Thisis a few follow-up’s to some recent posts we’ve published.
Earlier in the week I commented on how cycling projects are now often much more than just bike lanes and the budget should perhaps instead be called the “safety-and-streetscape-upgrade-and-stormwater-fix-and-traffic-calming-and-pedestrian-improvements-and-retaining-parking-and-cycling budget“. Yesterday Auckland Transport got in touch and provided the below information on cycleway costs.
We are finding that cycleway costs are fitting into three broad categories-
- Regional connections that generally have significant structural or geotechnical work required as they pass through the marine environment, need complex structures like underpasses or go through rough terrain. GI Tamaki, Skypath, NW Cycleway, New Lynn – Avondale are examples of these. Much like the investment required for our motorway network, these are our highest cost per km to build. These projects are costing $30-80m, or $7-10m per km.
- Urban connections that include town centres. The approach that we are now taking with these is more akin to street upgrades, where we deliver bus, walking, cycling, safety improvements and to do these well generally requires significant utility improvements given that our utilities haven’t received investment in such a long time. We upgrade street lighting, storm water, ducting for electricity etc. And we are now trying to meet expectations of streetscape/placemaking. These sorts of changes are like Waitemata, KRd, Hurstmere Rd, Otahuhu- around $20m, and include minimal contributions from other programmes where the client is the cycling programme, but cost around $3m/km to deliver. Our [cycling] Programme Business Case recognised that and our sequencing is to align with other organisations like Panuku, HLC, and Council, who will fund much of the streetscape work and aligning our programmes should be much more cost effective for the cycling programme. The integrated corridor programme will also support this approach.
- Traffic calming/speed management/greenways, much like our Herne Bay project where we are treating an area to reduce speeds and traffic volumes to create a safe environment to access key routes. These are around $1m/km and will treat much wider areas, and give great amenity for local communities. The speed management programme, now that is a priority for AT, will deliver significant improvements.
We’ve also made a number of comments in recent weeks about how AT needs to up its game on communications, especially around the need to start fixing our safety crisis. A key part of the process will be delivering strong, clear communication to the public. So, it’s worth giving some credit where it’s due for some good communications in recent days from AT’s CEO Shane Ellison on why changes are needed.
First up, on Monday the Herald published this letter from him
And yesterday, the council published this piece from Shane in their Our Auckland online magazine/news which goes further into the issue. Importantly it also goes a little bit into why Auckland has adopted Vision Zero and what it actually means.
Vision Zero is based on a principle that human life and health can never be traded for other benefits, such as journey travel times. We have to commit to becoming a Vision Zero organisation that puts safety at the heart of our business, where our transport ecosystem is safe for all users of our roads. Faster journey times will no longer be our predominant success metric.
Why aim for zero?
Vision Zero is aspirational.
International research shows that cities with bold visions backed by ambitious targets have achieved the greatest road safety outcomes. Without a bold vision, we can be captive to traditional thinking and methodologies that lead to only minor improvements in the status quo.
Achieving zero deaths and serious injuries is a challenge for all of us. We have to be more innovative and deliver solutions where the safety of all road users is the primary goal. We need to work closely with our partners and communities to face this challenge.
A simple driving error, or someone crossing a road while distracted, should not lead to death or serious injury. What is at stake is the happiness and welfare of our friends and whānau, and our fellow Aucklanders.
The piece includes this video of AT staff talking about safety improvements.
I think AT will need to keep repeating these messages for quite some time to get them to sink in to some segments of the wider public but they are a good start. Importantly they also set the right tone, that these changes will happen because they’re the right thing to do and that safety is not a negotiable. Of course, they’ll need to back up these words with action but it is a good start.