Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai, our Great Eastern Cycleway from Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive, continues to snake its way towards the city. In the last week, Auckland Transport has narrowed down the options for the final section: Stage 4, which will connect the Orakei train station to Tamaki Drive.

Three options have been selected for further investigation. The big question is: how will they connect to AT’s proposed but dangerous south-side Tamaki Drive Cycleway from Ngapipi to town – and how could they work with Bike Auckland’s much talked about north-side alternative?

With feedback on Tamaki Drive closing on 18 June, we think the case is now even stronger for a safe, logical, connected two-way cycleway along the northern side of Tamaki Drive. Click here to tell AT you support our Quality Option!

Here’s the overview of the Glen Innes path in progress to Tamaki Drive. Section One is built, Section Two is in design, Section Three is to start construction soon. Section Four is the bit on the left – and the question is, how to bring the path across the water (and across the stream of traffic)?

The overview of GI2TD – we’re talking about the bit on the left. (Image: Auckland Transport)

Let’s zoom in and take a look at the three finalists for Auckland’s new crossing…

Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive Shared Path, stage 4: these are the three options shortlisted for further investigation. (Image: AT)
  • In bold orange, a boardwalk/ pathway along the northern side of the railway line, hanging a right at the Outboard Boating Club (OBC) and then tying in west of the bridge at Ngapipi Road.
  • In hot pink, a coastal boardwalk hugging Ngapipi Road around the Orakei headland, connecting to Tamaki Drive at the newly signalised Ngapipi Road intersection.
  • And in dark green, first following the orange route along the railway line, and then continuing the ‘line of desire’ directly towards the city, probably along a raised structure above boat parking at the OBC.

So. How do (or don’t) these three options fit in with AT’s proposed southern-side Tamaki Drive Cycleway design, and our proposed northern-side Quality Option?

The orange option – a bit of a stretch; sashay away

This is likely to be the most expensive to build. Why? Building out over the water brings extra consent conditions, and any structure here would presumably need to be raised quite high over the entry of the OBC so as not to block boats coming and going. And while lift or swing bridges make for nice photos, it would be one more stop along the way.

This option is also likely to be the least popular with people on foot and on bikes. For starters, as shown, it requires a very sharp turn to get on or off AT’s proposed south-side cycleway – almost a U-turn. Not a great design choice for what’s expected to be a very heavily trafficked path.

And, in terms of our Quality Option, this route would require people to double back by 100m or so total to cross at Ngapipi Road, to and from the northern-side cycleway. This would also require clip-ons on both sides of the estuary bridge to work well.

In sum, the orange candidate is clearly the worst option on multiple counts (didn’t 2016 teach us anything?? Okay, it’s probably not that bad, but definitely not winning the popular vote).

The pink option – hug the coast, runner-up!

This would work pretty well with our Quality Option of a northern side two-way cycleway, and crossing at the Ngapipi Road signals would avoid the cost of building a bike bridge over Tamaki Drive.

The route is a smidge longer than the direct route across the railway, by a couple of hundred metres – but we hear it’s likely the cheapest option for Stage 4.

To our mind, this would be an okay, if second-best outcome.

However! At the moment AT is still officially determined to stick to its guns and build the southern-side cycleway on Tamaki Drive. This means significant improvements will be needed on the estuary bridge (a south-side clip-on?) so GI2TD cyclists could connect safely to a cycleway on the southern side. We would much rather see that clip-on and the cycleway on the northern side – with the view and the existing bike traffic round the bays.

Nescio Bridge in the Netherlands. (Photo by botster, via Flickr)

The green option – A to B, you beauty!

This winning option has the instant appeal of being the shortest line between two points – as desirable for people on bikes and on foot as for every other kind of transport, perhaps even more so.

Clearly, it connects tidily with AT’s proposed south-side cycleway, without requiring sharp turns in either direction. However, it doesn’t really remove any of the safety issues that we have identified in our first blog on the matter.

But… if combined with our proposed iconic bike bridge to swoop over the road, it would work beautifully with our proposed two-way cycleway on the northern side of Tamaki Drive! Like a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly.

