Were you part of the crowds that headed to the city’s Eastern beaches over the holiday break? Thousands – locals, visitors and tourists – enjoyed cycling, running or walking along the waterfront or just hung out at the beaches and cafes. It’s great to see family groups out on their bikes – even though at busy times, the shared path is clearly inadequate to safely accommodate the growing numbers of walkers and their dogs, cyclists, runners, families, and roller bladers.
The creation of a two-way separated cycle path is a solution proposed in a new masterplan for Tamaki Drive (scroll down to bottom of their page) just released by the Orakei Local Board.
“Tamaki Drive – A Place for People: A Masterplan for the Future” is the board’s big picture vision for the future of Tamaki Drive. The Masterplan proposes a potential two-way cycle lane on the seaward side of Tamaki Drive, adjacent to but separated from a widened pedestrian promenade. The concept looks like a huge improvement on the substandard shared path we’ve got used to. And the potential for a continuous well -planned off-road cycle facility to eventually run from the city centre waterfront to St Heliers is really inspirational. Wouldn’t that be cool?
It’s also neat how the international examples (shown with great photographs in the report) all provide dedicated cycleways – if this is the kind of Tamaki Drive we want to aspire too, then we are on the definitely on the right track.
It’s just a concept at this stage – the hopes and plans of the local board, rather than an agreed & funded project – and the Masterplan doesn’t give any detailed plans. The cycle path would (at least initially) only be provided “where we have space to do it”, and the concept art shows a cycle path which is still pretty close to the doors of parked cars – which is one of the hazards of the existing layout. And it is likely many cyclists would continue to prefer riding on the road, unless the dedicated cycleway is built to a very high standard. But clearly these details will go through much more detailed design work and consultation before anything is built. So even with these caveats – it is very exciting that a dedicated cycleway is a core element of their future Tamaki Drive vision as well as ours.
The Masterplan came out of a series of “Visioning Workshops” last year which brought together many different community group including local Cycle Action members. Although it’s very high level, the Masterplan is a great step forward towards some holistic planning for the future of Tamaki Drive as an asset for Auckland – not just a busy road corridor and parking strip.
As an example, the plan even encourages parking removal from Tamaki Drive, which is a big step forward (though to be exact, the plan suggests to relocate these car parks to locations further back from the waterfront, not remove them altogether).
Congratulations to the Orakei Local Board for leading this new approach to long-term planning for Tamaki Drive. So what do you think of it?