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Polka-dot paint job for New Zealand street to protect cyclists and pedestrians

Auckland Transport says that unusual colour scheme will encourage motorists to slow down

A street in Auckland, New Zealand is to get painted with polka dots in a bid to slow motorists down and make them look out for cyclists and pedestrians.

The scheme on Federal Street is a temporary measure being introduced by Auckland Transport until the road, which lies on a hill in the city’s Central Business District, receives a permanent upgrade.

According to the agency, the polka dot paint scheme will make motorists slow down because they won’t be expecting them (at least, the first time they drive along the street, we assume).

There will also be a contra-flow cycle lane heading uphill on the one-way street, and once the new scheme is in place, Auckland Transport will seek feedback ahead of making any changes permanent.

Kathryn King, its manager for walking, cycling and road safety, said: “This section of Federal Street has given us an opportunity to do our engagement in a different way.

“Once the improvements are complete in late March, we can see how people experience them and get accurate feedback from pedestrians, bike riders and drivers as well as the surrounding business owners.”

She added: “We will be able to easily make changes to the design and layout and improve it as we see how it is used.”

City councillor and cycling champion Chris Darby commented: “We want our city centre to be attractive and easy to get around.

“There is a lot of construction happening throughout the city, and instead of this being a challenge, we want to use this time as an opportunity to try something new and innovative.

“Projects like the Federal Street upgrade give us a chance to try something new and see how it works before we commit to a permanent solution, and it gives people a more attractive and safe area to walk and cycle around,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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earth | 6 years ago

There is a contraflow cycle lane going up the hill to work.  It's too narrow and I won't use it.  Seen too many people collide on it.  You don't need a contraflow cycle lane on a hill.  You only need the lane for going up hill.


Not sure slowing traffic essentially by confusion and surprise is a good idea.

fukawitribe | 6 years ago
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SimonS - well we can wait and see how it gets on in Auckland, rather than Lambeth.

SimonS | 6 years ago
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One tree now gone.  Another obviously driven into and probably dead. Two of the cycle racks bent from having vehicles hit them.

Paint worn away in many places. 

It's only been complete just over a year.


SimonS | 6 years ago

Unsurprisingly, after a little initial confusion motorists just ignore it. It's paint so it quickly wears away.

See New Park Road in Lambeth


Kadinkski | 6 years ago

Good idea. Try something, monitor it, get feedback, and improve it.

Wish we could do more of that over here without the general whinging population complaining and spouting off their ill-informed and negative opinions.

Canyon48 | 6 years ago

How long before?

"Sorry I drove into the back of the cyclist and killed them, the sun was low and the crazy paintwork dazzled me"


CygnusX1 | 6 years ago

The big problem with this is it will end up with tourists standing in the carriageway trying to take photos of the crazy paint scheme.

Hug | 6 years ago

Looks like fun, but I hope the paint has more grip than other paint used or roads. I fear that the only people going slowly on their second and subsequent visits are going to be cyclists and motorcyclist avoiding losing control on any wet paint, particularly as the graphic indicates that the one-way traffic flow is downhill.


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