Today the Waitemata Local Board are being asked by Auckland Transport to endorse starting construction on two of the three inner west improvement projects that were due to start construction last year, but that Auckland Transport paused following the council elections despite strong community support – with the exception of some very vocal opponents. AT also want endorsement for further pausing the third  that helps link the other two together.

Here’s some of the executive summary:

  1. Improvements to cycling, walking and bus infrastructure along the following routes have been developed under the Urban Cycleway Programme:
    • Point Chevalier to Westmere from Great North Road to West End Road via Point Chevalier Road, Meola Rd and Garnet Rd;
    • Great North Road between Karangahape Rd and Crummer Road/Grey Lynn Library
    • Waitematā Safer Routes including Surrey Crescent-Old Mill Road-Garnet Road (to Meola Rd); and, Richmond Road (from Surrey Crescent to Cox’s Bay Reserve path)
  2. Work on these projects were paused during 2020 following the Covid-19 emergency budget. These projects are now being reviewed in light of Council’s budget pressures and Auckland Transport is seeking feedback from the local board on whether to progress the projects to construction phase.
  3. The projects started in 2016 and public consultation was held in 2017 and 2019. A high level of local support was expressed in the formal consultation exercises, with changes to the project designs to address issues raised. A post-covid check-in was undertaken with the public in 2022. Over fifty letters of support were received from within the community and wider stakeholders, and five letters of opposition asking for schemes to be paused.

Fifty letters in support and only six opposed shows pretty clear support given most responses to projects like these are from naysayers.

While the most recent timeline had these projects starting late last year, these projects were originally meant to be completed in 2018 as part of the National government’s Urban Cycleway Programme but AT put them on hold and years long review following opposition from some of the same people still opposing it now.


That the Waitematā Local Board:

a) endorse the construction of the cycling, walking and bus improvements along Point Chevalier Road, Meola Road and Garnet Rd (between Meola Rd and West End Rd)

b) endorse the construction of road safety, cycling, walking and bus lane and bus stop improvements along Great North Road (between Crummer Road and Karangahape Road)

c) endorse the pause in construction of cycle facilities and pedestrian crossing improvements along Richmond Road (between Cox’s Bay Reserve entrance and Surrey Crescent) and Surrey Crescent, Old Mill Road and Garnet Road (south of Meola Rd).

One of the reasons that AT paused the projects last year was a “Pause for instruction from new politicians“. As we covered in our roundup on Friday, Councillor Mike Lee – who also sits on the AT Board – appears to have reversed his position on at least one of the Inner West streetscape upgrades, according to a Facebook post last week.

The post now appears to have been removed. But it signals a welcome shift from his October “taihoa” which called for a moratorium on projects (Point Chevalier to Westmere, the two remaining Waitemata Safe Routes, and Great North Road) that were on the verge of delivery.

Oddly, AT’s briefing recommends proceeding with Great North Road, but pausing the Waitemata Safe Routes in the middle as the work isn’t currently co-funded by Waka Kotahi – even though they were in the original Urban Cycleways Programme, and are in the RLTP and ATAP.

AT should go back to Waka Kotahi and request funding, and if they’re being difficult, they should make that public, just like they did about Puhinui Station a few years ago, especially as these projects are completely in light with council and government priority, they’re shovel ready and have community support.

Our friends over at Bike Auckland have just published a letter along with 38 organisations (including us) calling for these projects to be delivered

Tēnā kōrua,

Bike Auckland is one of 38 organisations who are today issuing a public call for Auckland Transport to urgently deliver the long overdue inner west street improvements, being the Great North Road improvements, the Waitematā Safer Routes (also known as the Grey Lynn and Westmere improvements), and the Point Chevalier to Westmere improvements.

Bike Auckland previously wrote to Auckland Transport on 18 November 2022 expressing our strongest support for Auckland Transport to continue with the projects as planned. We are aware that many other organisations and individuals have also written, and that the correspondence has overwhelmingly supported the projects.

