An open letter to Waka Kotahi NZTA

Jul 03, 2023
An open letter to Waka Kotahi NZTA


To: Nicole Rosie, CEO of Waka Kotahi NZTA; and
the Board members of Waka Kotahi NZTA

cc: Hon David Parker, Minister for Transport,
Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland,
Wayne Brown, Mayor of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland; and
Dean Kimpton, CEO of Auckland Transport

Tēnā koutou,

As the transport agency for Aotearoa New Zealand your primary function is “to create an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable land transport system”. This means ensuring people are safe when they move around our country, providing accessibility and transport choice, and making it easier for people to choose sustainable transport modes.  

Currently in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland there is a glaring gap in our transport network: the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which connects the North Shore and the City Centre. The bridge does not provide for active modes: walking, cycling, mobility devices, micromobility. As such, the only way for active modes to travel between the North Shore and the City Centre is over 40 kilometres; all the way around the Harbour via Hobsonville Point. This takes roughly three hours on a bike, and at least eight hours on foot. For most people this is not a serious option for everyday transport. But, crossing Harbour Bridge would take only 5 minutes by bike and, on average, 15 minutes to walk.

The Climate Commission’s recent recommendation included completing cycle networks in main cities by 2030, i.e. within the next 7 years. Under current plans the missing link across the Waitematā won’t be connected for another 15 – 20 years, far beyond the 2030 target. We urge you to provide an interim solution for access now, by repurposing a lane on the existing Harbour Bridge for walking and cycling. This would be a powerful and effective symbol of a commitment to climate action. 

Your own survey data confirms that Aucklanders want to get across; 78% supported walking and cycling in your 2020 consultation, and 66% said they would walk or cycle across the Harbour in your 2023 Waitematā crossings survey. Moreover you noted that “There was also strong support for cycling infrastructure sooner, rather than later, with comments suggesting a cycle lane on the current bridge”

Reallocating one lane on the existing Harbour Bridge towards active modes gives you the opportunity to increase the resilience of our transport system, provide for accessibility and transport choice, and make it easier for people to choose sustainable, healthy transport modes. 

We ask you to free up one lane on the Auckland Harbour Bridge for walking, cycling, and micromobility. Doing so will…

    ✔  empower people to choose climate-friendly, active travel

    ✔  give more transport choice to people who don’t drive

    ✔  reduce the cost of travel for many

    ✔  create a more resilient transport system

    ✔  make more efficient use of our existing transport system

And, we know it can be done fast and affordably. We have confidence in your ability to deliver at pace.
Looking forward to seeing action from you on this soon.

Ngā mihi nui,

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