New Zealand is getting closer to building the final link in a regional walking and cycling network that has been split by the lack of a route across Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. Copeland Associates Architects were commissioned last year to design an innovative 4-metre-wide pathway that nestles under the bridge’s overhang, so no changes need to be made to the traffic lanes or the structure’s carrying capacity. Pedestrians and cyclists will be protected from cross winds by a triangular framework and expanded steel mesh.
The pathway plan has had a difficult history. A popular movement in favour of the pathway met with resistance from planning authorities (in part due to its significant cost), and the logjam eventually culminated in a major protest march in May 2009, during which thousands of protesters surged through police barriers to cross the vehicle-only bridge on foot and on bicycles (see video here). Since then, progress has been steadier, and the idea (and associated funding proposals) now has the backing of Auckland’s mayor and the New Zealand Herald. The leading pro-pathway organization, GetAcross.org, is a good source of information if readers are interested in keeping in touch with developments.