The council will decide on Thursday if they will go ahead with a funding arrangement for Skypath.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

An item (Page 21) at the council’s Finance and Performance Committee gives an update on the project, much of which will be nothing new to those who have been following it. This includes that progress has been made on a number of areas such as that the wind tunnel testing requested by the NZTA found no significant concerns and that progress has been made on connections to Skypath with projects such as Seapath having been consulted on and getting strong public support.

Seapath March-16 Route
Seapath Proposed Route

The second item (Page 25) is the key one though and looking to get agreement from the councillors to move forward with the project. It has the following recommendations to councillors.

That the Finance and Performance Committee recommend to the Governing Body that it:

a) agree to proceed with the SkyPath project and that the hybrid Public Private Partnership proposal is the preferred procurement option to deliver SkyPath.

b) authorise the Chief Executive to enter into all necessary agreements in relation to the SkyPath proposal, subject to minimal financial impacts, and to take any other actions in the Chief Executive’s delegation to facilitate the progress of the project.

c) agree to make appropriate provision for the project in the 2017/18 Annual Plan and the 2018/28 Long-term Plan.

The council have been working with the private backers of the project (the PIP Fund) for a few years now to investigate options for financing the project. The preferred approach is for the PIP Fund is to build it as a PPP in which the council underwrites revenues up to a certain level.

The PIP Fund’s PPP proposal is to finance, design, build, maintain and operate SkyPath as a user pays facility for 25 years, after which it “reverts” to Council ownership. In return:

  • Council would underwrite actual revenues to a pre-agreed dollar amount in the “base case” (the agreed financial model that sets out the cost envelope), and have a share of upside profits above a specific threshold.
  • The PIP Fund’s returns depend on it managing its costs and performance within the parameters of the fixed base case. Any cost overruns are the PIP Fund’s responsibility.

That this private project will likely have a portion of its revenue underwritten by the council has long been one of the key arguments for those opposing it. They claim it will be a failure from not enough people using it – lumping costs on ratepayers while simultaneously claiming it will be so popular the local streets in Northcote will be overrun by people on bikes

Unfortunately the attached reports have blacked out the exact details of costs, revenues, thresholds etc so we can’t see just what those are. But unless something drastic has changed, it is still likely to represent a good deal for Auckland even if the council has to honour the underwriting. The last we saw the project was expected to cost $33 million, a significant sum but since the government came to the cycleway funding party with the Urban Cycleway Fund, there are already projects underway that cost more and are not likely to be used as much. One such example is the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path. This is not to say the GI to Tamaki Dr project is bad, it’s a great project in its own right but that when it comes to benefits, it simply can’t compete with opening up a walking and cycling connection between the North Shore and the city.

In the past the council have been largely very supportive of the project – or at least supportive of investigating it. Only two councillors have consistently voted against it being George Wood, whose constituents stand to benefit the most from the project, and Sharon Stewart. In addition Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax also voted against providing some extra funding to the investigations. Given his ardent opposition to the project, George is almost certainly going to continue to try and fight the project.

While the council will be making a decision this week on whether to financially support the project, we might be still waiting for some time to the outcome of the Environment Court Appeal. It is currently expected that the hearing for it will happen in October or November. In saying that we learned recently that one of those appealing the project had pulled out citing the costs of fighting the project. I’m guessing they more likely realised that it was a fight they wouldn’t win.

Meanwhile, the Herne Bay Residents Association Incorporated has withdrawn its appeal because it believes the project is not feasible so will not “see the light of day”. Therefore, its efforts were “a waste of time and money”.

The group’s co-chair Christine Cavanagh said as a responsible organisation it did not intend to waste residents’ money on an “unnecessary appeal” that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Northcote Residents Association are still fighting though and are appealing to the public for cash to help them do that. As of writing this post they’d raised almost $9,500 but that is a long way from the potential hundreds of thousands their Herne Bay brethren suspect will be needed. They’ve also sent this out in response to Auckland Transport looking at implementing a residents parking scheme which would prevent people from driving to the bridge and then using Skypath, one of the key arguments the residents have used against the project.

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  1. Can someone from Northcote create another group that actually represent that whole area? Im seriously sick of these minority whose hindering a great plan from happening. Someone create NNRA (New Northcote Resident’s Association) because the current NRA is like the American NRA whose preventing good from happening.

    1. That’s a little unfair to the National Rifle Association. For all of its many flaws, at least they aren’t NIMBYs – one of the NRA’s major services is helping shooting ranges and gun shops to get planning permissions and other permits.

    2. The Residents of Northcote Point look forward seeing your plan for coping with the huge crowds. They have to go somewhere but we just do not know just where at the moment. You sound extremely confident that we are making a fuss.

      Good news is that Skypath wants to discourage customers parking on the Point. Just as well because there isn’t any. So a long walk or a tough cycle ride up Lake Rd.

      So stop moaning at us and tell us how to do it. We are all agog. Don’t say we didn’t tell you when you get stuck in a jam tryington the Onewa Rd or complain when SkyPath customers add to the bottleneck.

      Oh and don’t complain when your rates go up to pay for this.

      1. “tough cycle ride up Lake Road”, I’ve never found that ride tough and I was born in the early 1950s! actually, the ride on the concrete road is very pleasant

  2. “The council will decide on Thursday if they will go ahead with a funding arrangement for Skypath”

    Foregone conclusion though right? The funding will be approved.

  3. “They claim it will be a failure from not enough people using it – lumping costs on ratepayers while simultaneously claiming it will be so popular the local streets in Northcote will be overrun by people on bikes”

    conversely the team proposing this are saying that Northcote will be overrun with people in order to pay for it. The issue that most people have that oppose it is that the arguments do not stand up. Yes it would be great to have the link but at what cost and what impact. Personally I don’t think the proposal is any good and should not be constructed until it can link directly into the eastern side of the motorway. Shoehorning it into Northcote under the bridge is a very poor design outcome. If lots and lots of people turn up it wont be a nice place.

        1. Same place all the cyclists using the Northwestern Cycleway, Grafton Gully cycleway, LightPath cycleway and Quay St cycleway park I guess.

          1. nick, that doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone (especially sight see’ers) park in those places?. Everyone on the north of the bridge or the tourists (no parking at Curran street) would try to get parked in Northcote point.

          2. “Everyone on the north of the bridge or the tourists (no parking at Curran street) would try to get parked in Northcote point.”

            Um I live north of the bridge and intend to regularly use the Skypath. I have no intention of “getting parked” in Northcote Point.

          1. I think that is exactly the case. Anyone driving there to cycle over and back has got to be absolutely minimal.

            Nonetheless, parking can be dealt with by parking schemes. As it is anywhere else where demand exceeds supply.

          2. KLK, I would have though that most recreational cyclists who don’t live within easy reach will have to take their car in order to cycle the skypath. PT isn’t an option to get a family on their bikes to either end of the bridge. crossing the bridge on a bike will be exercise enough for most people without tacking on a >3km commute at either end.

          3. > PT isn’t an option to get a family on their bikes to either end of the bridge.

            *Cough* trains, waterfront cycleways *Cough*

          4. Damian, there are no trains or waterfront cycleways on the north shore and no trains near the southern abutment. However, that doesn’t answer thee statement that most recreational cyclists don’t want to add a large commute to either end of their trip over the bridge.

