MEDIA STATEMENT 25 January 2018 – for immediate release
Bike Auckland is deeply concerned that Auckland Transport is considering a draft budget for 2018-2028 that would dramatically cut investment in making our city’s streets safer for cycling and walking. Slashing the walking and cycling budget by 90% would slam the brakes on Auckland’s bike renaissance, a citywide phenomenon that has been growing for half a decade thanks to new, safe and connected bike paths.
Cycling has taken off in Auckland, to the benefit of all: for example, trips on the Northwestern Cycleway are rising 20% year on year, with most of these peak hour trips that would otherwise jam the motorway. Bikes also now account for one in ten vehicles entering Upper Queen St during the morning peak. With the arrival of bike-share and the exponential growth of e-bikes making cycling more accessible to all ages, these benefits are poised to expand across the city.
The proposed budget cut would squander the gains of the last few years and take us back to the ‘dark ages’ before the Urban Cycleway Programme. This move flies in the face of public enthusiasm, and ignores clear direction from Auckland Council, the new Government, and Auckland Transport’s own Board, which in 2017 approved a $635m business case for sustained investment to encourage all-ages bike use over the coming decade. The numbers also contradict Auckland Transport’s own words in the draft budget promising a more ambitious approach to encouraging walking and cycling alongside public transport.
A city’s budget tells you what it truly values. So it’s especially disappointing to see this budget cut being discussed just as children head back to school, after a summer that saw both record-breaking climate data and more people than ever enjoying the city on bikes. Aucklanders understand how rewarding it is to bring physical activity back into our daily lives and to make smart, low-carbon travel choices wherever possible. Our children deserve a sustainable future and better options for getting around their neighbourhoods – as do we all.
The evidence is clear that getting people back on bikes is one of the smartest and most cost-effective ways a city can boost public health, reduce carbon emissions and ease traffic.
While we understand that this budget is far from final, we are disappointed that the starting point for further discussion is a gutting of the support for walking and biking. Auckland Transport needs to step up and match forthcoming Government investment with a bolder commitment to a cleaner, happier, healthier city.
I’ve had sincere apology from AT chair Lester Levy for internal “budget” document mistakenly made public. The doc certainly doesn’t reflect my conversations with @phil_goff and @AklTransport board and our shared commitment to building a modern transport system for Auckland.
— Phil Twyford (@PhilTwyford) January 25, 2018
Auckland Transport issued a statement of clarity around the draft RLTP budget the same evening.
Further reading (updated 31 January 2018)
Auckland Transport proposal to cut cycling and walking spending by 90% ‘a complete failure’ – Stuff, 25 January 2018
Proposed cycling budget cuts in Auckland alarm youth group – NZ Herald, 25 January 2018
Auckland Transport goes rogue – Greater Auckland, 26 January 2018
AT’s dismissal of cycling and public transport is strange and shocking – but we’ll fix it – Councillor Richard Hills, The Spinoff, 27 January 2018
How did the Draft RLTP end up such a mess? – Greater Auckland, 30 January 2018