It has been encouraging to hear Minister Wood’s recent announcements about investment in sustainable transport modes, and his responses in parliament. He holds a vision for a people-friendly, low-carbon transport system. And he seems prepared to steer the enormous juggernaut of central government’s transport decision-making in the right direction to achieve it.
Stuff reported on Friday:
Transport Minister Michael Wood might make further changes to transport spending, with walking, cycling and public transport possible winners…
Wood recently said he would see what he could do to make changes to the GPS and suggested these changes would also have a climate change focus…
“Northern Pathway is the missing link in Auckland’s walking and cycling network. Aucklanders finally will be able to get across the harbour by foot or bike…
With the new bridge five years away, Wood also said he had asked Waka Kotahi to present him with options for a cycling and walking lane on the current bridge now…
“I’ve given them weeks, not months. I’ve told them I want to see options on my desk.”
He understands the climate imperative, that more investment in walking and cycling is a key solution, that a link over the harbour is an important network element, and that a temporary solution should be provided soon. This is wonderful.
I hope he has the “unflinching political will” required to follow through.
When costs on the original $6.8 billion of transport projects in the NZ Upgrade Programme blew out by an extra $6 billion! – including $2.1 billion extra for Mill Rd alone – it was the ideal opportunity for Cabinet to remove the programme’s roads-heavy bias. The increase in traffic, emissions, injuries and maintenance burden from these roads will make our safety and climate goals harder to achieve. Cabinet is tentatively turning their climate narrative into action (at last) but many of the Ministers have shown little inclination within their own portfolios to help tackle the car dependent transport system. Rebalancing the programme so it was less roads-heavy from what he inherited could have been a difficult and frustrating process for Minister Wood.
Yet he managed a significant shift in balance towards public transport, walking and cycling, which will serve our communities far better.
Instead of celebrating this shift, the public have been distracted by the cost of the Northern Pathway Bridge for walking and cycling over the Waitemata Harbour. This distraction is a pity. Concerns about cost should have targeted the hugely expensive road projects that will add congestion and damage our climate instead.
I think the resistance to the new bridge simply reflects people’s surprise at seeing a new set of priorities. This is a natural part of the process of warming up to change, towards which Minister Wood will need to be patient and unflinching.
Emma McInnes has described what a great project it will be for Aucklanders:
I think we’re underestimating the fact that people will use it just for the joy of being able to walk over the water, to stop in the middle of the bridge, take photos, to go over on a jog in the morning, walk their dog, take their kids over… I think people are underestimating how popular a bridge like that would be.
The arguments against the new bridge got me thinking because they varied so wildly.
People argued there should be more traffic capacity across the harbour – or there should be less. They argued public transport should cross the harbour on the same bridge – or that it should be in a tunnel. They argued that drivers needed to finally pay for the costs they’ve imposed on other road users – or that people walking or cycling did.
It dawned on me that, set quietly apart from this hot confusion that’s racing both ways on every argument, and solid on its own foundation of reason, the bridge is actually a really good idea – because unravelling all these arguments is going to take a long time. Especially given the state of Waka Kotahi.
Waka Kotahi is only slowly shifting gear from highway builder to creator of a low-carbon transport system. The transition to proper climate planning is likely to be messy and may be fiercely resisted: although there must be visionary leaders within the organisation, for many staff it will require a U-turn in understanding, traffic modelling and priorities.
Deciding on an Alternative Waitemata Harbour Crossing for other modes is likely to be argued back and forth for several years to come. The beauty of the new bridge proposal is it protects an active travel connection over the harbour from other decisions. Meanwhile, the bridge is unlikely to be resisted by the construction industry, as they get to build a bridge.
Auckland’s Active Transport Networks
This bridge needs to be understood in terms of its importance in the networks:
This should be immediately evident to anyone who travels over the bridge in a bus or a car, who benefits from not having to take the ring road around.
But in a driving-dominant culture like Auckland has, people find it hard to imagine walking and cycling as ‘networks’. On any given trip you could encounter significant delays at intersections, noise, air pollution, traffic driving dangerously fast and through red lights, footpaths interrupted with frequent and long lengths of vehicle crossings, cars backing out of driveways far too quickly, a dangerous lack of crossing infrastructure, little priority at intersections for people outside vehicles, bleak streetscapes, road works that throw people into the traffic, unmaintained footpaths, vehicles parked to obstruct their path and to limit their vision.
Our safety and travel choices have slowly evaporated as cars and trucks dominate our world more and more, leaving us with fragmented, poor quality scraps of walking and cycling networks that do little to encourage people to get out of their cars. Motorists have a duty to pay for the facilities needed to keep all other road users safe from motor vehicles, but this hasn’t happened. Instead, decades of miniscule investment in active travel have left a legacy of an unsafe, expensive, car dependent transport network.
The level of work required to make walking and micromobility safe and pleasant is so significant it will require a complete change in transport focus.
So where does a new active bridge across the Waitemata Harbour fit into the rebuilding of our active networks?
First, it is simply part of the mitigation required. The city failed its people when it opened up a new part of the city to live in – the North Shore – without giving them a walking and cycling connection. This lack of access needs repair.
Secondly, in the five years until it is completed, we need to be building the networks that will connect to it. Fanshawe St and Northcote need immediate attention, of course. But also, extensively, the networks throughout the whole city need building quickly.
Thirdly, the transport budget should be split between repairing these networks for active travel, and on public transport. Indeed, leveraging the renewals budget to make streets safer for walking and cycling was a recommendation of the Safety Review of Auckland Transport. Resistance to investing in the Northern Pathway bridge “because other parts of the network need the funding” is based on a miserly assumption that walking and cycling should continue to get only 3, 4 or 5% of the transport budget. The UN has recommended a minimum of 20%, but Auckland will need more than this – and this money can achieve a lot if roads are properly reallocated and no project is undertaken without active travel as a focus.
The cost of this new bridge is peanuts considering how important an element it will be in a fully-funded city-wide network.
Luckily, we already have a plan for building the cycling elements of this new network. Council approved, in 2012, the following cycle network, specifying that 75% of it should be completed by 2020, 100% by 2025:
So we know what we need to build. We have a Transport Minister with a vision who seems prepared to hold firm to achieve it, and a Council who should be supportive. What else could possibly get in the way?
Time to be blunt — with everything we’ve learned from successful cities about the MANY benefits for EVERYONE of more urban biking, over the last 5+ years & the last 14 months during the pandemic, there’s NO excuse left for your leaders not to build safe infrastructure for biking. pic.twitter.com/DbTf7p61ss
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) June 11, 2021
A scathing piece from Hayden Donnell in The Spinoff highlighted Auckland Transport’s failure to deliver safe cycling infrastructure in recent years.
