5.2 Walkways

5 walkway henrys bushResidential growth within the village has not been met with any efforts to integrate the old established neighbourhoods with the new, or to create links within the residential environment that will encourage residents to walk or cycle as an alternative to getting in the car.

Patumahoe Primary school completed the Travelwise programme in 2010 and have a comprehensive picture of the concerns and deterrents for residents and visitors in regards to transport.

There are many social, health and economic benefits to creating alternative routes through the village for walkers and cyclists.

The Franklin District Walking and Cycling plan (April 2010) had the vision statement – Providing Franklin with safe and high quality walking and cycling opportunities and a promotion programme to encourage their use.” It had a sensible set of objectives and targets.  But, when you see what budget had been allocated to these projects then it’s clear why there is so little progress in this area.  The 2009-2019 LTCCP provided $200,000 ($100,000 rural and $100,000 urban) to the improvement of pedestrian facilities and $75,000 per annum for the development of cycle facilities for the community.  The current situation for pedestrians and cyclists in Franklin is described in this plan as ‘limited’ and with less than 1 km of designated cycleway in Franklin then this is probably an understatement.  Of the roads, only 6.1% have paths on both sides and 5.5% on one side, so 88.4 % of the districts roads have no formal space for other than vehicular users of the route.

So, there appears to be a big gap between many of the excellent objectives and targets espoused in various planning documents and action on the ground.

Walking and cycling are good for local business – on of the experiences that cycling-friendly towns/cities have found is that people shop closer to home, and support their neighbourhood businesses instead of driving to larger stores further away all the time.  They also have more money in their pockets, as their transport costs are lower.  Encouraging cycling in village and town centres and between them and surrounding areas will have positive economic benefits for our district.

Franklin district is already a popular cycling destination – especially for Auckland cyclists seeking quiet roads and great scenery – but it could be a booming destination.  For example, two of the largest cycling clubs base the majority of their rides in Franklin.  Counties Manukau Cycling is an amalgamation of several other clubs over the last 30 years to become Auckland and New Zealand’s larges road and track cycling club.  For 8 months of the year this club has weekly rides held at a variety of venues in the Franklin area.  Counties Manukau Veterans Cycling club, with over 300 members, uses Franklin routes for approximately 70% of its rides.  The district has a significant opportunity to become ‘the’ cycling destination for Auckland city where not only Franklin and Auckland residents can enjoy safe and scenic cycling but we can attract national and international visitors.

So whilst we are looking initially to develop local walking and cycling opportunities we see great benefits in developing a district wide plan that also connects to the vision of the wider Auckland region.  At a national level, initiatives such as the New Zealand Cycle Trail offer more opportunities to link with the growth in cycling and the recent announcement by the Ministry of Economic Development of plans to expand the project to include back country routes is an opportunity going begging in our district.

Developing integrated networks for utility, recreational and cycle tourism in Franklin is an exciting and real opportunity that will brin economic benefits for the wider Auckland area but the appropriate planning for routes, infrastructure, and developing a cycle-friendly culture needs to happen now.  In Kennett and Turners influential ‘Classic New Zealand Road Rides’ there are only two of the described 100 rides that feature parts of east Franklin leaving large areas of our unique cycling district unknown.

Real commitment and a preparedness to consider new ways of designing and educating for walking and cycling are the prerequisites for long term benefits for the whole of Auckland.

 

5 Walkways at SearlesSuggestions from participants:

  • Create multi-use pathway that allows safe pedestrian access between Hunter Road and the village and Patumahoe Road (from the railway line and the village).  This recreational loop is in regular daily use by a variety of users, walkers, cyclists, joggers, horseriders, dog walkers etc and the two routes mentioned above are located on  a 100km speed zone.  This is particularly important for creating a safe pathway for children to walk to school and for other residents to access the village without having to drive,
  • Link existing walkways in the village to create a network – and extend to include and integrate new subdivisions, which should all include walkways/cycleways,

 

Other considerations:

Any identified routes should be considered with a wider network and philosophy in mind.  They will also include ecological corridors, sites, and heritage locations within that network – so coordination of these other planning considerations will result in a network of routes that have multiple benefits, areas and goal achievements.

Also, care should be taken to include further extensions from the outskirts of the village to the surrounding areas: ie.  link to Patumahoe, Kingseat etc.

 

Franklin District Growth Strategy (2007)

“7.9.3 Play …Any Structure Plan for Patumahoe should ensure the development of a walkway/cycleway network; largely along stormwater reserves.  This network could be extended to provide access to Henry’s Scenic Reserve that lies to the southeast of Patumahoe.”

 

Planning advice:

Rural villages should work on bringing the outside environment “in”.

Due to higher density developments, many village residents may find that despite living in a rural village surrounded by open spaces and native bush, access to such areas requires the use of a car to another location.  Identify and protect those natural environments in and around the village that can serve multiple purposes – alternative routes, ecological protection and enhancement, health and social benefits, and create functional networks for off road travel.

CONCLUSIONS / ACTIONS

 

We ask Auckland Council to begin this process by committing planning and funding to the following projects all of which meet the recommendations for Patumahoe found in the Franklin District Growth strategy (2007):

 

5.2 WALKWAYS

5.2.1 Hunter Road loop walkwayPatumahoe School parents group

This project is currently underway.  It is an initiative by local residents that aims to create a safe, concreted footpath on the Woodhouse Road and Patumahoe Road segments of the Woodhouse Road – Patumahoe Road – Hunter Road circuit.

 

5.2.2. Clive Howe Bush Reserve – Henry’s Bush LinkwayWhakaupoko Landcare, Auckland Council, private property owners and PVI

The recent council acquisition of Clive Howe Bush reserve and the clearing of the existing track down to the wetlands has created an opportunity for the collaboration of several parties to benefit the community as a whole.  Discussions with local property owners are taking place that may allow the wetland track to be extended to reach the Henry’s Bush reserve.  This would also require some landuse changes as specified in 4.2.

 

5.2.3. Village walkway/cycleway network

We would also like support from the Local Board for our plans to create a network of routes that provide access to sites of ecological and historical significance.  Identification of these routes will be aided by the input of our local conservation group, Whakaupoko Landcare and the recently formed local heritage group.

Current identified possible routes are:

  • Walkway/cycleway adjoining railway line linking Patumahoe/Mauku villages – can also provide offroad access to Patumahoe Preschool on Mauku Road,
  • Extension of Searle stormwater route to include adjoining old quarry site and bush, and possibly create connection to Kingseat Road from subdivision,
  • Connection from railway route to Mauku Watergardens (Mauku Falls) and St Brides Anglican church (historical site).

This network should aim to integrate the existing and new residential neighbourhoods, and encourage the non-vehicular movement of people within the community

Next page:  5.3  Cycleways