[Page updated December 17th with Ideas for your submission below]
This page describes our understanding of and response to AT's proposed improvements (view their project page here), and is broken into two sections:
Read on, and if you want to send us a question use the link at the bottom of the page.
AT's feedback form (link at the bottom of this section) is broken into seven questions. We've broken down our thoughts by the same. Feel free to use any that resonate with you.
In short, we’re really enthused about this project. It’s a major step towards making Pt Chev’s streets safer, for not just everyone who bikes, but for people walking, jogging, scooting, and driving as well.
With changes to things we’re used to, like the streets we live on and use every day, it’s easy to instantly zoom in on the details, see proposed changes through the lenses of our current habits, and find lots of things to question and debate. Those will be important observations and are a good reason to take part in the consultation.
Imagine a neighbourhood where, if you’re heading to school, shops, sports, the beach, or a mate’s house, it makes just as much sense to walk or bike or hop on a bus, as to jump in your car and drive 5 minutes.
Or, you can start at the other end: with the wider, longterm vision of what’s possible. Imagine a neighbourhood where, if you’re heading to school, shops, sports, the beach, or a mate’s house, it makes just as much sense to walk or bike or hop on a bus, as to jump in your car and drive 5 minutes.
A suburb that makes it not just easy but attractive to “get your steps in”, and to zip around the neighbourhood in ways that are healthier for the climate as well as for ourselves. One where anybody can bike or bus to the city in half an hour. One where you could let go of your child’s hand, send them off to the dairy by themselves, let them get to school under their own steam.
That could be Pt Chev. And for some of us, it already is: we love seeing bikes outside dairies and cafes, groups of people and dogs out for a cafe stroll, kids walking and scooting around. We’d also love to see tangible changes to our busy roads and sketchy intersections so that more people feel able to do that, freely and without stress.
In particular, we love the proposed safe and separate bikeways on our busy arterials, which would give people who ride/ scoot/ travel in mobility scooters an option besides the footpath or the “door zone” between parked cars and moving traffic. We love the fact there will be more and better crossings, so it’ll be easier to walk around the place and get from one side of the Chev to the other. We like the proposal for a peak-hour bus lane, to free up buses full of people. We love that the design works around the Pt Chev Road pohutukawa, and adds another six.
At the same time, like many of you, we’re thinking about the effects of the changes, how our fave local shops might deal with construction, and how customers in cars will respond to changes in where they can park. We can also see lots of our neighbours talking about things that are already happening – like speeding, red-light running, rat-running through the back streets, and the rise in through-traffic trying to avoid the motorway. It’s good to see these issues up for discussion.
We reckon it’s the start of a really timely discussion for our ‘hood, about how we live now, how we get around and what Pt Chev feels like, whether you’re young or old, behind the wheel of a car or walking to school.
Can this design fix all of this? Not overnight - but we reckon it’s the start of a really timely discussion for our ‘hood, about how we live now, how we get around and what Pt Chev feels like, whether you’re young or old, behind the wheel of a car or walking to school.
Luckily, the consultation is all about surfacing any issues. So we encourage you to read up on it, have a look at the plans, read different takes, and talk to each other and your neighbours and your kids.
You can support the plan in principle, while still having heaps of questions and suggestions. That’s where we’re at, even though some of us have been involved the community liaison group that AT spoke to over several months! But we’re convinced this plan is on the right track and that together we can help make it even better.
And the funny thing is that none of us was consulted on the situation we have now. It grew up around us, especially over the last 20-30 years. And we know it’s unsustainable: business as usual is no longer an option. So this is a chance to be more intentional about the next 20-30 years – an opportunity to discover how different things could be.
It’s an Auckland Transport design to create safe, continuous bike paths: on Pt Chevalier Road as far as Meola Road, and along Meola Road to Westmere. The goal is better all-ages travel options for locals, and it’s also part of a wider plan to complete a network of safe bike routes connecting through the inner west neighbourhoods, along Great North Road to Karangahape Road and into town, and through Herne Bay to eventually join up with Skypath over the Harbour Bridge.
It’s not just about bike lanes, either - thanks to previous community feedback, this has evolved into a full streetscape project that includes safer crossings, both at side streets, across the main roads; safer intersections; more greenery; and more welcoming footpaths that are buffered from traffic.
