Quay Street Cycleway opening

It would have been hard to imagine even a few years ago politicians flocking to the opening of a cycleway.  In fact there were hardly any cycleway openings in Auckland until the PM opened Grafton Gully cycleway in September 2014.   However that all changed when serious investment in cycling got underway thanks in part to the Urban Cycling  programme. The additional government funding matched with Auckland Council interim transport levy funding  is starting to have an impact.  As the network of cycleways grows on busy routes cycling numbers are increasing with a doubling of numbers coming into the city centre in the last year.

Protected cycleways like the new one on Quay Street feel safe and pleasant to ride. They attract commuters, recreational riders, tourists and families with children.  They unleash the huge latent demand for opportunities to ride safely.  They are good for businesses , good for health & wellbeing and good for improving the liveability of Auckland*.  It is not surprising politicians of all colours want to celebrate when new cycleways open!

 

 

Auckland Transport Media Release

8 July 2016

Auckland’s waterfront will be an improved urban space and an even busier cycle route following the opening of the Quay St Cycleway today.

The Prime Minister, Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Mayor Len Brown and a large group of people on bikes, were the first to use the city centre’s newest cycleway. The opening was preceded by a dawn blessing with Iwi representatives.

A new cycle counter on the promenade, a first for Auckland, will highlight the number of people cycling along one of Auckland busiest routes.

On the waterfront side of Quay St, the 1km, two way cycleway goes from Princes Wharf at Lower Hobson St to Plumer St. The $2.18m cycleway is being delivered by Auckland Transport and has local funding and an investment from the Government through NZ Transport Agency and the Urban Cycleways Programme.

It will benefit everyone who spends time at the waterfront and will encourage more people to start cycling into the city centre says Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s Cycling and Walking manager.

“Having a dedicated cycleway like this means there is more space on the promenade for people to walk and enjoy the harbour views. The planter boxes, which provide protection from traffic, improve this wonderful space by adding some greenery.

“The cycle route into the city centre along Tamaki Dr is the busiest route in Auckland, and this will make cycling from the east even more attractive. Providing a protected cycleway on Quay St gives people working in the downtown area greater travel choice and an excellent cross-town route that avoids a lot of city traffic.”

Mayor Len Brown says it’s another important chapter in his vision for Auckland as the world’s most liveable city as it transforms the city centre into a pedestrian and cycle friendly destination.

“This project is another example of Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency working well together to achieve a great outcome.”

Bike Auckland, chair, Barbara Cuthbert says the cycleway is a great addition to downtown Auckland. “It’s hugely exciting to have a safe separated space for people cycling and those walking close to rail and ferry services.”

The three-metre-wide cycleway connects with the Beach Rd Cycleway at Britomart Pl and by the end of 2018 will link with the Nelson St Cycleway and Westhaven to City Cycleway at Princes Wharf and the Tamaki Dr Cycleway.

When phase two of Nelson St Cycleway is constructed next year, the city centre cycle loop will be complete. This loop includes Lightpath, Nelson St, Grafton Gully, Beach Rd and Quay St cycleways.

Auckland Transport is working with project partners Auckland Council and the Government through the NZ Transport Agency and the Urban Cycleways Programme on a $200m programme of cycle improvements from 2015 to 2018.

