What is Auckland Transport spending our money on? Resolving our challenges or exacerbating them?
It’s nothing short of a transformation that we need, as the CEO has talked about for years, with people “at the heart” of the changes:
Auckland Transport have adopted Vision Zero, which:
places responsibility on the people who design and operate the transport system to provide a safe system.
And of course, the transformation involves reducing emissions. As I reported over a year ago, the CEO listed the gains made over the last ten years, and added:
In spite of all that, we’ve had an 11% increase in ghg emissions from the transport network in Auckland… Doing what we’ve always done ain’t going to touch the sides in terms of delivering…
It means we have to do something completely different…
But what has actually happened? Today, Simon Wilson has an excellent article, titled The right and wrong way to spend money on cycling:
In Auckland, planners and politicians have watched this great Covid-inspired transport reset overseas, thought about its importance to climate action, congestion and road safety, and said to themselves, yeah nah…
AT has just finished another part of the Tāmaki Drive cycleway and the Northwest Pathway, from Kingsland northwards, is also finally being made fit for purpose. This is much-needed work on the city’s two main cycling arterials.
But that should be the cherry on top. The bulk of the work should be to convert hundreds of kilometres of existing street lanes to make them safe for cycling. Cheaply, cheerfully and urgently, with a concrete barrier to stop cars drifting into the bike lane, and a lick of paint.
How about an emergency approach: get it all done next year.
So let’s discuss priorities. What is Auckland Transport spending its money on?
I’ve pulled a few projects from the Auckland Transport website. They’re at different stages of design, consultation and construction. But they paint a consistent package: this is our money being used, and it’s not being used for what Auckland Transport say they prioritise: people, safety, modeshift, sustainability.
Weymouth and Roscommon Rd. There’s plenty of space, here, for proper cycling infrastructure:
Botany Rd and Millhouse Drive. Why is this work happening without road reallocation to safe cycling being added? And there’s a missing pedestrian leg:
Similarly at the corner of Botany Rd and Cascades Rd, space could be reallocated if there was the will:
There’s plenty of work happening at Dairy Flat Highway but nothing that’s going to shift modes:
Matiatia Wharf should be a place people can cycle to, but it seems we can spend money without making it safe:
Mt Wellington Highway. The work’s going in for a busway, yet there’s space for cycling, too, if we care about people’s lives:
And that project tells a bigger picture at the intersections, too, where AT likes to keep all the turning lanes for general traffic:
What happened to safe cycling as part of Medallion Link Drive? Brand new infrastructure, but only for the privileged modes:
There are plenty more I could add. Is this what the Board intends Auckland Transport to spend its money on? These projects aren’t delivering on the stated goals, yet when it comes to projects like at Ash St / Rata St and at Mt Albert Rd / Three Kings, all of a sudden there’s apparently insufficient money to do it properly, for all modes.
It seems Auckland Transport’s talk of safety, modeshift and sustainability is just something “nice to have” after the money is mainly spent on driving amenity.
Dear Children, you weren’t considered important in any of these decisions.
It’s no wonder that our vehicle travel keeps rising, our safety statistics don’t improve and our emissions remain a stubborn problem. There’s been no transformation in priorities. All I see is a Safety Team struggling to make headway against a system that is resisting change every step of the way.