Cy­cle­way set for start

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Con­struc­tion of the Grafton Gully Cy­cle­way will soon get un­der way but a path­way that cuts through the Sy­monds St Ceme­tery is still be­ing dis­cussed.

The cy­cle­way will com­plete the miss­ing link be­tween the end of the north­west­ern cy­cle­way and the city cen­tre.

The ex­ist­ing north­west­ern cy­cle­way runs from Te Atatu Penin­sula to Ian McKin­non Dr.

It is one of the most pop­u­lar cy­cle fa­cil­i­ties in Auck­land with about 500 peo­ple us­ing it each day.

Ex­tend­ing it will cost about $10 mil­lion and see it continue through the Up­per Queen St in­ter­sec­tion and along the south­ern and eastern edges of the ceme­tery to Beach Rd.

Work is due to start in late Oc­to­ber and be com­pleted in stages by 2014.

As part of the project Auck­land Coun­cil and Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board are con­sid­er­ing if a sep­a­rate path­way needs to be in­cluded that would link the cy­cle­way with Sy­monds St and K Rd.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board mem­ber Christo­pher Dempsey says there is some sen­si­tiv­ity around the is­sue in light of the dis­rup­tion that was caused to the ceme­tery in the 1960s when the south­west­ern mo­tor­way was built.

To make room for the mo­tor­way more than 4000 bod­ies were dug up and in­terred in two sep­a­rate memo­rial sites.

The ceme­tery has been closed for buri­als since 1886 but the ex­huma­tions caused a stir with the dead’s liv­ing rel­a­tives.

‘‘As much as pos­si­ble the board would like to see the in­tegrity of the her­itage site pre­served,’’ Mr Dempsey says.

A sole-pur­pose cy­cle- way isn’t the only op­tion and a shared-use pedes­trian and cy­cle path could be favourable, he says.

‘‘The chal­lenge is how to cre­ate a link that doesn’t dis­rupt the ceme­tery feel. You have an im­age of a ceme­tery as be­ing some­where were peo­ple go to con­tem­plate and re­flect. You are en­gag­ing in a par­tic­u­lar state of mind. Peo­ple slow down, they don’t usu­ally cy­cle through a ceme­tery. It would ad­here to the mood of con­tem­pla­tive­ness and re­spect,’’ Mr Dempsey says

The board is likely to make a de­ci­sion on the link by the be­gin­ning of next year.

While the board hasn’t had much pub­lic feed­back on the idea, com­men­tary gen­er­ated by some me­dia re­ports has mostly been sup­port­ive of a link, Mr Dempsey says.

His­toric Places Trust north­ern her­ti­age ad­viser and plan­ner Dun­can McKen­zie is rea­son­ably sat­i­fied that a cy­cle­way will not ad­versely af­fect the ceme­tery’s her­itage val­ues.

‘‘In fact in­tro­duc­ing more peo­ple to the ceme­tery could lead to bet­ter pro­tec­tion of those val­ues. How­ever any pro­pos­als for new tracks from the cy­cle­way go­ing into the ceme­tery it­self will need to ap­proached with cau­tion.’’

Cy­cle Ac­tion Auck­land chair­woman Bar­bara Cuth­bert is call­ing the cy­cle­way the most ex­cit­ing cy­cle project be­ing un­der­taken at the mo­ment.

‘‘They call it a cy­cle­way but re­ally it’s a cy­cling su­per high­way.

‘‘It gives you the ac­cess you would get from a mo­tor­way.

‘‘It’s di­rect and gets you ex­actly where you need to go,’’ she says.

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