Herald on Sunday editorial: Cycleway plan makes good sense

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Cyclists have been lobbying for their own bridge lane. File photo / Martin Sykes
Cyclists have been lobbying for their own bridge lane. File photo / Martin Sykes

The announcement this week that a cycleway and footpath under the Auckland Harbour Bridge is now a serious proposal, rather than the focus of a stubborn and sometimes-bitter argument between cycling advocates and transport planners, is a triumph for common sense and collaboration.

Some of the silly numbers bandied about have been shaken down: the traffic mandarins, whose former intransigence was backed by dark hints that the additional weight would make the bridge collapse, now seem to accept that the crossing can be strengthened to carry a secure path under one of the clip-ons; campaigners, for their part, have agreed that a toll system, with discounts to reward regular patronage, is the best way to cover the cost, estimated at $23 million to be repaid over 20 years.

Assuming that the devil can be exorcised from the details, it will be a happy outcome.

More and more Aucklanders are cycling both for pleasure and as commuters.

The 12km northwestern cycleway has recently been extended and further improvements are in train. A pathway on the edge of the Manukau has turned a former wasteland into a playground.

As anyone who has walked across iconic bridges in Sydney, San Francisco and New York can attest, harbour crossings are popular tourist experiences. Future generations will thank those behind this development and will wonder why it was not done sooner.

Less impressive is the decision by those behind the Wynyard Quarter redevelopment to offer only an all-day ticket to ride the trams on the 1.5km loop around the precinct.

The $10 price is probably not unreasonable for 12 hours tram-riding but most users are only going to want a single spin. In an ideal world, a tram that goes round in a small circle would be free to board, but someone down there needs to get smart: a $2 charge, with little kids riding free, would make more sense. It's not a rollercoaster, for heaven's sake.

- NZ Herald

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