Shore cycle lane petition grows as council decision looms

By Wayne Thompson

The cycle lane along Lake Rd, heading towards Devonport from Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell
The cycle lane along Lake Rd, heading towards Devonport from Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell

A petition to save the Takapuna-Devonport cycle lanes has gained 3620 names with three weeks still to go.

It was presented to North Shore City Council yesterday as part of Bike Month activities but also as a show of thanks for the safety afforded by the lanes on much of narrow Lake Rd. This carries 39,000 vehicles a day through Devonport, Belmont and Takapuna.

Petition organiser Bronwen Jones said the petition was available on line and in bike shops through this month. More than 2000 of those who signed are North Shore residents.

Ms Jones said the petition is drawing support from cyclists all over Auckland.

"A lot of people from outside the Shore used the Lake Rd cycle lanes and a lot of people from other places on the Shore bike down to Devonport using the lanes."

The final results will be given to councillors on March 9 when they meet to decide whether to remove the lanes. This was prompted by another petition signed by 2714 people in June 2008 which called for the lanes to be scrapped.

One of the petitioners, Dr John Reynolds, said the council did nothing to improve traffic flow on the congested route except for painting cycle lanes on the road, making the options for motorists even narrower.

In May, the council promises a start on continuing the widening of Lake Rd from the Esmonde Rd intersection to Jutland Rd at Hauraki Corner.

However, when this work is finished a year later it will show up the rest of the route to Belmont and Devonport where cycle lanes vanish when the road squeezes passed clusters of shops.

Council infrastructure chairman Ken McKay is seeking removal of the cycle lanes south of the road's busy intersection with Bardia St and Winscombe Ave.

He said that intersection, near Takapuna Grammar and Belmont Intermediate Schools, was a "pinch spot" and the Devonport Community Board wants the Lake Rd upgrade extended to the intersection of Bayswater and Bardia/Winscombe Sts.

The board also wants on-street parking removed outside Takapuna Grammar and Ngataringa Park.

Cycle Action Auckland said in September that 332 cyclists used the lanes daily in mid-winter, compared with 192 cyclists on the road before the lanes were put in two years before.

Yesterday, I cycled in the thick traffic from Devonport to Takapuna shops between 8.15am and 8.40am. On the other side of the road, I saw seven cyclists heading to catch the ferry to Auckland and one recreational or sporting cyclist heading for Devonport.

Sharing the lane with me going towards Takapuna were 11 commuter cyclists and four recreational types. Two Takapuna Grammar boys were riding on the footpath because there were no lanes. Lanes also vanished on the climb towards the Belmont shops where the road narrows.

Taking to the footpath is recommended here, although cyclists find the footpath is blocked by school children outside McDonald's.

Three buses were using the road and at bus stops there was no room to swerve around them on the road side. Here, the footpath was the safest choice but again, people were getting off the bus and blocking the way. At two places without cycle lanes, I felt particularly vulnerable.

Approaching the Esmonde Rd intersection, crossing from the left side of the road to get into the right lane for Takapuna depends upon the kindness of motorists.

Heading back towards Devonport, the lane cuts out at the approach to the Albert Rd roundabout and there are only broken yellow lines for comfort.

- NZ Herald

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