The organisations joining today’s call include (among others):

  • All six major schools along the routes, being Newton Central School, Grey Lynn School, Westmere School, Western Springs College, Pasadena Intermediate School and Point Chevalier School, who last year had a combined roll of over 3,700 students;
  • The Grey Lynn Residents Association, the Auckland City Centre Residents’ Group and several community groups in the project areas;
  • The Ponsonby Business Association and the Karangahape Road Business Association, who together represent over 1,000 businesses and property owners;
  • The Auckland Regional Public Health Service, OraTaiao: the NZ Climate & Health Council and Sport Waitākere; and
  • A range of advocacy groups, including the Campaign for Better Transport, Living Streets Aotearoa, Brake Aotearoa New Zealand, Generation Zero, the Coalition for More Homes and Bike Auckland.

The Mayor’s letter of expectation directs Auckland Transport to “deeply understand and respond to what matters most to Aucklanders in transport”. The message from the community has been loud and clear: the inner west projects have unprecedented community support. The projects have been delayed far too long, and they must now be urgently delivered. If Auckland Transport does not proceed, it will be acting contrary to the wishes of the community.

We are alarmed at Auckland Transport’s recent suggestion that it is now seeking to pause or descope the Waitematā Safer Routes project. The inner west projects form a connected network, and the Waitematā Safer Routes are a vital link between the adjoining projects. Dropping the middle project would mean network benefits were lost, and the schools and communities of the inner west would be left disconnected.

The projects are shovel-ready with significant but time-limited co-funding, and there is no good reason for any of them not to proceed. Delaying or descoping them would be utterly irresponsible in the face of overwhelming community support, Auckland Transport’s responsibility to reduce transport emissions and improve road safety, and the extraordinary delays the projects have already faced. If Auckland Transport wishes to confirm government co-funding for the Waitematā Safer Routes, it must do so urgently. It cannot exploit its own failure to seek co-funding as an excuse for non-delivery.

We look forward to your urgent confirmation that construction of all three projects will proceed as planned.

Your sincerely,

Tony Mitchell
Bike Auckland

Hopefully today the local board pushes for all projects to start as soon as possible.


Not only have AT departed from their own principles, they now also disappointed all the local Principals, which surely represent a significant and important part of the local community:

Inner West schools letter

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  1. Wow. ALL the schools.

    Could this be because those charged with care of our most vulnerable lives know what a difference safer streets make?

    Versus what? Who can really tell? An angry determination that streets must never change? Cos, why? By a handful cranks who claim they they alone are the community.

    1. Versus misconceptions that:
      – children should never be out by themselves until they are 12. Or maybe it was 14. Either way it’s not in line with the evidence, nor vaguely caring. This position means they claim we don’t need to make child-friendly streets because children should always be being very closely supervised. (GB)
      – parents “aren’t worried about traffic danger”. Apparently we’re only worried about stranger danger. When this was said (shouted/ranted) at a meeting, all parents in the room strongly denied it and mocked it… and again, it’s not vaguely in line with the evidence which shows that parents’ concerns are overwhelmingly about the traffic danger. (LP)
      – it’ll take 30 years to get the bus network sorted properly. Only after that is it worth setting up a cycle network. (GB)

      These ideas are fringe and hateful. I pity the AT staff who need to deal with these people. But AT has slipped behind other cities in NZ, which is a pretty low bar, because they’ve allowed these people to influence their programme delivery. This has been a travesty of democracy and the Board must act, scrutinising whether the CEO has acted according to his responsibilities.

      1. This valuable network being stopped by a few local loudmouths is shameful. Both AT and Council need to lift their game on what consultation means – and does not mean.

        1. I’m sure Heidi has her reasons. They strike me as the sort of folk who google their own names on the daily.

  2. I’ll ask it again, why the gap through the Grey Lynn shops?? This will be such a big deterrent for cyclists, especially as those two intersections are quite gnarly.

