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Strong support for Seapath

The NZTA have advised that they had an excellent response on their first consultation about Seapath with more than 2,500 people responding which is pretty significant for a an early consultation. This will be in large part to the feedback form created by our friends at Generation Zero.

The NZTA say they’re still analysing the feedback but the key themes already include:

  • Strong support for a well-designed separated walking and cycling path with safe connections to local facilities.
  • Natural features should be recognised along with connections to the harbour for people to enjoy the coastal environment and views to the city.
  • The importance of safe, practical connections at either end of the path and along the route – in particular Akoranga Drive, Esmonde Road, Sylvan Ave, Onewa Road and Stafford Road.
  • The southern end of the path needs to provide a clear connection to the proposed SkyPath crossing, while the northern end needs a safe crossing and connection to onward routes.

Neither the level of support the project has or the issues raised are surprising. This will be a great project once combined with Skypath.

Seapath March-16 Route

Here’s the full press release.

The NZ Transport Agency says there’s been overwhelming support from the public for SeaPath, a proposed walking and cycling path between Takapuna and Northcote Point on Auckland’s North Shore.

SeaPath is a proposed 3km separated path largely on the western side of the Northern motorway. It will provide safe and direct connections to local communities, destinations and walking and cycling routes.

More than 2,500 feedback forms were received and approximately 108 people came to information sessions during a recent consultation process with the community.

All of the feedback and suggestions are now being analysed and a summary, along with the next steps, will be released later in the year.

Some of the key themes so far include:

  • Strong support for a well-designed separated walking and cycling path with safe connections to local facilities.
  • Natural features should be recognised along with connections to the harbour for people to enjoy the coastal environment and views to the city.
  • The importance of safe, practical connections at either end of the path and along the route – in particular Akoranga Drive, Esmonde Road, Sylvan Ave, Onewa Road and Stafford Road.
  • The southern end of the path needs to provide a clear connection to the proposed SkyPath crossing, while the northern end needs a safe crossing and connection to onward routes.

The NZ Transport Agency’s State Highways Manager, Brett Gliddon says the responses will help refine the future design.

“We’re very pleased with the amount of interest there has been on the proposed walking and cycling path, which will be an important link in Auckland’s wider walking and cycling network.”

“Getting more people on their bikes is a key priority for the Government through the NZ Transport Agency, to create more predictable journeys for all travellers as well as connecting people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities.”

“There’s a lot more work to be done and the feedback we now have will help us understand what areas need further investigation.”

The next steps for the project will be to review the feedback in detail and undertake further investigations on the alignment, working towards confirming the route and detailed design.

 

39 comments to Strong support for Seapath

  • DamianS

    I am surprised that NZTA didn’t list “people want a bridge or underpass at Onewa Road” among the feedback, seeing that that would have been represented very strongly through the 2000 GenZero submissions?

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      Fear not. There’s already an underpass if they go with Option A 😉 There’s not enough space for an underpass for Option B unless they opt for an underwater tunnel !

  • I feel a safe route from the SeaPath through to Takapuna will be essential to this project’s usefulness as an everyday route, not just a tourist / recreational route . The on-road cycle lanes on Esmonde Rd aren’t exactly appealing.

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      Agree 100%. The people I spoke to during the consultations were pretty quite on these, giving a very clear message that it’s out of scope for this particular project. I really don’t know how to make it better other than a dedicated overbridge over the on/offramps and the motorway somewhere in the vicinity of the Esmonde/Akoranga Interchange. Seems a shame now that this wasn’t done as part of the work on the footbridge to Akoranga Station. ;-(

    • The footpaths on Esmonde Rd aren’t exactly appealing either: 11 crossing points from the Esmonde Rd northbound onramp to Lake Rd: 5 begs and 6 run for your lives https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B31eSoJrqcpeWWhWZFN6SDZvNXc

  • Ben

    Sorry but this is not SEAPATH. Its more of a Northern Motorway Cycle Path. Stop calling it SeaPath as it only touches the waterfront for a bit before being stuck between the motorway and residentials

    • By ‘stuck’ you mean ‘where it provides the most utility’?

      Better it stuck between houses (full of people with bikes) and the motorway than between the motorway and the ocean (where there are 0 people with bikes, ideally).

