No thanks – no Onehunga Foreshore highway!

Jun 19, 2015
No thanks – no Onehunga Foreshore highway!

Bike Auckland

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Auckland Transport and NZTA have just announced their plans for a new “limited access” four-lane road along the northern side of the Mangere Inlet foreshore between Onehunga and SH20 near Sylvia Park. The stated claim is that it is needed for economic productivity and growth, as usual. The price tag is approximately 1 billion (as was confirmed to TransportBlog).

Cycle Action has strongly opposed these roads-centric “East-West Link” plans at previous consultation stages – suggesting that the existing routes along Neilson Street and Church Street should be upgraded instead (if need be, by grade-separating some intersections and by adding truck priority lanes) – and that people be encouraged to walk, cycle and use public transport more, so that freight can flow less encumbered by the many private cars.

Instead, Aucklanders stand to lose yet another coastline. In a supreme irony, this occurs just after Onehunga is about to finally (sort of) regain public access to its western shoreline, decades after NZTA’s predecessor cut that side off with a new motorway.

East-West-Preferred-OptionAt that rate, we could expect this proposed new barrier to coastal access to last for at least our lifetimes. As we said last time:

Freight and business groups have been lobbying for a new and direct route rather than upgrading existing roads. But we believe any foreshore connection would come at a big environmental and social cost. It’s unclear what kind of mitigation might be offered – but in our view, it’s inevitable that a major new foreshore road would effectively blight the potential for future generations to live, work and play on the shores of the Manukau Inlet.

To be fair, the East-West project also proposes a cycleway extension of the current foreshore route to Sylvia Park across SH1, and a separate bus/cycle corridor between Mangere and Sylvia Park. In particular the latter includes some significant improvements for cycling (including protected cycle lanes) that we have long asked for. However, the good moves on one side of the harbour cannot outweigh the retrograde 1960s road scheme on the other side.

CAA will strongly oppose the proposed project, and we need everyone to also clearly speak out against it. And this time we want AT and NZTA to clearly state who and how many support or oppose their scheme – it is not acceptable to again summarise opposition in the style of “some people have voiced concerns”.

Voice your opposition directly to:

Yes, their website does have a feedback form – but it concentrates on an only somewhat related bus proposal south of the harbour, and doesn’t even provide fields to enter your opinion on this highway scheme. (Despite them clearly asking for feedback on this too, and despite this being the much more controversial project!).

So please, tell them your thoughts on this directly, by email. Ideally, give them your name and address as well, so they know it’s real people disliking these concepts.

Ten reasons to oppose this proposal:

  1. Gold-plated excess – the desired goals can be largely achieved by prioritising and upgrading Neilson / Church for trucks instead
  2. Enormous opportunity cost – for the 1 billion this is likely to cost, we could build half the City Rail Link, or all of Auckland’s planned cycle network
  3. Loss of access to the harbour – for the forseeable future, our lives and beyond. Four lanes of fast traffic between people and the bay
  4. Destroys coastal foreshore – And if the mudflats don’t look healthy or special to you now, remember these were industrial dumping grounds for many decades. We should be healing these lands, not asphalting over them
  5. Induces new traffic – like all roadsfest pojects, after 5-10 years it will create just as much new traffic (by making driving easier) as it tries to shift away from other roads. Building new roads to fight congestion is like letting out your belt to fight obesity!
  6. Land contamination risks – the foreshore and the mudflats of the inlet have sections heavily laced with old toxins from former industries – is the necessary remediation cost included?
  7. Endangers rail to the airport – the new motorway needs to connect to SH20 under and around the Mangere Bridge, taking up the space between the existing motorway bridge and the water – making extension of the rail line somewhere between near impossible and much more costly
  8. Will lead to further costly projects down the line – if this project is approved, you can be sure that calls for another couple hundred million for more lanes and bridges from Sylvia Park to Pakuranga will follow to “complete the link” and “make efficient use” of this new project.
  9. No improvements for other roads – a typical claim of new projects like this is that it will take traffic off other roads, making life nicer and conditions safer. But the project doesn’t include new footpaths or cycleways north of the new road. Sure, if traffic volumes drop there, Auckland Transport could build better footpaths or cycleways – but they have little money for this, and this project doesn’t commit to any such works
  10. Not in our name – some good cycling improvements are part of the project. But we don’t want them at such enormous cost!

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