On Friday one of Auckland’s most significant projects reached an important milestone – the resource consent for Skypath was publicly notified. Given the sheer number and size of them I haven’t read through all the documents yet – the Transportation Assessment Report alone is over 200 pages long – however you can find all of the documents related to it here.

All involved in the project should be congratulated for their mammoth efforts and dedication to get the project to this stage. This is especially true for the project director Bevan Woodward who has devoted untold hours into making Skypath a reality. The cover letter accompanying the consent application to the Council from Bevan highlights some of this and why the project is needed.

The application represents the accumulation of over ten years of work, due largely to the efforts of the Pathway Trust, a small and committed number of community orientated Aucklanders. Often unpaid, these citizens believe in what SkyPath will achieve for Auckland and its contribution to making it a more liveable city – as succinctly put by London mayor Boris Johnson “I have long held the view that a cyclised city is a civilised city”.

At many times the odds that the SkyPath project would ever get to this stage appeared highly unlikely. Not only were there significant funding and engineering challenges but it also took a long time before the necessary institutional support arrived.

Hence it is important to appreciate at the outset what SkyPath represents and to understand the principles that have sustained the longevity of this community-initiated and developed project:

  • SkyPath resolves the most critical gap in Auckland’s walking and cycling network, but perhaps even more importantly, it is a flagship project for ongoing improved walking and cycling facilities all across Auckland. Before its construction has even begun, SkyPath has helped progress plans for walking and cycling connections to the north and south.
  • SkyPath represents a significant change in Auckland’s transport planning, and a shift from the car dependent city that it has become. We must prioritise public transport, walking and cycling over private motor vehicle use. This is important for a host of reasons, including air pollution, community severance, climate chaos, traffic noise, unsafe streets for walking and cycling, health issues exacerbated by car dependency, and economic vulnerability due to reliance on overseas oil.
  • SkyPath directly attaches to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, the most iconic structure on New Zealand’s transport highway network. SkyPath will transform this icon that for 55 years has stood for motorised transport only. The Auckland Harbour Bridge will finally become a multi-modal bridge, reaching the standard that is expected of many harbour bridges around the world.
  • SkyPath has been born from the initiative and energy within the communities of Auckland. There has been extensive consultation with a vast array of stakeholders to enhance the design and mitigate the challenges. This has included meetings, presentations, workshops, open days, surveys and public demonstrations of support. The Pathway Trust has engaged over a number of years with the NZTA, residents, business owners, mana whenua, community groups, professional institutions, user groups, Members of Parliament, media (radio, TV and newspaper), local boards, the Council, Auckland Transport and Waterfront Auckland.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

Skypath Consent - Observation Deck

The design for Skypath is largely unchanged from what we’ve seen before except for at Northcote Point where they have come up with a new design following feedback from residents. It will now loop back under itself  and they say the new design has the following benefits (an image of the older proposal is here).

  • Better alignment and closer proximity to NZTA’s SeaPath (direct link to Takapuna) meaning less adjacent properties
  • Smaller footprint
  • Maintains 5% gradient and does not require any change to the existing road layout at Stokes Point

Skypath Consent - Northcote Point

Here’s what the Harbour Bridge will look like before and after the Skypath is added.

Skypath Consent - Before and After

This is a fantastic project and one the Auckland and in particular the North Shore desperately needs. This is definitely a project that should be supported and I suspect most do although there is a small vocal group from Northcote Point who will disagree (many others in Northcote Point do support it). Public submission on the resource consent are open till 23 January and the hearing will be in March next year.

Once again congratulations to Bevan and all the others involved in the project for getting to this stage.

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  1. Not a fan of the opening/ closing hours. disappointed they adopted them to appease the NRA despite evidence to the contrary. Would have liked to at least seen some alignment between closing hours of the northcote point restaurants/ bars/ movies at the very minimum.

    1. Submission time is when you can comment about the proposed opening times – those are EXACTLY the kind of thing a resource consent can define.

      1. 10pm? that’s insane, that will make walking or riding to either shore for evening hospitality a greatly reduced option- exactly the kind of journey that we want people to be making on SkyPath, especially rather than driving…

        1. Submit on it – maybe ask for a trial period. Close it at midnight for the first year – if sky doesn’t fall, make those times permanent.

        2. yeah, its actually the only part i’m not supporting and I imagine may be the focus of my presentation at any hearing. The consent notes that the opening hours aren’t exactly set (but may be pushed later) so will be important to submit on this aspect I think. in light of the new drink drive limits, we should be be making alternative modes as attractive as possible.

        3. It’s a path it should be open around the clock just like the road is, don’t see the harbour bridge closed after 10pm.

        4. I think the most important outcome is ongoing flexibility for this issue. Will not be unhappy if it opens conservatively so long as there is plenty of opportunity to adjust this without complicated or expensive renegotiation.

      2. Not sure what link you are trying to draw between a resource consent application and hours of operation? Are you suggesting they should not be granted resource consent because they won’t operate beyond 10pm?

        1. They’re saying they should be have longer hours, not that they should have longer hours OR no SkyPath.

        2. pretty much. I think it would actually be better to have them open longer but have a review condition attached to the resource consent that allows Council to reduce the opening/ closing times based on observed effects/ problems. I understand and respect the resident’s concerns, but they don’t appear to be based on anything other than a misguided hunch. The noise report has established that the noise from pedestrian/ cyclists would likely be indistinguishable above the background noise levels (so no disturbance to the “piece and quiet” of a house located under one of the busiest roads in NZ) from the AHB. Plus, you would imagine those houses in the area would have better than typical noise attenuation measures within their houses reducing any impacts any further.

  2. It even has hours closed? That’s a bit disappointing.

    Otherwise this is a hugely exciting project for Auckland. I can’t wait.

  3. I trust they will be applying the opening and closing hours to the vehicle traffic on the bridge too. Otherwise how will the Northcote residents hear the lack of passing cycles at night?

  4. You’d have to hope that the Northcote objectors were held up on the Bridge the other day. I imagine it’d be hard for a bicycle snarl up to take 4 hours to clear.

    There’s a move to make Christchurch the Copenhagen of the south; I wonder if anyone around the world is trying to “Aucklandise” their city?

  5. I fully support this project and am delighted that all Aucklanders have an official say at last via the submissions process so the true level of support for and against can be gauged.

    I read a few of these consent supporting documents and I am truly amazed at the level of detail that these guys have gone to (and presumably have had to go to).
    This project has had far more scrutiny and detailed designs and redesigns I expect than both the original bridge and its subsequent clip-ons had to face (publicly anyway).

    The lighting design for the Skypath alone is a work of art in itself and I predict the Skypath lighting will become more significant to the Auckland skyline at night time than even the Skytower. The lighting is not dumb lights but smart LED lights, with each light individually controllable, so any conceivable colour can be created, and effects, like making the entire Skypath lights “twinkle” briefly at the top of each hour is possible.

    The northern (and southern) portals have changed from earlier this year designs, for the better I think and they will hopefully satisfy those Northcote residents concerns. Without a doubt some factions won’t accept change there, but hopefully common sense will prevail to allow this to be built.

    I note some people commenting about the Skypath being closed at night, this was always on the cards and is not a new thing, a 10pm to 6am curfew on the bridge is not ideal but the Skypath has to be monitored during opening hours as part of the agreed protocols, so unless the costs to run 24×7 security monitoring is allowed for something has to give.

