A $12.5 million cycleway into central Auckland opens the floodgates for cycling across all corners of the city, says Cycle Action Auckland.
The Transport Agency has started work on the $11 million, 1.9km Grafton Gully cycleway that will give cyclists their own 15km off-road "super highway" from Te Atatu to Beach Rd in the city by 2014.
Auckland Transport will build a $1.5 million shared cycleway and walkway from Beach Rd to the waterfront by 2015.
Cycle Action Auckland chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert said the two-stage project would have a profound effect beyond the Northwestern Cycleway and the waterfront.
Cyclists now had the prospect of easy and safe cycling through central Auckland to the north, northwest and projects like the Orakei Local Board's Purewa Creek trail and the 16km Tamaki trail from Pt England to Otara, she said.
The 13km Northwestern Cycleway now ends at the intersection of Ian McKinnon Drive and Upper Queen St.
From there, the cycleway extension will follow the motorway corridor east and then north through Grafton Gully.
It will skirt the gully's historic cemetery land and go to Wellesley St.
Cyclists will be then able to ride to the city centre either along Wellesley St, via the university precinct or through the gully to the waterfront.
Waterfront Auckland is also working on completing a 20km cycling and walking promenade along the waterfront from the Harbour Bridge to Tamaki Drive.
In August, Waterfront Auckland won council approval for a 2km link from the Harbour Bridge to Wynyard Quarter costing $5.8 million after being denied a larger-scale proposal for $10 million.
The agency's acting state highway manager for Auckland and Northland, Steve Mutton, said the Northwestern Cycleway had about 700 trips a day, and the improvements would make it more popular.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomed the latest addition to the city's growing cycling network.
He said the council wanted to connect its urban villages and make travelling within Auckland a pleasure rather than a chore.