All eyes are on the calendar: Friday July 3rd is the date by which the commissioners promise a judgement on the resource consent for SkyPath. While we wait, it’s worth looking back at how the hearing went. Cycle Action Auckland had representatives there most days to observe the process at work, as well as presenting our own case. (You can scroll back through our Facebook/Twitter feeds around 9-10 June to see our live updates from the hearing.)
Obviously we’re huge supporters of the proposal, and are full of admiration for the work put in by the Skypath Trust. We also were impressed by the patience and detail with which the commissioners put submitters through their paces, asking perceptive and important (and sometimes curly!) questions.
And we salute the many hours every single submitter put into preparing for the hearing – and the bravery it takes to show up and be heard, whatever your position. Any resource consent matter is a complex issue.
We acknowledge the genuine concerns about neighbourhood impact at each end of the bridge but particularly at the north where some houses are within 30m of the landing; those fears (and even tears) were obvious to everyone in the room. At times, it felt as if SkyPath was a proxy for the neighbourhood’s collective grief about the enduring impact of the Bridge itself – a monster of a thing to have in your backyard, any way you look at it. The bridge is here to stay, and too immense to grasp; whereas SkyPath, as the final straw on the camel’s back, might seem a fight that can still be had – even if its effects are negligible compared to the daily volume of traffic above and around the bridge landings.
We can’t have been on the only ones who were surprised and reassured by a video shown on the last day of proceedings. In answer to concerns about the volume of people exiting and entering on foot and on wheels, the SkyPath Trust not only reiterated the numbers and broke down the big yearly and daily numbers into more understandable categories – but demonstrated them.
OK. You want to know what the projections look like for the busiest hour on the busiest day (summertime Saturdays) of the year, five years from opening?
Watch the 30-second video clip below, which shows foot and bike traffic on Vancouver’s Seawall Shared Path…
… and then halve it.
That’s right: the top volume of people passing the nearest properties at Northcote Point will be half of what you just saw. A “human scale” of traffic, as the applicant’s transport engineer called it.
The video shows 12 people in 30 seconds – i.e. 24 people per minute or 1,440 per hour. That is approximately twice the number of people predicted to walk past the most affected houses in Northcote Point (at approximately 12.6/minute) during a busy summer Saturday peak hour.
The rest of the day, the rest of the week, and the rest of the year, numbers would be even lower.
“Thank you, your point is well made,” said the commissioners, after the Trust’s video was played. This was one of those times when a (moving) picture was worth a thousand words.