Cy­clists push for har­bour tun­nel

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

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.

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