Why we need Skypath

My submission on SkyPath, the proposed clip-on high tech walking and cycling path across Auckland Harbour Bridge. I used Generation Zero’s very simple tool. You can too.

  1. Skypath will bring economic benefit to the region, from tourists staying longer and more tourist-related businesses being created as they take advantage of the resource.
  2. Skypath will bring further economic benefit by substituting commuter motor vehicles from the bridge, allowing for more people to commute across the bridge each day without increasing nominal capacity. Skypath is a very low castaway to delay the requirement for alternative cross harbour infrastructure.
  3. Skypath will extend a community of walkers and cyclists from Wynyard through to the bridge, taking advantage of the new path there, and providing world-class environment for social activity outdoors. It will build on and enhance the success of Wynyard Quarter.
  4. Skypath may well help reduce the noise from the motorway for residents under the bridge on the Northern side, providing a physical sound barrier.
  5. Skypath will increase the value of residential and commercial property on both sides of the bridge, especially that property close to either exit. These places will become popular with people who want a quick commute to town.
  6. Skypath will give something iconic for every tourist and local to do, whether it’s a walk to the top or the full loop via Devonport ferry, and may be used to promote travel and economic development in Auckland as a whole.
  7. Skypath will catalyse a network of safe, separated and fun cycling and walking tracks in Auckland, increasing health by getting people out of motor-vehicles and on to physical modes of transport.
  8. Per GenZero’s stock response I do believe that the opening hours should be reconsidered, initially and periodically through-out the lifespan of SkyPath. My own belief is that it should be open 24 hours a day.
  9. The rise of simple and cheap electric bicycles will make Auckland’s streets and the Skypath more and more accessible to a large number of people. Similarly many of our aging population and visitors will need motorised assistance up Skypath, such as electric wheelchairs.
  10. Beyond commuters and tourists, Skypath will open up easy travel between Takapuna and Auckland city, providing recreational access to the beach for the increasing number of downtown dwellers, including myself, and shopping access to the city for those on the North Shore.

Addendum: Just after I wrote this, NZTA Auckland tweeted:

@NZTAAkl: Update: The #crash prior to the #Auckland Harbour Bridge is now clear of lanes.  Congestion is back to Esmonde http://t.co/M2yxdDGkoa ^LT

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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10 Responses to Why we need Skypath

  1. Bill Bennett says:

    “Per GenZero’s stock response I de believe that the opening hours should be reconsidered, initially and periodically through-out the lifespan of SkyPath. My own belief is that it should be open 24 hours a day.”

    What are the reasons for NOT opening SkyPath 24 hours a day?

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    • Lance Wiggs says:

      Concern from residents apparently. Because bicycles are louder than the cars?

      >

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    • Dan C says:

      There’s a few people from Northcote worried that cyclists will be urinating in their bushes and generally congregating outside their homes.

      Also because of the security employed, again to appease the local residents, i guess it would increase the costs to run it 24×7. Generally i’d expect the number of extra people using it to compensate for that. A significant number of commuters will be put off it means that can’t get home when the work late at the office.

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  2. Phil Moore says:

    1. Skypath is never going to be a draw card for tourism in Auckland. It is 6km from the nearest tourist hotel.
    2. Skypath – according to the patronage report – will have a very low impact on bridge vehicle traffic as most of the users will be recreational and of those, 39% have indicated they will drive to Skypath. In fact the project will add to the areas carbon footprint.
    3. You can already walk or cycle from Wynyard through to the bridge. The rate payers built first Jacobs ladder and now the westhaven promenade. Both projects done independent of Skypath.
    4. Skypath will add noise to the residents. 8000 people a day on the weekend wont be tip toeing past the houses. What Skypath will do is reduce natural lighting in the area.
    5. There is no guarantee Skypath will increase or decrease property prices. The homes on the Northern side are already multi million dollar properties – Are Skypath prepared to guarantee the owners protection from a decrease in value?
    6. Skypath will not give every tourist or local something iconic to do. If tourists or locals want to climb the Auckland harbour bridge they can already do so.
    7. Skypath will certainly not be a safe, separated cycle path. It does not meet Austroads safety criteria for shared cycle paths.
    8. Skypath themselves do not believe it should be open 24 hours a day. Would you like the speedway having all night races? Have you no respect for residents rights?
    9. Electric bikes and mobility scooters will make Skypath even more dangerous than the design already is. Imagine the speed differences between the downhill cyclists and all other users.
    10. Skypath will never be an easy trip between the city and Takapuna. According to Census results cycling is in decline as a percentage of commuter transport mode and very few Aucklanders will be walking from the CBD to Takapuna. Why would anyone ride/walk Skypath in winter when there are buses, ferries, and private cars that do the journey quicker, safer and cheaper.

