For 150 years, Aucklanders on bikes have been bringing our city’s streets to life, and vice versa.
Our vision all along: safe routes and good roads, so we can travel freely under our own power. Here are some highlights of our journey so far – and the healthy, happy future we’re moving towards!
Bike Auckland Timeline
2023: Engineering Report Confirms an Auckland Harbour Bridge Active Lane is Safe and Viable
2023: Inner West Network
Although preparatory works had already begun for the Great North road improvement project, it was put on pause by a newly-elected councilor, along with the two other inner west projects. More than half a year of strong advocacy led by the local community (and reinforced by Bike Auckland) successfully got two of the projects to get the go-ahead (again!): Great North Road and Pt Chevalier to Westmere improvements will begin later in 2023! The third project, the Grey Lynn and Westmere Improvements, has been paused due to lack of funding. Auckland Transport are investigating a staged approach for its delivery. More about this campaign here.
2023: Northern Pathway, Constellation Drive to Albany opens
This section of the Northern pathway shared path connects schools and – almost – connects to the Upper Harbour Drive cycleway. Originally designed to connect into Skypath, the Northern Pathway will eventually connect all the way from Albany to Westhaven. It’s being built in stages – so Constellation Drive to Akoranga is next! Of course we have a suggestion for them to help connect across Te Waitematā to Westhaven: they could liberate the lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge! Read more about the Northern Pathway here, and our solution here.
2023: Inclusive Cycling
Over 2023 we’ve focused on reducing barriers to cycling for people with disabilities, so that, as Cycling Without Age say, everyone can feel the wind in their hair. We’re also spreading awareness that more than 28% of people in Tāmaki Makaurau don’t drive; whether due to age, disability, seizures, ADD, medication, or simply because they don’t want to. Bikes can be a crucial transport mode for these communities if there are safe places for them to ride.
Read more here.
2022: Mission Bay cycleway opens
Strong feedback from Bike Auckland and the community led to a separated bi-directional cycleway being built through the Mission Bay town centre (instead of a shared pathway). Although it will make more sense in the context of a linked up network, and there are still a couple of things which need to be improved, it is lovely to have a separated space to be in in this busy area! We’ve seen people enjoying bikes and scooters in this space, and it’s easy to hop onto the shared path at either end! More here.
2022: Ngā Hau Māngere opens
The new Māngere bridge’s name, Ngā Hau Māngere, was gifted by local Iwi Te Waiohua and is described by Kathleen Wilson as meaning ‘gentle lazy winds’. It replaces the old concrete bridge which had opened in 1915 for vehicle traffic, and since 1983 had loyally served as a popular fishing spot and vital walking and cycling link between Māngere and Onehunga. We supported the resource consent application in 2016, and worked with Waka Kotahi to ensure there would be safe access for people walking, cycling, and using mobility devices while the bridge was being built. Read more here.
2022: Stage 2 of the Glenn Innes to Tāmaki Pathway opens
Stage 2 connects together the already-completed stages 1 (from Glen Innes train station) and 3 (Ōrakei Basin Boardwalk) of the Glenn Innes to Tāmaki Drive pathway. Bike Auckland has spent hours giving feedback on draft designs, reviewing progress, asking questions, pushing for more funding behind the scenes, and calling for faster delivery, as well as advocating for local connections. These would link the cycleway to nearby streets making local journeys possible. John Rymer Place and the Gowing Drive connections, once they are built, will enable local kids to walk and cycle across the Pourewa Valley safely to St Thomas’s School and Selwyn College. Read more here.
2022: Tāmaki Drive Cycleway opens
Initially designed in 2017, this extension of the protected Quay St cycleway eastward along Tāmaki Drive was redesigned after the Bike Auckland community asked Auckland Transport to aim higher. It extends to Ngāpipi Rd with clip-ons on the Ngāpipi Bridge, and will eventually link into the coming pathway from Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive, creating a seamless journey from the East into the city. You can also continue along Tāmaki Drive on the existing shared paths for a beautiful ride by the Waitematā. Read more here.
Tamaki Drive’s new cycleway in use. (Photo: Patrick Reynolds, via Twitter)
2022: 529 Garage comes to Aotearoa NZ
With bike theft becoming a growing concern in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Bike Auckland investigated a range of potential solutions. The investigation pointed to community bike registration platform 529 Garage as being the most successful for deterring bike theft and reuniting people with their stolen bikes. Together with Christchurch City Council and Wellington, Bike Auckland brought 529 Garage to Aotearoa for a 6 month trial. Auckland Transport funded promotions and registration events across the region to help grow awareness about the initiative. The trial showed great success, and Waka Kotahi is investigating adopting it Nationwide. If you haven’t already, you can learn more about 529 Garage and register your bike here.