          5. > Damian, there are no trains or waterfront cycleways on the north shore and no trains near the southern abutment.

            Car-focussed paradigma prevents you from even seeing the basics. You were asking about how a family with bikes might get to SkyPath. Answer: They ride from Britomart with their Bikes, or walk from Fanshaw Street Northern Busway stops. This, and many other options, such as City Centre car parks have been explained by the SkyPath application. But I understand that you cannot see this, so whatevs.

          6. Damian, I understand what you are saying but you are still not responding to my question/statement. How many recreational cyclists want to add another commute (by cycle) before and after riding over the bridge. what if its raining? Yes, there will be a umber of die-hard cyclists who will do this in a heartbeat but the majority of the proposed patronage wont.

          7. Olly, I doubt many recreational cyclists will just bike the bridge as it’s only 1.1km across (which is tiny on a bike), hardly worth loading the bike onto the car for that, they are much more likely to want to bike the connecting paths as well. People on foot would be much more likely to just do the bridge bit.

          8. Olly, 3km is a 5-10 minute ride, it’s nothing in fact 3km is hardly worth getting the bike out for, as I said, it’s those wishing to stroll across the bridge on a sunny afternoon that are most likely to drive and park at either end

        2. “Why would anyone (especially sight see’ers) park in those places?. Everyone on the north of the bridge or the tourists (no parking at Curran street) would try to get parked in Northcote point.” ?Ah, why would tourists need to park? Oh, I see, they need to park the cars they brought with them from Europe, America, Asia and Australia.

          We live to the north east of the Bridge – Beachhaven – and can’t wait for when the kids and I can cycle from home across the bridge to all sorts of different places.

    1. Northcote will be overrun? Just to be clear, you’re talking about the public space that belongs to everyone right? I can’t see how breathing fresh life into a sad little part of town dominated by a horrible elevated motorway should matter at all. The last time I went round Northcote Point all I could hear was the roar and thump of traffic. SkyPath will increase amenity and thus property values.

    2. It isn’t a “nice place” at the moment. Most of the people so vociferously opposing Skypath live in houses that are underneath a massive eight lane motorway. Whenever I’ve driven down there to give visitors a close up view of the bridge we’ve all laughed at how ridiculously awful it is, and pitied the poor unfortunate people that choose to live there. It’s like a caricature of a destroyed neighbourhood. A bit of a joke.

      Skypath will be the only good thing about living there, as it will provide a link direct to the city from right outside these peoples’ doors. It will make the area slightly more attractive, and if it encourages some of the NIMBYs to leave the area, even more so.

      1. I dont think there is any point being incendiary. It is a nice place. It would be nicer without the bridge but is a perfectly nice part of town.

        1. Apologies, I guess this just makes me angry and frustrated. Northcote Pt in general is quite nice, but my understanding is that the opposition is concentrated in a few households under the shadow of the bridge. i.e. the not so nice part.

          It’s just so disingenuous. The opposition is based on a dislike of any money being spent on cycling, something that the opponents don’t see as benefiting themselves directly (even though it will, due to Skypath increasing their property values), and are opposed to for political and ideological grounds, plus concerns about there being less public street parking available for their personal use. But they dress it up by talking about safety and heritage.

          It highlights a fundamental problem with making real transformative progress in Auckland, that we give these people a voice. One of Gil Penalosa’s points at Auckland Conversations was that feedback on a proposal is only valid if it is about the community in general, not the effect on specific individuals. i.e. it’s valid to provide feedback on Skypath that you believe the uptake of cycling and resulting health benefits for Auckland can be better served by a different solution, but not that you are concerned about the impact it may have on your property.

          I do have faith though that the Environment Court will come to the right solution, and we can get on with it. Unfortunately with a delay and the NRA having wasted millions of dollars of public money.

          1. Nick, you should be careful what you wish for. If Gin Penasona’s mindset is progressed and adopted you start to get into very dirty water very quickly. Not caring for the individual who is directly impacted by something in favour of the masses who are not directly impacted can get dangerous quite quickly.

          2. In my opinion they don’t get much sleep because of the noise, hence they are always so grumpy. poor souls

          3. Thanks, didnt mean to be too preachy there. I get your point though it is incredibly frustrating that people can hold up and cycling and walking project because of cars and parking.

          4. Nick, You are very mistaken if you think ‘under the bridge’ is not a nice place to live. I have probably the best view in Auckland as my house is on the cliff, facing the city. Far from hearing the thump of bridge traffic, all I hear is the clicking of the rigging from the yachts below.

          5. So where do you live then? Of do you have a winter house in Northcote Central and a Summer House in Northcote Point.

      2. You obviously don’t live there! Northcote Point is heaven. It is a heritage area. Why spoil it! Well people do and live to regret it. In 1975 I was told to pull down my villa. For those who might not have visited Northcote Point it is not an industrial area like the Mangere Bridge Sky Path.

        Northcote Point cannot accommodate the crowds envisaged. It is not possible. No room! The roads are not up to it and there are no reception areas at all just one tiny entrance. Still everyone at Transport Blog and AT thinks it can be done and so you will soon get your chance. The residents are in awe at your supreme confidence as we cannot see how you are going to do it. If the thousands turn up,and SkyPath is confident that they are, there are going to the queues will stretch down for quite a way like Bike the Bridge. Bikes take up a hell of a lot more room than people.

        Even SkyPath itself says it wishes to discourage parking on Northcote Point and recommends Residents Parking only which means if the residents all park their cars in the street all day not one SkyPath visitor will get a chance of a park. I intend to do this outside my house!

        So best of luck if you think you are coming to park and ride. We have been promised it will be heavily policed.

        Oh this is going to be such fun! And the Bikies have to pay!!!!! Can you imagine the horror!

        I am quite looking forward to it. Let battle commence as they say. Can’t wait for the shared path to meet in the middle of the Bridge.

          1. Patrick that is exactly how it works on the North Shore. It’s not like there’s a lot of bike-friendly streets, especially around Northcote and Birkenhead. At least some of these prospective users will be within the catchment of the planned sea path and Northcote cycle route. But until these are built, only few people can reach Northcote Point on a bicycle.

            It occurred to me a while ago that all those bike shops on Barry’s Point Road have off-street parking spots outside, but no bike racks.

          2. Yes the NS desparafely needs more safe cycling infrastructure, but it is not significantly different from anywhere else in Auckland.

          3. roeland, as a Northcote Central resident for more than 20 years I quite happily cycle on our streets, including to and from the Northcote Point and Birkenhead ferry wharves, some streets are steep, but I find few scary

        1. How much road space do you think cyclists take up Janette? They are a very space efficient mode of transport. I can assure you there is plenty of room. I know the area well.

          1. Apparently 3,000 cyclists in 15 minutes is equivalent to 14,000 pedestrians and cyclists across 16 hours.

    3. According to the Skypath patronage figures (Angus and Associates report June 2014) – the ones rate payers will be underwriting, there will be 6749 recreational users per day average for every summer weekend in the first year of operation. The report states that when surveyed, 39% of these recreational user, respondents said they ‘would drive very close to the harbour bridge and park in the local area’. This problem was recorded in 24% of commuter users (847 per summer weekend day). Auckland council did a traffic survey of Northcote point to count the available parking and the numbers do not stack up. If you apply the parking requirements to the patronage numbers in the Angus and Associates report, Northcote point will turn into a traffic nightmare every weekend. Residents and local businesses will be fighting over parking with Skypath users and the pinch points for accessing the point at Onewa road and Maritime terrace, will be constant traffic jams. Far from reducing Auckland’s traffic, Skypath would likely create a huge new carbon footprint
      Of course if you do not believe in the patronage figures – like Bike Auckland – then the rate payers underwrite is very questionable.