    1. Because AT don’t use opportunities for demonstration of the benefits of intersection diets. I have heard an AT safety planner actually say that they can’t do safety stuff because business owners wouldn’t like it, and have heard an AT safety engineer say they can’t do safety stuff because drivers wouldn’t like it. And this was in a room where AT was showing the huge public support for change.

      How the AT ELT control even their safety staff to the point that they will (often whilst blushing) elevate the mistaken views of business owners and drivers over the needs of children and the benefits to the entire transport system, is a question I have never had an answer to.

      1. These decision makers have built their careers on expanding roads and car lanes.
        It is disheartening to see them prioritise their outdated beliefs over the demands for well-being of that their communities are seeking. Its plainly arrogant that they think they know better than the community they serve.

    2. Because AT hate the concept of bike infrastructure.

      Bond Street, Ponsonby strode and heap of others need connecting also. This is tiny wee slice of Auckland and they are doing everything possible to keep Auckland shit to bike around.

    3. Because AT need to get these three projects across the line (approved for construction) so that discussion and design for the Grey Lynn shops section can go ahead. Business owners will want confidence that the benefits of change there can be realised, by the improved safety and accessibility of these three projects. Just waiting to get started on the fourth project.

      1. And families will want confidence that their children and teens can get through the intersection safely. What you’re saying is that AT departs from official safety policy and evidence in order to favour businesses. Yes, I believe that’s what we’re seeing.

        1. No, AT just takes the time to show businesses what a safe, connected network looks like and why they should want one.

        2. ‘No, AT just takes the time to show businesses what a safe, connected network looks like and why they should want one.’

          Massive lol. Be surprised if any of the businesses ‘affected’ are even still around from the original 2016 consultation. You’re not wrong though, they definitely ‘take the time’

  3. Half the problem is there is never any progress on this stuff so people get used to the status quo regardless of whether it is good or bad. And then more consultation, costs increase, etc..

    Just get on and do it, and in six months’ time no one will even remember the opposition or care about the changes, they’ll be complaining about the next thing

  4. I’m annoyed this is taking so long to get built. How much money is being wasted going around in circles. This was shovel ready when covid shook the economy. It should have been built. I’d like the names of those responsible for pausing it.

  5. I hope the AT Board are going to finally wake up to what has been going on here.

    AT should never pause projects on the basis of politics – the “change of direction” needed to have been given to them via official process. And it was absolutely possible to respond respectfully to the mayor’s initial letter, and to the LoE, without doing a slash and burn on progressive projects. The mayor wanted more cost efficiency – and don’t we all!

    If spending needs to be trimmed, AT’s only responsible path was to scrutinise programmes and projects that are least aligned with official policy. Instead of pausing these well-aligned projects, their job was to highlight the bad projects, eg:

    Glenvar Rd / East Coast Rd: A project that’s slipping in extra traffic lanes while trimming footpaths from 1.8m down to 1.5m in places! The feedback from the public was that footpaths shouldn’t be this small, and that they should be adding cycle lanes. AT’s response was to reply, erroneously, that cycle lanes would cost too much. They couldn’t – when asked – back it up with any evidence. Cycle lanes on this corridor will **now** cost too much because the corridor will require road widening if they wish to keep all the traffic lanes. Cycle lanes instead of adding an extra traffic lane, however, would be cheap.

    This belligerence and poor technical understanding is what the AT Board need to start acting on.

    Another project they should’ve scrutinised is Airport to Botany, which can be done cheaply within that enormous road corridor. But AT still uses predict and provide planning, which is debunked and in disrepute. Even the money for unnecessary corridor protection legal work could be diverted to delivering projects on the ground.

    These are just two of many.

    But AT loves to make the question all about yes or no on the good projects, instead of taking a hit on their MOAR roads stuff. The Board should be ashamed that they have allowed this to go on so long.

    1. And the Mayor and Councillors should have stepped in last term and held the AT Board to account for failing to do its job. Now look what we have ended up with on that front.

