Our good friends at Bike Auckland have launched a campaign for a truly bikeable Auckland. Below I’ve re-posted their blog post introducing the campaign.
We’re launching a campaign for a truly bikeable Auckland – and calling on the incoming council and local boards to commit to the vision, with a vital network, more local links, and safer streets.
We’d love you to sign on. Here’s why…
Six weeks ago, Auckland Council voted unanimously to greenlight SkyPath, the missing link for our bikeable future. What gave them the courage to do that? You did! You spoke up ten thousand strong in favour of SkyPath. Our city leaders heard your enthusiasm, loud and clear. And they saw what it looks like on a map when everyone who’s keen to bike in this city puts up their hands.
It was the same when you showed up en masse for the opening of the iconic pink Lightpath. And when you came along on the Sunday Best Ride. And when we flooded into K Rd for a day of Open Streets, where every other overheard comment was ‘Can’t we do this every weekend?’.
The sheer joy of people of all ages, walking and biking happily in a beautiful city, is a powerful thing to witness. It’s a powerful thing to be part of. And a powerful impulse for change.
Now, with the local election just around the corner (voting starts 16 September!), we’re counting on you to help make bikes count again.
Why now? Because our city’s at a tipping point for everyday cycling, thanks to a recent burst of ‘kickstarter’ investment from central government and the transport levy. The network effect is kicking in, as more and more cycleways are built and connected. The CBD and isthmus are the current focus, with links to other transport hubs – but our vision has always been to get that bike-friendly energy happening all over the city. Ultimately, we want every neighbourhood to be bikeable by every person who wants to bike.
What’s a ‘bikeable’ city? It’s a humble notion. A bikeable distance is not too far. A bikeable route is not too hilly. A bikeable expedition is not too onerous. A bikeable neighbourhood is one where it makes sense – and feels safe and normal– to use a bike instead of a car for short trips.
It’s also a big vision. A bikeable city is a city that’s fully enabled for bikes. A bikeable city allows people of all ages to get around on bikes whenever they feel like it. A bikeable city is accessible without a car (especially when combined with public transport). A bikeable city takes safe streets as read. A bikeable city is all sorts of other things too, as anyone who’s travelled (or remembers the good old days) can attest. Quieter. Friendlier. Fitter. Healthier. More efficient. And fun.
Who’s a bikeable city for? Everyone who says they’d bike more if it felt safer (60% of Aucklanders, according to a 2015 Auckland Transport survey; 92% of people who answered a 2013 poll by the AA!). All of us who go somewhere safe to ride for fun on the weekend, and wish we could do it from home, too. Everyone who’d like to travel further and faster than you can on foot, while enjoying fresh air and the buzz of getting around under your own steam.
A better city for bikes is a better city for everyone. All around the world, cities are realising they can’t squeeze more cars in and still feel like a place you want to live. Bikes offer a cheap-as-chips solution to a growing city’s needs:
- a fast track to a sustainable future
- expanding access to growing public transport networks
- affordable commuting
- regular activity for over-scheduled folk
- transport options for kids and teenagers and the elderly
- handy transport for local trips
- one less car on the road and one more healthy citizen on the go
- magical short-cuts around peak-hour congestion
A truly bikeable Auckland is within reach… as long as we keep up the momentum at every level. The budget and the know-how are out there. It just takes political will. That means us wanting it enough to ask our city leaders to make it happen.
So, how do we get there from here?
Let’s make some noise. Hop on over to the campaign page to add your name. And share the link with friends and family who’d love to see a bikeable Auckland in their lifetime. The more of us who speak up, the sooner it will happen.
PS Over the coming weeks we’ll dig deeper into each element of our three-part vision. We’ll also track where the candidates stand. Some of the ‘bike burb’ groups are interviewing local board candidates; we’re inviting candidates to commit to the vision so you can see who’s bike-friendly. Watch this space.
PPS Here’s that link again! Let’s go!