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Discussion document: Great Urban Rides -Auckland


Pippa Coom

Julian Hulls – Director



Nextbike logo small July 2008

132 Symonds Street



021 926 618

021 154 8371


With the recent excitement about the concept of a national cycleway and the firm commitment to create a series of “Great Rides” we see a very real opportunity and a wide range of benefits in ensuring that New Zealand’s major cities have “Great Urban Rides” as a key part of the network, and that these be included in the first rides to be announced at the end of June 2009.

Why “Great Urban Rides”?

The concept fits just as well for tourists as it does for city residents and will generate similar benefits and returns as the proposed regional Great Rides. In addition the Great Urban Rides deliver some distinct benefits:

Pass interesting places for tourist and useful places for locals. Great Urban Rides give access to iconic city experiences that any tourist will remember whenever they talk about their time in New Zealand. Similarly it provides Kiwis with a recognized route that they can ride onto from home and ride off to get to university, work or city events. This in turn gives locals more transport options, community connections and experiences while keeping them fitter, healthier and more productive.

Linking together the hidden and invisible pieces of the puzzle. By blending together the short sections of existing cycle lane, the corridors that regular cycle commuters use and the pre approved/budgeted cycle lane projects it’s possible to see a simple clear network. Because a portion of this work is already pre approved but unstarted, work and benefits can be seen quickly.

Catches tourists at the easiest points in NZ. With the majority of tourists landing in Auckland and then passing through Wellington and Christchurch, it makes sense to give them a quality taste of the cycling experience with little of the logistical struggles. Buoyed by this experience tourists are more likely to commit to a 3 day wilderness tour. It would be possible to direct tourists to regional rides in the flyers for the Great Urban Rides

Low cost high value return with Great Urban Rides. Conventional wisdom might suggest that rides only work if the road is “greened” with dedicated cycle lanes, however we believe there is a low cost solution to this that will enable the above wins. The key is identifying and communicating usable routes on existing roads and directing riders to these at off peak times. In time scheduled roading upgrades will introduce traffic calming measures, that enable more riders to be safe and comfortable using the roads over a greater range of days.

Route selection

The Great Urban Rides will be a compact network that balances the following traits:

Provide safe and fast transport by bike. Safe and fast do not always go together however it’s important to strike a balance here so that existing riders are encouraged to use them and new riders or tourists feel comfortable doing more rides.

Pass interesting places for tourists and useful places for locals. The potential range of route locations is large (Art galleries to zoo’s for tourists and bank’s to universities for locals) so the routes are circular in nature enabling riders to hop on and off to cover most of the distance between the start of their journey and the end.

Use geographically obvious routes to encourage regular use but still be achievable for the first time rider. Experienced transport riders learn to use slow climbing hills and “ride the ridges” often at the expense of the most direct route, tapping into this knowledge will be key to the success of the Great Urban Rides.

Maximise existing infrastructure and leverage off proposed plans. There are a number of disconnected cycle lanes in existence already and more that have had planning work and fund allocated. Accelerating these will ensure some quick to implement, low cost routes.

Overtime Great Urban Rides will evolve and spread further into the regions that surround the city. In the first instance it could be trialled in one of the major cities and the learnings made available to similar cities around New Zealand. We believe that the city with the biggest potential win for both tourists, locals and the economy is Auckland. See Appendix 1 for suggested initial routes.

Route rollout

Identifying route. In the first instance the routes will be identified with a logo and direction arrow. These would be placed on existing signage poles and as road markings at key intersections. The routes should also be available online and as flyers from information outlets. Local riders will be encouraged to use the routes at weekends for large events like Music in the Parks or in the evening. Tourist would be shown around the routes on organized tours or rent their own bike to explore themselves. Suggested time frame to complete 4-12 months. Capital cost – Low ($50K Estimate)

Traffic calming. With a number of major road improvements and cycle lanes approved but yet to be started the routes will become safer for a larger number of days in a typical week as these planned improvements are made. These measures will include slower vehicle speed limits, increased cost of parking, cycle lanes and riders gaining safety in numbers as their positive experiences grow. Identifying these as early as possible and using the National Cycleway to kickstart them will get significant return on investment. Examples include Rugby World Cup walking corridors, Regional Council cycle network proposals and road upgrades for buses. See Appendix 2. Suggested time frame 12-36 months. Capital cost – Business as usual ($0)

Greening routes. The long term goal would be to see the Great Urban Ride “greened” with dedicated cycle lanes. The network becomes a tangible hop on hop off asset that is as useful as the London Underground whilst showcasing the city and giving people the chance to use active transport. Suggested time frame 12-60 month. Capital cost – Moderate (+$1M Estimate)

Next steps

Painting a clear picture of what is possible and gaining support for an Auckland Great Urban Ride(s) is critical for ensuring the concept is included as one of the first great rides to be announced by the Ministry of Tourism at the end of June 2009. This discussion document has been drafted by Next Bikes and Cycle Action Auckland as a first step to achieving this and to assist us with:

  • Identifying and gaining support of key stakeholders and likely champions
  • Confirming the route rollout as a realistic approach
  • Identifying pre approved projects, timeframes and cost
  • Identifying likely infrastructure gaps and the potential costs to overcome these
  • Compiling a high level proposal for the Ministry of Tourism – Due 19th June 2009

Appendix 1

Map shows proposed Great Urban Ride network in Auckland

  • Available on Google maps – Link embedded

Appendix 2

Map shows

  • Existing bike lanes and routes
  • Proposed bike lanes
  • Roads favoured by riders and/or enough space
  • Available on Google maps – Link embedded

Last printed 11/6/09 10:13 AM