Submission 25 August 2019
- The following presentation was first made to the Waiheke Community Board in 2011.
- It was revised and presented to the Waiheke Local Board in 2013
- It is now revised and presented to Auckland Transport in response to the Waiheke 10 Year Transport Plan 25 August 2019 (comments us a teal-coloured font).
The core problem with the Waiheke 10 Year Transport Plan in regard to cycle lanes is the failure to understand that cyclists need routes, not upgraded segments.
Proposed Point-to-Point Route as a single high priority (recommend No. 5)
Primary routes identify starting and ending points, and each of these routes then needs a single priority. Otherwise, one gets the hazardous situations like Onetangi Straight heading toward Onetangi Beach, where the cycle land quits at the most dangerous part. A primary route that goes from Matiatia to Onetangi needs to be set as a high priority from one end to the other. (recommend priority No. 5 and remove the existing No. 5, which is bad planning). It is recommended that Priority No 5 is as shown on the map below.
In the map, the blue needs nothing other than Bicycle Route signs. The pink are recommended upgrades of existing tracks and the red suggests, if funds are available, that a boardwalk like the one in Westhaven is placed along the foreshore. Notable in this design is its avoidance of primary roads where possible, and separation from primary roads (Causeway and Onetangi Straight) where avoidance is not possible.
The most important thing, however, is that all of this is designated a single priority, and a high one, not completed in 2029 or whatever. Compared to other deep-pocket projects, like the 4.3 KM city rail link, this one costs pennies, but it will both make it a lot easier (and feel safer) for locals, and create a whole new visitor experience especially for ebike rentals.
BEGIN THE PRIORITY NUMBER 5 CYCLE TRAIL AT MATIATIA FERRY, AND GO ALL THE WAY TO CHARLIE FARLEY'S ON THE BEACH IN ONETANGI
- At the ferry terminal, signpost Cycle Route off the ferry going through the carpark along the foreshore, past the rental car area to the water right gully. Begin paving where the existing pavement quits. Do not use Ocean View Road at all.
- Upgrade Priority 83 (Water-right Gully) to Priority 5. Pave with concrete (design so it will not wash out in storm bombs, and paint with shared pedestrians one side / cyclists the other. Note that the horses that used it a decade ago came from Sunset Corral at Matiatia that is now a car rental agency. No horses.
- Signpost at Nick Johnstone Drive to turn left to Church Bay Road (by Cable Bay Restaurant)
- Signpost at Church Bay Road toward Oneroa
- Signpost at Mako Street to turn right toward Pony Club
- Upgrade: Across from Pony Club, four posts for a bridge over the seasonal creek are already installed. Finish the job with a bridge
SUBSEQUENT NOTE: Apparently the Local Board looked into this, and was told the cost would be $50,000. $45,000 for engineers to design the bridge and $5,000 to build it. This is unfortunately the state of governance in NZ. What is needed are two 290x90 H5 beams ($500) bolted to the existing posts with 300x50 H5 decking ($500) plus safety railings ($500). Two carpenters can do it in a day ($1,000) and as it is over-engineered using H5 timber, it should last for many generations with no maintenance. Why is a $45,000 engineer required for such a simple task? Common sense is lost when council is involved. Nevertheless, if the public must provide welfare for engineers and civil servants, just do it, spend the $50,000 and create a proper cycle path away from car, truck and bus traffic.
- Pave in front of the urupa, then pick up the existing secondary road
- Improve The Esplanade and signpost
- Upgrade slightly in the Surfdale Park, and signpost as shared pedestrian/cyclist, or make a cycle road
- Pick up the existing road
- DECISION: If funds allow, secure permission from Living Waters Church to run the cycle trail in front, and then build a Westhaven-type boardwalk that connects the Surfdale Park to bypass the primary street running though Surfdale
- If no funds, then run route through Surfdale along the primary road
- Turn at Hooks Lane. Get permission to signpost through the High School
- At Donald Bruce Road, Waiheke Route 4 signs turn left to Onetangi and National Route 2 signs turn right to Kennedy Point Ferry
- At the roundabout signpost to turn right toward causeway
- DECISION: Work out which side of the street and whether the cycle route is two way (like Quay Street in Auckland) or one lane on each side of the road. Alternatively ask Goldies Vineyard if they would permit the route to cross their land and avoid the roundabout
- DECISION: Same problem on the causeway... is it one way or dual? Also, the paving along the causeway is not very attractive
- After the Waiheke Boat Club, run the cycle trail to Putiki Road to bypass the primary road through Ostend Village.
