Mobility scooters and prams may get to use a shared cycling and walking path across Auckland Harbour Bridge, but not scooters or skateboarders.

Nor will pedestrians be allowed to walk their dogs on the proposed 1.4km Skypath link under the bridge's citybound clip-on, unless they are guide animals.

Skypath traffic consultant Don McKenzie told planning commissioners, who opened a five-day hearing yesterday of resource consent applications for the $33.5 million scheme, that patrons would primarily be pedestrians and cyclists, but "may also include mobility-impaired patrons and parents with prams".

Powered vehicles except electric bikes, mobility scooters and small emergency and maintenance units would be barred for safety and capacity reasons.

Advertisement

Mr McKenzie did not see a need for painted lines to separate users or a speed limit, preferring "share-with-care" messages.

"I consider this to be important in ensuring all users are aware of each other and alter their behaviour in a safe and courteous manner," he said, adding that pedestrians could be as culpable as any, and the messages should not single out cyclists.

Gate controls, through which Skypath project director Bevan Woodward says patrons are likely to be tolled $3 a crossing to repay a private investment fund in the absence of government finance, would help to control offenders.

The covered pathway of light composite materials will be a minimum of 4m wide, broadening to 6m at five viewing platforms. It would be made of 13.7m modules, each with a 5.4 per cent gradient except for a flatter end section at 1.8 per cent.

"I accept this is steeper than would be ideal for a cycle route or facility that is being built from scratch, although it is easily compliant with the relevant industry-standard pedestrian and mobility guidelines," Mr McKenzie told the four-member hearings panel at Auckland Town Hall.

Based on an optimistic estimate, construction could begin early next year and be completed by 2017.

The panel has yet to hear from opponents, many of them Northcote Point residents fearful for their privacy and parking problems in their neighbourhood.

Mr McKenzie said Skypath's southern landing at Westhaven would be promoted as the starting point to minimise pressure on the Northcote end, and patrons would be discouraged from driving there.

Mr Woodward said the project would rectify a deficiency caused by cost-cutting before the bridge was opened 56 years ago on Saturday.

"Today we can bungy jump off the bridge, do a bridge climb to the top and fly flags from the bridge - however, despite all these modifications, Auckland's harbour bridge still does not allow walking and cycling access."

Skypath

• A $33.5m cycling and walking path across the harbour bridge.

• Tolls expected to be $3 each way.

• Proposed operating hours: 6am to 10pm, seven days a week.