Nelson St pegged for cycleway
Cycling advocates are pleased one of the busiest streets in New Zealand is getting a cycleway.
The 3.5-kilometre Nelson St cycleway is one of 13 nationwide projects to be developed in the next six to nine months as part of the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
The Nelson St cycleway is expected to cost $11 million, with more than $8m allocated from the National Land Transport Fund, $1.75m from the Urban Cycleways Fund and $1.1m funded locally.
It incorporates the old motorway off-ramp and will involve building a 160m bridge over State Highway 1.
A separate cycle lane will run down Nelson St and, once stage two is complete, will reach the waterfront.
Repurposing the disused off-ramp is a great idea but continued investment is necessary to maximise the route’s potential benefits, Waitemata Local Board deputy chairwoman Pippa Coom says.
‘‘The Government has put a significant amount of money in the pot. To leverage off that council now has to put more into the cycleways budget in the LTP [Long Term Plan].’’
Coom, a member of the Urban Cycleways Programme Panel, says it benefit everyone.
‘‘Even if people don’t want to ride a bike, it’s still going to be good for them because it’ll get more cars off the road.’’
Transport Blog editor Patrick Reynolds is a fan of the plans but says more investment is needed.
‘‘It’s going to be a high- profile route that will connect down to the recently opened beautiful boardwalk at Westhaven and will inevitably lead down to the Skypath.’’
Reynolds is disappointed that the cycleway funding package of $320m spent over four years doesn’t match the Ministry of Transport’s advice.
‘‘It’s been proven that the best way to increase the cycling road share is to provide safe cycleways,’’ he says.
Bridges says the $450m the ministry had advised spending on urban cycleways was the maximum position.
‘‘What we’ve put forward is comparable even with those very high figures, and that’s really because we’ve been able to be clever with the levering.’’
Generation Zero cycling spokeswoman Emma McInnes would like to see natural features included in the design.
‘‘We hope the plans will look similar to New York’s High Line with plenty of greenery to attract not just people on bikes but tourists and other people,’’ she says.
Not everyone agrees investing in cycleways is the best use of taxpayer money.
St Mary’s Bay Association chairman Tony Skelton says bigger priorities include increasing the number of buses, fully restoring the sewerage system and putting the third harbour crossing in place.
‘‘This ludicrous overspending of money on projects which do little or nothing to address all our infrastructure problems is becoming more than a serious issue,’’ he says.
Go to aucklandcityharbour news. co.nz and click on Latest Edition to watch a video about the cycleway package.
The cycleway will offer a safe route through the city. Peoplefriendly, left: What the Nelson St cycleway will look like once completed.