Here’s our roundup for the week
The Transport and Infrastructure Committee is calling for public submissions on its inquiry into congestion pricing in Auckland.
Congestion pricing involves implementing a charge (or charges) to manage demand on the road network. This can encourage users to change their travel behaviour – the time, route, or mode by which they travel. The committee’s inquiry supports the Ministry of Transport’s The Congestion Question report.
The committee is interested to hear people’s thoughts on the idea of introducing congestion pricing in Auckland.
It will be guided in its inquiry by the below terms of reference:
- Using The Congestion Question reports as a base, developing a thorough understanding of how a congestion regime could be implemented, including the use of technology, which routes would be included, how charging could be structured and facilitated.
- Through the submissions process, lead a constructive public dialogue to ensure all affected groups and individuals have an opportunity to have their say.
- Ensuring that equity and mitigation issues are identified and how any scheme could be structured to ensure that any one group, particularly those on lower incomes, are not unreasonably impacted.
- Focusing on how any revenue raised would be used and would integrate with other revenue streams derived from fuel taxes, road user charges, and other fiscal factors.
- Identifying and evaluating comparative congestion charging models internationally, and identifying best practice.
- Confirming the likely behavioural change and benefits from a congestion charge in Auckland outlined in the Congestion Question technical report, including evaluating the impact of behavioural change on existing alternative transport modes, especially public transport.
- Through the submissions process, provide the opportunity for those outside Auckland to engage with the issue.
- Understanding the impact of a congestion charge on emissions and air quality Understanding the options for legislative change to enable congestion pricing.
Submissions are open till Thursday 20 May.
Auckland Transport are consulting on an ‘upgrade’ to the intersection of Chapel Rd and Kilkenny Dr in Dannemora. Like we saw with their Swanson consultation, they talk a lot about how it’s all about safety, saying
Auckland Transport cares for your safety. We want to make our roads safe for everyone, people walking and cycling, especially for our kids and senior citizens and people driving. Projects like this one around Chapel Road and Kilkenny Drive are another step towards our goal of achieving no deaths or serious injuries on our roads
They say changes are needed because
Our observations show that drivers occasionally run red lights and weave in and out of traffic at this intersection which create safety issues.
But for all the talk, the reality is quite different when you look at what’s proposed. AT are wanting to widen the corridor to add in a turning lane, removing trees and any space for bike lanes in the process. They’re not even adding in the missing pedestrian crossing leg.
Of note, Chapel Rd is on their planned cycle network and this intersection is only about 1km from the future Botany Bus Station being built as part of the Eastern Busway and so there’s good case for building safe connections to that.
East Auckland is the most auto-dependant part of urban Auckland and it will continue to remain so, and be even further embedded with projects like this.
The government are being taken to court over their decision to fund Mill Rd
Climate change advocates have joined forces to apply for judicial review of decisions by Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency and the Government to fund and build an expensive and carbon-inducing roading project, Mill Road.
“Youth spent three long years campaigning for the Zero Carbon Act. This is the year we enforce it and hold the Government to account. The Government simply cannot say it is taking the climate emergency seriously and then fund roading projects like Mill Road,” says Generation Zero campaigner, Dewy Sacayan.
All Aboard Aotearoa calls on the Government and Waka Kotahi to dump Mill Road, a proposed 21.5 km road through Auckland’s southeast that is scheduled to start construction in late 2022. This four-lane highway will cost $1.4 billion – a whopping $65 million per kilometre – and will significantly increase carbon emissions by inducing more road traffic and enabling urban sprawl.
There’s been plenty of rumours flying around that the project might be in a bit of trouble anyway due to a cost far in excess of that $1.4 billion.
As we inch closer to the reopening of the Chief Post Office building, the main entrance to Britomart, City Rail Link have been publishing more photos of its transformation and it’s looking great.
City Rail Link say it will reopen in early April – which we understand to be 6 April. Though once it is reopened and handed back to Auckland Transport, the current temporary entrance at the back of the station will close and scaffolding will go up as they begin a 12-month ‘face-lift’.
We’ll be cleaning the outside to restore the stonework and replace the windows. Not all sides of the building will be covered at once, with the project expected to take just under 12 months. We’re excited to welcome you all through the new station entrance in early April! pic.twitter.com/HKjvsdISHj
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) March 25, 2021
Climate Commission Feedback
As Heidi wrote in Monday’s post, submissions are due on Sunday for the draft Climate Change Commission advice to Government. Here are some great submissions covering urban and transport issues:
- Helen Clark Foundation
- Gen Zero
- Ora Taiao
- Bike Auckland
- Big Street Bikers
- 1Point5 Project
- Lawyers for Climate Action
- Working Paper by Paul Callister and Heidi O’Callahan
One thing I was critical about was their under-cooking of the potential for mode-shift, especially to active modes.
Absolutely pulsing on the city’s congestion-free scootways this evening. Like this at every set of lights, and a steady stream in between. pic.twitter.com/RE9PgR5GOj
— Jolisa Gracewood (@nzdodo) March 25, 2021
In making a submission, you can write as much or as little as you like. Of course the Commission will be hearing from lots of groups and experts of all kinds, from all sorts of technical angles, and will be working hard to refine its advice before the end of the year. But the voices of everyday people who care about getting this right are just as important in this conversation. So do add yours.
March is typically when public transport use is at its highest during the year but COVID has thrown a lot of things out a bit. Even so, if you’ve been on PT recently you’ve probably noticed it busier than it has been. In fact, last week was the third busiest week since COVID struck
Thanks, Auckland! Last week’s patronage was the 3rd highest since March 2020! It came within 50k of the highest week in August last year. Ferry numbers were around 81%, buses at 73% and trains at 64%. Over the weekend we had close to 90% on trains, and ferries stayed over 80%.💛 pic.twitter.com/UswL1FRf9v
— Auckland Transport (@AklTransport) March 21, 2021
Finally, Pete Buttigeig is continuing to impress in his role as Transportation Secretary in the US, for example:
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) March 21, 2021
We reject false choices between fixing the roads we have and making space for alternative modes of transportation. Americans deserve world-class quality and a full range of good options to get where they need to be.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) March 23, 2021
Of course, as we know all too well, saying the right thing and delivering the right thing can be two very different things.
Have a good weekend.