Ōrākei’s $46 million cycle path

Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Authority have announced the preferred route for the $20-million fourth and final section of the shared pedestrian and cycle path that runs from Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr.

The shared path — with a total cost of $46 million — is a joint project between the local (AT) and national (NZTA) transport bodies to develop a 7km route connecting Auckland’s eastern suburbs to the city centre. The four-stage project started in 2015 and is to be completed next year.

AT and the NZTA have announced their preferred route for the final stage of the 4m wide path, following evaluation of eight route options, and ahead of public consultation this month.

The preferred route for stage four starts at Ōrākei Basin near the Orakei Bay Village development (connecting via underpass from the Basin side), crosses the Orakei Rd bridge and follows the eastern edge of Hobson Bay on a purpose-built structure, separate from Ngapipi Rd traffic. The path will join Ngapipi Rd south of the historic boat sheds and continue along the path in front of the boat sheds, connecting to Tamaki Dr at the Ngapipi Rd intersection, which currently undergoing work by AT to install lights.

NZTA’s system design manager, Brett Gliddon, says the preferred route is a significant step towards providing a safe cycleway from the city to the eastern suburbs.

However, boat shed owner Sue Dickson questions the Ngapipi Rd route’s safety compared to one of the other options, which would follow the rail line across Hobson Bay to Tamaki Dr, much as it does now across Ōrākei Basin.

“Having a shared path passing in front of the boat sheds is dangerous. The boat shed doors open straight onto the current footpath and there is no buffer”, says Dickson. She also believes putting walkways around isolated cliffs, as it will along Ngapipi Rd, is dangerous in particular for women, citing the recent attack on a woman walking her dog along the boundary of the Shore Rd reserve. In a submission to AT, Dickson supports the path along the railway line, which required passing through Outboard Boating Club land (of which she is also a member).

Ōrākei Local Board Chair Colin Davis is supportive of the full shared path, believing it will be good for both tourists and commuters. However, board member Troy Churton, a long-time proponent of the shared path project, says while AT and NZTA’s preferred route will have some useful amenity value, he would like them to acknowledge there were other options that could have delivered greater outcomes, and that these were discounted from further investigation mainly due to perceived costs.

“I support an alternative stage four shared path route that would run along the south side of the railway tracks from Ōrākei Bay, to the Judges Bay area,” says Churton. Bike Auckland Chair, Barbara Cuthbert, supports the preferred route because, “it avoids the prohibitive costs of the Hobson Bay railway crossing option, including the impact on the Outboard Boating Club’s private land”.

“We’re working with NZTA and AT as the preferred link won’t work alone - it’s dependent on new clip-on lanes to the Ngapipi Bridge and extending the Tamaki Dr cycleway on the northern side to the bridge,” says Cuthbert.

The $5m first section of the shared path from Glen Innes to St Johns Rd was completed in 2016. Sections two (from St Johns Rd through the Pourewa Valley to Ōrākei Basin), and three (from the Basin boardwalk through to the Orakei Rd rail underpass) are to be completed in 2018.

As to the proposed Parnell cycleway, there is no further update from AT. Based on community concerns, AT agreed earlier this year to revisit the design of the cycleway, which would, as proposed, remove parking from St Stephens Ave and Gladstone Rd, severely impacting Gladstone Rd retail businesses.

Read more about the Ōrākei route here.

* This article was first published in The Hobson magazine. For more stories like this, visit The Hobson's online magazine browser at Issuu.

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