Monday, March 4, 2013

The Greenways Project

It's no secret that getting around South Auckland by any means other than a large SUV is dodgy: the former Manukau City Council was car-obsessed and the region is full of roads with narrow carriageways and 60kph speed limits; there's no cycle lanes to speak of; pedestrian facilities are almost non-existent in some places, especially around Manukau City; and the public transport system is cruddy. There might be a bus service but how would you know?

Shining like a small beacon in this darkness is a proposal from an outfit called the Greenways Project to put in an off-road cycleway from Otara to Point England. The project uses some existing routes and envisages the upgrading/installation of others. Spider and I think it's a brilliant idea (you can see the details on their website), especially as we'd be able to use it. And we support it for a bunch of other reasons - getting people out of cars and providing them somewhere safe to ride, helping them get some exercise, bikes don't contribute to our air pollution problem, and any plantings alongside would improve the water quality of the Tamaki Estuary, an important stop for migratory birds. And we know from the Western Cycleway and the cycleway alongside SH20 that if cycling facilities are built, they are well used and not just by the lycra-clad set.

The route covers three local board areas including Otara-Papatoetoe, Mangere-Otahuhu and Maungakiekie-Tāmaki. 

Two of these boards have been supportive, and we're not sure what happened with the presentation to the Otara-Papatoetoe board.

We're uncertain about the cost, but as the city looks for ways to fund multi-billion dollar roading projects of dubious value, it is likely any cost would be relatively modest. It might mean Auckland Transport has to divert money from A Big Sexy Road but so what?

If you live in any of the wards or are just a cycling enthusiast who wants to increase the choice of off-road rides available in Auckland, write to any or all of the boards so they know they have some public support. They're finding it difficult to get money to even put basic amenities in for public transport users so there will undoubtedly need to be a bit of a push for this. Here's links to the contact details for the Boards. Get typing.