In my post yesterday about the AT board meeting I omitted discussing one crucial agenda item – although I’m sure some of you picked up on it. It was

Presentation by Cycle Action, Generation Zero and Transport Blog on cycling Auckland

Both we and Cycle Action Auckland were invited late last year by the board to present to them on the Congestion Free Network and on Cycling. Both us and CAA believe there are huge synergies to be had between PT and cycling and so we agreed to combine our presentations into one (for which we were also given additional time than had we done them separately).

I also have to say a huge thanks to Lance Wiggs and his wife Su Yin for heroically helping us last minute to vastly improve the presentation.

You can see the presentation here (7MB) but as you will see it has a lot of photos and not a lot of text.

Worlds Best City

The general thrust behind the presentation was that

  • Auckland has the right ingredients to make it one of the best cities in the world. What we need to do now is make that a reality and make Auckland more liveable.
  • On top of that there are a lot of great things going on already with the likes of Wynyard, shared spaces, electrification, integrated ticketing/fares, new bus network etc.
  • That we are at a tipping point, we’re seeing trends change with less people choosing to drive and more opting for PT, walking and cycling.
  • That investments in a more liveable city are already paying off e.g. in Fort St where Hospitality spending is up 400% since the shared spaces were created.
  • That the CFN builds on what AT is doing and does so primarily by re-prioritising the projects they already have.
  • That the CFN is much cheaper than what is currently planned which will reduce/remove the need for much of the funding shortfall that the council will need to find.
  • That the impact of the CFN can be greatly boosted by improving cycling (not just about feeding the CFN though).
  • That improvements to PT, walking and cycling can make it easier for kids to get to school, thereby helping to improve traffic.
  • That this is also what other cities are doing. As Patrick says, if a city like New York can do this stuff with the demand for space that they have then we certainly can.
  • That it doesn’t have to be done with expensive road widening.
  • That the boards leadership is needed to help make these improvements and that ultimately they are the ones responsible for/have the control to make Auckland the world’s best city.

The presentation was well received and we had a number of comments from board members afterwards saying they thought it was done very well. I could also definitely see a few of them nodding in agreement with what we were saying.

Perhaps one of the funnier moments was that we had talked about how parking needs to be addressed and that in some cases it should be removed. At the end of the presentation it was mentioned that a group from Freemans Bay were in the audience and who might disagree with us however they also approached us saying how much they agree. They could see that by improving the PT network we have that less people would want to or need to drive to inner suburbs to park their cars on residential streets (also known as hide and ride).

All up we were very happy with the outcome and the main thing is it is something that will be in the back of the minds of AT board members who will shortly be having internal discussions about their future strategy.

Now we just need to work out who we should talk to next, perhaps we should also try to present to the NZTA board (I know at least some have already heard about it).

Update: Google Drive doesn’t seem to be playing very nice with the images so have used Dropbox instead. Links updated or click here.

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  1. Great visuals supporting a powerful, memorable vision with messages that will linger “in the back of the minds” of the AT board members. I like the “just do it team” idea. I think that will go down well.
    Well done everyone. Thank you for your hard work.

    1. How many decision makers will be at (and having real in depth conversations with) Janette Sadik Khan when she’s in Auckland in May? All of them, I hope. I want her to walk around town with them and point out the million things (aggressively, showing it working in NY) that Auckland could do today to improve everything and that their eyes are opened and they start taking some chances /dreams

  2. Well done indeed

    Quoting: Now we just need to work out who we should talk to next, perhaps we should also try to present to the NZTA board (I know at least some have already heard about it).

    Yes NZTA but priority would be now the Auckland Development Committee at Council which has the two sub committees (Physical and Social Infrastructure) to get the Land Use Planning married up along side it. The Development Committee can either recommend the presentation be sent to the Finance (or Budget) Committee for their costing analysis (so the 2015 LTP) or kicked straight to the Governing Body for a formal policy position.

    But in any case I would recommend the Auckland Development Committee (as well as NZTA)

  3. Thanks for putting this together and presenting this, and also publishing it on the blog. I hope the board members who expressed agreement now turn that into action.

    A question – is there anything in the Govt Policy Statement that would limit AT and AC’s hands in changing tack and rolling out the CFN?

  4. Great stuff! Would be good to have included something about the changes needed. And highlight what, in the current plans, goes radically against these goals.

    1. Well, the changes needed – I actually think we covered that well in the slides. The “big ticket items” are obviously reprioritising money to the CFN public transport projects, and the Auckland Cycle Network (which we didn’t mention by name / regionwide thing – because we wanted to concentrate more on the concept of cycling as a local thing, as something that we should most encourage to complement transport choice for short trips). We (well, Patrick, who did the presentation for all three groups) also highlighted the point of complete streets – i.e. design of streets catering for all modes.

