Yesterday an article in the NZ Herald suggested that the Government is having second thoughts about the Northern Pathway walking and cycling bridge across the Waitemata Harbour.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson wants the Government to bring forward work on a second Waitematā crossing, likely to be a tunnel.

It is understood that the Government is also considering scrapping its $785 million walking and cycling bridge over the harbour.

On Tuesday, Robertson would not confirm that the walking and cycling bridge would definitely be going ahead, only that the bridge was the current proposal.

When asked whether he would renege on building the bridge, Robertson said “we continually look at the network and the programme to make sure that it works well”.

“We do want to find ways of connecting the North Shore and the isthmus for people on all different modes of transport – the exact way we do that, we’ve come up with a proposal, and we’re working that through.”

Robertson would not say whether the bridge would definitely happen, however it was the current proposal.

“That is the proposal we are working on,” he said.

…..

Robertson said he wanted a solution that treated all modes fairly. The current plan for the bridge only serves two modes – walking and cycling. Private vehicles and public transport are not included.

“What I’m saying is it is a transport network – we need to make sure that all modes get a fair go.”

It would be hard to suggest that private vehicles haven’t had a “fair go”, they’ve had dedicated crossing to use for 60+ years. It’s also interesting to consider that comment in relation to so many other roads and projects around where particularly cycling but also walking and public transport get ignored because it might require the removal of a single carpark.

A piece from Newshub later highlighted that public support for the Northern Pathway is very low, with most people saying they do not support the project in its current form.

The latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll asked: Do you think the Government should spend $785 million on a cycle bridge?

A resounding 81.7 percent said no, while just 11.9 percent said yes. That goes for Labour voters too – 75.5 percent are opposed.

And it’s not just Labour voters – even Labour ministers think it’s daft.

The most interesting comments of the ministers interviewed was Chris Hipkins

“In any Government decision-making process there will be people who agree with something and not with others things,” said Chris Hipkins.

Cyclists protesting to have bridge lanes from the city to the North Shore need not fret – they will get something. It’s just the separate bridge looking shaky.

In many ways it’s not surprising people don’t support the project, not only is it expensive, it came somewhat out of the blue compared to previous discussions and the government have made very little attempt to try and defend or explain the rationale behind it. We’ve seen a similar issue with the Feebate scheme.

A large part of the problem is the Northern Pathway increased in cost significantly after Waka Kotahi realised they could not attach it to the existing harbour bridge – contrary to what they had been saying over the past few years. This was alongside massive cost blowouts on other parts of the NZ Upgrade Programme, like the Otaki to North of Levin project that increased in cost by $700 million, and the Mill Road project that had blown out in cost by billions – eventually resulting in it being completely cancelled. It was notable that the government let the Northern Pathway bear the brunt of the attention while there was barely any mention of the blowouts on those other projects.

As I mentioned back in June, I was actually quite surprised the government agreed to spend so much on a single walking and cycling project – especially when other options like reallocating a lane of traffic or building a ‘multi-modal bridge’ that also includes rapid transit seem so obviously better. At the time of announcing the changes to the NZ Upgrade Programme, Minister of Transport Michael Wood seemed to suggest that multi-modal options had been looked at, but oddly discounted due to their cost:

Work is also being done on the next Waitematā harbour crossing and how public transport options can be improved.

Initial work will include improvements to the North Shore busway and services across the harbour in the next few years.

The preferred option for public transport in the long-term is a tunnel, Wood said, so that obviously would not be a suitable option for cyclists and walkers.

“The most important thing that we can do [for public transport options] is to make improvements to the North Shore busway at the approaches to the bridge. The chokepoint for public transport isn’t actually getting across the bridge – it’s making sure that we have adequate access to the North Shore busway either side of the bridge…”

If a public transport option had been added to the bridge announced today it would have added $1 billion to the costs.

