PARNELL CYCLEWAY CRANKS UP A GEAR

At the urging of a community reference group set up to consult with Auckland Transport (AT) on its proposed Parnell cycleway, AT is considering new options to make the St Stephens Ave/Gladstone Rd cycle route a better facility than what was originally mooted.

In a letter to the community group from David Nelson, AT’s group manager, major projects, Nelson confirms AT has not reached a conclusion on the preferred design option for the Parnell cycle route.

In his letter, he says AT is “looking at new options to provide a higher quality urban design outcome for the project”. Auckland Council’s Design Office has been brought in as part of the design investigation process, and the Waitematā Local Board will also participate. In the letter, Nelson says the process will ensure “the final Parnell Cycle Route design has good community support”.

Since announcing the project in late 2016, there has been strong community reaction to the impact of the removal of 95 car parks for the cycleway, safety aspects around Parnell District School and access to the neighbourhood Gladstone Rd shops. In the initial public consultation period — right at Christmas, 2016 — feedback came from a wide range of groups, including the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which as the venue for large events, cited the reduction of street parking as concerning. “Typically, it is not practical to arrive at a school prize-giving, concert, funeral or wedding by bicyle,” noted the then-Dean, Jo Kelly-Moore.

Since the community reference group was established, a series of workshops has been held with AT, with the community group pushing for better design. “We asked AT for creative, new solutions to several of the aspects we raised as concerns,” says Luke Niue, chair of the Parnell Community Committee and a member of the reference group. “The cycleway has to cater for the different needs of the residential, educational, social and commercial communities that have long co-existed along Gladstone Rd. Safety and amenity are imperatives that can’t be compromised.”

AT will host a fourth workshop with the reference group to present the new design options, expected to be in the next few months. As part of works around the cycle route, several intersections will also be upgraded, including Gladstone Rd and The Strand, which will have signal lights installed.