      We intentionally decided (with some advice from Lance) that we would keep the “negative stuff” (bad examples, criticism) on the light side, and present a positive vision, rather than a stocktake of what is going wrong. That has its place, but maybe not so much when we are trying to emphasise what we want them to strive FOR, what we want them to show leadership on. As noted, the CFN actually still includes roads spending, and roads projects – but only a few really crucial ones, and generally only after PT is much improved, delaying the need and reducing the size of same projects.

  5. Oh, and in case anyone is wondering – various ones of the image slides don’t look that “washed out” as they may look like to you. It’s something about viewing the presentation in Google Docs that makes the colours go funny… thankfully not a problem once it actually went on the screen in the big chamber.

  6. Can’t but admire your brilliant advocacy for a decent city in the face of all the horrors that have been and, sadly, continue to be inflicted on this city. Please keep up the good work; it’s heartening for an old cynic such as me, but it’s absolutely vital for generations to come. Your work is now part of the history of this city, let’s hope it’s heeded by those currently in power.

  7. Fantastic work, thank you! Great images. Slide 13 made me tear up. So simple, so kind, so liveable, so loveable. A space in which people can get around in whatever way suits them.

    1. In addition, apparently just to the left of the photo in Slide 13, there’s a station of Vancouver’s rail system, so yes, people CAN really choose all modes here…

  8. Awesome work, and really top-notch presentation. Extremely well done.

    Many folk underestimate the importance of ‘presentation’ in a presentation. The slides are awesome to look at, have succinct wording with catchy, memorable phrases, and are positive and forward looking – exactly what is needed to try and inspire these folk into action.

    Now you ‘just’ need to get the message out further.

    Have you considered putting together a few short videos based on the presentation? I’m sure there’d be a bunch of media-savvy folk happy to help out if you put the call out. Essential get (ideally professional) voice-over of sections of what Patrick went through with the slides over the top would get the job done, though I’m sure there’s others out there that’ll help spice it up (replace images with video of similar locations, animate the network etc). If done well, something like this has the potential of getting serious air time (e.g. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Campbell Live or the like would air shorts if they’re well put together, clear and concise).

  9. Great presentation and thanks again for all your hard work on this visionary concept.

    Whatever happened to AT modelling the CFN? Don’t recall reading anything about that again – I assume it’s still in progress?

    1. We understand it is, though presumably it will not be called “the CFN” but something like “Intensified PT Option” or similar. The big hope is that this year’s update of the Integrated Transport Plan acknowledges the idea that we can’t drive our way out of congestion, and starts to make some hard, and sensible choices. The modelling will certainly help make that case – then it is up to the AT Board to put some decisions behind it…

  10. Looking at the rail catchment graphic there are a number of, how can I describe it, micro issues. For example, the catchment from the northern side of Avondale train station is not quite so simple. Due to the current traffic management of the signalised intersection at New North Rd/Blockhouse Bay Rd/St Jude St anyone attempting to access the station is required to add a delay of up to four minutes (i.e. 150 m) to their journey. Aside from the fact that the train station isn’t signed at this (unsafe for pedestrians) intersection, the delay significantly diminishes the utility of the network. But hey, AT is all about SOV volumes, so why should we worry?

  11. I think you guys should be congratulated on a great presentation – very slick. In saying that though – like all data – its is skewed to a cause.
    The traffic figures on the bridge could just as easy be presented as increasing with the dip being an anomaly due to the GFC and high oil prices. The end of the curve is after all showing an upward trend (recovery). I also spotted on the graphics that you allowed 3m for the cycle lanes. Does that mean peds on Skypath only need 1m?
    I know this may sound negative but take it as constructive criticism – that’s the way it is intended.

    1. Phil the numbers on the bridge appear to have started to go down again based on the most recent data, or at least aren’t rising again. Seems to be a bit of a ceiling at 160k now and it’s bouncing up to that.

      As for your comment about 3m for cycle lanes, where are you getting that from? We’ve said that cycling is a great way to easily expand the catchment of PT and that a 3km ride is quick and easy but we haven’t specified any standards.

    2. I think Phil sees his version of the Skypath in most things … clouds, tea leaves, his high tea scones etc. It probably haunts his dreams too. Funny enough when the real Skypath is built soon he won’t actually be able to see it from where he is.

  12. I can only judge by the presentation document, but it looks really good. I hope it moves the needle in convincing some the councillors that a PT-focused transport strategy could actually save money (and make Auckland a nicer place to live in the mean time), but there are some entrenched opinions to overcome (like George Wood’s conviction that the city absolutely, positively needs the AWHC come hell or high water).

  13. That is a classy presentation and well done, and so refreshing to see a public transport network that includes ALL of Auckland! I’m hoping that as a regular public transport user our man George will get in behind this plan rather than what is currently being proposed.

  14. Have you come up against any opposition / criticism of the CFN? Apart from entrenched ideas about car priority, there doesn’t seem to be any good reason not to do this.

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