      1. Can we get cycling infrastructure in the areas that actually need it…I.e. the areas targeted for Intensification where their are clear social and economic reasons for offering affordable and safe transport solutions. More “green” infrastructure for the “haves” of the inner west and their expensive E bikes prioritised over the needs of other neighbourhoods will need a clear economic argument other than providing publicly funded private wealth increases through property value uplift. We need an evidence based and equitable plan prioritising projects for the whole city, south, west and central. Without that over view how can this project be supported. Can we get grants for e bikes while we at it? Thanks.

        1. Please don’t fall for the divide and conquer rubbish. There is plenty of money for all areas to get quality cycle infrastructure. What there is not money for is the road widening and “intersection improvements” (which almost always means intersection widening).

          Mode inequity is huge. Geographical inequity can only be reduced through addressing mode inequity – because it is the road widening that is sucking the money out of the system.

          Also, the best pathway to getting more cycle infrastructure to all areas of Auckland is to make sure these projects happen and AT starts getting some momentum in its delivery programme. Stopping them will make it far harder for other areas to proceed.

          The money for these projects has already been diverted once; to GI / Tamaki.

        2. Any “lets move projects from where there is opposition to where there is none” will lead to 2 key outcomes:

          – Opponents across ALL of Auckland will know that they can stop a cycle project. They just need to make loud noise. This also applies to the areas where any money is proposed to be moved to!

          – Overall investment is stalled for a few more years, because it takes so long to rescope, consult and then pause, reconsult and redesign again and again in the new areas.

          As Heidi says – these divide and conquer debates mainly help opponents of cycling. They don’t actually lead to more funding or action in currently deprived areas.

        3. Heidi and Max have that right. Other greenfield and brownfield intensification areas have their own cycle network projects, often developer-funded. Pop-up cycleways are also adding to protection of the wider network (problems with carrying those through are being ironed out). “Pause and rethink” is another way of writing “spend money to do nothing” and should be kept for projects that really are going in the wrong direction (there might be some).

    2. Can’t agree more with the need for AT to ignore politicians more. The whole point of making them a new special breed of Council Controlled Organisation created by statute that the council can’t get rid of was to allow them to do things that need to be done but are not popular with politicians who care more about the voting majority than doing the right thing.

      1. This is correct. But it also requires AT to make decisions based on evidence at all times, and not just gift vetos to random groups with strongly held but erroneous reckons. AT has to earn its independence acting with integrity at all times.

        The whole sorry story of these projects highlights AT’s weak commitment to the principle of independent evidence based decision making at all levels. How can AT demand independence when it fails again and again to do, as you put it, ‘the right thing’.

        Yes it’s tough, but when you’re on the side of the evidence, both technically (the changes will improve safety significantly plus other beneficial outcomes), and in terms of community support (two rounds of consultation with extremely clear outcomes in favour of the work), it is essential that the technical body, if it wishes to gain respect and authority, stands by this evidence in the face of whatever angry opposition it gets.

        Whether it’s from politicians, from shopkeepers, or from random cranks.

        AT keep choosing to fold in the face of this kind of opposition, so what is it actually for? If it is to just take orders from Lee or Brown or whoever else has strongly held reckons or knows and likes a particular shop owner, it my as well pack up and be a Council department executing directives from above, or whoever yells loudest?

      2. Part of the solution is to get the majority to favour active means of travel and for AT to recognise this, and also for AT to believe that active means of travel should be prioritised. AT’s key managers seem to be against cycleways, and key local government politicians have been, at best, ambivalent about prioritising cycleways in the face of opposition. Currently both AT’s management and the mayor are against cycleways. So even if they started ignoring politicians (unlikely) you still wouldn’t end up with more cycleways very quickly.

  6. Re blocked drains. Years ago there were trucks with sturdy brushes that swept the sides of the roads and gathered up the very things blocking the drains. The leaves, branches and silt have not gone away but the sweepers have! To our cost the councils have saved the costs of sweepers but have now reaped the cost of shortsightedness. Now of course we allow homes to be built with no garages and no off road parking so I guess the sweepers could not do the job -shortsightedness? In Florence one designated night a week from 7 pm all vehicles must be off the side of the road – so the roads can be swept! Guess how often Florence floods? Is it time to “clean up our streets”

    1. Actually, Florence has had some monster floods over the years – the river Arno runs through it, and 101 people died in a flood on 4 Nov 1966.

