Thanks for that, Roger - I was too astonished that this old saw had come up in a cycling thread at PAS of all places to reply to it, and I'd written enough above already...
This was what I meant by the appalling engineering. Next time, I’ll just leave it at the crossing and carry on along the road.
I've been tempted by that most days I've ridden there, actually. I assume they got scared off removing on-street parking by some worthies operating businesses past the crossing, and that's the reason why it has that unique cross-road diversion. It's not particularly safe either - I was halfway across it on the green last night when somebody blew straight through the red headed west.
The only actually convenient destination of that cycleway is the bottom end of it.
Yup. If I didn't work literally right at the bottom of town, and hadn't had a health scare which made me less willing than previously to tangle with cars, I probably wouldn't bother either.
I found it very much fit for purpose when heading through town to Tamaki Drive, but as a transport cycleway rather than a recreational route, it's not quite what was called for. If they go ahead with the planned crosstown links that Sacha showed above, that might get it a bit closer and more usable.
I'm pleased by the improvements to the cycleway but I'm becoming steadily more horrified by the scale of the new interchange as it comes together. It seems that between Grafton Gully and SH16, we only get cycleway projects on any scale through areas that are being completely stuffed (or were stuffed decades before) by motorways. Personally I find it hard to put your head down as you pedal and say "very nice, mustn't grumble", all the while in the shadow of the massive place-ruining project beside you.
I was ill before Christmas so didn't get a chance to try out Grafton Gully until a week or so ago. I previously got to work via New North Road, K Road and Albert Street which I had gotten down to a fine art (20 minutes to town on a good day) but which seemed increasingly perilous - the cycleway seemed like a good way to speed up the trip and avoid some of the risky parts. From St Lukes Road to Quay Street traffic free? Sounded great.
And it is great in places. On the way in coming from the West, you still have the big grind up to Newton Road and the instant roll back down, only to climb again to Upper Queen Street, but that sounds like fodder for a later project. Upper Queen Street bridge is improved out of sight, but I'd definitely recommend using the right-hand side not the left (otherwise you wait at one more signalised crossing and have to do an annoying little climb back uphill to the cycleway entrance).
Once you’re headed down the cycleway all is bliss most of the way down the hill – even one more signalised crossing right beside the Owen Glenn building isn’t too bad – and then you have to cross a signalised left turn lane and then join a thinly disguised repurposed pedestrian crossing over the mouth of Alten Road and ride uphill and across one more road to get onto Churchill Street (behind the Police premises).
The Beach Road section of separated cycleway is interesting but I wasn’t prepared for just how short it was, and the bizarre diagonal crossover at one intersection where it changes sides of the road. Then it disappears down Mahuhu Crescent towards the park and appears to suddenly vanish – in fact it diverts off to the left and there is one final cycle signal to cross Queen Street, although there’s not much signage to help you follow it.
Going uphill from town through Grafton is obviously more of a slog, and you have more time to notice some of the prettier elements of the setting (the bush, a great close-up view of the bridge) but also how completely isolated it is from the liveliness of town. There aren’t many side destinations or interesting diversions once you are headed uphill – just the roar of cars to your left. The Kingsland stretch is right beside homes and is usually quite packed with people – Grafton Gully feels like the motorway it sits beside, only slower.
I half wonder if a better result wouldn’t have been achieved if they had simply decided to bite the bullet and implement Beach Road-style lanes all the way down Symonds Street (if width allowed). It’s somewhat pretty and the downhill experience is fun, but at Grafton Gully you do rather feel like you’ve been shunted off to a place where you are guaranteed not to be in anyone else’s way. If I didn’t work on Quay Street it probably wouldn’t be worth the indirectness and longer distance. And yet, mustn’t grumble. What else would we have gotten? Probably nothing.
Apologies for the long post.
And one more tremendous local read from a few years back – No Fretful Sleeper, Paul Millar’s amazing biography of Bill Pearson (another intersection with Great New Zealand Argument).
Not new, but handily the best I've read this year is Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore. Fascinating, incisive work of history, beautifully written as only a famed art critic can do, and with so many intersections between Australia's convict settlement and the allegedly more enlightened process in New Zealand. And gosh, it's rough and funny where warranted as only an Aussie could do it
By far my favourite nonfiction book ever, though, is David Halberstam's Korean War magnum opus The Coldest Winter. Less about war than about how a country can sleepwalk into disaster over years or decades, and the way that human decisions within institutional frameworks have unexpected consequences. It's massive and sad and terrifying and in many ways, a testament to how our world still works. I'd recommend it to anyone.
If only they'd plumbed in a coffee machine this one might have lasted till Easter :)
Anyone who has renovated their own home will know what a $10,000 bathroom looks like, and it don’t look like much.
You go with some jumped up Grey Lynn tiling procedure, you wear the results.
Councillor Brewer should relax – if his friend John Banks gets in next time the blackout curtains and wardrobe will be handy for hiding cheques he doesn’t want to see and dressing for helicopter rides which he won’t remember.
Last night in Beijing.
Not much of a photog but was very happy to see this Mandarin duck at the zoo...
just checked..that fat bastard hatred...
the export was tom gould ....a NZ talent..he made and directed the action bronson video about seeing shit that doesn't exist...fuck these wavy comments from bank bitches...
Huh? Please tell me I'm not the only one completely confused by this element of the thread...
Welcome and cheers for that - I'm just about sold (almost literally a few years back, as mentioned upthread). It's just a teeny bit far for me to go with transport options to the city, as it stands right now anyway. You must be up near Don Buck Hill with a view like that I suppose?