2021: Neighbourhood Bikeways
Auckland Transport commissioned fresh designs for neighbourhood walking and cycling for the Waitematā Safe Routes project (originally scheduled for delivery by 2018, but delayed by a small pocket of resistance). The redesign drew warm public enthusiasm, and sets a strong new vision for how we live and move around our communities. We look forward to seeing these healthy streets in real life soon. (Image: Auckland Transport)
2021: Karangahape road cycleways open!
The Karangahape road enhancement project added protected cycleways along the length of Karangahape road, as well as beautiful rainbow pedestrian crossings, more trees, rain gardens, and improved bus access. The cycleways were hard fought for with a fantastic campaign by Generation Zero! We continued a positive relationship with the business association, and shared insights with Auckland Transport throughout the project. It has been embraced by the community, and the Karangahape road business association have stated that the first beneficiaries of the cycleway are actually everyone else using the street space – they have made the street quieter, and feel more welcoming to be in. Read more about this project here.
2021: Southern Path opens
A stunning connection from Karaka and Papakura over to Takānini and Conifer Grove, the Southern Corridor bridges these communities together. At the opening we heard from a teacher who was excited her students would now be able walk and cycle to school – previously, because of the motorway, the only way to get from Karaka to Conifer Grove was to drive! This pathway will eventually extend to Drury, as part of NZ Upgrade Programme’s Papakura to Drury South project. More here.
2021: Project WAVE opens
Originally a trial as part of Waka Kotahi’s ‘Innovating Streets for People’ pilot in 2021, by 2023 Project WAVE became a permanent (and much improved) connection between Nelson street and Quay street, completing the city centre loop! Read more here.
2021: Skypath is cancelled
In March 2021 it was announced that Waka Kotahi’s Skypath was almost certainly cancelled. Bike Auckland launched a campaign to liberate the lane on the Harbour Bridge instead so that people can walk, cycle, scoot, and wheel. More about the campaign here. Read the full Skypath timeline here.
2019: Northwestern extension to Westgate opens
The Northwestern Cycleway has been extended from Lincoln Rd to Westgate, connecting schools along the way!
2019: The Network Effect!
Ridership along connected bike routes rose dramatically in response to upgrades to the SH16 Causeway, the opening of Lightpath in 2015, the opening and extension of the Nelson St and Quay St cycleways in 2016-2018, and the smoothing out of the city end of the cycleway along Ian McKinnon Drive in 2018. Each new connection delivered a quantum leap, especially on the NW cycleway, and especially on weekdays: proof positive of the network effect.
2017: Waterview Shared Path Opens
2015-2017: Te Ara Mua/ Future Streets in Māngere
A model of community engagement, the Te Ara Mua – Future Streets project brought protected bike lanes, paths through parks, and calmer streets to Māngere Central. This exemplary project emerged from the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board’s vision for safer, healthier neighbourhoods – and revealed some of the system-wide barriers to more walking and cycling that will need tackling in order to achieve faster results for communities.
July 2016: Quay St Cycleway opens
The Quay St interim cycleway, with its protective planters and highly visible totem-counter, opened in July 2016. As with other central city cycleways ridership quickly exceeded targets: it saw 200,000 journeys in its first year. The cycleway was extended further east in 2018, and will continue along Tāmaki Drive in 2020. Meanwhile, the current Quay St works under the Downtown Programme will reduce traffic lanes and install a permanent cycleway.
December 2015: Te Ara i Whiti/ Lightpath opens
Once just a twinkle in our eye, the transformation of a disused motorway offramp into a sparkling, dynamically lit magenta pathway for walking and cycling heralded a new era of investment and vision for Auckland. Its less flashy sibling, the separated cycleway on Nelson St, rapidly became the city’s fastest-growing bike route.
November 2015: Cycle Action Evolves into Bike Auckland
July 2015: SkyPath Wins Resource Consent
The SkyPath design, a public-private partnership, surmounted numerous hurdles including gaining resource consent in 2015 (upheld on appeal in 2016), in an extraordinary testament to Aucklanders’ determination to win walking and cycling access across their harbour. In 2018, the Labour-Green-NZ First Government committed to delivering a shared path via the NZ Transport Agency.
