Tamaki Drive Protection Society

TAMAKI DRIVE PROTECTION SOCIETY INC.

 

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Cycleway Update - June 2017

Tamaki Dr cycle route

 

To Auckland Transport

Tamaki Drive Cycle Route Solent Street to Ngapipi Road intersection

Submission by the Tamaki Drive Protection Society Inc.  (www.tamakidrive.org.nz)

 

1. Introduction

The Tamaki Drive Protection Society Inc (TDPS) was established in 1991 to promote the amenities and use of Tamaki Drive, being one of the foremost public roads and scenic drives in Auckland and New Zealand.

The Society was active in the promotion of the Tamaki Drive Master Plan. The Society was a submitter supporting the grant of the consent obtained by Auckland Transport in December 2016 to upgrade the Ngapipi Road intersection and install traffic lights for the safety of all vehicle, cycle and pedestrian users.           

2. Proposed cycleway design along the southern side of Tamaki Drive

An initial question regarding the proposed cycle route prepared by Auckland Transport (AT) is whether it is intended as (1) a cycle route for Tamaki Drive alone, to be extended to Mission Bay, or (2) whether it is intended to be a cycle route to connect with the Glen Innes cycleway.

In the latter situation, the connection with Tamaki Drive could be (3) at Ngapipi Road corner, or (4) adjacent to the Outboard Motorboat Club premises, or (5) further west along Tamaki Drive near the Parnell Baths pedestrian overbridge. All these options are relevant to the choice of location of the cycleway.

If (1) above is the intention, the proposed cycle location on the southern side of Tamaki Drive is fundamentally misplaced, being based on an assumption that pedestrians and cyclists using Tamaki Drive prefer to or should use the southern carriageway. From personal observation over 30 years of driving daily into the City, the number of pedestrians on the southern side is miniscule, whereas the vast majority of pedestrians and recreational cyclists prefer the northern side with the attractive harbour views and views of North Head and Rangitoto.

3. Cyclist movements from Eastern Bays into the City

Considering first the needs of cyclists travelling into the City. It is desirable to address three major groups of cyclists, (a) the professional sporting cyclists, (b) the commuter cyclists (who may have an electric cycle), and (c) child and family cyclists.

First, the professional cyclists will always prefer to use the road carriageway, and there is presently no legal ability to prevent these sporting cyclists using a public road (which is not a motorway).

The Society recommends that the carriageway on the southern side should be left intact with no narrowing of the present lanes and carriageway, and should remain the primary place for the adult cyclists training or commuting into the City.

Use of the road carriageway by sporting cyclists could be enhanced as to safety by removing all parking along the southern side of Tamaki Drive. Presently parking on the southern side is mainly used at weekends for cars accessing the Outboard Motorboat Club (OBC) or the Lilyputt Mini Golf facility. The vehicles for the Mini Golf could be accommodated in the open space around the coffee pavilion which appears from the one entry sign to have sole rights to that parking area. Secondly, the green space between that area and the OBC pavilion (with entry blocked to persons who are not OBC members) could be opened up for public use generally. These off road parking spaces would easily replace the removal of parking on Tamaki Drive on the southern side.

Upon removal of the road parking, a painted cycle lane could be added to the carriageway to provide much safer travel for the increased number of sporting and commuter cyclists who use the carriageway for travelling west into the city.

4. A new shared path on the northern side of Tamaki Drive

On the assumption that the cycle path is not intended as the de facto route onto the Glen Innes shared Path, the Society strongly submits that all the funding available for the Tamaki Drive Cycle Route should be expended on improvements to and widening the existing divided footpath on the northern side.

The present divided footpath should be extended by cantilever out over the rock seawall. It is accepted with regret that AT has no funds available to widen the rock seawall (other than at the Ngapipi Road intersection). An extension of the path between 1.5m to 3 m using a reinforced concrete slab should be technically feasible and reasonably economic. This type of construction has been successfully used along the New Plymouth City boardwalk, and could withstand all pressures from King-tides. At the same time the road subsidences between the Ngapipi bridge and OBC could be remedied. This work should be a high priority.

The expanded footpath on the northern side could be divided into a pedestrian part on the seaward edge, and an improved cycle path for recreational and family cycling adjacent to the existing pohutukawa trees. It is envisaged that the cycleway could remain a two-way lane.

It is probable and desirable that most commuter cyclists going into the City would use the road or footpath cycleways on the southern side of the Drive.