- Upgrade: At the RSA intersection, avoidance of primary roads is not possible. Some of the route is already separated, but overall, this part requires more separation
- Upgrade: When it gets near the quarry, remove the existing cycle lane on the left side, and instead upgrade the existing horse track on the right side that runs below the road, for shared use by equestrian, pedestrian and cyclings. This track is an excellent example of a good cycle trail. It is physically separated from the road and it goes all the way along the dangerous part of the Onetangi Straight.. Note that equestrian activity on Waiheke is far less than it was when the horse track was installed. It's getting harder to find grazing, and many the old guard that made the Pony Club and Adult Riding Club hubs of activity have died or moved off island. Thus the need for a separate horse track is no longer essential.
- Signpost Waiheke Route 4 and National Route 3 on secondary roads in Onetangi. They diverge at the Onetangi Ratepayers Hall, with Waiheke Route 4 ending at Charlie Farley's and National Route 3 heading toward Orapui Wharf
Place a charging station at Charlie Farley's.
The model to emulate is Eurovelo (see https://en.eurovelo.com/) . Most European photos on this web page are from Euro Route 2, the Capitals Route that follows some of Europe's major rivers. Because it is an integrated system, it has created a whole new industry of cycle tourism.
These new tourists travel with a credit card, where each town has an information booth with bike-friendly hotels (lockups and charging stations for ebikes), welcoming cyclists who need a shower before they dine. Typical spend is €200 (NZ$350) per day, boosting local economies. More if they rent the bikes.
The recommended routes are signposted as follows:
- National Route 1: Kaitaia to Bluff, not going to Waiheke, but somewhere in West Auckland including going by AKL airport... similar concept to Highway One for motor vehicles - the primary national cycle trail
- National Route 2: Route 1 bypass the Harbour Bridge and Auckland CBD via Waiheke - Devonport to Matiatia by ferry, then cycle to Kennedy Point then ferry to Half Moon Bay and pick up Route 1 south of Auckland (Major work needed, as well as signs)
- National Route 3: At Kennedy Point Road, go to Onetangi then Waiheke Road to Orapiu ferry to Coromandel (from KP to Onetangi major work is needed. From Waiheke Road to Coromandel ferry, no work is needed, just signs)
- Waiheke Route 4: The above map that includes part of Route Two to the High School, then Route 3 to Onetangi... but dual numbered so local tourists follow No. 4 signs
- Waiheke Bypass 4-O: Coming from Cable Bay intersection, at Mako Street turn into Allison Park, signs through the park (not on the primary road) to Oneroa
- Waiheke Route 5: The high road (various street names) from Little Oneroa Beach to Charlie Farley's via Cory Road, Sea View Road and The Strand (no work is needed, just signs).
Run Bypass 4-O through the Alison Park, not on the primary road to Oneroa. Possibly a few upgrades to the paving, not much
Here is how it is done in Berlin with cycle roads throughout Berlin's largest park - far more enjoyable than on a primary street
- To inform the Local Board of a shift in technology that will have positive implications for the visitor industry on Waiheke: Electric motors for bicycles have come of age, transforming the industry.
- To highlight that this should be addressed now, not over the next five years. We’re missing the boat.(This presentation was given to the Community Board in 2011, and revised to the Local Board in 2013; five years later... very little has been done)
- To encourage investment in paved bike paths that avoid roads where possible and avoid high traffic roads where separation is not possible.
- To identify a viable route for bikes that features Waiheke at its best while using what exists today.
Before ebikes, cycling was the domain of a small, usually young, always very fit subculture. Waiheke and Auckland hills and wind made cycle travel challenging. Starting in about 2012, a new generation of ebikes began to appear on Waiheke. Even though they benefit from the lack of regulation of bicycling, it is useful to think of them as a new form of transport. In 2019, ebikes are now mainstream, changing the face of transport on Waiheke, flattening the hills, but AT is still the problem.
- They are small, meaning the footprint they take up is minimal.
- They are light, meaning their demands on infrastructure are minimal.
- They go further, go up hills, they make Auckland easy to get around
- They are clean, meaning they do not have exhaust noise or emit noxious exhaust
- They are efficient, meaning people can get around Auckland with lower environmental impact
- They are fun, meaning visitors will decide to rent them rather than rent cars or mopeds
- They are more social, people connect with each other while riding past others.
Auckland suffers from too many cars. Waiheke is one of those places that can take Auckland car commuters off the road, both pedestrians to the CBD and ebike riders going further afield. Auckland subsidises the trains to get commuters off the road, but does not seem to connect the dots, thus it taxes ferry riders. Instead of commuters, this short-sighted policy encourages pensioners and wealthy second-home owners.