      1. If it’s all too much then I suggest you sell up and move somewhere away from the centre of a city. I’m prepared to put in an offer if the price is reasonable–somewhere with good pedestrian and bicycle amenity appeals.

          1. Well Phil you should wait till the SkyPath is open as your property will be worth more, as Northcote Point gets revalued with its new proximity to the city: More like St Marys Bay than Birkenhead.

            Then you can stay in Little England in the hope of never seeing a Cycleway again… Oh wait; you won’t be able to go up to London then either….

          2. Seriously, someone buy this, it’s a bargain and windfall capital gains in the next few years.

      2. Your numbers mean 280 people driving to bridge each hour across the day. If we assume groups of three in a car, and 2/3 at the city end closest to the majority of users that is 31 vehicles an hour at northcote point.

  4. Still seems odd that this project needs to be a PPP given there is much more funding available now for walking and cycling.

    But meh, just get on with it. Fix that up later by ensuring there’s an easy buy out clause.

  5. “The council have been working with the private backers of the project (the PIP Fund) for a few years now to investigate options for financing the project. The preferred approach is for the PIP Fund is to build it as a PPP in which the council underwrites revenues up to a certain level …. That this private project will likely have a portion of its revenue underwritten by the council has long been one of the key arguments for those opposing it. They claim it will be a failure from not enough people using it”

    I am one of those opposing it on the basis that I believe not enough people will pay to use it, thereby necessitating a ratepayer revenue top up (despite Len Brown promising it wouldn’t cost ratepayers a cent). I hadn’t considered the idea of people driving to Northcote and parking all day while they cycled to work, but I guess it’s possible. The same could be said of all cycleway routes. My opposition is based on my cynicism of PPP’s, based on that they seemingly allow private equity firms to have their cake and eat it too. If the venture makes money they keep it, if it doesn’t they get money anyway courtesy of the ratepayers/taxpayers.

    Hopefully our council have learnt from overseas experience and come up with a better deal so I take *some* comfort in knowing “Council would underwrite actual revenues to a pre-agreed dollar amount in the “base case” (the agreed financial model that sets out the cost envelope), and have a share of upside profits above a specific threshold. The PIP Fund’s returns depend on it managing its costs and performance within the parameters of the fixed base case. Any cost overruns are the PIP Fund’s responsibility.” But again, based on past experience I have little faith in the council being hard negotiators.

    But as you’ve noted, $33m seems very cheap in today’s money to build this project. If we get it at this price it’s a bargain. If we could really build it at that price then maybe we should ourselves, and just make it free?

    1. Nick i really don’t understand this… are you saying that the Council should never pay for any transport infrastructure? Because the alternative to it being underwritten by the Council is to have it entirely paid for by tax and rates, like every single other cycleway, road, bus stop, ferry terminal, railway, etc, etc, etc…

      So it appears you are objecting to us paying less than we ordinarily would… very odd? Or do you have some other explanation?

      1. Patrick, I don’t think the issue is that council shouldn’t pay for anything, its the fact that they should only be paying (or exposing themselves and the ratepayers to liability) for projects that have a sound business case and not taking a punt on the whims of a private advocacy groups wishes. I want to know that my rates are being spent property and not just on the basis of “well other projects suck so no big deal if this one does” type of ideas

        1. Olly, that is no answer; no transport project outside of this one has any ‘business case’, cos we don’t charge for the use of them outside of Transit tickets, but even then we don’t expect any to make a financial return. All value is considered to be non financial, at most understood in economic terms.

          And not only does this project not ‘suck’, it is the number one Active mode project in the whole city, so therefore is of the highest value. Also other comparable ones like the Orakei Greenway are fully publicly funded so therefore are not only of lower value but are costing we-the-people more.

          Your complaint makes no sense. Is an attempt to dress up your silly objection to this great project as ‘financial concern’.

          1. Patrick, That’s not quite right, the Northern Gateway charges tolls and there are a number of other public infrastructure installations around NZ that generate revenue by direct financial input. Either way my understanding is that every every project that uses public money has to (and should be able to) stand up to scrutiny and demonstrate benefit, whether that’s profit for a company, or economic and social benefits for a public project. Yes these may not be able to easily demonstrated to the dollar (is that what you want?) but they get evaluated fairly (against other projects) by such things as the EEM.

            Can somebody tell me if the project stacks up against other projects when assessed in line with other projects i.e. via the EEM?
            Has there also been sensitivity analysis done on different patronage figures? and how that affects the risk of council being hit with costs?
            What happens to the “profit” if patronage targets are met? Does this go to Skypath company or is there a requirement, that as the taxpayer are funding it, it goes into a trust account so that if the worst happens in the future the costs that may be passed onto the council are minimised?
            Is the Skypath company a not for profit?
            What are the other projects that Skypath say future income will go against? Why not use them to reduce the council’s guarantee?

            With regards my comment that you don’t agree with, I don’t understand how you can criticize me for it. All I want is to ensure that if the taxpayer is going to foot the bill for something that there should be some scrutiny and surety regarding the costs. That is a perfectly sensible and ethical standpoint. For you to just rubbish it demonstrates that you don’t really have an answer to it.

            You quite regularly ask people for evidence, so where is yours that says that this project has the highest value as its the number one project in the whole city? For people living and commuting on the south of the bridge I wouldn’t have thought they would agree with you?

          2. It’s reasonable to ask for evidence, and to subject projects to scrutiny. However, this should be commensurate to the evidence/scrutiny applied to other projects.

            I don’t know of any other transport project in NZ that come close to SkyPath in terms of value-for-money for taxpayer. Why? Because the private sector is stumping up a lot of the money for construction and maintenance.

            Most other transport projects rely solely on taxpayer funding. The East-West link, for example, is expected to cost the taxpayer between $1-$2 billion and has been signed off by this Government without scrutiny. One year’s interest on the EW link alone would be enough to fund SkyPath. Similar stories apply to most of the RoNS, which collectively amount to $5-10 billion in spending and a number of other projects.

            In the case of Skypath, we’re looking at Council ***potentially*** being liable for the costs of any demand shortfall, which at most would come to a couple of million $$$ p.a. So the expected cost of SkyPath to Council is very low compared to what they get for their money: A new walking/cycling connection across one of NZ’s busiest transport corridors that connects into a number of wider cycling improvements they are planning along with NZTA.

            I would expect SkyPath’s benefit-cost ratio to compare very favourably on this basis alone. I would definitely expect it’s Government benefit-cost ratio to be extremely positive – all of those congestion, health, and tourism related benefits are being realised for very low cost.

            So I think it’s fair to say that your line of reasoning is questionable, because SkyPath seems to present better value-for-money than most other transport projects in NZ. Perhaps now you can see why Patrick is a little frustrated with your objections?

