All eyes are on the Waterview Shared Path – with the Alford St Bridge over Oakley Creek opening today, and the rest of the project due for completion in ‘late winter’ (which we hope means by the end of August).
The spectacular new bridge linking Unitec to Waterview at Alford St and Great North Road will form a powerful new connection between the quiet, self-contained suburb and the green and lively campus to its east.
Sure, you could always walk from Waterview to Unitec via the Oakley Creek walkway – but it’s not a direct route, difficult if not impossible for those on bikes or other kinds of wheels because it involves stairs, and unwelcoming after dark for most people.
The new bridge, smooth, artfully decorated and beautifully lit, sails directly over the creek on piers 16m high. Especially for the thousands of people who live in Waterview, this will transform the way people navigate between their neighbourhood and nearby destinations.
And, once the rest of the pathways are open (including two other bridges!), an expansive biking and walking network will begin to connect Waterview, Mt Albert, Pt Chevalier, Avondale, and beyond into Mt Roskill, providing increased connectivity for everyone passing through. With potential development planned for the Unitec campus, and intensification of housing around the Point Chevalier shopping district, the benefits of these walking and cycling connections will become even more obvious in decades to come.
Some of you may have glimpsed bits of the path in progress, especially where it intersects main roads. Here’s how it all fits together…
The enterprising Stuart Young went bike-exploring the other day through the reserves and back streets, taking photos along the length of the pathway in progress (as close as practicable and safe). Ride along on a photo-story preview of what we’ll be riding on in a month or thereabouts…
Editorial interlude: this is the one bit that’s making us scratch our heads. Given Unitec is a slow-speed zone anyhow, it’s not quite clear what the thinking was [update: we hear one concern is the number of construction trucks on campus over the next year or so]. Not only will you immediately get muddy tire-track desire lines either side of the path, these can pose an impediment for cargo bikes, wheelchairs, and other mobility vehicles.
The good news: we’re told Unitec and Auckland Transport are discussing how to remedy the situation. Hopefully the wee gates are for the high jump.
You know what’s even better than simply removing barriers in a location like this? Cyclist-priority crossings, as seen in Christchurch.
Back to the path….
While we’re here: you may be wondering about progress on other connections that tie into Wateview. Here’s the official word on the the New Lynn to Avondale path along the railway line, from the latest AT report to the Board:
New Lynn/ Avondale Cycle Route
Detailed design of the full route continues with all design work to be completed by October. Whau Bridge construction access is being investigated so that works can proceed to construction in this area in the coming summer. Construction of an underpass is proposed during rail service block of line in December 2017.
UPDATED: The spectacular Te Whitinga Bridge – as seen in the backdrop of many a photo from the Waterview Tunnel Walks and Rides – also opened this morning! Photos coming soon…