A big thanks to everyone who has already read my blog post The Parade design options - carriageway, which takes an in-depth look at the six design options proposed for main carriageway along The Parade. If you haven't had time to read it yet here's the shorter tl;dr (too long, didn't read) version.
The design options for The Parade are now posted on the Love the Bay website. You have until 9pm Sunday 28 May to provide feedback.
Assessing the carriageway options against the design statements it seems clear that options 2b and 2e (current) provide the best mix of 'something for everyone'.
Who gets what?
The table below highlights the amount of space that's dedicated to a specific use under each option. It's sorted by the average amount of space allocated to each use across all the options to give a sense of which uses are consistently consuming the most space. The green highlighting indicates the best option(s) by use and the red highlighting indicates the worst option(s) by use.
If your eye is immediately drawn to option 2b it should be. Looking purely at dedicated space the two options that appear to have the best mix of 'something for everyone' are 2b and to a lesser extent 2e (current). Option 2b is the best possible option for cars (moving and parked) and bikes. It's also the second best option for pedestrians. Option 2e (current) is the best possible option for pedestrians, bikes and parked cars and the third best option for moving cars (but only 40cm less space than the best option). If we decide to prioritise pedestrians and bikes above cars then the current layout (Option 2e) should be preferred.
Are shared paths the answer?
Options 2b and 2e (current) don't require pedestrians and cyclists to share space. Shared paths are a poor solution because they mix pedestrians and cyclists moving in different directions and at quite different speeds. If there is any aspiration at all that the new design should increase active transport numbers then shared paths will become an increasingly sub-optimal solution, and may actually end up having the opposite effect. Shared paths do not score well against the design statements on safety, separation and "accommodating all current and future users" .
If it's not OK to walk it, why is it OK to cycle it?
Options 2b and 2e (current) are the only options that provide cyclists with full separation from moving traffic. This includes not requiring cars to cross the bike lanes to get to street parking. Lack of separation from moving traffic dramatically increases both the likelihood and consequences of a cyclist having a crash. More significantly, it's also the main cause of the 'near misses' that are proven to make cyclists feel uncomfortable and suppress uptake of cycling and there is a mountain of research to support this point. NZTA guidance also requires complete separation between cyclists and moving traffic on roads with more than 7,000 vehicles per day, which is nearly the entirety of The Parade.
In the three options where cyclists are required to ride in an unprotected bike lane next to moving traffic (2a, 2d and 2f) the bike lanes are 1.5m wide, which is too narrow. This means there will be many occasions where a cyclist is being passed by cars that are well within the 1.5m minimum safe passing distance recommended in the NZ Road Code and the 1m distance under 60kph recommended by the Cycling Safety Panel as the legal minimum. It should be unacceptable to even consider implementing a design for The Parade where cyclists being close to, and often within, a metre of moving traffic is actually built in. It is an obvious fail against the design statement that says "the look and feel reinforces and highlights road rules and protocols" as well as the design statements on safety and separation. In short, if it's not OK to walk it, why is it OK to cycle it?
Is parking really more important than mobility and safety?
Only one option - 2a - considers a reduction in the amount of parking. This is despite council data that shows parking occupancy on The Parade is in the region of 50-60%. It's also noteworthy that the design statements make no mention of needing to preserve the current amount of parking, or even retain a minimum amount of parking, except at the shopping centre. Parking uses up a large amount of space that could be used for mobility. It also interrupts sight lines, which creates safety issues, and creates visual and physical clutter. If completely removing parking from one or both sides is just too hard for people to swallow then at the very least it should be possible to remove selected car parks to improve visibility at intersections and driveways, and reduce visual and physical clutter, which aligns very well with the design statements.
Overall, options 2b and 2e (current) both appear to be well-aligned with the key design statements and I'd like to see the designers focus on a design that builds on the best elements of both of those options. Options for the carriageway that use shared paths or on-road bike lanes should not be developed further.
I hope you find this analysis helpful. When submitting your own feedback on the carriageway options I suggest focusing on options 2b and 2e (current) first and clearly describing what you most like about those options. Then go to the other options and focus on what you most dislike about those options. I'll stop short of actually providing template answers to the specific questions because pro-forma responses are not that helpful to the designers and you should really try and explain why you like or dislike a particular option in your own words.