    • Trundler

      Totally agree Ben. It is not a Seapath, which I think is a big missed opportunity to make it a standout route with amazing views. Now if users want the views, you will have to look over the top of all the cars/trucks, which means it is unlikely to be well screened from the traffic/noise/fumes. Yuck.

    • Trundler

      Further. Imagine if they were to build a dedicated ‘Sea Path’ along Tamaki drive and then decided to put it on the inland side of the road for ‘better connectivity’, would that really be desirable?

      • But on tamaki drive you can get the senic view and then crossing to make a connection is rather trivial compared to crossing the motorway

    • jontynewzealand

      I agree, it would be nicer on the seaward side of the motorway. Put that in my submission too, although I understand that would take a lot more money etc. Oh well, better than nothing…

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      Part of the consultation, NZTA was asking about the name of the path to reflect heritage and cultural significance of the area. Generation Zero didn’t mention anything on their form, and fair enough, it’s best to concentrate on the important bits. I am pretty sure the name will be changed, but I wouldn’t get too hung up on it too much – it’s just a name.

  • Always interesting which particular features of a consultation our agencies choose to highlight afterwards. No mention, for example, of the need for greater width than they proposed for a multidirectional shared (multi-mode) route….? In the too hard too expensive category, NZTA, so it gets glossed over? Or was really the only person who mentioned this…?

    • Matthew W

      Yes indeed. I think plenty would have mentioned path width.

      I had the same feeling recently with the North Shore New Network consultation. No mention of the need for an Onewa busway interchange station, presumably because, as you say, too hard, therefore easier to simply not mention it at all.

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      Patrick… I also submitted on the width. I said 5m is good and that Westhaven promenade width is a good example whereas Grafton Gully is too narrow in places. Do you know if Generation Zero keep a copy of the submissions, ie. can they be analysed? To keep NZTA accountable?

  • High Rise

    Wow, just look at the connection to Skypath. Why cant they just connect the thing up without kinking both of the sections under the bridge. This must be the worst design option and creates a mess. They could easily connect the two up and have a very nice and efficient alignment without the shambles under the bridge.

    I also thought is would be on the sea side of the motorway. Understand that linkages would be more difficult but just another example of a project getting half done. Can you imagine a segregated cyclepath from Lake road in Taka to Curran Street, now that would be awesome and an easy graded path. But no….

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      There are benefits and negatives of each side. In a nutshell (flamebait) – the sea side would really suit recreational users and lycra riders on Sunday mornings. West side would serve the community and connect people (including walkers) with destinations better for everyday use (AUT, Akoranga Station, The Warehouse Business area) – remember the recent Meadowbank cycleway with lack of local connections drama? There are still connections to view points on Sulphur Bay and Heath Reserve for the recreational walkers. Both sides are mostly flat, with the last bit up Akoranga Drive, which is a rather gentle 13 meters climb. From there the proposed Northern Cycleway would continue on the western side of the motorway to Northcote Rd by the golf course, Wairau Park (cycle lanes currently being built), up Totara Valley to connect to Constellation Drive and further on to Albany with the proposed extension of busway. The east side for SeaPath is more sheltered – ask anyone who’s been on NW cycleway on the causeway in rain and wind… NZTA don’t say it aloud but I’m pretty sure they want to keep the east side from Heath Reserve to Esmonde Rd free for the future tunnel, and that is currently keeping Forest and Bird North Shore happy as the NZ dotterel nesting sites are undisturbed for longer. The big drawback of the west side is that it doesn’t connect as nicely to Takapuna/Lake Rd/Hauraki/Belmont areas.

      • KLK

        “The big drawback of the west side is that it doesn’t connect as nicely to Takapuna/Lake Rd/Hauraki/Belmont areas.”

        That stuck out for me too. Takapuna connection should be a minimum.

        • Stranded on the North Shore

          As NZTA only own the land near the motorway, they would probably pass the Takapuna connection to Auckland Transport probably… Also see my comment above about the footbridge to Akoranga Station – perhaps it could be something that can be re-purposed going all the way above the bus station to provide a completely separated cycleway to Fred Thomas Drive… or am I dreaming…

  • John

    where have all the comments gone?

    scrap that, they are there now… whenever the screen refreshes most of he comments go missing

  • KLK

    I saw the map and, not knowing the area that well, thought the shaded green bits near the water were tidal mudflat areas. Ha. Its the motorway. So yes, “SeaPath” is a bit misleading isn’t it?

