Funding constraints in the past financial year delayed work on the potential closure of the Esplanade to traffic, however at the Waiheke Local Board’s meeting last month, a budget was confirmed to engage a consulting company to progress the project.

Auckland Transport is investigating whether the scenic dirt strip between Blackpool and Surfdale could be redesignated as a “pedestrian mall”, which would mean the coastal stretch would still be able to open to emergency vehicles. 

According to the local board, closing the unsealed Esplanade to traffic is something many islanders have wanted for some time. Particularly during the first lockdown in 2020, people said they welcomed having the scenic stretch to themselves, enjoying safe cycling, walking and running without so many cars. 

Auckland Transport’s operations manager for Waiheke, Richard La Ville, says the process to redesignate the section of road is lengthy and will include renewed public consultation. •Sophie Boladeras

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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