A recently released Ministerial briefing paper from Waka Kotahi sheds some more light on this. In it they admit their advice on the Northern Pathway “focuses on the most efficient way of providing a walking and cycling connection across the harbour“. In other words, they focused on just how to deliver a walking and cycling option so options like a multi-modal bridge were discounted because they made the cost and scope larger.

About a combined PT and active bridge they say:

This solution does not include a public transport lane, due to the significant additional investment that would be required on either side of the proposed structure to allow for the appropriate connections. Waka Kotahi estimates an additional investment of circa $1 billion (in addition to the new bridge) would be required for the work on either side of the proposed structure and significant additional public transport investment in the corridor would still be required.

An attachment to the paper gives a further breakdown of the strategic assessment of the options the assessed which included things like using ferries or buses to get pedestrians and cyclists across the harbour and even included looking at a gondola option. The walking, cycling and PT bridged scored the same or better on the various metrics metrics including the benefit of providing “increased PT accessibility and segregation along entire trip length“. The only downside was it would a bit cost more and take a bit more time to plan and deliver.

That’s a total cost of around $1.9 billion which is an absolute bargain to sort the harbour crossing for at least decades. It could also be staged by allowing buses to use it initially but designing it to be ready for when it’s time to extend light rail to the North Shore. We think a great example of the kind of thing we need is our own version of the Tilikum Crossing in Portland.

Waka Kotahi have previously admitted the addition of the Northern Busway and the shift of many people to buses pushed back the need for another road crossing by decades. Building a PT and active mode bridge would push that road crossing back even further. It’s no wonder the Waka Kotahi managers who are so keen on a road tunnel didn’t want to push this option.

Notably the paper gives some details on the cost of that road crossing too:

While this is a significant cost, when considered in the context of the wider investment required for this corridor into the future, i.e. the Additional Waitematā Harbour Crossing (AWHC), which will be circa $15Bn

That is an absolutely massive figure and one only likely to keep going up. To put it in perspective, that could be enough to build up to 150km of light rail around the region – or about 5-6 major light rail lines.

If the public’s negative reaction to the Northern Pathway is forcing the government to think again about some of these wider options then in the long-run I think that could be a good thing.

Let’s just hope Waka Kotahi don’t use this as an opportunity to push the road tunnel some people in that organisation seem to have been lusting after for decades, despite multiple studies showing it’s a stupid idea costing $15 billion that makes congestion worse. It also means Waka Kotahi need to get on with ‘liberating a lane‘ otherwise it will be at least another decade before we can finally walk or cycle across the harbour.

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93 comments

    1. It was a cynical move from the start. They weren’t getting any traction with any of the options, so they put forward something silly in order to make their real, later proposal seem more reasonable.

  1. I believe a gondola is actually the best option for walking cycling whilst the wait for a second crossing is considered. A gondola is beneficial for multiple reasons as it would be faster and cheaper to build, terminals could be located closer to where people live/work (takapuna/Wynyard?), journey times would be reduced over the harbour (extending the reach into suburbs) and travel times reduced and less affected by weather.

    1. Good idea for single spans over a geographic impediment but with a top speed of 21kph it can’t compete with surface transport over bigger distances.
      I’m sure you’re right about the cost though, and would be neat from Wynyard to Onewa or Devonport to City, without blocking tall ships!

    2. Agree, a gondola is a lot better than nothing, and it will be nothing for a very long time. What are the disadvantages again?

      1. Any gondola is going to need at least two towers in the harbour of 50+m height. It wouldn’t be cheaper or easier to consent that a bridge.

    3. Forget crossing the harbour. I would like a Tauchgondel on Princess wharf. Check out Tom Scott on Youtube he has a great video of it on the Baltic.

      1. Oh, that is such a cool idea. But maybe not the best location. Just see a pile of rusted ONZO bikes and failed attempts at flying.
        But I guess if we wait 100 years princess wharf will be under water anyway.

