The Esplanade is the coastal road between Lannan Road and Kiwi Street, that follows the coast from Blackpool to Surfdale. It provided an alternative route to Ocean View Road for traffic prior to its closure. Since the closure to vehicles The Esplanade has become a popular walking, cycling and horse riding coastal track. In fact we often take our young boys along the track to ride their balance bikes, stopping often, admiring the surf and talking to local fisherman.
The Esplanade’s original use was to serve the wharf at Matenga Point, this wharf was demolished in 1960’s and since then the Esplanade remained as a scenic coastal drive. The road was closed to vehicles back in December 2010 due to safety concerns after a number of traffic accidents, this closure was on a trial basis and was to be reviewed after one year. At the end of the year’s trial Auckland Transport determined the road had become too degraded to be safely driven on and did not reopen it.
So what were the available options to the board for the future of the Esplanade?
1. Maintain the current closure to vehicles and do no repairs to the road and sea wall.
2. Maintain the current closure but upgrade the road and sea wall
3. Reopen the road to two way traffic and provide a dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists and horse riders
4. Reopen the road to one way traffic and provide a dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists and horse riders
What is the new ruling?
Auckland Transport’s traffic operations manager Randhir Karma told the board that the Esplanade was a public road and “it is important to provide equal rights of use for all road users at all times”, and therefore taking the stance to reopen the road to two way traffic.
Randhir went on to say that “the option of doing nothing was not desirable as road officials wanted another option in the event that the main arterial Ocean View Road was blocked by a car accident or natural disaster such as a slip. He also believed that if the road was allowed to continue to deteriorate it will eventually become unsafe for all road users.
On June 22nd local board members voted three votes to two in support of reopening the road to two way traffic, providing a dedicated space for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The road would remain unsealed and would not be widened.
What are your thoughts on The Esplanade? Which option would you have taken and why?