Kate Hawkesby may be hallucinating cycleways everywhere she goes, but they remain stubbornly immaterial. Instead of a safe cycling network, we get PR and gimmicks. In June, AT is hosting an all-day hackathon on whether “new all-weather cycling fashion” or a “compelling rewards scheme” could get people biking at Auckland University… online feedback indicates the primary improvement most cyclists want is to not die during their ride…
The price for this heady mix of inaction and excruciatingly slow progress isn’t just increased carbon emissions. It’s paid for in the lives of people.. Cyclists are roughly 14 times more likely to die than motorists. In 2020, 57% of the people killed on our roads weren’t in a car.
In recent years Auckland Transport’s targets for building cycleways have been lowered repeatedly – to the point that they plan to deliver only five kilometres this year (and are still struggling to even achieve that!):
The draft Regional Land Transport Plan highlighted how far behind Auckland Transport have slipped. Over the next three years most of their cycling investment is going on the ‘Urban Cycleways Programme’ – a programme which was initially funded under the 2014-2017 National Government and was meant to be completed by 2018. This means that the actual ongoing cycling programme won’t really kick in until after 2024. Where is the pipeline of ‘ready to go’ cycling projects?
It didn’t have to turn out this way. Auckland Transport was actually getting quite good at building higher quality cycleways, implementing a whole bunch of key routes like Beach Road, Lightpath, Nelson St and Quay St in relatively quick succession. They had also developed a 10 year cycling plan to deliver well connected networks of safe cycling infrastructure across much of Auckland.
As Auckland Council’s climate and safety ambitions grew, the plan could have been sped up and extended to the remaining parts of the city.
So what went wrong? Matt highlighted last year the lack of desire to actually take cycling seriously. Key structural changes to Auckland Transport in late 2018 disbanded the walking and cycling team just when they were getting into the swing of delivery. This catastrophic mistake has led to most of the active modes expertise leaving Auckland Transport and, as predicted, no strong champion to overcome the internal objections to investing in cycling.
Auckland Council should be embarrassed by this.
Council have tools of governance they have not used well – including the Letter of Expectation, Board Appointments – walking and cycling transport experts would help, removing funding, and taking stronger legal stances.
Council say, in their submission to the Ministry of Transport’s discussion document Hīkina te Kohupara:
Central and local governments should reconsider planned investments in urban highways and road expansion projects that induce more vehicle travel. At the same time, more investments are needed for travel options that generate low or no emissions, such as quality public transport services, safe and accessible walking and cycling networks, and shared mobility. Reallocation of existing road space to cater for cycle lanes and bus lanes can deliver mode shift and emissions reductions relatively quickly and affordably, using existing infrastructure.
But elected members aren’t on the same page when it comes to delivery.
Auckland Transport officials have often been required to front the public when changes are proposed. Often they have done this task admirably, despite copping huge abuse from change-averse residents. But it should not be their job.
It is our Councillors who should be explaining why the changes are needed, encouraging and modelling open-mindedness and patience. In a word, leadership. Despite a united front when accepting Council’s climate obligations, some persist in encouraging resistance to changes, arguing for parking to be retained, or campaigning for new roads.
Some Councillors have singled out the Northern Pathway Bridge to criticise, on the basis of its expense – while simultaneously arguing the $3.5 billion boondoggle of Mill Rd should have been funded. And the bridge serves our climate goals whereas Mill Rd – at over five times the cost – undermines them. If they wished to complain about a costly Auckland project they should’ve targeted Penlink.
It is hypocritical to approve the Auckland Climate Plan and support Vision Zero and then attack investment in safe, sustainable transport.
Minister Wood has given me hope we’ll get some better investment decisions. It seems that he’s tackling Cabinet, Waka Kotahi and the Ministry of Transport.
But if he is going to succeed, he will need to be backed in turn by equally active and determined mayors and local governments. If he is not, what extra measures are required?
It blows my mind that Auckland Transport have gone backwards on cycling at a time when the political landscape is so supportive of making rapid progress, and the evidence is so strong that we need transformational change.
Council need to start firing a board member a month until this is fixed.
“I think the resistance to the new bridge simply reflects people’s surprise at seeing a new set of priorities. ”
The priorities being a hugely expensive walking and cycling bridge that will serve a very small number of people while active and rapid transit projects in other, less well-off parts of Auckland/NZ get pushed back indefinitely and done so very quietly to avoid difficult political conversations? Yes, I can understand people getting mad at being gas-lighted for the past four years (or should that be gas-lit?).
If you think that bridge in that form will ever be built then I have a… bridge to sell you.
The bridge is a waste of money AND it will never be built?
I know Heidi said above that opposition to the bridge was for widely varying reasons, but contradictory reasons from the same person in the same post seems almost Freudian.
“I know Heidi said above that opposition to the bridge was for widely varying reasons”
““I think the resistance to the new bridge simply reflects people’s surprise at seeing a new set of priorities. ”
One was Heidi’s view. The other was Daphne’s.
Not that hard….
Each of your arguments is addressed in the post, Buttwizard, and I’m afraid Heidi was more convincing…
I am guessing you are talking about NW light rail? To me it seems like a very expensive project that has very few people living within walking distance for most of its length, its main purpose is to support sprawl at the end and so people can park-and-ride in between. It’s nice to see some transport projects on the horizon that aren’t mainly about sprawl.
“It’s nice to see some transport projects on the horizon that aren’t mainly about sprawl.”
Hello I would like to be transported back in time 15 years when the city abruptly ended in a roundabout at the end of the motorway at Westgate please.
But it’s great to see the narrative changing around LRT, which was so urgently needed it when it was announced in 2017 and is now being revised into something that ‘enables sprawl’ (within an already-developed and intensifying part of the city, no less) so that people can find politically palatable reasons for it not happening, while a bridge between two well-off parts of Auckland which already have a relative bonanza of PT options in comparison can get an obscenely expensive, feature-limited bridge, which will lock in the need for an even-more-expensive set of tunnels.
Buttwizard, I’m completely with you about LR, but you’re wrong to pit active mode investment against it. They’re complementary modes, and both are shortchanged because of the waste of money going on new roads. It’s reallocating the money from highway expansion and new high roads to LR that you need to campaign for.
Would be great if we could stop painting the Shore as solely the preserve of rich white people.
The western side of it has some deprived areas and even in the coastal parts there are folks doing it tough. Browns Bay has a soup kitchen ffs.
“It’s reallocating the money from highway expansion and new high roads to LR that you need to campaign for.”
