Slow cars means more bikes

TWO WHEELS: Auckland cyclists will soon be able to get around on new cycleway extensions. 
TWO WHEELS: Auckland cyclists will soon be able to get around on new cycleway extensions. 

Cycling advocates support plans to extend Auckland's cycling and walking network, but say more needs to be done to make streets safer.

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are spending $1.3 million on the design of cycleway extensions on Beach Rd in the central city, as well as in Mt Roskill and Papakura.

The NZ Transport Agency's 53 per cent share ($735,107) of the cost of the three projects is funded by revenue collected from the excise duty on fuel, road user charges, and vehicle registration fees.

Brake Road Safety director Caroline Perry welcomes the additional funding, but more priority needs to be given to separating road users, she says.

"More dedicated cycle and walkways, and speeds of 30kmh or less in communities are essential to encourage more people to walk and cycle, and to help reduce the number of vulnerable road users needlessly killed and injured on our roads."

Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert says completing the Beach Rd cycleway, which connects with the Grafton Gully project is "enormously important".

Cuthbert agrees that slowing the speed limit in selected areas would be safer for all. She'd like to see the 30kmh limit on Queen St extended to Karangahape Rd and Ponsonby Rd. The speed limit on K Rd is currently 50kmh and on Ponsonby Rd it's 40kmh.

"People used to be hit on Queen St and people have been killed trying to cross Ponsonby Rd. Now people just walk out in front of you on Queen St and that's great. They've started to reclaim the area. Let's slow down Ponsonby Rd and K Rd so we can create a network."

Cycle Action members also want to see the proposal for protected cycle lanes on Ponsonby Rd get underway, she says.

"We want less talk, more action."

Transport blog editor Patrick Reynolds supports the extra funding.

But there needs to be a shift in attitude at Auckland Transport to make cyclists a part of everyday roading projects, he says.

"On arterial roads where the traffic is going faster we need more cycle lanes but sometimes cyclists can be accommodated just by creating a much slower, calmer environment.

"Quiet residential streets that are super wide or have sweeping corners should be 30kmh."

It's not a question of spending more and more money, the Grey Lynn resident says.

"It would cost zero dollars to paint in a cycleway when they resurface streets. We're calling for what's known as complete streets for every user. The cost of that is no different from normal corridor management."

Auckland City Harbour News