    I’d rather have Skypath open with these restrictions sooner, than a 24×7 Skypath 3 decades from now though.

      1. SkyPath have committed to employing two security guards when the path is open. The cost of employing them round the clock for what will probably be quite light traffic from 10 pm to 6 am is probably prohibitive (and given that the venture is privately-funded, commercial considerations like that do come into play).

        1. why employ security guards throughout day light hours when the path is being used most? This is the time when those using the bridge themselves provide the surveillance and natural policing of other users. If anything, they could just employ security guards between 10pm and 6am. That saves them 16 man hours worth of wages every day. The ferry’s/ ferry terminals only seem to employ security afters normal working hours in the evenings. I don’t see why a footpath/ cycleway should be any different.

        2. Very good point. Of course the whole security guard issue is simply a response to the small number of over-entitled haters who have been painting a picture of crazed lawlessness that will result from the simple act of walking or cycling across this route. The toll is likely to be a fairly effective way of reducing the likelihood of bored miscreants focussing on this new amenity… and then, quite rightly, misbehaviour is more likely when the path has less traffic.

        3. with CCTV monitoring giving the alert, someone could get to the scene from the motorway patrol centre on an electric bike in 3-4 minutes

    1. It’s likely the hours concern is mainly on the 10pm side. This eliminates use of bikes for many social activities. Hopefully submissions can get a change to later closing for the good of users and businesses.

    2. Do other such bridges have restricted hours on their pedestrian facilities? I’m thinking of the Golden Gate bridge, I don’t know if there are others. (Have you seen the suicide prevention project they have designed for it?)

      1. The Golden Gate Bridge has vast, sparsely populated parkland at both ends so the pedestrian path functions very much as a recreational/tourist route. It doesn’t really need to be open overnight.

        Here in New York City, the pedestrian paths on the East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg, 59th St and Triboro Bridge) are open 24/7. All of these except for the Triboro Bridge also have either fully separate cycle paths or marked lanes. All of them also connect very dense population centers in Brooklyn and Queens with Manhattan’s east side, so are trafficked at all hours.

        The GW Bridge on the west side is open 6am to midnight for pedestrians and bikes, but it connects Washington Heights on the New York side to Fort Lee, New Jersey, two areas which aren’t terrible interdependent. So, much like the Golden Gate Bridge and unlike the East River bridges, the GW is more suited to recreational or commuter use.

  6. Great project, hats off to all the people chucking in the big hours behind the scenes. There is light at the end of the Skypath after all…

  7. For an amusing look at NIMBYism at its worst, read through the responses to submissions received during project consultatio. The Northcote Residents Association just *hates* the project, questioning pretty much every aspect of the project. (Admittedly a lot of the feedback came from 2013, but if the public meeting on the Northcote safe cycling route is any indication, I don’t expect their position has softened much).

    1. Like what happened with the St Marys Bay residents group I understand more moderate and supportive locals have been appalled by the stance the association had taken so have joined and started changing the direction. These resident associations are often just a very small subset who try to force their personal views as representative of the wife area and it takes something like Skypath to get people to take who they’re being represented

      1. The Herne Bay Residents Association dropped a flyer off in our mailbox a couple of weeks ago appealing for funds and members. Keeping things just the way they are was top of their agenda. (They certainly didn’t win me over by promoting their lobbying against bus lanes that might have taken away valuable carparks).

        1. The only way they’ll change is if you (and other like-minded individuals) join and change them. Otherwise, they’ll continue to utilise more power than they should actually represent with the views you oppose.

    1. Submissions are open now till mid-late January. If you aren’t keen to sort it out yourself, various groups are likely to be providing guides / blogs on how to submit in the coming weeks.

  8. This should be great for businesses on both sides of the bridge when it’s built and people start using it – a casual stroll from the shore to Wynyard Quarter sounds like a great idea. I just wish it was there when I lived in Herne Bay – I would have appreciated a 20 minute ride to Takapuna beach.

  9. What will be the options for a cyclist who just misses the closing time and gets caught on the wrong side of the bridge after 10pm? Are there other possibilities for getting home with a bike at that hour, or will it just be a case of tough bikkies?

    1. If you are lucky, there will be ferries to about 1:00am on Friday/Saturday nights.(at least from Devonport). The fact that ferries don’t tend to run 24/7 as well, suggests relatively low demand (and high costs of running a ferry) for the few cyclists/pedestrians that travel between the shore/city at that time of night.

      I don’t personally have any issues with the closing time in any case. I am totally convinced the Skypath will be a huge success and that after it is up and running, will be hard to find any objectors. Will be a desirable feature of the area; then there will be more demand for it being opened 24/7 in due course, but rather have it open some hours in the future, than not have it, as at present.

      I think to avoid having security guards, then you would also need to have to remove the compulsory tolls, as I can’t see totally automatic gates being viable in the wee hours of the morning.

      1. Automatic Gates are required to enforce the maximum numbers allowed on the bridge at any one time for safety (evacuation and structure loading).

        Although how they will stop local bunching of a “less than maximum number of users” on the bridge to prevent overloading of the Skypath bridge segments/observation lookouts is not stated in the consent documents.

        I guess they will just design these so that you can’t get too many people in one spot (like making a lift too small to fit the maximum weight in it). So the number of people stated simply can’t be achieved.

        Mind you if someone was to decide to move their gold bar collection over it using a handtruck then I guess you could cause a problem in either the Skypath or a lift.

  10. Why do people who live next to a 10-lane motorway object to pedestrians and cyclists on a dedicated path? I don’t get it.

    Do they object to the footpath and road outside their house also? Surely a dedicated path is better than the footpath and road outside their house if they’re scared of burglars or something like that.

