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Locals still opposing Skypath

One of the most exciting potential projects at the moment has to be the Skypath. The project that hopefully will finally provide access across the harbour for the two key missing modes, walking and cycling.

Skypath

Since they hit the news again earlier this year, the trust behind the project have been conducting consultation with the local residents associations and local board on either side of the harbour as well as the West Haven Marina users to work through any potential issues. Almost straight away we saw both the St Marys Bay Residents Association (SMBA) and the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) started complaining so I thought I would look at how things have been progressing since then.

Before I get into the progress though, I want to highlight the comments that the chair of the SMBA – Tony Skelton (TS)- made in October last year in the Ponsonby News. You can see it here, page 20.

Tony Skelton on Cycling - Ponsony News Oct 12

 

I’m pretty sure that most of our readers would severely disagree that cycling is not a form of commuter transport. I also know that even a few of my fellow bloggers commute mostly by bike. Moving back to the Skypath, the trust have been publishing detailed minutes of their meetings with the various groups which provides a lot of information. The first set of minutes I’m going to look at is from 7 March where a meeting was held with both of the resident associations. What is interesting is that both organisations appear to started out challenging the projected patronage numbers.

NRA
Carol requested details and timeframes of consultation being undertaken by SkyPath group. NRA has significant and serious concerns, particularly around patronage and residents’ concerns regarding the feasibility of the connections at the northern end and the community impact

SMBA
Tony expressed concerns that the project is being publicly presented as a fait accompli without consultation. Tony has major concerns about the figures in the Horizon Survey and would like to challenge them, believing these make the whole business case flawed. He wanted to hear NZTA’s position.

Moving through the document I won’t cover every point but this next one did grab my attention. We know from earlier comments that one of the key concerns from the NRA was to do with parking. The trust asked about the trial parking scheme. (RR is Richard Reid who is working with the Trust)

RR: Wendy has noted entrances and exits and carparking. How is residents’ car parking scheme in St Mary’s Bay working?
TS: Resident’s Permitted Car parking scheme in St Marys Bay is brilliant, is working extremely well and will be extended. Link bus also has role to play. Residents noticed the change straight away. Business is also pleased. Good
enforcement of two hour limit for visitors. Westhaven parking is also increasingly restricted.

Next we get to one of the more interesting comments where it appears that Tony brings up similar comments as he did in the October 2012 article above. BW is Bevan Woodward who is the project director, KC is a member of the NRA.

Skypath Consultation - SMBA & NRA 1

I guess one small positive is that Tony the barges have been upgraded to ferries. This also shows that both of the residents associations really don’t want this. As the document goes on it lays out the key concerns. The issue of the Westhaven Marina Users are raised, Tony has this to say.

TS: Westhaven Marina is busy and simply cannot take more traffic. Development is planned. Westhaven Drive is a private road. Public Transport is shut out. I am making an application to have cyclists taken out of St Marys Bay Reserve. It won’t be possible to control cyclists on a 1 in 5 gradient and I can see horrific accidents happening.

Westhaven Dr appears to be an interesting situation, it is a private road however one of the later documents shows that it was purchased by the council in 2004. Does anyone know why it has not been vested to AT like the rest of the road network? But the part that shocked me the most was that he is trying to get cycling banned from a public reserve. It really makes you wonder why he hates cyclists so much. The trust also notes that the 1 in 5 gradient is wrong as it is actually 1 in 20.

A week later, the trust met with the Westhaven Users Association (WMU) as well Waterfront Auckland and the Council. The main concerns appear to how the pathway would connect with the waterfront as well as the impact on parking and traffic. The minutes seem less emotional which is not unexpected however there was this interesting note from the chair of the WMU

St Marys Bay Association may want to use the Westhaven Marina Trust document to stop SkyPath. It may be that WMU members will also ask whether the Trust document prohibits Skypath construction.
WMU’s concerns are that WMU is already accommodating a great deal of public use. More public use will put pressure on Westhaven Drive. On the other hand, development will make the area more attractive. It is currently an old fashioned marina. It could become “the place to be”

To me this really shows that the SMBA don’t really care about consultation, they simply don’t want the project full stop and are going to do everything in their power to stop it.

At a later meeting with the Waitemata local board, many of the same points raised by the SMBA were raised again however I found this answer to question by a member of the public interesting. The person asked why the NZTA won’t fund the project. Stephen Town who is the NZTA’s Regional Director for Northland and Auckland said this:

Under current policy, NZTA can’t fund SkyPath. NZTA doesn’t fund walking and cycling on motorways, and can only build new walking and cycling when there is concurrently new work to the State Highway. Examples are Victoria Park Tunnel and Waterview. In the case of the AHB, there is no new work. We have given undertaking that the $86 million strengthening project in 2010 made provision for walking and cycling. The SkyPath is a short length and would suck too much out of the NZTA walking and cycling budget.

Sounds to me like we need to get the policy changed so that the NZTA can build cycle facilities separate from other state highway works.

And the last of the meetings that I will look at is another one between the trust and the Westhaven Users Association around a month and a half ago. There are a few interesting comments:

Trevor noted that Transpower paid a substantial fee for an easement on Westhaven Drive to allow cable installation ($7million) and suggested that WMUA may say to SkyPath: we can invite you to be part of Westhaven but it will involve payment of a fee

And this, which along with a couple others suggest that within the Westhaven users group, there are plenty of differing views.

TD: Some WMUA members are opposed to SkyPath and advocate legal measures to challenge SkyPath, but others feel this would be expensive. WMUA’s view is that SkyPath will mainly benefit the more affluent suburbs at either end of the AHB

However it is the first of the comments that was particularly concerning and since then more details have emerged through an update sent out by the trust.

St Mary’s Bay Residents Association are opposed to SkyPath because the Westhaven Marina Users Association are opposed. The Westhaven Marina Users Association has suggested an annual fee of $800,000 to allow SkyPath users to pass through Westhaven Drive. Unfortunately SkyPath would not be financially viable with such a fee and we are unwilling to increase the toll paid by SkyPath users as we want to keep the amount paid by Aucklanders highly affordable. We’d appreciate your ideas on how we can resolve this one.

In the meantime we continue our consultation with St Mary’s Bay Residents Association and Northcote Residents Association, along with the residents at Stokes Point. We are making good progress with Council as we negotiate the underwrite required to fund and deliver SkyPath.

It seems to me that unfortunately we are still a long way off getting agreement from the locals on this issue but I know that the people behind Skypath are incredibly dedicated to getting this project built so hopefully they keep pushing on.

302 comments to Locals still opposing Skypath

  • Cycleway of National Significance anyone one?

  • My head is still spinning from the small barges suggestion, what? seriously? out of all the dumb things I have seen this is near the top.

    I don’t even no why it concerns St Marys Bay, I consider most of the impact will be on West Haven / West Haven Drive which they aren’t really part of.
    Shelly Beach road / Curran street are almost an extension of the motorway.

    Northcote on the other hand I agree will have some impacts and things such as parking and routes that cyclist could use, however this isn’t a road block just something that needs to be considered. There would need to be some improvements to some of the feeder roads, such as Onewa and Lake. I don’t see a lot of cyclists on Onewa Road, maybe creating a cycle lane along Hinemoa Street and Maritime Terrace instead. As having a bunch of cyclists on Onewa Road during the peak could slow down the T3 lane?

  • Brendan

    Not all us St Mary’s Bay residents oppose they SkyPath. Some of us are very much in favour of being able to walk and cycle over the harbour bridge. In fact, every single one of my neighbours I’ve spoken to is in favour of it.

    If you support the SkyPath and live in St Mary’s Bay (see http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/Boundary/BoundaryMap.aspx?id=3515202&type=au&ParentID=1000002 for map), we need you to join the SMBA by contacting with their secretary Wendy Moffett (wendymof@xtra.co.nz). Annual membership costs $20 and their next AGM is end of June/early July. Also please join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/274733862663691.

    • Yes I suspect that many locals support it, or at least don’t oppose it but aren’t being heard. I get the impression that Tony rules the association like a bit of a dictatorship.

      • Brendan

        According to SMBA financials, they only have about 70 paying households. We need more households to join the association and get our voice heard.

        • Greg N

          70 households is about 7% of the total households in that census area unit, so is a sizeable figure for a residents association, if they define the boundary the same as the Stats Dept does.

          Yes SMBA have a voice and right to object, but that should proportional to the size of both the residents and the **Auckland** population they represent.

          • TheBigWheel

            +1

            70 households do not control Auckland.. It’s not their bridge. What exactly is their problem?!

      • Matt- That is an understatement! At the last AGM he began the meeting by telling off residents for letting garden waste fall off the cliffs, like they were children. Andy from Skypath and NZTA people and everyone were there and there was noticeable giggling when he explained his barges idea.

        Someone should start a St Marys Bay RESIDENTS Association. Tony gets annoyed when people call his group SMBRA, when it is in fact SMBA. He and NZTA are very chummy though…

  • Ben

    These “residents associations” are an annoyance. While they happily claim to represent the opinions of local people I wonder how many they actually comprise: 10 or 20 perhaps, certainly no more than a 100. Certainly a tiny fraction of the local population.

    I don’t really understand why people treat with these tiny groups when they should simply be dealing with the Local Board or dealing with the local population directly.

    • Peter H

      Be very care full with demanding membership numbers.
      The Lorax was a bit of a annoying.
      People like Tony (I do not know Tony) have a very very important place in communities, and he must be properly consulted with. Even if his group only had a membership of 3.

    • Brendan

      According to the SMBA Financial Statement for year ended 31 Mar 2012 (from http://www.societies.govt.nz), membership income was $1490. Membership is $20 per household, so assuming 2.5 people per household they had a membership of approximately 186 people.

    • Ben- The Residents Associations ARE made up of local people.

      Some Associations may have their own agendas, but so do some Local Boards. All part of the Great Game…

      • The difference being that Local Boards are elected by the local people in democratic elections.

        • For sure. They don’t always do what they promise though…

        • Brendan

          Actually, the committee members of Residents Associations are also elected by the local people in democratic elections. The only requirement being that you have to pay a few bucks and care enough to turn up to the AGM.

          Perhaps the members of Residents Associations are people who care enough about local issues and want to make a different (or keep things to the same) which is why they get listened to.

          Are you a member of your local Residents Association?

          • No they are elected by the people who joined the association. So they are no more representative than the local Rotary or tennis club committee.

            I have just joined it actually in Bayswater as I have only just found out that it exists. It wasnt exactly widely promoted. I am not suggesting there is anything sinister in that but it just reinforces the point that it is a totally different thing from a Local Board – which is part of the democratic process of governing Auckland or any city.

            I mostly joined to act as a counter to NIMBYism which is alive and well on the peninsula and it appears in all resident associations. It seems to be mostly older people focussed on keeping things the same.

            Why is a residents association any more important than the local business association? In my area for example the Belmont business association (from the NZ Herald story) is all for intensification as is the Panmure business association (from the TVNZ story). I would have thought the business association would have a much better and more objective opinion on what was good for the area in an economic sense.

          • No-one implied a Residents Association is more important than a Business Association. Both should be working for an improved community no?

            Our local Business Association has improved noticeably in the last couple of years and does great work on our Main Street.The residents group I belong to maintains very strong links with them. They are OUR local shops and we want them to succeed!

            Good on you for joining you local group, different opinions and expertises are always needed

          • Yes thay are both working for an improved community – however their idea of what constitutes an improved community seem to differ widely.

            Why are business associations not being intervewed more in the media? Maybe because they dont roll out little old ladies crying about their gardens but instead talk about dry boring things like economic growth and the commercial benefits of intensification.

            Just another nail in the coffin of quality NZ journalism. Actually probably another shovel of dirt on the coffin as it is well and truly dead and buried.

  • Greg N

    Why is it that the Westhaven drive is apparently publicly owned (via by being purchased by the old ACC 7+ years ago), yet the SMBA think that the WMU is seemingly able to dictate rules for “easements” and annual payments on what is supposedly now public land? The Transpower thing was some time ago, so maybe the road was privately owned then, but not now.
    Obviously some people are still living in the past.

    And any “toll charges” is surely the Councils job (either AC as inheritor of ACC land or AT if the land has been vested with AT like the other ACC transport assets were when the super city came into law).

    If the land is publicly owner I don’t see that WMU have any overarching say on how the (now public) road is used – there may be a Trust deed that control the marina and land around it – but we are talking about a road – not the marina itself.

    If as is stated the St Marys Bay Residents Association says it opposes the Skypath because WMU does, then the best answer to that is to get WMU’s opposition addressed – either by mitigating their (WMUs) concerns, or by showing that WMU have no more legal objection right than any member of the public has, then the SMBA has to stand on its own with its objections and can’t hide behind the cloak of WMU.

    The parking issue – find it hard to understand why the residents are so bothered about parking – the Bridge walk/Bungy operation has parking down at the southern end now and there is short-term public parking all along the road leading to that area, so I can’t see hundreds of walkers or cyclists descending on the area – a few dozen maybe and not parking for hours at a time – more like 1 hour maybe.

    If the links to the rest of the waterfront south of the bridge or north of the bridge aren’t put in place, then vehicle traffic will increase as people will be forced to drive to the bridge to walk or cycle on it. I think though its better that the Skypath become part of the overall waterfront attraction, not the (only) destination.

    So that people can park elsewhere (or better yet, get PT) to the Waterfront,then walk/cycle over the bridge.

  • patrick m

    And the little issue of the “Queens Chain” guarenting everyone equal access to the waters edge? Do the WMU own this now?

    • Mike

      According to the Walking Access Commission’s excellent Walking Access Mapping System wams.org.nz, there is no public access through Westhaven Marina – no Queen’s Chain, no nothing.

  • Starnius

    “WMU is seemingly able to dictate rules for “easements” and annual payments”

    The WMU isn’t even the marina – the marina is owned by Waterfront Auckland, which is owned by Council. The WMU are an organisation of people leasing berths for their boats.

    • Brendan

      The Westhaven Marine Users Association rules can be found at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/293425/wmua.pdf

      The interesting part is:
      (2) The objects for which the association are established are:-
      (f) To manage and control all such facilities in such as manner as to be equitable to all concerned.

      Can WMUA be equitable and charge annual payments for cyclists/pedestrians while at the same time not equally charging annual payments to drivers?

  • Christopher

    Thank you for this useful summation of events to date.

  • obi

    Assuming the WMU actually do represent the marina users, which I suspect is not the case… I really can’t see why marina users would care one jot about people bicycling past the marina. Can someone explain to me why they’d care?

    • Brendan

      One of their concerns is “Westhaven roundabout is currently a busy intersection with roundabout/café/parking. If SkyPath scheme goes ahead and ends at Westhaven, this area would be very busy with cyclists in the mornings but might cope. In the evenings, the situation is worse, with yacht races creating a lot of traffic along Westhaven Drive and through the roundabout. RNZYS has 4000 members (and is one of the top 20 yacht clubs in the world). “. This sounds like something that needs to be addressed, but should not be a show stopper.

      You can read about their concerns here:

      http://www.skypath.org.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/AHBPT_Westhaven-Marina-Users-Association-Meeting-Notes.pdf

      http://www.skypath.org.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/130416_AHBPT_Westhaven-Marina-Users-Assoc-Meeting-2.pdf

      • obi

        Thanks Brendan… I’m even more confused now after reading those links. I was under the impression that the Council owned the marina, that berth holders were customers of the Council (indirectly), and assumed that the users’ association was there to lobby for the interests of its member berth holders. But the links suggest that the users’ association sees themselves as the owners. Check out…

        “suggested that WMUA may say to SkyPath: we can invite you to be part of Westhaven but it will involve payment of a fee”

        That’s like a residents’ association approving a supermarket development, and charging the supermarket chain.

        There are also references to the users’ association employing staff and being responsible for boat ramps. Is this to do with the trust they talk about? Is it possible that the Council owns the marina, but has leased it to WMUA via the trust? If so, I hope the lease payments are in line with what you’d expect for a honking great chunk of CBD-edge land.

      • Greg N

        Having read the second meeting notes, it seems that WMUA have a quandry/particular position – this is repeated here from the opening statements:

        “The Trust Deeds, which grants leases until 2029, are becoming a major focus for WMUA. Three Westhaven Trusts are involved.
        Trust Deed(s) cannot be renegotiated with Waterfront Auckland, nor become null and void
        WMUA believes it is now time to clarify the status of the Trust Deeds and of Westhaven Drive
        WMUA submission to Waterfront Auckland’s Draft Westhaven Plan will state that its legal advice is that the Trust has stewardship of Westhaven and
        this will be difficult to circumvent. Discussion on this will begin with Waterfront Auckland ”

        So, it appears that WMUA believes they have full and exclusive control over all of Westhaven including it appears the road, but has granted rights/use over the road (for money), but in essence Westhaven sees itself (legally) as a private members club who decide the rules within the existing trust deeds and enforce them as they see fit.

        I think Waterfront Auckland/AC need to sort out the legals first to clarify what WMUA can/can’t do – probably why the road is not in AT’s hands yet.

        WMUA chairman (Trevor Dunn) does appear to see a need for change and that maybe a partnership with Skypath may be better option to a legal fight or just saying no.
        Because there is a hidden/not so hidden suggestion that come 2029 – when the leases come up for renewal – AC/Waterfront Auckland may well tell them all to piss off if they don’t start playing nicely soon.

        No instant solution here, but it does seem that Skypath are trying to come up with suitable designs that work for both parties – both for their needing to capture revenue and to get Skypath users “up the hill” from ground level at Westhaven to the bridge for walkers and cyclists in a easy graded manner.

        But traffic it seems will be an issue down where the Skypath “meets the road” no matter how you do it.

        I guess the biggest fear WMUA probably have is that Skypath is wildly successful and Westhaven becomes a traffic nightmare as a result.
        Still they have to work on this issue as over time AC/Waterfron Auckland will exert more pressure to open this area up to the public more and more.
        And it will happen – so as I see it WMUA need to wake up and smell the coffee now.

        • ‘A traffic nightmare’. Do you mean Foot and cyclist traffic or do you, like Skelton, only imagine people driving to the Marina to use it.? He seems so lost to auto dependancy (‘cycling isn’t transport’) that he simply can’t picture this link merely being prt of a longer journey for walkers and cyclists.

          • If the Skypath entrance was too narrow for cars that would solve the traffic nightmare.
            Shoes and cycle tyres don’t shred road surfaces and footpaths, only autos do that.
            Cyclists and pedestrians also emit very few fumes (dependant on diet)…

            As a Grey Lynner I am supporting it in my DUP submission, as is our Residents’ Group. This is a “low hanging fruit” project that should get 90+% support.

          • Kevyn

            Greg is being realistic. The sports cyclists from Remuera will turn up in their SUVs with bike racks and expect to be able to park right at the start of the Skypath, exactly as they currently do with mountain bike trails. This is going to be a major tourist attraction just like the Sydney harbour bridge and Golden Gate bridge, it is never going to be merely part of a longer journey for walkers and cyclists. Extending the tourist tram from Britomart to Skypath is the sort of solution that makes sense (and should make Skelton apoplectic judging by the fourth quote in the post).

          • Well I will be riding there in order to ride across it. I think your analogy is poor; driving to an off road location makes sense, but why drive your road bike on a road to ride on a path?

            This claim all comes from Skelton’s announcement that ‘cycling is only for recreation’. And is therefore circular, as well as completely inaccurate. Anyway he is in no position to tell others what the purpose of their ride is, and frankly St Mary’s Bay is separated from any outcomes good or bad from this project by eight lanes of motorway so I have no idea why this idiot’s view is even relevant.

          • Greg N

            Patrick,
            I see traffic nightmare is because I imagine exactly what Kevyn describe happening, will come to pass
            - that is hordes of would be power walkers and Lycra and SUV-clad loons will turn up, with expensive trainers and/or bike in tow, on bike rack or tow bar.

            Expecting to park at Westhaven – right near the Skypath entrance – then go sprint biking or power walking on the bridge any time they so please, and all in a “get out of my way I’m so important I have to drive everywhere to my exercise locations to save time” manner.

            I myself, like you will cycle to the bridge and ride across it and down the other side (or turn around and come back the way I came if I decide to), then cycle home (via a new EMU) to home.
            I doubt I’d do the same if I was walking on bridge, e.g. if we had some visitors from out of town – we’d drive near the bridge and go walk on it.

            So my fear that too many “time pressed” folks won’t bother with the “its a single part of the journey” thing.
            No they’ll see the bridge on its own as a Urban mountain bike/walking trail/treadmill or exercycle, with a view and fresh air – and treat it as such.

            Which is all great for SkyPath as thats lots of revenue to help pay for it.

            May not be ideal for all the other folks who want to enjoy the bridge and not be in a massive traffic jam of cyclists and power walkers trying to best their personal times for the 100th time as they sprint over the bridge to the other side and back.

            Sure tourists will walk there – once the waterfront promenade is in place. But that won’t be there the day when SkyPath opens thats for sure.

            So how will the hordes get to the SkyPath?
            The same way that many folks get to the Bungy/Bridge walk now – they drive and park nearby.

            My point is that WMUA can see this happening, and they know (if they “search deep within their feelings”) this to be true.

            They need to realise that Westhaven is now owned by AC and therefore the cosy we were here first attitude they currently have from the old Auckland Harbour Board days must change – either by agreement or by having AC pull the rug out from under them. And that is the real issue these guys face.

          • Greg. Isn’t there just a huge and telling irony here: Arguing to stop a cycling and walking project because of car traffic concerns?

            This line of reasoning by boat users or whoever is just plan nuts.

            Anyway it is easy to limit driving to ride by simply restricting parking. Furthermore there is quite a bit of development about to start down there which will surely generate more traffic, unless there is an alternative plan, you know, like encouraging cycling….

          • Swan

            Sports cyclists won’t drive to Westhaven from Remuera. Most sports cyclists would be riding 50ks plus on a weekend ride, often much more. The sky path would be part of a larger ride. A loop out round the northwest back on the cycle way would probably be popular.

          • Kevyn

            Skypath is the same as the Las Vegas monorail – a tourist attraction that also functions as part of the city’s transport network. Failing to admit the need to conveniently connect it to the city hotels and Britomart is a surefire way to create a massive backlash from existing users once substantial demand for parking close to one end or the other creates an access nightmare. Similar to the consequences around malls that charge for staff parking.

            But I do agree with Patrick’s argument that this is hardly a St Mary’s Bay residents problem. Read Skelton’s bio and the real connection becomes clear.

          • Bryce P

            I’ll go and have a look to confirm, but I’m sure just about all the parking along Westhaven Drive is timed and possibly even metered which should control any perceived parking issues. If it isn’t metered then perhaps it should be. The revenue could even go to the Marina Users coffers as an incentive?

          • Other than his crazy cycling comments – he actually doesnt sound too bad. His praising of D-M Robinson must mean he is in favour of the CRL and presumably public transport in general.

          • Thanks Kevyn, just noticed I forgot to link to it in the post

        • Brendan

          The deed of trust for the Westhaven Marina Charitible trust can be found at http://www.westhavenmarinausers.org.nz/Newsletters/WMCTtr.pdf

          The interesting part is:

          3.1 Exclusively Charitable Objects and Purposes: The Trustees stand possessed of the Trust Fund on trust to pay or apply so much of the capital and income of the Trust Fund as the Trustees think fit for or towards any one or more of the following exclusively charitable objects and purposes which are declared to be the objects and purposes of the Trust, namely:
          3.1.1 Development of Westhaven: to provide access to, and to maintain, beautify and develop, Westhaven, and in particular its recreational leisure facilities, for the benefit of the public;
          3.1.16 Co-operation with Others: to co-operate with any person to advance any of the charitable objects and purposes described in this clause 3.1;

  • Andrew C

    This should have been built 15 years ago, honestly..

    • And the CRL 60 years ago. Welcome to Auckland – Where nothing changes!

    • Greg N

      This should have been on the original bloody bridge from day f**king one as was planned!
      Not some tacked on as a PPP afterthought some 55 years later.

      [Not criticising SkyPath here, just the original politicians and penny-pinchers in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's and their small mindedness].

  • This is insane, Skelton is clearly a crank, and should be ignored and, frankly laughed at. If there is a traffic problem then traffic should be restricted. Do they intend to charge every motorist, fisherman, walker?

    This opposition defies all reason. Perhaps he didn’t get a bike as a kid for Xmas or something..?

  • Funny thing is, cycling aside, the people of Northcote Point are probably the only people who would find the crossing useful as a pedestrian. They could walk to town in about 4-5km or to the restuarants at Wynyard in about 3.5km.

