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Northern Bikeway – A Lost Opportunity?

January 11, 2011
Tristram Ave Shortcut

Let me in! Riding the shortcut between Bond Crescent and Wairau Road.

Call me an unrealistic minority commuter but as I drive down the Northern Motorway each week and look across at the empty busway I can’t help but imagine riding down there on my bicycle. Sure it does a good job during rush-hour, but for the majority of the day it’s a tarsealed ghost-town.

Thoughts of a “bicycle highway” had not entered my head when the facility first opened in 2008, I was too grumpy it was being used for smelly buses and not light-rail, but it sure seems like a good idea now. When you’re spending $300 million and already building all those fly-overs and bridges to accommodate it, what’s an extra couple of metres for the greenest transport of them all?

I think town-planners get the warm-fuzzies about bike-commuters ambling through parks smelling the flowers as they whistle a song in perfect tune. To my mind that image is two-thirds recreation and only one-third transport. In the week-to-week grind I’m more interested in doing the shopping before the kids get home from school, collecting my son from swim-training before someone calls CYF , or getting to work in time to still have a job. Bicycles are enjoyable transport (oxymoron?) but we still want to get from A to B in the least possible time and as the North Western Cycle Route has proven, flying down the side of the motorway is not a bad thing at all.

A large chunk of the North Shore was split down the middle by the motorway North and riding anywhere from Albany to Northcote would be a breeze beside it.  It’s a straight, fast run with a relative lack of hills compared to the alternatives.

Oh well, I’ll continue to dream. Maybe on the next upgrade when petrol’s running at $6 a litre they’ll think about bikes!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Su Yin permalink
    January 18, 2011 9:28 am

    One thing that always befuddled me about putting a cycleway on the motorway is how they would handle the exits/entries. I always thought, “oh okay, fair enough with the crazy fast cars”.

    And then I saw them all along Sydney motorways! (Actually, they do do it along some parts of SH1).

    So I guess this is just something that is in the ‘too hard’ basket or a deliberate attempt to suppress alternative transport—just like the part time bus lanes along Mt Eden

    • January 18, 2011 10:03 am

      It’s great that you can, but I wouldn’t fancy riding along the motorway shoulder like they do in Australia.
      The Northern Busway is a totally separate 2-way road (with it’s own bridges etc) that runs down the side of the existing motorway from bus-station to bus-station.

  2. January 18, 2011 7:44 pm

    I agree totally. I catch the bus along the busway everyday and often imagine what a great ride it would be, particularly the hill from constellation station.

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