  11. As a resident that objects to the project you might be interested in the reasons why.
    Firstly lets just accept that everyone who invests in property has a logic reason for being a ‘NIMBY’, over projects that they deem will detract from their existing lifestyle, or have a negative impact on their investment. You are kidding yourselves if you think otherwise.
    The residents of Northcote Point – in the area immediately effected by Skypath (South of Alma Street) have all signed a document objecting to the project. It is disingenuous to suggest – as Skypath have – that it is only a small minority of residents against the project.
    What we object too from a purely self interest point is the change to the area – which has always been a quiet cul du sac – to turn a quiet residential street into a busy thoroughfare of foot, cycle and heavy vehicle (bus) traffic. Having read the hundreds of pages of the submission – obviously very few of you will – it is clear that the design does include bus turning and parking areas and if the patronage figures are to be believed then by year 5 there will be approximately 30 people passing my house every minute, on Saturday and Sunday, during summer. I stress these are Skypaths patronage figures and I would assume even the least sympathetic views towards residents would accept this is a very big change to a quiet street.
    Also – using the Skypaths own patronage figures and Skypaths own traffic report – there is going to be a significant impact of increased vehicle movements. Yes, I know this is a walking and cycling facility, but suveys have shown that a significant number of users – 39% to be exact – said they would expect to drive and park very close to the entrance of Skypath to use it. As some of you are aware, the Northcote ‘safe cycle route’ has had to be re designed due to resident (and this is all of Northcote Point residents) protest about the effect on parking. If you combine the Skypath patronage figures and traffic survey there will not be enough parking on weekends for residents, visitors to existing businesses and Skypath – already in year 1. Having all this road traffic circulating the peninsular will not be pleasant for anyone, including visitors to Skypath.
    There is also a design issue. The Northern Landing was re-designed – not as is suggested for the residents – but at the insistence of the council who pointed out the initial plans did not meet Austroads regulations on elevation. The current design is a double stack which will take away a lot of natural light and will have a really bad effect on the houses to the western side of Princes Street (not my side). This will, I assume, be replaced with artificial lighting. Someone above has pointed out it will be a bigger light show than the Sky Tower. You might imagine that is not something anyone living near it will welcome.
    The operating hours are restricted for residents. The pub hours are restricted for the same reason. This is not a selfish agenda – people have a right to expect peace and quiet after 10pm. I actually think the residents are more concerned to have control over the time it can open in the morning. As a cyclist I am well aware they are not silent and nor are the people using them. Restricting the operating hours is not unreasonable and Skypath acknowledge that.
    So those are most – but not all – of the concerns of the residents. I hope now that they have been explained that readers here understand the hostility towards the project. It is not a case of Not In My Back Yard, it’s a case of the residents feel the project could be done in a way that is far less intrusive.
    There is also a wider concern that all rate payers should be aware of. That is the financial implication of the project. Already the Council has spent millions on this private project and questions should be raised on why public money is being spent on private investment projects.
    The project is not without serious financial implication. Far from being a free build, the Skypath is being underwritten by the Auckland Council. For those of you who do not know what that means, the implication is that if Skypath does not meet its projected income from tolling, the Auckland Council – through rate payers – will have to make up the difference.
    Morrisons – the organisation putting up the money – are getting a great deal out of this. They are guaranteed a huge profit based on figures that are largely untested. There is yet to be a financial feasibility study. As a rate payer – in a town on the brink of bankruptcy – I object strongly to the council spending my money on private venture projects.
    Now some of you may still think that I – and the other Northcote Point residents – are being unreasonable. That’s fine – you are entitled to your opinion and as this is a public consultation – you are entitled to submit your opinion to council. Hopefully some of you might have an interest in understanding the opposition. It is not a case of a small number of people trying to stop progress just because they do not like change.

    1. When housing corp built a big development at the back of my parents place that changed the area, they moved, I think you should too – though first wait until you house prices go up due to the skypath.

      And it seems pretty reasonable for Council to be involved in a project that helps the public to such a significant degree.

      Also, although I don’t own a property myself, I pay rates via my rent. Get sick of the insinuation that myself and other renters somehow contribute less to the coffers and therefore should have less say, etc. I am fine with my rates contribution being spent on this highly worthy project.

    2. “**quiet** cul de sac” – yeah right Phil. My heart bleeds for ya, it truly does.

      Cul de sac, sure, quiet, no way, the noise analysis shows no chance of hearing any Skypath activities at any location under the bridge because of the road noise from 8 lanes of traffic surging overhead. Maybe after 10pm, if the traffic dies off on cue and the Skypath was in use, but since when is the traffic quiet from 10pm to 6am on State Highway 1?

      As for the light show, while it will be much bigger than Skytower, the lighting design has been done so that the actual amount of light spillage on to residents properties or drivers on the bridge itself is indistinguishable from general background light scatter e.g. more light will come from the lights on the bridge itself than Skypath.
      So to claim your place will light up like a Christmas tree is false.

      Also, there will be no skyglow from SkyPath. The lights will wash the main bridge structure where it crosses the harbour, but this is also not a Lighthouse type display.
      When Skypath is not operational the lights will be mostly turned off as well, so even what minimal light spillage you’ll get will be as near zero as you can get after 10pm.

      As for bus turning circles and the like – thats all on the southern side of the bridge not your end. And thats in a open area of the harbourside, well away from the nearest properties.
      And thats is in an area that already has resident parking controls so the mases won’t be able to steal residents parking there.

      “The current design is a double stack which will take away a lot of natural light and will have a really bad effect on the houses to the western side of Princes Street ”

      Yeah right, not like the non-transparent bridge is actually blocking the light now?, the amount of light that comes “under” the bridge is pretty low thanks to the low clearance and the hosues and their trees on the eastern side of Princess St.
      Yet those residents former owners were all well compensated years ago for those effects when the original bridge and then the clipons went up, they (and you) can’t double dip and claim that a open mesh structure will somehow block all their light when it won’t – by design. If any lights are needed under the bridge thats because of the nature of the underside bridge, not Skypath.

      “the residents feel the project could be done in a way that is far less intrusive.”

      The only way it seems that you would accept it is that if SkyPath is not built at all. Anything else it seems is “intrusive”. O nthe one hand you also say you want it to link to Seapath and not touch down in Northcote point and then you also object to it being there at all. So the obvious conclusion is you object to any change.

      ” Already the Council has spent millions on this private project and questions should be raised on why public money is being spent on private investment projects.”

      The same could be said of how Auckland Council is bending over backwards to accommodate Precinct Properties – not just for CRL enabling works but also for the sell off of the QE2 Square adjacent to the Precinct sites. Council is processing the consent application like any non-complying activity from any private developer, Skypath is paying consent processing fees to have the consent considered like anyone else would. I see no special favours here.

      It is true that Council is the guarantor of last resort of part of the project, for about $2m, which is only to be called upon should Skypath not succeed. A very unlikely event even you admit in your own assertion of the traffic chaos and usage doom and gloom scenarios that will ensue once its built.

      ” It is not a case of a small number of people trying to stop progress just because they do not like change.”

      Nothing I’ve read, from you at any time indicates that your objections when boiled down to the essence are based on any argument other than “just because they do not like change”.

      I am sure the environment court will see it the same way and deny you the rights you seek to block it too once you take it there.

    3. Local resident, thank you for the information. I think I understand now. What alternatives have the Northcote Residents Association proposed?

      I think a direct continuation with Seapath might be better for many/most users, e.g., those wanting to go along Shoal Bay to Onepoto Domain, Takapuna Beach, etc. The Skypath can just be continued to the vicinity of Gold Hole Reserve as a suspended/cantilevered/braced walkway, with the privacy of the properties on the eastern side of the bridge being protected with suitable screening (e.g., e-glass, like on the elevated metro in Singapore when it goes past apartments) and sound-proofing. A branch to Stokes Point Reserve could double-back along the public land/sea around the eastern shoreline (with a sea bridge below the “Number One House” which appears not to have a “Queens Chain” reserve at its edge), again suitably screened and sound-proofed to protect the privacy of the properties (although everyone would be looking the other way towards the city skyline and waterfront), then the existing path from Stokes Point Reserve to the Northcote Wharf could be upgraded (and regraded) for an easily accessible walkway and cycleway, and this could continue through Fishermans Wharf Reserve and be extended by linking the “Queens Chain” reserves on the western shoreline between Fishermand Wharf Reserve, King Street Reserve, Halls Beach Reserve and Little Shoal Bay Reserve, and on to Le Roys Bush, and so on, linking with all the pathways and reserves on the North Shore, and beyond, by linking to Te Araroa (The Long Pathway) – New Zealand’s Trail, and Nga Haerenga – The New Zealand Cycle Trail.

      This would not touch any of the residential streets on Northcote Point (any more than they already are now) and would only be linking existing public open spaces via the public realm of the “Queens Chain” along the coast, and/or the sea.

      This would put Northcote Point up there with Milsons Point in Sydney (where one can walk and/or cycle around to Lavender Bay to the west and Kirribilli to the east) as a spectacular, highly accessible urban space, and highly desirable real estate to boot.

