Pippa Coom Rotating Header Image

Creating safe connections to Lightpath

Photo: Phil Walter

Photo: Phil Walter

[Update 11 February 2016: Auckland Transport and NZTA have provided updates in response to our December Board resolution – AT’s walking and cycling team response to each point in italics below]

We can’t get enough of the new Te ara i whiti/Lightpath and Nelson St Cycleway. It is a pleasure to ride and the magenta magic is stunning (#LightpathAKL for all the images).

However we are concerned about the poor standard of connections to this fantastic cycling infrastructure. The approach roads to the Canada St entrance are not pleasant to ride on especially for less confident riders and a number of detours are expected of commuters wanting a smooth ride and direct route. There is also a lack of signage to Lightpath from K’rd .

First hoon opening on 3 December

Photo: Ronald Andreasson

We (transport portfolio of the Waitemata Local Board) have asked Auckland Transport and NZTA to follow up on a number of issues that we are already aware of since the opening on 3 December. Many of these will get fixed as part of the proposed K’rd cycleway and some are already being investigated by a NZTA safety auditor but we wanted to confirm the urgent action we think is needed on the connections to the Canada St entrance to Lightpath from K’rd, Grafton Gully cycleway and Ian McKinnon Drive. Fortunately there is a lot of road to work with and low parking demand on Canada St.  Please let us know if we have missed anything from the list below (either use the comments or email me pippa.coom@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz)

At the Waitemata Local Board meeting in December 2015 we passed the following resolution:

Moved by Deputy Chairperson PJ Coom, seconded by member CP Dempsey:

i) That the Auckland Transport Update – December 2015 report be received.

ii) That the Waitematā Local Board notes the public feedback analysis for the Nelson Street Cycleway Phase 2 and requests Auckland Transport provide a direct connection to Wynyard Quarter via Market Place and the Western side of Nelson St in addition to the proposed Quay St connection.

Upper Queen St missing connection to GGC

Missing crossing point between Grafton Gully Cycleway and Canada St shared path. Photo: Christopher Dempsey

iii) Congratulate NZTA and Auckland Transport on the successful opening of the Nelson St cycleway Phase 1

vi) Requests that NZTA and Auckland Transport urgently undertake measures (interim if necessary) to provide safe connections from K’rd, Grafton Gully Cycleway and Ian McKinnon Drive to the entrance of Te ara i whiti/Lightpath at Canada St including:

  1. Installation of an advance cycle box on K’rd at the intersection of Pitt St and Mercury Lane for the right hand turn on to Mercury Lane  In the short term we are proposing to trial a cycle barnes dance at this intersection which will enable people on bikes to cross the road and access Mercury Lane without conflict with other vehicular traffic.  In the longer term this movement will be improved further in the KRd Streetscape Upgrade project.
  2. Traffic calming on Mercury Lane We are including traffic calming on Mercury Lane in the reference design for the street once the CRL works are complete.  We will investigate ways of better enabling this movement in the short term.
  3. Canada St 11am 8 December 2015Treatment to provide for riders moving across the traffic lane to enter the right hand slip lane on Mercury lane to cross over Canada St to the entrance to the Canada St bridge In the longer term access to the Light Path from Mercury Lane will be addressed in the upgrade of Mercury Lane as part of the CRL works.
  4. Traffic calming on the approach to the Canada St give way sign at the intersection with Mercury Lane  An improvement to this section of Mercury Lane will be included in the reference design for the street as part of the CRL works.  We will investigate opportunities for temporary measures before the CRL works commence. .
  5. Installation of a cycle facility from Upper Queen St bridge to the K’rd intersection on the western side of Upper Queen St We plan to upgrade this section of Upper Queen Street as part of the KRd Streetscape Upgrade project
  6. Wayfinding signage on K’rd  We have included the requirement for wayfinding signage as part of the KRd Streetscape Upgrade project.  We will investigate opportunities for temporary signs in the meantime
  7. Appropriate kerb ramps for riders wishing to enter the Canada St shared path from Mercury Lane The New Zealand Transport Agency are investigating this request as part of the final safety audit.
  8. Signalised crossing from Grafton Gully to the southern side of Canada Street across Upper Queen St. This movement is currently catered for as a two part crossing over Upper Queen Street and Canada Street.  As part of the KRd Streetscape Upgrade project we will look for opportunities to improve the level of service for people walking and cycling.