In this document, attention is called to bicycle, and especially ebikes as a transport opportunity, identifying how the infrastructure can be improved to encourage more cyclists and make cycling safer.
Bike Needs: Different types of riders have different needs in terms of a bicycle friendly infrastructure
1. The work commuter – the person who substitutes driving with riding a bike (reduces congestion)
a. Generic issues (these are issues anywhere, not just Waiheke):
(1) Parked car separation – protect bikes from parallel parked cars opening doors in bike path
(2) Moving car separation – protect bikes from cars that drive too close to the bike path
(3) No pinch points – do not force bikes into the middle of the road at traffic-calming devices
This is a pinch point in Ostend that is especially dangerous, but it is right in front of the St. John's Ambulance, so picking up the pieces is easier.
Below Left: This is an egregious example at Alison Park. Yes, the bike lane begins, going down to the ferry, but the route to Mako Street has been blocked off, forcing the left turn cyclist into traffic.
Below Right: This is a pinch point going into Oneroa. When the ferry traffic builds, this is very dangerous.
This is a dangerous pinch point for pedestrians as well as cyclists. Also note the horse warning sign. That was put up back when Church Bay provided grazing for Pony Club members and when Sunset Corral was operating at Matiatia. Now the Church Bay properties have been sold to the ultra-rich who are not interested in letting out their land for horses. Only one paddock still has horses; the signs should be replaced with warning about ebike riders and the Segway tour guide.
(4) No pot holes / bad drains – keep roads in good shape, better design of curb-side drains
(5) Smooth tracks – regularly sweeps bike lanes to keep free of stones, debris, broken glass. This is especially a problem on the downhill going to Matiatia Ferry
(6) Continuity – do a complete cycle route from beginning to end. Don't do part and then drop out
This example is at the approach to the Causeway, where it is unclear if the cycleway is two way or one. Most cyclists use it going up the hill, where it suddenly ends, forcing them to cross traffic to proceed.
b. Waiheke issue: Waiheke has a disproportionately high number of old, polluting cars and diesel trucks. Accordingly it is better to place primary bike lanes on roads that carry with less traffic.
Waiheke is the place where cars come to die.
c. Ferry cyclists: Every commuter who moves to Waiheke and commutes by ferry is one less car on isthmus roads; a statistic AT seems not to appreciate. Bicycles extend the range of those commuters, and ebikes both extend the range and add safety as the bikes can keep up with traffic (or go faster when gridlock strikes). Fullers has agreed to carry bicycles at no charge, and this is a voluntary benefit that could be lost if uptake is too much. The local board should make this a priority issue with several actions:
(1) Support the status quo: Support Fuller’s policy of bikes ride free
(2) Make bike-free travel policy: Embed bikes-ride-free in required policy for all ferry operators
(3) Encourage new bike space on ferries: Some Fullers ferries have limited space for bikes, others have plenty of space. All ferries have the problem that the salt spray on the rear of the ferry corrodes the bicycles – something that can be addressed with intentional design. Because bikes do not weigh much, and it would not be a place for passengers, ferries can have a “boot” affixed to the rear that has three-sided clear cover with an entrance and exit point so cyclists wheel their bikes in and park them for the travel. Rather than ask the ferry operators to bear the cost, this should be an infrastructure investment the same as roads, rail and bridges.
(4) Improve bicycle parking: Eventually there will be too many bikes to carry on the ferries. At present, parking on the Matiatia side is limited and exposes bikes to the saltwater. It should be designed better, with more visual security and protection from the elements. Parking on the Auckland side is very poor, far too limited and as more ebikes are used, will pose a major theft problem. The wharf area, especially Pier 2, is very poorly used, and could provide substantial, safe, secure and weather-protected bicycle parking. In this way, cyclists will ride one bike to Matiatia and use their “town bike” on the other side. Planning should begin now.
(5) Ebike rental at the terminal: Ebike rental should be provided on arrival. Space should be set aside for a rental fleet, and an intelligent design would place it overlooking the bicycle parking to provide additional security from theft and vandalism. Ebikes should have higher priority than buses or taxis and higher than rental cars and mopeds in the ranking of transport choices. The best design would include a bike trailer parking space so the vendor would be able to keep volume bikes off site and bring them down in volume on a trailer rather than need to store the full inventory at the ferry.
(6) Matiatia Bike Road:
1. The shared bike space on Ocean View Road is a poor design. The optimal (that would become a significant visitor attraction) is to design a new paved bike road where riders departing the ferry would cross over Matiatia to a paved cycle path that runs along the south side of the wetlands where the lower tramping path is now. The cycle path should divide where one paved path goes up the old farm track to Cable Bay (designed for both cyclists and pedestrians), and the other paved path up to Alison Park. It should avoid the road, except at the top where private property interferes and the road would be near, but not connected to, Oceanview Road.