    4. Gondola? I’m sure that John Cleese had something to say about gondolas… But actually – if you want one, the Emirates “Air Line” gondola in East London is probably for sale. Installed in time for the Olympics in 2012, apparently it is hardly ever used and is sitting there, swinging in the air, doing nothing much. Put in an offer for it and ship it back to NZ.

      1. Gondolas CAN be a valid PT solution, the Air line is in a poor location, doesn’t really make a meaningful connection, and is duplicating a trip easily done on rail.
        I dont know if the harbour in auckland makes any sense at all either.

        But there are places in South America that they are used somewhat extensively, and Vancouver is looking to build one. Up to a university on a small mountain, where busses regularly get stuck going up in the winter, rail is unbuildable, and its a short branch from a Sky train station. Perfect super frequent hop to a big consolidated destination from a heavy lift metro line. Seems like a great solution in that case to me.

  2. I really hope that bringing a second harbour crossing forward doesn’t come at the expense of more important projects like light rail to Mangere and the Northwest. The peak of construction spending on major projects like City Rail Link and Central Interceptor hitting in the mid ’20s is already straining council finances to the point that they’ve had to delay the delivery of other important projects like the next stages of the Eastern Busway. Yes central government isn’t borrowing constrained in the same way but many of our politicians (and the bureaucrats advising them) still seem to subscribe to neoliberal ideas from the ’80s.

    1. Central interceptor is funded by Watercare. It doesn’t affect the council finances.
      The CRL opens in 2024, with spending likely ramping down prior to a testing/commissioning phase.
      The additional harbour crossing will likely be 100% government funded, i.e. they took over the cycle bridge and are responsible for state highways.
      Strained council finances have other causes.

      1. Still, the CRL being 50-50 with council / central govt is totally unfair. That another billion or 2 that shouldn’t be on the councils books.
        Covid seems like its the one that has set back all the carefully laid plans though.

      2. Yes CI is fully funded by Watercare. However Watercare is fully owned by Auckland Council so Watercare’s financial obligations (incl. debt) are part of Auckland Council’s financial obligations (incl. debt). Since Auckland Council’s spending is constrained by their debt limits then any additional debt that Watercare takes on is debt that Auckland Council can’t take on to spend on other things.

        Finishing CRL by 2024 will involve a mad scramble right up to the finish line. The rail system is only a small part of the project. Testing/commissioning will likely be happening in parallel with finishing the station construction and fitout. And contractors only get paid after doing packages of work so there is a lag between peak work activity and peak spending.

        Yes any additional harbour crossings should be entirely government funded but anything that messes with ATAP (the agreed upon order of transport projects including both NZTA and AT) could have follow-on impacts on council funded projects.

  3. A Tilikum Crossing would be ideal. With 23m clearance a lot of recreational idiots could still get there craft under it. The current bridge has 43m to allow for a port that will never be built for vessels that don’t carry containers. Why the hell would we ever do that again?

    1. It seems that WK think that a seperate bridge can only be consented if it perfectly matches the existing bridges silhouette from the viewpoints of their renders.

      I’d love to know where they got that idea. Cities build new bridges all the time.

      1. Isnt the problem the minimum height requirement of the span for shipping and the the design pretty much flows from that?

    2. How much fuel has been used in 50 years to climb those extra 20m?
      Less cost of barging the sugar or moving the sugar works.

      1. The problem is is uses a lot of energy to lift 160,000 vehicles per day up the extra 20m but they all come down again. The vehicle operating cost saving of reducing a 5% grade to a 3% is only around 1.2 cents per vehicle.km. (using urban arterial vehicle mix). If the grade is 1km then that is only $2035 per day or $550,000 per year (assuming 270 days). Which discounts to $11million in 40 years.

      2. I would be interested in seeing your calculations re either barging sugar to Chelsea or relocating the sugar refinery. To help you get started its approximately 30kt every 6 weeks or so.
        Perhaps you may also want to do a similar exercise for the Defence Armament Depot at Kauri Point.

