Auckland Learning Quarter cycling study


Auckland City Council (ACC) engaged ViaStrada to undertake a comprehensive cycling review for the "Learning Quarter", the campus area of the University of Auckland and the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), in the Auckland CBD.

This study of cycling access, connectivity and priorities in and to Auckland's Learning Quarter (LQ) considers ways to improve the safety of existing cyclists and attract and accommodate new cyclists. One of the significant factors in a person's decision to ride a cycle to the LQ is the perceived conditions for cycling along the entire journey between home and the LQ. This study looks at conditions for cycling (and cycle parking) at the central city campuses of AUT University and the University of Auckland and also reviews the main cycling routes within a 5 km radius of the LQ.

The recommendations in this report were developed from meetings with key stakeholders, informal interviews with cyclists, desktop analysis of data and relevant projects, and several days of street auditing by bicycle.

The study considered two quite different types of cyclists: existing riders who tend to be more experienced or confident sharing the road with motor traffic; and potential cyclists, who may only ride where or when there is less traffic.

Experienced cyclists principally desire sufficient space on main roads rather than off-road paths or routes on quiet streets which may not be as direct. For these cyclists, the report focuses on lane widths and recommends that:

  • The 3.5 m kerbside lane is the least desirable width for sharing with cyclists. They should be avoided in new plans and phased out throughout the city;
  • Shared bus-bike lanes should be at least 4.2 m;
  • Opportunities to increase kerbside lane widths or install cycle lanes may be found by removing or narrowing flush medians, parking lanes or centre lanes; and
  • Where adequate space for cycling cannot be provided along a desired route, a lower speed limit should be considered.

For new or occasional cyclists, the current traffic environment is the main impediment to cycling. A key to the study is the philosophical consideration of the merits of shared use paths, which are widely used around the world. However, a common misperception is that they are unsafe for pedestrians despite a lack of evidence to support this view.

Shared paths are more easily implemented than other measures that benefit cyclists, such as traffic volume or speed reductions or road space reallocation.

  • The success of the NW Cycleway indicates that further shared paths and cycleways should be developed to create a coherent network for all types of people who would like to cycle; and
  • For those seeking less trafficked alternative routes, Parliament Street and Lorne / High streets could be adapted.

Finally, the universities can improve the attractiveness of cycling by the provision of:

  • Better designed and more abundant cycle parking;
  • Facilities for showers and storing clothes and cycling equipment;
  • Improved directional signs for cycling and cycle facilities; and
  • Shared use pathways on campus.

In addition to these infrastructure recommendations, a number of encouragement, education and  enforcement measures are proposed. All recommendations are summarised in a table at the end of the report.

ViaStrada's project leader was Andrew Macbeth, with John Lieswyn undertaking much of the work.

Project Objective
To undertake a comprehensive cycling review for the "Learning Quarter"
Auckland City Council
Auckland 'Learning Quarter'
Project Status
Completed July 2009
Key contact