  12. With the utmost respect BIW, you do not pay rates. You pay rent. If rates go up or the cost of your landlord servicing loans increases, these can not be automatically passed to you.
    Whilst I respect your opinion suggesting all the residents of Northcote point that are effected should move, it does not strike me as very practical.
    Hopefully what I posted is received in the good will it was intended. It is to explain the residents point of view and not to seek argument.

    1. Why not, rent goes up continually. If rent didn’t cover rates, property upkeep, all costs plus a profit people wouldn’t be in the property game.

  13. Renters pay rates – indirectly, but very much so.

    To say renters don’t is about as logical as saying I don’t pay taxes because they are deducted from my paycheck by somebody else.

  14. ok – so you must all agree with me that NZ should scrap rates and move to a copy of the UK ‘council tax’ where every household pays the tax direct. Then there are no arguments about who pays and who doesn’t. Be a game changer for funding the CRL.

    1. “We all” don’t have a problem with paying rates indirectly or directly. We have a problem with the misrepresentation that renters don’t pay, and thus somehow have a lesser standing on matters that affect their area.

      For that matter, I have a problem with the whole idea that paying (or paying more) gives you any added rights anyway. If someone lives next door and pays five times my rates, he / she has no right to five times more representation than I have. People who think that way are thinking capitalism is a way of government. But we are a western democracy – founded on the idea that people, not money, are what matters.

  15. “The residents of Northcote Point – in the area immediately effected by Skypath (South of Alma Street) have all signed a document objecting to the project.”
    There are about 20 properties south of Alma street so it is a very small number of people.

    “What we object too from a purely self interest point is the change to the area”

    “It is not a case of a small number of people trying to stop progress just because they do not like change.”
    Your own comments above show that it is definitely about a small number of people trying to stop progress.

    Renters don’t pay rates only homeowners do.
    Motorists don’t pay fuel taxes only petrol stations do.
    Smokers don’t pay tax on cigarettes only shopkeepers do.

  16. I have a few questions for the objectors to this project:

    1. Would there be such angst from ‘affected residents’ if (hypothetically) a bog-standard, ordinary sidewalk was being provided on AHB rather than a fancy skypath? Is it the “fancy” part they object to, or would *any* footpath upset them?

    2. If the path was (hypothetically) restricted to walkers only – i.e. no cyclists, would that make a difference? Is it cyclists they object to, rather than the path itself?

    3. Supposing Skypath was to be provided by NZTA as a free public facility, rather than by a private company as a commercial venture, would that make it less objectionable? There would then be no commercial pressure to maximise usage and users would simply be those that turned up, as with any footbridge or cycle-path?

    I would like a better idea of just what it is they are objecting to. Any effects of this seem utterly trivial compared to the massive environmental stomp-print of the existing traffic bridge that is hard to see what the argument is.

    1. Hi Dave B,

      To answer your questions:
      1. The residents are not objecting to the project based on any ‘fancy’ design. Personally I think it will look naff and a cheap after thought but design is subjective and one mans ugly duckling is anothers swan.
      2. It is the location the residents object too not the user mode. We dont complain about the existing traffic. If Skypath were located on the upper deck and by passed street level there would be no objection.
      3. There would be less objection from rate payers across all of Auckland if this were to be a private funded project – it is not – the council are underwriting the revenue of the tolls based on untested patronage figures provided for by the beneficiary of the underwrite. A blank check project! However I expect their would be many Auckland rate payers objecting to any cycle spend given it is a shrinking transport mode in the city.

      1. OK thanks. So the main concern is where it descends into the neighbourhood, not the concept itself?? Is there a feasible alternative proposal or acceptable compromise?
        Not quite sure I get your point about cycling being a shrinking transport mode. It isn’t. It’s growing!

        1. The only compromise Phil (for thats his true name) will accept is “Not in my Back/Front/or Side Yard”.

          He wants us all to wait another 2 or 3 decades until the harbour tunnel is built, then AT (who will become the owner of the current bridge) will then be able to dedicate the easternmost lane to cycling & walking. (or maybe he wants the westernmost lane to be used, I’m never quite sure).

          But until then no Skypath – so his answer is to make it happen on the bridge deck or not at all.

          Don’t know about you, but being caught up on the bridge in windy or wet conditions with absolutely no shelter from wind sun or rain, hundreds of meters from sanctuary at either end sounds like absolute hell and dangerous to the extreme. Especially with the 7 other lanes of screaming past traffic you would have as well.
          Skypath on the other hand offers respite at all times from those environmental issues and because it will be tucked under the “wing” of the clipon will be almost always dry and a lot less windy or sun soaked than the deck will be.

          So his “solution” is no solution. Its just a sop to let him make his problem our problem.

          The other option which could be built was the Skypath not stopping at Northcote and then carrying on to the SeaPath is also one Phil does not support as it will put people above his house and the additional noise these “30 people a minute” will make will be completely intolerable to him and his 5 neighbours. And all that would do is push the problem of where those people “join” the North Shore roads about 700 metres down the road. Far enough from his house that he doesn’t care.

        2. It’s irellevant anyway, NZTA have said they support the Skypath as the means to add walking and cycling capacity across the harbour, and their plans use all the harbour bridge lanes even when a third crossing is built.

        3. Good point.

          As for NZTA having “plans” for the bridge post tunnel, this implies that will retain ownership (and thus maintance of it) so will be become SH1A or something but remain part of the SH network?
          [Presumably for dangerous goods carrying purposes it may have to remain – as the cost of making the tunnel dangerous goods capable would be quite a lot more cost I’d expect.]

        4. Don’t forget he also claims it will be a failure and therefore a financial liability to ratepayers but at the same time will be packed with 30 people a minute going past his house.

          Not that he’d see them going past his house given he lives in the UK.

        5. He would have 24 by 7 monitoring of his house for sound, movement, and of course, urine, detection.

          So he’d hear, see or detect anyone making a noise, moving near his house at either ground of SkyPath level no matter where he is in the world.

          The urine detector is needed to capture any cyclists or walker deigning to piss on his rose bushes.

        6. What on earth makes you think the NZTA would ever relinquish the Harbour Bridge??? There is a common misconception on this blog, under the guise of ‘expert’ opinion, that on/off ramps are under local roading authorities. Should probably check up on how designations work as a FYI

        7. Because that is exactly what they have done with other sections of the old SH1- handed them over to AT. They are now looked after by ratepayers rather than taxpayers. Hence the $38m in the current council transport budget to improve part of this road in Albany.

          Do show a place where anyone writing this blog has suggested an on or off ramp to a state highway is not part of the state highway network.

        8. Shaun,
          As per conan no one has said that here.

          The only comments about motorway on/off ramps being under ATs control is related to how Auckland Council believes it can toll the use of motorways by tolling the on ramps to the motorways.

          As the on ramps are not under ACs direct ownership then AC/AT can’t “toll them” or the motorway proper – but AC (via AT) does own and control the local roads leading to these on ramps.

          So its very feasible for AC to toll the “on ramps” – as in – “toll the local roads that allow drivers to enter the on ramps (that NZA owns)” without “tolling the motorway” itself.
          Something no doubt the Government is very aware of.

          But same difference I think – net effect is if this is in place you will pay to get onto the motorway in Auckland, and if you come from outside Auckland and never leave the motorway you’ll pay no toll.