This is my main opposition to the bridge. Without rapid transit provision, it’s all but locking in a future where we need $10b+ of tunnels, an even larger corridor on the Shore side and huge amounts of money that will be sucked out of everywhere else to pay for it.
I’d rather we did one bridge and did it properly. Hell, I’ll settle for closing a lane each way on the current bridge for buses to unlock the potential of the Northern Busway and then buying a fleet of standing-spec buses especially for cyclists to get across. It’s going to cost a lot less than $10b tunnels in the long term, and that’s money that can be farmed out across the entire region.
If active modes really are the priority, then this is losing a war to win a battle. With other regions in Auckland in transport poverty, I don’t feel this is really something that can be justified.
Does the Browns Bay soup kitchen do a good vichyssoise?
I am surprised that people think this won’t get much use! From most of the closer North Shore suburbs the options will be a 40 minute drive in awful traffic, an infrequent local bus then change to a crowded NEX, or a lovely 20 minute cycle, potentially electrically assisted. Surely at least 10% of people will chose the latter? Possibly even 30%? Why wouldn’t you take the nicest quickest option that also gets you fit?
Yes… and that won’t leave you good as stranded when there’s a crash on the bridge or its approaches.
I’m all for build it and they will come. They called the Northern Busway a white elephant too and that its hugely successful. Just get it done and give people options and they will use it. I’m not even from the North Shore and I can clearly see the benefit. People are crying like they think its that much money and will only last a couple of years, built properly it will probably last 100.
It’s a pedestrian/ multi mode bridge, not just for cyclists. It will be very popular if it ever gets built.
Our CBD is full of NZs best businesses and many bike there along the NW and Tamaki Dr bikeways.
A bridge for cyclists will encourage more to go for longer trips and with more options. The large number of people living in city apartments will also now be able take a ride to the Shore.
They already can take a ride to the shore, we have these things that float, let’s call them ferries, ferries can take them to Devonport and Northcote.
And when the ferries turn them away?
It’s a system that puts people with bikes at the mercy of Opex funding and ferry companies and ongoing politics. Whereas a bridge is a bridge.
except there’s too many people trying to do that and they’re getting turned away… hence the need for a less capacity constrained alternative…
Very good post. The highly polarised reaction to the adjustment of that programme show that we are living in a big change moment: Those still living in the certainties of last century are shocked and bewildered by the emergence of new (to them) criteria and values taking effect, while others are disappointed and frustrated to see the old thinking still present in other decisions.
This is going to be quite the ride. But history is clear, these times of reset are unstoppable, as they are caused by profound shifts in the entire bases of the economy and society; everything is shifting and in a relatively short period.
Relatively. We also know that some people will take their opposition to changing things to their grave. For them, committed to the world of the previous reset, this ‘brave new world’ will always be held to be an outrageous imposition by terribly mistaken people.
So it goes.
Great summary thanks Tacitus.
Interesting post Heidi. I certainly support active travel and see the sense of the bridge, however, the cost and perceived level of use will make it difficult to sell for the Minister. I suggest another two (bi-directional) lanes for buses. They could also be used by trucks paying a toll with the ring route their alternative. I say this because the truck lobby is powerful and will demand road tunnels with the next harbour crossing. This could take the wind out of their sales and wind out of critics of the “bike bridges” sails. It could also save the current bridge which would be left to service cars only from there on.
Selling state assets was a pretty tough sell for John Key but he managed to do it.
I think people overstate the impact of specific policies or pieces of expenditure on an election. I think this government could probably bring in a comprehensive CGT or raise the pension age and still get another term, I doubt this bridge will sink them.
Selling state assets started in 1984 under David Langes transformation govt. Jim, Helen and John all kept up the sell down of state assets. You can’t blame John for doing what all his predecessors had done.
I’m not blaming him, just pointing out you can do things that are reasonably unpopular and still get re-elected. He at least only sold half of them.
Not sure anything was sold while the Clark government was in power though.
Hi Niall, yes my immediate reaction was that it should be set up for rail, with buses in the interim.
But then I thought through the politics of the situation: the automotive and freight lobby, the consultants loving the endless gravy train of new designs, the Waka Kotahi engineers wanting their tunnel, political parties loving to use cycling as a punching bag, and importantly, the 40% vehicle km travelled reduction the MoT have said is required by 2035.
This last point is significant. That’s 4% drop per year – and for a number of reasons they should actually start at 7% and see how they’re going against emissions targets in 5 years’ time. The change required at Waka Kotahi to achieve it means heavy rail, light rail, regional buses, cycling, walking are all going to be prioritised much more AND they’re going to have to get serious about road reallocation.
All of that means the processes for analysis and prioritisation are going to be in flux. It’ll be messy. The AWHC decisions will be all over the place and will get very political.
There’s no reason an active connection should get caught in the crossfire of all of this when its lack is a simple, inequitable, travesty of history.
Let the cars and trucks look after themselves. Good public transport and shared paths that avoid road congestion is the way to go. A few sneaky short cuts is good too but need the basic route for both public transport and active modes.
Plus runners and walkers.
Replied to the wrong post by Royce.
I am supporting the new bridge and I would guess there will be a myriad of dock less bikes, e bikes, scooters and e scooters scattered around the place to cater for it. Plus good old fashioned bike sheds were you can hire a bike for a couple of hours. And there will be new modes things like tandem bikes and kids carts and mobility scooters so every one in Auckland and all the visitors and tourist can enjoy the experience and who knows it might rub off on other routes like around the beach front. And bikers don’t get all high and mighty about congestion from these frivolous activity think about who is paying for this.
And I forgot to add ice cream, coffee and tourist trinket stalls all mounted on e cargo bikes of course. Although we could have a bridge restaurant.
Sort of a Ponte Vecchio of Auckland.
You’re so right, Royce. All this will be great.
Look at the Sydney Harbour Bridge and how many use the walking cycling lanes on that! Between 2000 & 3000 people per day walk or cycle across, do you really think Auckland’s bridge will get higher numbers of walkers and cyclists? Sydney’s a city of 5.2m people, there bridge ends in the CBD at one end and a densely populated suburb at the other, Auckland’s ends in a carpark and a motorway? Hardly conducive to vast numbers of walkers/cyclists!
Like Auckland presently Sydney lacks a network of cycle routes connecting to the bridge, that could make a huge difference.
I like the idea of a connected network the route to Glen Innes look like great fun and the best part is it connects with the trains. It would be great if it could extend to Sylvia Park.
I have long advocated for a link across the railway at Southdown I see it is on bike Aucklands map. I see also Newmarket to Otahuhu a few problems there maybe they should look at a route that incorporates a trip through Cornwall park. Probably best to avoid Great South road leave that for the trucks. Maybe it can connect through to Southdown somehow and via Salesyard road to Otahuhu station. There is a shared path from there to Otahuhu town centre also along to Massey road.