    2. Garages and off-street parking are part of the problem. Using land for car infrastructure spreads homes and amenities apart, increases car ownership, induces driving, worsens safety for walking and cycling, creates sprawl, and reduces green infrastructure.

      1. So the catchpit opposite me serves a huge catchment. It regularly fills up with silt, rubbish, leaves, gravel, etc. It cannot be cleaned out with a broom. Nor with a shovel. Even if it wasn’t just around a blind corner that makes it a dangerous place to stand, let alone lie down in the road, it simply can’t be done. It’s a really large space, with multiple screens. It requires a large specialist truck to come and spend 15 minutes jetting water in and sucking it out through a big vaccuum pipe. It is on Waiheke Island. There is no specialist truck kept on Waiheke, so to clean it out, Auckland Transport gets a contractor to come over on the car ferry. It’s not a very sustainable design, is it?

  7. a) You are off-topic.

    b) Yeah, sure. Flooding from a rain event that was several TIMES as strong as the previous worst cases on record ( would have been fixed by properly cleaning some drains, and building more off-street parking.

    Maybe Council needs some extra street sweepers. Maybe we should use our roads for better things than storing parked cars. But don’t kid yourself just because you can paint a tenors connection between two things. This is the result of climate change, and of us building too many houses and roads in the wrong spots and not enough density in the right spots.

  8. This/these projects should have been done yesterday. This stalling is distracting us from the fact that other areas need doing and as someone pointed out, done properly, through the Grey Lynn shops.

    1. From Pt Chev, we’re for it (or specifically the Pt Chev/Meola one). There has been copious consultation and redesigns from our consultation, and the road is getting ripped up either way for the pipes, it’s just whether we do both at once, or pay more later to do the same thing.

      The cycle lanes are nice, but the important bits are the fixing of Meola Rd (which is falling apart), crossing safety, the bus lane and improvements of the Meola Rd intersection. We’ve already got a massive safety improvement with the trees being cut down on the Meola Rd crossing (nice trees, but meant people crossing the crossing were invisible until on it, and the lady who does the road patrol got taken out there).

      Main issue with it at present is the dog park parking – but I’m sure Auckland Council will expand the carpark at some point later, and it’s something that can be dealt with later.

      1. The vexatious submitters gave Council their plan to expand the parking for dog walkers. Let’s see what gets removed last?

      2. There really should be a bus lane AM peak on Meola at least between the creeks. That would also fix the dog park parking issue as parking could be retained on the north side only off peak. There was a plan to expand the dog park parking but not by much. AT were also given plans showing how the parking could be retained but were ignored. Their response was laughable – they stood by their survey that showed only 10 cars are parked on Meola Rd so no need for any parking!
        A bus lane would improve the outer link and 101 bus times considerably in AM peak.

  9. What has happened to the parking strategy?. Remove on street parking on arterials. Concrete tim tams for safety… We need to look for the low hanging fruit… just get it done ffs!

    1. What happened to the parking strategy is that AT ignored it, and left it so long that they then convinced Council and the AT Board that it needed a refresh. The refresh is a mix of slight improvements and big steps backwards.

      The solution is giving Council and the AT Board a shake, and make them force AT to implement the current strategy, which they had absolutely no right to ignore.

    1. The whole blog is about how AT clearly *doesn’t* want to do stuff, and 7 years on still hasn’t done stuff?

      You can’t ride bikes on ghost projects.

