8 Jun 2015

Skypath submissions overwhelmingly positive

5:41 pm on 8 June 2015

Supporters of Auckland's proposed $33 million Skypath say the clip-on lane to the Harbour Bridge would be an iconic addition to the city, and would take away some commuters' frustration at peak traffic congestion.

A graphic showing the entrance to the proposed walkway.

A graphic showing the entrance to the proposed walkway. Photo: Copyright © 2011 - 2014 Generation Zero Incorporated.

The Skypath would be for pedestrians and cyclists, who would be charged for using it.

Today is the last day of the public hearing for submissions on the plan by local groups to resource consent commissioners.

Niko Elsen, from Generation Zero, told the panel the Skypath would be a symbol of a modern Auckland, and would be beneficial to people on both sides of the bridge.

The Auckland Council said more than 11,500 public submissions were made, of which almost 11,400 were in favour of the project.

Opponents raise safety concerns

Opponents of the project have voiced safety concerns about the area where the path would come out on the North Shore.

Carol Brown lives on Princes Street at Northcote Point. She said the area's roads would not cope with the sheer number of people expected to use the Skypath - which could be over 8000 a day on summer weekends.

"The roads are very, very narrow - I would question whether they are safe now, let alone once you put families, cyclists, additional pedestrians, cars cruising looking for a parking space into that mix. You've actually got a real problem."

Her husband, Rodney Brown, said there would also be privacy problems, with plans for a large landing structure right next to them.

"Every single user from an elevated position will have a great view straight into many of the residents' houses. The privacy screening that they're proposing is totally inadequate to stop that sense of living in a fish bowl."

The project's supporters, however, have questioned the top figure of over 8000 daily users estimated in a consultant report requested by the Auckland Council.

Barbara Cuthbert, who has been a planning consultant for 20 years, spoke on behalf of Cycle Action. She told the resource consent commissioners that no other project mattered more right now, and it was nationally significant. But she said she could never imagine it would have so many users in one day.

"I don't ever envisage a situation where 8000 people will be descending upon Northcote Point - never."

The company applying for the work will now be given the right to reply to concerns raised and the council will have three weeks to make a decision.

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