I think the Cornwall park to Newmarket on Manukau road is one of the highest value routes. That would give us a connected route from all of Cornwall parks entrances, acting like a distributer network for the royal oak, one tree hill etc area.
plus newmarket is a huge destination and employer, And its connected to the downtown through the domain. And a lot of the route currently has a fat median strip, which would make a nice bi-directional path.
It seems much more feasible than the SH1 motorway / rail corridor that looks very constrained when I go by in the train
The issue is really cost vs benefit and unfortunately the cost appears to be very small consideration for many contributors to this site. I’m all for public transport, active modes. congestion charging and other car-busting ideas but prioritisation of where to spend taxpayer/ratepayer dollars doesn’t seem to be even contemplated very often let alone well justified.
Perfect description of Penlink and Levin superhighway. Unlike those two projects the bridge is positive for modeshift and emissions, so not the project to pick on.
Emissions really, my guess is a lot of the potential walkers or cyclists are going to be bus users rather than car users. You might see a few hundred of the 170,000 car per day transition to cycling or walking, most of them would be in summer, in winter I doubt many walkers or cyclists will use the bridge.
Saying this will make any dent of emissions is next to impossible to prove. Some might say this is virtual signalling at it finest.
All forward planning is based on modelling, which is in turn based on assumptions. Whatever the mode. You are right, none of these can ever be proved beforehand, except by building the thing and seeing.
I also think you are right that current bus users will likely be among the first to shift to active crossing, especially as they have already gone car free for this journey, and this may be more convenient, especially for first and last mile. Or they may mix modes; switching between.
But where you are wrong is in thinking that this is bad, or no use. The busway too faces capacity constraints, so freeing seats on buses for other new users, including current drivers, is important and carbon positive. Or, but less likely, being able to run fewer buses at peak, would also be a saving in operating costs and space on bridge and in the city. But that is unlikely, the busway is showing no signs of loosing ridership, and I doubt the models do either. Not that this is proof.
Active mode journeys (including e-bike) are 10 x more carbon saving than an EV ones (all about mass and energy), so whatever we can do to enable and incentivise active travel, for any purpose, including looking at the view, the greater the benefit to the positive side of the carbon ledger.
Active travel is even argued by some researchers to cause fewer emissions than WFH, again depending on various assumptions around internet use, and whether or not to count calorific intake for active users (people are assumed to be eating, often too much, anyway!).
Generally I’d agree. However, in this instance I’ve put it through a different test, the will we regret not doing it in 50 – 100 years test. In my view it passes this test with flying colours, unless of course another bridge gets built at some point.
It’s a missing link that should have been built 60 years ago and it’s time to hold our noses to the cost and just get on with it.
It’s also something that can’t be easily done incrementally. In contrast the crazily expensive and over-scale Levin bypass could easily be done to the standard of the current Taupo bypass for a fraction of the cost.
Yes agree, though actually that’s the same thing. A 100 year+ carbon positive link that will transform both the City and the Shore as places to access via active modes, as well as being a destination in itself, makes it strongly positive in actuarial carbon accounting.
After the brilliant execution of bus lanes and bike lanes on Lambie Drive I am disappointed at the work done so far on Puhinui Road. Maybe its still coming. The original cycle lanes were poorly done this is the opportunity to fix it up. The section from the Motorway to the Airport is good. Lets hope they can get the suburban part of Puhinui done.
I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride it where I like
If you think spending $800M (plus 5 years inflation) on a new bridge so people can take photos from the top, walk over the water, stop in the middle of the bridge, take photos, go on a jog in the morning, walk their dog, take their kids over… is a higher priority than real action on climate change, child poverty, the housing crisis, nurses pay, the homeless, mental health, hospital funding, class room infrastructure, the emergency services, asylum seekers, refugees, world peace and understanding, well you’re a cuckoo living in fluffy white clouds over the harbour.
Jesus might have walked across the water, but you don’t need to ask him anything to know it’s a crime against humanity to prioritize this bridge when alternatives are available however unpalatable they may be. If you were out at any location around Auckland, taking photos, having a jog, walking the dog with your children and you did ask Jesus for divine intervention, he’d remind you of the meaning of waste and guide you to the nearest bus or ferry.
Where did you get $800 million from?
And so your reaction to Penlink is?
Cycling infrastructure is:
> the most important climate action
> a massive transport capacity boost
> part of the housing solution
> a significant health benefit
If you think these problems will be solved without significant improvement in cycling then “well you’re a cuckoo living in fluffy white clouds over the harbor”
I would say its pretty bloody important.
In saying that in the short term there are probably significantly more efficient uses of the same dollar value for other cycling infra. But the harbor connection HAS to be done at some point, and no more car lanes will ever be built over the harbor. So it will have to be on a new bridge or be pried from the old. Busses and ferries will not provide the long term capacity required for shifting that many bikes.
Amazing how people only care about child poverty when someone proposes spending money on active modes.
Billions of dollars on a road? Different pot of money, I guess….
I met Jesus once. He was our waiter at a restaurant in Los Angeles.
He was my uber driver once, arrived in a Honda Accord which is not quite how I saw the second coming playing out.
I asked him if he would swap the water for some wine and all he did was bring a bottle from the bar. I did order the fish though because it isn’t every day you get to eat bread and fishes brought to you by Jesus.
I’m just wondering would this be safe to cycle this bridge? I remember riding a lightweight motorcycle there, and wind sometimes was literally shifting me aside. It was scary.
Falling off your bike on a pedestrian bridge is much lower risk than falling off your bike in the middle of a motorway. On windy days people will make their own risk assessment as they do anywhere else and no doubt quite a few will just catch the bus.
There will absolutely be wind barriers / suicide prevention screens, like the Grafton bridge
Can you go and concern troll somewhere else please? There is another bridge, as high, over the exact same harbour, with an existing cycle path and no one is getting blown to their death on that.
Thanks for supporting the active minister after a surprising number of bike people stabbed him in the back “apologising” to the public that an extremely important asset costs a fraction more.
quote from rnz 5June: “A cycling advocate says building an entire bridge from the ground up – at a cost of at least $780 million – is totally unnecessary when cyclists and walkers could just have a lane on the existing Auckland harbour bridge.
And a trucking leader says the priorities are backwards – a new harbour crossing for vehicles should be first, not a few cyclists“ what wonderful support this cycle “advocate” Brutus delivered to the trucking industry! And make no mistake, any severe incident on or to the bridge would make a shared space open to be reallocated to car traffic – or they may decide that buses!! could also share it!! A dedicated bridge would allow people to cross even if the current bridge gets compromised. See it as fire ladder or exit – you will be so relieved that it’s there when you need it and not also in flames.
