Construction is beginning on one of Auckland‘s biggest cycling and walking projects which will improve connections for people travelling through the Auckland suburbs of Mt Albert and Waterview.
The first sod was turned today by the Hon. Paula Bennett representing the NZ Government on the 2.5km Waterview Shared Path in the grounds of Metro Football Club in Phyllis St Reserve. Pictured with the Minister is the Mayor, Len Brown, Ernst Zoller of the NZ Transport Agency, and Margie Watson from the Albert Eden Local Board.
The ceremony was attended by representatives from the organisations collaborating to fund and deliver the path as well as members of the local community.
The Waterview Shared Path is part of the Waterview Connection tunnel and interchange project and will join with other shared paths that are part of the Government’s Urban Cycleway Programme.
The 3.5-metre-wide shared cycling and walking path follows Te Auaunga (Oakley Creek) between the Alan Wood Reserve in Mt Albert and Great North Rd in Waterview and will be a convenient way to access local parks, sports grounds, and the Unitec campus. Walkers and cyclists of all ages and abilities will easily be able to access the shared path as it includes low hill gradients to assist prams and elderly people.
The scenic route travels through an area of Mahoe forest and includes three bridges. The bridge crossing Oakley Creek, connecting Great North Road and Unitec, will be 90 metres long, a similar length to Grafton Bridge in the city centre.
The Government, through the NZ Transport Agency, together with Auckland Transport (AT) and Albert Eden Local Board have contributed funding for the project, which will be built by the Well Connected Alliance (WCA) who are also delivering the $1.4bn Waterview Connection project.
Albert Eden Local Board member Margi Watson says the shared path gives the local communities of Owairaka, Mt Albert, New Windsor, Avondale, Waterview and Pt Chevalier real transport options that aren’t about being in a car.
“It’s what these communities fought so hard to get and now it is underway, so it’s a day for celebration. It will help locals get easily and safely to open spaces. This transport project is about good local parks and transport choices, but it is also for all Aucklanders to enjoy.”
“Local landowners, community groups and Iwi have remained involved in the design of the bridges to get the best outcome possible. They will be big, but beautiful,” she says.
Creating a city with better travel options is all part of the Government and its partners’ strategy to improve the transport network, says the Transport Agency’s Auckland Regional Director, Ernst Zollner.
“Providing improved infrastructure for people to cycle is an important part of improving the transport network and helping achieve our goal of 30% more cycle trips in urban areas by 2019,” he says.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the latest start on a new shared path shows the revolution that has happened for Auckland’s transport modes.
“Five years ago we were very car- and motorway-focused, but Aucklanders kept telling me they would cycle and walk more if they felt safer and the terrain was more cycle-friendly.”
“In our first five years, investment in active transport - cycleways and walkways - is an impressive measurement of the progress we are making.”
Connecting with existing and future cycling and walking paths, Waterview Shared Path will benefit all Aucklanders, says Kathryn King, AT’s Cycling and Walking Manager.
“At its southern (Mt Albert) end, Waterview Shared Path will connect with an existing route that runs south along SH20 and with a shared path to the west that will run next to the rail line to New Lynn. At its northern (Waterview) end, it connects with the Northwestern Cycleway. Creating an environment where it is easier to get around by bike or on foot is part of our strategy to improve Auckland’s transport choices,” she says.
Through the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme, Auckland Council, the NZ Transport Agency and AT are delivering $200 million worth of cycling improvements in Auckland over the next three years.