  4. Actually makes a degree of sense and it could then be extended over time instead of light rail into the suburbs and out the the airport etc etc.

  5. Actually makes a degree of sense Daniel, and it could then be extended over time instead of light rail into the suburbs and out the the airport etc etc.

  6. Somewhere lodged in Waka Kotahi’s bureaucracy is a commitment to car traffic efficiency so great that it seems logical to them to spend $700m to avoid reducing the number of lanes on the bridge.

    If common sense prevailed, work would begin immediately on planning to re-allocate the western lane to cycling and walking, and the longer term plan would be for a multi-modal walking / cycling / public transit bridge

    1. The moment a lane goes from the harbour bridge to cyclists, who are already unloved, to be polite, traffic holdups are guaranteed. And if getting around Auckland isn’t already bad enough, losing a lane permanently would absolutely throw napalm on to that fire.

      The simple reason is the bridge is a pinch point at peak hours both directions and cars are not going to be abandoned as a result of the ability to bike over it. Yesterday being an especially poignant example of the hazards.

      Our current government may be entirely useless at delivering on their promises but these turkey’s won’t be voting for an early Christmas weathering a backlash from angry commuters.

      A solution like a very regular 24/7 barge system for pedestrians and cyclists would do more good than harm in in the scheme of things. And it could happen quite quickly.

      1. Nonsense, the bridge is clearly not a pinch point, it has 5 lanes at peak, which is more than the Northern motorway or Southern motorway on either side

        1. Because you clearly don’t use it with your vacant response I’ll help. How many lanes are left for the other side Kraut?

        2. Keith – you said it was a pinch point in both directions, which clearly isn’t true for the peak five lane direction.

        3. Jezza, it’s pretty basic. The bridge is a pinch point north and south depending on the peak flow.

          I hope that join the dots explanation helps you understand.

        4. I agree that the bridge is the bottleneck in the counter peak direction. However, the proposal to take a lane from cyclists still leaves three in the counter-peak direction.

          I’m not sure how you reason going from three lanes in the counter peak direction now to three lanes in the future will result in carmageddon. I can lend you a mirror if you’re still trying to figure out whose vacant though.

      2. This traffic Armageddon argument has been proven over and over that it simply doesn’t happen. Clearly communicated and with alternatives in place totally mitigate any loss of capacity. See “carmageddon” in Seattle. Sure you might make some piece of the motorway network slightly slower but that would speed up anyone downstream of that. Average traffic effects have to be counted too, the people benefiting are always more quiet than the people being inconvenienced.
        The regular unscheduled crashes cause far more “damage” than the reallocation ever could, especially in the case of a lane reallocation on the harbour bridge with the bottlenecks not being the bridge itself.

        1. Jack, traffic “armageddon” happens at peak regular as clockwork with all lanes operating. One lane out for anything and it backs up for miles. Take a lane away with delays to the barrier changer and “armageddon” simply starts earlier and worsens quicker. If you regularly use SH1 either direction at anytime, you would know. If you use SH16 joining SH1 you would know.

          Pretending it doesn’t does not make everything better and quoting an overseas city does not suddenly fix anything.

        2. Carmaggedon only happens when the disruption is temporary and unexpected. When the disruption is permanent it very quickly just becomes the new normal. People will accept it or adapt, just as we currently do with all the myriad choke points that scattered throughout the city. An excessive fear of carmaggedon should never be a reason to not do the right thing.

        3. Ian, your interpretation of carmageddon is convenient to justify taking a lane out of service for bicycles but it’s just plain wrong. I drive the motorways and if clogged stationary lanes as it per normal are not carmageddon then I don’t know what is.

          Can i invite you to the southern motorway between Mt Wellington and North of Albany at evening peak to see what I mean as just one example.

          Take out a lane for bicycles and the peak will last hours on top of hours not just 3 hours.

  7. Wow, I can’t recall anyone suggesting the bridge was just a trojan horse to lock in the requirement for a multi-billion dollar tunnel in the future.