    1. Resolutions:

      That the Waitematā Local Board:
      a) endorse the construction of the cycling, walking and bus improvements along Point Chevalier Road, Meola Road and Garnet Rd (between Meola Rd and West End Rd)
      b) endorse the construction of road safety, cycling, walking and bus lane and bus stop improvements along Great North Road (between Crummer Road and Karangahape Road)
      c) accept the pause in construction of the Waitematā Safer Routes scheme which includes cycle facilities and pedestrian crossing improvements along Richmond Road (between Cox’s Bay Reserve entrance and Surrey Crescent) and Surrey Crescent, Old Mill Road and Garnet Road (south of Meola Rd)
      d) note that any safety critical elements of the Waitematā Safer Routes scheme will be prioritised through the road safety programme
      e) whilst acknowledging the current fiscal constraints, recommend that Auckland Transport apply to Waka Kotahi for appropriate funding to facilitate the Waitematā Safer Routes scheme being advanced as soon as practicable and financially feasible
      f) note the two endorsed for construction Inner West Improvement projects are ready for construction procurement and need to start in 2023 for:
      alignment with scheduled stormwater and sewer separation work
      alignment of delivery with planned renewals work
      undergrounding of power cables
      g) recommend Auckland Transport ensure appropriate infrastructure upgrades to all utilities takes place simultaneously – dig once.
      h) note the importance of the network of routes providing safe, connected infrastructure to help alleviate pressure on parking and local roads and;
      i. request AT continue to work with the GLBA and resident association and community on concerns raised regarding on street parking, tree placement, and the urban design
      ii. request AT provide business development response during the construction
      iii. support retaining trees where possible and recommend new trees give shade.

        1. No. It’s simply one of the snags built into the tortuous pathway that any good projects have to pass. The LB’s have been supportive at each stage but AT keep finding excuses to bounce it back to them again. If the LB’s take their eye off the ball for just a moment, or waver in their understanding or support briefly as new elected members come up to speed, the projects are lost; AT will pounce on it and say they can’t proceed without local support.

          Tomorrow there’s the AELB meeting. Next there’s the AT Board meeting, and then I think some committee of Council or the Governing Body.

          This is an enormous waste of our rates – which is what Mr Fixit should be scrutinising rather than these progressive projects – but it’s also incredibly biased. BAU road widening projects don’t get this runaround. Someone needs to ask the Democracy Services team why they haven’t stepped in to point out that such modal bias is undemocratic.

        2. Thanks – I’ve been so eager to see (in particular) the GNR project go ahead, I’ve submitted in favour of it everytime there’s been public engagement, and can’t believe how long it’s taken. I’m really really hoping this calendar year I’ll see construction underway.

        3. Yes, I can see how this happens more clearly now. At least if they start the work I suspect construction won’t take too long.

  10. Serial deniers Brown and now Lee have both been forced to utter/issue statements which are at odds with their preferred thinking. In the mayor’s case,no doubt he,
    ” needed to take advice on the matter”,thank you Desley,Councillor Lee was/is astute enough on his own. His Worship sounding like a cat choking on a furball as the words came out.and Councillor Lee,thus far,only able to get the words on paper. My name is Mike and, ” l am a Warriors fan,oops climate denier “could prove to be quite cathartic, though.
    We chastise LP and GB,but at least they deserve some credit,for their fortitude in sticking to their convictions. They are no doubt,both dismayed that two of their Champions have quickly folded from their seemingly entrenched positions.
    This leaves us,however,with at least two elected officials, who are voting on projects and spending, that they do not believe in.l want to believe this is just democracy at work, but I’m sure that AT will pick up on the senior vibe at the council table,and use it to keep Auckland going nowhere.

    1. Nobody deserves any credit if they don’t change their mind when the evidence changes. That said climate change has been explained in an appalling and inept manner. Calling it a greenhouse effect was simply daft given it has little if anything in common with how a greenhouse works. As for National’s Maureen Pugh, I read in the Herald she has been struck by lightning so maybe she has an excuse for not keeping up.

    2. “We chastise LP and GB,but at least they deserve some credit,for their fortitude in sticking to their convictions.”

      There is no way they deserve any credit. In the immortal words of@dril – “you do not, under any circumstances “gotta hand it to them””

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