I really enjoyed attending the opening of the Mt Roskill cycleway along SH20 with Keith yesterday morning. It’s great to see the completion of another important link in the city’s cycleways. The cycleway was developed by Auckland City Council staff working closely in co-operation with local iwi and I think they have done a fantastic job. The cycleway begins with a waharoa whose carvings symbolise the importance of the volcano to local iwi and is surrounded by carved pou for the rest of its length. Ngarimu Blair of Ngati Whatua o Orakei gave us some insight into the pre-European significance and history of the puke (hill).
Although the Mt Roskill cycleway is fairly short (about 360 metres) it forms an important link in the wider network of cycle ways in Auckland. One of the cyclists who attended the launch pointed out that he can now cycle from his house in Mt Roskill almost 53 kilometres on off-road cycle paths. While Auckland still doesn’t have enough infrastructure to make biking safe and fun we have come a long way from 20 years ago when the Council was planning for everyone to drive their duty-free imported second hand cars.
While the news doesn’t seem to have permeated through to central government, local body politicians in Auckland are really beginning to appreciate the benefits of investing in cycling. There is much more awareness of how cycling can help to reduce traffic congestion and air and noise pollution while also improving peoples’ health.
I believe it’s very important that the cycleway continues to be extended along SH20 as NZTA constructs the final section of the motorway (that is, the Waterview Connection). As the NZTA moves towards the final round of consultation with the community on the Waterview Connection, I’ll be working to try and get the best outcomes for the people of Waterview that I can. In particular, I’ll be asking for excellent cycling/walking infrastructure, compensating residents for loss of parks, and controls to decrease air pollution, noise pollution and storm water run off from the motorway.