Nel­son St pegged for cy­cle­way

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABA­DIA AND MARIA SLADE

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.

Con­nec­tions:

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.

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