2014: Grafton Gully Cycleway Opens
The cycleway linking Upper Queen St to Beach Road via Grafton Gully was opened in September 2014. At the ribbon-cutting, Prime Minister John Key promised our then-chair Barb Cuthbert that more cycleways were on the way. The following year, that promise was delivered on in the form of the Urban Cycleways Fund, $100m of Crown funding that strategically unlocked local investment and launched a cycling renaissance in Auckland.
2011: Waterview Board of Inquiry
Max Robitzsch and Barb Cuthbert represented Cycle Action Auckland at the Board of Inquiry into the Waterview Connection. Alongside community advocates, they successfully made the case for what became the Waterview Shared Path. This victory transformed the way the NZ Transport Agency approached all new motorway projects, ensuring better connectivity for all travel modes.
2010: Completing the SH20 Roskill Link
In 2010, the SH20 route was completed with a path along the northern edge of Puketāpapa/ Mt Roskill, thanks to a strong partnership between cycling advocates, the Mt Roskill Borough Board, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Auckland Council, and the Transport Agency. Shown: Board Chair Richard Barter inviting Cycle Action’s John Gregory to ride the mountainside path, on opening day. (Image: John McKillop, ACTA). Nurtured by the Puketāpapa Local Board, the Roskill Greenways continue to bloom with this collaborative approach, with the 2019 Te Auaunga/ Oakley Creek Restoration project the latest jewel in the crown.
2010: Save the Lake Road bike lanes!
Around 2008, the painted bike lanes on Devonport’s Lake Road came under attack. Bronwen Jones and other community cycling advocates assembled a petition from over 4100 people, which helped save the day. Over a decade later, a proposal to upgrade Lake Road with bus lanes and protected bike lanes is still in the offing. Meanwhile, the bike lanes remain paint-only, but are well-travelled by commuters and school students, with usage accelerating in recent years.
2000s: The Public Push to ‘Get Across’
The public yearning to be able to walk and bike over the Auckland Harbour Bridge swelled as the bridge’s 50th anniversary approached in 2009. The Get Across movement drew thousands of people to rallies, culminating in a breakaway crossing, and the creation of SkyPath: a citizen-led design championed by former Cycle Action Auckland chair Bevan Woodward and colleagues.
2004: Bridging a crucial link on the NW Cycleway
A new bridge over Great North Road at Waterview and a path through the grounds of Unitec replaced a roundabout route on busy roads. At the time, it was seen as the last major link along the Northwestern Cycleway, a route that had been patiently won over many years by advocates including David Knight and Kurt Brehmer.
1992: How the NW Cycleway Was Won
Under the umbrella of Cycle Action New Zealand, advocates led by David J. Knight campaigned for a bike path along the NW motorway. Five years of patient lobbying led to a rule change allowing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to be built on motorway reserve land. Thus, on 6 December 1992, the causeway from Te Atatū to Point Chevalier became home to the very first off-road separated cycleway on Transit land. This watershed moment paved the way not just for the NW cycleway, but also for networks of walk-bike paths all over the country. Especially since the Waterview Board of Inquiry, motorway expansion and widening projects now generally come with walking and biking access included.
1980s: The Auckland Bicycle Association
From the early 1980s to the early 1990s, the Auckland Bicycle Association carried the torch of bike advocacy forward, leading the charge for better infrastructure in an era in which ‘vehicular cycling’ – riding amongst traffic – was the prevailing design philosophy. The ABA petitioned for what would become the NW cycleway and the harbour bridge crossing, and published a regular magazine, On Your Bike.
1979: The PATH Movement
In the 1970s, against a backdrop of petrol shortages and a move towards sustainability, Friends of the Earth set up PATH (Pathways Across The Harbour) to campaign for bike access to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. They drew support from people all over the city, especially residents of Northcote and nearby suburbs who wanted to bike to work in the city.
1976: The Tāmaki Drive Bikeway Opens
On 26 March 1976, Mayor “Robbie” Dove-Myer Robinson led a thousand Aucklanders in officially opening the bikeway on Tāmaki Drive. A simple painted line on the footpath from the Ferry Building to St Heliers, it was intended by pioneer planners John Lewis and Graham Dickson as just the beginning of a citywide network – including the dream of a bikeway over the harbour bridge. (Image: David Lewis)