Auckland Transport has plans costing between $23 million and $35 million to fix a controversial cycleway through Grey Lynn and Westmere that hardly anyone uses.
Preliminary designs for the 3.2km cycleway were unveiled to a community liaison group on Wednesday, described by one participant, Gael Baldock, as "utterly ridiculous" for a few cyclists.
A Herald time-lapse video outside the West Lynn shopping village on Richmond Rd two months ago showed six cyclists using the cycleway between 7am and 8am on a fine weekday. A further two cyclists ignored the cycleway and rode on the street.
I want cycleways, but I want safe cycleways
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Sources at the meeting said AT conceded it only had $6m for the $23m to $35m project, work would not happen before 2020-2021 and fixing the debacle at the West Lynn shops would take nine months.
Last year, West Lynn was subjected to a makeover by AT where car parks were removed, bus stops moved, cycle lanes and new planting added.
Along the way, shops got flooded, road safety was compromised, shoppers felt alienated, cyclists felt ridiculed, retailers outraged and the whole place turned into an eyesore.
Protesters, including the now gravely ill activist Penny Bright and Lisa Prager, who has a cafe on Garnet Rd, occupied a roundabout on Garnet Rd to oppose cycle lanes on Garnet Rd and nearby Old Mill Rd and Surrey Cres.
Earlier this year, AT commissioned urban design consultants Boffa Miskell to revisit the 3.2km Richmond Rd-Garnet Rd-Old Mill Rd-Surrey Cres cycleway project.
The new cost of $23m to $35m is nearly 10 per cent of the $390 million the Government plans to spend nationwide on cycleways and walkways over the next three years.
Grey Lynn Business Association co-chair Irene King said the preliminary designs were "very, very stunning" with beautiful urban design and landscaping.
She said it looked like the $15m upgrade of Franklin Rd with dual separated cycle lanes and Ponsonby Rd with raised speed tables at intersections to slow traffic.
But King said there are still dissenting views in the community, from people who support cycleways to people who do not want to do anything.
She said AT still does not have an integrated solution for parking in Grey Lynn and is deeply concerned about the nine-month timeframe for fixing West Lynn.
"Businesses are going to be slaughtered. No-one can withstand nine months of disruption," King said.
King, Baldock and local cyclist Chris de Lautour share safety concerns about plans for separated cycle lanes between the footpath and the inside of parked cars on the road.
Baldock calls it a "blood sandwich". Motorists turning into driveways past parked cars will not be able to see cyclists, she said.
The safer option, she said, is to put the cycle lanes on the outside of parked cars as has happened on Franklin Rd.
"I want cycleways, but I want safe cycleways," said de Lautour, who lives across the road from Westmere Primary School on Garnet Rd.
De Lautour, a member of two community liaison groups, said her input had been pretty much ignored by AT.
She said there are different types of cyclists, from kids to less confident and confident cyclists, less confident and confident e-bike cyclists and sport and recreational cyclists.
The plans did not address the different types of cyclists, safety and speed issues, including one proposal for a 20km/h speed limit, de Lautour said.
She also questioned the need to spend up to $35m on a cycleway in affluent suburbs, saying the money would be better spent in South Auckland.
AT did not grant a request for an interview with walking, cycling and road safety manager Kathryn King about the project and costings. Instead it issued a statement from major projects group manager David Nelson.
He said the "aspirational" new designs were based on widespread community feedback and would deliver a much improved design from the original project, including a better outcome for West Lynn, a more people-focused area at the Old Mill Rd-Garnet Rd intersection, improved safety and upgraded stormwater.
Nelson said AT was confident about having sufficient funding to "deliver a great outcome" without saying where the money will come from.
"The costs provided were indicative based on the design, and as we move into detailed design we are optimistic that the indicative costs will reduce, and efficiencies can often be found at this stage," Nelson said.
The latest plans are expected to go out for public consultation shortly.