A crucial green light for a greenway – roll on, Mt Roskill!

Aug 28, 2015
A crucial green light for a greenway – roll on, Mt Roskill!

Bike Auckland

Great news from the Puketapapa Local Board, which last night wholeheartedly approved the construction of a crucial link in the fabulous Greenways project that will connect the lovely sinuous parks of Mt Roskill, creating safe routes to the local school campus and sports facilities as well as a connection from the Airport to the city centre via the Dominion Rd back streets.

Former Cycle Action chair and legendary Wheeled Pedestrian blogger Mark Bracey was there, and sends this report:

PuketapapaLBThe proposed cycleway in Mt Roskill was unanimously given the ‘green light’ by the Puketapapa Local Board at its August 27 meeting. That’s a big deal. It’s funded to a value of over $3 mil. What a bargain! Investing in walking and cycling projects always offer a great return on investment, and this project will be no different.

It’s been a long time coming. And it’s a key piece in the puzzle towards the building of a network of paths through Mt Roskill and beyond.

I was given the opportunity to speak in the public forum. I chose my words carefully, as 3 minutes was my allocation. Fortunately, David Holm the transport representative had already done the hard yards by highlighting the following points to the board:

  1. the Council’s existing mandate for investing in walking and cycling in enshrined in its long term plan
  2. this project will bring enormous benefits to the community
  3. extraordinary effort has gone into keeping all members of the community happy
  4. the link has massive potential to change the travel choices of approximately 3,000 students at the local primary, intermediate and secondary schools, located on adjacent campuses

It was on this basis that I thought it would be appropriate to simply congratulate the Board for supporting such a great initiative.

I reminded them of the major health issues our communities are facing in the form of increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, and how improving opportunities for active transport would go a long way to ameliorating those issues.

I also highlighted the well-documented mental and social health benefits of giving children the freedom to ‘get about’ independently. The modern child’s ‘roam zone’ has steadily shrunk over the decades. As a result children are losing key opportunities to connect with their peers and their community in unstructured ways.

The shrinking "right to roam", across four generations (graphic via Daily Mail, based on research by Dr William Bird.
An illustration of the shrinking “right to roam” across four generations in Sheffield, UK (powerful graphic via Daily Mail, based on research by Dr William Bird). We’d love to make a local version of this image – any families out there able to volunteer?

Finally, I told the Board that I really hoped that this project would be a catalyst for a speedy roll-out of more active transport initiatives like this, and that Puketapapa could be used as a model to inspire other communities throughout the region to do the same.

I thought it was fitting that the Board Chair, Julie Fairey, acknowledged the efforts of the previous Board Chair Richard Barter of PATH (Puketapapa Active Transport Haven) for his efforts in the years preceding the current board to get this project from dream to reality.

So there you have it. To all those people who have been instrumental in getting this project across the line, give yourselves a ‘pakipaki’. You know who you are.

As for me, as a Roskill resident, I look forward to riding on some freshly paved cycleways in the very near future.

Ding, Ding!

— Mark Bracey, Wheeled Pedestrian 

Thanks, Mark! As Max wrote about this section of the network back in 2012, “When you hear about projects like these, the best phrase that comes to mind would be “puzzle pieces falling into place”. Now we only need to replicate these small successes all over the city, and we’ll be there! Easy.” We really are getting there!



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