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    • Lance Wiggs says:

      1. Skypath is never going to be a draw card for tourism in Auckland. It is 6km from the nearest tourist hotel.
      I’m not going to bother listing major attractions that are not close to hotels, but it should be pretty obvious that this is a debating point not a reality. If you stay in a major city the various attractions are generally far apart, and tourists understand that.

      2. Skypath – according to the patronage report – will have a very low impact on bridge vehicle traffic as most of the users will be recreational and of those, 39% have indicated they will drive to Skypath. In fact the project will add to the areas carbon footprint.
      Conjecture. Commuters will probably have cheaper prices and higher volume, tourists will use during the day.

      3. You can already walk or cycle from Wynyard through to the bridge. The rate payers built first Jacobs ladder and now the westhaven promenade. Both projects done independent of Skypath.
      It’s about to be a much nicer walk/cycle with the promenade, and I would hazard that planners had the Skypath in mind when they built it.

      4. Skypath will add noise to the residents. 8000 people a day on the weekend wont be tip toeing past the houses. What Skypath will do is reduce natural lighting in the area.
      You didn’t address the noise statement, and yes, Skypath will reduce natural lighting for people living directly underneath the motorway.

      5. There is no guarantee Skypath will increase or decrease property prices. The homes on the Northern side are already multi million dollar properties – Are Skypath prepared to guarantee the owners protection from a decrease in value?
      Are homeowners willing to give the valuation upside to Council? I’d be on for that bet.

      6. Skypath will not give every tourist or local something iconic to do. If tourists or locals want to climb the Auckland harbour bridge they can already do so.
      It’s too painful, as you well know, and is essentially an expensive adventure rather than a cheap stroll.

      7. Skypath will certainly not be a safe, separated cycle path. It does not meet Austroads safety criteria for shared cycle paths.
      That’s probably why the speed limit will be so low. It’s still an order of magnitude safer than almost all Auckland cycle paths.

      8. Skypath themselves do not believe it should be open 24 hours a day. Would you like the speedway having all night races? Have you no respect for residents rights?
      Skypath are no doubt bowing to expressed resident demands. Cars are far louder than cyclists and walkers and they go 24/7.

      9. Electric bikes and mobility scooters will make Skypath even more dangerous than the design already is. Imagine the speed differences between the downhill cyclists and all other users.
      There are speed limits, quite low ones.

      10. Skypath will never be an easy trip between the city and Takapuna. According to Census results cycling is in decline as a percentage of commuter transport mode and very few Aucklanders will be walking from the CBD to Takapuna. Why would anyone ride/walk Skypath in winter when there are buses, ferries, and private cars that do the journey quicker, safer and cheaper.
      According to Auckland City metrics cycling is on the rise, while induced demand from decent cycle-ways further increases that.

      Some residents, and I take it from your comments you are one (and a fuel trader and former racing car driver), seem to be invoking rather unusual fears. While change is always hard, it’s sad to see that residents don’t realise how valuable this will be for their own property and lifestyle. If you are a resident and genially believe your house will fall in value then I suggest that it’s a great time to sell at a profit, and allow others who see the potential to move in.

      Like

    • Bill Bennett says:

      “1. Skypath is never going to be a draw card for tourism in Auckland. It is 6km from the nearest tourist hotel.”

      Hardly an insurmountable problem for people willing to trek or bike 6km or there abouts over the bridge and back.

