Sorry Grafton Gully Motorway Saga Re-Visited


Thank goodness Auckland City Councillor Graeme Easte is again trying to get some action on the appalling never-ending situation in which Wellesley St East was extended under Symonds St and across to Grafton Rd, without providing any safe access to the Domain for pedestrians and cyclists.

Tourists especially get confused when they head that way to the Domain, only to encounter a motorway.

It’s been that way for seven years or more and the delays in trying to get things changed is getting ridiculous.

Councillor Easte is taking to the city council’s transport committee on Thursday, a motion for it to:

  • confirm its strong support for the timely completion of a safe route
  • to thank NZTA for an offer to work in resolving the issue
  • ask council officers to investigate possible changes to the legislation to facilitate development of future pedestrian facilities within motorway designated land.

Excellent stuff.  It’s a sorry saga.

Back in December, it seemed sense was at last prevailing when a funded plan to provide a pedestrian and cycling connection across the northern side of Wellesley St bridge was unanimously endorsed by the same committee.

But in February, there was an agenda mention in another council committee that the NZTA had declined permission on their designated lane.

Graeme Easte’s report said that his suspicious were that in fact discussions with NZTA had not been at a board level but with local staff operational officers. It sounded crazy but he was right. So it was him that organised a contact to raise the matter at an NZTA board meeting after which: “I was verbally informed that although no formal resolution had been considered by them, the board had informally discussed the matter and were sympathetic to the objective of the project.

“Furthermore, I was told that the board would find it helpful if key stakeholders could provide solid confirmation of support for the project and for resolving the specific issue of passing through part of a motorway designation. ”

So the councillor is back asking for solid support and let’s hope the council say a resounding, definite yes.

Walk Auckland, Cycle Action Auckland and CBT have all indicated their support.

Grafton Gully in 1863 |National Archives

But there’s also concern that the council will get side-tracked with the plan to extend the northwestern cycleway through to Wellesley St.

This has already been raised at one council committee meeting as something that could seriously delay it.

As Graeme Easte says: “The plan signed off by the transport committee is quite logically located on the northern side of the bridge, avoiding the motorway accesses (two off-ramps and two on-ramps) on the south side. However, the northwestern cycleway connection down the gully is designed, the connection across the gully is needed now and can only safely go on the north side.”

If ever there was an example of how ridiculous and painful decision making is in Auckland, this is a good one!




  1. anthony says:

    When i visited Auckland, I got lost in Grafton Gully because of that bloody piece of the motorway, it’s not just tourists, but visitors too!

  2. ingolfson says:

    Its possible enough enough to avoid it if you know how. But we shouldn’t be forced to make labyrinthine detours just to get from A to B if we happen to NOT sit in a car. There is little sense to have declared that bridge OVER the motorway as a motorway in the first place. Under that logic, I understand I am not even allowed to cycle over it.

    I hope NZTA does get a bit more helpful, because they have cut that connection in the first place.

  3. curtissd says:

    Should a bridge go between Wellesley Street and the Domain or Waterloo Qdrt to the Carlaw Park Satellite dish area? I would like to see both of course. But if only one I think that the Waterloo Qdrt to Carlaw Park area would be more beneficial (good view too.) I am thinking of this as if / when the Parnell Station goes in and linking Parnell to the CBD with less hills might be better?

  4. max says:

    This is all about retrofitting an existing piece that is missing (central CBD to Domain and Hospital). While I agree that lower Grafton Gully could also use better links, we need to take things one by one.

  5. curtissd says:

    Did a link once exist?

  6. Susan says:

    I know this is a little off topic but it is related. The early proposal for the NW cycleway extension that I’ve seen proposes a cycleway that crosses upper Queen Street, goes down Grafton Gully to then connect to Wellesley Street and then up Symonds St. It seems to include more hills, and to be less direct than current road routes. In the presentation I saw from NZTA at the Cycle Action Auckland meeting, it was suggested that the cycleway extension was designed to get more people into the CBD and the University. Why can’t this be done more cheaply, and with a more direct route, with linked up cycle/bus lanes on Ian McKinnon Drive, Upper Queen St, Symonds Street, and K’ Rd? Why build more tarmac for bikes and expensive infrastructure instead of reconfiguring our existing tarmac? If anyone out there can shed more light on this, I for one would appreciate it.


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