I wonder whether we readily add another 50% of not quoted costs to road projects?? Just look at the Kapiti Expressway if you don’t want to look at Mill Road? Additionally it cuts through a township – yet it was pushed through.
Since when equals 685 = 1000?? And if it does, probably because it gets delayed and delayed!
I truly hope Heidi’s post can reunite cyclists again and start to fully supporting the minister- we’re worth it!!
What’s happened to GA.. BA.. GZ? Where’s the analysis of benefit v cost, opportunity cost v other projects, or social equity? Or what building this bridge precludes? Or joined up thinking with bus / light rail? Or how this comes across to “everybody else”?
I mean if we had a network of protected cycleways and a bus / light rail harbour crossing already, and no other way of walking over cycling over the harbour, and nothing better to do with $ 800 m, then maybe…
But we know what we have. 600 metres of protected cycleways year to date.
I think GA and Bike Auckland were taken by surprise by the announcment of the bridge and rather than take a hard look at the challenges, benefit v cost, joined up network the response to most concerns have just been ‘well what about Penlink’.
Sensible approach would have been fully fund and start immediately on Northern Pathway from Takapuna, take a spur or it to Northcote Ferry whilst still planning the bridge, after all there will eventually be a cycle connection…then at least it gives some time to decide whrther there is going to be a PT bridge or tunnel, whether its feasiblwe with road or congestion pricing being introduced whether a lane can be taken. It just seems very reactionary to the climate commisions report to come up with a big ticket item whilst missing out the entire rest of the cycling network.
And all the while, it seems like because we haven’t had anything this big for cycling before instead of advocating spending the money on the rest of the network, the response is to say well other modes get xxxxx more.
Yes, Joe, we can do all that and probably will at some point. However, there’s another type of pragmatism here. We have to be realistic about WK’s resistance to spending on active modes. Lose this opportunity for action and do you honestly think there’ll be another? Who says after all the arguments are had and the dodgy as hell analysis is done, that WK won’t determine upon a tunnel anyway, saying that after it’s finished they’ll reallocate space on the existing bridge … and THEN, in 18 years’ time, refuse to do even that?
On the cost, remember that the UN’s recommendation of a **minimum** of 20% of transport spend translates to a **minimum** of $7.2 billion in the $36 billion RLTP for the next decade. This bridge would be 10% of that active modes budget, or less if we decide Auckland needs more than $7.2 billion due to the scale of the repair required.
If you add to this all the updating of existing programmes that we’ve been advocating for, we can quickly achieve a fantastic active mode network. And that’s the point of the post. If we put our minds to a programme of repair, this bridge would be effective in the network, a small part of the active budget, and a rational use of the money.
Of course if things continue as they are, well, yes… but that doesn’t really bear thinking about though, does it?
I guess it depends on the role of Greater Auckland, either advocating for the optimal physical solutions and the systems that lead to that. Or trying to advocate for getting whatever “win” we can, without considering the costs, even if a different approach would be much better.
I think it would be preferable and give more credibility to the platform it it were more based on the former. There is a line to be drawn somewhere I guess, political capital and organizational slowness are realities, but my personal opinion is that these should play less of a role in advocacy than they currently do with this subject.
That’s a false dichotomy. The choice isn’t between “optimal physical solutions” and “advocating without regard to costs”.
The optimal physical solutions discussed on this site have always been tempered with what TheBigWheel calls “how this comes across to everybody else” – and GA have intentionally and successfully pushed out the Overton Window. They’ve also always discussed things from different angles; this post explores one but I’m sure it’s not the last.
As for costs; not every post has to go into details, and Heidi’s now reminded us of the UN guidelines in a comment. How would you spend the $7.2 billion on active modes over the next decade, Jack? Perhaps while AT is still in clusterfuck mode, spending less than 10% of that money on this critical bridge is a good use of the money.
The resistance I’m seeing is amongst people who’ve got their own pet project across the harbour they want to push. If I know GA at all they’ll continue to explore the options.
“the response to most concerns have just been ‘well what about Penlink’.”
I think that’s justified given the airing GA have given to the problem of 50% of the budget going to renewals by the end of the decade, and to the traffic induced by roads. Penlink is more expensive, it will cost us more as time progresses, and it worsens rather than resolves our problems.
By raising Penlink and others, the point is also that people aren’t actually concerned about cost. They are concerned about costs “wasted” on cycling.
This blog posts every other day about roading projects worth 100s of millions or billions, which go in the wrong direction against practically every other plan by the City and country, like Penlink. But the concern trolls don’t demand the money be redirected to Starship.
For the record, it is a waste of money that we should not be talking about, like a lot of roading projects. Let’s just have the same concern. And if a bridge it must be, then lets have one for PT and active modes.
By raising Penlink and others, the point is also that people aren’t actually concerned about cost. They are concerned about costs “wasted” on cycling.
I want cycling infrastrcuture everywhere. I’m concerned about costs because that is money that may never make its way to the rest of the cycle network. So Heidi is right, the UN states X amount on active modes, the UN doesn’t say go and blow all that on a gold plated bridge.
Use the money here ($650m+) to create a full network THEN have the argument whether Penlink, or x,y,z road should be built vs whether a bike bridge should be built. If you’ve got a fully connected network and the last thing it needs is a bridge its an easier conversation to have with the ‘not so enlightened’.
Anyway, it is what it is and it probably won’t happen. Where that money WILL go, who knows.
The NZUP is a fund for large infrastructure projects, building the active crossing precludes Mill Rd being built, which in itself makes it worthwhile.
There’s been plenty of funding available for cycleways, which AT has not made use of. Sending them another $675m probably isn’t going to help.
AT’s ineffectiveness isn’t justification to spend money on something else.
Whichever pocket is comes out of, it’s all “our” money at the end of the day, and I’d like to see it invested wisely, for the maximum benefit.
$ 800 m for 1,000 trips per day x 50 years is around $ 50 per crossing… I can’t believe we’re even talking about this daft idea.
I’d like to see the money spend wisely as well, but I’ve observed politics for long enough to know that pragmatism gets things done
I’d put good money on there being well more than 1000 trips across the bridge in 50 years time, so not sure how relevant you maths is.
The 1000 trips a day is a wild underestimate, if the networks were designed super well and is extensive (as hopefully they would be one day) then there will be significantly more than their pitiful business case numbers.