      Like

  3. Phil Moore says:

    1. Skypath is never going to be a draw card for tourism in Auckland. It is 6km from the nearest tourist hotel.
    I’m not going to bother listing major attractions that are not close to hotels, but it should be pretty obvious that this is a debating point not a reality. If you stay in a major city the various attractions are generally far apart, and tourists understand that.
    — Like Kelly Tarltons that has to run free tourist busses from the CBD. Adding these tourist busses will increase the carbon footprint and impose a negative impact on residents and businesses on both sides of the bridge.

    2. Skypath – according to the patronage report – will have a very low impact on bridge vehicle traffic as most of the users will be recreational and of those, 39% have indicated they will drive to Skypath. In fact the project will add to the areas carbon footprint.
    Conjecture. Commuters will probably have cheaper prices and higher volume, tourists will use during the day.
    — Not conjecture – you are avoiding the reality that Skypaths own report states the high levels of park and ride.

    3. You can already walk or cycle from Wynyard through to the bridge. The rate payers built first Jacobs ladder and now the westhaven promenade. Both projects done independent of Skypath.
    It’s about to be a much nicer walk/cycle with the promenade, and I would hazard that planners had the Skypath in mind when they built it.
    — $16M spent on a new promenade that copied an existing infrastructure is madness.

    4. Skypath will add noise to the residents. 8000 people a day on the weekend wont be tip toeing past the houses. What Skypath will do is reduce natural lighting in the area.
    You didn’t address the noise statement, and yes, Skypath will reduce natural lighting for people living directly underneath the motorway.
    — The noise statement is not independant and remains untested. 8000 people a day are not quiet.

    5. There is no guarantee Skypath will increase or decrease property prices. The homes on the Northern side are already multi million dollar properties – Are Skypath prepared to guarantee the owners protection from a decrease in value?
    Are homeowners willing to give the valuation upside to Council? I’d be on for that bet.
    — How many homes have you bought? If you are on for that bet just call the estate agent.

    6. Skypath will not give every tourist or local something iconic to do. If tourists or locals want to climb the Auckland harbour bridge they can already do so.
    It’s too painful, as you well know, and is essentially an expensive adventure rather than a cheap stroll.
    — A 7km walk to the bridge from the CBD is not a stroll

    7. Skypath will certainly not be a safe, separated cycle path. It does not meet Austroads safety criteria for shared cycle paths.
    That’s probably why the speed limit will be so low. It’s still an order of magnitude safer than almost all Auckland cycle paths.
    — Hardly anyone uses the new Auckland cycle paths. When were you last out on a bike?

    8. Skypath themselves do not believe it should be open 24 hours a day. Would you like the speedway having all night races? Have you no respect for residents rights?
    Skypath are no doubt bowing to expressed resident demands. Cars are far louder than cyclists and walkers and they go 24/7.
    — You really miss the point, the cars do not go past the houses – the go above and noise rises. Skypath goes outside peoples homes.

    9. Electric bikes and mobility scooters will make Skypath even more dangerous than the design already is. Imagine the speed differences between the downhill cyclists and all other users.
    There are speed limits, quite low ones.
    — Enforced by who? Where is the link to show these speed limits?

    10. Skypath will never be an easy trip between the city and Takapuna. According to Census results cycling is in decline as a percentage of commuter transport mode and very few Aucklanders will be walking from the CBD to Takapuna. Why would anyone ride/walk Skypath in winter when there are buses, ferries, and private cars that do the journey quicker, safer and cheaper.
    According to Auckland City metrics cycling is on the rise, while induced demand from decent cycle-ways further increases that.
    — Oh no, According the Auckland City ‘Cycling AND WALKING’ is on the rise, cycling as a commute is on a steep decline as a percentage of the population. Go read the census.

    Some residents, and I take it from your comments you are one (and a fuel trader and former racing car driver), seem to be invoking rather unusual fears. While change is always hard, it’s sad to see that residents don’t realise how valuable this will be for their own property and lifestyle. If you are a resident and genially believe your house will fall in value then I suggest that it’s a great time to sell at a profit, and allow others who see the potential to move in.
    — Why should the existing residents move for a Private Enterprise venture that does not meet current planning zone requirements????? Why doesn’t Skypath redesign to meet resident approval?

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