An update on SkyPath – a letter from the Chair

An update on SkyPath - a letter from the ChairOf all the questions I’m asked as Chair of Bike Auckland, top of the list is: ‘When, oh, when will we be able to bike and walk over the Auckland Harbour Bridge?’ This is a hot topic not just for those of us on bikes; it’s a fervent wish of most Aucklanders, and everyone who visits our beautiful city. Let’s be clear: this has been a glaring gap in our transport network ever since the bridge was constructed without the promised walking and cycling facilities. It’s a massive wrong, decades overdue for being put right. This isn’t just a missing tourism opportunity, it’s a missing link: as each part of our …
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Bringing history to light – an Auckland bikeway pioneer

Bringing history to light – an Auckland bikeway pioneerTamaki Drive’s famous cycleway turns 41 today. Despite showing its age a bit, it’s our jewel in the crown, and part of Auckland’s busiest bike route. To celebrate its birthday, we’d like to share some wonderful never-before-seen photos of opening day that recently came our way. The photos arrived in an email to Skypath champion Bevan Woodward from David Lewis, who signed himself “Birkenhead Resident and Passionate Skypath Believer”. As you’ll discover below, David has a very special connection to those early Auckland bike visionaries, who not only believed in miracles but managed to accomplish one. David’s words were so resonant we’ve included his message in full, along with the magical photos of the early believers. Do you recognize anyone? We’d love to …
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SkyPath is go!

SkyPath is go!Yes, it’s legal now! The Environment Court has definitively ruled on the subject. Check out the ruling here. . With huge thanks to: Bevan Woodward The Project Team Generation Zero New Zealand Transport Agency Auckland Council(lors) Waitemata & Kaipatiki Local Boards And everyone who submitted in favour.
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Building a wall, and making the rest of us pay for it?

Building a wall, and making the rest of us pay for it?The Bike Kaipatiki team, representing bike folk of the North Shore to the west of the bridge, has been asking Auckland Transport to revisit the traffic-calming design for the Lower Queen St section of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route (NSCR). Along with Bike Auckland, we feel that with SkyPath on track to open in 2018, AT needs to design the NSCR to the highest standards to service the pedestrian and cycle patronage SkyPath will bring – not to mention, the growing number of people biking to and from the Northcote Ferry Terminal.  So what better idea than to enlist the support of local Queen St resident, the Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman, MP? It seemed a …
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SkyPath is coming: let’s get Northcote’s Queen St up to scratch

SkyPath is coming: let's get Northcote's Queen St up to scratchLast week we alerted you to the watered-down plans for the southern end of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route. (Go here for the long read with a great comment thread; or read a quick version here). We urged you to help speak up for a safer treatment here for people on bikes and on foot. Already, dozens of you have written to say in your own words how crucial this issue is, how you experience (or would like to experience) this street, and how important it is that the Shore gets its share of properly safe cycleways. Yesterday’s re-confirmation of SkyPath’s resource consent makes the case even stronger! Simply put: this key gateway to the Shore, used …
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Well, that was fast! Day 3 = another yes for SkyPath!

Well, that was fast! Day 3 = another yes for SkyPath!Only this morning we posted a summary of the issues covered in the first two days of the SkyPath appeal hearing in the Environment Court. Who knew day three would be done and dusted within an hour?? The session began at 10am with the Reply Submission on behalf of the applicant (the SkyPath team), delivered by Daniel Minhinnick. The submission reiterated that the project is a worthy one, deserving of consent, and contains adequate provision for mitigating any adverse effects. The applicant accepted that, as a fallback, conditions could indeed be added to allow for monitoring and review of unexpected adverse effects at the Northcote end. (On that note, they maintained that the conditions suggested by the Northcote Point …
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SkyPath hearing, days 1 and 2

SkyPath hearing, days 1 and 2Hello everyone – here’s a very quick overview of some of what’s happened during the last two days in the Environment Court appeal by the Northcote Point Heritage Protection Society (NPHPS) against SkyPath. While the hearing is still in progress, end-of-day summaries from written notes turns out to be the most appropriate way to convey what happens in court (and to be honest, easier for us to work with than live updates of what can be a quite technical process that often becomes clearer in the rear-view mirror), so we’ll keep this as straightforward and factual as we can. Firstly, a refresher on how the Environment Court works: before reaching this point, the parties …
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At last, a final hearing for SkyPath opponents…

At last, a final hearing for SkyPath opponents...It’s Halloween, which means all sorts of mischievous spirits are abroad, even in the sunny southern hemisphere! And today, the last remaining SkyPath opponents get their moment in court. Proceedings are open to the public, and take place at the Specialist Courts and Tribunals Centre, Level 2, Federal St, Auckland from 10am. As outlined in this article, months of mediation have failed (not that it was ever really expected to succeed), so the last remaining appellant – the Northcote Point Heritage Protection Society – is heading to the Environment Court to argue against the resource consent. They’re also asking for a number of concessions and restrictions on SkyPath’s operating conditions. As reported in the aforementioned article, …
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All roads lead to SkyPath – and this one needs your help!

