TVNZ’s Breakfast host Jack Tame wrote an excellent opinion piece on transport in Auckland in the Herald on Sunday yesterday.
I can’t read the future but I can tell you right now it’ll be packed tomorrow morning from Drury to Takanini.
You don’t need to live in Auckland to know how frustrating it is to be sitting in traffic.
Congestion is a great equaliser. You can be a multi-millionaire in a kitted-out late European, or struggling to make ends meet with an unregistered, bunged-up, eighth-hand Mitsubishi and it all works the same.
Traffic doesn’t care for fancy cars. It’s not moving faster for anyone.
Sitting in traffic for hours is such a normal part of the week for so many Aucklanders I can sympathise with people who live elsewhere and turn up their noses at our beautiful harbours and warm weather. It’s a serious quality-of-life thing.
The last point is important, in my opinion, Auckland has some of the best and most unique mix of natural features for a city anywhere in the world. The harbours, the Hauraki Gulf and islands, the volcanoes, the beaches and ranges. But the city is let down by its built form and nowhere is that more noticeable than with transport.
Auckland’s geography creates numerous pinch points that funnel people through narrow corridors. If any city could benefit from high quality public transport to help move more people through those pinch points, it’s Auckland. Yet for decades we’ve spend most of our transport effort in trying to solve these problems though the least efficient way of doing so, roads.S
Next Jack uses a line we’ve been known to use on more than one occasion.
No city ever solved its traffic problems by building more roads. And with a significant slab of the migration surge focused on the Auckland region, the morning commute won’t get much shorter any time soon
According to the Ministry of Transport, registered vehicles on New Zealand roads increased by 185,000 in 2016. Only so many motorway extensions and tunnels will cope with that kind of growth.
Traffic is Auckland’s great shame.
We already know a solution will involve massive investment in public transport. Friends visiting recently from overseas were staggered to discover even a light rail link to the airport is potentially more than a decade away.
This in a city of more than 1.5 million people.
But anyone who suggests there isn’t an appetite for change need only consider Auckland’s jam-packed city buses and increasingly popular commuter trains.
Who in their right mind would choose an idling first gear crawl over a shorter, smoother, commute to work?
I can’t disagree with any of that and we know that when high quality solutions, like rapid transit, are provided, that people flock to use them. What we need is to provide more of those high quality options to a greater number of people around the region. And as the rapid transit network expands and interconnects, its usefulness will multiply seeing even more people wanting to use the trains and buses we already have.
With the council and government now both agreeing on the need for a strategic PT network, now’s the time for them to put the money up and get it built.
Jack finishes up with this.
Every morning I read the traffic report and watch our live motorway shots with a mix of sympathy and disdain.
Then I leave the studio, wipe off my make-up, get on my bike and ride home.