    No one else gets that utility (still good for cycling transport, cycling for fun, and walking/jogging for sport/entertainment etc).

  • James Isherwood

    “St Mary’s Bay Residents Association are opposed to SkyPath because the Westhaven Marina Users Association are opposed. The Westhaven Marina Users Association has suggested an annual fee of $800,000 to allow SkyPath users to pass through Westhaven”

    Perhaps the people of Beaumont Street should form an association and charge Westhaven Marina Users to pass through their road.

    Seems a bit greedy to me.

  • Suzanne Hansen

    While I fully support the freedom to air opposing views, I am afraid that with the NRA, we have a case of a minority group purporting to represent the majority of Northcote residents, while at the same time obstructing authentic debate. Worse, they are doing so in an ill-informed manner. What is more frightening, is that the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) seems to be accepted by the press and officialdom, as spoke people for the majority opinion, which they patently are not. There are many residents on Northcote Point who support the SkyPath. We are not being heard, and we are being prevented, by an obstructive organisation, from progressing the debate in an informed way.

  • I replied to the email from Andy Smith to ask for clarification if he knew what the WMUSA’s grounds were for asking for a fee. It certainly does seem like a bunch of snobby elite boat owners complaining for no particular reason.

  • NCD

    So we have both the “oh no, it will be wildly successful” critics and the “no one will use it and it will be a millstone around the council’s neck” critics.
    At least the former group has the demand analysis right.

  • TheBigWheel

    Kevyn.. all the “sports cyclists from Remuera” and other parts east that I know ride their bikes from their houses starting at stupidly early hours of the morning and would want to add a bridge ride to their routes maybe once a week, either an out and back or round to Devonport and back on a ferry at 7 am.

    This project is a winner anyway.

    I think the Government’s missed a trick here.. if you could buy shares in Skypath I think they’d be massively over-subscribed!

  • TheBigWheel

    That’ll be the very same Bryan Leyland that says things like “All the major temperature records in the world show that there’s been no substantial warming in the last 10 to 15 years. This proves that carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous man-made warming.” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/profile/comments-by.cfm?user=18292

    Yeah right.

  • SF Lauren

    I find that very strange that NZTA can’t fund a footpath next to an existing motorway. They can certainly do it on other non-motorway state highways.

    I believe the technical constraint would be they can’t do it on the motorway. Under, over or next to are all very possible.

  • Phil

    Skypath is a selfish wish of a few echo warrior cyclists that will only end up costing the taxpayers a fortune and cause no end of headaches and misery to the residents of Northcote Point, SMB and users of Westhaven Marina. Trying to sell this idea as a zero cost to tax payers is dishonest. The tax payer is 100% liable to the full costs as they are the underwriter. An underwriter has to make up any shortfall between costs and revenue so for Skypath to suggest its zero cost is complete BS. I have looked at the business model, its a joke. Students at Northcote college would have come up with a better document.
    As for impact. Greg is correct that people will drive to each end of skypath to then ride or walk. People drive to gyms every day, why would they bike to somewhere else for their powerwalk or cycle? Tourists will not be walking all the way from the CBD hotels to Northcote point AND BACK, no chance. They will expect to be taken by bus to one end, walk the bridge and be picked up by tourist bus at the other end. Tourists will not have the time or the fitness to walk both ways.
    There will also be the commuters who view Skypath as a cheap alternative to CBD parking costs. People will drive from Albany/Bays, park in Northcote Point and cycle to work as they will expect free parking on the Point.
    What about the limit of users on the path. What will these cyclists be doing while they wait angrily for their slot on the bridge? Spare a thought to the local residents and yachties who are at risk of an angry mob on their doorstep and the rubbish they will drop, noise they will make, general inconvenience made.
    The doctor who worries about accidents shouldnt be dismissed by those in the Emperors new clothes. It is a decent into the city, cyclists running late will be going too fast and sooner or later collide with a 70 year old tourist taking a breather from the walk. Who is responsible for the litigation? The tax payer who has been the underwriter? What will be the response time for a medical emergency? How are you going to medivac from a closed cycle path?
    So when you consider the traffic problems caused at both ends by cars and tourist buses, the huge financial risk to tax payers, the massive inconvenience to residents does Skypath really make sense just so Andy and a few other foreign born eco cyclists dont have to pay Fullers to cycle from the shore to the city?

    • Haha so it is either going to be:
      -a spectacular failure that no one will use and cost ratepayers. In which case it has no impacts on locals.
      -a massive success with so many people using it that it impacts on the locals (not that I think it will anyway). In which case it won’t be a financial risk to ratepayers.

      Sorry but your argument is weak and you can’t claim out will be both a success and failure at the same time. I will respond to the rest of you rant in the morning

    • Couple of points:

      “Who is responsible for the litigation?” – NZ has ACC – you cant sure for personal injury here so this is a red herring.

      “Andy and a few other foreign born eco cyclists” – I am a fourth generation NZ and I cycle to work every day. Am I allowed to have an opinion or is that not longer enough in NZ for you? What a horribly xenophobic comment.

      I hope so much that it does go ahead so that one day you will see that your NIMBYism and knee jerk reaction against anything new in this city was wrong. IMHO, your attitude is an example of everything that is wrong with Auckland and what is motivating so many young people to leave Auckland for more dynamic cities that are embracing a new way of living, not dependent on cars.

    • swan

      Phil,

      To say the taxpayer is 100% liable is technically correct but basically irrelevant to the discussion at hand. The NZ Super fund is a sovereign wealth fund tasked with investing to make the government money. So your point about the taxpayer being liable is fine but the issue is the the existence of the super fund, not the individual investments. The taxpayer is liable for the super funds investment in Z energy too, and whatever else it has invested in. If the fund managers cant justify their desicions to the board/minister they will be out on their ear. I think you have no evidence that the super fund is somehow acting outside its remit to fund the skypath. If you are such a good fund manager that you can critique the super funds investments then perhaps you should apply for the job.

      [swan reads a bit more of your comment]

      OK the above comment was on the basis you are a genuine poster. Your comments about angry mobs show you to be a hysterical troll.

  • Phil

    Matt,

    No one can predict if it will be a success or failure but it is correct to say that if you use Skypaths projections it will be a massive negative impact on the local residents. Also it is correct to say that the tax payer has 100% exposure to the full cost of the project and on going running costs and it is dishonest of Skypath to pretend otherwise.

    When you do respond, please let me know where you live because frankly, if you are not going to be inconvenienced then your opinion is biased.

    Regards,
    Phil

    • “Skypath is a selfish wish of a few echo warrior cyclists that will only end up costing the taxpayers a fortune and cause no end of headaches and misery to the residents of Northcote Point, SMB and users of Westhaven Marina.”
      Well as mentioned, if it is going to be such a failure with only a few people using it then it won’t have any impact on the local community.

      “As for impact. Greg is correct that people will drive to each end of skypath to then ride or walk. People drive to gyms every day, why would they bike to somewhere else for their powerwalk or cycle? Tourists will not be walking all the way from the CBD hotels to Northcote point AND BACK, no chance. They will expect to be taken by bus to one end, walk the bridge and be picked up by tourist bus at the other end. Tourists will not have the time or the fitness to walk both ways.”
      Who are you to say that how much time tourists will or won’t have or if they are or aren’t fit enough. They could also hire a bike and ride to the bridge along the soon to be improved Westhaven Dr (which is separate to Skypath.

      “There will also be the commuters who view Skypath as a cheap alternative to CBD parking costs. People will drive from Albany/Bays, park in Northcote Point and cycle to work as they will expect free parking on the Point.”
      This can easily be managed with parking techniques already in use in Auckland. Hell just ask the St Mary’s Bay residents.

      “What about the limit of users on the path. What will these cyclists be doing while they wait angrily for their slot on the bridge? Spare a thought to the local residents and yachties who are at risk of an angry mob on their doorstep and the rubbish they will drop, noise they will make, general inconvenience made.”
      What, are you expecting them to come and knock your door down? but earlier you were saying this would be a failure that no one would use it.

      “The doctor who worries about accidents shouldnt be dismissed by those in the Emperors new clothes. It is a decent into the city, cyclists running late will be going too fast and sooner or later collide with a 70 year old tourist taking a breather from the walk. Who is responsible for the litigation? The tax payer who has been the underwriter? What will be the response time for a medical emergency? How are you going to medivac from a closed cycle path?”
      Cyclists going to work probably aren’t going to be on the bridge at the same time as tourists anyway. Plus the path is 4m wide which is actually quite big. Further my understanding is there are already plans to address this kind of incident and it wouldn’t be that different from many other situations. You do know that not all emergency call outs happen next to a hospital don’t you.

      “No one can predict if it will be a success or failure but it is correct to say that if you use Skypaths projections it will be a massive negative impact on the local residents. Also it is correct to say that the tax payer has 100% exposure to the full cost of the project and on going running costs and it is dishonest of Skypath to pretend otherwise.”
      Once again, it is either a success in which case it won’t be a financial failure, or it will be a failure in which case there is no impact on locals.

      “When you do respond, please let me know where you live because frankly, if you are not going to be inconvenienced then your opinion is biased.”
      This is a regionally significant piece of infrastructure, no different to the harbour bridge is. Local issues need to be taken into account but so does the wider picture.

  • Phil, what negative outcomes can possible accrue from this project to locals? What locals in fact? St Mary’s Bay is separated by eight roiling lanes of traffic from the site and its approaches. SMB residents, no matter how important they consider themselves to be, do not have exclusive rights to the waterfront beyond the motorway. All Aucklanders and our guests have a right to use these public areas no matter what form of transport they use.

    I find it hilarious that you claim a cycling and walking project must be stopped because it will cause vehicle traffic problems, if you can’t see the irony in that then you are truly blinded by some strange rage and bigotry that your anti-cyclist rant above suggests. Traffic problems caused by available parking attracting too many new users are easily controlled by limiting available parking. It isn’t difficult, traffic problems can all be addressed with traffic solutions. Parking in fact is already limited and an improved traffic management plan for the area would bring many benefits. Fewer cars would indeed be a good outcome for all down there.

    You write as if cycling and walking and driving have never happened before in the same place, perhaps you need to travel a little more, take a walk on some of the thousands of urban bridges across the world like the Brooklyn Bridge or the Storey Bridge in Brisbane, where cyclists and pedestrians negotiate space perfectly successfully everyday. Your idea of what is difficult or dangerous is so strange as to be amusing; again if this project should be stopped for fear of accidents then by the same reasoning then the entire highway system should be shut down immediately.

    You have a cartoonish characterisation of who or what cyclists are and seem to insist on telling the world who they are and how they behave. This is not credible and makes you sound like like a crank, strangely similar to Tony Skelton in fact.

    It seems by your second note that your panicky forebodings have settled down to what I suggest they really are; a selfish man’s fear of being, and I quote; ‘inconvenienced’.

    Well that fear, grossly exaggerated, needs to be balanced against the new convenience this project will provide for others. I’m sorry if this offends your inflated sense of worth and importance, especially when compared to people ‘from other areas’, but that is how a democratic system is meant to work.

    You never know Phil, you might just be bold enough to use it yourself one day? Take a deep breath, it’s going to be alright.

    As for the NRA [!], they have the most to gain from this amenity, so their position is at least as risible.

  • Phil

    It is all well and good for the few of you to embrace a cheap transport option to the city but none of you will be inconvenienced by the project where local residents will.

    You are quite correct that all Aucklanders have the right to enjoy the city and its environment but that does not mean you have the right to insist on new public works or infrastructure that will negatively impact on local residents who have invested heavily in the area. By your logic it would be presumably ok for Whenuapia to be converted into an international airport with A380′s taking off and landing every 10 mins because it would be ‘for the greater good’. By your logic it is ok for Ports of Auckland to extend further out into the harbour because all Aucklanders will benefit from the infrastructure gain. Dont be ridiculous. People that bought homes on Northcote Point and St Marys Bay did so understanding that there was a bridge and motorway on our doorstep, We except this as part of the deal without complaint (unlike the residents next to Eden Park or Western Springs). However major investments have been made without ever having a plan for quiet streets to be turned into a major cyclist and tourist thoroughfare.

    If you use Skypaths own projections of 5000 customers a day that represents significant foot and cycle traffic going right past my house where today Id be lucky if 10 people went past every day. The original plan called for no parking but it is plain that many people will use Skypath as a park and ride option to the city. That means up to 3ha of parking would be required on Northcote Point and there simply is no room for that. Already the Ferry commuters park all the way up Queen Street.

    The assumption that I am anti cyclist is ridiculous and bigoted. I actually ride hundreds of kms every week on my mountain bike. Clearly I am fit enough to cycle over the bridge without any problem but Ive seen many people who would struggle with the incline and for anyone to suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous. You think there wont be families with children that might cycle across in the weekend? Are you really going to say that these families will cycle from the Bays to Northcote point and then ride in a uniform way avoiding pedestrians all the way to the city and back? They are going to drive to Northcote, expect free parking, and then struggle to ride over the bridge with their kids.

    The notion that tourists will want to walk all the way from CBD hotels to Westhaven and then walk over the bridge and back is foolish. Most people on vacation will either expect to walk over the bridge one way. If you take a route from the CBD to Stokes Point it is 4.5kms. At the average human walking speed of 5km/h you are expecting tourists to spend almost 2 hours non stop walking on a return journey. As most of our tourists come from Australia, China, the UK and US I really don’t see that happening. The expectation will be to be dropped off at Westhaven by tourist bus and picked up again at Northcote Point. This would allow the tourists about an hour to stroll across the bridge, take a few photos, and be met the other side. This will mean apart from the 3ha of car parking both Westhaven (private land) and Northcote Point (no room) will suffer coaches trying to double park and belch out diesel fumes all day. If you think Im wrong then ask yourselves why do Kelly Tarltons need to run free shuttles from the CBD because it is about the same distance as (ONE WAY to the Point) and by your argument tourists should be gagging to take a lovely walk along Tamaki drive.

    New Zealand is a democracy, that does not mean you can build what you like regardless of the impact on the local residents. I understand cyclists would like to have access the the bridge but the reality is the bridge was built without a cycle or pedestrian lane (to save money at the time) and somehow the cyclists and general population of Auckland have managed without this for 54 years. When the tunnel is built it will be time to convert one of the overhead lanes on the bridge to accommodate your desire to peddle to work but in the meantime I have millions of reasons to object and I will be using my legal rights to block every process of this project.

    • Nick R

      Walk over and catch the ferry back. That’s what I do in Sydney. Certainly don’t have a coach shuttle me over.

      I have to ask, if a harbour tunnel was built and we converted one of the bridge lanes to a cycleway, how would that be any different from adding a cycleway to the side?

    • counterpoint

      (In the case that the reply doesn’t appear in the correct place, this is a response to Phil @9:14pm)

      I have no idea what the situation is like at Northcote Point, and so am in no way qualified to comment on how you may be personally affected by Skypath with respect to increased traffic and so on. However it’s still obvious to me that this response does nothing to address the massive hole in your thesis – namely that the project presumably cannot be simultaneously a success and a failure.

      The thing that I don’t get about this rant in general though is the idea that 3Ha of parking will simply drop out of the sky to accommodate these movements. If there is really no room as you say, then simply build no parking. All the issues residents have with increased vehicular traffic movements can presumably be mitigated by simply not accommodating more traffic movements. I suppose in a city so dependant on automobiles, it is just that difficult to conceive of a project doing nothing to improve vehicular traffic flow, and so assumptions like this prevail.

      In a similar vein, presumably, the reason tourists aren’t gagging to walk along Tamaki drive is related to the fact there is little in the way of walking infrastructure along that route. Being that Kelly Tarltons is but a single destination on a fairly long stretch of road with little else of interest, and being that tourists may be short on time, they may not wish to make the journey on foot. Kelly Tarlton’s (being an attraction) has a fairly obvious incentive to increase its accessibility, especially given they are in such an odd location. Exactly who would provide the shuttle service and to what end in the Northcote Point context isn’t clear to me though. I would have thought not allowing for additional vehicle movements is unlikely to encourage more traffic – unless of course you think that Skypath will be so successful that even without 3Ha of parking there will be chaos at Northcote Point as punters scramble to take advantage of the new route, in which case I put it to you that this latent demand is exactly the reason it should be built.

      An ill-advised future disaster, or a tremendous success in the making? Presumably its one or the other…

    • Phil you don’t get it- your imagined ‘inconvenience’ is frankly trivial. Traffic can easily be managed as has been said repeatedly above by not supplying parking. Then the walking and cycling amenity will be generate just that; walking and cycling. You have worked yourself up into a state of fixation about negative outcomes that are either unlikely or able to be mitigated.

    • I grew up on Northcote point and dreamed of the day the value of the location would be increased by pedestrian access to town.

      Phil must be on some arse-backwards planet where people prefer to spend money on taxis and cars.

  • Kevyn

    The design proposals for the connections at the Northcote end are designed so that the most direct routes are to/from the ferry wharf or along the seapath to/from Takapuna/Devenport. Fullers have made it clear they are anticipating carrying most of the 700 per day one-way tourist users on their ferries from Northcote Point and a significant proportion of the 600 par day one-way recreational users from Devenport or the inner harbour ferry wharves. Even if half the one-way tourists use tour buses these are likely to be the smaller 12 or 20 seater coaches used for local tourism, not that much bigger than an SUV, and only 10 or 20 each day. So rather having 5000 walkers/pedestrians noisily travelling past his home (1 a minute!) there more likely to be fewer than 1000, and if they’re in groups then that’s about one group per hour or half hour. That’s definitely going to be noisier than the 100,000 vehicles per day travelling over the steel road deck of the bridge.

    Why on earth would commuters from anywhere other than Northcote Point use Northcote Point as a park and ride when it must take longer to leave the motorway and travel down local roads?

    The 3ha of parking seems to assume that 10% of all daily users or 25% of recreational will want to park there single occupancy vehicles at Northcote Point.

  • Phil

    There are two likely scenarios. 1. It is successful and therefore a massive burden on the local residents or 2. It is unsuccessful and a massive burden on tax payers and still an irritation to local residents. Frankly I don’t embrace either scenario.
    As a local resident I have real concerns. I bet the rest of the contributors to this don’t live at St Mary’s Bay or Northcote Point so of course they are all for a cheap way to get to town. Excuse me for stating the blindingly obvious but as its not your multi million dollar investment at stake or you that will be inconvenienced then its hard to take your opinions seriously.
    This suggestion you can solve the traffic problem just by not providing parking is laughable. People will see the free street parking as an opportunity to avoid parking charges in the CBD. If you don’t get that then you are lacking imagination. People that are going to use the Skypath as a leisure ride in the weekends (who do not live close to the bridge) will drive, park, cycle. All these extra cars mean two things. Either the local residents have to compete for a place to park or have parking restrictions. Frankly, we just want the status quo of being able to enjoy the quiet dead end streets that were there when we bought our homes and allow you to continue to use the existing means to cross the harbour. Pretty simple right!
    Of course all of this is ignoring the problem Skypath has and that is how to afford a payment of $800’00 a year to Westhaven Marina and local residents on either end of the bridge challenging permission at every stage of the process.

    • Phil- You complain “but as its not your multi million dollar investment at stake”, yet in your previous post you are in favour of an un-needed 5 BILLION dollar harbour tunnel.

      I suppose you’ll want us to pay for that

    • counterpoint

      You’ll have to excuse my lack of imagination then Phil, as I fail to see where cars will park if no parking is provided. As someone not really familiar with the area, feel free to correct my geography, but with google maps as my guide I’m having trouble visualising this nightmare scenario where the street continues to fill with cars well beyond its capacity.

      Speaking of laughable, you suggest that people will use Skypath as a way to avoid parking charges in the CBD. How does this fit in with your assertion that that a return walking trip is 2 hours, implying an hour of walking each way? If tourists, who presumably don’t visit our fine city with the pressure being at work on time can’t be bothered to walk the bridge, why would commuters? Or perhaps you think that something in the order of 5000 cyclists will just jam their cars in any spot they can find and cycle the distance?

      Still, nothing like a quiet dead end street near an enormous motorway, amirite?

    • Liz

      Surely having residents only parking areas is possible? I mean, Wellington functions with this in many areas, and even some inner city parts of Auckland have started to implement parking restrictions to discourage commuters from parking there (e.g. in Freemans Bay). What’s the problem with this being done in Northcote? And, as many other commenters have said, Northcote will benefit hugely from the Skypath. I have stayed in Northcote with friends many times, and would have LOVED to be able to walk or cycle to the city.

      Also, I have cycled over the Golden Gate bridge – something that hundreds of tourists do every day. And that’s about twice the distance that the Skypath would be. So if any of these tourists have cycled or walked one way across Golden Gate, they’ll be able to manage our little bridge both ways. (I actually cycled over and back with no problems, but whatever..). If they really can’t, then there’s a ferry.

      From your comments it really sounds like you just don’t want people walking or cycling through your neighbourhood. That’s pretty selfish. Plenty of other neighbourhoods cope with it just fine, and even benefit from it (increased business at shops, cafes, etc). Please just stop complaining, and let everyone in Auckland enjoy the bridge for once (since driving over it certainly isn’t the most enjoyable experience).

  • Interestingly many do seem to drive to catch the ferry at the moment, surely that means the streets nearby are generally full in the day anyway. Yes a few people may drive to cycle from there, but can’t see it being a big problem. I hope the cycleways are extended to Takapuna and Birkenhead which so people could cycle longer distances to get to the bridge.
    Also parking inconveniences are always overstated, many parts of Auckland have cars parked on them, no more than mild inconvenience for friends coming over really.
    I do think the city link should be extended to Westhaven once the skypath is opened.
    Anyway of course Skypath is a really good way of progressing this in the short term, when soon we’ll have a govt with better transport policy that will just pay for the thing.

    On another note Westhaven is a major embarrassment, went for along walk around here last weekend. Tiny footpaths (1m at most), another great area so close to the city, but covered in roads and carparking. Great to see some promising Waterfront Auckland signs suggesting new beaches, viewpoints and upgrades are coming soon, can’t wait! The 360 view of city and harbour from the end of the marina is a great secret that should be open to more.

  • Phil

    LOL…an un-needed 5 Billion dollar tunnel….. are you crazy?
    Firstly when I referred to the multi million dollar investment at stake I was referring to my property, not the Skypath but as all taxpayers are underwriting the Skypath project, that’s also my multi million dollar investment (and yours too if you pay tax/rates).
    Secondly I wonder what planet you are on when you think a tunnel is not going to be needed in the future? Auckland will continue to grow and that means more cross harbour traffic. The bridge is falling to bits, the investment in the clip ons was a 20 year (max) fix. In fact the people working on that project told me its lucky they saved them. So lets just accept another harbour crossing is going to be needed.
    A tunnel is the most atheistically appealing option available and as we have tunnelling equipment in the country now it would not be a bad idea to start digging. Currently the NZ$ is enjoying a high against other major currencies and interest rates are at a historical low, this would be a very good time to borrow the money needed to construct the crossing. Like everything, the costs will only increase as we go forward.
    The funding over the tunnel will come from tolls. I am guessing we could do a deal like in Hong Kong where the private company building the tunnel does it for free in return for the tolls. As we would have to toll the existing bridge at the same time then it is quite possible that Auckland could get a second harbour crossing for free and a windfall revenue stream for the Govt from tolling the bridge. Some of that money could build you a pretty little cycle path on one of the clip ons which could be toll free, the rest of the money could go to subsidising public transport in Auckland so that all the people winging about paying $4 tolls can catch the bus cheaply or cycle for free.
    So Im not asking YOU to pay for the tunnel at all because you will be on your bike. I will pay the $4 and be happy its subsidising someone’s bus fare and helping us offset our carbon emission :)

    • We have at least 20 years: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/about/media/releases/470/news.html

      We need a lot of stuff in the next 20 years before we need a new way to get cars into the CBD.

      http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/12/30/ccfas-and-the-additional-harbour-crossing/

      How much further will the driving rate have dropped in 20 years? Maybe by then all we will need is a rail tunnel for trains to teh Shore.

      I am sure you dont agree but it appears you are fairly mono-modal in your transport preference – hard to avoid when you have been bombarded by pro-auto dependent propaganda for 50 years. I am assuming for you only recreational cycling is valid and actual travel by cycle is an irrelevancy.

