If you hate cycleways, you’re probably going to hate them a whole lot more when I finish telling you about the latest instalment in this.
Turns out cycleways are getting really expensive. The country’s cycleway building programme is blowing out big time.
Waka Kotahi has set aside $618 million to spend on cycleways over the next three years, but the budget has blown out already to $670 million, which is an overspend of 10 percent.
Why? In some cases, because of dumb mistakes.
The Petone cycleway seems to be a case of dumb and dumber where mistakes like an administration error of $1 million and forgetting to talk to KiwiRail to plan the route has made it quadruple in price. It should’ve cost $17 million, now it’s $65 million.
That works out at $21.7 million per km. That is miles too expensive.
That is not the first time this has happened, but all of these cycleways are too expensive per kilometre.
The cycleway in Grey Lynn cost $10 million and barely anyone uses it.
Auckland Transport is going to spend $144 million on 18km of cycleways - $8 million per kilometre.
Christchurch Council is going to spend more than $300 million on 13 cycleways - $3 million per kilometre.
It does not have to be that expensive. There is a cycleway on Auckland’s Viaduct that only costs $500,000 per kilometre.
Frankly, the people at Waka Kotahi need to stop overengineering their cycleways. It doesn’t have to be miles away from cars with planter boxes lining the sides and a beautiful pink or green hue.
Doesn’t always have to be the case that they have to rip up all of the carparks and rebuild the entire road.
Sometimes what they should do is just paint a white line down the edge of the road and call that a cycleway.
It’s not crazy to have a single white line separating cycles from cars. Most of our roads have a line separating cars from cars and it works.
We are overdoing it on the cycleways, which means we have fewer of them for the cyclists to use, so cyclists are annoyed, and they take too long so the cyclists are annoyed, and the businesses are annoyed and they cost too much and the motorists are annoyed, so all of us are annoyed.
Keep it simple, keep it cheap, keep all of us happy.
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.
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