          3. I just did a back of the envelope economic assessment for an average of 1000 pedestrians and 1000 bikes a day riding an average of 3k each with 2% annual maintenance costs and 2% growth it returned 1.6.

            That is with low patronage estimates, low growth, and no benefits from motorists switching modes.

          4. Stuart, if I understand you correctly you are saying that if an economic assessment of this project was compared against others that this would be quite favourable because the capital expenditure (to the council) is lower due to the private sector stumping up the money which would obviously massively increase the benefit cost formula. I agree with you that this would likely be the case. However, if the council was paying for all of it would it still come out on top? and again, the fact that the council may end up bailing it out should be factored into the initial assessment. Not to mention the huge potential for the patronage figures to not materialise.

          5. “Not to mention the huge potential for the patronage figures to not materialise”

            What is your evidence for this claim. The patronage estimates have been prepared independently by a reputable firm for whom this is their area of expertise. Do you know better than them or do you have a specific concern with their approach/ process?

          6. Olly – Yes that is what I am saying.

            You ask what the BCR would be if the Council paid the full costs. To which my answer is: Who cares? The reality is the Council is not paying the full cost, it’s simply under-writing the revenue in the event the number of users falls short of what was predicted. Unless Skypath attracts zero users, then the full cost is not relevant.

            And not even those who oppose the project think it will get zero users. Indeed, many of the objections raised, e.g. parking and safety issues, focus on situations where there are many thousands of users per day.

            So I’d suggest you focus on what is possible, and preferably even plausible, rather than distracting the discussion with somewhat meaningless hypotheticals.

          7. Northern Gateway tolls cover about a third of the interest on the construction of the road. None of the opex. So a failed business case? All transport infrastructure cost in New Zealand is socialised. It isn’t a business at all.

          8. Even if the council was paying the full cost I suspect the business case would stack up strongly. Based on various criteria the analysis done by AT and the NZTA rank it as the number one most important cycle project in Auckland

      2. Yes – I’m aware my comments are completely wishy washy!
        That I now think “at $33m it’s pretty cheap” is perhaps a testament to how expensive it is to build anything these days.
        I believe in building infrastructure but I think the council/government should pay for it (aka ratepayers/taxpayers) rather than a PPP. If that creates funding issues then maybe issue some longterm bonds tied to the project eg a $40m ‘Skypath Bond’ paying x% interest per annum. As someone currently getting 1% interest in the bank (plus another 1% ‘bonus’ interest if I don’t touch it) that would be most attractive.

    2. Nick, the issue being is that if it is a failure due to under patronage then the ratepayers will pay for it regardless. Even if the council have only agreed to take on partial liability what would that mean if it does actually fail? The PPP parties will then be exposed to the additional cost for which they will go belly up and then we are left with an asset that has the gates locked. The usual suspects will put Auckland Council under extreme pressure to take over ownership and maintenance of the asset. It is a win/win/win for the Skpyath parties as they will get their cyclepath at any cost. Which is the main point of the opposition, they say it wont cost anybody anything but they don’t need to care as there is no way that such an asset would be left to rot by council.

      1. If it went belly up then the creditors would take it over…. They would face a multi-million dollar bill to remove it (which NZTA would demand if it was “locked up”) or they could hand it over to the council and take a write-down sure but better than incurring further expense.

        1. Bruce, who would the creditors be if Skypath went belly up? and how certain are you that there would be any punitive conditions in the any of the contracts? and if it has gone belly up how would they even pay a multi-million dollar bill from NZTA. Wouldn’t council be tagged in with some liability for bail out costs if they underwrite some of the costs?

          1. Olly, the creditors would be whoever lent money to the company that ran Skypath (most likely the banks…. banks don’t like to lose money, they especially don’t like to lose even more money so would try to offload it quickly).

        2. The Risk and Reversion 8.8 clauses mean that once SkyPath is built as agreed that’s it. It cannot be closed if it turns out to be ‘not fit for purpose ‘and as this type of long enclosed path has never been tried anywhere in the world this may happen. SkyPath has to be paid for with subsidies for the next 25 years at full subsidy whether it is used or not.

          There is no research into this type of enclosed shared path. In fact this path would not pass present safety conditions for an open shared path so this is a huge risk. The animations make SkyPath look flat but in fact it has a long gradient where cyclists can get up to 70 kph and will be sharing a path with pedestrains and children. The risks of an accident will be high as the area is enclosed and the bikes and people will have nowhere to go. Getting them out is another problem that has yet to be solved.

          Would you take this risk? Well Transport Blog readers obviously will. Well ACC can pay and what is a few accidents for the greater good.

          Make no mistake SkyPath is going to cost Auckland a fortune. It is a second rate answer to the problem. I think it would be better to go for two lanes on the Bridge now and do it properly. AT have taken away car lanes on Quay Street so a couple off the Bridge should be no problem.

          But Len Brown is determined to have his legacy project.

          1. Lol, Have you seen before and after photos of Quay St. No traffic lanes were removed in the making of the cycle lane. The space came from the massive median that existed there before. As for Len Brown, yes he has supported it but he’s not the one that’s pushed it, it is the people behind Skypath that done that. Lots of other politicians have supported it too including John Key. It has a lot of cross party/ideology support.

        3. Has it has never occurred to the SkyPath enthusiasts at Transport blog that the residents of Northcote Point far from being Nimbies might just be right! It may be that SkyPath as designed can be built and that is what the SkyPath Trust wants to do build it.

          But SkyPath has be be managed and there is where it runs into trouble. The hub and roads at Northcote Point are too small in area to handle the thousands expected, and the official figures are huge. They have to be huge to pay for it. If SkyPath is built but for some reason has to close then SkyPath will continue to get paid as though it were open. If SkyPath delivers what it says but if it is not fit for purpose because Auckland Council failed due diligence into running it – SkyPath just says “You should have read the contract!” SkyPath is a huge risk to the Auckland Ratepayer.

          The Finance Report does say the 11 companies were approached who might be interested in funding SkyPath on a commercial footing. 11 Companies turned them down. Only Morrisons, the company that manages NZ super funds were interested but only if they had a cast iron guarantee. Morrisons cannot lose but Auckland Ratepayers can.

          Because NRA and Herne Bay may have to pull out of Environment Court, although as things are going at present that looks unlikely, it does not mean they are wrong only they cannot afford to fight the case. They maybe right! The judge said the Commissioners were ‘Hasty’.

          Surely it is better to wait for NZTA to give the go ahead and then think carefully can SkyPath be run safely and commercially and how much this will cost Auckland.

          1. “Surely it is better to wait for NZTA to give the go ahead and then think carefully can SkyPath be run safely and commercially and how much this will cost Auckland”

            No I think that it is better that we allow private companies to decide how to apply for their own resource consent.

      2. Agreed, Nick D. Council should just pay for it anyway, right?

        Its transport infrastructure after all and a critical one as it is filling the void in what is in an increasingly important travel mode – walking and cycling. This a new corridor across the harbor.

        And given that Council and Govt are spending $1bn+ on the private advocacy group for the trucking industry (east-west link) for no discernible BCR, then this one is a winner.

