Yesterday the NZTA (and AT) published and later pulled down – although we already saved a copy – a newsletter giving details about Seapath, the walking and cycling route alongside SH1 between Northcote and Esmonde Rd and importantly linking into Skypath. In the newsletter, the NZTA and AT call the project a critical link as it will combine with other projects in the future to improve options for walking and cycling on the North Shore and I suspect it will be very popular, much like the Northwestern cycleway is. The NZTA’s website suggests the project will cost an estimated $17-21 million.
The project actually started life as a result of the work done for Skypath in response to the complaints from some of the Northcote Residents. Here’s how they describe it.
During our consultation phase in 2012 – 2013, the Northcote Residents Association advised SkyPath shouldn’t proceed until we had a walking & cycling network link to Takapuna. Good idea we thought – so we developed the link, called it “SeaPath” and provided our SeaPath report to NZTA and AT. NZTA then commissioned further investigation and prepared a preferred option.
The project is one of the ones the NZTA said would benefit from a rule change last year allowing the agency to designate cycleways by themselves.
Like many other cycleways, Seapath will be a 3m shared path and the agencies say three route options were considered:
- a landward route on the western side of the motorway
- a coastal edge route on the eastern side of the motorway
- a seaward route on a boardwalk on the eastern side of the motorway
They say the landward route is the preferred option and one of the advantages of it is it would provide easier connections to other local routes.
Interestingly the NZTA say another reason for the route selected was due to the it minimising the impacts on Shoal Bay which is home endangered species like Dotterels.
Shoal Bay and the surrounding area has a number of important ecological, cultural and historical characteristics.
Shoal Bay is a natural heritage location of regional significance and is home to extensive mangroves, saltmarsh and shellbank communities. It is also a key feeding and roosting area for migratory and coastal wading bird species including Oystercatchers, Caspian tern and NZ Dotterel.
It’s funny how that same concern doesn’t seem to manifest in the plans for an additional harbour crossing – which based on the last report envisages significant reclamation in the area
I suspect it’s the desire to plough more lanes through the area as part of an additional crossing that is actually the key reasons why the NZTA want it on the western side of the motorway.
That’s a shame as a seaward path like proposed alongside the motorway between Petone and Ngauranga in Wellington could be fantastic.
Below shows the wider network and how Seapath would fit in.
Overall this is a good project and it’s positive to see it being progressed. When combined with Skypath will really help in generating change and providing new options for people to travel. With them Takapuna would be 10km by bike from heart of the CBD. I’m already looking forward to both projects being completed.
As this would also help in providing options for people on bikes to avoid Northcote Point I wonder if it will help in the environment court mediation Skypath are currently involved in.
I understand the NZTA will be conducting some consultation on the route, possibly even starting today.