Relief for traffic choke points on a heavily-used North Shore arterial route is coming - but not at the expense of its cycleways.
The North Shore City Council decided yesterday to bring forward plans to upgrade more of Lake Rd, which struggles to carry 39,000 vehicles a day through Takapuna, Belmont and Devonport.
Improvement works for the 500m from the Esmonde Rd intersection to Jutland Rd at Hauraki Corner are scheduled to start in May.
But council infrastructure chairman Ken McKay believes that when the widening is finished early next year, it will show up the flaws in the remaining 1.6km to Belmont where it squeezes past schools and shops.
Last year, the council was unable to see how it could afford to do much more than make more room by eliminating cycle-lane marking.
It allowed $300,000 in the long-term budget for 2012-13 for investigation of widening from Hauraki Corner to the Eversleigh Rd/St Leonards Rd intersection.
A sum of $3.36 million was also provided for further investigation and design in 2017-19.
Improvements to the section between the Bardia St/Winscombe St intersection and Belmont were even further away.
At the same time, council corridor specialist Kit O'Halloran said the road had been overloaded for years and picking at bits of it was likely to give no noticeable improvement in traffic flow.
He called for improvements to be constructed as part of a comprehensive staged upgrading of the whole corridor to complement the Devonport Peninsula Travel Plan. This is aimed at lightening the strain on Lake Rd by getting residents to use alternative transport instead of cars.
Yesterday, the council decided to extend the project from Eversleigh Rd to Bayswater Rd which is double the distance previously intended.
Investigation, design and work on upgrading from Hauraki to Belmont will start in the next financial year.
The council favours an option which means extensive carriageway widening of the corridor from the intersection at Bardia St through to Westwell Rd to give two northbound lanes for vehicles and one southbound and keep the existing cycle lanes, berm and footpath.
It is supposed to increase traffic flow by giving a longer phase for through traffic as a result of banning the right turn into Winscombe St and shortening the phase for traffic leaving Winscombe St.
On the other hand, removing the cycle lanes and making cyclists share the footpath would mean the road would not need widening.
A petition signed by 2714 people in June 2008 called for the cycle lanes to be scrapped, saying they had constricted traffic flow.
In response, a Save the Lake Rd Cycle Lanes petition, with 4110 signatures, was presented to the council.
Co-organiser Bronwen Jones said the lanes were appreciated and well used.
"They are vital for the safety of everyone, whether they are in cars, on bikes or walking on the footpath."
The Transport Agency added its muscle by reminding the council it had given $504,000 as its share of the Lake Rd cycle lanes and $5 million towards the $9.6 million works from Hauraki Rd to Esmonde Rd.
It said it might need to review the funding if of the cycle lanes south of the works were removed.
Wilson School and Takapuna Grammar are pushing for improvements to the intersection of St Leonards and Eversleigh Rds with Lake Rd, including the installation of traffic lights and a realignment of the pedestrian crossing outside the school to the southern side of the intersection.
Devonport Community Board chairman Mike Cohen said it was imperative to progress action on the Bardia/Winscombe intersection.
Lake Rd Decisions:
* Keep the cycle lanes.
* Continue improvement of Eversleigh/St Leonards Rd intersection.
* Fast-track by two years a $300,000 investigation into upgrading Lake Rd from Hauraki Corner to Belmont.
* Focus on improving Bardia St/Winscombe St intersection.
* Remove parking outside Ngataringa Park when the road is resealed.
* Investigate keeping six parking spaces outside Takapuna Grammar School.