2. The existing pedestrian-cyclist shared route going up to Oneroa on the Oceanview Road footpath has problems that may be unsolvable:
a. On the flat, there is no bike lane, so bikes must ride next to the parked cars, running the risk of a parked car door opening in their way.
b. When the rider finally arrives at the shared zone that begins at the temporary metal carpark, tourists unfamiliar with the protocol find themselves blocking the cyclists.
c. Finally, riders wishing to turn right onto Mako Street find they are in conflict with the rush minute traffic. It poses a significant hazard. The recent paving of the other side across the road from Morra Hall finds some riders crossing the road before the curve, so they can weave among oncoming traffic, and ride on the new paved footpath until reaching Mako Street, but this is still poor design.
3. The existing route down to the ferry is badly designed. A narrow bike lane has been marked with paint on the slope where bikes can go fast (thus limiting their exposure to cars), but it ends on the flat, which is more dangerous. The best solution is (4) 1. that provides a separate road for cyclists that is away from cars entirely. However, at a minimum, the cycle path to the ferry should be full width all the way to the ferry. The land is there to do this. It should be noted however, that occupants of cars have tended to toss bottles that break and the glass ends up on the cycleway. This is especially dangerous as bikes go faster downhill.
2. Student commuter – rides the same route every day to and from school
a. This rider needs same as commuter, except more attention to the regular routes (map them)
3. Local recreational riders ride for the pleasure of it, mostly going to cafes & shops, exercise
a. This rider would rather not use the commuter bike paths, instead through parks, underused roads
4. Recreational visitor: For Waiheke, this is the most important opportunity.
a. Not the lycra-clad bike club that rides the ferry, does a sprint to Orapiu and back on ferry
b. Emerging, new type of visitor made possible by ebikes, a major shift in technology
c. A visitor looking for beauty, stops along the way to take photographs, to eat and drink at cafes, perhaps to stay one or two nights in B&B’s. Even to have bicycle weddings and parties.
This is the actual Europe Cycle Route 2 that runs for over 500 km. The route is paved, and it is made for bicycles only. This part is in the Czech Republic
d. Policy that specifically encourages spending money – make it easy and desirable to do so.
e. Design for off-season: Feature riding in the rain, riding when it is cooler, tweed runs, etc.
f. Designated routes with maps and signs… some flat land, some hills OK for 300W motors
g. “Bike friendly” stops (secure places to park/lock/charge bike and signs pointing them out)
h. Designate tracks through reserves and parks and on low-traffic roads – Make Beautiful, like this part of Route 2 in Germany
Route 2 in Dresden, Germany - Cycles only
i. Waiheke as part of the national bike system: Long distance riders in New Zealand encounter their most hazardous and unpleasant part of the travel when they seek to pass through Auckland, especially south of the Harbour Bridge. Waiheke can make an excellent alternative route. Take the ferry from Devonport to Matiatia, ride a purpose-built Waiheke cycle track, depart either on the Kennedy Point Ferry or the Coromandel Ferry. Both bypass the highly urbanised South Auckland.
Recommend to the Local Board that it adopt resolutions for Auckland Transport as follows:
1. Purchase ebikes that are provided to all staff that deal with roads – designers, managers, supervisors, repair and maintenance. Get staff on bikes (including Auckland Transport visitors from town). When George Hudson owned Fullers he rode it every day – things worked because the boss used it. When the decision-makers and key influencers use the transport systems day-to-day they gain insight more accurate than hiring consultants.
2. Provide charging stations at Ferries, prime spots, in high visibility locations
3. Adopt policies:
a. Plan: Designate Visitor Bike-Tourism as a Waiheke priority
b. Plan: Place Waiheke on bike maps; ferry bypass bridge & south Auckland for national travellers
c. Plan with Fullers for increased bike ridership on the ferries, have more in-town e-bike parking
d. Design: Pinch points design (allow a bike bypass)
e. Design: Surfacing bike paths (smooth, not the same rough stone chip)
f. Plan: Setting out bike path locations (don’t pit business on-street parking against cycle paths)
g. Maintenance: Filling road cuts (must not be a drop or bump when riding over)
h. Maintenance: Cleaning paths, keep debris free, filling potholes and avoiding hazards
i. Maintenance: Rules on placement of temporary signs to not block bike paths (ex: near library)
j. Policy: Partnership with the local schools to design and keep safe ride-to-school paths