          As for relinquishing ownership of the harbour bridge, that is exactly what has been stated would happen before.
          I don’t care if NZTA want to own and maintain both the bridge and the tunnel once built as State Highway roads.
          But if so it puts the kibosh on Phil aka “The Local residents view”” assertion that it will allow us to have the cycleway put on the bridge itself once the tunnel is built as under that scenario is won’t be possible.

      2. Re: “If Skypath were located on the upper deck and by passed street level there would be no objection”… this is not a feasible option because it requires widening the clip-on deck which would encroach into the airspace of the Princes Street residential properties. Their airspace has already been seriously compromised by the clip-ons added in 1969.

        That’s why NZTA’s plans for a ‘deck level’ path come off and land at Stokes Point, as shown in these plans:

        SkyPath’s landing design is far less intrusive on the local residents than what was planned by NZTA.

    2. The residents do not object to the bridge – unlike those people in Western Springs that moan about the noise from Speedway – it was here before most of us bought homes. What we object too is the intrusive nature of the design and turning what is a quiet cul du sac into a major thoroughfare. Based on the projected patronage there will be 30 people every minute walking and cycling past our homes every Saturday and Sunday through summer. That is a lot of people – about the same as a busy intersection on Queen Street – all day – every weekend – all summer. Does that still sound trivial?
      Not a storm in a tea cup.

      1. More nonsense:
        People walking and riding is somehow just like living next to the speedway! Funny, those 8 traffic lanes above are already much more like speedway.
        Ratepayers across Auckland oppose it; no they don’t, anyway why would they?, they aren’t paying for it and they can see it’s a great thing.
        Cycling is falling… not across this route it won’t, nor anywhere where there is new safe infrastructure, which is increasing across the city.

        Not even a storm in a thimble.

  17. This is little other than fear of change and here it is sadly exaggerated by an over-inflated sense of entitlement [exhibit A- the rates nonsense].
    Especially as they fail to bring any convincing evidence to their claim that this project will have anything but positive outcomes for their lives and especially their property values. Giving Northcote a direct connection to the city and especially the waterfront so that it more resembles St Marys Bay or Herne Bay is hardly going to harm property values is it? So it turns out that the only anticipated problem with any possible credibility is traffic, especially parking, which of course can be controlled with, obviously, traffic measures, such as residents parking or even the amazing technology of dashed yellow lines.

    Storm in a tea cup.

    1. But without parking all the local businesses will be forced to close as there’ll be no customers. Bit like Queen St (city version) after the Santa parade. Not a car in sight, business must have been terrible for the shops along there.

  18. I dont wish to degenerate into a personal attack on anyone so I urge those few doing so to keep to the subject.
    The local residents do not oppose a cycle/walking path – they oppose the change of use of the bridge and the negative impact it will have on the lifestyle the residents currently enjoy. You can not trivialise the effect of 30 people a minute walking past your home all day every weekend all summer and its clear that some readers here understand that while others do not seem to care.
    Jamie and Dave B raise interesting points. I believe that the Skypath should be an enclosed and soundproofed structure that crosses under the bridge above stock point to the western side. It then could run along the side of the bridge without passing above private property and connect to the seapath opposite Alma street where there is a grass area and a small road that goes down to sea level.
    Skypath have been made aware of this alternative solution – and others – on many occasions during the design phase and have at all times chosen to ignore the residents.
    Faced with no alternative the residents will robustly oppose the consent.

    1. You seem very concerned about these “30 people a minute”, an argument which basically boils down to “I don’t want other people in my neighbourhood just because!”.

      But let’s just think about that for a bit… 30 people a minute means 1800 people per hour at peaks. Could well be 5,000-10,000 people in a day (sure, that’s a lot of people).
      There are what, 40 houses out on Northcote point which object to this?
      If we’re generous and assume that each of these houses isn’t just a couple of semi-retired baby boomers but a fully fledged family of 5, that means a whole 200 people object.
      200 people don’t want to enhance the lives of 5,000 others PER DAY because they don’t want to share their street, or have their way of life changed.

      I don’t wish to degenerate into personal attacks, either. But there are words for the people opposing this project, and those words are “Selfish Arseholes”.

      Stop thinking about yourself and your own little patch and start thinking about the future of this city.


  19. Oh Tim – please!
    Changing a quiet residential street into a busy thoroughfare is not acceptable. It is not being selfish – its being realistic.
    Should Eden Park have events every saturday and sunday through summer with all the crowds that attracts or would you say that isnt fair? The rugby fans of NZ – who greatly outnumber the cyclists – would love to watch more games. How about Speedway at the Springs every night? Plenty of petrol heads dont understand why the residents moan about the noise – especially as the speedway was there long before the residents.
    What about the East-West highway? The whole of NZ would benefit from that motorway as it will be of benefit to our industry. Is it therefore not selfish of the people living in the effected area to fight it?
    The city will get on fine without Skypath – it has managed to do so for as long as the city has been here. There are alternatives for cyclists to cross the harbour and in a few years the AWHC will be built and the plan is to then have a dedicated cycle lane on the bridge – cant you wait 10 years?
    Or how about why doesnt the Skypath trust just re-design to accomodate the residents. Have the path enclosed in a sound proofed tube for all of 200 metres to pass the houses and make landfall away from the residents? Easily possible and yet Skypath have shown zero interest in this. Are they not selfish?
    Lets not call anyone names – it doesnt help either party reach an understanding – unless you are not interested in that.

    1. A soundproofed tube to protect pedestriana and cyclists from the roaring traffic noise of several hundred thousand cars close by? Splendid idea.

      1. We should put Phil in a soundproof tube. Also a murder proof tube by the looks of his comments below, apparently he’s perfectly willing to engage in culpable homicide.

  20. Several years ago plans were announced for a supermarket, an apartment block, and a big area of terrace houses to be built at the end of our quiet residential street on disused land. A lot of my neighbours became very worried, worried about traffic, parking, and lots more people on our street. Some very actively opposed all three developments. They dreamed up every possible negative outcome and worked themselves into a frenzy, including a predicted loss in real estate value. Happily their fearful panic was not able to prevent the changes.

    I have subsequently spoken to many of those objectors, in particular the well connected and most organised one, who now admits how fantastic it is to have such a handy amenity so close [the supermarket] and how much more vibrant the streets are with more people walking at all times of the day an night. Everyone agrees these changes have in fact been only positive because other businesses have subsequently opened up in the area as a result of the increased demand, in particular a new cafe and a Farro Fresh.

    The increase in vehicle traffic has not been that noticeable [the only concern I felt at all valid] and that is likely because walking for daily actives has become more viable because of these changes.

    Absolutely no one is unhappy about the increase in people walking and cycling past their houses; although some were worried about it beforehand. More people on residential streets is nothing to fear, in fact it increases safety and sense of community, yet some manage to convince themselves it is.

  21. I would certainly challenge your experience Patrick. I am sure the numbers of walkers and cyclists do not tally up to 30 ever minute – all day all weekend over summer. I am sure if those are the real numbers of traffic past the residential homes their will be accidents. I wont be slowing down as I reverse out of my driveway as I will expect Skypath will have taken steps to protect its customers from vehicle movements.

    In any event – I respect people’s right to an opinion and to voice that – I would ask people to be honest in their submission although I suspect many people intend overstating their personal expected use of this facility.

    1. Well Phil the not very veiled threat of the speed of your reversing out of your driveway would be deeply unpleasant (especially as it is not the first time you have threatened cyclists with your driving) except that it is made risible by the fact that you mostly live in Oxfordshire.

