East Auckland bike champ Kirsten Shouler writes:
** Update: submissions have been extended till 15 May **
The beautiful coastal waterfront along the Tamaki River not only has huge historic and cultural associations, it also has massive potential as part of an effective greenways route for the Panmure and Point England areas. So it’s great to see planning for a new green and scenic walk-and-ride route along the Panmure side of the Tamaki River.
The paths are part of the draft concept plans for improvements to Mt Wellington War Memorial Park and Panmure Wharf Reserve, developed by the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board, which are out for public feedback until the end of this week (more information here). This particular section would connect Dunkirk Reserve in the north to Panmure Wharf Reserve in the south, with local connections to Dunkirk Rd.
While much of the concept work concentrates on the development of the sports fields and Panmure wharf area, we hope that the inclusion of well-designed shared paths will be a really important priority. A shared path along the estuary foreshore will lead to greater enjoyment and appreciation of this wonderful area, opening the waterfront up to greater public access and helping form local community cycling connections.
These Local Board concepts are just concepts for now – but as funds become available, we think well-designed cycle-friendly paths are critical first elements that would add huge value to this beautiful and popular coastal reserve. Especially given the potential for future development of local green routes in the area, and proximity to local schools and community facilities.
So, Cycle Action will be making a submission asking:
- that these paths be implemented as soon as possible, and
- that they be designed as shared path connections that will not only be effective immediately, but will also allow potential for future cycling capacity
That latter point is crucial. On the other side of the Tamaki River, the Pakuranga Rotary shared path is a very popular walk or ride (from Farm Cove to the Panmure Bridge) which has already needed widening to accommodate increasing numbers of cyclists as well as walkers. So we’ll be urging the Board to make sure this proposed new path is well designed for all users from the start, so as to add to the attraction and utility of these existing connections.
Also, while it’s out of scope of these initial concepts, we’d like to hope that these coastal routes through the Mt Wellington Reserve will one day play a part in more ambitious local greenways. Cycle Action has long been a fan of the Tamaki Trail proposal (put forward by the Greenways Project), an off-road path connecting Otara to Otahuhu, Otahuhu to Mt Wellington, Mt Wellington to Panmure, and Panmure to Point England.
Picture it: a completely flat scenic route on existing quiet neighbourhood streets, using some existing off-road paths and the new off-road walking and cycling trails along the foreshore. Imagine being able to follow the left bank of the Tamaki Estuary all the way from the Ngati Otara Park, to the Point England Reserve!
These are big plans, and we know there’s much more work to do before the full Tamaki Trail is realized – but let’s make these first parts of the plan count, with serious attention to cycle-friendly capacity along the Tamaki estuary foreshore.
Give your own feedback here by Friday 1 May, to let the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board know how valuable these paths will be. Every voice counts – tell the story of what these connections would mean for you and your biking and walking life!
This consultation is open for feedback until 5pm, Friday 15 May 2015.