    No one saw that coming at all.

    On a side note, can someone teach me how to do italics in comments? It would drastically improve my sarcastic tone.

    1. https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_formatting.asp

      You add opening and closing i and /i tags. The example they use is the strong or bold tags, but italics is done the same way with b replaced with i

      You just those tags around the text you want changed and it ends up like that.
      Eg the bold example they use from that first example box pasted straight in here:
      This text is bold

      1. Wait, this whole time, it’s just been html? And here I was stuck with // as in “wait, this /whole/ time”.

  8. We are in the process of spending $60 million on a walking cycling bridge from Onehunga to Mangere Bridge and its going very slowly. But it’s going be an engineering marvel when it’s finished. So perhaps that’s the problem. At the time this bridge was being approved planning was being done on the light rail project but no consideration was made to have a combined light rail active mode bridge. So now we have a scaled up version of the same problem on the Waitamata. We are really pretty hopeless at this stuff.
    I have previously supported a standalone active mode bridge I think it could be a huge tourist opportunity however that implies we are going to have a tunnel. If a tunnel isn’t the best option then we better get on with the design for a new bridge. If the Govt is turfed out in 2023 then we will have space for cars as well as public transport and active modes on any new crossing. I don’t expect even National would not include active modes in a new crossing but you never know. So time to step up decisions a decision is needed.

  9. As soon as the New Lynn – Avondale cycleway is built I’ll be able to finally ditch the car. Currently that’s December, after a decade of waiting.

    Just the idea of starting again on another major project like the Northern Pathway fills me with sadness.

    1. Yes I agree. There have been many suggestions and it is all confusing for the public. Waka Kotahi’s plan for the bridge was mischievious and most of us knew is was too expensive. AT and Waka Kotahi are very resistant to bikeways and they are intentionally delaying until a more supportive National government is elected.
      AT just won’t build a low cost LR line to the airport. They want to dig a very expensive trench that would take years to build and not restrict the cars.
      Very slowly our bikeways are improving and we can’t expect more.
      The CRL will help keep Auckland moving when it opens in 3 years.

  10. As I predicted way back before they even announced the pedestrian only bridge.

    As for these new options, the most sensible and useful option would be to build a new bridge from Wynyard to the old toll plaza and as per this post make it for PT, cycling and walking – ie 4 lanes for PT (allowing both buses and LR in future), then dedicated cycle and pedestrian lanes. This bridge would cost a fraction of what a tunnel would cost. Overrule the RMA and any other right to appeal as this is a National Significance piece of infrastructure (that alone will save years and billions).
    When the time comes for actual rail to the shore that can be done by smaller diameter tunnels.

    1. I generally agree this would be a good idea although some careful thought would have to be given on the transition into the Wynyard area – which is becoming increasingly populated. Light rail and active modes would fit perfectly into this.

    2. I get the feeling that politics inside of Waka Kotahi must be something out of a satirical show like Utopia or Yes Minister. Even the language used “a cycle bridge” is repeated ad-nauseam, as if described including “walking” makes it sounds better

      I believe it when they say that a second crossing will be ~$15b. A lot of people inside of WK would love to work on it, so must be very keen to get the government to sign up to that. Job for life and a big milestone in any career

      Seems like the option to spend another $1b for PT enhancement and a combined bridge is emerging as a winner. It makes the money quoted for the active mode bridge much more reasonable and delays a vast spend on a tunnel crossing. The tunnel would be easier if there was already electric rail at either end to avoid expensive ventilation issues

      Northern Busway is a major success, but just kind of stops short of the bridge, just south of Onewa road off-ramp.

      Looking at it on a map, it looks like having only about ~200m of additional busway heading south over Sulphur beach boat ramp and onto the new PT/Active-mode bridge to another small extension (~400m?) between Westhaven drive and the motorway through St Marys bay to join into the existing bus lane, looks very manageable heading south. Does one 1km or so of extra busway cost $1b? Original cost of the bus-lane allowing for inflation is about $50m per km.