    • counterpoint

      All this talk of inconvenience has got me thinking, that as an individual who doesn’t own a car, it would be terribly inconvenient to have to wait for a new tunnel to be bored under the harbour so that a walking and cycling route can be opened to the North Shore. As has been pointed out before, the material difference between Skypath and some other scheme whereby a bridge lane is re-purposed for cycling has me baffled, so advocacy of one over the other doesn’t seem to address the doomsday scenario of resident inconvenience – or have I missed something?

    • There is absolutely no way a $4 toll could cover a five billion dollar project, in fact there is no way any toll could cover that figure. To theoretically get enough revenue from users to cover the capital investment the toll would have to be about $30 each at projected vehicle volumes… but nobody would pay a toll of $30 to cross the harbour, so those vehicle volumes would be tiny and the toll revenue likewise tiny.

      There is no level of toll that could cover costs. Any five billion dollar motorway would come squarely out of the public purse, tolls would be window dressing on the real cost.

      And really, five billion dollars for a net increase of four more lanes to the CBD and nothing else? We don’t want more traffic in the CBD, why they hell would we spend five billion dollars to clog up every road in the city centre?

  • Phil

    So not one of you can see the benefit of spending the money on a project when it will be the least costly to do so? Or do the cyclists of Auckland think that NZ will have negative inflation and the NZ dollar will continue to be strong against major currencies? You guys make me laugh.
    Auckland will need another harbour crossing for two reasons. The one we have is falling to bits. The clip ons will last max 20 years for heavy traffic and after that its game up. Secondly Auckland is growing. According to Govt stats the North Shore population growth predictions are an extra 40’000 people over the next 8 years and Auckland as a whole an extra 300’000 people. To assume none of these people will use cars and the rest of us will use ours less is laughable in the extreme. Hug as many trees as you like boys and girls but people love their cars more than ever.
    Costing the new harbour crossing is not straight forward. There is the very real possibility (that you people chose to ignore) that a private partner would pay for the construction costs in return for the tolls. When the original bridge was built the company that did the construction offered to build it free of charge if they could build there own next to it and keep the tolls. Auckland could have had a free bridge and as there would have been 2 x 4 lane crossings we would not have had to pay for the clip ons 10 years later.
    Maths is obviously not a strong point of Auckland’s cyclists so here is a little lesson for you. 5 billion would be covered using a toll of $4 a car if 114’000 cars crossed the bridge every day in 30 years. As the current crossings are 326’000 cars a day we could easy pay the cost of construction, the interest payments, and maintenance over 30 years. So Nick, its back to school for you!
    There is also an argument that all of NZ should pay towards the cost of the tunnel. The Christchurch re-build is estimated to cost 40 Billion, surely you cold hearted cyclists are not expecting only the Christchurch residents to manage that burden?
    The tunnel isnt about taking more traffic into the CBD, its about managing all of Aucklands transport needs. If you are concerned about traffic in the CBD then get the container wharf moved to Marsden Point!
    So guys, get real..support the tunnel and when that is done you can have your cycle lane across the bridge without inconveniencing any residents or having to pay Westhaven 800k a year. You have gone 54 years without a cycle path, just be patient and wait a few more years.

    • Swan

      Phil it looks like you don’t understand the time value of money. Inflation is irrelevant.

    • Troll all you like, but you can’t deny the fact that Harbour Bridge traffic levels have fallen.

      • Louis M,

        Someone is not a troll because you disagree with their opinion or they are passionate/angry about something. They are a troll if they intentionally say things to upset you purely for the sake of upsetting you.

        Accusing someone of being a troll when there is no evidence to suggest they are trolling does you no favours.

        • Completely ignoring facts and making absurd statements like what Phil has done falls under the category of trolling in my opinion. Or he’s just very irate.

    • counterpoint

      This blog is full of experts on urban planning affairs, so anyone qualified feel free to jump in and correct me, but how is road tunnel connected at one end to the CBD not about taking more traffic into the CBD? By your own reasoning car ownership is set to rise, so under this scenario what good is this tunnel to motorists other than to deliver them to wherever the tunnel ends? As for tolling to pay for a tunnel, surely the most effective option is to better utilise the bridge as a busway, rather than spending $5 billion on a route attractive enough to generate $5 billion in tolls, thus justifying itself in an accounting sense. Then again, what do I know? If only there was some kind of blog where experts could elaborate their views on these matters…..

      That aside, the more you say the less compelling you become. I’m curious to know exactly what kind of harrowing inconvenience you imagine Skypath will put you through? Because apparently the resulting chaos is enough to suggest a wait of a “few years” and $5 billion is a viable alternative to providing walking and cycling access now. On the plight of Northcote Point residents, my imagination fails me.

    • Bryce P

      Phil, I accept that a cross harbour tunnel is required. 2 rail lines in it @$2B will do nicely.

    • The Trickster

      Hi Phil

      Could you please provide a source for that 326,000 figure that you’re giving for the Harbour Bridge.

      The latest NZTA Traffic Volumes Monthly Report (April 2013) states that 156,532 vehicles crossed the Harbour Bridge on an average day.

      Or, less than half of that totally spurious figure that you’ve provided.

      Or, lets put it another way – the traffic that you see at 7:30am on a weekday morning would have to be that heavy all day, every day, to reach that 326,000 figure. (326,000 divided by 8 lanes divided by 24 hours = 1,697 vehicles per hour – a vehicle lane typically has a maximum throughput of 2,000 vehicles per hour).

      • grantb

        To be far to Phil, he does say harbour crossings (plural) not just the harbour bridge, but the presence of a tunnel does not automatically mean that more people will cross the harbour.

        I am not an economist but the moment you introduce $4 tolls (it will be more to cover the cost of collection – look at the northern toll road) I would expect demand to drop. Volumes will decrease – something that wiser heads than Phil would take into consideration when planning harbour crossings. Interesting thing about planning is that you can’t really predict the future very well. What if petrol rises to above $4 a litre? What impact will say increased use of electrical vehicles or self-driving cars have over the next 10-20 years?

        At the moment it is relatively cheap for me to pop into town from Milford, (vs about $10 to take the bike over the ferry from Devonport) but once it costs say $10 a round trip, I might reduce optional trips (such as during the weekend) and use things like the ferries, theatre and cafes in Northcote Point / Devonport etc more.

  • Bob Scott

    Has Cameron Brewer moved to Northcote Point?

  • Phil

    @ Swan…I don’t understand the ‘time value of money’….OMG!!!! I understand that we will borrow the 5 Bill and that interest rates are at record lows and the Kiwi dollar at record highs…time value..omg..are you a mad???
    @Louis…’Troll’….I, unlike all of you posters have a financial concern regarding this project, to suggest Im a troll to dare voice my opinion…wtf are you? An idiot? Transport levels have fallen because we are in an economic downturn period. With recovery there will be more manufacturing which means more trucks delivering goods and more people driving to work. I appreciate you may not be an economist but now its been explained, I guess you understand now.
    @Counterpoint… The tunnel as I am aware is going to take traffic away from the bridge (anything north of Esmond Road) and take it directly to Spaghetti junction. The CBD traffic will grow only at the rate the city grows but with all the extra urban apartments being planed, I would expect more cars to be in the city in future. Do you deny that the population of Auckland is growing? Do you think all the new people will want to walk/cycle over the bridge? Get real!
    Skypath will be a huge inconvenience to local residents for all the reasons I have mentioned before. If yoru too lazy to scroll back I can only wonder where you get your energy to cycle :(
    @Bob…. We dont want anyone to move to Northcote Point thank you, not Cameron Brewer and not 5000 cyclists a day!

    So lets have some open disclosure here. How about all you people fess up where you live and then we can balance inconvenience vrs reward.

    • counterpoint

      But Phil, scrolling up is of little value because your argument is so poorly defined. It initially seemed to revolve around the notion that Skypath would induce a huge demand for parking that would need to be met at Northcote Point (I will note here that you have not addressed my point about commuters using Northcote Point as a Park and Ride, and what this has to do with Skypath).

      You address my point about simultaneous success and failure with the following quote:

      “There are two likely scenarios. 1. It is successful and therefore a massive burden on the local residents or 2. It is unsuccessful and a massive burden on tax payers and still an irritation to local residents. Frankly I don’t embrace either scenario.”

      But you still don’t really elaborate on what this inconvenience is. The use of the phrase “still an irritation to local residents” suggests that the only acceptable number of cyclists is zero, but doesn’t explain why (for example, noise?). Again, to make the point as plain as possible, vehicular congestion is poor line of reasoning, as there are straightforward ways to mitigate this.

      You then immediately fall into the same trap as you did in the original post – namely that no-one will use Skypath anyway, so why build it. Of course, being that the case, the argument for locals being inconvenienced seems not to hold any water. Remember when explaining your case, the project cannot simultaneously succeed and fail.

      To me, the humorous aspect in all this is that when presented with Skypath, you counter with Waitemata Harbour Tunnel, as if the projects are somehow comparable. If only people would wait for a $5 billion dollar harbour crossing, we wouldn’t need Skypath, and Northcote Point could narrowly avoid complete destruction! Its almost as if you value your inconvenience at greater than $5 billion dollars, making the project seem a bargain by comparison. For all your posturing about exchange rates and the like, the figure still makes this basically the single biggest transport spend in the Auckland region, albeit framed at least partly as gold-plating for Northcote Point residents.

      Finally, I very much doubt the number of cars in the CBD is going to grow significantly, simply because there doesn’t seem to exist a very good account of where all these cars might go. The CBD is sufficiently congested at peak times already.

    • There is absolutely no justification for saying that only people living in Northcote and St Mary’s Bay can comment on the SkyPath – as has been pointed out to you repeatedly, this is a regional piece of infrastructure paid for by a fund manager – not tax payer dollars. If we follow your logic only people who live in the CBD should be able to comment on the CRL – a ridiculous idea.

      The fact the investment is from the super fund is irrelevant as the fund managers still have a responsibility to manage the funds responsibly and wouldnt be investing unless they were convinced by the business case.

    • Come on Phil, you don’t want anyone moving to Northcote Point? You’re headed for a disappointment then. A better strategy might be to insist that the local community has a say in how Northcote Point grows..

      FYI- Former SMB resident, now Grey Lynn

    • Swan

      OMG indeed Phil

    • Bryce P

      Phil, the skypath will almost certainly not decrease the value of your property. In fact it could even cause the value to increase.

      http://blogs.crikey.com.au/rooted/2011/05/03/local-bike-paths-mean-higher-house-prices/

  • KLK

    “It will be either a success or a failure and so I can frame an argument as to why it should not proceed either way”

    May I suggest this for the NIMBY award, 2013. Breathtaking.

    • KLK

      Progress, Auckland-style.

    • grantb

      I believe Phil wins the NIMBY award for the ‘We dont [sic] want anyone to move to Northcote Point thank you…”

      That pretty much defines the end of any rational discussion from that point.

      I like Northcote Point (the Bridgeway theatre and Engine Room are good), and I get he doesn’t want any change to his lovely neighbourhood, but engaging with the proposal and suggesting solutions like 2 hour parking restrictions (as in St Marys Bay) or dedicated bus pick up points etc, would be more productive than simply trying to stop any improvements or progress. That is doomed to failure, King Canute [sp] style.

      Funny thing is that earlier he mentioned the value of his property – a value derived from demand to live close to the city among other things, and probably enhanced by the ability to drive by foot or bike into the city rather than the current isolation of Northcote point where Onewa road can be quite a barrier in the mornings.

  • Phil

    According to Skypaths own projections there will be 5000 users per day. At the moment Princes Street is a quiet dead end street which has almost no traffic. Those additional 5000 people will be an inconvenience to local residents who have every right to oppose the project.
    I am sure that the majority of skypath users will be lovely fluffy people but it stands to reason that a percentage will not. Even if only 1% of the people using it are arseholes then that will be 50 people a day that will drop rubbish, piss in the park rather than wait for the busy toilets, make unacceptable noise, park inconsiderately.
    Now if you really think Auckland is some utopia where at least 1% of the population are not arseholes (quite a few seem to post on here) then you have not been out in town.
    People will park and ride.
    Tourists will be dropped off and collected by buses
    5000 people a day will turn a quiet street into an undesirable area
    Now as not one of you people have property in Princes Street or SMB then I suggest you are taking a very selfish position.

    • Bryce P

      Not all traffic from skypath will go down Princes St. Did you know about this:

      http://www.skypath.org.nz/the-seapath/

      In fact, I think most traffic will carry on along the ‘sea path’.

    • Swan

      Sign post so everyone goes straight onto Queen. That is the best route in any case. Cyclists are good people to a man/woman.

    • counterpoint

      Phil, why u no read?

      So let me go through this point by point, and see if I can make myself clear. For what its worth, this is comment is my own and should not strictly reflect the views of the blog or other commenters, but you knew that.

      “Those additional 5000 people will be an inconvenience to local residents who have every right to oppose the project.”

      The right of residents to oppose is not at all in question here. What I’m asking is what kind of inconvenience are residents expecting to bear from the 5000 cyclists mentioned?

      “… 50 people a day that will drop rubbish, piss in the park rather than wait for the busy toilets…”

      Now, I imagine you’re old enough to not need me to tell you how uncharitable it is to assume 50 “arseholes” will ruin your lovely street on a daily basis is, but allow me to extend that courtesy to you and assume this is just a ill-tempered way of saying that an attraction in the area may come with some anti-social behaviour.

      “…make unacceptable noise…”

      However in this quote, I am left wondering what kind of “unacceptable noise” you imagine walkers and cyclists make.

      “…park inconsiderately.”

      Oh.

      “People will park and ride.”

      Oh right.

      “Tourists will be dropped off and collected by buses”

      So its back to that ol’ chestnut of “build it and they will come AND PARK” that came up earlier in the discussion. Now, its been said before that simply not providing parking will probably curb the worst of this. After all, where would tour buses pick up and drop off tourists (never mind to what end). As for park and ride, what will they ride? Will 5000 cars carrying bicycles descend on Princes St in order to take advantage of the new cycling facility? Where will these 5000 cars park? Because I assume that if no more parking is provided, people won’t simply take recourse to parking in any available space in any street or driveway. Or perhaps you think that 5000 arseholes will use the facility daily, simply parking in any 2×5 metre gap that they can find (at which point you would have the recourse to have them towed for illegally parking). Or is the more likely story that people who already live on the Shore may (shock) cycle to the facility and then *continue* to cycle to the CBD?

      I’m sure I’m not the only one that can appreciate that residents may be apprehensive about the change. Indeed, I think they should have every right to complain or oppose the project if they so wish. Also the initial premise here is not entirely unreasonable. 5000 cyclists a day is quite a bit, perhaps the residents are understandably nervous about how this may change their street scape. The problem with your argument Phil, is that it is based on a nightmare scenario where bus loads of tourists and thousands of “arseholes” jam their vehicles into any available space in a small side street so they can drop litter and piss in the park, before making loud and inappropriate noises – and all for the privilege of using a TOLLED cycling and walking facility. This doomsday scenario will cause such tremendous inconvenience to residents that ALL OF AUCKLAND should wait for a $5 BILLION SUBTERRANEAN LINK to be built that connects essentially THE SAME ROUTE before demanding that a walking and cycling link THAT CURRENTLY DOESN’T EXIST interfere with their bucolic utopia. Well fucking excuse me for thinking that this does not constitute a reasonable defence on behalf of the residents – tjhat Auckland should put the bikes aside lest the four-wheeled horsemen of the apocalypse descend on Northcote Point.

      Now, having said that, I would be interested in your response to my points. But (and I speak only for myself here) I dare say that if you intend to fight this project, as is your right should you choose, that you arm yourself with a more cogent account of the ill-effects the people of Northcote Point ought to expect. Because this to me is not that account.

  • Phil

    Seapath is supposed to connect to Skypath at 9 Princes Street. That address is currently used as an office by the Harbour Bridge Authority. Presumably Skypath will be buying the property or secretly stealing more tax payers money. This means the projected 5000 people a day will come through Princess st. Presumably at peak times (according to Skypaths own plan) a large number of these people will have to wait in the area between 9 Princes St and the toll kiosk as numbers will be restricted.
    It also begs the question of how will Seapath compensate the people using the yacht yard at Sulphur beach? Seapath will have to transit over or through land occupied by the yacht yard. Why should these people who have been there for years have to move or accommodate your project?
    So back to the drawing board because the residents of St Marys Bay and Northcote Point don’t want the project, the Westhaven Marina doesnt want the project unless you pay them 800k a year, and the yacht yard wont want the project either. That is a lot of upset people who can all afford lawyers to fight this.

    • Swan

      It’s ok though Phil because they will be using public land. So not really up to them. And by them I mean the vocal opponents. I know of Northcote Pointians and Westhaven boaties in support of the project.

    • Bryce P

      I cant reply with any seriousness any more. The arguments are so laughable.

  • Kevyn

    Streets are public spaces and the property of the local Council. Why do adjacent property owners behave as though they own the road and/or kerbside parking space when their ownership interest is legally limited to theland area illustrated on their Deed of Title? As a neighbour of the roadway you have as much say over how the roadway space is used as you have over how the neighbours use their house or garden.

  • Bob Scott

    I’ve been watching this discussion with incredulity over the past day or so.

    I do not live in Northcote Point, but I would really like to. If you have a problem with this project Phil, then perhaps you’d like to do a house swap with me. I have a lovely rural property with spectacular views about 10Kms south of Warkworth. You can live there for about 18 months before this stinking bloody government of ours drive a totally pointless motorway straight through the middle of the house. In the meantime, you can spend every waking hour trying to figure out how to get reasonable compensation. I’d really like to you see, but unlike all of those lucky residents of Northcote Point, I can’t afford expensive lawyers. All of my money was sunk into my dream house. But, if you’d like to do this swap, then maybe I could enjoy the pleasant views of people enjoying themselves walking and cycling over the skypath. Who knows, I might even join them.

  • Phil

    @Swan….Skypath sell this project as zero cost to tax payers and yet they want to use public land… hardly zero cost is it!
    @Kevyn….Property owners always have a right to object to building projects that affect them. That is why you have to apply for building consent.
    I wonder if any of you have ever actually been to the Stokes Point end of Princes Street. The way you are dismissing local objection suggest to me you have not.

    • counterpoint

      What is it about the Stokes Point end of Princess Street that would change the minds of those dismissing local objection?

    • Bryce P

      Public land gets used for all kinds of things. In fact the yacht yard is probably on public land (GIS Description – Recreational Vacant). How is their use of the land of any more or less significance than a cycle path?

    • The Trickster

      No, a significant part, well for me for dismissing your specific objections is your gross misrepresentations.

      I’m still waiting on your source for 326,000 vehicles using the harbour bridge per day. Could you please supply one, or shall we assume you’re simply making things up?

    • Swan

      I don’t think cyclists using city streets costs taxpayers anything much. When it comes to peds and peddlers, roads really are public goods.

  • Clearly Auckland is not alone in experiencing a wierd reality gap when it comes to public opposition to bike infrastructure. The video at the bottom of this page is priceless. And we thought this city was experiencing a NIMBY bikelash? Don’t let the locals see this….

    http://www.urbanophile.com/2013/06/05/new-york-begrimed-by-bicycles/

  • Kevyn

    Phil, That was my point.

    You will need to convince commissioners that there are real adverse impacts that need “avoiding, remedying, or mitigating” so you will need to marshall your arguments much better than you have on this forum. Be forewarned that your biggest cost wont be for lawyers, it will be for experts capable of convincing the commissioners that there are real adverse impacts that need “avoiding, remedying, or mitigating”. Assuming, of course, that the proposed RMA revisions don’t strip away your rights to object to an activity that, in the Minister’s opinion, contribute to economic growth.

    • Kevyn

      Phil, maybe you need to take remedial reading classes or clean your reading glasses. Nothing in my comment can be interpreted as “assuming this project has already been greenlighted”.

  • Phil

    LOL….I love the way you are assuming this project has already been greenlighted…. How are you going to get around the $800’000 a year rent you will have to pay Westhaven?

    • Nick R

      Don’t link it to Westhaven Dr then, link it to Curran St and Shelly Beach Rd.

      Westhaven can have a cry and spend all day policing any walkers or cyclists who don’t follow the offical route if they like, but that sounds pretty futile to me.

      • Unless something has changed drastically, the Westhaven Users Assoc does not own Westhaven (ownership is, I believe, with Auckland Council through Waterfront Auckland) so therefore has no right to charge for road access. I bet AC maintain the road.

    • Swan

      Phil -what rent? The WMUA doesn’t have authority to restrict public access to Westhaven Dr. The fact that the WMUA brought it up at their meeting means little. The WMUA also tried to get money out of NZTA for using Westhaven Dr during VPT. They failed.

      • The WUMA is a group of leaseholders. They have no ownership of the Marina or surrounding streets. No ‘rent’ payments will be required.

    • counterpoint

      From the article

      “The bridge has an estimated capacity of 180,000 vehicles per day, and in 2006 had an average volume of 168,754 vehicles per day (up from 122,000 in 1991).[33]”

      Just shy of 326,000. Ironically, the introductory paragraphs also say (end of paragraph 3)

      “Many also see the original construction of the bridge without walking, cycling and rail facilities as a big oversight.”

  • Phil

    The side bar of the same article says 326’000. So take the lower figure and charge $6 toll….its still ‘just shy’ of the $30 toll Nick R said would be needed…lols

  • Phil

    156’000 vehicles paying $4 a crossing is $228 million a year so the capital investment is paid off in 22 years. Add in the interest and its a 30 year loan. So Trickster, I am wondering how you arrived at $30 tolls?
    To the person who sent me a virus….a very good friend of mine is a professional hacker. He is looking at your personal files as we speak!

    • The Trickster

      So you think that all 156k worth of traffic is going to magically move from a free resource to a paying one? Case studies such as the Cross-city tunnel, and Clem7 would suggest otherwise.

    • Nick R

      Sorry Phil but I take it economics isn’t your forte.

      $228 million a year less collection costs (those PPPs have to make money somehow) is only enough to service a debt of $1.8 billion dollars on a thirty year term. A toll of $4 only covers around a third of the cost. So even by tolling you’re still looking at three billion dollars from the public purse.

      The factor you’re not accounting for is that you can’t slap on a toll and expect the same amount of people to keep driving over. People don’t have a very high willingness to pay for tolls. NZTA estimated that an $8 dollar toll would be required in each direction on both the existing bridge and the new tunnel to allow a harbour crossing to be funded (note this doesn’t mean that the toll covers the whole cost, it means the toll adds to the regular funding and only covers a portion of the capital). However, they also estimated that with an $8 toll each way only 40% of current traffic levels would continue to cross the harbour. That raises the question of why you would drop almost five billion dollars on a piece of infrastructure, toll both routes only to carry 40% of the current traffic.

      With the toll to cover the full capital cost (i.e. around $15 each way, or $30 in total) you’d probably see only about ten or fifteen percent of the traffic.

      You see the problem there? There is no point where you can set a toll to cover such a huge sum, the bigger you make the toll, the less people drive and the less revenue you get. The fundamental problem is that it is insanely expensive and has relatively little transport benefit. The only way it could be built is if the government funded most of the huge cost with tax revenue and wore the huge economic loss year in year out.

      Quite frankly I’m confident we’ll never see a harbour crossing of that kind of cost, because not even the most road crazed fiscally imprudent government could stomach such a horrifically poor investment.

      For reference, see this article from the Herald (admittedly a bit old now): http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10736386

      The key point is the last few lines, particularly the one I have bolded:

      BRIDGE FACTS

      * 158,142 vehicles – average daily traffic volume last year.

      * $949,000 – daily revenue from a $6 toll assuming unchanged volume.
      * $474,500 – assuming only 50 per cent of untolled traffic volume.

      * $1,265,000 – daily revenue from $8 toll.
      * $506,000 – assuming 40 per cent of untolled volume.

    • Kevyn

      Nick and Phil both seem to be incorrect, judging from the Sydney Harbour Tunnel experience. The toll on the harbour bridge was increased from 20c to $1.50 when tunnel construction began and increased to $2 when the tunnel opened and both tolls were increased to $3 ten years ago. None of these increases caused any immediate decrease in traffic volumes but the long term traffic growth has been only one third of what was factored into the ppp contract.

      A $5.5bn loan over 30 years will have a $12bn interest cost. With a 60% increase in traffic over that period the toll will need to be $9 to cover construction costs. With no increase in traffic the toll will need to be $12. With a 60% reduction in traffic the toll will need to be $34. By way of contrast, adjusted for inflation the toll in 1959 was approx. $7 (1s/6d) but had fallen to less than $2 (10c) in 1971.

  • Phil

    And as you people love to make comparisons to Sydney….you cant cross the Dingos harbour without paying a toll.