Modelling can only be based on what we’ve seen in NZ apparently, not what we observe in multiple places overseas. Its like the original busway business case. I was told by someone who was working on it “At the time a number of options for T2 and T3 vehicle access to the busway were also considered as the NLTP (National Land Transport Plan) funding criteria lacked means of calculating benefits for a purely busway scheme.”
As we know they never used this functionality that was built out for T3 vehicles, and never will. Granted this was a while ago, but it shows anecdotally just how unreliable the models are when its something that they’ve never seen directly in the country. And when the infrastructure being built is a total shift from what was done before.
The closest you’ll get in Auckland to a cycleway like this is probably the cycleway on SH16. This one is between 1000 and 2000 trips per day. That is pretty low, a cycleway like that should have 2,000 trips per hour during peak, not per entire day. AT has a lot of work to do.
If you assume 10,000 per day over the bridge, it will be $5 per crossing, that still doesn’t look cheap but if I remember correctly it is still better than what you’d get with a road bridge.
I’m glad you said this: “$ 800 m for 1,000 trips per day x 50 years is around $ 50 per crossing… I can’t believe we’re even talking about this daft idea.” because it gives me a chance to try to appeal to your sense of “there’s another way to look at this”…
First, it’s $685m, not $800m. (Yet, anyway. Who knows though, eh?) And it would be many more than 1000 trips/day eventually.
But more importantly, valuing infrastructure in this way is no longer best practice. Worse, it is holding back improvements to both public transport and active transport. A piece of infrastructure should be valued with regard to its contribution to the network.
An example that should be easy to grasp is early morning buses. They are critical for getting staff to shift work at hospitals, etc – and allow good land use because once a comprehensive timetable and network is provided, any valid needs for subsidised staff parking are radically reduced. This reduces car trips for the return journey as well, along with all the trip-chaining along the way, and probably leads to a certain percentage of these shift workers to be able to not have to bother with car ownership – leading to fewer vehicle trips at other times too, etc.
Similarly, late night buses are needed so that people can head off to work in the morning by bus knowing they can get home if they do go out later… even though they might plan their social life on the fly and actually don’t need a late night bus that frequently. These offpeak bus services cannot be valued according to the number of passengers but by their contribution to the network and the number of other passenger bus trips they enable.
In a similar way, the bridge needs to have a more holistic valuation. Best practice is to value it by estimating the trips across a fully completed city-wide cycling network – with and without the bridge. The value of the bridge can then be found based on the difference in trip number between those two scenarios.
The “spreadsheet-driven” microscopic view of valuing each element in isolation is what is preventing incremental bus network improvements and incremental cycling and pedestrian improvements in AT’s investment and planning systems.
Though not for lack of trying, I believe. It’s just what happens when some people get too much power and others are too incompetent to see the problem.
Heidi thank you for your reply to my rant 😉
I say $ 800 m because I think we have to consider SeaPath as well. Though as I also note, then there also needs to be provision beyond SeaPath (like there is on the south, at least towards the city along Westhaven).
I would like to think I’m wrong about the numbers, but if NW Path is 1,000-2,000 (at the city end) and it has *loads* of connections on and off, the first 4 km runs right through Eden Terrace, Kinglsand, Morningside to Mt Albert and is well connected to Grey Lynn.. all of them quite dense urban areas, with streets that are not too bad for cycling and good connections to other cycle ways and shared paths, not least through to Avondale and New Lynn. The bridge isn’t like that at all, it’s 4 km of nothing… and at the northern end there’s nowhere you’d expect to find lots of people riding a bicycle. Even with the views and everything. I can’t see that matching the NW on a weekday. Sure, recreation on the weekend.
But what evidence is there that 10,000 people will start riding 20 km round trips? That kind of mode switch doesn’t happen anywhere in the world. It’s not what everyday cycling is about, and it’s not addressing the problem, which is short trips taken by car.
Even if it’s true “eventually” that’s no good, there’s a climate emergency *now*. As we know the 2020s is the decade in which we need to decarbonise our transport, and we aren’t going to do it by switching to EVs.
The MoT defines the target as -40% vehicle km travelled by 2035. That’s -20% by the end of 2027. Meanwhile there’s 170,000 vehicles crossing the bridge each day. A new bridge built in 5 years would do nothing until then of course, and even then would deliver nowhere near enough decarbonisation.. it’s too little, too late, using the best part of a billion that could be so much directed elsewhere.
Taking a lane might help… but the Downs-Thompson Paradox would say make it a bus lane and extend it all the way from the Onewa on-ramp into the city through Fanshaw St.. take 10 mins off a bus commute and get 1000s more switching to PT. People are rational.
And with the $ 799,000,000 saved: run late night buses, run more buses, put more bike space on ferries, build safe cycle lanes to the busway stations, give them secure bike parking, build safe cycle parking in the city (so people can bus then bike to work) etc etc Repeat all over Auckland. Actually make a difference, year after year after year until it becomes routine.
Yeah, I’m with you about all that. There’s so much possible if they’d just start and let the modeshift really begin. Reallocating the lanes to buses on the bridge now is a no-brainer, and complementary with reallocating a lane to active modes. It’s about giving real transport choice while reducing vkt and emissions.
I don’t understanding why they’re labouring that decision when they need to get on with all the arterials and LTN’s as fast as possible.
Heidi, why would you not build the bridge to be able to accommodate metro, light rail, or buses; i.e. a double deck bridge with the lower deck for walking and cycling? This doesn’t need redesign or debate any more than an exclusive walking/cycling bridge does.
My very strong impression is that the wheels of government work so slowly, and that the advice on options offered by WK is so biased, that this is unlikely at this time to result in a timely decision by politicians to make the change.
That’s what should happen, but someone at WK wants a legacy tunnel on their CV.
Put PT on a new bridge, provide for active modes, leave the AHB for cars and all of a sudden the need for a tunnel starts to evaporate.
Leaving the AHB for cars also means our ability to reduce emissions evaporates.
I’m sorry, I don’t follow your logic here. WK have been instructed to build a bridge, probably against what the board wants to do. The minister could just instruct that the bridge must accommodate any one of those three modes as well. That’s not going to take any longer than active modes only.
This is what I think, SB: The Minister and Cabinet need to make decisions that only deviate from the technical advice given to them by WK if they have solid reasoning to do so that they are willing to defend in public.
To date, what WK have advised is an active modes only bridge. Or, if they advised an active plus public transport bridge, Cabinet have enough reasoning to decide to pull it back to an active bridge.
I imagine it’s the former and what you’re asking for is a change in Waka Kotahi’s transport paradigm. I totally agree, but that’s going to take years, and so what you’re asking for is yet another delay.