      Heading north looks more difficult to me as there is no proper northern busway until Akoranga – something that needs to be sorted anyway.

      Wonder if anybody has thought about costing the active mode bridge just being PT south + active modes (north and south) which would free a lot of south bound PT traffic at peak times, so that maybe the 8 lanes on the bridge could be split to reduce southbound; i.e. a 6 north/2 south in the evening peak. Or take one northbound lane and make that PT (and T3?) to get a better PT outcome until busway to Akaranga is sorted.

  11. If they really do want more car lanes, the best approach in terms of bang for buck would be another parallel bridge with 2 car lanes, 2 PT lanes, and walking / cycling. For cars that would give 4 lanes northbound, 4 lanes southbound, and 2 peak lanes, definitely more than enough (and also don’t have to share with buses anymore). Ban heavy vehicles from the clipons which should extend their life indefinitely. We really don’t need to spend $15 billion here, that would be the stupidest decision ever.

  12. Would it be possible to have the tunnel for busses/trucks/light rail only? Leave the bridge for cars, and the western lanes bikes/scooters/pedestrians.

    1. It’d be possible but it doesn’t make much sense to build a tunnel that combines road vehicles and light rail, they have differing needs. The only reason to do it is so you can use the public transport tunnel as a trojan horse to add extra road lanes across the harbour.

      Road tunnel:
      – Has to connect to motorways at either end, preferably parallel to existing bridge.
      – Requires significant ventilation and fire suppression infrastructure.
      – Can have tighter curves and steeper grades than would be ideal for a rail tunnel.

      Light rail tunnel:
      – Ideally goes right through the city centre, with stations at Wynyard and Aotea.
      – Requires a lot less ventilation and fire safety infrastructure than a road tunnel.
      – Can be a much smaller diameter (ie cheaper tunneling) than a road tunnel.

      1. Post Peter Whittall’s mismanagement at Pike River all tunnels are now treated the same and they are treated as mines

        1. You’re right but this doesn’t really influence the case for/against tunnels. The cost of complying with the Mining and Quarrying Regulations 2016 are pretty marginal on top of the enormous cost of the rest of the tunnel. It’s a hassle for us contractors to be sure but it doesn’t make that much difference.

      2. Light Rail tunnel: Doesn’t actually need to be a tunnel. Pay for a regional network out of the cost differential.

  13. A while ago there was an NZTA update for a residents association, at the time the costing for the tunnel was $8 billion to the Onewa intersection, however they were concerned that Northcote Point residents might object, so suggested that it would be easier to connect to near Esmond interchange for a mere $2 billion extra.

    We could have an active mode / public transport bridge for less than that. Geez.

  14. The Ministry of Transport’s Pathway 4 in Hikina Te Kohupara says: “This pathway requires reducing nearly 40 percent of the light vehicle kilometres travelled by 2035 and over 55 percent by 2050.”

    This is the Pathway supported by Auckland Council and Auckland Transport in their submission.

    With light vehicle traffic on the bridge in 2050 being only 45% of what it was in 2016, there’ll be plenty of space for light rail there.

    So we only actually need the walking and cycling bridge. No tunnel. And not even a PT/active bridge.

    People were quick to say that $685m is better spent elsewhere in the cycling network.

    By the same argument, the extra $1.2b is better spent elsewhere in the PT network.

    1. Heidi, your logic is sound and although it seems counterintuitive to spend this much on an active modes bridge it seems the cheapest option (aside from just turning a current lane over to active modes.)

      I wonder how the proponents of extra car lanes think they will get such a proposal over the line. Surely this will come the poster child for climate change litigation? With WK saying that it will cause induced demand it would be a difficult case for climate change lawyers to loose. It should also be cheap litigation to run because all the WK background material and expert witnesses are likely to substantiate the opponent’s case.

