Auckland Transport is accused of favouring trucks over pedestrian and cyclist safety after removing a temporary cycleway at one of the city's most dangerous intersections.
The move has caused division between two local boards, one saying it is only adding danger and the other that the cycleway was not necessary in the first place.
Just over a week ago AT installed cones along Tāmaki Drive to accommodate the increase in pedestrians and cyclists during the lockdown, and support Covid-19 social distancing as the country moved to alert level 3.
Soon after the separated lane went in, AT reported a 91 per cent increase in the number of cyclists.
The lane was part of 17km of temporary cycleways and walkways installed on 20 roads and popular walkways across the city to assist with safe physical distancing in level 3.
There initially were design concerns on Tāmaki Drive as traffic increased again and signs blocked the lanes in some sections, but AT said the temporary nature meant they could be redesigned as required.
But on Monday, without notice, a 350m section was removed between the Strand in Parnell and Solent St, leading to an intersection where trucks regularly turn towards the port.
There is no pedestrian nor light-controlled crossing, meaning trucks could travel at speed through there.
An AT spokesman told the Herald they removed the lane after reports of "near-misses between trucks and people on bikes and pedestrians".
Waitematā Local Board member and transport lead Graeme Gunthorp said removing the barriers made it even more dangerous, and accused AT of caving to a "noisy minority".
Now pedestrians and cyclists were crammed into a very narrow shared pathway next to six lanes of traffic, where it was impossible to be 2m apart, he said.
"I am extremely disappointed with AT for going back on these positive changes because of some sort of pressure.
"That is one of the most dangerous sections of road in the Waitematā Local Board area and is planned for a major upgrade as it is so dangerous.
"For them to wind this back only a few days later shows a real lack of regard for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians."
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Gunthorp called for the lane to be re-installed immediately, but with other measures including reduced speed for traffic, more signs for turning traffic - specifically trucks, and a safe crossing zone for pedestrians and cyclists.
Transport lobby group Greater Auckland's Matt Lowrie said by nature the temporary design should allow AT to change it, rather than simply remove it.
"They have been very quick to pull out, and I fear this could lead to chipping away at the other temporary measures that are in place."
Ōrākei Local Board chairman Scott Milne said the board supported the idea of the temporarily separated lanes, but was not happy with how it was implemented and supported the removal.
"People in our area have sorted out social distancing, and make do where they need to. In areas where movement is restricted sometimes keeping safe means slowing down, and even getting off your bike."
An AT spokesman said they had tried two other options but they did not improve safety for road users.
"We understand this section of footpath is narrow and the intention of the temporary cycleway is for people to safely carry out physical distancing, however removing it was the best outcome for the safety of people walking and cycling."
In February AT started work on the Tāmaki Drive Cycle Route, to run from the Solent St intersection to Ngapipi Rd.
The work includes raising a section of Tāmaki Drive by half a metre to protect against seasonal flooding from king tides that sometimes closed the road.
As part of the work AT is investigating a permanent crossing on the slip lane leading into Solent St, and upgrading the pedestrian crossings.