The Wrong Side of my Car

A blog about Auckland City, its streets, and culture shock

6 Dec 2015

The pink path

There’s a new cycle path in town. It is very pink and called Te Ara I Whiti or LightPath. The path starts at the end of Nelson Street, where it goes from what is now the only proper cycle path in this part of town, to Upper Queen Street, where you can then continue on the Grafton Gully cycle path and the NorthWestern Cycle path. It takes you right over the spaghetti junction.

The start of the path.

The first part of the path used to be a motorway off-ramp. I don’t know how we ended up with a spare off-ramp in the spaghetti junction, but now it’s put to another use. This off-ramp is now coated in a very bright pink finish (which according to Bike Auckland is called telemagenta). It may not fit everyone’s taste, but it surely stands out between all the gray of the spaghetti junction.

The end (or start?) of the ramp.

We can follow the ramp until where it branches off from the motorway. There a new bridge connects it to Canada Street.

Close-up of the motorway.

This is probably the closest you can get to the motorway. If you look closely you’ll see that a part of the barrier can be removed. NZTA is still able to open up the path for cars in case of emergency.

Bridge to Canada Street

The bridge crosses the Southern Motorway towards East Street and then meanders towards Canada Street.

Canada Street

Well, unless you’re really keen on seeing lots of different ways to store cars, there’s not much to see around here. But you could go up to Karangahape Road, or continue to the Grafton Gully cycleway.

Going back you can see the big sea of asphalt. Come here in the late afternoon and this area is jam-packed with cars waiting to drive south. The pink on the off-ramp clearly stands out on the background. There’s also some fresh landscaping down there.

The Southern Motorway

It’s a bit inviting for some urban exploring. The landscaping is definitely way nicer than the nearby streets.

The Karangahape Road overpass.

There are a couple of bridges over the spaghetti junction, providing a bit of shade. This one is Karangahape Road. I wonder if it’s possible to make some stairs here to go up to the bridge. I don’t know if it is a good idea, but, come on, it’s a pink path and it’s K’road.

You may also have noticed that the bottom part of the barrier is perforated metal, instead of acrylic glass. This lets some fresh breeze in when the wind comes from the side.

Back to Nelson Street.

Here we have arrived back at the start at Nelson Street, where we can see the city, with the Sky tower and the building cranes. We are between the two off-ramps here, from the southern motorway on the left and the north-western on the right.

Crossing Union Street

To cross Union Street, we get to press one of two beg buttons. That’s one for pedestrians and one for bicycles, in case you’re wondering. There wasn’t a beg button for cyclists where we crossed the off-ramp. That traffic light is smart enough to give cyclists green light when the off-ramp has red. You may think, well duh, but that’s actually quite unusual over here. Pedestrians still get to press the button, just for the sake of it.

From across Union Street

Looking back we can see how the path emerges between the two off-ramps. This was taken from the eastern side of Hobson Street. You can’t cross straight to this corner, you have to go the long way via the western side. If you’re reckless you could cross anyway when the cars coming off that rightmost off-ramp have green light, as those cars are not allowed to turn right.

Um. Welcome to the city centre.

Yeah, I told you about the landscaping. You’d almost miss it, but there is a drinking fountain. A nice touch, especially in weather like today.

On to the Nelson Street cycle path.

Cyclists can continue here along Nelson Street towards the waterfront.

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