The first section of one of Auckland’s biggest walking and cycling paths has opened today, giving communities better access to a sports field and green spaces on the Unitec Campus.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff today opened the first 570 metres of the Waterview Shared Path, a walking and cycling route that follows Te Auaunga (Oakley Creek) between the suburbs of Mt Albert and Waterview.
The first section runs between Great North Road at Waterview across the 90 metre-long Alford Street Bridge spanning Te Auaunga, which is 16 metres below, and into the Unitec campus.
When completed later this year the 2.5km long path, which is designed for walkers and cyclists of all ages and abilities, will connect people to local parks, sports grounds and the Unitec Campus.
It will also join with other shared paths that are part of the Government’s Urban Cycleway Programme.
The Government, through the NZ Transport Agency, together with Auckland Transport and the Albert Eden Local Board have contributed funding for the project, which is being built by the Well Connected Alliance as part of the $1.4b Waterview Connection.
The NZ Transport Agency’s System Design Manager, Brett Gliddon says it’s great to be able to open the first section now, ahead of the full path being completed, to give the community immediate access to some of the Unitec facilities.
“Projects like the Waterview Connection are about so much more than roading connections and these shared paths are another way we are working to improve the entire transport network and provide real transport choices.”
Auckland Transport’s Manager of Walking and Cycling, Kathryn King, says that the path is another important step in connecting communities to the West and the South of Auckland with the city centre for transport.
“The cycling connections we have built over the last two years have massively increased the number of people going by bike to work, study and the shops. We now have 35% of Aucklanders on two wheels, especially travelling to and from the city. The Waterview Shared Path will connect to the Northwestern Cycleway and eventually to the New Lynn to Avondale Shared Path and the Southwestern Shared Path alongside State Highway 20.
“We know that as we continue to build high quality, attractive cycling and walking facilities separated from traffic, more people will choose active ways like walking or taking their bike, to get where they need to go. This year over half of Aucklanders (53%) said they think that a lot is being done to improve the state of cycling in Auckland. It’s exciting to be opening yet another link in our plan for Auckland’s world class cycling network.”
Mayor Phil Goff says, “14.2km of cycling facilities were delivered by Auckland Council, AT and the Transport Agency across Auckland last year and there’s more on the way. These paths deliver Aucklanders real choice when it comes to how they get around their city, and I’m proud that yet another link in the Auckland walking and cycling network is open for business. The Waterview Shared Path is great for the surrounding communities and a win for Auckland.”
Albert-Eden Local Board Member and Waterview resident, Margi Watson, says “since 2006, the local community have worked hard to get this bridge built as part of the project, so today is celebration day for the neighbourhood. It will connect people to places whilst protecting the unique landscape of Te Auaunga. Huge thanks go to the community who were the driving force behind making this a priority for the neighbourhood and the region. “
Through the Government’s Urban Cycleways Programme, the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council are delivering $200m of cycling investment and improvements across the city.
The rest of the Waterview Shared Path is on track to be opened late winter/early spring.