As of today, I am resigning from all roles at Greater Auckland.
I am delighted, and humbled, to advise that my application for a directorship on the NZTA board has been accepted. I am looking forward to working with my fellow board members and all the staff at the agency and its partners, to help deliver this important work for the whole nation.
In part, along with other governance roles I have undertaken, and writing and speaking elsewhere, it is through contributions to GA that I have earned this opportunity. So I feel I owe you all a thank-you.
I leave GA in the more than capable hands of Matt and Heidi. There will no doubt be others to follow, those who add guest posts, and of course all you who contribute to the comment threads. I will remain a keenly interested reader, I look forward to your continuing insights.
Looking back eight years to my first GA blog post is a bit sobering because it is one of those changes yet to be realised. But at least it doesn’t read as ingenue; rather the observations and general thrust of the post still stand, and is surely one the city is close to enacting (everything in this field takes so much longer than you’d think necessary).
But elsewhere a great deal has happened or is happening that we championed, that if I had been offered the current/underway Auckland a decade ago, in most cases, I would be amazed and delighted; would have gladly grasped it.
But perhaps the most important effect of the ongoing work at GA is the widening of possibility; what once was considered by many to be unrealistic is becoming mainstream, and really quite fast. Much of this is zeitgeist, but even if at GA we suddenly found ourselves swimming more with tide rather than against it, we also had a decent hand in shifting perspectives too. Furthermore this is just continuing, accelerating, the direction of travel is clear.
Looking back, there are two changes in Auckland that I feel GA had no small hand making possible: The CRL and the commitment to retro-fitting a complete Rapid Transit Network to the city:
- That the CRL is actually underway, and has improved through the detailed design process, is hugely rewarding and exciting. It was this project in particular that we were focussed on supporting, and in many ways brought us together in the beginning, back when it had little official support. I still pinch myself when I see the work sites. This magnificent project is already changing Auckland for the better, both through the new upgraded spaces about to open next year, and by showing that the traffic we are used to on city streets is often unnecessary, discretionary, and can be permanently displaced by higher value uses. I predict it will ultimately transform the very nature of the city in ways most can’t imagine, and so much for the better
- That it is now accepted that Auckland must complete a full Rapid Transit Network, and that it is as a Network, not just as individual routes or modes, that this must be conceived, constructed, operated, and communicated. This is now standard and official policy, as enshrined in ATAP, and is, thanks to the new government and the regional fuel tax, funded, is a startling change from not so long ago. Of course this is a long term process, but one, in my view, of international significance already. Why? Because it will, once all lines are complete, be a model of how to successfully retro-fit a full mixed-mode RT network to a maturely auto-dependent, democratic, and relatively sprawly city.
I am very excited to now be expanding my focus beyond Auckland to other our cities and regions, especially as this is a time of big change for infrastructure investment and transport patterns.
So it is with gratitude to my colleagues at GA, its readers and contributors, and the wider urbanist community, that I move on to this greater challenge.
Ngā mihi nui