There’s a brand new train station in Otahuhu, and now Auckland Transport is inviting public feedback on a proposal for T3 lanes and a shared path to the station along Walmsley Rd. Here’s the project information page with a link for feedback, which is open until Friday 17 February.
You can see the full plans here. As well as adding T3 lanes, the proposal is to widen the footpath along the western side of the road, with the stated goal of:
- Improving pedestrian and cycle facilities and connection to the new Otahuhu Station.
- Encouraging more people to walk and cycle (particularly school children).
We’re generally supportive of the project, but it must be noted:
While the footpath will be widened to create a shared path, this approach isn’t best practice, as it forces pedestrians and people on bikes into proximity and thus conflict. It also obliges people on bikes to stop-start at side streets.
In particular, there are two unsignalised side streets to cross (Weka St, which has a pre-school on the corner, and Hans St), with a risk of fast traffic shooting in and out between big queues of traffic on the road. This is obviously not ideal, especially for the children whom AT hopes will use this path, whether on foot or on bikes.
We’ve asked for improved crossing facilities on these side roads, and encourage you to do so as well!
And: more extensive safe walking and biking links to the new station will be absolutely vital, as we’ve pointed out in previous consultations with AT about this project. Remember, the Otahuhu Station project itself promised “Improved facilities and access for cyclists and pedestrians”, not to mention “Clear, safe separation of buses, trains, pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.”
Even if it’s not within the scope of this project, let’s encourage AT to plan the meaningful links into the surrounding community that will fully deliver on that promise – remember, the easily bikeable catchment area for a train station is a 3km radius.
In particular, we’d point out that the proposed shared path stops just short of the big intersection with Mangere Rd, beyond which lies Otahuhu College with some 1200 students. Bridging this gap will make all the difference when encouraging school children from north of Mangere Rd to travel safely by foot and by bike.
True, bringing the bike path to the school door is not ‘in scope’ for this project – but that’s exactly why we’d push AT to tune its scoping process to incorporate brilliant opportunities like this. Because a city that’s 100% behind the goal of more kids walking and biking would surely be taking delighted advantage of every chance to make it happen.
Meanwhile, the plan is to hurry up and construct the shared path along Walmsley Rd in April – this is a speedy project, so your feedback is absolutely invaluable. And due by Friday! So here’s that link again!