Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway Launch

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The team at getacross.org.nz have been unflinching in their determination to build walking and cycling access across the Harbour Bridge. The design concept will be launched on Sunday August 21st, 3:oopm at the new Karanga Gateway Plaza, Wynyard Quarter.

More information at www.getacross.org.nz

‘Get foreign help to build next bridge’

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The proposed ANZAC Centenary Bridge

The proposed "ANZAC Centenary Bridge"

The Sunday Star-Times reports a group of architects presenting at the Auckland Architecture week 2009 have proposed a design for a new harbour crossing:

In 2005 Richard Simpson first proposed the idea of a new harbour crossing – a bold new bridge that would take a more direct route between the city and the North Shore designed to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, vehicular traffic and trains.  The design would be the result of an international design competition for a bridge that not only fulfills the functional requirements of connection, but that would also contribute to the identity of Auckland – the greater city and the Waitemata Harbour.  Integral to this initiative are economic and social benefits resulting in the creation of jobs for the construction of the bridge and the urban renewal of the freed-up land on both sides of the current bridge along with others associated with tourism and the creative industries.

The proposed bridge thankfully includes provision for public transport and cycling. The group has made their own case for a bridge over a tunnel under the harbour:

THE CASE FOR A BRIDGE

  • Construction cost $2-3 billion compared to $3.7–$4.1b for the proposed tunnel
  • Operating cost of 1/5 to 13 of a tunnel (based on ventilation, lighting, drainage and maintenance)
  • About 350,000m2 of land valued at around $1b in St Mary’s Bay and Northcote Pt could be sold off after closure of bridge.
  • Travel time and distance savings worth about $60 million a year (based on a bridge being 1.2km shorter than a tunnel)
  • Estimated tourism benefits: $325 million a year (based on tourists staying an extra night)

Source: ANZAC Centenary Bridge Group

New Harbour Bridge proposal gives room for cyclists

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Mathew Dearnaley reports in the Herald on the likelihood of cycle and walkways being added to Auckland’s existing harbour crossing.

Auckland’s harbour bridge clip-ons could be candidates for “orthopaedic surgery” which would enable walking and cycling paths to be added and could improve their longevity.

The Transport Agency has been given a proposal by engineering consultants working with the Getacross campaign to find ways of adding walking and cycling links without shortening the life of the 40-year-old clip-ons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Bridge

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gotacross!

What a fantastic day for Auckland! After 50 years of having the Auckland Harbour Bridge locked off to all those not in cars, today Aucklanders took back Our Bridge. I was right there at the front of the rally – impressed by the speeches (particularly that of Christine Rose) and heckling abuse at Wayne McDonald of NZTA. There were certainly a LOT of people there, perhaps more than the 2000 quoted by most newspapers.

For a while I thought we weren’t going to get across, as Wayne said “no” as we asked him nicely. But then we shifted down to the Curran Street onramp, found our way through the trees and onto the onramp itself. The police were there but didn’t really try to stop us – the crowd was just too great. First NZTA blocked off the clip-on lanes and then, perhaps because they were afraid of having so many people on the clip-ons, they blocked traffic off from the centre lanes too. So we had the entire northbound side of the bridge to ourselves. Everyone was jumping and yelling, absolutely exhilirated in what we’d achieved. It was a huge egg on Mr McDonald’s face in the end, as I’m sure traffic was absolutely screwed throughout the city. If NZTA had avoided being such idiots they could have easily managed it, but in the end it was their stupidity that led to the entire northbound side of the bridge having to be closed.

Leila and I walked across and back, seeing heaps of people of all ages, with kid, dogs and push-chairs. It was a day when we all celebrated being Aucklanders and celebrated the bridge as linking the city, not dividing it. This is just the start of things to come I hope – a day when the tide turned against our automobile-centric thinking.

As Christine Rose from the ARC said: “Let’s burn fat, not oil!”

What a fantastic day weather-wise for us, and also thanks to all the Aucklanders who turned up to celebrate Our Bridge. And to NZTA, shame on you for being such narrow-minded fools, it is your fault that the whole motorway got shut off, you could have organised this to run smoothly. Shame on you.

Photos here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2009/05/24/our-bridge/

Security On Bridge Ramped Up For Protest

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The Herald reports:

Walkers and cyclists planning a protest crossing of Auckland Harbour Bridge on Sunday morning will find it defended by a new security fence as well as by police.

The Transport Agency, which has put up the 1.8m fence this week along the Curran St on-ramp, is also concerned that schools have been among recipients of a mass email invitation by the Getacross Campaign to “a public walk/cycle” over the Waitemata.

The agency said yesterday that it had emailed almost 50 schools believed to have received the invitation, to warn them off on safety grounds… [more]

I would urge people to turn up to Pt Erin at 9:00am Sunday 24th May regardless. Even if we don’t get to walk across the bridge, a strong turnout will demonstrate to the NZTA that the issue of equality for pedestrians and cyclists is one that needs to be addressed.

Bevan Woodward On NZTA

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Responding to NZTA CEO Geoff Dangerfield’s fuddy-duddy response to the May 24th protest, Bevan Woodward tells it like it is:

It’s not just about the cycleway. I’ve been campaigning for walking and cycling access on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for more than 10 years. During that time the NZ Transport Agency (and its predecessor, Transit) has strongly opposed the idea.

It has come up with all kinds of excuses, ranging from, “It’s not a priority for the region”, to “It’s too steep and windy”.

Campaigners have responded to each excuse and the Transport Agency has come back with ever grander reasons why a walkway and cycleway could not be provided. Its latest excuse is that it would significantly shorten the service life of the clip-ons, but this excuse doesn’t stack up with the facts.

The honest reason why the Transport Agency doesn’t want to provide walking and cycling access is because, fundamentally, it is a road-building organisation which thinks Auckland’s traffic problems can be solved with more and bigger roads. The Transport Agency sees pedestrians and cyclists as a hassle they could do without.

Read the rest here.

Herald Editorial on Bridge Anniversary

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The Herald points out that the obvious way to mark the 50 year anniversary of the Harbour Bridge is to let people walk across it.  I agree.  After all they let people run across it for the Auckland Marathon, so what is the big deal?

But they scorn the efforts of the GetAcross campaign.

The “Getacross Campaign” is planning to mark the anniversary with an unauthorised march and cycle crossing of the bridge on Sunday, May 24. It believes that a big turnout will help its case for walking and cycle ways to be added to the bridge’s flanks. It would prove nothing of the kind.

And John Roughan must have written it:

The organisers say they will not be celebrating the bridge’s presence as they see it as a barrier to reducing Aucklanders’ reliance on cars. Buses, of course, have been using the bridge for as long as cars.The amenity cannot be blamed for the fact that most people plainly prefer the convenience and independence of personal transport.

Actually most people don’t have any choice but to use their car.  The protest march is about promoting choice – the freedom to walk or bike around Auckland should be a basic right.  Get on your boots!  See you there, Sunday 24th May, 9:00am at Pt Erin.


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