There are a few important consultations on at the moment that are worth highlighting as some close this week, including one today.
Local Board Plans – feedback closing 4pm today
Auckland Council are consulting on three-year plans for each local board. Feedback is open until 4pm today, Monday 14 August.
Our friends over at Bike Auckland have written a good summary of the process, and opportunities for making our city more bike friendly.
Every three years Auckland’s 21 local boards prepare strategic plans to help guide investment, funding, and local projects over the next three years. The plans also direct the local board input and advocacy into regional strategies, plans and policies.
These plans are open for public consultation right now, and, because the Mayor directed Auckland Transport to listen closely to Local Board input, it’s more important than ever that your local board hears from you!
Although Local Boards have small budgets, they can advocate on the community’s behalf for projects, and sometimes projects are postponed or cancelled if the Board is against them. As such, they can play a big role in shaping how you get around your community and local place making. Slower speeds, safe walking and cycling pathways connecting to local schools, and a vibrant people-focused town centre (all things which Local Boards have a say in) improve community well-being, cut household transport costs, reduce emissions, and benefit the local economy.
They’ve included some great overarching goals
Here’s what Bike Auckland would like to see in local board plans:
- Public transport and active transport modes given priority
- Accessibility for all kinds of disabilities given priority
- Safe streets for kids to walk and cycle to school
- Vibrant town centres with well-designed, people-oriented public spaces
- Low traffic neighbourhoods
- Safe speeds on residential streets, town centres, and around schools
- Use of modal filters to stop rat running and make residential streets quieter
- Use of greenways, “blue-green networks” and quiet areas to make safe cycle connections between local board areas
- An accessible, safe, efficient, and connected network of pathways and cycleways across our neighbourhoods. These should link people to schools, town centres, and public transport
- Secure bike parking at train stations, transport hubs, town centres, and community facilities (eg. more Lockydocks!)
- Wayfinding to help people find their way along the safe cycleways to their destinations
- Ferry service optimization, or other innovations
- Advocate to Auckland Transport to give effect to the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway, the key strategy to de-carbonise Auckland’s transport system
- Support for bike hubs and community events with a cycle component
- We’ve listed some specific transport projects we would love to see supported below
You could ask your local board to advocate to Auckland Transport to:
- Align all projects and renewals with the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP) and emission reduction goals
- Support the campaign to Liberate the Lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for walking, cycling, and wheeling
- Make streets safer by reducing speed limits to 30km/h around schools, residential streets, and town centres
- Use modal filters to stop rat running and make residential streets safer and quieter
- Provide an accessible, safe, and efficient local network of pathways and cycleways
- Improve cycle and pathway safety, including lighting, physical traffic barriers, non-slip surfaces etc
- Improve the local public transport network and bus lane priority
- Support local initiatives to reduce emissions by encouraging more use of public transport (eg. secure bike parking at transport hubs, safe cycleways connecting to public transport hubs)
And if you’re wanting some ideas for your own local board, they’ve also got a list of specific projects for each local board area.
Go here for links to the feedback forms for all of the local board consultations, but be quick – remember this one closes today, Monday 14 August at 4pm.
Regional Public Transport Plan – feedback closes Thursday
Auckland Transport are consulting on their Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP). The RPTP is an important statutory document that lays out how public transport will develop and operate in the region. It includes Auckland Transport’s vision, goals, policies, plans for PT as well as a description for all services they intend to run and the frequencies they will run at.
I wrote about the plan in more detail here. Feedback is open until this Thursday 17 August.
If delivered, the plan represents a good improvement on the PT system we have today. However, it falls short of the ambition we’ve seen in the past – and it falls short of the goals we require in order to meet our emission reduction commitments.
AT blames a lack of funding (and a lack of certainty around funding). They say that if fully delivered, by 2031 we might reach about 150 million trips, which would be an almost 50% increase on the 103 million we achieved pre-COVID – but remains well short of the 550 million trips needed to achieve Auckland’s targets in the Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway (TERP).
A big feature of this latest plan is the changes to the rail and bus network as a result of the City Rail Link. These will see the rail network redesigned and running more services – although disappointingly, we’ll only have trains every 15 minutes off peak and only every 30 in the evenings. In our view, this frequency is simply not acceptable for a rapid transit service. The rail network is meant to be part of the backbone of the PT system, but this timetable means there will be buses arriving more frequently at train stations than there are trains for people to connect to. Hardly optimal.
There are plenty of other changes I outlined in my post from a month ago, and even more included in the document, so it’s worthwhile taking a look.
Draft Speed Management Plan for Auckland – feedback open until 28 August
Auckland Transport has been rolling out speed limit change across Auckland for a number of years now. Over three tranches, close to 40% of roads in the Auckland region, have had speed limits changed. Much of that percentage has been in rural areas, although changes have also applied to the city centre, town centres and around some schools.
AT is claiming some impressive results from the first tranche alone (bearing in mind the more recent ones are still too soon for them to be able to reflect on).
Between 2014 and 2017 the number of deaths and serious injuries (DSI) on Auckland’s roads increased by approximately 78 per cent – more than five times the rate of the growth in vehicle kilometres travelled.
In areas where speed limits were changed on 30 June 2020, monitoring reports show a 30 percent reduction in deaths and 21 percent reductions in serious injuries. In comparison, across all Auckland roads for the time period (24 months), road deaths increased by 9 percent.
AT’s latest consultation is their biggest yet, covering about another quarter of the road network, and focusing heavily on expanding safe speed limits around schools.
Some Aucklanders still have mixed feelings about speed limit changes, though.
They worry about:
- longer travel times
- learning different speed limits
- making mistakes
But they also know that unsafe speed limits:
- stop their kids walking or cycling to school
- add to congestion because parents feel they have to drive their kids to the school gate
Now we want your views on a new draft speed management plan that proposes:
- permanent speed limit changes for groups of residential roads near schools and town centres
- permanent speed limit changes for groups of roads and some individual roads in rural Rodney, Franklin and Aotea
- variable speed limit changes for schools on main/high-traffic roads (variable speed limits are reduced speeds that operate when a flashing speed limit sign is turned on, usually before and after school)
- a permanent change for a section of Karioitahi Beach, under request from Auckland Council.
It will include about another quarter of the road network across the Auckland region and changes will:
- be easy-to-understand
- add less than 15 seconds to an average 20-minute car trip
- have simple signs and colourful road markings
- makes school neighbourhoods safer for families so kids can walk to school
- makes rural, unsealed and no exit roads safer for country people
We will keep the current permanent speeds on our largest and busiest urban roads.
As with previous consultations, AT has an interactive map of all of the proposed changes,