New off-road bike paths are being credited for a more than 50 per cent jump people cycling to work or education along a key inner-city Auckland corridor.
Auckland Transport says a survey in the Symonds St-Grafton Gully corridor also shows a big increase in the number of people who are new to cycling.
The survey, taken in June, was conducted nine months after the opening of the Transport Agency's $16.5 million cycleway running 1.9km from Upper Queen St to Churchill St at the bottom of Grafton Gully.
That link joins a 1.5km "protected" bikeway which Auckland Transport has developed along Beach Rd and some adjoining streets for $6.4m, with funding contributions from the agency and the council's city-centre targeted rate.
Stage two of the combined on and off-road bikeway, from Mahuhu Crescent to Britomart Place, is to be opened tomorrow morning by Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.
A head-count of cyclists for the survey showed 190 crossing the Symonds-Grafton corridor in two and a half hours on a Thursday morning - a 66.7 per cent increase since a similar exercise in June last year, before the gully cycleway opened.
The cycleway, as an alternative to Symonds St, attracted 108 pedallers over that period.
Another count in the corridor, over three hours on the afternoon of the same day, showed a more modest 33.3 per cent increase - to 172 cyclists.
Ninety eight of them used the cycleway.
Given that numbers counted on the cycleway were significantly lower on a Saturday - 24 in the morning and 44 in the afternoon - transport planners are assuming its predominant usage is for getting to or from work or university studies.
Interviews with pedallers using the Symonds-Grafton corridor showed that 28.8 per cent were new to cycling.
The perceived safety of the gully cycleway was rated 8.7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Auckland Transport says patronage in summer is likely to be significantly higher, and expects strong continued growth in cycling as more bikeways are added to the network, raising public awareness of them.
One highly visible example is a cycleway being built over Spaghetti Junction and along Nelson St to the waterfront, for which the Government is paying $11.35m and Auckland Council is contributing $2.55m.
That project includes a 160m shared cycling and walking bridge over the motorway, which is due to open before Christmas.
Auckland Transport walking and cycling manager Kathryn King said the survey results were very encouraging, showing that "if you build cycle infrastructure, people will use it."
"What really pleased us was the number of people new to cycling. It is these people that we want to feel more confident and safe riding to work or education."