Motorists are about to lose another section of central Auckland roadway for the safety and convenience of cyclists.

Ian McKinnon Drive at present has two lanes going in each direction near its intersection with Upper Queen St. About 350m of the left hand, uphill lane will be taken for a new piece of cycleway.

The redesigned motor vehicle portion of the road will have two lanes uphill and one down.

Existing cycleway over Newton Rd bridge and beside Ian McKinnon Dr to Upper Queen St, central Auckland shown by red line and dashed line. Planned cycleway, partly built, shown in purple.
Existing cycleway over Newton Rd bridge and beside Ian McKinnon Dr to Upper Queen St, central Auckland shown by red line and dashed line. Planned cycleway, partly built, shown in purple.

The cycleway will carry bikes going in both directions and will be separated from the road by concrete islands, like the cycleway in Nelson St.

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The new cycleway will turn off the northern side of Ian McKinnon Drive, pass beneath the Newton Rd bridge and join the North Western Cycleway/Shared Path at Takau St.

Auckland Transport expects the upgrade will be completed in about a month.

The upgrade will remove two troublesome sections of cycleway - the steep, circuitous traverse of the Newton Rd bridge, and the bumpy, narrow, ill-lit footpath, which puts both cyclists and pedestrians at risk from each other, on the southern side of Ian McKinnon Drive.

Many cyclists at present avoid this footpath section of cycleway, preferring, particularly on the downhill journey, to mix it with motor vehicles permitted to travel at up to 60km/h.

Existing cycleway over Newton Rd bridge and beside Ian McKinnon Dr to Upper Queen St, central Auckland shown by red line and dashed line. Planned cycleway, partly built, shown in purple.
Existing cycleway over Newton Rd bridge and beside Ian McKinnon Dr to Upper Queen St, central Auckland shown by red line and dashed line. Planned cycleway, partly built, shown in purple.

Automobile Association spokesman Barney Irvine said members liked good quality cycling infrastructure in the central business district.

"But ... with all the construction work that's going on in the central city, and the conversion of traffic lanes into pedestrian space and cycle lanes, car access is getting seriously squeezed.

"There's a real concern - particularly for people who work in the CBD or need to get there to make deliveries - that getting into town by car will soon become an unrealistic option."

"These projects are being rolled out at a rapid rate of knots, making it really hard for stakeholders like us to keep up, and to make sure that all the right questions have been asked about the impacts on traffic flows."

Auckland Transport's walking, cycling and road safety manager, Kathryn King, said the loss of a section of one lane to motor traffic was unlikely to cause congestion, as there are hardly ever queues there.

She said the gradient on most of Auckland's cycling network is less than 3 per cent, but there are some steep sections, such as the climb over Newton Rd bridge. Removing it would improve the rider experience and make the inner-city more accessible for suburban cyclists.

Bike Auckland chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert predicts the new piece of cycleway, which is filling in an "irksome gap", will spur another increase in the number of Aucklanders riding bikes.

"It will make those short routes into the city so much easier for people who think 'I can't be bothered'."

Auckland Transport's cycle counter on the Northwestern Cycleway at Kingsland recorded more than 1000 cycle movements on seven days in July, with a peak of 1154 on Monday, July 30.

Across the region, the proportion of the population who ride a bike has increased to 38 per cent this year, up 7 percentage points in two years, according to surveys done for Auckland Transport.