Please, Auckland Transport, do not fix the Tāmaki Drive cycleway.
At least, do not fix it now. Do not waste any more time and money on that bumpy section you have just built. You have to get on with the rest of the project.
Actually, you have to extend cycleways into a thousand other places, and remaining stuck on one small part of the whole will slow that down.
I know, it's infuriating. Tāmaki Drive is the busiest cycle route in the city and has long been one of the most dangerous. The broken footpath cyclists have been sharing with pedestrians is a menace to both. The carriageway is a menace to cyclists too.
The new route was supposed to solve the problem, making all three components of the road safer, more enjoyable and more fit for purpose for everyone. One of the most glorious urban waterfront routes in the world should be a showcase. It cost $14 million.
Instead, Auckland Transport and the construction company Downers botched the job. On a bike with road tyres it's like you're riding over a sea of random judder bars.
AT says it's asphalt because concrete is more expensive and wouldn't survive the pōhutukawa roots. That's ridiculous. Asphalt doesn't have to be a bad surface and concrete might last longer anyway.
This, simply, is a bad tarsealing job, signed off by people who should know better. If it was sabotage it could hardly be worse.
But still, AT should not fix it. Not yet.
Don't get me wrong. Whoever at AT thought that job was good enough should lose their own job. They are not fit for purpose.
But the city cries out for more cycleways and progress building them is painfully slow. Tāmaki Drive should not be allowed to slow up what little else is being done. Fix it when it comes up on the maintenance schedule.
What AT needs to fix now is its cycling project delivery unit.
That's no small job. It has to rethink which jobs get done, and how, and it has to think exponentially bigger. An entirely new strategy is required.
You can see part of the problem on East St, which is a lane linking Karangahape Rd with the start of Te Ara I Whiti, the pink pathway. East St has recently acquired a fully separated two-lane cycleway.
But why? The official reasons are that it connects to the new K Rd cycleway, so is part of the growing network, and that it protects cyclists from construction vehicles at the nearby CRL site. In theory, that's the right thing to do.
In practice, East St posed few dangers to cyclists. It has almost no vehicles on it and those that do use it can't speed.
There's another reason East St has a cycleway: it was easy. No Nimby complaints, no shops to disrupt during construction, no motorists to annoy.
The East St cycleway was built by the CRL, not AT, but the CRL is jointly owned by the council, which fully owns AT, and the agencies work closely together.
East St exposes the paucity of thinking at AT. While AT's new K Rd cycleway is great, there are no plans for it to include the connector route it really needs: a cycleway down into town on the dangerous upper slope of Queen St.
Nor does anyone have plans for a temporary cycleway at the top of Pitt St. That's the other CRL construction site in the area, it's very busy with traffic and bike riders there really do need protecting.
Yesterday, Auckland Council's planning committee heard a submission from All Aboard, an umbrella organisation for several climate and transport action agroups.
They had a warning about the existing transport plans to combat climate change. Middle-class people, they said, will embrace electric vehicles – cars and bikes – and get good public transport services too. But people in poorer suburbs will remain stranded.
"Transport planning can't just be for the well-off," said Paul Winton, one of the group. "If the council does not prioritise low-emissions travel in low-income areas, factory workers will have to keep driving old petrol-fuelled cars."
It was tough for councillors to hear, probably because they know it's true.
David Robinson, from Generation Zero, said, "The key is to reallocate existing road space overnight. It's cheap and effective and you need to do it everywhere."
Lots more bus lanes with lots more buses on them, and cycle networks around schools and town centres, with cycleways near or on arterial routes.
"That's 25-30 per cent of the roadways," added Winton. "Hand it over to active and public transport now."
This was even tougher to hear. You can imagine the blowback.
Then Jenny Cooper from Lawyers for Climate Action reminded the councillors they have legal obligations to meet emissions targets. Her group was "very prepared to test this in court".
That did it. Cr Jo Bartley, who represents poorer suburbs like Otāhuhu, was furious. "We get so much hate about bike lanes," she said. "We don't need threats from you as well. To hear you guys say you're going to sue us, it just sucks. If there's any chance you could bypass us and just sue the haters, that would be great."
"It does suck," said Winton, not backing down. "And it's the burden of leadership. We thank you, the people in this room. But there are about 14 per cent of people who don't believe climate change is a thing. They're the haters, but they are the loudest voices. The science says, ignore them."
Cr Fa'anana Efeso Collins from Manukau had his own particular take. He said he took the bus to church once and the pastor told him off because someone of his status should be in a car.
Nobody at the council meeting had the gumption to tell him that was a leadership moment right there.
Bartley wondered if the money being spent on infrastructure should instead go towards "changing behaviour".
"In Mangere, I can see the benefits, especially the health benefits. But it's very, very difficult. It's a sign of poverty to catch the bus and it's not safe to ride a bike. Should we invest in education?
Winton said the way to change behaviour was to provide the right infrastructure and lots of it.
"We do 5-10 km of cycleways a year at a cost of something with lots of [zeroes]. We need 150km a year, made with posts and planter boxes. Cheap and easy and get it done. Absent that, we won't get behavioural change. It's fundamental change using existing infrastructure."
Cr Richard Hills, of North Shore, had some numbers. In 2014, he said, Auckland had 800,000 cycle trips per year and now it was up to 3.7 million. The growth had happened even with the little amount of money AT had spent.
Cr Pippa Coom, who rides a bike everywhere, said, "I'm not a cyclist. I never define myself by the way I travel."
"People just want to be able to get around the neighbourhood safely," she said. "Cycling is about mobility and it's evolving all the time. There will be lots more older people, on e-scooters, sit-down scooters, mobility chairs, they're all in the mix."
She said AT had promised "a huge amount of delivery" in 2015, but it hadn't happened.
"We've all talked about doing it cheaper, quicker, more effectively. We can do that through popup lanes. We know how to get people on bikes: it's the network, making it safe and accessible."
What was missing, Coom made very clear, was the will to make this happen. That's on AT. It hasn't done the mahi and you have to wonder if it even wants to. Because too often when it does, it makes a mess of it. Grrr.
* This story has been corrected. The East St cycleway was not an Auckland Transport project, as earlier stated, but was built by City Rail Link, an agency jointly owned by the Government and Auckland Council, which works closely with Auckland Transport.