Quay St Cycleway

  • The Quay Street Cycleway is delivered by Auckland Transport and is one of the projects funded in the 2015-18 Urban Cycleways Programme (UCP).
  • Auckland Transport is working with project partners Auckland Council and the Government through the NZ Transport Agency and the Urban Cycleways Programme on a $200m programme of cycle improvements from 2015 to 2018.
  • The UCP involves central government partnering with local government to accelerate the delivery of $333 million of key cycle projects around New Zealand over the next three years
  • The $2.18 million cycleway is funded from $0.70M Central Government, $0.75M National Land Transport Fund, $0.73 million Auckland Transport. This project is part of the wider Auckland city centre package project announced through the Urban Cycleways Programme.
  • The one kilometre long, three metres wide, two-way cycleway goes from Princes Wharf, Lower Hobson to Plumer St. The majority of the route is on-road, physically protected from traffic with concrete separators (similar to Nelson St Cycleway) and planter boxes.
  • This cycleway connects with the existing shared path on Quay St in the east. By 2018 AT will have delivered another cycleway that will connect Quay St Cycleway at Plumer St with the start of the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr Shared Path at Hobson Bay. People will be able to cycle and walk from Glen Innes to the city centre.
  • Beach Rd Cycleway connects with Quay St at Britomart Pl allowing people to cycle all the way to the Northwestern Cycleway via Beach Rd Cycleway and Grafton Gully Cycleway.In the west, people can now cycle over Te Wero Bridge to Wynyard Quarter and around the Viaduct. Ultimately it will connect with Westhaven Dr to City Cycleway and Nelson St Cycleway when they are completed in 2017.
  • When Nelson St Cycleway phase two is complete next year, a city centre cycle loop will be complete including the pink Lightpath, Grafton Gully Cycleway, Beach Rd Cycleway and Quay St Cycleway. The project team is currently working on how best to connect Nelson St Cycleway (which currently ends at Victoria St) with Quay St Cycleway.

Cycling in Auckland by numbers

  • 750 cycle trips per day on pink Lightpath since it opened December
  • A doubling of the number of people cycling into the city over three years.
  • 50% increase in people cycling in Symonds St/Grafton Gully corridor following opening of Grafton Gully Cycleway in 2014
  • 20% increase in people cycling on Northwestern Cycleway in May 2016 compared with May 2015.

Upcoming cycle projects in Auckland

  • Mangere Future Streets opening late September
  • Mt Roskill Safe Routes opening late October
  • Ian McKinnon Dr Cycleway public consultation starts July
  • Karangahape Rd Streetscape Enhancement and Cycleway public consultation by August.
  • Great North Rd Cycleway public consultation by the end of 2016.

Related reading

Key unlocks Quay Street – Transport Blog

A gray, sunny day for lots of joy on Quay Street – Bike Auckland

Prime Minister John Key geared up on Auckland’s Quay Street cycleway – Auckland Now

*Benefits of investing in cycling in New Zealand communities – NZTA

Grey Lynn Transport project

Economic benefits from transport choice and people focused planning

Grey Lynn shopsIncreasing investment in public transport, public spaces and cycling has ignited debate across Auckland, especially in central areas, about the impact on retailers who fear losing car parking and customers. A proposed Grey Lynn transport project reported on in Ponsonby News by John Elliott over the last few months draws out many of the themes of the wider debate. It also highlights that the benefits to be realised from transport choice and people- focused planning needs to be clear if the changes coming are going to be embraced by everyone.

Earlier in the year when Auckland Transport first proposed bus safety improvements at the Grey Lynn shops resulting in the removal of car parking on Great North Rd it was not surprising that local retailers campaigned for a rethink.  There were genuine practical concerns like the need for loading zones but also a perception, shared by John who enjoys driving to the shops, that currently there are “very few car parks”. The Waitematā Local Board asked Auckland Transport to bring data to the table so we could review any proposal based on facts.

Grey Lynn parking surveyA parking occupancy survey of the 214 on- street car parks surrounding the shopping area found an average 40% vacancy rate.  Only 10% of spaces are used by people who park in the town centre and take the bus. Another survey found that the majority of shoppers arrive other than in a private car and that the time and money spent in the shopping area was similar for all modes of transport.

Grey Lynn plan proposalA Grey Lynn plan developed by the Grey Lynn Business Association a few years ago in consultation with the community looked to image the future design of the shopping precinct. It includes measures to slow the traffic, and provide more pedestrian links, new crossing points, and more trees. The plan is backed up by results from Auckland and overseas that pedestrian and “people-focused” improvements can boost local economic activity.

Auckland Transport now say they have taken into account the Grey Lynn plan, feedback and the surveys to come up with a much more off street car parking in Grey Lynncomprehensive approach. My initial view is that new proposals connecting to other future developments like new cycleways, gateway treatments and new bus routes (as well as working with landlords to make the large amounts of off- street parking tucked behind the shops more accessible) have the potential to be positive for retailers, shoppers and the local community.  However it is too soon to reach any conclusions until Auckland Transport’s consultation has been completed.