    Functionally, it looks fantastic. Ticks a lot of boxes and would be well used by locals who will soon be able to go seamlessly over the harbour. Connections with the student campus and Takapuna to the north, as well as other local cycleways on the shore.

    From a tourist perspective? Its hardly the Bondi to Coogee walkway, is it… Shame, I had the idea of a shared-bike scheme at Takapuna and then Westhaven, where tourists could cycle between the two. Dispensation granted for helmet use, of course…

    I think this is one that will be a raging success, locally, and even more so once SkyPath is approved. Any brave tourists will be icing on the cake.

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      Bingo. Utility first (includes walkers), recreation second is the name of the game. Every 100m walked is 1 minute brisk walk. Sea-side would add extra 150m here and extra 150m there for the walkers, reducing its attractiveness.

  • Zen Daldy

    The Onewa shared path connection is a joke. The ‘shared path’ is littered with sign posts, wheelie bins, the occasional illegally parked car amongst other obstacles. I very much want to be riding down Onewa Rd to a Sea Path but it is not exactly a cycle friendly road. Why they didn’t keep a standard footpath and install a cycle lane when doing the shared path works a year ago, I will never understand.

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      I ride Onewa “shared path” uphill, and Onewa Rd downhill for the very reasons you mentioned. Just add the cars exiting the driveways with often zero vision of the path to the list of hazards.

  • AnalogKid

    “Getting more people on their bikes is a key priority for the Government through the NZ Transport Agency, to create more predictable journeys for all travellers as well as connecting people with a greater range of employment, education and social opportunities.” – So take over the Skypath project and get it built ASAP!

    As for SeaPath – as a local I want in on the west side and well connected to maximise the utility, but realise it’s not got the same appeal as a true waterside route. It’ll be interesting to watch the spin if NZTA continue to use the dotterels as a reason for avoiding the east side and then go dig up the whole bay to put a tunnel in there later.

  • Bruce

    Cracks me up when they go on about protecting Mangroves…. Mangroves are not native to NZ they are an introduced pest from Queensland. Mangrove plants drifted to NZ at some stage over the last couple of thousand years and have since spread all over the upper North Island. They should be removed where possible to free up the waterways from their choking!

    • V Lee

      Mangroves have been in New Zealand for 19 million years so they are most certainly natives. They are expanding in New Zealand though so while they certainly don’t need ripping out, they also don’t need any special protection. Except perhaps from misguided people who want to rip them out!

    • SDW

      by your logic, NZ has minimal native flora and fauna. much of which floating, drifted or flew over to NZ thousands of years ago.

  • SimonD

    Perhaps the reason why it’s not on the seaward side is that in a few years it would have gotten blown away when they put the second harbour crossing in? It’s a bit of future thinking which is unfortunate because a second harbour crossing is a poor idea.

    • Dan C

      No NZTA have said it’s to save the dotterels:
      “Following early investigations and feedback from key stakeholders, the Transport Agency believes the proposed route largely on the western side of the Northern motorway between Northcote Point and Esmonde Road, provides opportunities for good connectivity and less ecological impacts than other options considered.”

      “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. ”

      Clearly the entry/exit ramps for the new harbour crossing are planned to be routed on the western side too. I think the obvious thing to do is route the bridge lanes on a new motorway via princes st and onto queen street to get through northcote point, a flyover of onewa road, then continue up Lake Road and Northcote Road to join with the existing SH1. The tunnel can then be fed by the existing Shoal Bay motorway lanes.

      The interchange where it joins SH1 next to Smales Farm will be quite a sight, far more impressive than waterview. It will be necessary to double deck SH1 north of this point, otherwise we wont be able to feed the new tunnel with any additional traffic, and so the connecting flyover ramps will actually need to be a third story above the upper deck.

    • simon

      Yes, regardless, it will all be underwater in 50 years anyway.

    • V Lee

      And in breaking news anyone who adopts a dotterel family will be allowed to drive in buslanes!