It could be the latter, though. Less likely, but is it going to be any quicker to change Cabinet’s priorities? Not according to my OIA responses about transport decisions within other portfolios.
So yeah, a PT plus Active bridge might make more sense to most people here. But that’s not what was decided and there is nothing to suggest WK or Cabinet can be convinced to change their mind. After all, changing their mind now would be attacked fiercely: if on the same set of evidence they have decided two different ways at different times, they’ll be attacked about one of the decisions.
We can be sure that looking at it again will lead to delays. But there’s nothing to suggest that WK will have changed their paradigm sufficiently that looking at it again in the next few years will lead to a proper climate-appropriate and actually well-evidenced analysis.
WK’s guidance on rapid transit is that the crossing needs to happen at some stage pretty soon and should be independent of general traffic.
WK’s guidance on active travel is that the crossing should be independent of general traffic.
The only sensible response to this guidance is to build a single crossing to accommodate both.
They got it wrong by announcing it as walking and cycling only, but announcing $200m (as an example) to future proof the bridge for rapid transit isn’t going to leave them with egg on their face IMO. The main cost of a bridge is the structure itself and the footings/supports. Adding a second deck is relatively cheap. It also doesn’t have to add huge amounts of time. Future proofing the CRL for 9 car trains only added a couple of months to the schedule. Future proofing undesigned footings for an additional deck shouldn’t add any time at all. I’m not saying to build the rapid transit link at the same time as that would bviously blow out the programme.
If they refuse to enable rapid transit here, they essentially prevent themselves from building a rapid transit crossing until at least 5 years after this is finished. They’d (rightly) get destroyed by the media for not combining the crossings.
Can “independent of general traffic” include a tunnel that caters for both vehicles and rapid transit? I assume so.
If their plans are a tunnel for both then that’s why you’d propose a active-only bridge.
Related question, after you build this bridge is it still possible at all to also fit through a public transport crossing?
Michael Wood is showing considerable backbone,with some of these decisions,he has surprised me,no real support from, dollar each way Goff,you would think he was smart enough to ,read the room,but I guess 30 years in politics,dulls the senses. Wood would really have me singing his praises,if he somehow prised some room on the existing bridge,for an active mode trial,he says he wants an answer in weeks, l,m watching this space.
WK are scared of a trial.
It would be a raging success with users, cars would cope and change travel habits, we’d have mode shift and positive outcomes on air quality, city congestion as a result.
And it would lay bare the fallacy we cannot repurpose some of our arterial routes (particularly that which has parking) to active modes without the need for new legacy projects. It would force WK to be efficient with the funds.
It would literally be the end for those entrenched in the roads-first mindset.
Should the trial be a success, (IMHO It will be.), then WK has the opportunity to save $700 M.
Would they then spend it on Cycle Lanes in other places?
Now we’re talking.
How about a network of 100s of km of on-street protected cycle lanes, in and around our schools and town centres.
It’s NZUP money not WK’s, it would be up to cabinet to decide this. Even if this were the case we’ve already seen government money made available to AT for cycling that they haven’t used.
The question is would it be a success without any real connectivity? Can you currently cycle from most North Shore suburbs to the bridge without a high likelihood of meeting your maker? I actually think it could have the opposite effect – it might not be well used as the connectivity is not there.
Onward connectivity is/was to be provided by Seapath: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2020/02/26/skypath-and-seapath-moving-ahead/
Well I don’t think people care which fund is involved, or whether it’s WK or AT.
So after you get over the bridge, and along to the end of SeaPath, how would you get to your house safely, in Birkenhead.. Northcote.. Glenfield.. Takapuna?
I can’t see 100s of people taking on Onewa Road or Lake Road or any of the other arterials.. or even the local streets the way they are today.
On the other hand you could properly fix those and 100s of other streets like them all over Auckland for $ 800 m.
Yip. That too.
1) A white line on a road is not a cycleway, its a death trap. NZ needs a new nationwide infrastructure standard that requires fully protected cycle/micro-mobility lanes, and fully protected cycle/ped/micromobility movements at junctions. Only where the environment has been engineered by design to be < 30kmh should cyclists/micromobilty be allowed to mix with traffic (i.e. simply posting a 30kmh sign is insufficient)
2) Bike Auckland’s Bike Blueprint 2020 & Auckland Regional Cycle Network from Auckland Plan 2012 are not cycle networks. Imagine if traffic was limited to just those routes. Peds, cyclists & micromobility users require safe access to all streets & parallel facilities along motorways + crossing points.
3) All of our transport models focus on modelling traffic. They provide an easy tool to assess deficiencies and the need for additional improvements. Tell me one travel demand model in NZ (or even the world) that has the complete cycle/ped/micromobility network (including safe crossing points) included (yes, ped/cycle/micromobilty can be modelled as long as cell data is available) We don't even know what the ped/cycle/micromobility network is, let alone being able to assess the deficiencies.
Yes, to all these points.
(And even at 30 km/hr, there still needs to be a low traffic volume to not require separated infrastructure. In NZ it’ll take a while before we can make the same driver behaviour assumptions that you can make in places with a cycling culture, so we need even more protection.)
Cycle-friendly design standards are important but they aren’t enough on their own. If it is remains feasible and legal to build car-centric road and junction designs, they will continue to be built. The built environment reflects the rules.
Legislation and/or rules around funding are needed to ensure that cycle-friendly, pedestrian-friendly designs are delivered as a standard outcome.
Yes. Everything AT has built to date seems to be different. One way or another most of it doesn’t feel quite right. It’s almost as though they don’t have a Walking and Cycling Team…
The new K Rd lanes are tricky to navigate, especially at the intersections: where and when to cross isn’t obvious. And why it is so bumpy? Still, at least it’s something.
Talking of bumpy, the new Tamaki Drive lane heading west feels quite exposed to the oncoming traffic, being 2-way and quite narrow. Needs a fence surely?
I like the lanes inside the parked cars along Upper Queen St from K Rd to Canada St. They look simple, intuitive, low cost and they work quite well (wide concrete barriers so no door zone worries and so much better than magic paint). Too bad they end just before the intersections at either end. And they’re full of leaves. I take it AT hasn’t thought about that yet. Leaves aside, more of this would be great, it’s so simple and you could roll them out all over the place. With or without parked cars. Ideally joined up. Even more ideally, rolled out quickly like Project Wave. Just not as weird as Project Wave. Heading north crossing that traffic lane and then having parked cars facing you inside the cycle lane it’s all a bit random.
+1 and AT can have a big programme of work like this. WK can allocate funding for it from the local roads activity class, as it is local road work.