Ultimately we need to make sure it is good for business when we look after the local people who are choosing to leave the car at home as much as we do the drivers. And motorists like John need to keep feeling welcome to drive to the shops – fortunately when visiting Grey Lynn a car park is pretty much guaranteed!

Published in the October Ponsonby News 

Related reading

Salt Lake City cuts car parking, adds bike lanes, see retail boost Streetblog USA 6 October 2015

Bike lane blues: Why don’t retailers want a 30m pound cycle-friendly upgrade  The Guardian 5 October 2015

Monthly Board Report: November 2012

Covering activities from 1 October – 31 October 2012 and reported on at the Waitemata Local Board meeting held on 13 November 2012

Portfolio Reports

Transport

The Transport Portfolio monthly transport catch up with Auckland Transport was held on 25 October with me and Christopher Dempsey.  We covered a number of issues including:

  • Proposed consultation on the Kingdon Street pedestrian crossing and the provision of a new footpath on railway land between Kingdon Street and Davies Cres
  • Sarawia Street Crossing and the options AT have looked at to permanently close this crossing to vehicles.
  • Update on the Richmond Road Safety Action Plan
  • St Mary’s Bay Parking Trial – initial feedback on the trial at the 3 month point and the work that is underway to review requests for business permits for businesses located outside the zone without off street parking.
  • Eden Tce Parking area introducing consistent pay and display that is about to go out to consultation with the support of the business association.

Full details of these issues and other matters discussed are outlined in the Auckland Transport monthly report attached to the November agenda.

Waitemata Local Board capex priorities

The Local Board Agreement transport proposals for funding from the Local Transport Fund that I reported on last month have now been referred to the Review Group for an initial assessment.

Good for business workshop

Invitations went out on 31 October to business associations and members for the “Good for Business” Seminar to be held on Wednesday 28 November. This will be an opportunity to hear from international expert Rodney Tolley about the economic benefits to business of streetscape investment.

Greenways

The last of our Greenways workshops was held in October to confirm and prioritise the draft greenways routes that we would like presented at our December meeting for endorsing by the Board so that we can start consultation. This is an exciting project that has the potential to transform transport options in our area and will maximise the walking and cycling investment currently underway by Auckland Transport, NZTA and Waterfront Auckland.

Chorus – Ultra Fast Broadband

I have received a number of complaints this month about the standard to which pavements are being re-instated following the Chorus UFB works. In a number of places the high grade footpaths that were renewed in the western bays area only a couple of years ago are being left in a “patchwork” condition. Auckland Transport is following up these issues with Chorus and working to ensure the Code of Practice is followed.

TRAFINZ conference 8/9 October

I attended the NZ Traffic Institute’s annual conference in Takapuna on behalf of the Board.  I learnt a huge amount at the conference about road safety and the “safe system” principles.  I would recommend all members become familiar with the safe system approach to road safety and the responsibility we need to take as politicians for road design and working towards zero fatalities. My conference report is attached.

Community  Portfolio

Community Funding

Tricia Reade attended the Central Local Boards Joint Funding Committee workshop on my behalf on 19 October. We first considered the officer recommendations together for applications to the Community Group Assistance Fund and the Accommodation Support Fund. Both of these funds are substantially over subscribed with many of our local groups relying on the funding support.  The committee meeting to decide which groups will receive funding is on 9 November. The agenda is available online.

Unitary plan

Key stakeholder engagement on the preliminary Unitary Plan proposals that will inform the draft for public consultation in March 2013 got underway in October.  I attended the stakeholder workshop on 4 October and the Unitary Plan public meeting on 18 October. I have also taken every opportunity to gain greater understanding of the Unitary Plan proposals by attending the forums for board members.

