Councillors Slam Door on Harbour Bridge Cycling
Media Release City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council For Immediate Release Thursday 4 August 2008
*C&R Councillors Slam Door on Harbour Bridge Cycling and Walking Access*
At Auckland City Council's Transport Committee today, City Vision-Labour Councillors fought hard to keep options open for constructing a cycleway and walkway across the Auckland Harbour Bridge but failed when Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) Councillors block voted against supporting the project.
Tamaki-Maungakiekie Labour Councillor Leila Boyle said, "This C&R decision is absolutely outrageous - they won't even support walking and cycling access across the Auckland Harbour Bridge in principle! I think this disgraceful decision will come back to haunt them.
"To make sure we actually get walking and cycling access across the Waitemata Harbour happening in the foreseeable future, being able to retrofit the Harbour Bridge when the NZ Transport Agency starts strengthening work in 2010 requires a decision this year to secure funding. With the second Waitemata Harbour crossing options all costed in billions and not likely to be carried out for at least a generation, now is the time to grab this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide vital bike and foot access between downtown Auckland and the North Shore to Auckland residents, commuters and tourists," Councillor Boyle continued.
Western Bays City Vision Councillor Graeme Easte said, "I am very disappointed that C&R Councillors focused on the large cost of a cross-harbour connection and ignored the increased value that we would all get from existing paths on both sides of the harbour being connected into a larger walkway and cycleway network.
"Huge expenditure has gone into completing the motorway system; this is an amazing one-off opportunity to plug a major gap in the walking and cycling network and we needed to grab it with both hands. In principle support from C&R would have kept our options open, but sadly they were too close-minded and as a result, the Auckland region will miss out on this key connection," Councillor Easte said.
"I hope Aucklanders who want to keep this project alive will lobby Auckland City, North Shore City and Auckland Regional Councillors as well as contacting the New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Regional Transport Authority to communicate how vital this is to our region and country. C&R may have their heads in the sand on this issue but surely the rest of us can work together regionally and nationally to make sure we don't regret not taking this chance when we had it," Councillor Boyle concluded.