    3. It is absolutely ridiculous to expect people to pay to use a walkway while providing a free carriageway (or 8) to people who drive. Walkers are reducing fumes and congestion while drivers are increasing them. If we had sensible rules every road would require a footpath. Then the economic comparison would be A/ close a traffic lane to provide for pedestrians and cyclists or B/ build a free Skypath.

        1. That doesn’t make any sense. The people who paid tolls back then aren’t the same people (by and large) using the bridge today.

          1. The tolls paid for the bridge, in fact paid for it plus extra. Skypath can be tolled until its paid for as well…..what’s not to make sense?

          2. The government paid off the bridge. They then charged the users for a time. The current users have never paid, and there was no ownership transfer from past to current users (indeed the government still owns it). Why does the fact that certain users paid for something in the past entitle current users to use it for free even though the groups are unrelated? I don’t see the power companies only charging for electricity use until the costs of the dam is paid off.

          3. Matthew W there is no point arguing. If you meet someone who says they are Napoleon then just assume they are crazy. Don’t ask them about the battle of Austerlitz.

        2. Lets move on from your straw man arguments. The Bridge should never have been tolled as it is a state highway. The Skypath should be tolled because it benefits such a small percentage of interest groups. IMO Skypath should be charged a rent for fixing itself to a public asset.

          1. Ok so you lost that argument but you have come up with a new one on the fly. Thats cool I can keep playing.

            Pretty much all individual transport projects only benefit a small percentage of the population. And those that benefit greater numbers tend to come with greater cost. Even the harbour bridge is only used regularly by maybe a few percent of NZs population. Not a good argument sorry mate.

          2. Mathew, your comments show a complete disregard to the benefits that are derived from these assets. Sure the number of vehicles crossing the harbour bridge may be low as a percentage across NZ but the benefits of being able to cross and provide PT and freight as well as getting people to work far outweighs your petty argument.

            Skypath will benefit a miniscule percentage of people and will provide miniscule to zero benefits to anybody else. Remember that the Sky path people are a private company so any profits (tourism) will be sent to them and not the council or the ratepayer. The amount of vehicles crossing the bridge being offset by the people using the skypath is negligible to zero. That’s not to say I don’t support a (well designed) cycle/pedestrian route across the harbour but you need to be realistic with what the proposal will achieve

          3. “Skypath will benefit a miniscule percentage of people and will provide miniscule to zero benefits to anybody else”

            Except for all of the health benefits that it delivers, and the decongestion benefits.

            You will also note that the road Whangaparaoa Road, or Te Atatu Road north of the NW motorway delivers benefits to a miniscule percentage of people. Should we close them?

          4. Sailor Boy. “Except for all of the health benefits that it delivers, and the decongestion benefits.” how do you quantify that exactly and how would that work if you assess it in relation to Mathew W’s argument that even harbour bridge that only carries a few percentage of people in NZ? I would have thought the patronage levels of the Skypath would be orders of magnitude less than tha harbour bridge in pure trips alone notwithstanding any benefits.

            in true TransportBlog fashion… Evidence please.

          5. Evidence you say?
            Well studies around the world, and here in AUS and NZ show a minimum level of benefits delivered of 15 times the cost for most walking/cycling projects.
            Thats a BCR ratio of 15!

            And thats being very conservative on the benefits side, even roads focussed NZTA admits as much on their website.

            So while the individual benefits may be small for each user, for the costs/spend you can’t get a bigger bang for your buck. And benefits [like decongestion] accrue to even to non-cyclists and non-walkers who would never use the cycling or walking facilities.

            Why should Skypath differ in this regard to all the other projects delivered which have such measured benefits?

            I’m not going to do your legwork for you – 5 minutes of googling will give you all the reports on this you could ever need to read.

          6. Olly,

            So things that provide value to consumers of it should be free? What other parts of the economy do you think this thinking should be extended to? I’m interested to understand the underpinnings of your economic framework.

            The point I am actually making (alas it seems I have to spell it out, that’s no fun) is that making the bridge (or other road assets) free to users is a political decision, and no more. The argument that “road users have already paid for it” makes no sense from a legal or economic point of view, so it is just politics.

          7. “how do you quantify that exactly ”

            With the economic evaluation manual. A national framework used to assess all transportation infrastructure.

        1. Pardon my language but you are batshit insane if you think taking two lanes of traffic off the harbour bridge is in anyway politically practical.

  6. My concern is ratepayers getting lumbered with costs from a dodgy business case. Pleasantly surprised to find other respondents considering the same issue.

    1. I could take your point and concern more seriously if the financial risk was material. It isn’t even the rounding error in Auckland’s Total Roading budget. Its outrageous that people will drive across the harbour for free and people walking and cycling will have to pay and I’m not sure many people agree with using a PPP model for Skypath but through this weird journey its the model we have. The financial risk is trivial, best spend your angst worrying about AC’s IT spend.

      1. The “concern” is betrayed by some of the comments in this thread an others. Namely, they have little concern for the financial spend on roading projects and anything for cycling is, and I quote, for “private advocacy groups”.

        The concern is ideological, not financial. Not that the latter is, as you say, material.

        1. KLK, you keep twisting peoples words. People have less concern for projects that have robust business cases, they have more concern for projects that do not have robust business cases and ones which include anecdotal figures on which to base real money revenue. All of us should have more concern when the council is going to underwrite some of these costs (i.e. take on the risk).

          If the Skypath people were so sure of their project and were able to demonstrate a return on investment via toll revenue then they should have been able to attract capital investment from any number of private investors, as a privately funded project along with all the other private companies looking for money. The fact that they have not done this and/or not been able to demonstrate it and end up with the taxpayer being a kind of guarantor is very worrying.

          1. “and ones which include anecdotal figures”

            Not skypath then. The business case has been very thorough and evidence based.

            ” they should have been able to attract capital investment from any number of private investors”

            They have, Morrisons Investment Fund.

            “The fact that they have not done this and/or not been able to demonstrate it and end up with the taxpayer being a kind of guarantor is” a standard method or ensuring that the council will not provide a competing service to make the investment worthwhile.

          2. Sailor Boy, How can the business case be very thorough and evidence based when there are no other projects like it. How can the patronage be anything other than a guess? Why haven’t Morrison’s fund underwritten the whole thing rather than putting the council on the hook?

            Your argument regarding a competing service doesn’t make sense, there is no possible competitive service. Would council build a competing one on the west side of the bridge? or is this the reason for under investment in the ferries?

          3. Olly, am I right that your argument is that this project shouldn’t go ahead because there us no other project like it!? If that was the case there would be no harbour bridge, in fact probably no infrastructure in New Zealand.

          4. jezza, no you are not right. I am saying that council shouldn’t be funding a project that cant demonstrate that it is a viable project.

          5. So you are saying ‘that council shouldn’t be funding a project that cant demonstrate that it is a viable project’ and above you say ‘How can the business case be very thorough and evidence based when there are no other projects like it. How can the patronage be anything other than a guess?’ I think most people with even the most basic grasp of the English language would agree that you are basically saying it can’t happen as there is no way it can prove it’s a viable project.

          6. They were your words, Olly, not mine. And you deliberately used them to belittle the project rather than consider it for what it is – a critical piece of transport infrastructure.

            You have quite rightly asked about robust business cases. You ignore one has been done by saying it can’t be benchmarked. How convenient. You have asked about private investment, which of course this has attracted with minimal council risk. You ignore this too.