Housing affordability

It has been recognised by Auckland Council and the Government that there is a housing crisis in Auckland – a crisis of supply, affordability, quality and choice. I attended the briefing on the Housing Strategic Action Plan (HSAP) that commits Council to working with others to deliver a multi-sector plan. Stage one of the HSAP, which is programmed to be completed by December this year focuses on investigating the whole range of possible housing development vehicles, policy and regulatory tools, available to Council that would increase the supply of affordable housing in Auckland. I would like to see the Auckland Council take a pro-active role in providing and encouraging affordable housing  (which needs to be understood on a continuum from social housing through to assisted home ownership and covering affordable rent) and making full use of the tools available such as inclusionary zoning.

Other issues relevant to the Community portfolio

A range of meetings and presentations were attended during October relevant to the Community portfolio – these are listed below.

Other board activities

Keep Auckland Beautiful Conference

I attended this free conference on Saturday 6 October on behalf of the Board. The conference started with an enthusiastic welcome from the Mayor Len Brown, who is patron of the Keep Auckland Beautiful Trust (KABT).

As I learnt at the conference the KABT is a new Trust that falls under the umbrella of Keep NZ Beautiful. It builds on the work of Keep Waitakere Beautiful that has operated from Eco- Matters Environmental Trust. As a non-profit organisation KNZB operates as a charitable trust to promote litter abatement, waste minimisation as well as town and city beautification across New Zealand.  The purpose of the conference was to the determine what level of interest there is in the Auckland Region for localised beautification projects and what Keep Auckland Beautiful Trust can do to support, foster or initiate these projects.

I asked Iris Donoghue, Chair of the KNZBT about the funding sources of the Trust as I am concerned about the support provided by tobacco companies. Iris confirmed that a tobacco company is a member of the Trust and provides funding (which is voted on each year) but not the Auckland Trust. I think the KNZBT has done a lot of good work and it is great we now have an Auckland Trust but I would like to ensure that any support we provide does not in any way benefit the tobacco industry (for example by providing public place ashtrays that normalise smoking in public areas and put the cost on to Council).

Business Improvement District workshop

I attended the BID workshop with Nick Pinchin from the Grey Lynn Business Association to get a better understanding of the process and funding available for setting up a BID. The workshop covered the value of BIDs in an economic development context, identifying a business area’s needs and the key priorities for a BID, how to engage the business community, surveying businesses, developing a strategic plan, lessons from recent BID establishments, the balloting process, resourcing the establishment process, funding and budgeting to get to a successful outcome. The GLBA is going to consider the process more carefully but the initial reaction is that as there is no longer funding available to support a BID establishment process it is going to be extremely difficult for an association run by volunteers to get a BID off the ground.

Local Board workshops and meetings

Attended during October:

