Greenways enable people to walk, jog, scooter or cycle away from busy roads, without having to share road space with buses, trucks or cars. Unlike the highway or connector cycle routes outlined in Auckland Transport's Draft Auckland Cycling Network, they may not always be the quickest way to get from place to place. Instead, they offer more leisurely local connections for everyday use; linking residential areas, schools, shops, parks, community facilities and other destinations.
Ti Point Coastal Walkway serves as a greenway for locals and visitors alike.
Greenways are separated from busy roads, offering safe cycling opportunities for a wide range of ages and abilities, in a beautiful setting where people can travel at their own pace. This more relaxed approach to getting around has many benefits:
- the health of the community is improved, as people are encouraged to walk or cycle rather than drive
- participation is improved, as having to share busy roads with vehicles is a major barrier for many people wanting to cycle
- people are more inclined to socialise on greenways, helping to build stronger communities
- it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to walk and cycle to a destination than it is to drive, so families can cut costs and help reduce pollutants
- greenways can incorporate environmental programmes such as riparian planting, revegetation and stormwater runoff collection. These programmes benefit the environment and enhance the amenity of the greenways, which in turn attracts more people to them.
To design successful greenways, you should:
- analyse the site and the surrounding context carefully, to ensure that all opportunities and constraints are identified
- engage with the communities you are designing for, to ensure their views are incorporated
- walk, bike or kayak (if possible) the planned route yourself. This will highlight any usability issues that may not be clear on the plans
- record all your information (written, photographic etc) so that you can show a rationale and progression to your design thinking
- provide for universal access when possible, where topographic and other constraints allow. This will ensure that the greenways are usable to the greatest number of people
- let cyclists and vehicles share the road where appropriate. Greenways along quiet neighbourhood streets with no bus or truck routes do not necessarily have to separate cyclists from the road carriage. Some studies show that in such streets it is more dangerous to put cyclists on the footpath. Instead, greenways in neighbourhood streets should aim to calm and slow traffic by narrowing carriageway widths, introducing slower speed limits and encouraging cars to give way at intersections. These measures will help novice cyclists to feel safer about sharing the road.
The idea of developing greenways through Auckland is building momentum, with three local board greenways plans now being implemented, and a further six being developed. The work that local boards and the council are doing to develop greenways across the region is being recognised through awards and the media.
A greenway travels through
Coxs Bay Reserve