            I don’t need to twist your words because they are painfully transparent. You are another who laments where everyone will park (see earlier post), then suggest council will bear the cost because presumably it will be a failure. Make up your mind.

          7. Righto, please point me to the business case for the currently proposed $1.8B East-West Link. Or you could try pointing me to the business case for the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway. Or the Reeves Road decision. Any one of those would do. Thanks.

    2. The post above is misleading about the potential cost to rate payers. The underwrite has nothing to do with the 33 million expected build cost. The underwrite is a revenue guarantee based on a patronage report created by Skypath Trust. Given that the Chairperson of Bike Auckland is on record as saying there will never be the number of users that the patronage report claims (she said it at the RC meeting), I think rate payers should be very wary of this being nothing more than a get rich quick scam from the trust partners. Of which, one of the originals was convicted fraudster Alex Swney!

      1. You keep pulling that line out Phill, but it’s quite false and pretty sad to flog a bad lie like that.

        What she said was that never in a million years would all the users turn up and try and park at Northcote Point.

        1. Does it state in any of the proposal brochures what th Skypath Trust are expecting in terms of profit? Their website says that they will be using any additional money they get to fund other projects….

          Something smells here!

          1. Ok if you’re not a liar you just have poor comprehension.

            She doesn’t expect 8,000 people to descend on Northcote Point at the same time, and try to all park cars, as one of your compadres was insinuating.

            That’s different saying she doesn’t believe the projections of up to 8,000 users a day (hint: there are many hours in a day, and Northcote Point isn’t the only way to access the cycleway)

          2. You are playing with words nick, she was directly quoted. Its not your place to be reinterpreting her words for her.

            Arguably, she isnt a traffic engineer (just a planner) so her comments regarding those numbers, particularly arguing against a traffic report, dont hold much weight anyway.

            The worry with these projects is the same as with the PAUP hearing, all of the indpendent experts are in fact advocates which doesnt give much credence to the proposal.

          3. I’m not twisting words, I’ve listened to the recording. It’s clear she is refuting the idea that 8000 people will turn up at Northcote Point at the same time. 8000 people using Skypath yes, 8000 descending on Northcote Point, no.

          4. Hmmm – I listened to her as well and she was scoffing at the number of 8000 users in any one day. You are clearly trying to interpretate the quote to suit your views – but as the quote is public, it can not be denied what she actually said was “I don’t ever envisage a situation where 8000 people will be descending upon Northcote Point – never.”

          5. “she was directly quoted”

            You should be very careful of direct soundbite quotes that ignore any context.

          6. Sailor Boy, that’s exactly the same logic that is being proposed to Nick R. Regardless, what is the break even patronage for the Skypath?

            The argument being used by both sides is flawed….

            1. Northcote Point will be overrun and there wont be any parking VS there will not be hordes of people descending on Northcote Point to cause issues
            2. The patronage numbers will never hit the targets and council will have to pay for it VS Skypath will easily pay for itself as its the number one destination for cyclists/tourists.

            The arguments are circular with both sides being able to use one point or the other from each of the two arguments to suit their own agenda. It has already been used multiple times in this comment thread alone.

            They are conversely linked. Skypath needs lots of people to ensure it pays for itself but if the numbers are too high they will cause major issues to the Northcote Point area. If the patronage is low which will minimise the impacts on Northcote point then it wont pay for itself and the council/ratepayers will be up for the bail out.

            This is entirely the reason why the business case is flawed and needs to be fully reviewed. They cant have one without the other and they have not been able to demonstrate that they can obtain patronage without causing mayhem. or council wont be stung.

          7. Olly, the two are only conversely linked if you assume all users will drive and park their cars in northcote point. If you instead believe there is a large body of users who will not drive to northcote point, for example they might cycle from their home to their work via the bridge, then it is quite possible for usage to be high enough to cover the cost, yet the impact on Northcote point to be minimal.

            For instance Sutherland Rd is an entry point to the northwest cycleway, yet this causes no issues with parking nor public urination in the street by cyclists.

          8. projected use of any project is a matter of informed estimation, sometimes the facility is underused, sometimes use exceeds expectations (see Busway) we won’t know what the actual demand for Skypath is until it is built

            but in my view Skypath is justified on a policy basis regardless of the projected numbers, I think that there will be an initial rush of interest that will settle down over time and that contrary to the predictions the majority use will be a steady stream of commuter cyclists on weekdays with some recreational walkers and cyclists on weekends

            there will be enough downtime between for the naysayers to take photos of an empty Skypath and say “I told you so” and they are welcome to their hollow pleasure

          9. Steve Cable, except that the ratepayer will be up for the cost of it if it doesn’t work out. Why have the council not delivered this project on their own? particularly as there appears to be huge latent demand and is in line with their current policy? after all the capital costs that are being discussed appear to be low. Do they foresee any risk or that it wont deliver the required benefits

          10. I imagine that the simple fact that the council doesn’t own or operate the Harbour Bridge has a huge bearing on that possibility Olly

          11. The only reason the Council is not delivering this project on their own is they didn’t have the vision to. And now they do, spurred on by the gov’s Urban Cycleway fund, the SkyPath Trust was already a long way down the track, so Council, and NZTA, decided to let them do it, so their cycling/walking budgets could be spent elsewhere. Like on SeaPath, and the Orakei greenway, both of which expect and require SkyPath to form a network.

            In your absurd and pointless fear of this project you keep trying to conjure up spectres where none exist: Council is saving our money by supporting this project. And spending it elsewhere. Win/win.

          12. “Why have the council not delivered this project on their own? particularly as there appears to be huge latent demand and is in line with their current policy?”

            Because why should the council pay for something knowing they can get it for free? that would be fiscally imprudent.

            Also, above you said that both sides are simultaneously using both arguments, that is not true. Skypath and supporters are defending against both sides. Even if patronage is correct it represents a minute impact on Northcote point. 8000 users a day, mostly arriving at the southern end, mostly arriving in groups of 3, even if none walk cycle or take the ferry is still only 80 cars an hour at Northcote point. Even if patronage estimates are too high, the council gets it built at limited cost to the ratepayer and get it handed over to make it toll free. Neither argument against the Skypath stacks up, hence why the EC granted consent.

          13. Olly,
            The council has and is looking at that option, they refer to that in their business case document. You can read it here:
   [see Agenda item 12 for the report, the PWC letter and other documents].


            In essence they say that the chosen option is the best option for many reasons not least as it puts the various risks [there are about 13 identified risks] with the parties who can best manage each risk.

            A straight council delivered project was considered as well as other options. But they say that the best value for money result is not obtained using a simple “cost to capital comparison”
            Because its too simplistic a comparison. But after all the options risks and such are consider, that the Hybrid PPP model is the best outcome.

            Furthermore Council sought Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC)’s opinion as to whether council officers had missed anything out on their background documents and recommendations.
            PWC said that the chosen option [Hybrid PPP] is the best available one given the present level of information available and is entirely suitable for the unique nature of the Skypath proposal.

            So there you have it, if PWC says the option recommended is the best one- then who are *you* to argue?
            And if you disagree, please show what hard and public evidence you have that contradicts that presented in the reports (your “gut feel” that its the wrong choice doesn’t count)?

