December 24, 2015

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Cycleways Auckland - Progress Report 2015

2015 has shown significant progress in the development of the network of cycleways in the Auckland Region. The Auckland Council and all the other agencies including Auckland Transport and the Government are to be congratulated on their commitment and vision in investing in the network of cycleways in the region
New tunnel under Te Atatu Road - North Western Cycleway - Dec 2015

There is always resistance to change and there have been letters to the Herald that have suggested that the cycleways are an extravagance that we cannot afford and that they are only used by a few cyclists who do not contribute to the cost of the roading network. While the car has been the dominant form of transport in Auckland over the past fifty years it is evident that the cities congestion problems will not be solved by just  building more motorways. The solutions most overseas cities are adopting include improved public transport, cycleways and walkways and traffic bypasses.

The suggestion that only a few people use the cycleways is true at this time mainly because of the public perception  that cycling on roads is unsafe in Auckland. I have been cycling in Auckland for the past twenty years and I feel that riding on the roads is now getting safer as drivers become more aware of cyclists and also because the number of dedicated cycleways has grown. Having ridden in Paris recently, I know that the drivers still have some way to go order for Auckland to be compared with Paris or Amsterdam as a friendly place to cycle in.

My strategy for riding in Auckland has been to use dedicated cycleways where ever possible and never to ride on double lane roads.The number of cyclists as in other cities will increase significantly as the dedicated cycleway network is expanded and linked.
Those who think Auckland is too hilly for cycling probably are unaware of the fantastic electric bikes that are now available.

Cycling in Paris

From my experience the number of people who cycle in along the North western cycleway into the city each day is growing every week as the cycleway gets easier to use and every bike means one less car on the road which is a win for both users. Riding a bike also has other benefits which include improved fitness and enjoyment of Auckland's fantastic city environment. These benefits replace the frustrations of motorway blockages and parking problems.

One parent who sees the potential of the cycleway network recently commented in the Herald.

'My 9 year old son says the pink cycleway is awesome. Tip for school holidays: follow the bike signs from Britomart up Grafton Gully and down Nelson St - all safe dedicated bike lanes. Well done Auckland.'

This sums it up that the investment in the cycleways is an investment in the future. The cost of the cycleways and walkways is not high when compared to the costs for new motorways. The proposal for an Eastern motorway for Auckland has been estimated to cost between 2.8 billion to 3.2 billion dollars.

Projects  2015
North Western Cycleway
There has been significant progress on this cycleway that runs alongside the north western motorway for most of its length and in December, the cycleway underpass under Te Atatu road was opened.

 Nelson Street Cycleway
 This cycleway is an important addition to the cycleway network which will become better used when some of other connections still to be built are completed.


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