  15. Interesting to note, Queensferry Crossing in Scotland, initial structural issues reported in 2004, 2006-2007 decision to go with a 2nd crossing. 2011 contract awarded. Construction complete in 2016. Cost approx $2.7B

    Existing bridge carries PT, Peds, Cyclist and new bridge all other traffic including freight

    An uneducated guess on the 2nd Waitemata crossing would be that pending the status of the design a 2 -3 year minimum including all consenting (2023-24?). Award 2025? Bridge operational 2030? and $5B cost?

  16. I guess if they build a new bridge it needs to be one everyone wants. from those using the bus and selling it as faster trip times and a step closer to rail and for those driving the usual congestion reductions should sell it
    And for those walking and cycling that’s an easy sell and even those that never cross the harbour a nice looking bridge like a cable stay will help sell it, most will agree bridges create desirable harbour views.

  17. Odd to see a second transport minister played for a fool by Waka Kotahi, just reinforces the embedded culture in that organization. Amazing what a drop in the polls brings out,l bet there was high fiving at W K. The rethink comes directly after it,can,t help but feel,it was fed to media,sorry minister’s, at that time. Now the real work starts at WK,getting what they really want.

  18. I cant believe that they used a 10% increase in bridge cost to justify not future proofing for rapid transit at all. Heads should roll for that.

      1. In this blog post (right above the picture of Tilikum Bridge), there is a picture describing option 5, which states (indirectly) that future proofing the bridge for PT would only increase costs by 10%

  19. You guys are too naive.

    The real plan is to cancel the road projects with no intention to delivery the cycling project.

    They just want to save some money because they spent too much on Covid.

    They talk about new harbor bridge in 2030. It is just talk. By 2030 they continue to talk about it in 2040.

    No wonder Labour Party’s support are fading.

    Wake up guys

  20. Time for a ute only lane.
    can we debate climate change – the endless bridge conversation is getting stale.
    How about light rail from the airport to Takapuna’s new carparking building.
    NZD$ is dropping and Crude Oil$ is rising – we’ll all be walking across the bridge soon.

    1. “How about light rail from the airport to Takapuna’s new carparking building.”
      Hell no, Takapuna pensioners are distressed by the shiny dots outside their brand new carpark. They certainly won’t tolerate a bright new shiny, noisy tram that impedes traffic flow.

  21. If the amount of time required to build a proper multi mode bridge is to long and if people seriously think a gondola is a good idea then I have one better.
    A small wharf at each side of the bridge with bike boat rental, a small catamaran boat with a paddlewheel belt driven from a roller wheel that any bike E bike or scooter can sit on like a car dyno and a post that locks onto the bike frame to keep it upright and a rudder up front that your front wheel sits on to steer.
    It could be setup as a fast roll on roll off and maybe $2 each way and be rented out for anyone wanting to ride around the harbour.
    I can see people having loads of fun on their work commute on there bike surfing the chippie waters battling the high winds rain and sea spray on a stormy day, hopefully no one gets run over by the ferry or needs rescuing.
    But seriously great idea.

  22. Multiple choice quiz:

    A $ 685 m for a walking and cycling bridge
    B $ 15 bn for a road tunnel or road and rail tunnels
    C $ 1.9 bn for bus (future light rail), walking and cycling bridge

    Answers:

    A Just daft, was never serious
    B Even worse, completely mental, insane
    C Great! How soon can we have it

    So… stop banging on about A, and stop banging on about taking a lane. It’s a distraction, no worse than that, because all it does is ramps up the pressure for more lanes. Forget it. C will deliver exactly what is needed.

    Just do everything you can to get C and all the benefits it brings.
    And everything you can to stop B.

    So keep talking about we can have C and $ 13 bn to spend on everything else… light rail, cycle infrastructure, housing, health, whatever.

      1. “So… stop banging on about A, and stop banging on about taking a lane.”

        Nobody was “banging on” about the expensive walk/cycle only bridge.