          14. Sailor Boy, 80 vehicles an hour means 160 trips per hour. that is on the basis that they are dropping off. What if they want to park prior to using the bridge, or commute to work which means the car needs to stay there all day. Also one of the other commentator says that there may be a resident parking system implemented. Not sure if that is true but wouldn’t that make things worse?

          15. “80 vehicles an hour means 160 trips per hour”

            No, it doesn’t. 80 vph at Northcote, 160 at Westhaven/Wynyard/ St Mary’s Bay/Takapuna, etc. 3 people per car for recreational use = 720 trips per hour.

            Then there are all of the people who won’t drive at all.

  7. “…outrage you again, as did AT’s Safe Cycleway Plan”. Are you guys fo real? NRA. You can’t make this sort of stuff up. It’s a plan to protect your parking.
    My last thought is “Won’t someone please think of the children”.

      1. And besides, there’s plenty of shared paths around the world, Janette. We seem to have managed having bicycles around us.

        1. Not like this one. SkyPath is unique. Nowhere else is there a 1.2 k long, 4 meter tunnel on a steep gradient, with limited headroom and only two blocked egresses which is to be used as a major traffic shared path with no median barrier. This is a first!

          There is no research at all into shared paths. The Victorians classed bicycles as vehicles and banned them from UK Footpaths and they still are banned in UK. Therefore few accidents. But planners have slowly eaten away at this and gradually shared paths have appeared. However this is still early days and little or no research has been done.

          So SkyPath is a huge risk. Not a little risk as it would be if it were an open path with not promotion this is a major traffic path that is being promoted worldwide. It is to be Auckland’s number one attraction to rival SkyTower.

          It will be interesting to see what happens when they meet in the middle!

          1. “There is no research at all into shared paths.” – Sorry, but there has been plenty of research worldwide, including for the US Highway Capacity Manual and VicRoads in Australia – heck, I’VE done a couple of research projects on shared path capacity and interactions.

            “Nowhere else is there a 1.2 k long, 4 meter tunnel on a steep gradient, with limited headroom and only two blocked egresses” – I would suggest that the Maastunnel in Rotterdam is a pretty good comparison: 600m long, 4m wide, and up to 40,000 cyclists a day in its heyday…

          2. Every major bridge in the world is similar length and constraint for pedestrians and cyclists. New York has four in a row, the Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.
            All about 2km with narrow shared pedestrian and cycle lanes and no way to exit except at either end (actually the Queensboro bridge has a secret elevator to Roosvelt island, but apart from that…)

      2. best we ban all cars from the streets too, for the childrens sake. Back to horse and carts when children were free to roam the streets.

          1. ‘You are being silly’

            On average car users kill just below one person everyday on NZ, day in, day out. Everyday, 300 people a year, DEAD. That’s dead, dead, not just a scratch or a fright. But dead.

            Cyclists hitting pedestrians? Not so much, in fact not at all. Just doesn’t happen. And won’t suddenly start happening in Northcote either, even with seven SkyPaths.

            Who is being silly?

            Or actually stark raving bonkers, the woman who claims to be concerned about safety so focuses on the mode with no record of killing anyone, while ignoring, or in fact privileging, the leathal mode.

      3. What about the first child to be struck (and killed) by a car on a… road! DriveWay! footpath! These all seem to be still up and running after plenty of lots of fatalities. And thats just in the last 12 months!

        1. I agree with you Bryce, the children being run over is a silly point of argument. I have my concerns about controlling cycle speeds on Skypath and separation of foot traffic from cyclist, however thats not to say Skypath could not operate safely. They could for instance require cyclists to walk.

        2. At the moment vehicles and pedestrains are separated. But on SkyPath pedestrains and vehicles are not to be separated, they share the same path. That is the problem. A simple fall off a bike in an enclosed area can do a lot of damage. I am amazed at how pedestrains can be sacrificed for the greater good of cycling. I certainly would not like to be a pedestrian on SkyPaths downhill run into Westhaven with even three or four bikes coming at me! It is not as if SkyPath can use speed bumps to slow them down

          1. Clearly, given the death toll of pedestrians, nominal separation isn’t the key issue. I think it might have something to do with 1.5 tonnes of steel travelling at 50kph+, but that’s just me.

    1. Northcote Point residents are not just concerned with the parking. There isn’t any now in Summer! It is the amount of people and the lack of infrastructure to cope with the huge crowds. Northcote Point is tiny as you all will find out. There will be just one small egress for all this traffic so there are going to be queues to get on and queues to get off. Bikes and pushchairs take up a lot of room. There is no where to put them.

      SkyPath research shows that most of its customers want to come by car so they will, try to park and go home when they can’t, like I do when I go to the zoo on school holidays. The snag is the wait to get out onto the Onewa Road can take hours. Yes, hours in the morning as the lights only let out 11 cars every 7 minutes.

      But these pleasures are all to come. SkyPath can be built but can it be run safely and efficiently? That is the question.

      I repeat, If the need is there and research shows it is why not have the two Western Lanes on the Bridge now! Easy to do and Free.

      1. It’s clear that YOU, more than anyone else, need an alternative to get out of that congested neighbourhood.

  8. So much fuss over something that isn’t really all that controversial. So many consents, so much consultation, so much me me me.

    No wonder we cant get anything built in any reasonable time-frame or budget.

    1. yes therein lies the irony of RMA-type consultation procedures: Rather than fostering community input, they tend to support me me me self-interested shenanigans.

    2. Like the CRL. The CCFA Study reviewed, what, 40+ options for getting people in, out and through the city center and the CRL topped business case.

      Cue those “financially concerned” about the business case, while motorway building proceeds with BCR and monetary abandon…..

  9. “commuter car parkers”

    Have i mis-interpreted this, or are NRA now advocating on behalf of people who drive into their neighbourhood to park and catch a bus over the bridge to town?

    1. Yes I think you are right. Most likely they have put these flyers on the windscreens of ferry commuters. Ironic indeed.

  10. Exactly Phill, 8000 people *descending on Northcote Point* is exactly what she said, not 8000 people using Skypath in a day.

  11. And yet here we have Barbara Cuthbert saying ‘she could never imagine it would have so many users in one day’
    Barbara Cuthbert, who has been a planning consultant for 20 years, spoke on behalf of Cycle Action. She told the resource consent commissioners that no other project mattered more right now, and it was nationally significant. But she said she could never imagine it would have so many users in one day.
    “I don’t ever envisage a situation where 8000 people will be descending upon Northcote Point – never.”
    I think this makes it very clear that Bike Auckland do not believe the patronage figures!

      1. The residents are unanimous in opposing this project. Are you suggesting that the people that will be the most affected should somehow not be entitled to express an opinion on the project?

        1. no, they’re not unanimous in opposition, I personally know Northcote Point residents who are in favour of Skypath

          1. Are you saying 1; Radio NZ have miss quoted her and 2: The voice recording isn’t her? Don’t be absurd 🙁

          2. If you read the full story you will see the key is in this…… ‘The projects supporters have questioned the top figure’….Very hard to imagine that means anything other than Barbs does not believe the patronage report!!!!

            The project’s supporters, however, have questioned the top figure of over 8000 daily users estimated in a consultant report requested by the Auckland Council.