5. Tamaki Drive Master Plan consistency

Enlarging the shared path on the northern side of the Drive is consistent with policies in the Tamaki Drive Master Plan, and would be consistent with the further extension and improvement to the Tamaki Drive cycle route or shared paths which in all parts should be located on the northern seaward side of the Drive to enhance the enjoyment of the seascape views and fresh air.

Regarding the Ngapipi Road bridge, the Society has long advocated the addition of a pedestrian boardwalk  (reinforced concrete) along the northern side of the bridge to ensure that cyclists riding in an easterly direction will be able to use the whole present footpath once resurfaced, and eliminate the traffic lanes pinchpoint that arises at the present time.  It is understood that AT may plan this addition to the bridge. An addition to both sides would be a bonus. The consent for the traffic lights envisages the widening of the Ngapipi bridge for seamless travel.

A related design request is that any widening of the shared path on the northern side, should be accompanied by the provision of further seats or benches placed in the grassed areas between the pohutukawa trees. These seats would enhance the enjoyment of the shared path by pedestrians, in particular family groups and elderly persons. At the present time there are only three benches along the whole of this part of Tamaki Drive. Although members of the Orakei Local Board support better seat provision, the members have stated that only Auckland Transport can implement the request.

6. Shared path route between Glen Innes and the CBD.

Considering the proposed shared path between Glen Innes and the City, it is the submission of the TDPS that that project should best provide for a separate shared path adjacent to northern side of the rail line across Hobson Bay, being the most direct and efficient route between Glen Innes and the City. It is not practicable or efficient to route the proposed path alongside Ngapipi road. The users of the Glen Innes shared path are primarily likely to be sporting cyclists, students and commuters, and not visitors or tourists who wish to walk or cycle along Tamaki Drive to experience the fine views and harbour sailing.

The Outboard Motorboat Club Inc has been aware since the expansion of the marina, that its lease of the transport corridor has always been subject to the future needs of using the corridor for transport purposes. The OBC has no legal or moral claim to use the leased land for vehicle and trailer parking purposes in perpetuity.

If the shared path parallel to the rail line is constructed, an exit for cyclists, joggers  and walkers adjacent to the OBC premises onto Tamaki Drive, could require the installation of traffic lights for a pedestrian crossing at that point, to allow walkers and cyclists progressing eastward from the city, to cross the road safely to access the shared pathway. A pedestrian crossing at that point, could be combined with traffic lights to allow for improved and safe access and exit from the OBC premises and the open parking lots.

Presently, an unsafe situation arises where vehicles with boat trailers travelling east from the City desire to turn right across traffic into the OBC premises. At that point, by removing parking on both sides of Tamaki Drive, a central turning lane could be added as part of a traffic light installation. Looking to the future, with increased traffic flows, it is inevitable that more light controls will become necessary, and road users will need to slow down and accept any short delays arising in the greater interest of public safety.

7. Traffic lights at Ngapipi Road

The TDPS strongly urges Auckland Transport to continue with the construction of the reclamation and the traffic lights, as approved by the resource consent granted in December 2016. It is vital that the financing and momentum for that significant work is not delayed or postponed. Suggestions at the public meeting on 31 May 2017 for postponement of the work should be rejected. The traffic light work is urgent as a matter of safety and fair sharing for all road users. It is an unrealistic claim that no work should be undertaken until the whole of Tamaki Drive can be rebuilt. Incremental improvements are acceptable where consistent with the vision in the Tamaki Drive Masterplan. The Ngapipi intersection upgrade satisfies this part of the vision.

8. Funding

Regarding the funding of the Tamaki Drive Cycle Route in the form recommended with a widened shared path on the northern side, any short fall in funding could be reasonably met by a review of the curbing replacement programme.  Society members are of the view that much of this work is not necessary as good curbs are often replaced by the same or inferior stones, and generally no road widening improvements are made to justify the replacement programme.  Postponement of the programme for routine replacements for 5 10 years should be seriously considered. The saved funds could be diverted for the Tamaki Drive shared path upgrade, and the raising of the level in the subsidence areas to prevent inevitable periodic closures of the Road by inundation.

9. Conclusion

The Society urges that the present plans for a shared path on the southern side of Tamaki Drive be discontinued unless those plans are intended to provide the link for the Glen Innes shared path.  Even in this situation, and the project should be redesigned or expanded to provide for a wider shared path on the northern side of Tamaki Drive with the greater benefits outlined. The vision in the Tamaki Drive Masterplan for development of the northern location must be supported by Auckland Transport.

 

Submission prepared by Dr Kenneth Palmer, planning law specialist and former TDPS chairperson. 15 June 2017

 

 

 

 

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