In an apparent pander to cyclists (or maybe the road design code), the design team on the Arras Alliance have come up with this lovely bike exit. It signals nicely to cyclists that are approaching the Arras Tunnel that they should exit at that point to avoid the Perils of the Arras Tunnel, for those that enter would likely suffer a fate similar to our ANZAC soldiers.
Nice… er… token. But susly?
So what’s wrong? Two things:
First, the $150 Million Memorial Park project doesn’t have any provision for cycling either leading up to or going through the tunnel – not bad for a project whose aim was to liberate a whole lot of public space.
Secondly, by installing the offramp there, they imply that people would want to, and should, cycle along this horrible stretch of three-lane-major-arterial road. Plus carparking. With cyclists shoe-horned in between. Really?
Ok, so NZTA didn’t or wouldn’t think about cycling for it’s segway to the $90 million Basin Flyover, $487 million Mt Vic Tunnel Duplication, $100 million Ruahine Street duplication and eventual 4-laning to the Airport – another $100 million? A cycleway probably won’t fit into the budget. But at least they gave cyclists an escape ramp before they plundered into the newly-built Arras Tunnel.
Good work NZTA. Insightful. Visionary. Like the entire RoNS package.
And Wellington Council are not so innocent with their ‘wait and see’ approach to building the Island Bay cycleway, where instead of starting at the City end of the path, construction will start at the Island Bay end – allowing commuters an easy journey from Island Bay, and then its survival of the fittest from the uncompleted sections into town – having to mix with traffic. With this in mind, the Island Bay Cycleway is hardly likely to get real patronage – cyclists that won’t ride if they must contend with traffic – until fully completed, which depends on what happens with the Basin Flyover design.
What could have been done? Bike lanes from the bottom of Adelaide Road to the tunnel entrance would be a fantastic start, preferably separated by carparking like in the above photo. And if they really don’t want people in the tunnel (and I can see why – fumes, fire, safety), maybe a separate ramp that takes cyclists around the top of the tunnel, guiding them down Troy Street or Cambridge Terrace separately from Pukeahu park. This solution does not depend on the Basin Flyover in any way.
Cyclists could also be diverted down Tasman Street and then onto upper Tory St or Cambridge Terrace on a separated path. See my newer post: Tasman St Cycleway for more information.
Additional cost to the $150m project? Pukeahu / Arras / National War Memorial have been completed now, so it’s spilt milk, but it could have been a lot better if the will existed. NZTA just want to build more motorways no matter what the cost or who wants them, and WCC somewhat lacked vision when the project started. Lets hope that with Mark Peck’s recent shift that meaningful cycleways and cycling infrastructure can be conceived and built with enthusiastic council backing, and not some pathetic, token, green-painted ass-covering ramp that adds nothing to Cyclingness, not now, not ever.