            Barbara Cuthbert, who has been a planning consultant for 20 years, spoke on behalf of Cycle Action. She told the resource consent commissioners that no other project mattered more right now, and it was nationally significant. But she said she could never imagine it would have so many users in one day.

            “I don’t ever envisage a situation where 8000 people will be descending upon Northcote Point – never.”

          3. @offshore property owner

            “‘could never imagine it having so many users in one day’”
            You are confused, Barbara did not say that. If you listen to the RNZ item, or read the article, it is clearly the journalist who states that. In my opinion doing a bad job of summarising Barbara.

            Again in the rnz audio item you link, it is clear what Barbara actually said:
            “i don’t ever envisage a situation where 8000 people will be descending upon Northcote Point – never! Skypath is part of a network and and the view thats been presented that 8000 people will descend on it in one day has no regard to all of the transport planning that has been done by the transport agency, by auckland transport and which we are party to.”

            The key point is that it’s part of a network, yes 8000 people will use it, but no they wont all descend upon Northcote Point, they will access the cycleway from elsewhere and pass through.

            Just as 1000 people a day cycle through Kingsland on the North West cycleway, yet you don’t hear local residents complaining of 1000 cyclists descending upon Kingsland. The North West cycleway is part of a network with many access points, only a small fraction of users enter or exit at Kingsland.

      1. You are really scraping the barrel now, Phil. Desperate is as desperate does.

        Barb clearly said one thing and the writer interpreted another. Anyway, it won’t be part of the appeal and this thing is going to sail through.

    1. Youve given your (mis-)interpretation of that quote many times here. Repeating it does not make it true or add any further value. The simple fact is Barbra did not say what you claim. I think we can now leave it for the readers to decide if ‘decending upon Northcote Point’ is the same as ‘using skypath’.

      1. The problem is the writer of the column. The preceeding paragraph makes reference to supporters doubting the numbers using the Skypath, and that was the misinterpretation.

        To all except those on a desperate last effort to stop this thing, Cuthbert’s comments were clearly in relation to the fear-mongering of the local opposition regarding everyone descending on the point at once, rather than using skypath itself.

        To suggest otherwise is disingenuous, but for the group concerned, that would just be consistent.

    1. Patrick – your picture means nothing, all it shows it that the people who will likely be most impacted by the project are opposed to it, which is what would be expected It doesn’t mean they are nimby’s, if anything it could show that everybody else are nimby’s in that they are happy for the project to go ahead as they wont be affected. I wonder if they would all go along with it it was all of a sudden going to be landed near them. I also think that if the skypath landed on the eastern side of the bridge there would be hardly any opposition from anybody on the point.

      1. You people are so funny, ‘impacted’, you mean people not in cars will be using the publicly owned streets near your property? Well, what a tragedy, how upsetting. And your access will be significantly improved, again, how troubling. What a disaster, you might as well move to Syria now, such suffering. Your property will become more valuable, your commute more flexible, your streets safer. Your city better connected, more desirable for visitors.

        All this exercise has unearthed is confirmation of the usual small percentage or so of contrarians that all populations contain. That group that will oppose for opposition’s sake. Who claim black is white and up is down. Beyond reason.

        So it goes…

    1. You’re clutching at straws Patrick. If the map is widened further you’ll probably be telling us that all of NZ is green. Just back up to the second image above and look at Central Auckland to compare – is it solid green? No it’s not. You’re going to have to do a lot better than this.

      1. Patrick forgot to include the person in China who submitted in favour and said he would use Skypath often :/

        1. You are shameless eh Phil; you live in Oxfordshire. What a joke, Mr Non-resident.

          Additionally these maps don’t even include the 11k+ people who submitted via GenZed.

          Those that oppose this project can’t even must a majority in their own kitchens, let alone in Auckland.

          1. So you think I don’t deserve a say in what happens right outside my house? You don’t live next to the East-West link and yet you oppose it. You don’t live in Transmission gully and yet you oppose it. At least I actually have a logical reason behind my objections, yours are just because you hate cars 🙁

            Anyway – back to the point. The local residents, the ones that will be negatively impacted by Skypath, all signed a letter of protest. This was unanimous amongst the houses in the immediate area.

          1. Jeff follow the link to the dood who did it… He’s @Gallicist if you’re on twitter, there he has a description of his methodology and source.

            Poor old Phil he’s even the lone objector in the UK. The only person lying in bed at night on the other side of the world twisted into an ugly shape by the thought that someone might soon be able to ride a bike a or walk in Northcote more easily than they can now. Sad.

          2. Patrick, most of the northcote point submissions shown on your picture are red, meaning they oppose it. You are the Nimby

          3. Bob a tiny minority of Aucklanders oppose this project, and of that tiny group most are on Northcote Point, but still not a majority let alone everyone. Democracy does not work if such a tiny group can hold up the desires of so many.

            And it is clear you have no idea what NIMBY means.

    1. They are not compelling. As i said before, check map 2 compared to map 3. Map 3 green circles converge at lower resolution and give a false distribution density. It’s not that hard to see.

        1. A photographer should know that magnification of an image reveals individual pixels made up of different RGB colours and white spaces. When you decrease magnification, individual pixel whites and colours merge to give an impression of one solid colour.

          1. the majority of the Northcote point area, where most negative impacts would occur, is red, not green

          2. Patrick, I believe the opposers have flagged concerns regarding parking, noise, safety amongst other things. Doesn’t your item 2 scream Nimby to you? You are basically saying (So What?) that the majority can do whatever they want regardless if it affects the minority. Notwithstanding the actual impacts it is not your privilege to say that issues that affect other people shouldn’t matter as long as you can get what you want. This doesn’t add any credibility to you, your argument and is very anti-social.

          3. Bob, skypath are not doing ‘whatever they want’. There have been numerous consultations and design changes based on feedback from residents at either end. It has also been through the resource consent process which ensures developers do not get to do whatever they want regardless.

            At the end if the day however, i think its clear the only thing that will appease this minority of northcote point residents is to have the skypath land in someones elses neighbourhood.

          4. Bob,

            Parking: The street is publicly owned. Its up to AT to determine how they manage the road space. Not an environmental effect. Also, this is a cycling and walking path.

            Safety – internal safety of the skypath is not an RMA issue it is a Building Act issue. Skypath will require building consent. No, Building Consent Authorities do not ask for public submissions on whether or not they think a structure complies with the Building Act, funnily enough.

            Noise – construction noise? Well this is something that needs to be managed on all construction sites. Operational noise? Not sure what they are envisaging there – the clicking of bike chains changing gear?

  12. Let’s say the 8,000 users per day is right. What does that look like? I think many of the people opposing this have no idea and may have never seen how many people bicycles can move in a small space.

    Here is a video of a street in Utrecht which gets about 22,000 cyclists a day. This video is taken at peak time:

    It doesn’t look too crazy does it? And that is almost 3 times the number of cyclists being discussed.

    What many people who only travel by car don’t realise is that bicycles are an order of magnitude more spatially efficient than cars. If that video was of a street that gets 22,000 cars a day, it would be gridlocked at peak times.

    1. I don’t think it is comparable to SkyPath – the video clip is of a dedicated cycleway (not shared with pedestrians, prams, tourists etc) and is flat (not at a gradient where cyclists can attain higher speeds) and is not constrained within a fixed structure.

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