It’s all a load of bollocks really. All the Minister has done is replace some projects they were never going to do with some others they are never going to do. This Government is one of the most successful in NZ history and they didn’t achieve that by doing things. They did it by stopping a virus killing thousands of us. At the end of this term they will go to the polls and say “sure we didn’t do any of that stuff, but think about Covid-19” and I will vote for them and so will plenty of other people.
A government that is good a stopping things, but not doing things.
One day when we realise we are importing more and more of our energy, productivity is reducing, exports are going backward and our nurses have all left we might wake up.
Hasn’t this been happening for the last 20yrs? Under governments of every shade?
It makes me sad that Orēwa doesn’t even get onto the Auckland Map! Plenty of cycleways around there.
I live in Milford, so I am naturally biased towards a cycling bridge over the Harbour (walking isn’t so much an issue for me).
However 780 million is a stupid amount of money to spend on a cycle lane and this project is beyond crazy.
There is a maintenance walkway under the main deck, for a lot less than 680m (the amount specific to the bridge build), it should be possible to build an adequate cycle path.
The issues with the bridge are weight on the clip ons and strength of the pylons, building something under the main deck would not be affected by either. Ok, you won’t have any view, but this is a transport link, not a tourist site.
I guess this could be built pretty fast. It would make a lot more sense than waiting 5 years (assuming it is not delayed in resource consent stage) for a hugely expensive bridge that in a further 5-10 years would not be needed because the inevitable AWHC could free up a lane.
As for windage, I am surprised that someone called ‘sailor boy’ doesn’t know the wind strength is much higher off west haven than hobsonville. I hope he doesn’t work for ETNZ
Yes we need a bike crossing, yes we need more active mode spending, but no, we do not need this white elephant.
“As for windage, I am surprised that someone called ‘sailor boy’ doesn’t know the wind strength is much higher off west haven than hobsonville.”
We aren’t talking about the wind off of Westhave or off of Hobsonville, we are talking about the wind 20m up in the air.
The Upper Harbour bridge is *incredibly* windy. It sits at a natural funnel where straight westerlies get pinched before rising over Greenhithe. You get large updrafts as well as huge horizontal wind force. The bridge is also very exposed to southwest winds (which are most of our days with gale strength winds). The water under the bridge is pretty sheltered, but the bridge itself sits in the contour where the wind is compressed and accelerates to get over Greenhithe.
I’ve been on that bridge in so much headwind that I’ve been held stationary *while on an 8% slope*.
Never heard of a truck being blown over on the Greenhithe bridge.
Can anyone ever remember a wind warning on the upper Harbour bridge?
Anyway, the worst wind seems to blow from Wellington as this 780m vanity project is a shocking waste of money.
– There are about 6 times more trucks on the Harbour Bridge than the Upper Harbour bridge
– Trucks don’t get blown over on the Harbour Bridge. They get blown into the struts and barriers. This is much less likely on the Upper Harbour bridge as the bridge deck is much wider and the barriers are offset from the lanes.
– The struts themselves funnel wind https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/04/wind-that-blew-trucks-over-was-sped-up-by-auckland-harbour-bridge-s-design-scientists-say.html
It’s not that there is less wind affecting the Upper Harbour Bridge, it’s that the same amount of wind affects it less.
So you are now saying that wind is a problem on the Auckland HB.
Of course the wind is irrelevant because any cycle path is going to have high barriers that stop jumpers. This will be the case if it’s a lane on the existing bridge or the new vanity project. At worst, the wind will make it almost impossible to ride into and cyclist will have to be very careful of cross winds and being blown into other users.
In any case, the BCR for this bridge is 0.4 – 0.6 and I think you will soon find out that the Government has given up on it.
A poor BCR hasn’t stood in the way of projects in the past.
“BCR for this bridge is 0.4 – 0.6”
Sounds like a stellar result compared to other projects that get a tick to commence.
It’s ok, its a well known fact around the internet that Daniel knows EVERYTHING.
No need to be rude Joe.
If you think 780 million is a good way to spend money on one cycling route then ok, that’s your opinion.
However it is not a widely shared opinion and because of that, prepare yourself for the disappointment of finding out it is not going to happen.
This announcement did the near impossible. It made Seymour and Collins sound sensible.
“If you think 780 million is a good way to spend money on one cycling route then ok, that’s your opinion.”
Luckily its not one route but “a critical link in the overall network, providing Aucklanders with choice in getting between the North Shore and the isthmus, through and around Auckland and proving the wider network with resilience”*
*paraphrasing WK press releases on billion dollar roads. I figure it works for those boondoggles, it can work for this one…
That’s a nice way to push back at the road loving WK
Let’s just walk back to my original point, why don’t they build a cycle path underneath the center lanes (where the work access pathway is) and then hand over one lane when the AWHC is completed.
This would be much cheaper than building a separate bridge for cyclists and it could be done much faster.
The only downside is that for a few years the pathway doesn’t have a view. But it’s supposed to be a transport link, not a tourist attraction.
I think access for the active (cycling/e-scooters/skateboards, walkers/runners) modes is but one consideration.
Wider plans around emissions, central city congestion, reducing Vkts etc also have to come into the mix. All roads (excuse the pun) lead to taking one lane of the bridge.
All other solutions seem to start with the premise that there should be no impact whatsoever on the private vehicles using that route. I think that is entirely misplaced given the other plans and goals.
You make a good point about mode shift being part of the solution to NZ meeting it’s GHG emission targets. The Climate Change Commission final report and the Green Paper on transport emissions ‘pathways to net zero’ both talk about this.
However, those reports also predict vehicle growth in Auckland and that is why the Government is introducing the Febate now.
The Green Paper also specifically mentions that active mode shift on cycling requires a connected network. Whilst spending 780m will connect the lower North Shore to the CBD (anyone north of Glenfield would use the UHB), it does nothing to connect the rest of Auckland.
I think it’s obvious to most people that 780m would do a lot more for Cycling and encouraging active mode shift, if that was spent on multiple first class cycle paths across the rest of Auckland.
The Woods vanity project is great for the elite of takapuna to catch up with their elite Lycra friends in Herne Bay, but it does nothing to make cycling safer and more attractive for school children in Howick or airport workers in Mangere.
I’m saying that wind is a problem for trucks on the narrow centre span of the Harbour Bridge. It isn’t a problem for cycling on a wide cycleway near to the Harbour bridge. a headwind is an inconvenience. It’s an incovenience in the Netherlands too, but people still chose to cycle there.
I wouldn’t paint Wood as a saviour yet. Twyford was also promising great things and we all know how it ended. I haven’t seen any major project started under Wood yet. Has no points in my book. Not yet
He binned Mill road, that’s a win right there.