I’m going to try my hand at a bit of infrastructure here (although completely unqualified to do so). I’d be very glad to hear your opinions on this and especially from the infrastructure specialists out there.
However, I do feel that I have a special qualification for doing this post (and possibly rare qualification on this site) of being a completely wimpy ‘lower case C’ cyclist. Whilst having been cycling for more years than I care to share, I have never liked playing with cars, I ride on the pavement when necessary, and have experience of guiding 8 to 80 year olds (the target audience of a true cycling city) around Auckland’s streets.
So to business …
I recently saw and interesting post on Auckland Transport BlogÂ where the author analysed the streets inÂ theÂ city for walking, buses and cars – of course myÂ immediateÂ thought was ‘where are the main routes for bicycles?’
This is the image from his post where brown is cars, red is walking and green is buses.
So I had a go at adding my primary cycling routes (blue dots) …
Currently the waterfront and Fort St./High St./Lorne St. (and yes both directions) form the mainÂ arterialÂ for my travel in the city. When I need to go out of the Queen St. valley, I take either Wellesley to Symonds St. or Mayoral Drive/Vincent St. to K Road. depending on whether I’m going East or West.Â I avoid the top of Queen Street and going directly west along Victoria or Wellesley as the hills are too steep for me there. I prefer to take the scenic route and use the waterfront ‘super highway’.
Now I know that some have the leg muscles for Auckland’s steeper hills but your average 8 to 80 year olds will take the easier routes every time. The key I think is to make these streets safe – both statistically safe and subjectively safe.
I am perfectly happy on the waterfront off-road cycle path, all of the Wynyard Quarter, around the Fort, High,Â O’Connell, Lorne Street area, Queen St. is reasonable but will be much improved when the new plans forÂ pedestrianisingÂ it happen.
The top end of town is not so good -
Wellesley is marginal, while it does have a cycle lane it is narrow and just paint and I am hoping this is just a place holder for when they do the big ‘connecting the city to the Domain’ thing that is outlined in the Auckland Plan (see red circle on picture). Symonds St. is strictly still a ‘ride on the pavement’ job for me, Grafton bridge is ok if you don’t have a bus up your backsides and then you can go through the park, which is nice.
Mayoral drive is a bit hairy but you’re not on it for long then, once again, there is a bit of a dodgy cycle lane up Vincent St. – just paint and poor surface. I don’t like Pitt street at all as you have to change lanes if you’re in the road, but up the pavement and across at the lights works quite nicely. K road is ok if it’s quiet butÂ it’s onto the pavement here too if necessary.
So the way I see it, if we want to get everyone cycling around the city, we will need to put connected Copenhagen-style cycle lanes on these top-end major cycling arteries. Essentially, any of the blue dot routes that also have green lines or brown lines (or both) on them.
What do you think?