  • Cluster workshop for Local Board members to discuss the first draft of the Parkland Design Guidelines on 1 October.
  • The Parkland Design Guidelines are going to directly influence the design, upgrade and maintenance of all parks across the region.  They will also be an important decision making tool for local board members who will enable them to powerfully evaluate design proposals, achieve cost savings and promote high quality designs.
  • Unitary plan briefing for the Board on historic/character overlays on 2 October
  • Local Board workshop on 2 October ·
  • Meeting on 3 October to discuss the Board’s hosting of Carols by Candlelight and ideas for the event to be held in Western Park on 6 December
  • Low impact design for storm water meeting on 3 October
  • Meeting with the new Stormwater Liaison Advisor about her role and the process for regularly engaging with local boards
  • Feedback on Bylaws: Public Places/Public Safety, Trading and Events meeting on 3 October
  • Auckland Transport’s briefing on 4 October for Local Boards on two key upcoming initiatives: The development of the Regional Public Transport Plan, and the Auckland Cycle Network (previously the Regional Cycle Network)
  • Unitary Plan stakeholder engagement workshop on 4 October (photo right)
  • Monthly catch up with Ashley Church, CEO Newmarket Business Association on 4 October
  • Meeting with Andy Davies and Philip Jones to discuss the placement of the bus stop outside Ponsonby Central and parking issues         Waitemata Local Board business meeting at Graham Street on Tuesday 9 October
  • Meeting to finalise Board’s accessibility action plan on 10 October
  • Annual plan meeting for Board members on 11 October
  • Greenways workshop on 11 October
  • BID Establishment and Collaboration Workshop for board members and business associations on 12 October
  • Housing Strategic Action Plan (HSAP) cluster meeting on 15 October
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 16 October
  • Workshop on the Waitemata Coastal Walkway Project on 16 October
  • Movies in the Park Presentation by Gina Dellabarca and Rebecca Knox on 17 October
  • Meeting on 18 October with John Dunshea and Tim Watts regarding the failure to include the Waitemata Local Board’s City Centre priorities and projects in the final version of the CCMP
  • Unitary Plan public engagement on 18 October – information session about the Unitary Plan process
  • GLBA committee meeting on 23 October
  • Waitemata Local Board workshop on 23 October
  • Public Art Concepts for O’Connell St meeting on 23 October
  • Communications update on 23 October
  • Safety in Albert Park meeting
  • Transport portfolio monthly catch up with Auckland Transport on 26 October
  • Draft Library Future Directions plan review on 26 October
  • Community Development and Partnership Central Portfolio Holders meeting (Community Gardens and Social Enterprise) on 26 October
  • Meeting with Megan Barclay from Be Accessible to finalise the Board’s accessibility plan
  • Final meeting of the Mayoral taskforce on alcohol and community safety to review the work and progress to date of the Taskforce initiatives (as alternate to the Chair)
  • Final workshop of the Greenways working group before a report is prepared for the Board’s December meeting
  • Update from Waterfront Auckland on  proposed activation of Queens Wharf and the restoration of Shed 10
  • Unitary Plan Planning Forum – Topics: Rural Urban Boundary & Heritage & Historic Character on 30 October
  • Discussion and lunch at the Waterfront Auckland October board meeting held on 31 October.

Events and functions

I attended the following events and functions during October:

  • Cycle Action’s Associates breakfast on 4 October
  • Joined the start of the Waitemata Local Board’s Original foreshore walk on 5 October. As part of the Heritage Festival, Malcolm Paterson along with Christopher Dempsey as assistant led a walk of 30  from Parnell pool through to the city centre and out to Victoria Park along the historic foreshore.
  • Attended the Keep Auckland Beautiful conference on Saturday 6 October hosted by at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, Mt Albert (see report above).
  • Jam on Toast –  a showcase of users of the Grey Lynn Community Centre on 6 October (I supported a stand for the GLBA, GLFM and Grey Lynn 2030)
  • Trafinz Conference 2012 on  8/9 October (report attached)
  • Your Power Team AECT election launch outside Vector on 10 October
  • GLBA monthly networking drinks on 11 October at the Grey Lynn RSC
  • Kelmarna Community Gardens open day on 12 October (I am a trustee of the gardens)
  • Billy Bragg concert at the Town Hall on 12 October – “The greatest enemy of our time isn’t capitalism or conservatism. It’s cynicism”
  • Leys Hall Official Opening on Saturday 13 October
  • Savalivali Grey Lynn Heritage Walk on 13 October
  • Opening of the Divali Festival on 13 October
  • Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market AGM on 14 October  (I was re-elected as Chair )
  • Sustainable Business Network’s 10 birthday party celebrations on 16 October
  • International Triathlon Age-Group World Championships– enjoyed checking out the racing on Labour Day by bike
  • Art in the Dark launch on 23 October at Barrio, Ponsonby Road (photo right)
  • Green Drinks at the Kitchen on 24 October
  • Jeremy Hubbard’s leaving function as Director of MOTAT after 10 years of service on 25 October
  • Launch of the Living Room programme. Arts+ performance funded by the Waitemata Local Board on 26 October
  • Space Invaders car park installation on K’rd on Saturday 27 October
  • Launch of the Italian Festival held at Freeman’s Bay School on  Sunday 27 October including lunch hosted by  Dante Alighieri society
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum and carboNZero programme sustainability event
  • Launch of the Auckland Arts Festival on 31 October at the Aotea Centre – an impressive line-up of local and international acts that is sure to bring a new level of excitement to the festival under the direction of Carla van Zon.