All roads lead to SkyPath - and this one needs your help!Yesterday, we posted an update on the Northcote Safe Cycle Route and the ongoing watering-down of the southern section. We’re impressed by your response so far! 46 submissions in less than 24 hours, most of them in your own extremely eloquent words. It’s especially great to hear both from locals and from further afield. A great reminder that people on bikes love to cooperate on the big picture, because we can see how local routes are crucial to the vital network. To quickly add your voice, scroll down to the form at the bottom of this blog post. Let Auckland Transport know the three proposed options just aren’t safe enough, nor fit for future purpose. We need protected bike lanes on this …
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AT takes the “safe” out of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route

AT takes the “safe” out of the Northcote Safe Cycle RouteCities around the world are rolling out protected bike lanes as fast as they can, be it London, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton or even the traditional auto dystopian city of Los Angeles. It’s encouraging to see Auckland joining the roll-call, with Auckland Transport rolling out promising efforts in parts of the inner west and a fantastic design for the much loved K Rd. You’d almost be fooled into thinking that there’s been an epiphany high up in AT’s ivory tower, a realisation that we need to (re)design our city according to the 8-80 philosophy. Almost. Thing is, AT isn’t the only one who has changed over the last three years. As they’ve gotten better …
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A bouquet for Auckland Council: SkyPath is GO!

A bouquet for Auckland Council: SkyPath is GO!‘I want to bury the city in flowers. I’m so proud to be an Aucklander!’ said our chair Barb Cuthbert in a post on Facebook after the news came through that Auckland Council had unanimously voted to support the SkyPath PPP proposal, which means the project can go ahead (pending NZTA’s license to occupy and the resolution of the remaining appeal). We then literally buried some of the special helpers in flowers, because why not! Earlier in the day, Barb had showered the councillors with encouragement and admiration for their work so far, inviting them to reach for the next gift to the city. [You can see the full footage here – Barb’s …
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The long road to SkyPath: a 40 year timeline

The long road to SkyPath: a 40 year timelineAs we noted the other day, this year (indeed, this month and this week) marks a major anniversary: 70 years since the NZ government promised Auckland a fully walkable and bikeable harbour crossing. Auspiciously, 2016 also marks 40 years since a private advocate suggested the first solution for a retro-fitted pathway, thus kickstarting the process that led us to where we are now. Longtime SkyPath supporter (and unofficial Cycle Action Auckland archivist) Kirsten Shouler has assembled the following timeline, so we can see how we got here – and who to thank! 1976 North Shore resident David Calvert proposes an underhung pathway for bikes suspended below the main carriageway. Despite major public interest in a bicycle crossing of any kind, …
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Where is SkyPath? The story so far…

Where is SkyPath? The story so far...‘What’s up with SkyPath?’ is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear. And we occasionally hear from people who somehow haven’t yet heard of Bevan Woodward’s visionary SkyPath project, but are just curious or flummoxed about why there’s currently no way to walk or bike across the harbour, which puts Auckland in a very firm minority of world cities. So where is our bikeable, walkable crossing? The story so far… Remember how jubilant we were this time last year, when resource consent was granted back in July 2015. Good to go? A SkyPath under way by Christmas? Well, potentially – but the legal process allows for appeals, and appellants must be allowed their day in court. (Curious about who’s appealing …
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SeaPath is edging closer… and which side are we on?

SeaPath is edging closer... and which side are we on?It was back in September 2014 when we blogged on SeaPath – the proposed 3km shared path around the harbour that would form a critical link from the Harbour Bridge towards Takapuna. Back then, we wrote about Forest & Bird’s NaturePath variation, designed to skirt around the dotterels and other delicate features, and we looked at the various design constraints NZTA would need to consider.  We concluded with the comment: “In due course NZTA will share their design with us.  As soon as it’s in the public domain, rest assured, we’ll let you know”. Well – we have to say that you’ve been very patient!  NZTA have been quietly mulling over three …
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‘Drive-and-ride’: California dreaming and some thoughts about Auckland

'Drive-and-ride': California dreaming and some thoughts about AucklandLast year during a trip to California, my wife and I satisfied a yearning for a bike ride by heading to the beach in a car. We decided to try a bit of ‘drive-and-ride’ – i.e. driving to somewhere suitable and comparatively safe and interesting for a bike outing. We headed to Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach, where we joined hundreds of people swanning around on wheels on purpose-built cycling infrastructure and local streets. The ideal mix of house and garden eye-candy, beautiful marina, ice cream on the beach, and bars with live entertainment made for a very pleasant afternoon. I say hundreds of people, it could have been thousands; anyway, it was ridiculously popular. It was …
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