vii) Requests NZTA and Auckland Transport to report back to the February 2016 meeting of the Waitemata Local Board on the actions taken

At our February board meeting where AT verbally presented the updates we emphasised the need for quick fixes rather than waiting for the the improvements that are promised to be delivered as part of the K’rd Streetscape Upgrade Project (to be delivered by 2017/18) and the CRL works (2022).

NZTA has also provided this update:

The work around Murray Lane and Canada Street is being reviewed as part of the final safety audit which is due to be concluded imminently with remediation work to follow. I will provide an update on this when it is available.

2 Comments

  1. Non-motorist says:

    Hi Pippa,

    I’d like to offer two angles on this pressing problem of connectivity around Lightpath.

    Firstly, I’d suggest that Lightpath is fundamentally flawed in its geometry. Being a motorway-oriented path (by definition: separated from buildings and side streets) means it is probably too far gone already. It’s main value, if anything, is as a spectacular recreational detour, or as a through-route with limited appeal for some regional commuters. As a local cycling facility, it was never going to be as useful as Pitt St and Karangahape Rd — both of which are intimately and naturally linked to the rest of the street grid. So it’s possible that Lightpath’s shortcomings in connectivity are a non-issue in the broader context of the city centre cycling plan, which has proposed to develop both Pitt St and K’Rd anyway.

    Secondly, if we were to stick by Lightpath, I’d suggest that your list should be improved in the following ways:

    1) The K’Rd/Mercury Ln intersection should have short separated bike tracks on all approaches, providing refuge for queuing cyclists, and a simultaneous-green crossing phase added to the signal lights for cyclists only. The separation could be implemented with cheap and temporary materials, until such time as K’Rd is fully developed for cycling. A stop box for turning right is a token gesture that does not help anyone but the most brash of riders.

    2) The intersection of Mercury Ln/Canada St needs to be rebuilt. This is already essential for walkability regardless of Lightpath, but is now perhaps also justifiable for bicycle connectivity. There is no use making the slip lane merge easier, or calming traffic; the slip lanes should not exist, and bicycles should some have exclusive space and/or time at the crossing. An interim solution is to close the right-turn slip lane to car traffic (bikes only), as any such users can access addresses via East St from K’Rd, and to rely on traffic gaps due to the aforementioned simultaneous-green phase at the K’Rd entry point for separating cyclists from car traffic.

    3) A cycle facility along Upper Queen St to K’Rd would be welcome, but more important would be to bike-enable the intersection of Uppper Queen St / K’Rd itself. Currently, there are two slip lanes and a right turn restriction (applying to cyclists as well), a left-only lane, a three right-only lanes, and contested-green phasing, and two steep uphill approaches, all of which makes for a nightmarish riding experience. Adding a linear path on Upper Queen St would actually solve the least of the problems in the area and contribute nothing to network connectivity. However, bike-enabling this intersection for movement in all directions would allow new streams of cyclists from/to all surrounding places to enter/exit Upper Queen St. This intersection ought to have greater priority — and again can be treated with temporary measures pending a full upgrade with the K’Rd development.

    All of these suggestions benefit the local area regardless of Lightpath and should be carried out urgently anyway. However, it may be that Lightpath helps prioritize them higher than before.

    I hope that constructively adds to your thinking on the matter.

    1. Pippa says:

      Thank you for taking the time to give such detailed feedback.
      I will definitely be following up and will get back to you once I’ve had a chance to digest.