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The Quay Street cycleway is a 1 km long separated cycleway along the waterfront-side of Quay Street in Auckland.  Quay Street is a multi-lane arterial road (route 6), with the adjacent harbour generating many heavy vehicle movements. The facility passes the ferry terminal at the end of Queen Street, where a heavy pedestrian crossing demand exists.

The two-way separated cycleway has mostly been constructed on the existing carriageway, with a physical separator. Where pedestrian volumes are highest, planter boxes are interspersed with the separators for improved amenity. The facility has a permanent bicycle counter and display, with usage data also published online.

At one end, it connects to the cycle-friendly environment of Wynyard Quarter. At the other end, it links with Tamaki Drive, with plans for further improved cycleway facilities to the east.

The facility was opened by the Prime Minister, the Transport Minister, and the Mayor of Auckland in July 2016. Check out the following video:

Project owner: Auckland Transport

  • Key challenges and issues
    • Busy access across the cycleway at Queens Wharf (including major traffic generator, ‘The Cloud’)
    • Unsignalised crossing used by heavy vehicles at Plumer Street
    • Cross section design (apportioning width to the separator and the facility itself)
    • Permanent cycle counter and display
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  • Successes and learnings

    Queens Wharf access

    Given that this access point is busy (including, at least initially, with public transport), an extensive treatment was used at the conflict point. Large cycle logos face oncoming drivers, the cycle space is coloured green, and heavy-duty speed humps frame the cycleway. Restrictions on turning right out of this access were put in place, so that decision making is simpler for drivers and the risk of riders being overlooked is reduced.

    The scheme design tried to accommodate a cycling facility bent out (i.e. laterally off-set) from the main road so that drivers turning left into Queens Wharf could leave the traffic stream and stop prior to crossing the cycle facility, but there was not enough room available to achieve this. Drivers turning left into Queens Wharf feel pressured to leave Quay Street quickly and there have been several incidents where left turners failed to give way to people cycling. Consideration could be given to reducing the speed limit on a busy road adjacent to a separated cycleway where such pressure exists on left turning drivers. There are longer-term plans by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to change the character of Quay Street as part of the City Centre Masterplan and the Waterfront Plan, with the area potentially turning into a boulevard. When that happens, this remaining safety concern will likely be successfully addressed.

    Plumer Street

    This is an alternative access road to the port that is not signalised. As it accommodates large trucks, it previously had large kerb radii. The new layout has been made much tighter, and the crossing point placed on a raised platform. Together, this has greatly reduced the speed of turning vehicles. In addition, the crossing point has been coloured in, and white zebra crossing marking make the conflict point even more distinct. To overcome legal ambiguity (zebra crossing precedence currently applies to pedestrians only), give way signage facing turning drivers has also been added.

    Cross section design

    During the design phase, considerable discussion was had on how to apportion the available width between the separator and the rideable space. In the end, the separator was kept reasonably narrow (0.4 m) to maximise the useable facility width (3.0 m), based on the rationale that only moving vehicles would travel in the adjacent lane, and parking was not allowed (thus, protection from opening car doors was not required). It was argued that any minimum separator width would provide the sense of protection from moving traffic desired by facility users. The width was set so that narrow planter boxes could still be accommodated – see the photo ‘Quay Street at Lower Albert Street’ above. The planter box is 300 mm wide and on its traffic side, it has a narrow sacrificial concrete kerb. This kerb, when hit by a motor vehicle, is likely to break given its narrow profile, but the idea is that in most cases, the planter box will not sustain damage.

    Permanent counter

    Quay Street hosts Auckland’s first publicly visible bicycle counter. The location was chosen because the counter is seen by many passing pedestrians and drivers, and daily and annual usage is shown on LED displays. The public has access to the data via the Eco-counter website(external link). As well as the ongoing data gathering, this is a useful method to counter claims by some that ‘nobody cycles’.

    The counter’s loops were installed in slightly the wrong way which led to double-counting of cycleway users who cycled straight down the middle. The task of installing loops needs a lot of precision, and supervision by a qualified person, and is thus incompatible with ‘rushing to get it finished’. To remediate the problem, raised pavement markers were installed along the centre line. This has caused at least three known falls, but the issue has since been addressed and the raised pavement markers were removed again.

    Auckland Transport is considering purchasing mobile count stations that show daily usage on LED displays for the marketing effect of such a measure.

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