Bike Kumeunity was formed to encourage the residents of Huapai and Kumeu to consider cycling as an everyday form of transport, to get to the shops, the library, the Arts Centre, as well as riding around the quiet country roads in our lovely neighbourhood.
One of the biggest current challenges is to find safe cycling routes within and between the twin towns of Huapai and Kumeu, divided as they are by the increasingly busy state highway. It turns out that SH16 is the sole responsibility of NZTA, while the other roads in the two towns and the surrounding countryside are the responsibility of Auckland Transport.
We see the Draft Greenways Network plan currently up for consultation (closes 30 September) as a way to help ‘fill the gaps’ left by NZTA and Auckland Transport – and to help our towns think about access to and around future developments.
There’s been an enormous amount of building in the area, which will only intensify further – Huapai-Kumeu has been designated a satellite town in Auckland’s unitary plan, with two SHAs planned. Future developments mean we’re going to quadruple in size!
Given the intensification of building and population, we hope the developers can see the need for good foot and cycle paths – and can be encouraged to include accessible and well-connected paths from the get-go, to future-proof travel options for the new residents and workers.
The greatest immediate need, to our eyes, is the ability to travel safely between Huapai and Kumeu on SH16 – a mere kilometre, but on a challenging strip of road.
Looking at the Draft Greenways Network Plan for Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku and Riverbed (map here) you can see a promising solution: a walking and cycling path designated to run between Station Road to the west and Riverhead Road to the East, covering the section of SH16 between Huapai and Kumeu.
There is also a blue dotted line, which could be a proposal for a cycling route running along the same section. We understand these routes have something to do with the SHA consent, and hope to find out more at the upcoming forums.
We also want to be able to cross safely to the other side of SH16 to access our country roads.
At present, there is only a single pedestrian crossing light at Access Road – which brings you onto the wrong side of the road when heading up Access Road, with the additional conflict of crossing the railway line. And there’s a very narrow footpath ‘tunnel’ under the highway to the west of Huapai from Tapu Road to Station Road.
With the realignment of Station Road/SH16/Tapu Road as part of the SHA build, we’d like to see pedestrian crossing lights incorporated into the traffic light system.
A request has also been made to add a second pedestrian crossing light to the Access Road traffic lights, so that crossing SH16 results in people on bikes being on the correct side of the road to continue riding.
We feel that these simple solutions would open up more enjoyable rides within and around our twin towns and countryside. What do you think?
Add your feedback online before 30 September – every voice counts. You never know, you might end up living in one of our big little country towns – so let’s get it right, now.
Also, there’s a Greenways workshop on Saturday 24 September, 10am-noon in the Kumeu Cricket Club. All are welcome to attend and state your point of view!
— Bike Kumeunity