      So frankly, while unfortunate for your fellow citizens in England, it’s happily irrelevant to this issue and indeed this country.

      Also which is Phil? No one will use Skypath, or millions will? Make up your mind. Genius.

    2. You wont need to drive any slower across the footpath than you do today. Pedestrians already have right of way on the footpath so i assume u drive slow enough to give way already. Or do you drive really fast to ensure you maim your neighbours should they dare to walk anywhere? If thats the case u should slow down now. Dont wait for the skypath.

  22. I urge everyone to be civil to the local resident, and stick to the subject.

    I don’t live on Northcote Point (and I don’t know anyone who does) but when I’m not overseas I do live on the North Shore of Auckland and I have a brother who lives in Herne Bay and a cousin who lives in Kirribilli on the North Shore of Sydney, and I know how great it is to be able to walk or cycle from downtown Sydney to Kirribilli (the ferry is also great, and going one way by walking/cycling and the other way by ferry is also great, and the train ride is great). I think it will be really great for Aucklanders, and visitors to Auckland, to have all of these options as well.

    The local resident has made a reference to my comment above which seems to infer that some of the ideas in it have been proposed by the Northcote Residents Association. That is what I was asking about. I think it would be well worth it to make simple adjustments to protect the privacy of a few properties in order to get the Skypath progressed quicker.

    Does anyone know what the Northcote Residents Association has proposed? Is there a link to what they propose? Has it been costed?

    For the section of Skypath going past affected properties, the panels could either be designed to be acoustic panels, or be standard panels acoustically treated, and could have sight lines to the properties screened with partial permanent frosting using surface treatments, or temporary frosting using e-glass (or e-perspex?).

    I wouldn’t think this screening and acoustics in itself would cost much; local Northcote businesses might be willing to co-sponsor it; paying for it in return for advertising space on the Skypath and signage pointing the way along the paths through the reserves to their premises (thereby dispersing foot and bike traffic, and avoiding having it all concentrated at one outlet/inlet).

    The extension of the Skypath to Gold Hole Reserve (to join Seapath) and a branch to Stokes Point Reserve (to join the ferry wharf) might cost a bit more, but it would be worth Auckland Transport, Auckland Council, NZTA, TAT (Te Araroa Trust), and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to each chip-in for it to make their projects (Northcote ferry wharf upgrade, connected walkways and cycleways along greenway corridors, Seapath, Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail, and Nga Haerenga – The New Zealand Cycle Trail, respectively).

    The more partners and champions for this project the better, and having the local residents on board is better also.

    As I said before, this would put Northcote Point up there with Milsons Point in Sydney as a spectacular place to live and visit, with highly desirable and highly valued real estate to boot. Balmain in Sydney is another great example, where the real estate market has gone into the stratosphere.

    1. Jamie, you don’t paint a nice picture there. I can already imagine getting off the bridge, the stunning views fresh in my mind and enter this maze of opaque plastic panels obscuring sight lines on all sides. Really?

      If the tone of the replies to “local resident” seems unreasonable, consider perhaps that some people might consider his arguments unreasonable and a little bit insulting. Property ownership doesn’t absolve you from the social contract, even if you are wealthy and / or live in a wealthy suburb.

      1. It’s not exactly a wealthy suburb. When was the last time you saw 1000sqm of land with a C.V. of 800K that close to the city? Property values in Mt Roskill are higher and i wouldn’t call that wealthy. The ones east of the bridge with the views are a bit higher though.

      2. Hi Tom, I should have been more clear:

        I wasn’t meaning obscuring any sight lines that project out to the stunning views at all.

        I was only meaning obscuring any lower-angled sight lines that project downwards into the properties with private dwellings on them that are below a short ~100m section of the elevated Skypath (on the bridge) above no.s 1-9 Princes Street (i.e., the private dwellings on the eastern side of the bridge).

        I wasn’t meaning that any of the pathways I suggested on the ground would need any sight lines obscured, because they would either be below adjoining properties and be naturally screened by cliffs and vegetation – not that anyone would be looking at a cliff instead of the harbour – or on public reserves far enough away from any adjoining properties so as not to affect the privacy of any residents.

        There’s a public meeting about Skypath and the Northcote Residents Association in Birkenhead this Sunday morning which I hope to be able to attend in order to find out exactly what the concerns and proposals are.

  23. Thank you Jamie – If everyone involved in Skypath and its supporters showed the same common sense attitude towards compromise as you there would not be a problem.

    1. Alright Mr not actually a local resident. Do tell us about your compromise plan. Given your frequently expressed determination is to stop it being built at all, this should be very interesting.

  24. In other news I see Heart of the City has instigated proceedings against its former CEO Alex Swney following an independent investigation into his activities while part of that organisation.
    As Swney was a founding director of Skypath – and Skypath has had access to considerable public funds – surely there should be an immediate investigation into Skypaths accounts.

      1. Alex Swney being charged with tax fraud and subsequently the defendant of civil proceedings by the company he was sacked as CEO is not unrelated when Swney was a founding director of Skypath.
        As a resident and a rate payer I find no comfort in the knowledge someone charged with serious criminal activity should be associated with this project in such a senior role especially having had access to public funds.

        1. well over 1 million and still counting. All the work done to date by Skypath trust was on grants from the council (rate payers). Also – it isnt really private funding – the deal Morrisons have is really sweet. They have an underwrite from the council for revenue based on their own patronage projections. Quite an amazing vehicle for moving public money into private hands.
          Can you imagine any other private enterprise venture having their turn over guaranteed? AJ Hacket must be pissed.

        2. Phil please provide references to the council having spent over $1m on Skypath. There have been costs around consent etc but haven’t seen anything to say the council just have them money.

          I am aware the ministry provided a grant of just over $100k to help with the consents.

        3. Ministry for Environment 193
          NZTA 222
          Ateed 175
          Ateed 160
          AT 60
          HoA 85
          HoA 503
          Total $1’398’000

        4. rather like the motorway PPPs then, where the government takes all the risk and the private sector all the profit. Only in this case it’s a charitable trust.

        5. Mr Local Resident, according to your own figures the Council has contributed just less than $1 million, last time I looked MfE and NZTA were central government agencies

  25. The solution has always been the same, move the entrance to Skypath away from the residential area.
    The path would be cheaper to run accross the western clip on but understandably there is some benefit for having the city view. So the path should transit below the bridge above Stocks point from the Eastern clip on to the western side and then proceed along that side of the bridge towards Alma Street and exiting at Gold Hole Reserve. Alternatively continue the pathway underneath the bridge to make landfall at Sulphur beach. Skypath could then connect to Seapath and also have Northcote connections along Sulphur Beach Road. This would also be a much better route for the Northcote Safe Cycle Route that would connect – as others have suggested – through Onepoto Domain. Perhaps have a foot traffic only entrance/exit at Alma street for anyone wishing to walk back to the ferry.
    This solution would avoid crossing private property and avoid the serious inconvenience to local residents. The Skypath structure would be covered and sound proofed to protect residents privacy and minimise disturbance. As Jamie mentions, it could be opaque panels, to allow natural light in.
    Cyclists wishing to visit the ferry or the pub would have a small increase in journey time – a few minutes – and cyclists approaching from the north would have a shortened journey to the path.
    Where is the problem? Of course if you are not prepared for any design compromise then be prepared for opposition.

