Auckland’s Biggest Freight Project – Why should Cyclists Care?

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
Image via NL Cycling, which has since rebranded to Bicycle Dutch

(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

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