This is a clear case of ‘you get out what you put in’: it would require a bit more budget, and the result would be a lot more direct, more beautiful, and more efficient for everyone.

So what now?

These three options for GI to TD Stage 4 aren’t up for public consultation. There’s more investigation to be done into what it would take to build each example.

But seeing these options helps focus the debate over the Tamaki Drive Cycleway. Looking at how the green and pink options would connect, we think this announcement further strengthens our case for the Quality Option: a proper two-way northern-side cycleway on Tamaki Drive.

The Tamaki Drive Cycleway consultation is open till 18 JuneNow that you can see the bigger picture, please add your voice here – and ask AT to embrace the Bike Auckland Quality Option! 

Our Quality Option has the same number of traffic lanes (and even the same car parking!) as the AT Option – but finally with separate footpaths and cycleways on the scenic side of the street! Better and safer for everyone…. whether you’re walking, biking, or driving!

Glen Innes to Tamaki
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5 responses to “The final leap – linking the Glen Innes path to Tamaki Drive

  1. I agree with all you say here. The green option is the best. For any active mode of transport, having a direct route is important.

    And the cycleway needs to be on the north side of the road for so many reasons. Recreational cyclists should be able to pull off the cycleway to stop on the beach or to look at the sea, anywhere they want. They shouldn’t have to cross the road to do so. If the cycleway goes on the south side, it will only cater to commuter cyclists, so the cost of the infrastructure resources put into the project will benefit fewer people. (Remember, AT, your own research shows that the typical Auckland cyclist is young, male and European – putting the cycle way on the south side would be catering to that group more than other groups like children, new immigrants exploring the city, older women trying to get their fitness back by taking a ride around the waterfront.)

    And since many cyclists will still choose the scenic footpath rather than the less attractive south side cycle path, there will still be cyclists and pedestrians clashing on the footpath. Plus, on the north side, there aren’t any intersections, so a cycle way there allows the cyclists a much safer ride throughout. Kind of basic stuff.

    Did AT say why they want it on the south side? If it’s about not wanting to have the cycle path next to the preferred side for parking, deal with it another way. Active modes deserve priority.

    1. Orange: Assumptions on cost is misleading. Sharp turns can be engineered. Consent over the sea is required for all three option. Green and Orange are both at similar height. Orange similar height to abutment at the south-west end of Ngapipi Bridge. Totally disagree that it would be least popular. Worse than zero connectivity route beside the trains, doubt it! Pink is a good outcome for a broader range of people and their activities, a “shared” pathway! Oh, the green option is proposed at a ground clearance of 3.5m from Orakei Stn through boats park and past Lilliput. Is height an issue on only selected routes? Either are doable and basically will be chosen on price first. I personally have four cycles and legs, I cycle and walk and would use either. It must be a compromise that suits majority of the community whilst reaching its objective of a safe shared pathway to the city. As i am also a cyclist, its embarrassing to see that as cyclists, we are regularly using road lanes, walking lanes and the cyclelanes all together at the one time on Tamaki Drive. Successful cycleways in Europe have cycleways that cyclist MUST use. There is no Porshe or Ferrari lane because they want to go fast with their bright colours!

      1. Hi Brian, many cyclists will continue to use the road unless the cycleway is suitable for speeds in the 25-35km/hr range. This is a normal speed range for many of us. I don’t think we need to be embarrassed by using all of the legal options available to us.

      2. “As i am also a cyclist, its embarrassing to see that as cyclists, we are regularly using road lanes, walking lanes and the cyclelanes all together at the one time on Tamaki Drive. Successful cycleways in Europe have cycleways that cyclist MUST use”

        I agree, it’s embarrassing that our cycle lane design is so poor that the majority of cyclists don’t feel safe or comfortable using them.

  2. The green option makes so much more sense. It also has the benefit of getting our lungs away from vehicle pollution for a few minutes. The Ngapipi coastal route will require, I presume, a timber boardwalk over the water, given there are currently a lot of (important?) trees at the water’s edge.

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