Some good news – Auckland Transport has just approved the next steps for the Waterview Walk & Cycleway. This means that a preferred route has been identified (see at right), and that progress will now start on land owner negotiations and design, so that construction can start as soon as possible.
The preferred route has few surprises, though a potential idea we had heard of (to bridge over New North Road, rather than have cyclists cross it at grade at a signal or similar) does not seem included in the design (though it will always be hard to use a relatively simple map like this to extrapolate design choices that may or may not occur yet). Probably such an extra bridge would have been more expensive than the 8 million assigned by the Board of Inquriy – bridges are big-ticket items.
Good news include the fact that the preferred route goes straight all the way through the Phylis Reserve part (the long section about halfway along the blue route). There were some concerns that the route would have to travel along local roads here for a short section, as some local landowner’s properties go very close to the stream, and were threatening to block passage. It seems that AT have stuck up for the logical and preferable solution of keeping the route direct and IN the park, even if it will require some extra work, negotiation & maybe compensation.
At the north end, we understand the “kink” is partly caused by some Iwi properties on the Unitec side that have to be avoided (because the owners prefer them not to be cut into two halves by the cycleway), and by the specific requirements of the Board of Inquriy condition that placed the link directly opposite Alford Street, so as to be most suitable for Waterview residents.
Another interesting confirmation from the document is that the path will be a generous 4m width – while it is unclear whether the bridges will also have that width (one hopes!) this is very encouraging, and shows that Auckland’s design standards are getting higher. The extra width will also make it easier to share the path between the more casual and more hurried users (be they cyclists or pedestrians).
Having been a key player in getting the cycleway included by the Board of Inquiry, CAA are happy to see that the project is proceeding at what we see as a reasonable pace for such a large undertaking. Having specifically been intended by the Board not only as permanent, but also as construction-period mitigation for the local residents, it is not at all unreasonable to expect the path to be open long before the motorway will be.