  • Phil

    Nobody is saying it wouldn’t be nice if you could walk or cycle over the bridge or if it had a rail line but the fact is it was built without these options (to save costs). The design of Skypath creates problems for the residents and it is not unfair for people who spent millions on their homes to object to the proposal. If the cycle/footpath used the existing bridge entry/exit points there wouldn’t be a problem. You could use existing park and ride facilities at Esmond Road and connect onto Seapath. The problem though is you cannot connect Seapath to Skypath without entering Princes Street or crossing private land (at least 4 properties who will never give permission).
    We all wish for things in life, some are achievable, some are not. Sometimes you just have to accept that for the moment there is not a fair and reasonable way to build a path across the bridge. This could be resolved when a second crossing is built so be patient and wait. As I have pointed out before, you have waited 54 years so far.
    I would also wonder how many of you avid cyclists used the previous initiative where you could have your bike taken across the bridge for you? This failed so why didnt you all support it?

    • counterpoint

      Phil, how one man can be so stubbornly determined to miss the point is truly a sight to behold.

      Lets start with a quote.

      “Nobody is saying it wouldn’t be nice if you could walk or cycle over the bridge…”

      execpt you. Some choice selections from previous posts:

      “people will drive to each end of skypath to then ride or walk … why would they bike to somewhere else for their powerwalk or cycle?”

      “Tourists will not have the time or the fitness to walk both ways.”

      “There will also be the commuters who view Skypath as a cheap alternative to CBD parking costs. People will drive from Albany/Bays … they will expect free parking on the Point.”

      “What will these cyclists be doing while they wait angrily for their slot on the bridge? Spare a thought to the local residents and yachties who are at risk of an angry mob on their doorstep and the rubbish they will drop, noise they will make, general inconvenience made.”

      “cyclists running late will be going too fast and .. collide with a 70 year old tourist taking a breather from the walk”

      “If you use Skypaths own projections .. that represents significant foot and cycle traffic going right past my house”

      “Clearly I am fit enough … but Ive seen many people who would struggle with the incline and for anyone to suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous.”

      “Are you really going to say that these families will cycle … They are going to drive to Northcote, expect free parking, and then struggle to ride over the bridge with their kids.”

      “The notion that tourists will want to walk all the way from CBD hotels to Westhaven and then walk over the bridge and back is foolish”

      I could go on…

      Lets be frank. Residents objecting to this is an enormous red herring. Residents have always had the right to object, and they will continue to have the right to object to any developments that directly affect their private property. So you can sleep easy knowing those 4 residents will have a chance to voice their opinions.

      The justification that 54 years have elapsed with no walking access is no justification at all. Why not look at the issues with wheelchairs crossing railway tracks (as came up earlier this year) in the same light. After all, we’ve not addressed this problem in the past, why address it now?

      I was not personally aware of the crossing service you refer to, but presumably the reason it failed to take off its that it would be a massive inconvenience, versus actually riding your bike over the bridge. The fact you seem to miss this doesn’t say much for your sincerity.

      All my previous questions about your views with respect to Northcote Residents still stand, by the way, as I still don’t feel that either of us has a clear view on that matter.

  • Phil

    Thank you for repeating my points, they remain as valid now as they did when I posted them.
    To be clear and concise because you seem to miss the point…. I have no objection to a cycle/footpath crossing but the existing plan is unfair on local residents. Being one of those I have a lot more reason to comment than you do. I mean, as an example, I wouldn’t feel in a position to comment about an extra runway at Mangere, I would leave that for those under the flight path.
    So far the only one of you that has declared where they live is Bob Scott who lives 10km’s south of Warkworth. According to you Bob will not park and ride when he takes advantage of Skypath but he will peddle the 50kms each way making sure he goes to the toilet before he leaves home. Unless you people live in the areas affected your opinion is hardly subjective. Going back to the airport scenario, lets build 5 new runways, that way there will be no delay for flights and to hell with local residents objections, its for the greater good of the people of Auckland (and Warkworth)
    Not aware of the free bike crossing service AHB offered you cyclists…lols…what a weak excuse! I do hope you are aware that you can take your bike on the Fullers ferry service. Have you ever done that or is that a ‘massive inconvenience to you?

    • counterpoint

      Phil, you are truly a graduate of the school of having it both ways. You don’t object to a crossing, yet

      “… in the meantime I have millions of reasons to object and I will be using my legal rights to block every process of this project.”

      But I still don’t understand how the plan is unfair on local residents. Here is the summary as best as I can understand it.

      1) The proposal is inherently unfair, because cyclists are raging arseholes.
      You spoke quite eloquently on this matter, describing cyclists as “… and angry mob [who drop] rubbish, [and make] noise … [and] general inconvenience.” They wait in anger.

      2) The proposal is unfair because Auckland is full of areseholes, and they are attracted to quiet streets.
      Again, no-one says it quite like you. For you correctly point out that if “…only 1% of the people using it are arseholes then that will be 50 people a day that will drop rubbish, piss in the park … make unacceptable noise, park inconsiderately.”

      3) The proposal is unfair because Skypath will induce a vehicular apocalypse.
      This is presumably because no traffic management plan can turn back the tide of motorists who would seek to sully your street to take advantage of this new infrastructure. Some might argue that if Skypath were so popular that Northcote Point were jammed with cars at all hours of the day, that would in fact be the justification for building it. That kind of popularity being a sign of latent demand.

      I’ve pointed all of this out before, but none of these stack up as particularly credible scenarios. Even your most recent comment offers little more justification than “I’m a resident”. Well big deal. If the best you have is point out you have a right to complain than I suggest you give up. The fact you are entitled to oppose this development does not ipso facto render your opposition valid or coherent, any more than the mere fact I disagree with you makes mine so. Similarly, simply disliking cyclists or Skypath is not a justification to have the project terminated. If you are going to genuinely respond to me (or indeed, the Environment Court) with your (reasoned) objection, it’ll have to better than “I don’t like it”

      As for Bob Scott, I wouldn’t know. Perhaps he’ll drive to St Mary’s Bay. Perhaps he’ll drive to Northcote Point. Perhaps he won’t use the bridge at all. However you evidently see this as unlikely, as the bridge will mainly attract people from the furthest edges of town, people who “…who would struggle with the incline and for anyone to suggest otherwise is simply disingenuous”. Or perhaps they’ll be from out of town, in which case they’ll lack “… the fitness to walk both ways.”

      I put it to you that your complaints about this project are really a reflection of your persona. That of a spiteful, privileged, and selfish individual who’s fanciful paranoia’s have come to life before his eyes in the form of a walkway. Don’t like that characterisation? Then grow up and engage with the community like an adult, and tells what you actually dislike about this project.

      • The Trickster

        I do wonder if he’s relatively new to discussion board and the Internet (perhaps also debating also), as he seems to spring between sounding like a 17 year old former Beebo user or an man in his late 50s/ early 60s whose kids finally taught him how to use it.

    • swan

      “Unless you people live in the areas affected your opinion is hardly subjective”

      Quite!

  • Phil

    Counterpoint. Please pay attention!

    It is possible to have a position of agreeing that a cycle/walkway across the harbour would be a benefit to (some) Aucklanders whilst at the same time disagreeing with the proposal put forward by Skypath. If you can not accept this then you are a moron.

    I find it dishonest that Skypath act as if this is a done deal when in fact it is very far from being a green lighted project. I find it dishonest and offensive that it is promoted as a zero cost to tax payers when in fact taxpayers are exposed to 100% of the costs of building and running the project. If you do not understand the risk an underwriter has then again you are a moron.

    I find it ridiculous that Skypath pretend to be the popular transport option when in fact they can only manage 11’752 supporters on their website, 27 likes on Facebook, and 25 followers on Twitter, two of which are from Wellington!

    I find it laughable that when questioned about use of previous free initiatives to get cyclists across the bridge your reply was simply ‘you didnt know about them’, once again…you are a moron.

    I find it very telling that you refuse to address valid resident concerns preferring instead to engage in a slanging match and amateur psychology assessments.

    Here are a few other peoples concerns about Skypath. All these remain on Skypaths own website, all unanswered.

    Antony Clarke says:
    February 14, 2013 at 9:37 pm
    I think that this has got to be primarily considered as a tourist attraction and leisure activity for Aucklanders.I have the following concerns;
    -It can only serve a small area for commuters on each side of the bridge as you have to get to and from it and then ride across. It is a long ascent on a bike and only for the fit and dedicated.
    -It can get really wet and windy up there which again limits it’s use as a commuter link.
    -I hate the net barrier-if I’m going to climb the bridge (and I’ve done the Auckland Bridge Climb) I want to see the view unobstructed .This is not going to appeal to tourists.
    I suuport the concept but can’t see it making much difference to commuter traffic.It should be free to Aucklanders (who don’t have to pay to drive over the bridge so why pay to cycle?)and tourists and residents in this beautiful city want to SEE the view.

    Reply
    Steven says:
    February 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm
    Cycle and pedestrian access across the harbour bridge is an excellent idea with so many obvious benefits.

    Why was this not done years ago?

    My main concern with the design is that there needs to be separation between north and south bound cycle lanes, and the pedestrians lane for this to work safely and efficiently. Cyclist and pedestrians do not mix well at the best of times and this will be compounded by the high speeds that commuter cyclist will want to travel at on the down hill run.

    Reply
    Peter says:
    February 20, 2013 at 9:12 am
    I support the idea of a cycleway over the Bridge but I am concerned that the usage figures are over estimated as is usual with a project like this.
    If the PIP is so sure of its numbers why does it require a council guarantee at all? I would like to know if the guarantee includes a return on capital to the PIP.
    The risk to the rate payer is in the fine print and I fear this will be another case of private profit, public risk

    Reply
    Doug Prishpreed says:
    March 9, 2013 at 8:55 pm
    Presumably people are either intended to use this crossing as a mode of commuting, or it is intended to become a tourist attraction. Either use will increase congestion at both ends of the bridge, and there doesn’t seem to be space for parking for those that will visit or use the crossing. This will mean congested roads around Northcote point/Westhaven in peak times, and parking congestion. Is there anything in place as part of this plan to alleviate this?

  • counterpoint

    But your disagreement about Skypath is based on the idea that residents will be terrorised by gangs of angry cyclists. Not only that, but any criticism you might have that relates to commuters or tourists ability to use the Skypath facility will also apply to a re purposed harbour bridge lane, thus undermining the notion that you simply oppose ‘Skypath’.

    Some of the complaints you quote suffer from the same breath-taking lack of imagination – i.e.: that people will park and use the cycle and walking facilities. Why would they not simply cycle? Furthermore, if the bridge were to induce this level of use, is that not a sign that it is in fact providing a much needed link in the Auckland transport network? Why is the idea of traffic management so inconceivable? Do you see traffic management as a fatalism for ruined communities or something? Not only that, but you continuously promote the idea that its not worth it anyway, either because people are unfit or lazy, or because its too far, again undermining the idea that you support a crossing. Is this just some sly tactic to always be on the winning side of the arguments? Because it simply cannot be the case that it’s both worth building and unusable.

    Speaking of paying attention, note the line where you dismiss the success of skypath (“…only 11,752 likes…”). Presumably the low uptake will automatically address the residents concern of being swamped. You imply I’m a moron, but make the same vague hand-waving about supporting a cycleway while opposing the Skypath proposal without addressing the fairly specific points I’ve brought up over the past 40 or so comments. The opposition is still based on how its huge popularity will negatively affect the community, which it won’t because its not that popular, except that it will, and so on….
    Factual issues relating to tax payer contributions have been discussed earlier, and I have nothing new to add there.

    To make this glaringly obvious, if the actual link is not basically as convenient as a car, its pretty much a failure. That is, if you have to disembark for a secondary mode of transport, its a failure as a cycling link. The hint is that the crossing does not contain any cycling.

    Addressing valid resident concerns implies the residents have valid concerns. I find none of your concerns to be valid (as I said before), however despite chastising me for failing to take your ramblings on board, you offer no further explanation as to what you’re complaining about. Arseholes perhaps? Some elaboration would go a long way, but as I basically predicted, it comes down to some barely delimited “residents concerns”. If you disagree with my analysis, why not provide a counter (for example, explain how LEGIONS OF CARS CANNOT BE STOPPED)?

    For what its worth, here’s my take on the quoted criticisms

    Antony Clarke:

    This is basically crap. The distance and gradient of the bridge are in fact not that challenging for anyone of moderate fitness. This issue has been discussed on this blog before, complete with comparison streets. Similarly, it can get quite windy and wet in many places – big whoop. Antony doesn’t like the barrier, but sadly this is just tough for Antony. If tourists are unimpressed perhaps commuters will have to pick up the slack. Given that there are actual constraints here, none of this is particularly constructive (i.e: are we going to forget about this link for the sake of nets?).

    Steven:

    Seems a fair enough point. I understand Skypath to be 4m wide, which is certainly wider than almost the entire Western Cycleway, so this should hardly put Skypath in an early grave.

    Peter:

    Personally, I’m concerned that highway usage figures are overestimated, but that’s another discussion for another time. As stated above, the risk to the rate payer is in fact zero, so this is a red herring.

    Doug Prishpreed:

    The simple answer here is the one that I (and Patrick, if I recall correctly) gave before – don’t provide parking. He asks if anything is in place to prevent congestion, if not, then a traffic management program should fit nicely in the gap.

  • Phil

    @Counterpoint.

    1. Some people will spot the opportunity to save on CBD parking charges by driving to Northcote Point, parking their car, and cycling over the bridge. This is a fact demonstrated by the many park and ferry people that take up all the parking in Queen Street.

    2. Some people who live out of the city or beyond an easy cycle will drive their cars to Northcote or Westhaven, park and take their familly on a leasure ride/walk over the bridge. This is a fact demonstrated by your own supporter Bob who lives 50 kms away but wants to use Skypath.

    To say that you just wont provide parking is ridiculous in the extreme. Users will come and park and piss off the local residents. There is no parking space to accommodate the 5000 users or even a small fraction of this.

    Some people in any group are arseholes. To try and deny that is childish. There will be a percentage of users who wont want to wait for the limited toilet facilities (not that the residents want a public toilet outside our homes) and will piss in the park. The same very small percentage of users that are arseholes will drop litter, create unnecessary noise, and generally behave in a way that is going to lower the quality of the area.

    Your continued claim that there is zero risk to the tax payer just shows you do not understand what an underwriter does. Please inform yourself before engaging again on this point. You look stupid.

    The fact you dismiss any previous cycle crossing as inconvenient just shows what a selfish arsehole YOU ARE. If the AHBA were good enough to provide transportation for cyclists over the bridge you should have embraced the initiative and not bitched and moaned that you would have to get off your bike. Using Skypath will involve you getting off your bike as well. At peak times it will involves a lengthy wait for congestion. Please make sure you are not the arsehole pissing in the park or I will throw you and your fxxking bike into the harbour :)

    So as its late, lets just accept we disagree. I understand you support Skypath and clearly you understand I will object to it.

    • The Trickster

      Hi Phil

      Bob suggested nothing of the sort. He suggested that you swap houses with his if its so much of an issue, mainly because he’d be willing to take a few cyclists going past his front door as opposed to having his dream house destroyed by a bulldozer paid for by Steven Joyce. He also stated that if he was where you are, he’d happily use it.

  • counterpoint

    I have to assume here that you invest a similar effort campaigning against the current ferry users, who apparently already engage in the exact behaviours you surmise will occur due to Skypath. The terrifying part is that THIS IS HAPPENING NOW!!! However being the king of inconsistency, this may or may not be the case.

    To be honest, I have no idea what Bob Scott has to do with this. Your reading comprehension could do with a boost, as it is plain to see Bob Scott’s comment is an indictment on your attitude, and nothing to do with utilising Skypath. From the comment:

    “If you have a problem with this project … perhaps you’d like to do a house swap with me. I have a lovely rural property … [you can live in] … for about 18 months before this stinking bloody government of ours drive a totally pointless motorway straight through the middle of the house. … but unlike all of those lucky residents of Northcote Point, I can’t afford expensive lawyers.. if you’d like to do this swap, then maybe I could enjoy the pleasant views of people enjoying themselves walking and cycling over the skypath.”

    For posterity:

    ” Who knows, I might even join them.”

    Frankly, I despair if you infer from this one sentence Bob Scott’s intentions regarding Skypath. Context, it seems, is not your strength.

    Similarly you hold fast to your conclusions that punters will park LITERALLY ANYWHERE, with casual disregard for all and sundry in order to get a piece of the Skypath action (again, how would any other bridge proposal differ?). There is no parking space to accommodate them, but they’ll be there nonetheless. Perhaps they can park in a higher dimensional space. Perhaps the draw-card of Skypath is so great, that they’ll break all law and decency to secure their place on its gossamer carriage.

    As for you and arseholes, words really do fail me. I would quote the text, but why bother? You’re comically disagreeable, whose brusque dismissal of commuters, tourists, and indeed your own neighbourhood renders them little more than a mob of unpleasant plebians who defecate and litter where they see fit. The irony that you, an ill-tempered and irrational commenter whose main contributions to this thread (aside from casting everyone who doesn’t live on your street as LITERALLY a walking shitting place ruining machine) are spurious “facts” about public land, super fund management, and road capacity have the temerity to cast aside essentially the rest of Auckland without the faintest glimmer of self-awareness, could propose denying such individuals exist is astonishing in the extreme. Heaven forfend Northcote Point be home to such vile individuals.

    A link across the bridge that doesn’t involve any cycling isn’t really a cycling link. A fact I would have thought so obvious we could take it as read.

    Plainly, I disagree with your position. But it’s mostly because its shit. Your closing gambit demonstrates this better than I ever could:

    “Please make sure you are not the arsehole pissing in the park or I will throw you and your fxxking bike into the harbour”

    What a stellar resident.

    • counterpoint

      (Replying to myself here)

      On further reflection, calling another commenter a [very bad word - what would mum say!!!], no matter how disparaging their view of society, is probably uncalled for. So on that note, allow me to pro-actively offer a protraction for this remark – it lowers the tone of the blog and for that I apologise unreservedly. Having said that, I stand by the content and overall tone of my criticism – namely that Phil’s view as expressed here is of dubious merit as an objection to Skypath, primarily because it places the project in a paranoid, xenophobic framework where Northcote Point residents are pitted against the rest of society in an imagined existential struggle, and secondarily because it displays an astonishing lack of good faith with respect to community engagement.

      • Stu Donovan

        I appreciate that you have moderated yourself and have edited your comment accordingly.

  • As a resident of Birkenhead point I may well use the crossing to get to and from the city but not if people like counterpoint are a reflection of Auckland cyclists that will be using it. I find the words he/she chooses objectionable and suggests to me that ‘Phil’ has good reason to be wary of people like this going past his house.
    I can also sympathise with why the local residents on both ends of the bridge do not want the path entrances on their doorstep. I can assure you it would not be welcome on Birkenhead point either. If that makes me a Nimby then so be it. Do the people for this project live in the affected areas or are they supporters because it is not in their back yards?
    Jill

    • The Trickster

      Jill,

      Fair enough, however I’d suggest reading the whole thread, Counterpoint started off playing nice, however when you’re met with zombie arguments, false information culled from Wikipedia and logical leaps of faith that would even have Mexican cliff divers shaking in their boots, you just get a little frustrated at times. He did retract though, and I’d posting at 4:54am is always a bad idea unless you’re posting from another country.

      As for me, if I was living there (currently renting in Remura) I’d love it, as it’d mean I wouldn’t either have to join the crawl of people going across the bridge at 7:30am, wouldn’t have to give the Souter’s (of Fullers fame, a company that I truly despise) my money and be able to actually get some sun and fresh air on my commute – that would be awesome.

      • The Trickster

        Corrections:
        …I’d suggest posting at 4:54am…

        A further note, I can see myself using it on at least a weekly basis from remuera as I regularly need to get to Albany. Using the bridge would save me about 30-40mins travel time.

        • counterpoint

          Yeah dropped by in between simulations for a conference paper overnight – a story which I imagine harbours untold explanatory power

    • Bryce P

      So a cycle path is unwanted Jill but a harbour bridge and 8 lanes of traffic is ok, because that’s effectively what has occurred.

    • counterpoint

      You have no obligation to accept my retraction – what’s said is said and you can take it or leave it. But note the implication here: you would prefer not to use the bridge if my using a bad word is a reflection of the type of patron you expect. A patron that, in Phil’s own words:

      “…[will] drop rubbish, piss in the park … make unacceptable noise, park inconsiderately … while they wait angrily for their slot on the bridge? Spare a thought to the local residents … who are at risk of an angry mob on their doorstep and .. rubbish … noise … general inconvenience made.”

      You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t appreciate the sentiment here…

      Phil plays to his strength – self awareness:

      “The assumption that I am anti cyclist is ridiculous and bigoted…”

      curiously, that wasn’t the impression I got.

      Similarly, who can sympathise with a resident like this? A resident who sees issues like traffic management an unsolvable obstacles that warrent the termination of the project as a whole, rather than solutions to mitigate effects on residents. No-one in all 163 comments has suggested that the project has no impact on locals. Quoting myself

      “I’m sure I’m not the only one that can appreciate that residents may be apprehensive about the change … the initial premise here is not entirely unreasonable. 5000 cyclists a day is quite a bit, perhaps the residents are understandably nervous … the problem with your argument Phil, is that it is based on a nightmare scenario where bus loads of tourists and thousands of “arseholes” jam their vehicles into any available space in a small side street so they can drop litter and piss in the park, before making loud and inappropriate noises … well … excuse me for thinking that this does not constitute a reasonable defence on behalf of the residents …”

      The galling thing is that all the issues I outline could well be solved to the benefit of all involved. We can manage traffic, we can mitigate impacts on private property, we can adjust routes (within some constraints, obviously) and so on. None of these require the death of the project ipso facto. We can certainly do better than drop $5 billion on a tunnel, to achieve what are as far as I can tell the same outcomes for residents.

      I for one, doubt that Phil is at all representative of residents in general, who I assume are mature enough to voice their reasonable concerns like adults. But if you would oppose Skypath because an internet troll like myself would use an unflattering word to describe another internet troll, then I put it to you that your opposition is as shallow and ill-advised as Phil’s.

  • Jill.

    I’m not so sure that the locals need to be impacted at all by this project. At the city end there are no local residents, only a public open space and a motorway. The St Mary’y Bay residents are separated from this by eight lanes of motorway. Sure some may walk or ride up Shelly Beach Road after using the Skypath but I can’t see how anyone can reasonably find fault with that compared to the vast traffic volume already through there. And they would be using public footpaths and road, no local no matter how rich and important has control over these.

    At the Northcote end the path can be built to only terminate down on Sulphur Beach park, also a motorway distance away from the houses on Princes St. Personally I think this would be a shame for the locals as they would miss out on a very convenient asset perfectly placed for their own use but if all they can imagine are all the scenes of horror and carnage from Phil’s fearful mind then perhaps this is what they’d prefer?

    So perhaps a little less name calling and shouting from everybody here and simple solutions are likely to be found.

    • Bryce P

      Well the Northcote residents didn’t want a bus interchange so I guess they can miss out on the cycling link as well. Good luck to them. Reduces the required budget.

  • Phil

    To be clear. I said that if 1% of users (based on Skypaths projections) were unruly then that would be 50 people a day. Toilet facilities will be limited, it is not unreasonable at all to think that 1% of the users wouldn’t think twice about pissing in the park, dropping rubbish, making general inconvenience of themselves. An example of selfish acts by cyclists in Auckland is where your own Get Across movement had to apologise for 5000 of its own members http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/2452624/Protesting-cyclists-very-selfish
    Now as I am a cyclist myself I am definitely not anti cyclist (I ride long distances every week). I have said before that I have no problem with the idea of a cycle/walk path across the harbour but that my issue is with the entry/exit points because of the unreasonable burden this places on local residents, who like it or not, have a right to expect to continue to live in the quiet area they invested in.

    I would be interested in seeing how the Northcote end could be built to terminate at Sulphur Beach park. This might be a solution but I can not see how to engineer the pathway to continue over Princes Street as it would go above private property. There has been some discussion with local residents of having the entrance only in Queen Street which clearly is preferred by residents of Stokes Point. I would continue to be concerned about parking issues and obviously the impact this could have on The Wharf function centre, who also have a right not to have their business suffer.

    My concerns are based on the large investment I have in my home. It is a concern shared by other residents and you can see this by reading the minutes of the residents meetings. For someone from Remuera or worse, Warkworth, to suggest Im being selfish is just ridiculous. I see myself in a lose-lose situation. If Skypath is well supported then the quiet nature of Northcote Point gets destroyed. If Skypath is a failure I end up paying for it in my taxes. Reasonable reasons to be less than enthusiastic.

