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Aucklanders flock to new magenta pathway into the city

Published: 7 December 2015

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The Lightpath is open – check out the new Nelson Street walkway and cycleway.

Thousands of Aucklanders have been trying out the new Nelson Street cycleway, named Te Ara I Whiti, which translates as the Lightpath.

The newly revamped and magenta-coloured Nelson Street off-ramp includes a string of interactive lights along one side and these are proving to be a big attraction during the evenings.

Cyclists and pedestrians of all ages have no trouble travelling in harmony on the wide cycleway. 

Stunning new bridge 

The walkway and cycleway starts by Upper Queen Street, crosses the motorway via a stunning new bridge and continues on the old Nelson Street motorway off-ramp, which has been unused for a decade.

It boasts interactive lights, a dynamic magenta surface and Māori designs, including a 140 square metre koru pattern at the northern end. The project team worked with Māori artist Katz Maihi and iwi throughout the urban design stages to include Māori designs and ensure the path has a distinctly New Zealand identity. 

The surface painting has been turning heads in recent weeks, with social media buzzing as people clamour to be among the first to cross it.

The path was opened on 3 December by Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Councillor Chris Darby, Bike Auckland's Barbara Cuthbert and children from nearby Freeman's Bay Primary. Representatives from the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council, and Auckland Transport also attended the opening.

An innovation to celebrate

Auckland Council urban design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid is thrilled to see the innovative cycleway open.

“This is a moment to celebrate," says Campbell-Reid. "A celebration of a youthful, innovative and progressive city where people and mobility are key factors to unlocking the potential of Auckland.

"What better way to move away from our ‘city of cars' brand to become a ‘city for people’ by repurposing a redundant motorway off-ramp in such a fun, dynamic and colourful way.

“The project sends a powerful message about our desire to be the world's most liveable city. Cycling the magenta superhighway will soon become a must-do activity for Aucklanders and visitors alike.”

The project has been delivered in partnership with the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and council-controlled organisation Auckland Transport, as part of a three-year $200 million programme of investment in cycling to make it safer and more convenient to travel by bike.

Central Government has made a significant contribution to funding through its Urban Cycleways programme.

The route for people on bikes continues down a separated cycleway on Nelson Street as far as Victoria Street, the second phase will extend to Quay Street and is scheduled to open in mid-2016.

Take a look at how the opening day went