    1. What do you think of the alternative NZTA plans that were shelved when they came out in support of skypath? They appeared to make landfall in pretty much the same place, princes street, south of alma road.

      This alternative you suggest, landing at Gold Hole Reserve, where is that?

      1. The Gold Hole Reserve is opposite Alma street – it goes down to what is a small boat yard. I would have a walking only entrance/exit point here and have the cyclists enter/exit at Sulphur beach.
        Sadly only one or two people on this blog seem interested in compromise, but I believe it is fair to explain the residents views to the few interested. If it fails resource consent, due to the actions of the residents, everyone will understand why and what they perhaps could have done to mitigate reasonable resident objections.

        1. Methinks Phil’s idea of compromise is the same as my ex’s idea of compromise: you compromise on everything so they don’t have to on anything 😉

    2. So if I’m reading Phil’s suggestion correctly it would do something like this.

      Now that looks ok on a map but it simply doesn’t work in reality unless residents don’t want access to Princes St any more.

  26. You can have the path elevated to the same height as the main deck and continue past the point you have photographed so not to be in front of anyones house. Its a non issue and you are just looking for excuses not to compromise.
    Another idea proposed by residents was to have the path exit on Queen street next to the wharf. There are no houses there but the Skypath people objected, saying it would be too steep for the cyclists.

    1. Actually I thought it was a decent idea until I looked at it from the ground level. Yes you could have the deck elevated to the road height and I considered that but I also doubt that it would high enough for some vehicles to be able to get past

  27. At the moment high vehicles have to enter princes street further to the south than where the road splits – it would just be the same if skypath ran at the car deck level to cross Princess Street.
    The point is – and I hope you agree on this – a compromise solution could be achieved that, whilst isn’t perfect, will resolve the issues of the local residents and still provide a workable pathway for foot and cycle traffic.
    Of the 30-40M being spent on Skypath, surely Bevan could spare a few M to extend his path away from the housing.

    1. Totally impractical suggestion.

      For starters, the entire Skypath structures would have to reinforced to withstand bridge strike from vehicles using Princes street – this would make for either a very expensive structure, or would require it to come down to earth on the western side of Princes St footpath/front yards of those residents you claim to be “protecting”.
      Currently the bridge structure itself (being concrete) protects the rest of the bridge against bridge strike, but SkyPath being a light weight structure by design will be easily damaged by any high (or not so high) vehicles that do’t enter Princes st correctly.

      As for Skypath crossing “under” the bridge structure to be able to do this, there is a large Transpower electrical high voltage power cable running under the main bridge structure, it emits intense electromagnetic radiation during normal use, which requires that any people must stay 1 or more metres away from it to achieve safe exposure under the radiation exposure rules.

      This fact means that any “underbridge” crossing of the bridge would have to either dip down by several metres as it crosses the middle of the bridge to avoid that cable and its fields, then go back up on the other side to come out on the western side with enough height to achieve what you suggest (steep grades in a tight space) or it needs to cross to the other side under the bridge further south before the bridge descends too low – which means coming on the western side “too soon” – right over/into western side properties.

      Also note, Transpower have a right to add a second cable under the bridge, which will complicate the electromagnetic radiation picture even more.

      The current Skypath northern portal is designed to keep safely away from this cable and its fields by the careful design – they have made the portal a double stack that loops over itself, this ensures that the crossover points are well away from the cable and its associated fields and as its enclosed no one can “climb” up too near the cable either..

      As for your idea to run the western side Skypath down to Gold Hole Reserve – because of the need to keep Skypath deck high until it crosses Princes Street fully – the resulting grade will be too steep as it has to “exit” to ground level by the road on the northern part of the reserve. and you have to also have the portal interfaces (turnstiles/gates etc) in what is a very tight location – and it still comes out near someones properties. Maybe not yours though right?

      Running SkyPath directly on to the SeaPath by continuing it on the eastern side right above numbers 1-7 Princes St is possible – but this infringes on the airspace of some of the eastern side residents.
      I know that NZTA has airspace rights and restrictions on those properties from the bridge and clipon consents so this may be the best outcome.

      I’m sure you won’t find that any more palatable than whats proposed now though, will you?
      As you simply make it very plain with your comments that you don’t want the Skypath there at all.

      1. Greg,

        Many would argue the entire Skypath project is a ‘Totally impractical suggestion’. If you ask Bevan he will tell you that there have been far greater design obstacles to overcome than traversing the path east to west above Stokes Point.
        Bridge strike is not going to happen at the Northern landing any more or less than the risk of this happening at the southern landing point – where it passes above Shelly Beach Road – or are you suggesting this is such a risk the Southern Landing needs a re design? I guess you wont mind me using a cut and paste of your concerns in my resource consent submission.
        The exit/entry at Gold Hole reserve would be for pedestrians only and the elevation can be mitigated by steps – like in Sydney – or a tighter ramp. The exit/entry for cyclists would be at Sulphur beach where the gradient will be the same as the bridge – which according to supporters – is gentile.
        The path can not cross the properties on the Eastern side as the NZTA airspace rights do not allow this.
        The alternative is to make the landing at Queen Street by the wharf – probably the best solution for everyone – why was that dismissed? Oh yes, profits for Skypath are put before the residents who are paying for this.

        1. Southern portal has a rock garden area/protection are underneath where the Skypath will be beside Shelley Beach Road (see the picture at the start of this post makes it clear how it works), this means that no vehicles can drive “under” the Skypath on the southern side to risk hitting it – unlike the northern side where to do the same you’d have to close off one (the southbound) complete lane of Princes St by the bridge abutment to ensure no Bridge Strike is possible by vehicles going south on Princes St.
          This would turn Princes St into a one lane bottleneck by the abutment, hardly acceptable to you lot I’d think – or is that the price you’re willing to pay to keep Skypath away from you?

          You and your fellow residents can use my words in your submission – as long as you include full attribution for them, which includes: my username, the source (TransportBlog) and the topic, and the dates and times of the comments being used so that a proper context can be determined.

          I doubt your suggestion of making pedestrians climb steps or a steeper ramp than cyclists will pass any disability access rules – or do you really think that disabled or wheelchair bound users of Skypath need to go hundreds of metres further down(hill) the road to Sulphur beach to be able access SkyPath via SeaPath? Can’t see that being AUSTROADs compliant or getting through the RMA or human rights processes.

          I suggest that Queens Road “exit” you go on about suffers the same limitation as the Suplhur Beach access path idea – falls foul of too many rules to be considered.

        2. Greg,

          If you look at the last photo at the top of this thread you will see that a truck – driven by a complete idiot – could strike the pathway in the same way you are suggesting it could in Princes Street.

          As for Austroads legislation. The entire pathway design does not meet Austroads specifications. Why does this worry you only on an extension to the northern ramp segment?

        3. I dont see how turning it into one lane would make it a bottle neck. It serves all of four homes at present so might be preferable from a nimby pov.

        4. Austroads isn’t legislation, it’s not a legal requirement in anyway. It’s just a guidebook, and not a very good one at that. I could scribble some numbers on a napkin and they would have the same regulatory gravitas.

          FYI, none of roads in Northcote Point would meet the Austroads specifications either, which I consider a good thing.

