by the bridge to connect with a cycleway on Ian McKinnon Drive making for a single, easier climb.
That would be primo. I use this route all the time. Since it's at the actual hub of the bike route, it makes so much sense, affecting pretty much everyone using the cycleway for commuting (or any other kind of tripping) to the city center. Removing a 30m ascent (and a big dogleg with a traffic crossing to boot) wins a lot of friends.
BenWilson, in reply to
There’s definitely a plan for a connection from New Lynn to Waterview – along the railway line. Consultation imminent, I hear!
Would be awesome, although I'm a little confused about where that actually goes. It looks like it's along Oakley Creek, which I think is not really a practical commuter option, but if it follows the railway path and then sort of follows the ridge toward Carrington Rd, that would save quite a lot of traffic grief AND take away the ascent to Carrington Rd from the bottom of Gt North Rd in Waterview. I'd guess it would have to pass through parts of Unitec to do that, though. Presumably that's not public land.
I have actually stealth biked through a potential path there. It's public land, but not with developed paths, and it ends up ON the railway (hence the stealth, to get out I had to lift the bike over a fence), but it would be a great place to put a path, both for pedestrians and cyclists, so long as a safety fence preventing access to the railway itself is in place. It would open up a good walking route from Avondale to Unitec that would not have the big descent/ascent to the Creek that is currently required, nor the detour through Mt Albert.
Nikki Whyte, in reply to
Part of the path is the Waterview shared path (https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/waterview-shared-path/) and I've just requested an update to the New Lynn shared path project page.
BenWilson, in reply to
It seemed the perfect opportunity to have continued this flush with the motorway, rather than having to terminate in side roads and necessitate a dismount at the Zebra crossing.
Yes, this! I've been watching it the entire time during construction for signs of such an obvious improvement. They've literally built and destroyed roads 3 or 4 times just for all the vehicles doing the work there which looked like they could have been the thing we always wanted, a nice little stretch beside the motorway from Waterview to Chamberlain Park. Probably it would need to be the very last thing done, for that reason. They have to have somewhere to drive and leave all those vehicles. They already requisitioned a stretch of the cycleway just past Chamberlain for this - I don't know if that's all done with yet.
As for cyclewaying Ponsonby Rd, it's hard to see it happening. Currently on any Friday or Saturday night the place essentially 6 lanes of taxis for several hundred meters. Parked, and standing in both lanes in both directions. There's hordes of drunks wandering everywhere - hard to see where a cycleway could fit in with any of that. It would need to be physically separated, or people will certainly be killed.
As for cyclewaying Ponsonby Rd, it’s hard to see it happening. Currently on any Friday or Saturday night the place essentially 6 lanes of taxis for several hundred meters. Parked, and standing in both lanes in both directions. There’s hordes of drunks wandering everywhere – hard to see where a cycleway could fit in with any of that.
Ugh I know, the taxi takeover is awful.
Hard to imagine cycle lanes maybe, but it's not impossible! New York used to be ruled by taxis until their gutsy transport commissioner put in cycle lanes, and yeah it was hugely contested, but now it's the new normal. http://www.metromag.co.nz/city-life/urban-design/bike-better-auckland-could-we-do-what-new-york-did/
I realise that a lot of people on this forum are cyclists, so I'd be interested in your reactions to the new cycling regulations proposed for New South Wales, and in particular the one that requires cyclists to maintain a 1m distance between themselves and pedestrians. My wife and I recently spent a much of a long weekend in Taupo walking on the shared cycle/pedestrian track around the lake shore, and we were continually startled by cyclists passing close by us from behind at speed with little or no warning. Some cyclists used their bells to warn us which was great, but not all bells are loud enough (I'm hearing impaired), and our dog freaked out at the number of times this happened. It would have been nice if the shared pathway had been made wider, but with cyclists in total charge of the overtaking manoeuvre the best we could hope for was for them to give us as wide a berth as possible.
Stephen Judd, in reply to
I'm a very keen commuting/utility cyclist, and I think we definitely need some cultural change about the use of bells on shared paths and speed on shared paths. I think you have to accept that if you're on a bike, on a shared path, pedestrians are going to do unpredictable things, dogs are going to zip out, toddlers will break away, etc, and you need to lower speed accordingly. If you don't like it, don't use a shared path.
I was in Vancouver last year and the paths around Stanley Island and the waterfront are clearly demarcated pedestrian vs cyclist. In fact the Stanley ones go further and are split level, with a clear gutter and height difference. Some of our shared paths by contrast have design that really encourages or at least doesn't discourage bad behaviour.
I'm not sure how I feel about law enforcement that is more specific than "careless use".
