A controversial Grey Lynn cycleway project got a boost of support from 250 cyclists when they rode along the Richmond Rd route to present a petition requesting Auckland Transport continue the improvements.
Organised by Generation Zero, this morning's Bike to the Future 2.0 event was aimed at showcasing the demand for the cycleway after a backlash against the project by West Lynn business owners.
At the West Lynn shops on Richmond Rd, parking was removed, bus stops relocated, and business took a tumble in November as the Grey Lynn Business Association called the usually free-thinking, organic food village an "appalling mess".
Generation Zero Auckland director Leroy Beckett said today's event was about showing the cycleway was wanted.
"There's been a lot of conversation around the cycle lanes that have been put in, in Grey Lynn.
"There was a lot of negativity toward bike lanes in general, so we just wanted to hold this event to show people in the community do support safe walking and cycling."
The petition, launched late last year to combat protests against the cycleway, called for supporters to make a stand.
"The recent street upgrade isn't perfect and has a lot of people riled up," the petition states.
"There are a lot of good ideas; however, they do need some fine-tuning. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater and getting rid of the safe walking and biking infrastructure to appease some angry protesters is a terrible idea."
It asked Auckland Transport to:
• Keep as many trees as possible, and create more places for people to sit;
• Lower road speeds to 30km/h through the town centre;
• To confirm it is still committed to delivering safe routes for people on bikes;
• Increase the quality and safety of bike lanes by ensuring they are separated from moving and parked cars;
• Not be bullied into supplying more carparking at the expense of safety.
The petition attracted 1600 signatures and was presented to Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison and Waitemata Local Board chairwoman Pippa Coom at the end of the bike ride.
Beckett said cyclists of all ages took part in the 2km event from Garnet Rd to Francis Reserve and everyone arrived at the destination safely.
"Thank goodness. That would have been the worst case scenario."
Shop owners on Richmond Road told the Herald last year business had dropped up to 50 per cent as a result of the construction and removal of car parks, and could force the closure of some long-standing businesses.
Grey Lynn Business Association co-chair Irene King said it had "knocked the heart out of West Lynn".
But Coom, a champion of cycleways, said at the time the Richmond Rd cycleway had suffered from a consultation process that did not bring the community along.
"There are some design issues but overall it will be an improvement. It will absolutely improve the West Lynn shops to have traffic calming, better pedestrian amenity, more greening, more crossings as part of that design."