  • Jonty

    The small part of this path that is waterside facing the city should have a large viewing area, able to keep a decent amount of people out of the way of the path. This could be a great spot for tourists etc. who want free views of the city (who don’t necessarily want to go across the SkyPath). I’m thinking like a curved floating thing out over the water like on New Plymouth’s coastal walkway.

  • The route that NZTA has shown as Seapath is the route that Forrest and Bird wanted, they called it Naturepath As far as I can see it is very clever of F&B to get there plan to have there walkway around Tough Crater joined up with a bridge that they don’t have to pay for out of there own pockets .They have played the eco card using the birds as there wepon of choice again .The North Shore Busway was held up for 18 months because F&B kicked up a fuss about the nesting birds ,so new nest were build on a shell bank island in Shoal bay 120m from the motorway then we got our bus way . Forrest&Bird have been in talks with NZTA for years, have a look at this link https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Nature-Path-Map1.jpg Looks a lot like what NZTA have drawn .Have NZTA ideas been tainted by the long relationship with F&B ?maybe it is a relationship NZTA didn’t want to be in but couldn’t get away from ? The birds do use the nests we built for them at great costs, but some of the birds are happy to nest on the open grass area on Warehouse way between Akoranga dr and the office buildings and others nest right beside the Busway .F&B dont want the bird disturbed by the cycle/walkway ,I can’t see the Seapath making as much noise as a busway and motorway . Seapath could be built on the Eastern side of the motorway just like the Westhaven Cycle/walkway on piles which would have very little impact on the enviroment .The Seapath could be prefabed off site which would shorten the build time on site and reducing enviromental impact of constrution .The Deck of Seapath could be made the same as the Skypath a light weight composite which would give us a safe smooth non slip surface and there would be time savings over a boardwalk wooden decking which is dangerous and slippy in the wet and not the best for skinny tires on some bikes and wheel chairs or older people with waking sticks/frames . The Seapath would have seperation from the Motorway so it wouldin’t need concrete barriers like the western side would . it would need a predator proof fence/ hand rail to stop dog/cats rats etc getting off it to get to the birds . There could be info boards along the hand rail with the history of Shoal bay area and its wild life this would rise the profile of all the wild life and the good work F&B are doing for the area ,win win .
    Connectivity: The Seapath would have a connection to the Heath reserve bridge which could be widened with the same composite decking Laid over the concrete with steel brackets taking care of the overhang.This would connect Northcote and areas west to the Seapath via Exmouth rd to head north to Takapuna or south to the Skypath and the city without having to deal with heavy traffic or lots of road crossing .At the notheren end of Seapath it wold exit at Esmonde ,there are already traffic lights there so they would just have to add a crossing to FredTthomas dr then first left takes you to the bus station and you could cross the motorway from the bus station bridge to AUT a very safe route for all ,People heading to the Devonport Peninsula could go up Esmonde rd and with any luck we’ll have the Green Route connected to Esmonde rd from Francis st Any cycling commuters originating from the Eastern Bays will use SeaPath, likely via East Coast Rd, Forrest Hill Rd, Taharoto Rd and Fred Thomas Drive. As you can see The Eastern route is doable and has Connectivity .The Seapath is for Active Transport First ! All we want a safe direct flat route , not some long winded roundabout route with lots of high traffic roads to cross. Its now the time for NZTA to tell F&B Nature path is off
    The Seapath will also become a destination like the light path has become ,people will come for a nice evening or weekend walk or ride maybe take photos of Shoal bay and the wild life even night photos of our city ,you could even walk over the Heath reserve bridge and walk around the Tough Crater Nature trail

    • Stranded on the North Shore

      How often will you use SeaPath once built in one form or the other?

    • Not quite, F&B route was up the narrow and steep Sylvan Ave, this goes alongside the flat land beside the motorway

      • But it has been driven by them,Having spent alot of time looking at the seapth routes, has NZTA realy looked into the Western route ? from what I can see they would have to , Cut back cliffs and retain, remove
        Pohutukawa trees may have to take part of sections in Sylvan ave 67 &69a and 1/2 the section at 29 Heath ave it also look like the house at 3 Sylvan ave is in the way, its not all flat land ( check it out on google maps) . During construction NZTA will have costly Traffic and Noise management problems on the western route .Will the people Tennyson st, Alfred st ,Nelson ave be like the some of residents of Princess st and try to stop the Seapath in the courts?