East West link 1
A view of the Onehunga area that will be most affected by the project

Deadline is this FRIDAY: Please submit on East-West Link, and prevent another of our harbour edges from becoming a motorway. Please consider making the following points:

  • Choose Option A, the existing route upgrade – we don’t have the cash or the need for massive new roads
  • Don’t build any new connections along the foreshore – the Manukau Harbour needs to be protected
  • Affected (or new) cycling routes need to be high quality – separated from motor vehicles, and ideally from pedestrians

You can give your feedback online.

What: A freight connection from SH20 to SH1 through Onehunga.

When: Feedback must be submitted by Friday, 31 October. You can submit feedback online.

Now’s the time to give feedback on the big roading project which will create a freight priority connection from Onehunga/Penrose to Mt Wellington – the East West Connections Project.

There are 6 options out for consultation on this fast-tracked roading project, which aims to provide rapid connections for freight and business traffic from SH20 and Onehunga through to SH1 at Sylvia Park.

Why should cyclists care about these proposals?

Well, there are various cycling improvements included in all the designs – that’s great. Improvements to the cycling route connecting Onehunga, Mangere, and Sylvia Park will really add to the existing Waikaraka coastal path, the replacement Old Mangere Bridge, and other initiatives creating important cycling links for the region. We welcome the positive outcomes for cyclists from these proposals. No matter which option is chosen, we’ll be looking  for ongoing engagement with NZTA/AT and other stakeholders to discuss the details.

But – we think there are some big picture issues for the future of the Manukau Harbour coast at stake too. The main concern is the potential irreversible devastation of the Manukau coastline should one of the “foreshore connection” options go ahead. These would construct a major roading connection – with effects very similar to a motorway – along the northern coast of the Manukau Inlet.

East West Option-F
Option F – CAA does not support this option as it will cause significant damage to the waterfront area

Freight and business groups have been lobbying for a new and direct route rather than upgrading existing roads. But we believe any foreshore connection would come at a big environmental and social cost. It’s unclear what kind of mitigation might be offered – but in our view, it’s inevitable that a major new foreshore road would effectively blight the potential for future generations to live, work and play on the shores of the Manukau Inlet.

The Onehunga/Penrose area is a lively and growing residential and working community which will attract more people in the future. We think major decisions on the future of this vibrant area and the Manukau coastline should integrate these social changes and value the unique coastal environment, which has suffered from neglect and industrial pollution for many years, rather than defaulting to the maximum investment in new roading infrastructure. Cycle Action supports the East-West connections options that upgrade the existing roads, as we believe that these are flexible options that won’t create irreversible changes to the coastal environment and to land use.

Cycle Action’s initial response to the proposals is that while we welcome improvements to the cycling infrastructure, we think that long term social and environmental costs of a new foreshore connectionwith major road infrastructure directly on the coast are critical. For these reasons, our initial response is:

  1. we prefer Option A, the existing route upgrade,
  2. we don’t want to see a new foreshore connection with major road infrastructure directly on the coast (i.e., Options E and F), as even with mitigation, we think this is an irreversible impact on the future of the Manukau coastline.
  3. whichever route is chosen must ensure cycling routes and connections are of a high standard. We want to see:
East West link Option-A
East West link Option-A – CAA’s preferred option
  • Fully separated and connected cycling routes, both new facilities and upgraded connections. The volume of heavy traffic on any new freight connection will make separation critical no matter whether the choice is for an onroad route (through Hugo Johnston Drive) or a new cycling facility as part of a new motorway-type connection.
  • Waikaraka shared coastal path upgraded to support future higher use by recreational pedestrians and cyclists.
  • We want to see seamless cycling connections to Onehunga township, Old Mangere Bridge, and to Sylvia Park, so that cyclists can access Onehunga township, the new Old Mangere Bridge replacement, and at the eastern end, connect smoothly to Sylvia Park and through to Mt Wellington, Panmure and Glen Innes.
  • Pedestrian/cycling bridges or safe cross connections across the new freight route are needed, whichever option is chosen.

We look forward to ongoing consultation, whichever option goes ahead. More engagement is needed to ensure the best cycling connections possible are achieved.

Truck interaction

(Ed.: This is how the Dutch make sure that trucks and people cycling never come into contact)

The Public Transport Proposals –cycling connections?

The other part of the East-West Connections proposal involves a new bus priority corridor between Mangere, Otahuhu and Sylvia Park. As yet we haven’t seen any detail of what’s proposed for cycling facilities or connections on this route, if anything. Just a vague reference to “the potential to improve walking and cycling facilities along the route.” 

We love the idea of better public transport between these areas, but we think it’s essential that walking and cycling connections are fully integrated with any proposal. We’ll be providing more information on the cycling improvements as soon as we can.

Give your feedback!

We know community feedback is critical on these proposals – please look for yourself at the 6 Options out for consultation and give your feedback. The deadline is 31st October and you can give your feedback online.

We want to hear your thoughts too – please let us know your response to these proposals.

If you’re interested check on the Open Days and Community workshops being run.