One of the things we all love about living in Pt Chev is how handy it is. Within cooee, we have the zoo and MOTAT, the beach, an amazing variety of parks, playgrounds and sportsfields, handy shops, great schools. You can walk from one end to another in about half an hour, and a bike or scooter makes that even easier.
It’s a wonderful place to raise a family, and kids can roam the neighbourhood – well, in theory. In practice, there’s heavy through-traffic along our main streets, so lots of parents don’t feel safe letting their kids walk or bike alone, and the Meola/ Pt Chev intersection is a bit of a ‘mare.
And for many of us in this group, it comes down to this: our kids deserve safer streets to walk and bike on and grow up alongside. It’s really that simple.
Yes. Although, we have to ask, should that matter? We shouldn’t need to ‘buy’ safer streets one injury or death at a time! And the safest trip is the one you never make - lots of people wind up driving everywhere because the streets feel too hostile for themselves or their family members to walk or bike instead.
The crash data since 2000 features some hair-raising examples of serious injuries on Pt Chev and Meola Roads, involving people driving, walking, biking. And the police stats are just the tip of the iceberg. Only something like one in five serious bike crashes are reported, and almost everyone who rides a bike in the neighbourhood would be able to report a near hit or a scary close pass. Sadly, the footpath isn’t much safer – this year alone, five local children (that we know of) have been hit by cars coming out of driveways.
By contrast, a 13 year international study of a dozen cities found that adding separated bike lanes to streets made them safer for everyone. Not just people on bikes: everyone, drivers and passengers included.
Yes: the Northwestern Cycleway, which hundreds of people use every day to get to and from the city and between neighbourhoods along the way, as well as for weekend adventures. We know it’s not just used by commuters, but also by kids walking and riding to Pasadena and Western Springs College.
The Northwestern doesn’t just connect the west to the central city: it links via off-road routes to Avondale, Mt Roskill, Onehunga – and, via a project just under way, to New Lynn. In 2020 the narrow section through Kingsland will be widened and separated to make it safer for school traffic and people walking; and before Christmas, a new extension opens all the way to Westgate.
With every new connection, more and more people use the cycleway: there are now twice as many trips per day as four years ago – 1300 a day at the height of summer! That’s a lot of people who could be persuaded to stop in Pt Chev – and ridership is growing by around 25% a year. It’s a treasure in our backyard, and a definite bike magnet.
It’s partly so people can get to and from that wider network – but just as importantly, it’s to keep people safe as they go about local trips, to the shops, schools, and sports. And there are already a lot of locals who ride.
At the 2013 census, Pt Chev (west and east) had one of the highest rates of people biking to work and study. Our local schools already have some of the highest walking, biking and scooting rates of schools across the city. And when the streetscape project was first consulted on in 2017, a bike counter was installed on Pt Chev Road, which showed there were around 400 trips a day. (Can you picture all those people in cars, squeezing into traffic alongside everyone who’s already driving?)
And it’s about building for future growth, too. Research shows lots of Aucklanders are keen to ride more, but find traffic intimidating. Building safe bike paths allows more people, young and old, to give it a go. At the moment, in Pt Chev, your choice is to bike on the footpath – which lots of people do – or to ride in the “door zone”, between parked cars and passing traffic. That’s not really a fair or comfortable choice for anyone involved. Safer bike paths will get bikes off the footpath, and more people will feel comfortable riding.
Of course it’s not about expecting everyone to suddenly jump on a bike; it’s simply about making it a safe option. With Pt Chev’s population on the rise, and traffic apparently up by 18% in the two years since the Waterview tunnel opened, we really have to think more efficiently about how to move people, not just cars, through our neighbourhood. (For example, one bus can hold 50 passengers. If you put 50 people in a car each, at the usual distance from each other, they’d stretch approximately from the Pt Chev shops to Wakatipu St. Coincidentally that’s also about the distance the proposed bus lane would extend).
We know there’s heaps of latent potential out there to free up space on our streets for more efficient travel. Our recent Bike to Football initiative proved that - over just four weeks in the middle of winter, working with just the youngest players on a Saturday morning, we drew 130+ people on bikes each session - taking dozens of cars off the road, freeing up space for those who had no choice but to drive, and showing families what’s possible. The one thing people most frequently told us? “Meola Road needs safe bike lanes so we could do this more often.”
Public drop-in sessions will be held at the Point Chevalier Library at the following times:
These are a good opportunity to meet the AT project team and ask any questions you might have.
Ready to make your submission? Do so here.
Let us know your thoughts and questions using the link below.