Controversial $10M cycle route gets under way on Auckland's North Shore
Construction of the first stage of a cycle route that will eventually link Skypath to Takapuna has begun on Auckland's North Shore.
The entire length of the Northcote Safe Cycle Route will cost $10 million and link Skypath, an addition to Auckland Harbour Bridge, to Seapath, a coastal cycle trail heading to Takapuna.
Work has begun with the most controversial section along lower Queen St in Northcote Point.
Initial designs for this section were changed after residents said they did not want to lose street parking or have overly speed-reducing measures.
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Bike Auckland's North Shore spokesperson Steve Southall said, overall, the organisation was happy with the design of the cycle trail, apart from the Northcote Point section.
"I am still upset Auckland Transport diluted the route's safety to appease local residents on the street," Southall said.
"They took the 'safe' out and haven't put the 'safe' back in."
Southall said Bike Auckland will now monitor the use and the success of the route, to test the mettle of its safety measures.
"You can only judge it once the whole route is finished."
Auckland Transport's Kathryn King said the Northcote Point section should be completed in June 2017, then the balance of construction should take a further 12 months.
Around 7000 school children living within the catchment of the cycleway are expected to benefit, as well as commuters and shoppers.
North Shore councillor Richard Hills said the beginning of this project is to be celebrated.
"It's fantastic to see Auckland Transport invest such a considerable amount in cycling," Hills said.
Despite a group of Northcote Point residents debating safety issues, a big investment from Onewa Rd to Takapuna is a huge positive outcome, he added.