A proposed cycleway through Northcote’s Queen St is dividing residents.
Auckland Transport says their 5.2 kilometre Northcote Safe Cycle Route will encourage more cycling.
But Auckland Transport’s plans would remove off-street parking from significant portions of the route between Northcote Point and Smales Farm, including Queen St.
Queen St resident Briar Walsh’s family of five would lose three car parks if a dedicated cycleway replaces parking on her side of the road, she says.
“It’s just the most illogical idea, there needs to be another plan,” she says.
Walsh estimates her family will face a 200 to 300 metre walk every day to find a car park “even if they’re lucky” and local businesses will suffer too.
Kaipatiki Local Board member Richard Hills says the plan, which the board supports, is out for public consultation and it is not “100 per cent clear how much parking will be taken out”.
Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman, who lives on Queen St, says he has received a “hell of a lot of correspondence from residents who have huge issues” with parking.
A recreational cyclist, Coleman rides the proposed route frequently, but says he cannot see the justification for it.
“I see very few cyclists along the route and there’s nothing in the consultation document about cost,” he says.
An Auckland Transport spokeswoman says the estimated cost of the cycle route is less than $4m.
Coleman believes the cycleway is a “trojan horse” to get the Skypath’s northern landfall from the Harbour Bridge built at Northcote Point.
Birkenhead resident and Cycle Action member Steve Southall says the cycleway plan has received “generally positive feedback” but it will not please everybody.
Auckland Transport has come up with “a good design, given the constraints along the route,” he says.
“There’s insufficient road width for everyone to get a slice of the pie,” the former roading engineer admits.
Southall, a commuter biker, cites Belmont Intermediate’s 30 per cent increase in student cyclists because of the Lake Rd cycleway.
“You really have to ask ‘what is the priority for our road space, is it giving people free off-street parking, or is it getting our kids to school?’ “.
Auckland Transport is holding open day consultations, starting August 9, at the Northcote Library. Construction on the route is planned to start in late 2015.
Written by Simon Maude
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times 05 August 2014