Cyclists push for harbour tunnel
Walking and cycling advocates are supporting the proposed new Waitemata Harbour crossing option, which involves tunnels under the seabed.
Walk Auckland chairman Andy Smith says the tunnel option supports the need for walk and cycleways on the existing harbour bridge.
“It gives us more support because you don’t put pedestrians and bikes in tunnels.”
As a member of the Get Across campaign, which is pushing for the walk and cycleway on the harbour bridge to be developed, Mr Smith pitched the idea to Transit at a meeting in Wellington on Wednesday.
He was joined by other members, including Cycle Action Auckland chairman Bevan Woodward.
“We’ve been badgering Transit for a while and now they’ve said come and talk to us, which is absolutely great,” says Mr Smith.
For the meeting they outlined a plan which would involve shifting the lanes across on the bridge and installing a barrier to protect pedestrians from traffic.
“We’ve spoken to bus and truck operators who said a 3.4 metre wide lane was great for them. We’ve considered everyone.”
Mr Smith says the option, which could be done while the clip-on lanes are strengthened in July, would be much cheaper than an idea put forward by Transit.
Those plans would see a separate tube added to the clip-on lanes for people to walk through.
“If cost is important, we can do it cheaper.
“We don’t need to spend $30 million, we can spend $4 million,” says Mr Smith.
Transit regional manager Peter Spies says a study commissioned to look at a preferred option for pedestrians and cyclists will be finished by July.
Endorsement will then be sought from regional authorities, he says.
A consultants’ report on the harbour crossing released last week shows four tunnels under the harbour for traffic and trains as the preferred option for a second transport link between Auckland city and the North Shore.
The report’s recommendations will be considered by Transit, the Auckland Regional Council, the Auckland City and North Shore councils and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority by the end of the month.
The study did not look at when a crossing might be built, or how it would be funded.