    What I don’t appreciate is the name calling because we all know Counterpoint wouldn’t dream of calling me names like that to my face. Forget the four letter word, that just shows a lack of class and someone who cant argue with facts. Its the inference that I’m somehow an Internet troll. I am a resident voicing my opinion. I would suggest the people on here that cant accept that fit into the 1% the residents are worried about.

    As for the maths on a tunnel crossing:
    158’142 cars a day x $4 = $632’568 x 365 = $230’887’320 per year
    5000’000’000 divided by 230’887’320 = 21.655
    So….. it takes 22 years to pay of the principal 5 billion loan at a toll of $4 per car.
    Interest on the loan is 1.5% so about 7.5 years to cover the interest
    so 30 years to pay of a 5 billion loan to build the tunnel.

    • counterpoint

      Sorry Phil but you do yourself a disservice again, with which I must disagree.

      If your issue is with entry and exit points, then why was your opening gambit

      “Skypath is a selfish wish of a few echo warrior cyclists that will… cause no end of headaches and misery to the residents of Northcote Point, SMB and users of Westhaven Marina.”

      You see, as a resident you have every right to question issues like entry points. Indeed criticism of this kind should be welcomed so that all stakeholders can arrive at some reasonable compromise. Why then has it taken you 2 days and 50 or so comments to amend what could only be described as a mouth frothing rant into what seems on the surface to be fairly reasonable disagreement with the proposal?

      My abuse was uncalled for, and on that matter I direct you to my retraction. But I will counter your defence of being an internet troll by simply asking you to review your previous contributions to this thread. You will note that for (at a glance) 50 comments you have been met with derision for both factual error, bad faith, and misdirection (Jill notwithstanding, obviously).

      I still disagree with you on parking issues, and with your general contempt for the public (you still seem to think that Skypath will as a matter of fact attract undesirable people to the area – a claim that I find strangely paranoid), primarily because neither of these are impossible problems. To date you’ve postured them as insurmountable – I put it to you a compromise can be found.

      If you are willing to accept my retraction, then I am willing to have a discussion, but do note that most of my specific criticisms of your argument have gone un-addressed.

    • counterpoint

      Getting back to problems with your reasoning.

      This 1% argument is also a pretty weak one. I recall you making some kind of appeal to nature in the form of “a certain number of people are bad, and this is unavoidable”. This kind of thinking only works as long as you apply it inconsistently. We can write a formula to express this that might look something like this:

      “If we do [x] some people will [be unruly], therefore we should not do [x].”

      Lets try some examples

      “If we build this motorway, some people will be unruly, therefore we should not build this motorway.”

      “If we construct this park, some people will be unruly, therefore we should not construct this park.”

      “If we build this hospital, some people will be unruly, therefore we should not build this hospital.”

      We can even be unkind and apply it to topical issues that are affecting this blog as we speak

      “If we listen to Northcote Point residents, some of them will be unruly, therefore we should not listen to Northcote Point residents.”

      I assume you would disagree with the above conclusion.

      Also, I still don’t get your fascination with building a tunnel. Why exactly do we need this? If you are worried about Skypath because of taxes, you should surely be petrified at the thought of a second harbour crossing. The fact that you can calculate the cost of a tunnel is not a compelling argument for building it(incidentally, your figures don’t account for any possible drop in traffic volume that may result from applying a toll to a previously untolled resource)

      • Stu Donovan

        I also find the tunnel comments to be quite bizarre. I would have thought that constructing a massive tunnel over a period of say 3-5 years, whose primary effect is to suck more people into the city centre by cars, would have much greater negative effects on St Mary’s Bay (as well as the wider central city) compared to a little walk/cycle path.

    • NCD

      Phil, you’re free to oppose something based on the effect that it will have on the value of your home, but taking a “what’s good for Auckland” view might in the end benefit you as much as others. For every cyclist who pisses on your lawn (when there isn’t a drought) there will be 99 who will tackle the burglar absconding your Macbook under his arm, or help your Mum who has tripped over on the curb.
      I’d never have considered living at Northcote point before the Skypath, but after it’s built it joins Ponsonby, Parnell and Devonport as a suburb that has easy access to the CDB that is totally independent of traffic conditions.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if you find in time your home goes up in value due to the accessibility.
      Want to sell? ;-)

    • Greg N

      Phil your calculation of a $4 toll is all thats needed to pay for a new crossing neglects the fact that a fair chunk of the $4 per car you collect will be eaten up with collection costs, one way or another – even if collected electronically, there is still all that infrastructure needed for collecting the money “after the fact” of the car/truck whatever driving past the toll collection point.
      Costs such as enforcement of those who do not pay – if you don’t do this the toll system will fall on its face in short order if it can’t be enforced as no one will pay the tolls an keep driving past.

      So, to get $4 per car Toll “netted” of all collection costs, will require a toll of closer to $10 per car. Which is what NZTA estimated would be needed, except I think they wanted it each way, not one way as you propose.

      At that Toll rate, the fall off in traffic from your predicted 158K vehicles a day will be quite dramatic as it means PT alternatives become even more attractive (and heaven forbid), also makes the SkyPath toll even more of an attractive option for North Shore residents who don’t want to pay the toll. So then the amount of $ collected will drop, but the collection costs won’t, so the recovery rate (amount of nett money left to service the loan from the tolls), will drop even further.

      Oh, and by the way, as it seems you truly want to preserve your way of life – have you that you considered all the changes the UP will bring to your neck of the woods – you may find that the unruly folks who can meander through your suburbs, can, under the UP move into your neighbours place, as under the UP he will be able to carve up his large house into lots of multi-occupant flats, and rent them out as such – effectively turning his multi-million dollar family mansion into a de-facto apartment block.
      And if doesn’t the property developer who buys his place from him, probably will.

      So all those unruly people you’re concerned about – well yes, they may just be pissing on your lawn as you fear – but it may well be coming from the neighbours upstairs balcony not the road. As they play their loud music and fight and squabble to all hours right outside your windows.

    • Kevyn

      Phil, Where do you get your 1.5% interest rate from? The Government is currently paying 3% on ten year bonds, 2% on inflation adjusted bonds and 2.43% on treasury bills.
      http://www.nzdmo.govt.nz

  • Bryce P

    On a positive note, when I cycle I love to stop off and have the occasional drink (I’m not into long distance training) and I would expect the Northcote Tavern could well pick up a bit of business while cyclists wait for a ferry or before they ride back across the bridge. Also, the Skypath has the potential to take quite a few cars off the neighbouring roads at peak times. I would think that is a very good thing if you drive to work.

  • TheBigWheel

    I drove around Northcote point yesterday to see what all the fuss was about. Never having been there before. Nice area.

    On Princes St I counted no more than 20 free car parks on the residential part, which you could only describe as “strewn” with residents’(?) cars parked all over the grass and in between trees. Some of the berms were in a shocking state.

    Sure there are more car parks under the bridge at the end of the street ..maybe 50? I can’t imagine many people driving down there to park up and jump on a bike.

    The other thing that you can’t fail to notice is the cafes, bars and shops on Beach Road that would all benefit from passing trade, presumably mostly on two wheels, but anyone who did drive to the bridge path would surely park up there.. there’s heaps of space.

    At the end of the day despite the shouting I hope and expect that SkyPath (and SeaPath) will be built. Even people with views like phil’s will probably use the paths themselves.

  • Phil

    The tunnel is a separate issue but one that is well worth debate. Eventually the bridge will not cope with the traffic, to disagree on this point you have to be a complete idiot. Auckland is growing and the bridge is wearing out.
    The Kiwi dollar is at a peak, interest rates are at a low, the economy could do with a boost and yet there are people that think NOW is not the time to address a second harbour crossing? Are you mad??
    Now I guess as this is a cyclists initiative you are mostly anti car but looking at the BIGGER PICTURE building a second crossing while its cheap (you have to be a complete idiot not to think it will be more expensive in 20 years) is a positive for Auckland. As an offshoot of the tunnel project a lane on the existing bridge could be dedicated to cyclists with entry and exit points which wont effect the residents. Now please tell me a logical reason why you wouldn’t support this rather than skypath?
    Think of the facts:
    1. A second crossing will eventually have to be built
    2. Now is the cheapest time to build the second crossing
    3. A second crossing means a cycle path could be provided without a toll

    • counterpoint

      Speaking of that tunnel debate, here is one opinion that you seem to have missed. Perhaps you can address the points this complete idiot makes.

      http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/12/17/why-awhc-is-the-stupidest-transport-project-ever/

    • The harbour does require the modes missing from the two existing bridge.

      1. cycling and walking: Skypath
      2. Rapid Transit: Rail tunnels.

      done.

      And Phil traffic does not only ever increase, it hasn’t increased in Auckland since 2004. And we can choose to live better and be wealthier by not incentivising more of it. Need to get your head out of the 1950s.

      http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/06/06/are-fewer-people-wanting-to-drive/

    • Phil, it isn’t certain that another road based crossing will be needed in the future. Since 2006 (before the GFC) traffic volumes have dropped considerably, they are likely to drop even further once Waterview is completed and provides another alternative. One of the reasons behind the drop off has been the success of the Northern Busway and now over 1/3 of the people crossing the bridge during the peak time do so on a bus despite buses only making up a fraction of the total number of vehicles. More investment in alternative modes of transport (more buses, ferries, walking and cycling) will further ease pressure on the bridge.

      What’s more is that the most recent business case on the project which predicts building it in around 15 years came back with a benefit to cost ratio of 0.2 i.e. for every dollar we invest, we only get 20c of economic return from it. Even worse is that used traffic volumes that didn’t take into account the changes that had already occured (despite the data being available). Have a look at this post.
      http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/10/23/is-nzta-cooking-the-books-on-a-5-billion-project/
      At the very best if we assumed that vehicle volumes returned to previously predicted growth, it has pushed back the need for another crossing by 20+ years and possibly removed the need for it completely.

      Secondly just because the project will get more expensive in nominal terms over time due to inflation, it doesn’t that it is more expensive in real terms or mean we should build it now. With a $5 billion project the opportunity cost is massive https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost. Even if we could raise that kind of money over a short period there are other things we could invest in which would have a far greater economic benefit e.g. for the cost of a road tunnel under the harbour, we could instead build the City Rail Link, rail to the Airport and rail from the city to Takapuna. Which do you think would have a greater impact on the region and the economy?

    • Buzz

      Hi Phil, this Herald article explains why NZTA isn’t building another harbour crossing anytime soon.
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10860821

      Here’s the advice from NZTA’s regional director, Stephen Town…

      Mr Town said that with careful management, there was no reason why the 54-year-old bridge could not last for another 100 years. But he said the “critical path” for bridge loads was heavy vehicles travelling on the northbound clip-on lanes, for which forecasts indicated a new crossing would be needed by 2030.

      Even so, the agency did not want to build the new crossing too early, for cost reasons.

      “It’s expensive, so getting the timing right is the thing,” he said.

      The agency in early 2011 estimated the cost of a pair of road tunnels at $5.3 billion compared with $3.9 billion for a new bridge, and the Auckland Plan cites a figure of $5.8 billion to include future provision for trains.

      Mr Town acknowledged that technological advances were likely to reduce tunnelling costs, while those for a new bridge were unlikely to fall markedly.

      But he said “one of the big unknowns” was what the completion in 2017 of the western ring route with its connection to the Upper Harbour Bridge at Greenhithe would do for heavy traffic movements.

      “It will provide a genuine heavy traffic option – between 2017 and 2021 we will be looking really closely at travel patterns.”

      • Geoff Houtman

        So simply removing heavy trucks makes the bridge last another 100 years?

        This is about to become a law change I trust?

      • So, heavy rail under the harbour giving the option of metro and freight services and the opportunity to link to the NAL in a more direct fashion all for much less cost than a tunnel for motor vehicles. Win – win.

    • Kevyn

      Phil,

      “2. Now is the cheapest time to build the second crossing”

      You may not be aware of this, but over the next ten or twenty years, $40b will be invested in repairing the damage nature did to Christchurch, almost entirely funded by foreign insurers and the city’s ratepayers. That is already causing construction price inflation. Adding another $5.5bn project will make that problem much worse and make it inevitable that the Christchurch repairs will end up being cheap and nasty. You haven’t given any indication that you are a property investor who will benefit from this effect, so presume you have simply overlooked it.

  • The SkyPath team welcomes an open consultation process with stakeholders and will be taking the guidance of the Kaipatiki Local Board on an independently session with immediately affected Northcote Point residents in the near future.

    We have distributed potential designs at Northcote Point for 4 options that will spread the user numbers between:
    1) the “SeaPath” link to Shaol Bay/Takapuna, see: http://www.skypath.org.nz/the-seapath/
    2) a direct link from SkyPath to the ferry/bus terminal at 1 Queen St
    3) access at Princes St

    The 4 options can be viewed here: http://www.skypath.org.nz/the-skypath/connection/

    As a result of feedback from Northcote Point residents, two more options are being developed and will be released for consultation soon.

    The figure of 5,000 users per day is a peak number of walkers and cyclists, that we expect would only occur occasionally. Our forecasts indicate approx 50% of users will take the “SeaPath” link to Shoal Bay, 30% will take the direct link down the ferry and 20% would go via Princes Street. We estimate the maximum flow for the peak number of 5,000 on Princes St to be during the commuters periods of 7 – 9am and 5-7pm at a maximum of 90 people per hour.

    Patronage estimates will soon be independently reviewed in a study commissioned by Auckland Council. We have also distributed our consultant’s parking study to the Northcote Point residents to enable them to feedback on the various car parking treatments that can be adopted to ensure residents car parking is not adversely affected by SkyPath.

  • Phil

    5000 users a day could be a conservative figure when it comes to the inconvenience suffered by local residents

    Public demand for recreational walking and cycling across the AHB is very strong. Based on
    Y&R market research, Tasman Research has advised that up to 10,000 people per day could
    be expected on fine weather weekends

    In order to maintain safety, maximum numbers at any one time on the Pathway will be
    controlled by the access control gates.

    As it is likely that maximum concurrent user numbers will be determined by operational
    factors, such as fire and safety regulations, rather than AHB traffic loadings and Pathway user
    numbers. It is estimated that these operational factors will impose an estimated upper limit of
    2,000 concurrent users on the Pathway. This means it is entirely likely that large numbers of people will gather at the access control gates.

    The Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway is expected to be open seven days a week; 6am until
    midnight during the week and 24 hours a day in the weekends. Is it fair on local residents to have potentially large numbers of people milling around outside their expensive homes 24 hours a day on weekends or from 6am on workdays?

    Your forecasts do not show the true picture. Seapath cannot directly connect to Skypath. It transits through what is currently the quiet area of Stokes Point on Princes Street. Likewise the path to the Ferry is accessed in Stokes Point and clearly users heading up Princes Street transit Stokes Point. So 100% of users will be a burden to the residents of the Stokes Point end of Princes Street.

    I note that the Project Director of Skypath, Bevan Woodward lives in Warkworth….0% inconvenience to him!

    • Hang on. Not that long ago you were up in arms about the financial risk. What changed?

    • counterpoint

      Well the tunnel seems to have lost its appeal. Onto the residents:

      “…Tasman Research has advised that up to 10,000 people per day could
      be expected on fine weather weekends”

      The flip-side of your argument is that if Skypath can in fact attract 10,000 users a day, then surely this is a reflection of actual user preference (unless the research is made up), in which case you could re-frame the same quote as being an argument for Skypath. In fact, one could even ask Phil of Northcote Point who says

      “Public demand for recreational walking and cycling across the AHB is very strong.”

      Now, I put it to you earlier that your opposition smacks of privilege and xenophobia, rather than a genuine concern for resident well-being, which is why the following quote caught my eye (emphasis mine).

      “Is it fair on local residents to have potentially large numbers of people milling around OUTSIDE THEIR EXPENSIVE HOMES 24 hours a day on weekends or from 6am on workdays?”

      So essentially, your opposition of Skypath is driven by concerns about your own status. You dislike the project because it threatens the exclusivity of your neighbourhood.

      Never one to disappoint, you also use another “either outcome works against me” fallacy here. If the capacity is capped at 2000, and we expect 10,000 people, then a quick division suggests we can accommodate 5 hours of maximum utilisation. If we assume that the bridge is in fact used 24 hours a day, the same technique gives us 417 persons (rounding up), far lower than the maximum permissible. Looking to the text of the argument:

      “This means it is entirely likely that large numbers of people will gather at the access control gates … milling around outside their expensive homes 24 hours a day on weekends or from 6am on workdays”

      But wait a minute… If the bridge can in fact accommodate the peak load, then why will people gather at the gates? And if people gather at the gates, how can there be enough people to continue milling around for 24 hours?

      Obviously in real life, the actual number of users will be based on factors like time of day, weather, personal preferences and schedules, travel destinations and so on, so modelling this with a division is not a representative exercise. In all likelihood, there will be a curve that is maximum at some desirable point at the day and this may mean that there are several hours where queues are experienced. But there is simply no way residents will be inconvenienced 24 hours a day by punters “milling around” outside expensive homes, and to suggest this is… exactly what I’d expect if the history of this discussion is anything to go by.

      In summary, I still don’t buy it. I’m still left with the distinct impression that your opposition is premised on exaggeration, posturing, and a distaste for the public rather than genuine concern for public amenity in the Northcote Point region. Discuss.

  • Kevyn

    counterpoint, do you understand the differences between community and society, community and neighbourhood, runanga and iwi? As much as we can all disagree with Phil’s numbers, we can’t ignore the fact that those who live closest have the greatest interest. Arguing that Phil should willingly and happily put the ‘public’ interest first and foremost is as rational and reasonable as arguing that Auckland or Christchurch should willingly and happily make sacrifices in the national interest. A large part of the reason for introducing the RMA was to provide greater opportunity for locals to have a say in what developments are allowed to happen, a direct consequence of the excesses of mega public works projects that hit their peak during the think big era.

    I can sympathise with Phil, if I had invested my life savings in a perfect property near Glenorchy then I would be objecting to the tunnel/monorial as vigorously, selfishly and aggressively as Phil is objecting to the current Skypath plan. Would you too?

    Is Phil doing anything different from the Waikato farmers who objected to Transpower building high tension lines across there farms, or Kapiti residents opposing the expressway or these unfortunate property owners…
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/north-west/8766682/New-road-a-body-blow
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/8520882/Submissions-oppose-rural-zone-changes

    • counterpoint

      This is a fair point. Being a resident he does have an obvious interest in the area that I and others that live elsewhere don’t, and at no point have I sought to deny this. So let me take this opportunity to both answer your question, and outline in more detail where I stand in the debate.

      Firstly, my beef with Phil is in the particular rather than the general. In fact, I daresay that had Phil’s entry into this thread not been filled with such egregious inconsistency and communicated with such needless agression I may not have bothered to comment at all.

      Where the balance should lie between society and communities within that society is a matter that will always be up for debate, but I don’t think it unreasonable that local communties voices be given additional weight in matters that affect them, even at the expense of the public at large. However I do think that in the case of public projects the onus is on residents to provide a coherent and realistic account of how thier livelihood is being threatened.

      Which brings me to the specific point you raised – would I object to a significant change in an area I invested heavily in? Before I answer, I want to make some distinction between opposition in the abstract and opposition in particular. Posing the question generally – if I thought a project in an area was a dis-benefit to me, or indeed the area as a whole – then quite obviously I would oppose it, as I think would anyone in a similar situation. Posing the objection in this framework makes it easy to conceptualise Phil’s disagreement.

      I make this distinction, because I don’t think an abstract framework is a very useful one. It’s a bit like saying would you object to something you object to – presumably yes. Similarly I can sympathise with Phil’s view in the abstract – that that a significant change in the area may compromise his way of life, but I also think that this is not in an of itself a justification against (or indeed for) a project. Indeed, I think the how component of the change is essentially where the merit lies.

      (Of course, the merits of the project as a project are also a component here, which is basically why the AWHC fails as an alternative – it just doesn’t serve a useful purpose given the constraints and context irrespective of residents views. )

      In other words, is there a Skypath or similar that Phil would support? Obviously the tunnel came up, but myself and others don’t see this as a reasonable alternative, so the question is what can be done to address the residents concerns? If there is a specific complaint (for example, say a house needed to be demolished) then without question this should be weighed against public intrest. But if the answer is nothing, and the locals oppose Skypath simply because, then should that carry the same weight as a specific argument? Should the interest of other stakeholders (in this specific case, potential users who live in other areas) be weighed against “I don’t care for it”?

      This is essentially the basis for my disagreement. Phil has come out with a list of things about the project that he dislikes, and in my humble opinion, I think none of them carry enough weight, even with local preference given, to give cause to terminate the project. To use an example, it’s a bit like High Street shop owners who disapprove of pedestrianisation. They are affected directly by the change, and as “residents” they have the right to oppose should they choose to. But if the opposition is about how customer levels will plummet in a post-parking apocalypse, then I would suggest the argument doesn’t provide a coherent account of how that would be, and is thus of little value as an objection. To me the notion that residents should be able to veto public works by the mere fact of being residents is to discard the voices of all other stakeholders – essentially, this gives preference to the mere taste of those who happen to be there.

      Now, you may say “Aha, but what about arguments of character? Surely this view precludes heritage concerns and the like?”. In my view, character concerns are essentially excercises in community buy-in. In other words, can you convince other stakeholders that the character value alone is enough to outweigh other concerns? Now, this isn’t really true in the sort of vox-populi sense that heritage societies need to have a private army of prosletyzers to convince naysayers day and night, and so its not really comparable to the Skypath situation. But we codify certain (heritage) protections in law, presumably because we collectively decide that certain things are worth maintaining for their inherent value, be it because they form a part of our collective history, because they reflect our culture, because they define the landscape, ambience, and tone, and so on. If the material affects on a region extend only to character concerns, then it’s my opinion that interested parties should be looking to convince people that those are in fact valid concerns, and that these concerns outweight other matters. (For example, in the case of the port expansion, the community as a whole seemed to agree that the affect on the harbour changed the character of the city sufficiently to outweigh the commercial intrests of PoA).

      So let me apply this exposition to my role in the debate. One initial criticism was that Skypath would encourage renegade parking and mass tour buses which would inconvenience residents. I put it to Phil that traffic management could alleviate this problem, but apparently this is a rediculous idea. Needless to say, I wasn’t convinced.

      The argument that quality of life in the area will be reduced is hinged on the idea that Skypath promotes anti-social behaviour, and that cyclists and walkers are taken to abuse locals, defecate in parks, a make loud noises as they pass by. I called this out as an uncharitable and paranoid slur on anyone who would use the facility, as well as being both unreasonable (ie: we should never do anything lest 10% of people ruin it) and unrealistic. Phil to date has stood by this view. Again, not convinced.

      What about arguments involving the character and ambience of Northcote Point? I’m yet to buy into the idea that Skypath is the character assassination its made out to be, primarly because in my mind the nearby harbour bridge with its 8 lanes of traffic undermines the idea of bucolic side street on the precipice of an urban wake-up call. Having not been to the area and experienced it first hand, it is possible I’ve missed a trick, but again, no resident has given me what I would consider a satisfactory account of the character changes Skypath would bring to the area, so (for me at least) no dice there.

      As proper as it might be for Phil’s opinion to carry more weight than mine, the basic arguments are either ill-defined, obfuscated, or false, and the unwillingness to look at mitigation options that could address residents concerns about noise and traffic, coupled with concern trolling about supporting a cycleway as long as it meets some impossibly difficult constraint leave me with the impression that Phil’s opposition stems from his perception that Skypath is an existential threat to himself as a person.

      On the other side of the coin is any Aucklander who supports this project, people who would cycle or walk to the CBD rather than drive, arguments for balance away from private cars, and high-level strategic aims to promote walking and cycling in the Auckland region. Even with residents preference, there seems no compelling opposition that couldn’t be handled with the deft hand of compromise, be it traffic management, route changes, signage, or just engaging with the community directly, and to me this is a sign that the project should progress to the next phase so that these details can be worked through.

