Interactive lights, Māori carvings and a vibrant magenta surface are set to turn the old Nelson Street motorway off-ramp into a must-see Auckland attraction for people to walk and cycle across when it opens later this year.
The off-ramp is being transformed into a shared path as part of the network of cycleways being delivered in partnership by the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport.
It will connect to Upper Queen Street by a new bridge off Canada Street – now nearly in place – and will continue to Nelson Street where a separated cycleway is being built.
'Distinctly New Zealand look'
The design was developed following a Shape Auckland survey, held in June, in which Aucklanders called for the cycleway to be modern and have a ‘distinctly New Zealand’ look. It includes LED lights, which line the safety barriers and pulse as people pass them, as well as a strong magenta surface colour that will fade out at both ends into a Māori design.
Political urban design champion Councillor Chris Darby says: “This project shines a light on walking and cycling and offers an inspiring new way through a previously impenetrable spaghetti junction. It offers a seamless walk-across-the-rooftops connection into the city centre, with sweeping views of the city and harbour.”
“The innovative design catches the eye and captures the imagination, heralding the future of transport across Auckland.”
Māori design a key element
The concept has been created by Monk Mackenzie Architects and LandLAB, in association with artist Katz Maihi. Māori patterns and narrative form a core part of the designs, following discussions with iwi.
The path includes etched carvings at intervals along the length, with a 6-metre pou at the entrance. The colour represents the heartwood of a freshly cut tōtara, with the red and pink shades strengthened to contrast with the surrounding motorway lanes.
Brett Gliddon, the Transport Agency’s Auckland and Northland Highway Manager, says: “It’s great to see the beginning of our urban cycling future here in Auckland with a wonderful facility like this. It’s helping to make cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice as well as leading the way in world-class cycling infrastructure.”
The off-ramp was closed a decade ago and transforming it – as highlighted in the council’s City Centre Masterplan – has received strong support.
Barbara Cuthbert, Cycle Action Auckland chair, says, “This cycleway will be the highlight of all the new projects we’ve seen in the city so far. It’ll be a beacon attracting people to walk, cycle and delight in the views – a new landmark for Auckland!”