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)?
Let’s zoom in and take a look at the three finalists for Auckland’s new crossing…
- 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.
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 June. Now that you can see the bigger picture, please add your voice here – and ask AT to embrace the Bike Auckland Quality Option!