Auckland harbour cycle and pedestrian bridge going through criticism from either side

Auckland harbour bridge

2021-06-05 00:34:52

A biking advocate says constructing a whole bridge from the bottom up – at a value of a minimum of $780 million – is completely pointless when cyclists and walkers may simply have a lane on the prevailing Auckland harbour bridge.

And a trucking chief says the priorities are backwards – a brand new harbour crossing for autos ought to be first, not a number of cyclists.

Auckland harbour bridge

The present Auckland harbour bridge.
Photograph: Unsplash / Daniel Wang

Bevan Woodward, a biking campaigner who has clashed with Waka Kotahi – the New Zealand Transport Company – up to now, was questioning why the federal government had simply dedicated to spending near a billion {dollars} with out even attempting an apparent various.

“That’s to take the westernmost lane for strolling and biking. Do it initially as a trial to see if it really works. We all know it is labored many instances abroad. Let’s strive it out – if it really works, then that ought to be the answer,” Woodward mentioned.

Minister of Transport Michael Wooden admitted at the moment the bridge itself was not a visitors choke level.

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Minister of Transport Michael Wooden.
Photograph: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Woodward mentioned that admission and abroad expertise confirmed taking a lane away wouldn’t grind the town to a halt.

“There’s been many circumstances together with within the States the place they’ve taken a lane of the bridge and given it to strolling and biking, and predictions of visitors armageddon haven’t eventuated in any respect.

“The truth is the alternative occurs – when individuals suppose there’s going to be an issue with visitors, they alter their plans.”

These plans may embrace carpooling, taking public transport, or lively transport like biking.

The federal government anticipated about 5000 individuals to make use of the brand new bridge per day initially when accomplished – which was anticipated to be in 5 to 6 years’ time.

At the very least 180,000 individuals per day use the prevailing bridge at present.

Nationwide Chief Judith Collins mentioned the bridge wouldn’t get uptake.

“How many individuals are severely going to be taking their youngsters to highschool, the netball workforce to sports activities, throughout a cycleway? Is that this actually reasonable? No it is not,” Collins mentioned.

Street Transport Discussion board chief govt Nick Leggett was in favour of extra biking funding, however mentioned it shouldn’t be prioritised over autos.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett

Nick Leggett.
Photograph: RNZ/ Tom Kitchin

“Let’s get a brand new Auckland Harbour Bridge the place we will get buses and vans prioritised and use the prevailing bridge for biking and strolling.”

He reckoned the proposal was an arrogance challenge.

“It is actually an ideological seize to spend $700m, which must be paid for by all New Zealanders, on one thing that will likely be utilized by so few individuals and can add little or no to the Auckland transport community,” Leggett mentioned.

After almost 20 years of campaigning for one thing comparable nonetheless, many cyclists have been overjoyed.

Bike owner and concrete designer Emma McInnes mentioned the bridge can be used for commuting and for recreation.

“I believe we’re underestimating the truth that individuals will use it only for the enjoyment of with the ability to stroll over the water, to cease in the course of the bridge, take pictures, to go over on a jog within the morning, stroll their canine, take their youngsters over… I believe persons are underestimating how common a bridge like that might be.”

Longtime Bike Auckland campaigner Barbara Cuthbert remained slightly jaded from the federal government’s lack of supply after they introduced a strolling and biking path in 2019.

“They’ve carried out this earlier than, they have been down this monitor, they produced some beautiful graphics and a few massive value tags of what they have been going to do for strolling and biking. Two years later, after they’d really carried out slightly little bit of design work, they mentioned ‘no, we won’t do it’.”

It was not only one harbour crossing dedicated to by the federal government at the moment. Wooden additionally mentioned work was persevering with on one other crossing, probably beneath the Waitematā Harbour, which would come with public transport.

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Supply by [earlynews24.com]