Rolling the new Takapuna to Hauraki Cnr Cycle-Lanes
North Shore cyclists, bike advocates and (sane) local body politicians fought long and hard to get the Lake Rd cycle-lanes and to retain them when they later came under threat. They’ve been well used ever since, despite some obvious deficiencies where they peter-out going through intersections and pinch-points. (i.e. the dangerous bits!) It’s a classic story of “build-it-and-they-will-come” encouraging both increased bike-commuting and more students riding to school. What I’d like to see next is “build-it-BETTER-and-MORE-will come”, a fully separated bike-path with better provision for getting through intersections unscathed, but that’s a story for another day.
The problem was once you reached Hauraki Corner (heading North) the cycle-lane finished and you faced a suicide-run down the remainder of Lake Rd to get to the Esmonde Rd lights. This was a truly horrible stretch of blacktop that I never enjoyed riding. I actually used to pray for a red-light so I could cross with the pedestrians (tut-tut) and sprint as fast as I could to the next intersection before the cars caught-up.
Those days are about to end as the much-maligned road works have finally produced a cycle-lane on each side of the road. It’s probably not “officially” open, but it looks all but finished so I rode both directions, camera in hand to check it out.
I approached from the Takapuna end and unfortunately you have to clear the Esmonde Rd intersection before the lane-markings start. It was all plain sailing from there though and I pedaled down to Hauraki Cnr with a big smile on my face. What a difference a little extra tarseal and a stripe of paint makes. Speaking of little, the bike lane can’t be much more than a metre wide, but although this falls short of my expectations (and wouldn’t cut-it in Copenhagen) I’ll take what I can get at this stage, it is after-all a huge improvement in safety.
Reaching Hauraki Cnr I was greeted by another red-light. I clutched the handy grab-rail provided while I contemplated getting around the bend by the Doctors surgery without being crushed under a moving vehicle. I paused when the light turned green and took the photo below to gauge how close the people-mover beside me cut the corner. As you can see there is not enough room for a bike and a vehicle in that lane. Something needs to be done here or people will get hurt. Widening the road at the corner is the obvious solution, I hope that is on the local traffic-engineer’s to-do list.
Riding back towards Takapuna was a breeze and I loved the way the new lane continues uninterrupted around the corner to join the Esmonde Rd one. I was visiting a Barrys Point bike shop and it’s now fast and convenient to ride from Hauraki Cnr to there, or continue on to the Akoranga Bus station or campus. Auckland needs more of these lanes, they take a lot of the stress out of traveling in traffic.