This is a guest post from reader Jeff following on from his first post which you can read here.
Did you know that the Mangere inlet has a fantastic cycle and walkway connecting Onehunga with Hugo Johnson Drive in Penrose? (pictured below, in Green)
If your first reaction is that you’ve never walked or cycled the Mangere inlet, then please do so on the next fine day! You might be surprised how beautiful and peaceful this area really is. It is a real hidden urban oasis.
Whilst often used by recreational weekend families and casual cyclists, the path is cycleable from Hillsborough or Mangere Bridge through to Penrose, this excellent resource is begging to be expanded into a multi modal (walk, cycle, run) link between major Auckland transport hubs, employment centres and residential suburbs.
The existing shared pathway (pictured in green) only covers a third of the possible activation. If we could bring the link along the eastern coast of the Inlet (right hand side, in orange), we can quickly link to the Salesyard road overbridge, connecting the path to Otahuhu, and further south to the Otahuhu Train Station – which, just a year from now, will be redeveloped into major Bus and Train interchange, with currently no option to walk anywhere other than the Otahuhu town centre. Linking these centres via walk & cycleway would be an Auckland first, two Major Rail hubs, linked in this accessible way.
Let’s break the route down a bit;
First thing’s first, a 500 metre extension connects the start of the path with Onehunga Train station, unlocking alternative movement modes between two road-locked regions.
Nice, easy, let’s at least do that.
Secondly if we extend the current end from Hugo Johnson Drive to the Otahuhu Transport hub, using railside land along the Eastern shore, we unlock alternative movement between two road-locked regions, Onehunga and Otahuhu have never been linked like this before.
The path can then link Otahuhu Transport Hub, Norana park, Favona road, and Mahunga Drive, and back to Onehunga via Mangere Bridge. Some boardwalking would be required to link through the mangroves, behind Favona Road to link the Favona Rd public access right of way to Mahunga drive, another major employment centre, and then heading north again to link to the existing Mangere Bridge cycle infrastructure. Have you ever driven along Favona road? A major hub of employment from Mangere is built for trucks and vehicular traffic, cycling along it is a game only for the brave.
Let’s take a close look at some of the links required to get best activation;
Starting with Onehunga Mall (the road), linking the shared pathway to Onehunga Train Station. Either setting aside shared space on the footpath, or temporarily utilising rail corridor access would connect the station to the Foreshore. There’s ample room between street & rail land to make at least a semi-permanent access way (until future Airport rail links would require a re-layout of the entire area, roads included)
This is where the existing cycleway ends at Hugo Johnson Drive. Without too much furore this could connect to Great South & Sylvia Park Roads (and onwards to the mall) via railway land.
Moving down the Eastern edge the harbour the path can connect to Salesyards Rd via the existing rail bridge. This opens up the first of two massive catchments to Otahuhu
Otahuhu Train Station. This one’s important, this links the population surrounding Onehunga Train station with Otahuhu’s population and their massive transport hub
The South Coast, Linking Otahuhu Train Station with Major employers along Favona Road. It may look empty but many thousands of people work in this area 7 days a week, day & night.
Of note is the currently underutilised right of way, which right now connects the foreshore to Favona Rd and the massively underutilised Norna Park (which holds several small baseball pitches).
This bit’s easy, the boardwalk follows Favona Road to Link back to Mahunga Drive , connecting up to the Mangere Bridge cycleway that terminates on Mahunga Dr, just south of the bridge.
At what cost?
It’s estimated that boardwalking a coastline equates to anywhere between $1500 to $3000 per metre, accounting for all project costs.
The route I’ve proposed in orange equates to approximately 71500 meters. At an estimate of $2250 per metre, a project of this scope would cost approximately 17 million dollars.
Return on investment?
This would be realised in a number of indirect ways, while extremely hard to put a value on, they can increase quality of life substantially;
- Increased patronage in two public transport hubs, (Onehunga & Otahuhu)
- Minor freeing of roading congestion of commuters between Neilson Street & Otahuhu, enabling easier industry movement.
- Increased housing values in Otahuhu & Mangere, particularly with the massive Favona Rd Special Housing Area currently under construction. Two areas that will see a huge capital gain within this generation.
- Further labour catchment in Eastern Penrose and Mangere by enabling car free, cross harbour commuting .
- Increased recreational activity for residents of both coastlines.
- A catalyst for investment in development along both shores of the Mangere inlet.
The Bigger Picture;
Thinking into the not-so-distant-future. With Skypath just around the corner, and the Tamaki cycleway under construction, a simple link between Tamaki and Sylvia Park isn’t rocket science.
Imagine being able to cycle from Devonport to Puketutu Island? I think any true-blue Aucklander can get on board with that.