A bike shed on Birkenhead wharf on Auckland’s North Shore which cost $60,000 to build only three years ago has already been removed.
Soon after it was built, a petition found it obstructed fisherman, impeded views of the harbour and there had been inadequate community consultation prior to its construction.
Constructed in June 2013, the Bike Park at Birkenhead wharf was, according to Auckland Transport, “installed to cater for people currently cycling and to encourage others to cycle to the Birkenhead Ferry Terminal.”
However, the jetty bike shed was at the bottom of a steep hill and a subsequent review found it was seriously underused.
In the following two years, the public petition and two reports by Lee Consulting and AT itself confirmed the bike shed was underused and a nuisance for residents.
In June 2015, a Community Led Working Group (CLWG), made up of representatives from various user groups, the Kaipatiki local board and AT, was established to fix the problem.
After thorough resident consultation, a report from CLWG in 2015 requested the Bike Park be removed from Birkenhead wharf.
“This report was handed in in September of last year. I went overseas for six months and, when I came back, it was still here,” CLWG representative Mere Roberts says.
“But, in the meantime, the shed was getting more and more derelict, panels were missing, and we really started to begin wondering if it was going to be left here to deteriorate.
“It’s quite a sad waste of public money due to poor decision-making and no consultation,”
AT now admits the shed was a failed piece of infrastructure but will not reveal how much it cost to dismantle and relocate.
“This bike shelter has not been used as much as anticipated so, following consultation with the local board, Auckland Transport has removed it for redeployment to another yet-to-be determined location,” an AT spokesperson says.
“Bike shelters with a similar design have been installed in Glen Innes and Albany where they are working well.
“The removal of the bike shelter is being completed in a cost-effective manner to minimise budget expenditure.”
Initially supportive of the bike shed, the Kaipatiki Local Board accepted the need for its removal some time ago.
“It hasn’t been a successful project,” board member Danielle Grant says.
“There has been a lot of community goodwill and I thank them for their patience but it’s taken too long to get to this point.”
AT will now monitor Birkenhead wharf to determine what smaller bike facilities are needed.
Article by Tom Dillane
Published 25 July 2016 > The North Shore Times – stuff.co.nz