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Auckland - Nelson Street (separated cycleways, signalised intersections)

Nelson Street is a one-way northbound regional road (as per the One Network Road Classification (ONRC)) on the west of the Auckland CBD. The ‘cycleway’ is a mixture of one-way and two-way separated cycleways and shared paths.

The first section, between Union Street (connecting to the Te Ara I Whiti ‘lightpath’(external link)) and Victoria Street, is a two-way separated cycleway on the west side of the road; it was opened in December 2015.

The second section included a cycleway running on both sides of Nelson Street from Victoria Street West to Fanshawe Street and on Market Place from Fanshawe Street to Pakenham Street East.

The third section is (in 2019) yet to be constructed; it will run along Market Place, Customs Street West and Lower Hobson Street, between Pakenham St East and Quay Street.

Auckland Transport’s website gives more description about the Nelson Street Cycleway layout(external link).

Project owner: Auckland Transport

  • Key challenges, issues and solutions
    • Evolving public and private development within city, with central city in particular seen as a ‘VUCA’ environment – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous.
    • Developing one of the first separated cycleways in New Zealand, at a time when local policy and national guidelines were evolving rapidly.
    • Conflicting objectives for different users / movements at intersections.
      • Banned the left turn from Nelson Street to Cook Street (first section).
      • Removed left turn slip lane at Nelson / Victoria and Nelson / Fanshawe (second section).
    • Need for new controls not currently included in the Traffic Control Devices Rules.
      • Directional cycle signals trialled at Nelson / Victoria, to give flexibility of operation for multiple cycle movements coming from the same approach. 

    • Providing continuous cycleway facility over a range of streets with different characteristics and constraints.
    • Used different cycleway designs to suit the various street environments.
    • Many and varied effects on on-street parking.
    • Developing designs to facilitate rubbish collection and ensure bins do not block cycleway.
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  • Successes and learnings
    • Ensure the mandate and project initiation documentation are appropriate, well-defined and well-understood at the start of the project, then keep them in mind throughout the project progression – the objectives and design may evolve, but only as a result of a deliberate and well-considered decision to deviate from the original intentions. Ensure stakeholders are kept abreast of changes and that scope changes are documented.
    • Identify the various staff members with cycling experience and passion and ensure they will support delivery of a network for the chosen target audience (noting however that sometimes those with prior cycling experience may not reflect the less-confident members of the target audience).
    • Ensure the project addresses existing problems for cycling, for example this could involve replacing the pavement in some areas to improve comfort.
    • The Auckland Cycle Network (ACN) is an evolving system, as are other complementary transport networks such as the Public Transport network. Therefore, a particular project on the ACN needs to be flexible throughout its development and implementation, as some requirements may change.
    • Beware that previously ‘future-proofed’ infrastructure items may unduly over-influence decision making – need to balance what is required for the future with what is achievable in the short-term and consider possibilities of extending provisions over time.
    • It is important to engage with advocacy groups (eg Bike Auckland, Generation Zero, Greater Auckland) very early, and continue this relationship throughout the project.
    • Engage with stakeholders affected by parking loss by relating to their particular concerns. For small business owners focus on parking opportunity for customers, not the number of parking spaces (eg Increase rate of parking turnover to compensate for the loss of parking spaces). It may be better to deal with parking issues separately to (and before) the cycleway project.
    • Discuss loading requirements with business owners / operators. Collect evidence of use (video is cost efficient) to help with discussions with business owners and the design process. After installation, use cameras to help identify and enforce misuse of cycleways or footpaths for loading.
    • Understand the needs of each property for rubbish / recycling collection, and ensure they are given a feasible solution, so that rubbish bins aren’t placed on the cycleway. Need to consider Health and Safety aspects (eg is a rubbish truck lifting bins over a cycleway).
    • Understand how local businesses operate, and how construction can be timed to minimise effects on them.
    • Investigate other planned developments (private and public) that might clash with the intended project delivery, and how synergies might be achieved instead.
    • Make it clear when the facility is ready and open for use. People may try to cycle on it before it is fully complete and could get into difficulty at intersections. Furthermore, adjacent property owners might be unimpressed if the supporting elements (eg benches, bins, landscaping etc) are not installed by the time the cycleway is officially opened. Temporary signage could be used to inform drivers of the new layout being operational and reduce the ability for people to park in the cycleway or drive in it.
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