Stephen Judd, in reply to
Oh, and I think the overall impact of the NSW changes is going to be bad for cycling numbers, without achieving much. Feels much more like a poke in the eye for greenies than a solution to a serious social problem.
On the whole I think both pedestrians and cyclists should resist shared paths and go for dedicated paths for each mode. Shared paths are basically a sop from people who still think cars are more important.
BenWilson, in reply to
Some of our shared paths by contrast have design that really encourages or at least doesn’t discourage bad behaviour.
Yes, a good one on Tamaki Drive is that the path marked for cyclists is the one that has the street lamp posts in the middle of it.
BenWilson, in reply to
in particular the one that requires cyclists to maintain a 1m distance between themselves and pedestrians.
It seems unduly restrictive. It makes it essentially impossible to ever ride on a shared way if there are any pedestrians around, since pedestrians tend to move quite randomly on footpaths.
It’s a blunt instrument which only makes sense in a situation where the cyclist is going fast. If they are going slowly, then passing closer is surely fine. A low speed collision (like at walking speed) is unlikely to cause anyone real harm, and people can judge when it will, like if the pedestrian is elderly, disabled, impeded or a child, or whatever, and be extra careful in that circumstance. I wouldn’t, for instance, ride rapidly past a glazier carrying a massive sheet of glass, or a blind person tapping along with a cane. But someone who has clearly seen me, and is even standing slightly aside? In that situation it’s rude NOT to pass as quickly as you can.
I don’t know the solution, though, for shared paths. I understand your view that it’s startling to be suddenly overtaken. However I also understand why cyclists do it. If they signal well in advance, quite often the pedestrians don’t really know what to do, and make themselves even more impeding. Or they go OTT and leap out of the way like you’re driving a truck at them. Neither is really what the cyclist actually wants.
In the case of dogs, I’d usually rather that they didn’t see me coming because they have no sense whatsoever, and are likely to stand directly across your path, or jump “out of the way” so that you tangle in the leash. Or attempt to sniff you and be struck. Or, of course, in my mind, is the thought that they might take fright and bite.
Which is not to say that it’s a good idea to do the sudden silent overtake. I just understand the motivation. Should I really be ringing my bell continually along the cycleway, even at pedestrians who are actually just walking along on the left, out of the way? Do I really want every single pedestrian to be forced to look backwards at me? Should I ring the bell until I am absolutely sure they’re aware of me? The problem is that we don’t have a sufficiently advanced cycleway culture that the etiquette is well understood even by locals, let alone anyone else who can’t be expected to know local customs. Which is complicated by the many differences between the cycleways themselves.
The North Western, for instance, functions mostly as a cycle-motorway. Its purpose is not really sightseeing, but getting somewhere fast and safe. Because it is long and there isn’t much to see for a lot of it, there aren’t really that many pedestrians, and those pedestrian quickly come to realize that cyclists expect to be going fast and don’t want to slow down, since the way is actually wide enough for a safe high-speed pass. The noise around is only the sound of cars roaring by on the motorway, so an approaching bike is actually easy to hear even if it doesn’t signal, and the sight lines are long anyway – you could look back once a minute and see cyclists before they reach you. So in this instance it works well as a shared path – there’s no reason to deny pedestrians the right to use it, because they just don’t use it very much.
Tamaki Drive, on the other hand, only functions as a cycleway if the cyclists essentially are sightseeing themselves. It has an awful surface, endless blockages, a lot of pedestrians who are dawdling around randomly rather than striding purposefully, cars parked along virtually the whole length, with the potential to open their doors directly onto the cycleway. A cyclist who actually wants to go a reasonable speed has little choice but to use the road instead, which is unfortunately quite dangerous. In this circumstance, it should really be a physically separated cycleway, probably bi-directional. People should be able to walk along the footpath looking at the view, without the danger of being struck by a fast moving vehicle.
I'm all in favour of using bells on shared paths - somehow they seem more "polite" than other options. However they don't work so well when the pedestrians have headphones in... can take quite a few dings. Most pedestrians on the NW cycleway are considerate, presumably because there are so many cyclists, many moving quickly. Smaller cycleways take more care - this evening coming back home from Glen Eden train station I had to work my way past side-by-side prams with a wandering toddler, kids and their scooters lying right across the path, random small dog, runner doing interval training, and even a very staunch cat that wasn't moving for anybody. I don't mind the people, great to see them out and about, just have to be sensible about speed. Less keen on random unpredictable dogs...
