Government funding can make bridge cycleway a reality

Auckland Green Party MP Keith Locke is urging Auckland City councillors to endorse a walkway and cycleway over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Options prepared by consultants go before Auckland City Council’s transport committee tomorrow.

“With the bridge strengthening project underway, this is our big chance for a walking and cycling connection over the harbour,” Mr Locke, the Party’s Spokesperson on Auckland Transport Issues, says.

“Councillors should grab this opportunity and not be put off by cost considerations for the walkway/cycleway, which are minor compared with most roading projects. The estimated cost – from $23.8 million to $42.7 million – pales in comparison to the $1.89 billion cost of the 4.5 kilometre Waterview Connection.

“This will be an iconic connection, that boosts public interest in cycleways and walkways at a time when people are looking for alternatives to car travel because of the high price of petrol.

“Estimating patronage is very difficult, but even the council’s estimate of around 1300 cyclists a day will help ease congestion on the bridge – and the number of cyclists will increase.

“The project will also give a much-needed boost for tourism in Auckland. Many visitors will want to ‘go up the bridge’.

“The Greens will push for 100 percent state funding of this important link, which has a national importance and is effectively part of our main state highway – SH1.

“We will ask the New Zealand Transport Agency to commit special funds for this significant project, so it does not displace the funding of other Auckland cycleways and walkways. This will help remove a major concern Auckland officials have expressed about the plan.

“This is a must-do project if we are serious about a cycle network in Auckland. It will provide the only possible cross-harbour connection for walkers and cyclists, for whom the projected tunnel under the harbour would not be appropriate.”