 Useful Links:

Summary of 6 Options


1) East West Connections


2) Feedback online


3) Previous Blog


Auckland Transport Cycle lanes General News Infrastructure Off-road paths South Auckland Submissions
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9 responses to “Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project – Why should Cyclists Care?

  1. Spent 3 evenings at the Workshops for this this week.
    Lobbying for Option C.
    Onehunga Business folks want Option E or F as they think they’ll get their foreshore fixed “for free” along the way. And they want to preserve port access, how they reconcille these two competing ideals I don’t know.

    Also spent a lot of time lobbying for/stating how it must be separate cycleways (separate from BOTH roads and peds I’d add).

    Neither option is perfect, but options B, D, E and F come with too much damage at each end and option A doesn’t do enough to keep anyone happy.

    The key change we asked for in my group was undergrounding of Neilson (a “Full Neilson”) between Galway to past Onehunga Mall road, thats underground as in under the railway lines too.
    This would really open up that part of the and keep the traffic out of the way. But it will probably be deemed too expensive.

    Anyway, We’ll see which option prevails, I suspect (but hope not) that it is Option E (or F) that will get the nod.

    1. Groups at the workshop I attended also liked the idea of undergrounding or cut and cover for the Onehunga end of a full new foreshore route (Option E or F) Nice – but would only be partial mitigation, with the remainder of the route still running along the coast and as you say, it may be rejected as too expensive anyway. It was interesting to hear Brent Toderian speak recently at an Auckland Conversation about how cities should treat their waterfronts – he emphasised the importance of not building major transport infrastructure along the waterfront, even discounting cut and cover: ““don’t build it and then bury it – just don’t build it in the first place”. I reckon this applies as much to the Manukau Harbour as it does to the Waitemata.

  2. This is a superb blog post, thanks Kirsten.
    I applaud your comments about our preferred option and the need to respect the foreshore of the Manukau Harbour.
    I was planner at One Tree Hill Borough when the enabling bill was proposed to allow the ARC(as the body in charge of regional refuse disposal) to landfill part of the harbour with the waste material of all sorts. The sugar used to sweeten this pill was that a 20m foreshore esplanade reserve was created to allow for public access, and presumably contain some effluent discharge from the harbour. The Council I worked for then began the foreshore path that was later upgraded to the Waikaraka Cycleway.
    How ironic that this same land is now seen as a chance to host a motorway.
    I hope local iwi, Forest and Bird and other residents’ groups and environmental interests oppose the foreshore motorway option as well. It is the sort of outrage we should have stopped planning years ago.

  3. Riding along the current cycleway to the north of the Mangere Inlet, it looks to me like this area of coast is unfortunately beyond ‘repair’. Having said that I don’t know what the natural environment should look like here, but its currently pretty grim.

    1. Nothing is beyond repair.

      The Onehunga folks have already shown that they can get remediation done properly as the beaches on the western side of the Onehunga port harbour are now back to proper beaches.

      Everyone says there is leaching and toxic waste from the old dumps and up the harbour near Southdown is a huge asbestos timebomb from the old burned out freezing works sitting in the open leaching whatever into the land and then the harbour.

      I think that contamination may work against the foreshore option for the motorway as the amount of earthworks needed to build the motorway there will be precluded by the cost of the toxic waste removal needed first. Even if they wanted to put the whole thing on piers as a long low viaduct, its would require too much waste removal to be economic.

      So its both a challenge and an opportunity. Challenge for NZTA to go there, and an opportunity for everyone else to make the foreshore half decent again.

  4. Matt – think about the rehab that was done when the sewage treatment ponds were removed, and the wonderful environment that has evolved with bird roosting shell banks etc.
    That was the created by deliberate intervention and is seriously overdue on the upper section of the harbour. For years we have abused it with the meat processing works, railway and the harsh rock edge created by the refuse landfill.
    We understand harbour ecologies better now, and are hopefully past the thinking that the Manukau is the ‘working class sacrificial lamb’ so doesn’t need the attention to nature and public access that we mostly apply to the Waitemata.

  5. Why is it the solution to congestion is always moar roads!

    Lets hope common sense prevails and using existing roads more efficiently (Option A) is considered for this project.

    1. I’d agree Damian, but Option A is the “do minimum” strawman and doesn’t seek to solve any problems.
      There are real issues with that part of town and I think they’re fixable with options like A or C – with undergrounding of part of Neilson St. But A doesn’t go far enough and so if it goes ahead, the battle will be relitigated in a few years, this time the agrument will be for E or F.
      So I think C is the compromise option – does enough now, without ruining the place for the future AND shuts up the roading lobby – on the basis that AT can say to them “you’ve had your lot, now push off”.
      Without C no one can say that.
      And equally the bus priority measures between Mangere, Otahuhu and Sylvia Park won’t work without something like C.

      We’ll know in a few months I expect. then the real arguing begins.

      1. Thanks for bringing bus priority into the discussion Greg, as that was a key message I got from attending a workshop about 3 months ago with reps from the Airport, Tauranga Inland Port and the some business centre reps. They all deplored the lack of bus efficiency serving the catchment and identified a desperate need to improve this to give locals and their staff more non-car choices.

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