With stage 1 well under way, later this month the council will publicly notify the application to build the next two stages of the Eastern Path, the walk and cycling path from Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr. Stages 2 & 3 are from St Johns Rd to Meadowbank and Meadowbank to Orakei. This week they will be holding open days where they say new designs for it will be on display.

Eastern Path - Tahapa Reserve
An artist’s impression of the path, looking towards the city from Tahapa Reserve.

With a total cost of the project at $40 million, AT say the it is the 7km path is biggest ever cycle project in the city and the total project including Stage 4 over the Orakei Basin will in 2018. We and our friends at Bike Auckland believe a lot more needs to be done to improve connections to the path. Below is a bit more detail on each of the stages about to be notified.

Stage 2 

  • The path will be around four metres wide, constructed mostly in concrete.
  • From St Johns Road, the path descends into Purewa Valley, crossing streams and wetlands. The bush environment and cityscape backdrop create one of the most scenic sections of the project.
  • A bridge will take the path over the eastern rail line at Tahapa Reserve, connecting with Meadowbank Train Station.
  • Future links into the path are under consideration. These would enable more people to access it.

Section2_map

Stage 3

  • Construction is planned towards the end of winter, taking advantage of the cooler months when fewer people use Orakei Basin. We plan to keep the boardwalk open during construction.
  • The boardwalk will be widened from 2.7 metres to 4.5 metres – lots of space for people walking or cycling.
  • A slip-resistant surface applied to the wooden boardwalk will keep the path from getting slippery.
  • LED lighting incorporated into a wooden handrail will provide a visual effect and extend the hours of use.

Section3_200DPI map

The open days are on Tuesday and Thursday this week

  • When: Tuesday 12 April and Thursday 14 April 2016, 3pm to 7pm.
  • Where: St Chads Church, 38 St Johns Road, Meadowbank.
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4 comments

  1. I wish the boardwalk would at least be separated into cycling and pedestrians, shared paths are good but there was no real reason why this whole path couldn’t have been made separated. Vancouver does it by having the cycle path set slightly higher c.f. the pedestrian section and it works well. The cost to have done this properly would have been minimal and there is more than enough space.

  2. I know the folks at Bike Auckland, Orakei Local Board and the residents associations either side of the valley all hear ya BBC and yes, they and I all want the same thing as you.

    But this is a Urban Cycle Fund (UCF) funded project and the timeframes and budgets are very tight.
    And unlike say, Tesla’s delivery schedules – this one is supposedly immovable, must be completed in a set time (2018).

    If not, Auckland may miss out on future UCF funding (if there is ever any more UCF money around that is after then).

    So I think we’re kinda stuck with the design as it is. And very, very unfortunate and a poor outcome that is likely to be.

    Now, If this was a roading project it would be twice the width to future proof it from day 1, and bugger the costs or budgets or objections.

    But as this is a cycling and walking project. In Auckland. They’ll only design/build for the demand that they *think* is there now, and not for the future and forseeable demand.

    Its been stated that SkyPath is mostly 4m wide and will cater for larger numbers of both cyclists and walking,
    So Orakei at 4.5m should be no worse than SkyPath as after all its shorter.

    On the surface of that you can’t argue really.

    Except they miss that Skypath has build outs at the two piers (to 6m wide) for folks to stop and admire the view) and Orakei boardwalk won’t. But even more obvious than that:

    The Orakei boardwalk is free for everyone to use, no turnstiles at either end. And it is flat and very easily reached from everywhere in Auckland by car and train at each end for [from later this year] a two-stage zone fare from Britomart no matter which end of it you use.

    So I’d bet within 2-3 years of opening the numbers using the Hobson Bay boardwalk [if it goes across the bay not round the outside] and the numbers using it and Orakei Boardwalk will require an extensive rebuild of the Orakei Boardwalk at least to keep cyclists and walkers as separated as can be expected for a shared path environment.

    There is also a implicit belief from all the NZTA folks I’ve talked to about this project at open days, sod turnings and such that their role here is to build a cycling/walking “motorway” from GI to Tamaki Drive – side links and such are not their concern.

    Which is odd as compared to the recent SeaPath plans, they have (mostly) gone out of their way to incorporate as many local links to/from it as possible.
    Except for the hand-waving stuff at the Northern End where it seems they have few practical ideas on how to fit the Seapath access safely in with the existing roads without requiring major de-tours by Seapath users.

    My personal belief is that we should stop design and consenting work Stages 2 & 3 as proposed now.
    Redesign it properly, so its wide enough and it fits well with good local links. Then once thats done go for consents and get building.
    Doing that would cost at least a year of time, maybe more, because of the earthworks season for 2016 will be missed.

    But if it takes a little longer to do this, it will be a better outcome when measured 2-3 years on from now, than if we’re stuck with some crippled half-arse solution that can’t cope with the numbers using it in short order.
    And then the users of it are subject to further disruption and costs as they try and shoehorn a wider boardwalk/path into the mix.
    If it was a road project it would be no bother to do this.

    I’d also like to point out that Brisbane Council made the same mistakes with their boardwalk along the Brisbane river, and when the floods damaged them they used that opportunity to rebuild them wider with markings and such to keep cyclists and walkers apart. See here for the Bike Auckland post on this which includes photos of Brisbane “doing it right”.

    So the best I can suggest to all, is come along next week, give them your direct feedback on what you like and don’t like on the plans.

    And later this month or May once notified, submit on the consents.

  3. We don’t they also consider a bike/walk path crossing the Basin going past St Jo’s to Kepa road. Also one past S College as well, creating more North “offramps”

    I also wish they would build access to S Park station from Carbine Rd extending the reach of the station dramatically. S Park works great for the Mall, but it is awful for those who work in the industrial/office spaces on the other side the NIMT.

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