    2. Dear local resident, to assist me (and others) in finding a solution, could you please confirm and/or clarify this statement you made above:

      “At the moment high vehicles have to enter princes street further to the south than where the road splits”

      1. Hi Jamie,

        There are two single track roads at the end of Princes street, the northern one – which is between the 2nd and 3rd pylon in Matts picture has a restricted clearance – ok for cars and vans but not for high sided trucks. There is a single track road further south that has much higher clearance.

        1. Thank you local resident. So are both tracks bi-directional, or on the odd occasion a high sided truck wants to access the area does it just go the “wrong way” on the second (southern) track?

  28. Hi Graham, we looked at this idea but determined such a path at over Princes St (with a minimum 5+ metres headroom for NZTA/fire/removal trucks) would be very awkward and expensive. We believe that SkyPath’s alignment and close proximity to ‘SeaPath’ (NZTA’s path to Takapuna) will achieve what you’re after (ie: keeping people away from the Princes St properties).

    Please see:

    We now await NZTA’s advice on the interface for SeaPath, you’ll see we originally suggested it for 9 Princes St (the NZTA owned site office).

    1. Dear Bevan,

      Has the option for an extension and continuation of SeaPath (i.e., with NZTA airspace rights) to SkyPath proper been surveyed? You seem to suggest above that the clearance would be about 5m? This is more than adequate for a single lane (as the split lanes for Princes Street are), as 4.9m is okay for a 2-lane, 2-way road, according to Figure A2(b) in this NZTA manual: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/bridge-manual/docs/bridge-manual-appendix-a.pdf
      Also, as the route is obviously not for over-dimensioned vehicles, some dispensation may be allowed, with appropriate speed and access restrictions, as the maximum height of any ‘normal’ vehicle would be less than 4.25m, according to the “Summary table of dimension limits for rigid vehicles” on this NZTA web page: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/factsheets/13/vehicle-dimensions-and-mass.html
      It may be possible to restrict the height of any vehicles to less than this, like is done in many buildings for car parking, especially if higher vehicles have alternative access, as seems to be suggested by the local resident.

      It seems to me that SeaPath can be connected to SkyPath directly, without touching the ground in Princes Street at all – thus avoiding conflict with residents.

      A couple of glass-surround lifts from a widened section (for toll gates, vending machines, etc.) at the SeaPath-SkyPath junction point above the Onewa Pa end of Stokes Point Reserve – i.e., well away from any residents – and a gently graded S-shaped Serpentine-type pathway snaking around and down the cliffs to Northcote Point wharf (15 m vertical over 300 m of pathway = 1 in 20 grade) would provide access to ferry services for both SeaPath and SkyPath users (and residents) alike.

      The above alterations can be designated as part of SeaPath, and NZTA can pay for it. Even if they want to share the cost of the lifts with SkyPath, that’s probably about the same cost as the current Northern landing design (the Serpentine structure, etc.), so it should be a wash.

      1. P.S. I meant to add that the sections going past private properties would be suitably screened and sound-proofed so that local residents can maintain their privacy and amenity.

        P.P.S. If the clearance was still not quite enough, perhaps the road could be lowered and resurfaced with a low-noise rubberised-type surface, and the opportunity could be taken to upgrade utilities, fire hydrants, etc. in the area as well.

  29. Bevan, The current planed route for Skypath does anything but keep people away from properties. The Northern ramp faces directly towards properties in Princes street and according to your own patronage figures 30 people EVERY MINUTE all day of every weekend day in summer will pass by the residential homes in the vicinity of the Northern ramp.
    Connecting Skypath to Seapath requires more public money spent on your private enterprise project as it uses public property to connect. Another Million dollars of tax payers money. Worse, connecting Skypath through 9 Princes Street – which will also be fought by the residents – unfairly encroaches on the privacy of the residents at 7 and 7a Princes street. I would be very surprised if you are able to get a change of use for number 9 with strong opposition from the neighbors.
    Skypath could very easily be re designed to continue to Gold Hole reserve – avoiding conflict with residents – or it could easily be re designed to land at the Wharf on Queen Street. You just dont want to do it because you are not interested in compromise. Despite your claims you only re designed the landing – to the now double stack – after the council told you it would not meet Austroads standards for grade elevation.

    1. Hi local resident, can I give an alternative view of having people in your neighbourhood? We have gone from having our property bordered by trees to having a well used cycle path on the boundary. We miss the trees and their pollution sucking power, but we love having people cruising by on their bikes. You’re not getting the “in-your-face / f’ you” segments of society using cycleways- you get Dad and the kids, you get couples going for a walk. Having people like this in your neighbourhood makes it friendlier, safer.
      Another thing: last week saw all sorts of angst over a blockage on the bridge. Won’t it be great for you when you can get to the city without being reliant on a car at times like that? I expect the Skypath will add 10% to your property value due to the improved accessibility.

  30. Do you have 30 people a minute walking/cycling past your house all weekend NCD? – I doubt it – if you did you I am sure you would not see this as a bonus.

    Northcote point is accessible to the city by a very good ferry service. This takes me direct to the bottom of Queen Street and is only a 2 min walk from my property.
    Why would I want to walk the 8kms to the city centre?

    1. Well it’s only 4km to town for a start, but perhaps you’d want to go to Ponsonby just 2km away, or Victoria Park at 3k ? Perhaps you’d like to do that when the bridge is clogged to all hell, like it was last week? Perhaps you’re Interested in not waiting three hours for a ferry on the weekends?

  31. The ferry runs every 30 mins most of the time – it works for me. Otherwise I can drive my car, take a bus or spend 20 bucks in a cab. Now ok – if you live in Howick – a cab ride or the bus to town is a real ball ache but 20 bucks is almost like free.
    I certainly wouldn’t walk an hour to the city for 20 bucks and I certainly wouldn’t pay to walk an hour across the bridge to the city as I already have the view. And who wants to walk on all those wet days in Auckland when it’s raining sideways into Skypath – not me
    So where do you guys live, Dan and Nick?

    1. “Runs 30 mins most of the time”. You have a funny concept of “most of the time”T. he ferry runs half hourly till 9:50 then hourly till the evening peak. Hourly from 18:50. And mostly 3 hourly on the weekend.

      If you dont want to walk for 3km / 30 mins, as you keep mentioning what a keen cyclist you are, why not ride there? Should only take ten mins. About the same as driving, but you dont have to worry about parking.

  32. As a St Mary’s Bay resident, I’m very excited about this project. Do you know if there are any plans to address the severance of our neighbourhood from the water by Curran St onramp? I think it would be great if my kids and I could safely get from the path next to the motorway to the SkyPath without having to cross any busy roads.

    Maybe NZTA could build a tunnel under the onramp to provide direct pedestrian access – like the green line on this map http://i.imgur.com/Ffambc9.jpg – or will have to go on the red lines that are next to busy onramps / off ramps.

    1. No current plans. But lets say, if SkyPath is built, the chances of something like that happening will increase by about 1,137 times. Give or take 3. So a submission in favour would be good 😉

    2. It is a real traffic nightmare down there beside the motorway as you show the only options are going up the hill beside the overbridge or the long way – right past Curran St On-ramp.

      And of course if you live further east (e.g. closer to Jacobs Ladder than Pt Erin) you could cross the motorway there, and use the (soon to be opened) waterfront promenade to walk from there to Skypath “in style” to then access Skypath.

      A foot bridge linking Pt Erin park to the Skypath area (say near the Bungy place) would also be useful I think to allow easy access from Pt Erin park to Skypath. And as that area is residents parking only, it shouldn’t be too hard for locals to access that part of town either.

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