      So here it is – the crux of my argument: When evaluating public works, the important thing is not “would I oppose something like this if built near me”, a value judgement based mainly on how the individual views the merits of the work or the magnitude of the affect, but rather “Should this (public) project go ahead, given all relevant contextual factors including but not limited to time, location, purpose, material and character impacts, weighed against both those directly and immediately affected, and those who stand to benefit (or pehaps lose) both directly and indirectly, applied reasonably to the specific criticisms raised that pertain to the situation of that project, and what, if any, mitigating factors should be applied to reach a satisfactory compromise between these two tensions?”. Every wide-reaching public affair is a balancing act between opposing views, and I don’t feel that “what would I do?” hypotheticals gain us any insight unless furnished with contexual elements from affected parties.

      It is in this framework that I don’t feel a rezoning of a rural road in Christchurch, or Transpower erecting high-tension lines in Waikato is comparable to adding a cycleway to the harbour bridge, simply because the interplay between the residents, the public, and the project is different in each case. None if which is to say that those affected should be denied a voice, perhaps even a louder one than others. But even if Phil is doing nothing different to someone having thier house destroyed by a road, does that automatically mean the two situations are comparable? In concrete terms, is Phil’s objection to Skypath as valid as Bob Scott’s objection to Purford, and if so, why (or why not)?

      Similarly, I’m going to dodge the original question somewhat (about would I oppose something if it were me), and say that any opposition (or support) that I express for projects in my area (or elsewhere) should be evaluated on thier own merits in each instance, by taking into account the relevant contextual information, and the both the quality and community support of the argument itself, and I hope that it is on this basis that people choose to agree or disagree with my views on Skypath.

      Perhaps this means that I don’t really understand how the spheres of society, community, neighborhood, runanga, and iwi intersect (in which case I welcome further discussion), but I certainly don’t feel that Phil’s position (or indeed, any residents position in this thread), even in light of his status as a resident, is strong enough to warrant a wholesale termination of Skypath, and that this is a product of the quality of his argument rather than a reflection of how residents rights should be viewed in general.

      As ever, I await Phil’s response.

    • counterpoint

      (I also prepared this TLDR version for people in a hurry)

      In my view, talking about whether or not people would object to developments in their street is of little value, as the merits of the both the objection and the development lie in the context and particulars of the situation. It is in my view proper that residents be given preferential voice, but I think that the fact that we may sympathise with the situation of those affected is not in an of itself a reason to oppose developments, and that the desire to by residents to object to, modify, or terminate public projects that affect them must be balanced not simply against some nebulous public good, but by those specific attributes demanded by the context in which the works take place, including location, purpose, impact on residents, and that arguments based solely on taste are matter for the community to resolve with the public (or other stakeholders) directly, for example, by campaigning.

      I criticise Phil because I think his objections in the particular are weak, and that the merits of the project are relatively strong. To date I’ve found none of the residents objections compelling enough to support a wholesale termination of the project, and given the overall context I think the project should move into the consultation phase.

      Similarly, I reject the premise of the question (would I object in a similar situation) as I think that the merits of any objection I should make to works carried out on public land affecting me should be scrutinised in the context of both the development itself (including location, purpose, and so on), and the quality of my objection.

    • Of course skypath / Seapath requires no demolition of houses and no private properties to be crossed etc. In fact all it will do is allow pedestrians and cyclists to use existing, public, roads to access a harbour crossing.

      • Now Bryce lets not go injecting logic or facts into the discussion – it will only confuse things and isnt really consistent with level of debate in Auckland.

  • Phil

    To Quote Counterpoint:
    The argument that quality of life in the area will be reduced is hinged on the idea that Skypath promotes anti-social behaviour, and that cyclists and walkers are taken to abuse locals, defecate in parks, a make loud noises as they pass by. I called this out as an uncharitable and paranoid slur on anyone who would use the facility, as well as being both unreasonable (ie: we should never do anything lest 10% of people ruin it) and unrealistic. Phil to date has stood by this view. Again, not convinced.
    To Respond:
    Skypaths membership has a proven track record of lawlessness http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/2452624/Protesting-cyclists-very-selfish

    To Quote Counterpoint:
    What about arguments involving the character and ambience of Northcote Point? I’m yet to buy into the idea that Skypath is the character assassination its made out to be, primarly because in my mind the nearby harbour bridge with its 8 lanes of traffic undermines the idea of bucolic side street on the precipice of an urban wake-up call. Having not been to the area and experienced it first hand, it is possible I’ve missed a trick, but again, no resident has given me what I would consider a satisfactory account of the character changes Skypath would bring to the area, so (for me at least) no dice there.
    To Respond:
    Can one really make a judgement having never bothered to visit the area? How can Counterpoint appreciate the risk of a quiet street turning into a busy throughway if he has never been there?

    To Quote Counterpoint:
    Similarly, I’m going to dodge the original question somewhat (about would I oppose something if it were me), and say that any opposition (or support) that I express for projects in my area (or elsewhere) should be evaluated on thier own merits in each instance, by taking into account the relevant contextual information, and the both the quality and community support of the argument itself, and I hope that it is on this basis that people choose to agree or disagree with my views on Skypath.
    To Respond:
    Counterpoint dodges every question that does not fit his argument which essentially is. I want Skypath and I dont care about anyone elses wishes.

    • Bryce P

      C’mon Phil, a protest over a lacking facility and a lack of action to do anything about it is a bit different to general lawlessness. Yes, they went over the top but frustration will do that.

      • grantb

        That ‘proven track record of lawlessness’ is a single event 4 years ago? Not exactly terrorism in the streets of Northcote point is it? Pretty sure that if you look, there might have been the odd bit of lawlessness from ferry users, car drivers and residents within that sort of time frame as well. Doesn’t make it right, but using that as an argument is very weak.

        For the record, I currently live in Milford and during summer at least, cycle a couple of times per week into the city recreationally and for work. It is only about 10Km from home to work (people tend to be surprised at how close Takapuna/Milford/Northcote/Forrest Hill etc are to the CBD) so even with traffic it is an easy and relatively pleasant 1/2 hour ride each way – about the same as a car. Right now the trip takes closer to an hour each way on the bike, as have to catch the (generally Devonport) ferry and get on/off that with all the delays in waiting and boarding. Not sure how fast the ferry sails, but not much faster than the 25km/h I manage on the flat when commuting.

        Obviously if the Skypath was there, I would be using that – with no parking required. I am very unlikely to cause any of the problems that Phil fears, but right now if you look at Google maps cycle route from Shakespeare road to Freemans Bay, the route is through …. Northcote point to the Ferry. So the only change would be rather than have everybody bunched up to take a ferry, we would be able to quietly pedal on over the bridge.

        I have visited and lived in the area (Northcote Point), and like the area a lot. Most of us don’t want to see that character changed, but if the ’5000 people per day’ miss out because of NIMBY syndrome then it would be sad. I am surprised that there is any ferry services to Northcote, Birkenhead etc with the attitude expressed by Phil.

    • Well I see your argument as “I dont want Skypath and I dont care about anyone elses wishes.”

      In fact “I want anything to change anywhere near me ever and I dont care about anyone elses wishes.”

  • Phil

    The point I am making is that although the vast majority of Skypath users would be well behaved pleasant people, obviously (as in any group) a small percentage are bound to be arseholes. If you take the projected 5000 people a day then a small percentage still adds up to a lot of problems for local residents. You are completely unreasonable to expect everyone will behave, life is unfortunately not like that.

    NIMBY…..get real. this is not the residents of Western Springs complaining about a speedway that has been there for years. We are against a project that was never on the horizon when we bought our homes and we do not wish to have a quiet neighbourhood changed forever by the invasion of 5000 cyclists and tourists every day.

    It is not like cyclists do not have a route into the CBD. Take the FERRY!

    • The Northcote Point ferry?!

    • We have had a number of meetings with the local residents to discuss the concern of anti-social behaviour and in response, developed a number of security measures. These include security staff based on the northern side, a direct phone line for local residents to security, patrolling of the local area as required, CCTV on SkyPath and ongoing meetings with the residents to address any issues that may arise.

  • Phil

    This post has been edited

    • Bryce P

      Phil, that’s your reply in the face of a very reasonable post from Bevan? You’re an unreasonable dick!

  • Phil

    So calling someone a cxxt is an appropriate response to a reasonable post? You didn’t seem to object to that.

    I love keyboard warriors that resort to calling people cxxts and dxxks. You know for sure that if you were having the conversation face to face they wouldn’t dare to say such things.

    Just remember, every time you indulge in name slinging you strengthen the argument that a percentage of Skypath users are capable of anti social behaviour and will be an annoyance to residents.

  • Bryce P

    Anti social behaviour? Your act of putting another persons phone number on the blog (even if it is available elsewhere) is inexcusable and goes far beyond any name calling.

  • Bryce P

    Pity the post, without the phone number, couldn’t have been left there for all to see. It makes my subsequent comment look over the top :-)

  • Phil

    All your posts look over the top Bryce!

    Out of interest Bryce, do you live in Auckland or is all of Skypath a Warkworth initiative?

    • Liz

      FYI Phil, I used to regularly drive between Ponsonby and Northcote. If I could have cycled or walked, that would be one less car parked in Northcote for you to panic about. And don’t worry, since I’m from Ponsonby I clearly must be ok to walk past your precious house. By the way, did you know that all sorts of people walk (and even cycle) around that suburb at all hours of the day, since Ponsonby Rd is a busy shopping/entertainment street? And there’s even state housing in the area *gasp*. And yet I don’t see house prices falling, do you?

    • Bryce P

      Not Warkworth Phil but Te Atatu. As for whether my posts are over the top or not, I’ll leave that to other poster’s to judge. I’ll see you when I ride by on my way to have a beer at the Northcote Tav. Smile, life’s not so bad.

  • Liz

    Not quite sure why I read all that.. who’s got a nice positive link to take away the unpleasant taste of ‘my neighbourhood is too good for the rest of you’?

  • Phil

    Liz, It is not unreasonable for people who bought homes in a quiet street to be against a project that expects 5000 people to suddenly be transiting the street on a daily basis. In the weekends it expects up to 10’000 people to visit a facility which will run 24 hours a day. The project is a massive and unwelcome invasion to the area and no one would want this. As you don’t live in an area that will be affected you don’t care do you.
    You people are very narrow minded and selfish. Try thinking of what it would be like living next to a project that adds nothing to the local residents (we already have the view) and we take the ferry to the CBD.
    The fact that local residents are being told what to do from people that live miles away in Warkworth is laughable. The same people in Warkworth who are vocally against the motorway extension on the grounds it will be a nusense to locals seem to feel the opposite when its not a project next to them.

    • Liz

      Phil, I’m sorry that my comment was less than calm, but I have read this whole thread and I agree with many of the other commenters about your tone and lack of reasonable argument in many of your comments. I particularly dislike the references to the presumed behaviour of the Skypath users and the implication that these people are not good enough to walk past your expensive house.. which they legally can do anyway, and might already do to catch the ferry (as this seems to be one of the alternatives that you are promoting).

      The comment you’ve made just now is fairly reasonable in that you are pointing out that the Skypath will affect your area and potentially your lifestyle. Whether that is a good enough reason not to build the Skypath is a different matter.

      I had hoped in my previous comment to allay some of the fears that you raised – namely that your investment in your property would suffer as a result of Skypath. I pointed out that Ponsonby has higher numbers of people using/passing through the area, and yet house prices keep going up. Also, one of the previous commenters linked to an article which discussed how house prices have actually increased near bike paths.

      I don’t think that you are being told what to do by people in Warkworth. I think it is a mix of: a) some people who happen to live in Warkworth obviously still think that it is worth their time and effort to get involved with a project that is likely to benefit Auckland as a whole, and b) one particular person who lives in Warkworth and whose house in in the path of a proposed motorway has suggested that having his house demolished for a motorway is something to complain about, but that a cycle path is pretty minor compared to what he’s going through. Which to be honest I agree with. Your house will not be demolished, the value is likely to increase as a result of the Skypath, you will have easy cycling and walking access to the CBD (no more bridge traffic!), and businesses in your area will prosper.

      None of us are denying that there may be some impact from additional people walking or cycling through Northcote point. And if you had come on here with this straightforward and reasonable argument from the start then you probably would have been received with more sympathy. It’s not that we don’t care. Obviously there will be some impact and of course the residents should have a say, that’s a given. What we are contesting is whether it will be on the scale that you are claiming, and whether it will be as negative as you expect. Surely the many positive benefits outweigh the potential negatives?

      • Liz

        Also it is late… so I will reply to any further comments another day. I hope that you can see that we’re not saying that you can’t be concerned as an affected resident, we just don’t agree with all your arguments.

    • Swan

      Phil how do you know noone in Northcote Point would use sky path?

    • I live in Bayswater near the Green Route cycling path. I hope and pray daily that the Council will upgrade that Green Route near me (where the path becomes very unusable) and bring in a flood of cycle users. That would be great and bring some life into an otherwise fairly quiet area. It would also mean children here could get around the area much more safely without needing to be ferried by their parents in SUVs.

      Maybe someone will set up a cool cafe near me that I can go to with my young family. I am sure it would also raise the value of my house as cycle infrastructure has done all over the world from Portland to Copenhagen – it is not a horrible eyesore like a motorway.

      So to answer your question – if my house was near the SkyPath I would be ecstatic and I invite the SkyPath people to please make their next project the Green Route near me. Please bring more nice cyclists into my area.

      I feel sorry for you that you cant see the value in such a great project and can only make negative assumptions.

    • counterpoint

      (In response to Phil, June 13, 2013 at 12:20 am – on 24 hour disturbance)

      You claim these numbers on the back of some kind of report. I can’t really be bothered finding it, since the point isn’t really about the numbers at all – in fact, they could have been almost anything and it still would have proved my point about your objection being FUD (see counterpoint : June 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm )

      If you really have a genuine concern for the area, then why do you constantly undermine your case with these kinds of spurious and exaggerated claims about 24 hour pedestrian menaces, uncouth walkers unleashing destruction on the neighbourhood, and localised car-pocalypse like some kind of pompous, petulant self-important shill who thinks all of Auckland should simply lie in wait for his personal approval to advance the construction of a public project on public land over a perceived slight on his lifestyle – a problem which can easily be remedied by a call to your local waaambulance station.

      This is a systemic trend for you. Every response you give re-casts the debate in terms of a singular narrow point affecting a small minority. You could have simply said that “I find the current scheme for managing pedestrian demand lacking because…”, but instead you choose to say “thousands of people will mill around my house 24 hours a day on weekends”. Again, only the most narrow-minded and self-centred resident would oppose this on the grounds of an un-ending tide of anti-social gits providing round the clock discomfort – is this an accurate reflection of you Phil? And if not, then WHY DO YOU KEEP PROJECTING IT?

      Similarly, if you want to draw comparisons about your situation and that of Warkworth residents facing the destruction of their homes (and apparently without fair compensation), then please do us all a favour and outline exactly how and why those situations are comparable.

  • hard to sympathise with people on quiet streets that are less than 100m from an eight lane motorway. Also on a street that is overrun with ferry parking on weekdays.
    Much better to work constructively, and suggest for example that the Skypath should exit straight to the wharf at lower Queen St. Of course even better would be pushing for the seapath to be extended to Takapuna to reduce any potential for people to turn up at Northcote to ride it.
    Another positve could be more frequent ferries to town.

  • Phil

    People are entitled to their opinions and should be encouraged to express them. What I do not like about some of the people posting here is when they resort to name calling, suggest that I’m somehow not a nice person just because my house is worth more than theirs, or dismiss logical reasoning simply because it does not fit their narrow argument.

    It is entirely reasonable to expect that in any large representation of society there will be some exceptionally good and some exceptionally bad people. Of course I believe the vast majority of Auckland cyclists and tourists to be good citizens who wouldnt dream of dropping rubbish, stealing from residents, urinating in the park (when the limited toilet facilities are occupied) but with a projected 5000 people a day to the area it is simply not right to insist that some of them will not cause problems. Even 1 person in 5000 pissing in the park is unacceptable for the local residents and surely you can all accept the reasons why. To be honest, I cant train my postman not to drag his bike through my garden because he’s too lazy to park it and walk 3 steps to my letter box, I’ve asked him politely and he told me to piss off….nice!

    Similarly it is entirely logical that there will be an element of people who spot Skypath as an opportunity to avoid CBD parking charges and they will want to park in the streets close to Skypath. You already have park and ride commuters using the Ferry who take every parking spot in the Southern end of Queen Street. Isnt that an indication of whats to come with Skypath? Parking is very limited on Northcote Point. Add in the out of town visitors and the families that will cross in the weekend and that is a lot of cars coming to what are now quiet streets and clogging them up. I appreciate people can park where they like but as it is now, we live in a very very quiet traffic area where there is nothing to attract parking. Ponsonby is not comparable, it is a busy shopping and social area. Why would any resident encourage that to change? The argument presented by Skypath supporters that if you dont provide parking people will not bring their cars is just stupid. Skypath would be better showing a bit more honesty about what the impacts will be.

    Positives outweighing the negatives? Like everyone that has a desired project Skypath supporters only see positives. I dare say Ports of Auckland only see positives in extending the container wharf further into the harbour. As an Aucklander who occasionally drives north I can see the positives of extending the motorway…but just because it suits me doesnt mean I do not accept the right of local residents to continue to enjoy the area they invested in. Mostly the beneficiaries of skypath will be cyclists who could with little inconvenience use the existing ferry to cross the harbour. They could have used the shuttle service AHB provided but didnt. Eventually there will be a second crossing and at that point a walk/cycle path must be part of the planing but until then my position is the current Skypath design carries an unfair and unacceptable burden to residents.

    I dont know what solution can be found to resolve the issues so that Skypath can be built. One idea put forward is to move the ramp exit/entrance to Queen Street. This would obviously be better for me but doesnt that just shift the burden to other residents and the Wharf? Compensation? maybe but Skypath could offer me $500’000 and Id still just prefer it wasnt built.

    • “Skypath could offer me $500’000″

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… it’s taken a while but at last we have the real reason behind poor all-suffering Phil’s huge and muddled-headed effort on this issue. Phil is special; he needs a very large and precise sum of money in order to be able to cope with the sight of, or indeed the thought of, other humans in his neighbourhood. Poor dear.

      Best laugh you’ve given us yet, Phil.

    • Phil must have a hard time leaving the house will all the people pissing, stealing and throwing garbage everywhere all the time. I wonder if he’s ever visited Queen St. By his estimate there should be approximately 6 to 7 people pissing on the street at any one time during busy lunch hours. I’ve not had to dodge the gushing rivers of urine myself, or the garbage and burglary either, but perhaps Phil knows something about North Shore people that doesn’t apply on this side of the bridge.

      Meanwhile, back in my street I’m awaiting with glee the construction of the Grafton Gully Cycleway. It’ll be literally twenty metres from my place, I can see it from my bedroom window. I’m looking forward to it actually, the local shops could do with a boost and naturally I’ll enjoy using it myself. In fact I’m going to campaign to have it extended right down my street, would be much nicer to have a cycleway there instead on some of the traffic.

    • Greg N

      “suggest that I’m somehow not a nice person just because my house is worth more than theirs, or dismiss logical reasoning simply because it does not fit their narrow argument.”

      Phil, the most guilty person in that department is yourself as far I can see from reading this post over the week+ since it went up.

      You are entitled to your concerns. But some perspective is required – you, as am I, are also merely 1 resident living in Auckland 1.5 million others.
      .
      Those others also are entitled to their opinion and concerns about what happens elsewhere in Auckland, even if they’re not actually living in the area or have a big house or attitude.

      I and many others don’t care how expensive your house is, or how long you’ve lived there
      - the truth is you and all your neighbours live next to a 8 lane traffic sewer, and the time for arguing that point is well over and done with.

      I am surprised you’re not more worried about actual stuff falling off the said traffic sewer on to you, your property, or your neighbours rather than the potential activities you indicate you are concerned with.

      To argue as you do that therefore (as you imply) that since you and your neighbours have already have to put up with said sewer nearby
      - you should be able to pull up the drawbridge and keep everyone else is myopic.

      Agree that ferry traffic right now seems your biggest concern and therefore I suggest that you get AT to sort out that issue FIRST, then argue about what SkyPath may or may not bring to your neighbourhood once those issues actually occur.

    • counterpoint

      Let me be the first to say what the actual fuck? Leave the thread for a few days and Bedlam….

      You must have the worst reading comprehension of anyone on this blog Phil. Anytime a rhetorical device is used you seem to take it as a literal statement. Any support or the project is a personal attack from Northcote Points’ enemies. Apparently Bob Scott is the projects foremost cheerleader, despite the fact that I cannot find any text to quote that suggests this level of support. One might aim for this

      [Bob Scott June 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm]
      “…then maybe I could enjoy the pleasant views of people … walking and cycling … I might even join them.”

      but if we take a look at the context of the remark

      “If you have a problem with this project Phil, then perhaps you’d like to do a house swap with me … But, if you’d like to do this swap, then maybe I could enjoy the pleasant views of people enjoying themselves walking and cycling over the skypath. Who knows, I might even join them.”

      Truly, as if it was his own project.

      Speaking of context, one could reasonably make the argument that my response to Kevyn was fairly long and rambling, but the essence of it is that context matters when evaluating the impact of public works (I also note that no-one has challenged me here, suggesting there might be some broad consensus on this point [although in saying that I don't claim to speak for anyone]). Given how poorly you’ve interpreted previous remarks from myself and others, I doubt you either read or understood it.

      So in spite of the fact that there is a veritable essay outlining not only my opinion and the framework I applied to arrive at that, but also a point by point breakdown of your argument and how it fits into this framework, you only manage to slither out the following rebuttal:

      “Counterpoint dodges every question that does not fit his argument which essentially is. [sic] I want Skypath and I dont care about anyone elses wishes.”

      Ladies and Gentlemen, the death of satire.

      I guess when playing the ball gets tough, the man becomes a tempting alternative. Now, one could make the claim that I have no moral highground to stand one. After all, in my role as resident internet bad man, I did directly call you a profane term. However I note that you apparently posted somebody’s PRIVATE PHONE NUMBER?! WHAT THE FUCK? Somebody step in and correct me if I’ve misread Bryce P here, but if you want to make a claim about the thread getting personal than you simply CANNOT do this and expect to walk away with any credibility. This is from a man who in a previous post said

      “What I don’t appreciate is the name calling … forget the four letter word, …. Its the inference that I’m somehow an Internet troll”

      Surely not! While I’m quoting that passage, (and while I’m on my soapbox) I might as well comment on this:

      “..because we all know Counterpoint wouldn’t dream of calling me names like that to my face.”

      Now, I am tempted to say that you shouldn’t speak so soon, although I must ask, would you call 50 cyclists and walkers a day arseholes to thier face? And if not, why take that tone on the blog? Cause there’s this guy Phil right, he’s this Northcote Point resident with all these really clear and well-argued opinions, who reckons that sort of talk

      [Phil June 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm]
      “…just shows a lack of class and someone who cant argue with facts.”

      But you know, best to be on both sides of the fence just in case.

      So there is the progression of my thesis on Phil – initially a comment about the faliure to realise you cannot be on both side of an argument, and now the blindly obvious fact that this project is a threat to himself, and that Auckland better check itself in the mirror before making a move on Skypath.

      Also, what happened to the 24hr noise claim (perhaps it was ironically silenced, chortle)?

    • counterpoint

      Now that I have that out of the way, some comment on the new points themselves.

      “It is entirely reasonable to expect that in any large representation of society there will be some exceptionally good and some exceptionally bad people.”

      Alright, lets see you run with this….

      “Of course I believe the vast majority of Auckland cyclists and tourists to be good citizens who wouldn’t dream of dropping rubbish, stealing from residents, urinating in the park…”

      But I’ll oppose them anyway!

      “…but with a projected 5000 people a day to the area it is simply not right to insist that some of them will not cause problems.”

      I don’t know if you understand how writing works, but when you place two sentences in close proximity it is assumed that they have some kind of contextual relationship. In effect, the meaning of the quoted passage is thus:

      but with a projected 5000 people a day to the area it is simply not right to insist that some of them will not [dream of dropping rubbish, stealing from residents, urinating in the park].”

      There is actually no limit to what you can oppose with this devastating rhetorical weapon. I previously used the examples of roads, hospitals, and parks, but feel free to add your own interesting and dynamic local and regional projects that shouldn’t go ahead in case someone behaves badly (a convention centre perhaps, har har har).

      “To be honest, I cant train my postman not to drag his bike through my garden because he’s too lazy … I’ve asked him politely and he told me to piss off….nice!”

      Let that anecdote be a lesson to you, Aucklanders!