To get back to the main topic - I'm a supporter of the "link up the parks" approach. It's relatively low cost to develop a few more paths, typically takes you through nice areas and you are further away from cars. Yeah, it may be slightly slower than the main road, but then it can let you take short-cuts that cars can't. For a while I was doing some commuting from Titirangi to Glen Innes.. which doesn't sound great but an evening with a road map and Google Maps satellite view let me work out a route that linked up a bunch of parks, walkways and backstreets, making it a quite an enjoyable and safe feeling ride (if slightly long and hilly...). Back streets, even with speed bumps don't slow you down much on a bike. I just wont ride the squeezed four lane arterials like Gt North Road/Ash street. They are scary. It would be great to have proper separated cycleways there, but I can't see that happening any time soon...
Marc C, in reply to
Yes, I read the post, and I note how some good improvements are being made in the area where you live. But so far we get only some projects in certain areas, and there is this approach of "radiating out" from the inner city into the suburbs, that I read, that AT seem to follow, by gradually extending existing networks.
So I do not want to rubbish AT for the work they are doing and anticipating, and plans being made so far, but it is all rather limited to certain priority areas, where there is also likely to be more of an uptake of cycling. This though leaves very many suburban areas out of the picture, where only few routes have been built or are being planned. I am looking at the greater picture, and that is also involving the challenge of getting people out of cars, in larger numbers.
Some commenters on PA want more intensification of Auckland, and more public transport and cycling and walking being encouraged. What we get though with Council's present planning is still not enough, in the way of providing investment and planning for the infrastructure. How can we rezone, intensify and so forth, when it will still give priority to cars, which seems to be the case.
In their evidence for residential zone hearings in the AUP hearing process, Mr Nick Roberts as Auckland Councils commissioned planner presented this marked up document (see link further below), where proposed changes (many proposed by developers and construction businesses and other vested interest parties) were adopted by Council and presented for the Panel to consider.
What struck me and a few others, who care to look at the detail, was that storage provisions that were notified for a number of residential zones, including MHS, MHU and THAB were suddenly DELETED. Parking for bicycles is also not that much enabled, so only dwellings of 20 or more units appear to require safe, long term parking for bicycles. Where does this leave smaller developments and people living in them? Ok, if you already have a garage, you can store your bike, but if you may have to, or choose to live in an apartment block that is not so large, you may have NO storage and parking for a bicycle.
How can they plan in such a manner, expecting people to take up cycling, I ask?
The marked up version for the relevant residential parts in the PAUP:
(that is what Council now seems to have settled for)
Look under development controls and sections 7.21, 8.22 and 9.20 for instance, where storage that was notified with the plan has been completely deleted.
Parking is covered by another topic 043 and 044, and see the info in Council's marked up version for the changed plan here (see page 15 and Table 5 the requirements for cycle parking):
Although there is slow improvement over what we have so far, I think they need to be much bolder and enable much more bicycle parking, so people can not only ride their bikes, they can also park and store them safely. That is not yet happening, I fear.
If I want to cycle, I want to keep it in a safe place in my dwelling, or in a storage and parking spot outside, where it will not be stolen or damaged. It is all fine for the ones who already have homes with garages, sheds and other storage, but with new developments not needing more storage or parking, we are not going to encourage cycling where it should be.
Another Council stuff up, giving in to developers who want less rules, and do what they like. You can see by the many changes, how much they departed from the notified PAUP text - in these and other topics.
Sam F, in reply to
They have to have somewhere to drive and leave all those vehicles. They already requisitioned a stretch of the cycleway just past Chamberlain for this – I don’t know if that’s all done with yet.
If you're talking east of Chamberlain, over St Lukes Road beside the motorway offramp, it's still closed - in fact, they have now blown three successive deadlines since the contractors closed it off in late September.
We're now told Easter but I struggle to believe it. It's a full six months now since this section was closed, and even when it reopens, there won't be any meaningful improvements.
For anyone with a really long memory - these are the same chumps who directed cyclists and walkers onto a unsigned, unsafe detour with zero notice... way back last Easter break!
Russell Brown, in reply to
If you’re talking east of Chamberlain, over St Lukes Road beside the motorway offramp, it’s still closed – in fact, they have now blown three successive deadlines since the contractors closed it off in late September.
We’re now told Easter but I struggle to believe it. It’s a full six months now since this section was closed, and even when it reopens, there won’t be any meaningful improvements.
Yup. NZTA have dropped the ball unbelievably badly on this. And I don’t believe the excuse that eventually emerged, that the holdup was so ducting could be done. For most of the time this stretch has been dug up and closed, there’s simply been nothing happening. Or, as Ben notes, nothing but parking.
It does appear they’re actually laying a path now, though. Hallelujah.
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