We’ve seen it all before with ‘green – washing’. Now it’s ‘cycle – washing’.
A classic recent instance is Auckland Council’s large image of a happy woman on a bike on the cover of the draft Long Term Plan discussion document. Many people have drawn it to my attention. It appears to be somewhat cynical exercise – she’s fronting a plan to cut our current miserable cycling budget by 50%!
AT seem to be following a similar path with their St Lukes interchange project. Here’s AT’s official story as presented to a public meeting last month.
AT regrets that the trees will be lost but a major benefit is that they will make way for cycle lanes to the motorway overbridge and for an extended bus lane and bus priority measures in Great North Road. Making travel by cycle and bus more efficient and convenient is consistent with Auckland Transport’s drive to encourage the use of public transport. This will bring long-term environmental benefits as more people choose alternative modes of transport, to the car.
Cycle Action disagrees. We asked to present the AT Board meeting tomorrow when it considers the notice of requirement for the St Luke’s intersection. The Board refused our request, but invited us to table a statement.
Here it is –
Cycle Action Auckland (CAA) does not support the scheme for the Great North Road / St Lukes Road intersection layout.
In our view Option 2 (consented intersection layout) and Option 3 (proposed intersection layout), do not provide significant benefits for cyclists on Great North Road. Neither option will contribute positively to encouraging local trips on bikes or increasing the uptake of cycling.
In summary Cycle Action Auckland’s concerns are:
• The short length of proposed additional shared path will have no safe connections at the eastern end. Cyclists will need to negotiate the wide petrol station entrance and exit ways and motorway on / off ramps.
• Shared paths put people on bicycles in conflict with pedestrians, reducing amenity for all users. This will be especially problematic during events at the adjacent Western Springs Stadium and Park.
• The short length of the proposed bus lanes extension will be beneficial to only a small minority of people on bikes. Bus lanes are very intimidating to most potential riders.
• No cycle facilities are provided, in either option, along Great North Rd for cyclists travelling east.
• This lack of cycle infrastructure, or where provided, the lack of best-practice infrastructure, will occur despite the whole intersection being totally reconstructed and the road width increased significantly.
We are also concerned that Auckland Transport (AT) has drawn the conclusion that CAA supports the scheme in its entirety. We assume this is based on discussions held between CAA and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), regarding the cycle facilities on the SH16 St Lukes Road overbridge, south of the intersection. CAA has not provided support to AT for the Great North Road section of this scheme.
We firmly believe that a better outcome should be achieved for all users that does not trade off further space and amenity just to achieve extra motor vehicle capacity.