$10m targets cycling safety

16:00, Mar 19 2014

More than $10 million is being invested into cycle safety and linking the west with roads in the city centre.

Auckland Transport's project to upgrade and improve cycle networks will see cycleways completed in New Lynn and Te Atatu, providing safer routes and a healthier lifestyle.

The first step marks construction of a $1.2 million cycleway on Portage Rd in New Lynn which is due to be completed on September 6.

Among cyclists who will benefit from a safer route is New Lynn resident Chris Edwards.

Mr Edwards, 40, has been cycling for more than 10 years and during that time has had a few "close calls" on the road.

The near-miss accidents prompted him to buy a camera to clip on to his helmet and record evidence in case he ever needs to take action against a driver.


"In Auckland I find myself fearful for my safety on a daily basis," Mr Edwards says.

"The drivers here simply have no regard for the vulnerability of cyclists and I think they get wound up by the way we are able to pass them during peak hours.

"I have had several experiences where drivers seem intent on squeezing me off the road as I pass them and they crawl along in traffic."

The father of two says it's important to connect New Lynn to other areas in Auckland.

"The cycleway along the northwestern motorway is fantastic - it gets you right into the city but it's getting to it that's the problem."

The Portage Rd cycleway will be about 1.5 kilometres long and runs between Kinross and Neville streets.

Other developments as part of the bigger project include connecting the southwest and northwestern motorway cycleways to paths in Waterview, Mt Roskill, New Lynn and Te Atatu as well as a $3.6 million off-road cycleway from Waterview to New Lynn completed in 2017.

Whau Local Board chairwoman Catherine Farmer says it will add to the area's "transit orientated" feel.

"New Lynn has the train and bus stations and good walking infrastructure to encourage people not to use cars."

She says January's tragedy in Parnell when cyclist John Tangiia died after being hit by a truck has promoted the idea of more off-road cycle paths.

"If people know they can cycle safely they're more likely to do so and parents can feel more safe about their children cycling," she says.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says New Lynn's cycleway will involve road widening, the installation of parking bays, on-road cycle lanes as well as off-road shared pedestrian and cycle paths.

"The work will also include adjustments to existing vehicle crossings and the existing footpath."

Mr Hannan says no roads will be closed during developments but speed restrictions will apply for the safety of commuters and workers.

Western Leader