Council’s infrastructure committee has decided to support some big changes in their treatment of cycling. Following years of rising cycling numbers, advocacy from groups like Greenways, Generation Zero, Transport Blog, and of course Cycle Action, this culminated (for now) in a very promising resolution.
After listening to presentations – including from Barbara for Cycle Action, and Luke from Generation Zero – Councillors debated a staff report that supported more cycling investment, and a new level of support for cycling as a game changer for the “liveable city”, breathing some life into the concept.
We understand that Councillors were overall very supportive, and in fact strengthened the proposed resolution. From Luke Christensen’s notes, we understand (official minutes to come later) that they resolved to:
a) Acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most livable city
b) Work with the Auckland Development Committee, support greater financial commitment with the Long Term Plan for cycleways, including the preparation of a regional implementation strategy.
c) Encourage Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to explore innovative trial projects in the near term that increase safety and attract a wider range of people to cycling.
d) Request staff to review baseline data monitoring and its adequacy in understanding cycling and walking contribution to transport, and further to provide recommendations on KPI’s [Key Performance Indicators] that may then be incorporated into the AT SOI’s [Statement of Intent].
e) That the Chairman writes to the Chairman of AT forwarding the report ‘Role of Cycling’ and communicates the Infrastructure Committee decisions on the need for a significantly [stronger] effort to improve cycling infrastructure in Auckland.
Some of this is very encouraging, including the proposal to use more trial projects to test “new” types of cycleway infrastructure. This is something we have been talking with AT about for a while, and we can very much use this official encouragement.
Of course, since control over the direct budget and implementation of cycling infrastructure lies with Auckland Transport, this resolution is only half the coin. But with allies on the AT Board like the chair of the infrastructure committee (Mike Lee, who has started to occasionally cycle for transport himself), and of course Lester Levy, their chair themselves, we are hopeful that this will translate to some real differences.
It’s already a great difference to the first time I spoke to a Transport Committee for CAA, some 5 years ago, at Auckland City Council. Then I was told by a Councillor whose name I have happily forgotten that the cycling cutbacks I was advocating against were “just cutbacks to increases”, with ACC soon after doubling down by cutting numerous planned routes from their cycle network. Things have changed, and cycling is seen much more warmly now. Up and on, Auckland!