        And taking a lane remains necessary if you are actually serious about transport choice or climate change, because even a combined bridge with PT will take 5-10 years to consent and build. Another decade with active modes deferred, delayed, denied? No.

        1. Hmmm… that possibly be ‘who can use them to get to work’. Although I won’t begrudge anyone with that level of enthusiasm for public transport.

  23. Argh. I wasn’t aware that the latest consultancy report included looking at options like FRICKIN GONDOLAS!

    What kind of government is this that they let their bureaucrats get away with such ridiculous evasion tactics and reinvent-the-wheel-delaying. Does *anyone* think that the Nats under John Key got reports on their desk from NZTA saying “Hey, you asked for RONS motorways, but we spent half a year looking at whether the same effect could be achieved via coastal shipping”?

    They clearly never wanted a cycleway, and spent years putting the current govt who has TWICE committed to one into the current bind. How good to know that the responsible people will… keep their jobs and keep getting board positions.

  24. It is hard to ignore that 82% of people polled were against this project. There is certainly no way the Government is going to take that lightly.
    If you polled and asked if people wanted a PT bridge that was future proofed for light rail, freed up capacity on the bridge for cars, allowed for future Double Decker Electric busses (because on weight they will not be able to use the clip ons) and provided a cycling and walking path, then far less people would oppose.
    TheBigWheel is spot on here. NZTA know that, Minister Wood knows it and the only people that refuse to see reason are a small minority of cyclists.
    I have always thought this was the end game, the only fly in the ointment will be resource consent because the residents in St Marys Bay and Northcote Point will now have a second chance to oppose.

      1. All of NZ votes for the Government, not just Auckland, but I am pretty sure this was an unpopular spend in Auckland as well.
        The shame is that it could be years before anything is done. Wasn’t someone saying that because of the design change, this is no longer a consented project?

  25. All of NZ votes for the Government, not just Auckland, but I am pretty sure this was an unpopular spend in Auckland as well.
    The shame is that it could be years before anything is done. Wasn’t someone saying that because of the design change, this is no longer a consented project?

  26. “the only people that refuse to see reason are a small minority of cyclists.”

    I dont think cyclists ever asked for the new bridge, they asked for a lane on the old one. But if the poll was for the new bridge or nothing, you cant blame them for voting for it,

    1. No, “cyclists” didn’t ask for the W&C bridge, and if it was put to a vote I doubt “cyclists” would vote in favour of spending 15x the entire NZ cycling budget on it.

      *Need to define “cyclists”

  27. Someone suggested bike-ferries shuttling back and forth between the two sides of the harbour.

    I’m not sure if they even exist but it sounded like a cost-effective, interim, solution until whatever second crossing is built and capacity for active modes is catered for (old or new crossing). And as you would access via the hop card, it will keep the “they dont pay taxes” brigade satisfied.

    1. To do a reasonable headway to really work as a shuttle, say every ten or fifteen minutes from Northcote Point to downtown, you’d need two boats going back and forth across the harbour all day.

      So that’s buy two new ferries and run ten thousand service-hours a year, I wouldn’t underestimate the cost of that. You’d be looking at $50m for a three year trial.

      1. Exactly, imagine the furious reaction to that, especially as it would have to be free to be a substitute for proper infrastructure

        1. If you are saying we could run two boats back and forth all day at 16.6M a year, it will be the year 2068 before the cost equals the bridge. You have essentially made another good argument against building it.
          If it is true that a pathway cannot be connected to the existing bridge. then I guess the smart thing to do is look at a multi mode bridge vs a tunnel. Hard to say Grant Robertson is not calling this right.

      2. I’m just saying it’s not a “cost effective interim solution”. Building a bridge for $760m isn’t either, nor is a motorway tunnel for $15,000m

  28. Any planned civic movement / protesting organised against this? Of the elk that Bike Auckland organised in May? What is being done to publicise opposition? I will 110% get behind organising this action. Just loop me in.

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