Auckland Transport has unveiled plans for a new cycleway along the city's premier waterfront street.
Rubber kerbs will be installed along the busiest sector of Quay St, on Auckland Viaduct, to protect users of the new on-road bikeway from traffic accidents.
Auckland Transport wants to build the bikeway mainly at road level along the northern side of the kilometre-long sector - from Princess Wharf to Plumer Street - by May.
That accelerated timing is to ensure the coast is clear for the council body to start digging up neighbouring Lower Queen St then, for the first stage of the $2.5 billion underground railway from Britomart to Eden Terrace.
The cycleway bill will be a more modest $1.5 million, including the cost of rubber rather than concrete kerbs, able to be removed for a major upgrade of Quay St in five to 10 years.
It will provide a link to two major cycleways running to the east and west of the CBD, one already completed through Grafton Gully and along Beach Rd for about $23m and the other being built over Spaghetti Junction and down Nelson St for $13.9m, with mainly Government funding.
The first stage of the Nelson bikeway is due to open in just under two weeks, with Cycle Action Auckland promising a spectacular night-time ride on December 3 under lights which will accentuate a purple section across a disused motorway off-ramp leading from a 160-metre bridge the Transport Agency has built over the central motorway junction.
Auckland Transport walking and cycling manager Kathryn King said the second stage - from Victoria St to the waterfront - would be completed by June or July, to connect with the Quay St bikeway to the east and the existing shared walking and pedalling route across Viaduct Harbour to the west.
Public consultations on the Quay St project begin today, and will include an information session at The Cloud on Queens Wharf next Thursday.
Ms King said the new two-way bikeway, which would be about 3 metres wide, would run mainly at road level with the rubber kerb dividing cyclists from cars, trucks and buses.
A small section at the Princess Wharf end would be developed on the existing footpath, as would the block between Lower Queen St and Commerce St as a temporary measure until the City Rail Link enabling works and the redevelopment of the Downtown shopping centre were complete.
That would be to limit disruption to traffic, and maintain a right turn for buses and other vehicles into Commerce St.
A consultation brochure acknowledges that a reduced road width east of Commerce St "may add a small amount of time" to eastbound journeys at busy times, because of a need to combine right-turning and straight-ahead traffic into one lane.
But Ms King said were very few right-turning traffic movements other than into Commerce St, which would become a key bus route with the closure of Lower Queen St.
Rubber speed cushions will also be installed across wharf entrances, to slow vehicles down as they cross the cycleway.
The brochure describes the bikeway as "an interim step towards the long-term transformation of Quay St and the water's edge."
It says the project will make Quay St a more pleasant walking environment as well, by shifting bikes from what is an existing shared space into the new cycleway.
A shared cycling and walking path will remain along the eastern sector of Quay St and beside Tamaki Drive, but a section of that is to be upgraded in 2018 to create a better link with a 7.3km bikeway the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport started building last month from Glen Innes for $40m.
That is expected to be completed by 2018 as part of a $200m programme of walking and cycling projects which will also include more cross-town pedalling routes through the CBD, such as along Victoria St and Karangahape Rd, and a link between the Northwestern bikeway and Upper Queen St via Ian McKinnon Drive.
Planned or underway:
Length - Cost - Completion
• Quay St - 1km (western sector) - $1.5m - May 2016
• Nelson St 2.9km (Upper Queen St to Quay St/) $13.9m June/July 2016
plus Pitt St to Karangahape Rd)
• Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive 8.7km $40m 2018