      “Similarly it is entirely logical that there will be an element of people who spot Skypath as an opportunity to avoid CBD parking charges … You already have park and ride commuters using the Ferry who take every parking spot in the Southern end of Queen Street. ”

      I said this before, but I hope your not playing the hypocrisy card here and opposing the Ferry with similarly vitriolic energy. Even so, you could just remove the parking spaces and the problem will basically solve itself. Or not…

      “The argument presented by Skypath supporters that if you dont provide parking people will not bring their cars is just stupid.”

      Now, I don’t know if you are referring to a previous set of posts about illegal and anti-social parking (something tells me you aren’t), in which case this is really an indictment on the behaviours of Aucklanders in cars. But there is a pretty basic question for you to answer here (that I have put to you many times) which is where will the cars go if there is no parking?

      “Ponsonby is not comparable, it is a busy shopping and social area. Why would any resident encourage that to change?”

      You’ll have to ask the residents.

      “I dare say Ports of Auckland only see positives in extending the container wharf further into the harbour.”

      See my rant about context (which includes the port as an example).

      “Mostly the beneficiaries of skypath will be cyclists who could with little inconvenience use the existing ferry to cross the harbour.”

      So I thought I’d have a look into this, since we clearly have different ideas about what constitutes ‘convenience’. If I were to go to Northcote Point by ferry from 99 Quay Street (http://www.fullers.co.nz/tickets-fares/timetables/northcote-point.php), I essentially have 2 chances per hour starting at 20 and 50 past the hour in the morning after 8am, shifting to once an hour at 40 min past till around 4pm, back to twice an hour till about 7, and then once an hour till 11:10pm.

      On the weekend this changes to 6 services, two in the morning, one in the afternoon, one early evening and two late evening.

      Truly, almost as convenient as living there.

      “Eventually there will be a second crossing…”

      Somehow I doubt this. You yourself have struggled to explain how and why this is required.

      “I dont know what solution can be found to resolve the issues so that Skypath can be built.”

      Full of surprises as always. I suppose we all need to simply wait around until you die before we move this project forward. Tell me how I’m wrong – PLEASE GOD TELL ME HOW I’M WRONG!

    • Sanctuary

      So let me get this right. Opposition to the cycleway is because some old crusty is worried an entire Peleton will pause to piss on their Petunias? Or, failing the nitric catastrophe of having the entire Giro De Italia stopping by for a public slash on the prized topiary patch in the front yard of number 24, some cycliste de velo may pause from his or her’s frantic lycra clad defenestration of the pristine idyll of Northcote to take a quick piss behind the aboretum? Really? Is that really all the objections about? Some fetid conflation of all those French words in cycling with common use of “French” to describe something vulgar? Confusion between piste and pissed? Honestly, the seriousness with which some ludicrous arguments against the Skypath are being presented is doing my head in.

    • Liz

      Maybe your letterbox should be closer to the footpath, if the postie has to get off his bike to reach it. Have a look at this website for your information: http://www.nzpost.co.nz/home/receiving-mail/mailbox-specifications

      Particularly this point “Position your mailbox on the street line, close to the footpath on the nearest flat area, in a position that is easy and safe for your Postie to access. Where your Postie delivers by cycle the terrain before and after your mailbox needs to be flat and free of obstructions.”

      Also, I tried to point out the positives to YOU specifically. Others have already covered the multiple benefits for thousands of other Aucklanders, tourists, etc. But I was trying to show you that there will be benefits for you, not just for other people.

      I suggest that you check out how residents-only parking schemes work. If there is nowhere for non-locals to park on the street then they will not be able to park there. It’s as simple as that. They might park in other parts of Northcote, but you seem to only care about your house and your street so I’m guessing you don’t care about the residents in the poorer parts of Northcote (or whether cars park outside their houses).

      Re Ponsonby: sure it’s always been a shopping street, as I pointed out. However, the types of shops have changed dramatically, and now it’s packed most nights with people at restaurants, bars, etc. So the residents of many parts of Ponsonby would, by your arguments, have just as much reason to complain. But due to this influx of people the area is now much more desirable, house prices have soared, there are many more shops and amenities for the locals, etc. I don’t see anyone complaining.

      New development in any suburb can have major effects, of course. And yes the residents need a say. But you have still failed to convince me that the potential negative effects for you (increased pedestrians and cyclists through your neighbourhood) will outweigh your potential benefits (having access to Skypath, increased house prices, more and better shops).

    • grantb

      “What I do not like about some of the people posting here is when they resort to name calling, suggest that I’m somehow not a nice person just because my house is worth more than theirs, or dismiss logical reasoning simply because it does not fit their narrow argument”

      First logical fallacy is a straw-man argument that people are resorting to name calling because of your house value. I don’t know or care how much your house is worth, and you don’t know how much my (Milford) house is worth.
      I disagree with you simply because of my perception of your negative, knee-jerk reaction to any potential change in your neighbourhood. You imply that you want zero change and you don’t care about thousands of others (like me) who would benefit from this proposal. Including I presume some of your neighbour who would benefit and welcome change.

      I would also say that your reasoning is far from logical; the suggestion that a $5 billion tunnel is better alternative to the relatively inexpensive SkyPath strikes me as particularly illogical, and you can see from the posts above, others have present the correct figures and objective economic evidence that shows that you are simply incorrect in your estimate of toll costs or best time to build the tunnel.

      “It is entirely reasonable to expect that in any large representation of society there will be some exceptionally good and some exceptionally bad people”
      Including residents. Hence when authorities, when/if they consider the impact of the SkyPath may choose to ignore your opposition in favour of the greater good.

      “Of course I believe the vast majority of Auckland cyclists and tourists to be good citizens who wouldnt dream of dropping rubbish, stealing from residents, urinating in the park (when the limited toilet facilities are occupied) but with a projected 5000 people a day to the area it is simply not right to insist that some of them will not cause problems”

      a) Dropping rubbish.. suggest the addition of rubbish bins to the SkyPath (what about rubbish dropped on the path itself?) and/or street cleaning frequency to be increased.
      b) Stealing from residents. I suspect people stealing from houses are possibly less likely to do that with a bike or on foot than in a car. So suggest security lighting, additional patrols etc.
      c) You fixation with urination is… odd, but why assume 5000 or more people a day and no additional toilets? If it is a problem, then get a modern toilet block installed.

      “To be honest, I cant train my postman not to drag his bike through my garden because he’s too lazy to park it and walk 3 steps to my letter box”
      You might want to check NZ Post guidelines on letter box placement. As a hint, a letter box should not be in your garden, but you seem to be arrogance enough that you expect everybody to do exactly what you want.

      “Similarly it is entirely logical that there will be an element of people who spot Skypath as an opportunity to avoid CBD parking charges and they will want to park in the streets close to Skypath”
      a) Entirely ‘logical’ response (already repeatedly raised above) is that if there is insufficient parking then people won’t attempt to park. If there is sufficient parking, then what is the problem? If you have insufficient off-street parking for your personal use, then suggest 2 hour or resident only parking restrictions as with St Mary’s bay.

      “You already have park and ride commuters using the Ferry who take every parking spot in the Southern end of Queen Street. Isnt that an indication of whats to come with Skypath? ”
      Those parks are used… because they are there for people to use when taking the Ferry. You have an objection to that?

      “… very very quiet traffic area where there is nothing to attract parking. Ponsonby is not comparable, it is a busy shopping and social area. Why would any resident encourage that to change?”
      So you are saying that Northcote Point residents don’t want the Bridgeway or Engine Room restaurant as it might attract people? God forbid anything that might be progress. Remember Ponsonby wasn’t always a busy shopping and social area.. progress happens, people change and in many cases enjoy a more vibrate big city with improved transport. If you want real quiet, maybe that Warkworth property swap might be the best option for you?.

      “The argument presented by Skypath supporters that if you dont provide parking people will not bring their cars is just stupid”.
      Why? As people have pointed out, if you go to an area and there is no parking.. you don’t park. It is not magic.

      “Like everyone that has a desired project Skypath supporters only see positives”
      No, I see negatives, but look for ways to reduce them and improve outcomes. For me for instance, I don’t really want to ride down Queen street – would rather take the bike alongside of the motorway (seaward side) from Esmond road and on and over the bridge.

      “I dare say Ports of Auckland only see positives in extending the container wharf further into the harbour”
      Not relevant.

      “As an Aucklander who occasionally drives north I can see the positives of extending the motorway…but just because it suits me doesnt mean I do not accept the right of local residents to continue to enjoy the area they invested in”
      Yet every-time you do drive North, you already use a motorway that has been extended over the years over local objections. I have been in Auckland long enough to remember the queues on the old Albany highway, and benefit greatly from the motorway from Albany to Puhoi when I do travel North. It is part of being a resident of a big city – you gain the benefits of stadiums, malls etc but have to also accept the downsides.

      “Mostly the beneficiaries of skypath will be cyclists who could with little inconvenience use the existing ferry to cross the harbour”
      You are not listening. Above I pointed out above, the current ferry system is a significant inconvenience to me and I presume to others. I can cycle the 10-11km to work in say 25 minutes.
      Taking the ferry makes that around 1 hour as you have to get to the Ferry at the sailing time, queue to get on/off, exit the ferry building as well as sailing time.
      Multiple that time waste by hundreds of people and you see the reason why Auckland built a bridge in the first place – Ferries are not as efficient as bridges.

      “They could have used the shuttle service AHB provided but didn’t”.
      You mean to not cycle or walk across the bridge ?

      “Eventually there will be a second crossing and at that point a walk/cycle path must be part of the planing but until then my position is the current Skypath design carries an unfair and unacceptable burden to residents”
      Are you not reading or simply not understanding the actual evidence of the viability of the second crossing?
      I don’t believe the current SkyPath proposal (there is not a final design) carries an unfair and unacceptable burden to residents, but just upsets you personally.

      “I dont know what solution can be found to resolve the issues so that Skypath can be built. One idea put forward is to move the ramp exit/entrance to Queen Street. This would obviously be better for me but doesnt that just shift the burden to other residents and the Wharf?
      Queen street already has a ferry, so might be a reasonable choice, but can’t see how the Skypath would connect well. Current plans look pretty reasonable to me.

      “Compensation? maybe but Skypath could offer me $500’000 and Id still just prefer it wasnt built”.

      Don’t hold your breath for compensation as I doubt planners would see much of an impact to you personally from people using the public street outside your house. You might like that it is nice and quiet now, but it is paid for by ratepayers like me who might like to use it on occasion.

  • Rather than trying his luck in the extortion business, Phil should open his eyes to the commercial possibilities that this opens up. My eldest daughter has just used this service with a bunch of new friends from her hostel in San Francisco… they rode all the way across the Golden Gate bridge and back again without the use of any kind of vehicle except their hired bikes.

    Blazing Saddles: http://www.blazingsaddles.com/san-francisco.aspx

    • Were they urinated on? I have read (just on this post in fact) that is a major risk with using cycle infrastructure.

    • John Polkinghorne

      My family have done this too. Quite a popular trip I understand, and scenic if the city isn’t covered with fog that day. Although the fog is a key part of what makes San Francisco what it is.

      It goes without saying that there’d be plenty of tourists willing to hire a bike and have a go over the Auckland bridge, and I’m sure it would warm most of our hearts to see it happen. Although there will always be the odd grinch!

    • Liz

      I’ve used those bikes! It’s a pretty cool service. When you hire a bike they include the cost of a ferry ticket (and give you a ticket). If you decide to cycle back over the bridge instead of catch the ferry back, then you get the ticket refunded.

    • Shaun T

      When I did this in San Francisco I biked to Sausalito and then took a ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf. There were so many people doing this, there was an entire room in the lower deck of the ferry just filled with bikes. The bike rental company sold the rental + ferry ticket as a package so it was really convenient.

      Could be a new “thing” to do here :)

  • More ‘hell on wheels’ for poor wobbly Phil:

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/travel/bike-sharing-in-new-york-the-tourists-perspective.html?_r=0

    Hell in a hand cart I say…. Or should that be; on a bike rack….it must be so hard trying to live in the previous century in your head while the world marches remorselessly on.

    • Greg N

      …and 8 lanes of traffic roar overhead!

      • Liz

        Yeah, the ‘noise’ arguments he keeps trotting out against cyclists seem a bit ridiculous… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bicycle that’s noisier than a motorway.

  • Phil

    Somehow Aucklanders managed to do without Skypath for 54 years, the way you people talk its as if you don’t have alternative means of travel across the harbour.

  • Phil

    No doubt the walking and cycling enthusiasts of Takapuna considered the 37km, 7 hour and 40 minutes commute to the city before they invested in property on the Shore. They then no doubt either decided to use a car or the bus to get to the city or some may have been put off by the lack of a pathway over the bridge and bought in the CBD where they protested against a Stadium or in Western Springs where they bitched about the speedway.
    Investing public money into a cycle path on a bridge clip on with only 20 years life left is not progress. Its pandering to a very small percentage of Aucklanders who were too lazy to use the shuttle service that the AHB provided and think they are above using the bus service or ferry.

    • counterpoint

      In light of lazy cyclists, care to respond to my remark earlier today (June 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm) on this very topic (protip – its the bit about the ferry timetable)? It probably doesn’t bear repeating at this stage, but it’s not really a cycling link if you can’t cycle…

      Also, your talk of ‘investing’ in property seems to underline how out of touch you are with the situation in Auckland for anyone under 25 (or perhaps even anyone under 30) – that buying a property is such a hideously expensive exercise as to be virtually moot. With wages as they are, this is a proposition unlikely to change in the short term. We could well argue that many people in our fine city don’t ‘invest’ in properties as much as choose the best option available at the time – the implication being that the choice may not be a long term one, which might in turn render the term ‘invest’ a bit overwrought. Under this scenario, those same people who chose to live in an area (Takapuna was the original example, although it might not be very representative for the point I’m trying to make just now) based on the facilities within may simply have been making the best short term decision under the financial constraints they face. They might even have a view to moving to another area at a time when this is feasible for them. Critically though, they’re impacted in either case by the lack of a facility, and simply stating that they knew this at the time is a pretty weak point to make. As Patrick said before, the logical conclusion here is why do anything ever?

      I see you still haven’t read that NTZA report on the bridge either – tsk tsk!

    • Swan

      Phil the clip ons have been upgraded and now have an indefinite life. Also, it is an institutional investor funding it, so not a political “public money” situation.

  • Phil

    @Doloras…chaos Marxism???? I’m sorry but no one is ever going to take you seriously :(

    • counterpoint

      “…but no one is ever going to take you seriously”

      Ladies and Gentlemen – the death of satire

  • Phil – This has dragged on long enough. We don’t have a problem with alternative points of view however your posts continue ignore our user guidelines, including the requirement to use a valid email address and to back up your arguments with facts.
    http://transportblog.co.nz/user-guidelines/

    If you wish to keep commenting and ignore these guidelines then we will be forced to ban you.

  • Phil

    @Matt.
    1. I am using a valid email address (we have a server problem at the moment and that is why email will bounce back)
    2. My arguments are backed with facts
    3. So using the word ‘cuxt’ is not enough to get someone banned?

    @Swan
    The underwriter is a Govt fund so the tax payer is 100% financially exposed to the cost of the build and subsequent operational costs.

    @Counterpoint.
    Surely the ferry timetable is adequate. I live a 5 min walk from the ferry and I find the timetable and frequency is perfectly adequate for my needs. Surely anyone setting off from Warkworth will have 69.6 kms, 4 hours and 52 mins ride to contemplate connecting with the Fullers ferry. I find it strange that supporters of Skypath would find fault with the ferry service given they are relying on this as a link to return tourists back to the city after their 5km walk over skypath.
    I would also imagine that anyone in Takapuna not wishing to use their BMW or Aston Martin to get to the city could easy afford to sell up and buy in the city where they can walk ro ride to work. The people living in Takapuna bought their homes thinking they would rather live next to a nice beach than be able to walk to the CBD. It was no doubt a considered decision.

    People that buy next to airports should not complain about aircraft noise but surely they would have the right to protest if the airport were to be doubled in size. Isnt this the same about people that bought on Northcote Point or SMB? Surely we have no right to complain about the existing bridge but every right to complain about projects that will make the bridge more annoying.

    • counterpoint

      If you’re the sort of person that like handing out a fisking from time to time (I suppose that’s me) then this is the thread that keeps on giving.

      One of the key criticisms that I kept repeating, and that some others have both put forward and picked up on was the apparent selfishness with which you deride Skypath, putting forward your own personal distaste as an argument. So with this in mind, there are a few sections here that stand out (edited for length)

      “Surely the ferry timetable is adequate. I live a 5 min walk [away] … I find the timetable and frequency is perfectly adequate for my needs. .. I find it strange that supporters of Skypath would find fault with the ferry service….”

      Well that’s you covered then. But wait, the plot thickens….

      “…given they are relying on this as a link to return tourists back to the city after their 5km walk over skypath.”

      Now, I’m still not entirely sure who has ever said this in this entire thread. As best as I can tell, it’s mostly the work of this one commenter Phil, who predicts a bus-pocalypse in the area that no earthly force can prevent.

      “The people living in Takapuna bought their homes thinking they would rather live next to a nice beach than be able to walk to the CBD. It was no doubt a considered decision.”

      I think you rather missed the point here, that considered decision or not, they’re still affected. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to re-read some of the thread. But then again, why live in cities at all? After all, we went for hundreds of thousands of years without them, amirite?

      Similarly, please explain how this situation that you find yourself in is comparable to a nearby airport doubling in size, taking into account relevant contextual information including severity of impact, amenity, (realistic) resident impact, various structural goals concerning transport in the Auckland region, and so on. Go on, explain. I actually dare you.

      Also, on the topic of banning me, I wonder if the mods might consider re-instating the post where Phil apparently posted a phone number (with the relevant information removed, obviously). I said something I thought better of, which I then retracted, and this statement is still on the blog for anyone to see. Now, this isn’t a request to have that removed. In fact, I would invite commenters to read what I wrote (counterpoint June 8, 2013 at 4:54 am) and judge me accordingly (bonus marks if you read the entire context of that discussion) as I believe that readers of this blog are capable of deciding for themselves whether or not I have made any valuable contributions to this discussion. However I wasn’t party to either the remark that Phil made (apparently the one at June 12, 2013 at 1:30 am), and so am not afforded a similar courtesy. I know I’m prepared to own my remarks, so mods – I leave it in your hands.

    • swan

      Phil,

      “The underwriter is a Govt fund so the tax payer is 100% financially exposed to the cost of the build and subsequent operational costs.”

      The funder is our sovereign wealth fund. That is a professionally managed fund with specific objectives (primarily to make money via long term investments). They will have professional analysts assessing investment desicions. Most importantly they are independent from the government.

      So are you suggesting the Super fund be politicised, and turned into a slush fund for the politicians? Thats the only alternative I can see, other than shutting it down altogether.

      I am glad you now accept that the clip ons have a life time of more than 20 years though – that is progress. Does it affect your overall position?

  • Phil

    Is Fisking like Fisting? You shoudl move to Ponsonby :D

    Lets look at the public transport options. There is the Ferry where you can take your bike or the bus that has a frequency of one every few minutes crossing the bridge in peak times. The AHB authority even ran a shuttle service for cyclists but by your own words, it was not convenient enough for you. So we should build a cycle path because you don’t want to use public transport…. ‘Well that’s you covered then’.

    Once again. I am not against a cycle or walking path crossing the harbour. I don’t think you will find an Aucklander who would be on the basis of it being a user pays, zero cost to tax payers project. Regrettably for many reasonable reasons I do not believe that Skypath is the right project. It simply has too great a negative impact on local residents and is not a zero cost to tax payer project. I am entitled to this opinion as much as you are entitled to agree or disagree at your leisure. However the name calling was definitely over the top and the retraction was a joke. A bit like when you start a sentence with ‘Don’t take this the wrong way’.

    As for the airport scenario, Look at the situation another way. Do you think the residents of Northcote Point and SMB would have a valid reason to fight a project that would double the size of the Harbour bridge? I would imagine most Aucklanders would understand resistance to that. I find it very telling that you sympathise with someone who is anti motorway extension but cant see why locals could possibly not want Skypath.

    Just because its your pet project doesnt make it the right project and as you have no downside then you can not be objective to criticism. In case you are unaware, I am not the only person that doesnt want this project in its current form.

    • counterpoint

      I guess anything is telling when you strip enough of the context away. First of all we have this apparently un-ironic gem:

      ” A bit like when you start a sentence with ‘Don’t take this the wrong way’.”

      And nothing like when you start a sentence with

      “Skypath is a selfish wish of a few echo warrior cyclists…”
      Or
      “It is all well and good for the few of you to embrace a cheap transport option to the city…”
      Or
      “By your logic…”
      Or
      “Excuse me for stating the blindingly obvious…”
      Or
      “I am sure that the majority of skypath users will be lovely fluffy people…”
      Or
      “Nobody is saying it wouldn’t be nice if you could walk or cycle over the bridge…”
      Or
      “…to disagree on this point you have to be a complete idiot”
      (This is actually the end of a sentence to be fair)

      And so on and so forth.
      The bit that doesn’t seem to have sunk in for you (and presumably never will) is that despite putting your point forward for about a week now, you’ve managed to obtain basically zero support. Sure, there are those like Kevyn and Greg N who seem to agree in the margins about possible problems that may arise from Skypath (and Jill, for what that’s worth), but reading those comments now they hardly seem to be advocating a wholesale termination of the project (and they certainly aren’t advocating some massively wasteful tunnel project as an alternative). I don’t mean to sound arrogant here, but I think I can fairly confidently say that my view is broadly represented by the majority of commenters in this thread – namely that your specific objections are poor, ill-tempered, and advocated in bad faith, and that given the overall context of the project it should probably move to the next phase of consultation where concerns can be sensibly addressed.

      But ok, what about the body of the text? What kernel of wisdom have you seen fit to bestow upon us this round?

      “So we should build a cycle path because you don’t want to use public transport…”

      It is interesting that, in light of my previous paragraph, this has somehow boiled down to my preference (and bizzarly enough, the preference of those in Warkworth), as if I am the single proponent, who not only coined this project in the face of unending opposition, but single-handedly advanced it all through the various stages of planning, consultation, and review that got it to the stage its at now. Never mind the 10,000 other users you worried about so much in the not too distant past, or indeed the various expressions of support here on this blog (and even in this thread), what this really comes down to is whether or not counterpoint will use it.

      This reminds me of a quote attributed to Robert Smith, which goes like this:

      “If Morrissey says not to eat meat, I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey.”

      We can replace Morrissey with Counterpoint, and ‘eat meat’ with ‘supports Skypath’, and with a bit of editing to get the quote to flow right, we end up with

      “If Counterpoint supports Skypath, then I’m going to oppose Skypath, that’s how much I hate Counterpoint.”

      Point being, re-framing the discussion about my preference doesn’t do anything to address the projects merits as a whole, partly on account of the fact that its, you know, public infrastructure and all, and therefore subject more to the desires of the public than those of a single internet commenter (a public that, if this thread is anything to go by, seem un-impressed with the calibre of the objections)

      “Regrettably for many reasonable reasons I do not believe that Skypath is the right project. It simply has too great a negative impact on local residents and is not a zero cost to tax payer project.”

      Evidently, one major component of this impact is mass uriniation. I have to say that I do dispair for other Northcote Point residents who may wish to enter this discussion with other, more reasonable concerns, as they will now be associated with this sort frankly bizzare objection. I mean really – you would struggle to make this up.

      “Do you think the residents of Northcote Point and SMB would have a valid reason to fight a project that would double the size of the Harbour bridge? I would imagine most Aucklanders would understand resistance to that.”

      The weirdest thing about this quote is how its posed like some sort of gotcha, when it basically outlines the point I made to Kevyn earlier – namely that contextual information is of great importance when evaluating opinions about how public works may disrupt peoples lives. In short, no-one would think this unless they thought there was some kind of equivalence between Skypath and doubling the size of the bridge. Now, I’m no psychic, but I think I can be fairly confident that no-one on this blog is of that opinion (and if you are, please tell me why). The reason most Aucklanders would understand this is presumably they think the same. Again, for the millionth billionth time, please indulge us as to why Skypath has similar impact to this if it is in fact what you believe, otherwise put the Strawman down.

      On a broader level, it can be fairly easily argued that additional bridge lanes are un-needed, and that they in fact work against high-level spatial goals that the city aspires to in the future. These same arguments can be made in favour of Skypath, in case that wasn’t clear, which can either add or remove strength to the arguments of anyone affected. I’ll leave it to you to demonstrate how these secondary factors play into your ideas about Skypath.

      Before I end, I simply cannot leave this stone unturned.

      “In case you are unaware, I am not the only person that doesnt want this project in its current form.”

      I’m pretty sure this is essentially false in the context of this particular discussion, since the form you want it in is either as a bridge lane with an accompanying tunnel, at which point we need to ask how that will be materially different for residents compared to Skypath (enormous cost notwithstanding), or no form at all, in which does slightly undermine your claim to want some kind of walking and cycling facility. Remember, that if you want to make these sorts of comments about tunnels, you do need to be sympathetic to real constraints around their construction (namely cost, but also logistics) and their purpose. Or to put it in simple terms, unless you can convince the public that not altering the area just around your house has a value to the community of $5 billion, why should said public take any proposal you put to them of similar cost in a serious light?

      • Greg N

        Phils position is not ““If Counterpoint supports Skypath, then I’m going to oppose Skypath, that’s how much I hate Counterpoint.”
        its actually:

        ““If anyone supports Skypath, then I’m going to oppose Skypath, that’s how much I hate Skypath.”

        And yes I do see potential at Westhaven for traffic issues, but not at the other end.
        And mostly due to the attitude of some Westhaven Marina Users Association (WMUA) attitudes – which seems to be “this is our marina, so everyone else F**k off. we have an expensive investment and we were here first.”

        Actually I think Phil and WMUA have a lot in common, big mouths and big attitudes and no rational though processes under the hood..

  • NCD

    Righto, that’s all of Ponsonby behind the Skypath.
    Phil, just to help us on the way to the magical 300 comments, why don’t you propose a solution that works for both sides? (And your ferry joke is old now).

    • counterpoint

      I genuinely don’t get this. The implication is that Ponsonby is full of people who enjoy fisting, but in order for this to work as a joke there has to be some kind of reference to the character of Ponsonby residents to play on. A haphazard attempt at a non-sequitur perhaps?

  • TheBigWheel

    262 !!!

  • I keep getting updates from this thread and just wish I could opt out. Reading all the posts makes me annoyed. Phil probably is over reacting but it is not helped by the mean spirit of the other posters here.
    Counterpoint has the annoying ability to post 1000 word essays when 100 would do, clearly he feels clever from the sound of his own voice. None of you seem to care at all about each others views and seem to take great enjoyment at insulting a local resident. I would think you would be bending over backwards to get him on board with the project.
    Matt the moderator is clearly biased or else he would have banned all of you a week ago. To single out just Phil is not fair at all. His opinions may be wrong but he is entitled to them.
    Hopefully my inbox will no longer be filled up with notifications from this blog, the pettiness of you all has put me off my breakfast this morning.
    Regards,
    Jill

    • Jill you must have signed up to receive notifications, that is not something that happens without you choosing it. And of course you can cancel them too, and i suggest you do.

    • You seem to be confusing “entitlement to opinion” with “entitlement to never be challenged on your opinion ever”. Phil is a homeowning grown-up, so I’m sure he can judge when (or if) he wants to bow out of the discussion if he feels put upon; in fact he seems quite happy to respond at length to other people’s posts. I’ll reserve my own opinion on the quality of his reasoning, but nevertheless.

      It’s Matt’s call as to how he interprets the rules of the site but I think what is above is reasonably heavy-handed – the one poster who replied to Phil with profanity later withdrew and apologised. Phil doesn’t seem to have a problem with describing people not involved in the discussion as potential (in fact statistically inevitable) “arseholes”, not to mention jolly japes about assaulting them if he catches them up to no good, so I think under the circumstances the mods’ attitude to Phil compares favourably.

      Finally, this is the internet and people argue sometimes in detail and at length – if this damages your appetite you should probably give up on it altogether. I hope the notification for this post doesn’t make you too queasy and please enjoy your breakfast once you’ve recovered.

      • Ha! What a slip. Replace “heavy-handed” with “even handed”. Another desperate plea for an edit function, team…

    • counterpoint

      Can I also say how incredibly tiresome this posturing about one’s “right to voice their opinion” is. I’ve said this before, but to me this is just one red herring that refuses to die. Anyone who is going to use this as an argument – just drop it now. The only way that it makes sense for Phil (or anyone for that matter) to use the “well I have a right to an opinion” line is if you somehow think that you are being denied the opportunity to put forth that opinion. Being that I’ve been a transport blog reader since about late 2009, and to the best of my recollection this is the single longest comment thread ever, one surely cannot seriously claim that that they are being denied a chance for representation? I for one am putting forward specific claims (in fact, I even QUOTE THE RELEVANT TEXT when I do so), so just saying “well I happen to disagree” is hardly a crushing rebuttal. Yet time and again, despite offering point by point analysis I get this kind of damp response:

      “I am entitled to this opinion as much as you are entitled to agree or disagree at your leisure.”

      Well big whoop.

      So just stop it. Everyone in this forum is as entitled to have an opinion (and voice it) as anyone else, and there has never been any question on this matter. But don’t try and play this as though all opinions have equal merit, or are of similar quality. If you want to be taken seriously then the onus is on you to present your case seriously – end of story. The mere fact of an opinion is not a defence against a specific claim – if you are going to simply agree to disagree then why bother posting at all?

  • Phil

    Actually counterpoint I would imagine my opinion will eventually carry more weight than yours because at some point I will be able to challenge the building consent process and you wont be part of that process.
    My opinions are:

    1. If the Skypath is a financial failure I as a taxpayer (like many of you) will have to pay for this thing. This is a FACT as the project is underwritten by the Govt.

    2. If Skypaths own predictions of patronage are correct then I will have 5000 cyclists/tourists a day descend on what is now a very quiet street. In the weekend the projection is up to 10’000 and the facility is to run 24 hours a day on weekends and up till midnight during the week. It is a FACT that 5000 people can not tread as quietly as 0, especially any that decide to walk home on a friday night after 6 hours in the pub.
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/questnews/west/noisy-cyclists-bragging-about-bedroom-antics-drive-southside-residents-to-petition-for-keep-quiet-signs/story-fn8m0u4y-1226621073134

    3. As a local resident I am concerned that in any given demo graph of society there are good and bad. Of the estimated 5000 users a day it is impossible to not believe a percentage of these people will cause great annoyance to residents. Annoyance could be (but not limited too); dropping litter, making unreasonable noise, damaging property (public and private), theft. It is a FACT that on average 4% of the western population suffer from antisocial personality disorder. It is a Fact that NZ along with United States, Colombia, France, Ukraine have the highest rates. However even if we just use the average that would still be 200 people a day with APD. A full list of APD traits would include: Sense of entitlement; Unremorseful; Apathetic to others; Unconscionable behaviour; Blameful of others; Manipulative and conning; Affectively cold; Disparate understanding; Socially irresponsible; Disregardful of obligations; Nonconforming to norms; Irresponsible.

    4. As a resident I am concerned about the effects of Park and cycle users clogging up the roads and taking up all available parking facilities. Park and Ride is a popular option already for North Shore commuters to the CBD. It is a FACT that the Northern Busway provides 550 P+R spaces in Albany and a further 370 in Constellation drive. These were not provided for without demand. It is a FACT that parking costs in the CBD are expensive. A monthly parking ticket costs $270.25/month so $13.50 per day (20 working days before anyone challenges the math). Skypath users will be able to cross for $4.00 a day creating an incentive of $190.00 a month to park and ride from Northcote where there is free parking. It is entirely illogical and disingenuous to suggest this will not happen. An A zone monthly bus pass costs $140.00 so someone that takes the bus to work could save $330.00 a month through park and cycle. I am sure a saving of $330 a month is not going to be lost on any of the people currently occupying the 920 car parking spaces in Albany and Constellation.

    5. Not only are there worries about park and cycle. It is very likely that any tourists will expect to be bused to and from the Northern end of Skypath. Tourists may walk the 5kms from the CBD (where the hotels are) to Northcote point but they will not want to do another 5km return journey. It is a FACT that Skypath are in discussion with Fullers about this with some of the tourists making the return journey by ferry. My concern is that the tourists will want to wait for the scheduled crossing (apparently the timetable is not convenient for cyclists so why would it be for tourists?) and so there will be tourist coaches parking up waiting for passengers. Quite how they can fit in with residents cars and park and cycle users is anyone guess but it is wrong to assume this will not happen. I know you people love to compare Skypath with The Goldengate bridge in SFO so here is an article giving FACTS about parking problems for park and cycle tourists http://www.ourgoldengate.com/parking-at-the-golden-gate-bridge.html

    I invite any and all of you to comment on the FACTS I have presented as my objections to the project, just try and be adult about your responses so that Ms Major can avoid indigestion.

    • C’mon Phil, any noise is annoying at 5.30 in the a.m.- cyclists drunks or anyone.

    • Swan

      Is park and cycle an observable phenomenon anywhere in the world? I have in the past (and know a lot of people who do) cycled to work. I have never known anyone to park and cycle. Phil, what do you think about residents parking permit schemes in any case? Have you considered that some ferry users may turn to cycling thereby reducing parking demand (not to mention demand on Onewa)?

      On the financial front, why do you think you know better than a group of apolitical professional analysts and fund managers? Do you think the superfund should be disbanded altogether? Or that it be subject to political interference? What about the myriad transport investments without hope of a commercial return, shouldn’t you be more worried about these? Are you more happy with the investment now you know the clip ons are not about to fall over?

      The anti social behaviour concern is not valid I don’t believe. Those effects are caused by people acting illegally. Any development could be critiqued on the basis that someone might act illegally, so is therefore of no use from a desicion making point of view. In any case that sort of behaviour would be negatively correlated with north shore cycling residents who are very fine people indeed :). Cyclists are going to spend about five seconds on Princes St in any case as the route will be Alma/Queen. Also you are not starting from zero, Princes St is already part of a very popular running route that Calliope use

    • counterpoint

      It was a provocative remark for sure, but if 260+ comments in the most remarkable thing about your opinion is that you have it, then it hardly constitutes a serious debate.

      Anyway, let me be the first to say congratulations on finally putting together some vaguely coherent account of your objections. Shame it took a week, but better late than never I guess…

      But you’ve still missed the trick here with your ‘anti-social-personality disorder’ claim – even though I myself have said this about 5 million billion times – that it doesn’t follow that you can oppose something in the particular on this basis, because you can oppose ANYTHING on this basis. I could argue (and perhaps even successfully) that this forum should be closed lest it be hi-jacked by anti-social rants by affected residents, and logically my opposition would be no different to yours. As swan mentions, these kind of acts are generally illegal anyway, so you might even be able to further reduce the claim to “someone might act illegally, therefore we should not build this” – an even more spurious claim since the law already provides a method to deal with whatever inevitable fallout you foresee.

      So unless you think Skypath will encourage delinquency (and I await with baited breath the explanation behind that) then the argument has no real basis.

      The weirdest thing to me is that you have (apparently) seriously tried to defend this point for so long. I could be alone in thinking this, but it really undermines the credibility of your opposition as whole as it casts it in the light of a paranoid delusion.

  • Phil

    @ Swan. The moderators asked for ‘facts’.

    1. Park and Cycle is ‘an observable phenomenon’ in San Francisco, a bridge cycleway Skypath supporters love to make comparisons with. Did you read my link?

    2. On a financial front you can not deny that the project has been miss sold as a zero cost to tax payers while at the same time taking money from the Govt. Also you can not deny that the role of an underwriter (in Skypaths case the Govt) is to assume any shortfall between revenue and cost. This is a 100% exposure for the tax payer.

    3. Your views on anti social behaviour do not fit in with professional health experts. Cyclists are like every other demo graph, some people are good, some are bad. 4% of 5000 is still 200 people a day with antisocial personality disorder and that is unacceptable to local residents. You are wrong to say cyclists will spend ‘about five seconds on Princes St’ as this will be the congregating area for the toll and where people will gather while waiting to get access in peak controlled periods.. Also the route is to and from Stokes point in Princes St. Have a look at the plans.

    • Swan

      The project has not been missold. They have been upfront about the investor. You do understand that an investment by the independent super fund is very different from spending out of the land transport or consolidated fund. I ask you again, do you disagree with the fundamental set up of the super fund.

      Interesting on the Golden Gate Bridge. It appears their are designated car parks provided for tourists. My comment was in response to your comment about commuters. I do not think commuting in this way would be very popular – I understand how commuter cyclists think. I have never heard of anyone doing this. Back to Auckland, no car parking is proposed, and with residents permits it will not be an issue. Care to comment on the rest of my comments around diversion FROM driving

      Care to respond to my comment on the validity of your concerns about illegal activity? Lets say you want to build an extension on your house and I object on the basis that you might use it as a P lab. Is that reasonable? Do you have a citation for your comment about north shore cycle commuters?

      Can you show me where it has been said the commuters will continue down Princes instead of going onto Queen. This does sound logical for anyone other than local residents. Tourists will be directed directly to Queen. The system is integrated with hop so it will not take any length of time to enter, so no need for congregating.

  • Bryce P

    Phil, how close is the front of your house to the road? Are there trees in front? Do you hear buses already? Is there another house in front of yours?

  • Bryce P

    I have a bus route past the front of my house. In the future this will get busier. My reaction? I live in a city. The city is full of people. We all need to get around, be it by bus, train, car, on foot or by bike. As it is a city, we need to share the city. If I didn’t like it, I would leave the city. There are good people in the city and there are bad people in the city. It’s part of life. We either accept the good and bad that comes with a city or we leave.

  • Phil

    The project has been sold as a zero cost to taxpayers but in fact the tax payer is 100% liable to the costs as a Govt agency is the underwriter.

    If commuters can not spot a saving of $330 a month by park and cycle then they are stupid. This is a huge incentive for anyone travelling to and from the shore to the CBD.

    It is clear that a percentage of Skypath users will be anti social. At 4% this is still 200 people a day. For you to suggest otherwise is a joke and suggests you somehow think cyclists are above the rest of the community. Least you forget, Skypath started with an illegal act.

    Skypath users will congregate as the project is engineering limited to max users. Skypaths own projections plan for congregation in Princes Street.

    The trouble with you people is you refuse to accept anyone’s opinion but your own. Thankfully the national newspapers are starting to report on the negatives of your project.

    As for BP… I do not have any bus route past my house. I bought my property knowing it was in a very quiet dead end street and I simply wish it to remain that way. Good to see you expect transport to increase in Auckland, as such, you should support a second harbour crossing :)

    • counterpoint

      “It is clear that a percentage of Skypath users will be anti social…”

      But it doesn’t matter, this is simply an incoherent position to take and the fact you can’t see it says volumes about the quality of your opposition. If this is in fact a reason to oppose Skypath, as you so fondly claim, then you logically must oppose all public projects anywhere, basically irrespective of cause or context. By sticking to this position, you enforce the requirement that for every project you support, you must give some account of how no anti-social person (arsehole, if you prefer) can ever use it.

      So in spite of either wilfully ignoring the various criticisms of AWHC or simply failing to understand them, you now need to tell a story about how only people of sufficient virtue can use the facility. In other words, ignoring all other constraints like funding and purpose, how do you propose to stop ‘arseholes’ using the additional harbour crossing?

    • Bryce P

      I do support a second harbour crossing but you won’t be happy with the supported modes.

    • Swan

      What percentage of the time is the limit going to be reached? Once a year? Less? Based on the projectoons it is likely it will never be reached, except opening day perhaps. So maybe you will get a bit of congregation one Saturday every few years. Really a big deal?

      It’s a good saving – they will save even more if they leave the car at he altogether (or don’t buy that second car in the first place). But how will they make the saving if they can’t park at the bridge?

      You don’t get it regarding the super fund do you? The funding desicions of the super fund are not up for political debate because they aren’t political desicions. Recently Z energy proposed a new service station on Onewa Rd. There were a few people moaning about it, but noone came up with the ridiculous argument that it shouldn’t go ahead because taxpayers money was at risk via the super fund.

      You anti social argument is still not persuasive I am afraid. We need to know what the conditional probability is of such a cyclist carrying out an anti social act whilst on your road. Given they will only spend five seconds on it 99.9% of the time I expect the conditional probability to be quite low. Even still my point about illegal acts stands.

  • Phil

    Counterpoint…The fact you are posting on this blog during an All Black tests speaks volumes as well :(

    • counterpoint

      Presumably it reflects my lack of interest in rugby. What this has to do with Skypath…..?

      • The Trickster

        I’m sure in Phil’s mind it’ll be something about patriotism or something?! Who knows?!

  • In the spirit of Phil:

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    • No Phil; humans going to work in everyday clothing….

    • counterpoint

      Out of curiosity – in what age bracket would you place yourself, Phil?

    • grantb

      Save the MAMILS:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/11/mamil-middle-aged-men-in-lycra

      http://www.brw.com.au/p/business/mamils_you_should_like_those_lycra_932DB83l2JxlHMVQ03eAwO

      Never quite understood the hate directed my way because I am a middle-aged male and cycle. Not usually decked out head to toe in Lycra, but like anybody cycling more than 20-30km, the benefits of padded cycling shorts are pretty obvious (even to Phil as he claims to mountain bike). Even on occasional long rides, I wear bright lycra cycle tops in the faint hope that car drivers might actually notice me (and my usual gym tee-shirts don’t tend to come with handy pockets on the back for food).

      I am sure the lycra is some sort of fashion crime to hipsters, but the fear and loathing exhibited by people raving on about guys wearing lycra is weird. I have seen plenty of messages on TM (hopefully just from trolls) with drivers threatening to run over cyclists presumably because it is some sort of affront to their masculinity.

      I mean, if I was wearing black gumboots, black jeans and black hoodie, it would be OK for me to cycle? Pretty stupid I would think.

  • Patrick Reynolds

    Grant the other weirdness is the insane overstatement of cyclist lawlessness. Everyday I see people using their cell phones while driving, parking in bus tops, speeding, running reds, and generally breaking any number of laws and regulations with their vehicles.

    Acts that are far more likely to lead to death or injury than the crimes levelled at bike users. Yet somehow this is all ok, understandable, yet one cyclist doing something a driver doesn’t like leads to extraordinary outpourings of demonisation of the whole group.

    Illogical.

  • Hi Phil, in response to your 5 points:

    1) Yes, if there is little use of SkyPath then the underwrite would be called upon. However we think than because the underwrite provision is below the low-use forecasts provided by the independent advisors then it is very unlikely that the underwrite will be called upon.

    Furthermore, SkyPath will save tax payers and ratepayers the approximately $25 million that would otherwise been required for NZTA’s prior plan (to extend the western clip-on’s width by 1.2 metres following completion of the next Harbour Crossing to provide a pathway on the AHB).
    See: http://www.skypath.org.nz/project-status/nztas-position/

    2) Because we have identified 3 access points on Northcote Point (direct path to ferry & bus terminal on Queen St, SeaPath link to Takapuna, and Princes St) then you shouldn’t expect all 5,000 SkyPath users on Princes Street in one day. It is quite possible we direct ALL users onto SeaPath and do not provide access to Princes St, as per this design option:
    http://www.skypath.org.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Northside-Plan-Option-F-080513.pdf

    3) In response to potential anti-social behaviour, we have developed the range of security measures that I described in my earlier post (on-site security staff, etc.). We believe that this will address the current issues of loitering and anti-social behaviour under the bridge. I was there last week on an iwi site visit and was disappointed to see rubbish, used toilet paper and condoms lying around.

    4) There will be no car parking available to SkyPath users. Please see this traffic study (it’s in draft form because we’re currently consulting with residents) for the types of measures that we are looking to introduce:
    http://www.skypath.org.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/12035ta_Final-draft.pdf

    5) The majority of tourists are expected to take the ferry from Northcote Point if they do not wish to walk or cycle both ways. Bus access and parking would be provided at the southern end of Queen Street, where the existing bus services operate in conjunction with the ferry.

  • Phil

    Bevan,

    1. ‘Very unlikely’ is still not a ‘Zero cost to taxpayer’ and you are already receiving public money which clearly puts the project beyond that ‘zero cost’ description. I wonder how many Auckland rate payers want to spend anything on a cycle path. I don’t know what your paying in Warkworth but my rates are already huge.
    I believe it is interesting that the NZTA’s plan was to extend the western clip on. Presumably they chose that side because they know extending the eastern side would require them to purchase land from private residents. However, please clarify your point. Are you saying the NZTA’s plan costs 25 mill (cheaper than Skypath) or an additional 25m (over an above your 28m cost)

    2. If all users were directed to continue onto Seapath (as per your link) then clearly I have less reservations. I would however want the pathway to be soundproofed/sealed in such a way that no noise can be heard. To avoid doubt, I am suggesting the path goes into a soundproof tunnel/tube between where the stairs and lift are to where it meets land at Sulphur Beach.
    If the stairs and lift were then only used for emergency and wheelchair access (disability is too relaxed) then Id have less objection.
    The problem for Skypath is that this would mean additional costs for the road alignment and make it harder to connect to the ferry as it would be a long walk back Along Sulphur Beach Rd, Beach Rd, and Queen st. There are less residents facing Sulphur Beach road to contend with but you may well find great objection from the people that use the marine facilities for fishing, boat storage lockers, and the boat slip yard. I guess you need to discuss with Ports of Auckland.

    3.As residents we object to any ant social behaviour. We do not distinguish in our objection to it being cyclists or kids coming down for a quick park up at midnight. My point remains that if you plan to introduce significant more people to the area the anti social behaviour will also significantly increase. This is pretty obvious so I assume you understand and agree on this point.

    4. The fact that you say there will be no car parking available to Skypath users does not mean users will not expect to park. The traffic study report states: ‘On one hand,SkyPath intends to encourage users to not use cars at all as part oftheir SkyPath journey, it being a facility intended to encourage active transport modes.On the other hand,the argument could be made that many Aucklanders currently remain car‐focused, and many
    would visit a recreational facility by car, despite the level of encouragement to the contrary, and especially if they can (or think they can) find free parking’.
    The report found a total of 342 available kerbside car parking spaces in Northcote Point South of which local demand during expected Skypath use varied from 150-250 spaces. That means between 92 and 192 space capacity for Skypath. The report then estimates users will require between 124-450 spaces on weekdays and 160-633 spaces on weekends. So in the most optimistic scenario Skypath would take a significant percentage of the spare capacity of spaces. In the worst case scenario you would have 483 more cars than spaces available to park! If we take averages Skypath will create a shortfall of 287 spaces on a weekday and a shortfall of 396 spaces on the weekend. YOUR OWN REPORT IS TELLING YOU THERE WILL BE A MASSIVE PARKING PROBLEM.
    Apart from the parking mess can you imagine what teh residents of Queen Street North will think of you adding all these cars to Northcote Point. As it is the traffic lights create a build up of cars all the way to the cinema in peak times. The CO2 you will add to the area makes this far from a Green initiative.

    5. If you construct Skypath to only exit at Sulphur beach (as described above) you add approx 2kms walk to get back to the Ferry. As there is very little for tourists to see or do on Northcote point they may as well turn around about where the Bungy Jump is and walk back to your Westhaven tolling station. That is assuming you have permission to build anything at Westhaven.
    Currently the bus stops at the Jean Sampson reserve round about. I dont see any objection from residents if they size or frequency of Birkenhead buses was increased. I would however see issues if you allowed tour bus operators to use the bus stop. That would add a lot of traffic to that quiet area.

  • 1. So what? Every road is built at full cost to the taxpayer. Yes that’s right total socialism, centrally planned as well. No issue here.
    2. Err soundproofed like the eight lanes of traffic then? Yeah right.
    3. With security and CCTV the’ll be less anti social behaviour there than there is now.
    4. Parking can be managed and policed with residents permits and enforcement.
    5. Well yes it would be better with more than one exit at Sulphur Beach, good to see you agree.

  • Phil

    @Grantb. Gel pack seat! It removes the discomfort and keeps your dignity intact :D I’m riding around 180 kms a week on a mountain bike which is still fitted with off road tyres. It’s great for fitness although it can be annoying when a fat kid rides past you on a racing bike.

  • Phil

    @Patrick
    1. Skypath is NOT a state highway! It is a convenience to a small sector of the community
    2. I bought my property accepting the noise from the bridge. I am objecting to additional noise. 5000 cyclists will make a noise buddy.
    3. There is already security and CCTV. The notion that you think 5000 people a day are all going to be model citizens is laughable.
    4. We dont want or need residents permits without Skypath. What about the issue of the 300 angry drivers coming and going that cant find car spaces? What about introducing all this new traffic to a quiet area and the statistical likelyhood of that increasing accidents and kids being run over? What about the extra car noise on the streets and extra CO2?
    5. There is an existing path at Sulphur Beach. None of you ever use it!

  • I think we are just going around in circles now. I’m closing off these comments.