Get going on Great North Road, over 50 organisations tell Council and AT

Get going on Great North Road, over 50 organisations tell Council and AT

Bike Auckland

Update 17/03/23: The Auckland Council Transport and Infrastructure Committee postponed their feedback on Great North Road to the 14th April, allowing them time to do a site visit first. After they’ve given their feedback the AT board will make their final decision; we expect this will be during their board meeting at the end of May.
Watch the video of our CBO Fiáin d’Leafy presenting to the Transport and Infrastructure here.

On Thursday morning, 16 March 2023, Auckland Transport will run the Great North Road improvements project past Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, noting their intention to proceed.

All going well, the AT Board will then formally greenlight the project… at their 30 May meeting. To which we say: why wait? The next AT Board meeting is 28 March. This shovel-ready project has been on the books for years, and either we’re in a climate and road safety emergency or we’re not. Let’s go!

To that end, yesterday, Bike Auckland wrote to the T&I committee (and the interim chief executive of AT and the chair of the AT Board) to remind them that public support is wide and growing: over 50 community groups, schools and business organisations have now joined the call for urgent action.

The mayor has previously directed Auckland Transport to “deeply understand and respond to what matters most to Aucklanders in transport”. It is overwhelmingly clear what matters to this local community in transport – and the Mayor and Council can feel confident telling AT to get on with it.

This decision guides the future of our city. The GNR project is part of a trio of projects that will make it easier and safer for thousands of kids and adults alike to walk, bike, bus (or drive, if you need to) to school, work, shops, wherever. It’s a major opportunity for AT to prove that yes, it can deliver dynamic streets that are fit for future – and for Council to show that yes, it can unlock progress and land a win.

Empowering more healthy, low-emission travel choices is all about quality of life. It’s also vital for reducing the impact of severe weather events like those we’ve seen recently. It’s why Council and AT agreed on a Transport Emissions Reduction Pathway that includes “supercharging cycling”. And it’s why we’ll be at tomorrow’s meeting, to help them keep their promises.

Check out the graphic showing organisations calling for action, then scroll down to read our letter to the members of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee of Auckland Council, with Mark Lambert (AT’s interim chief executive) and Wayne Donnelly (AT’s acting chair) copied in.

14 March 2023

Tēnā koutou,

Community support for Great North Road improvements

We understand the Transport and Infrastructure Committee is being asked to give feedback on the Great North Road improvements project at your meeting on Thursday 16 March.

Bike Auckland joins over 50 other organisations, including schools, residents’ associations, business associations, community groups and advocacy groups, in calling for the urgent delivery of the Great North Road project as part of the network of inner west street improvement projects.

The Great North Road project, which has been in planning for over a decade, is shovel-ready and fully funded, has unprecedented community support, and has the support of the local board. There are no reasons for Committee members to oppose the project. Any further delays will cause unnecessary expense to ratepayers, risk the loss of central government co-funding, and risk unnecessary deaths and serious injuries. We ask you to confirm Auckland Council’s support for the project and to direct Auckland Transport to proceed with construction immediately.

The groups calling for delivery of the Great North Road project and the other inner west projects include (among others):

  • Seven schools along or near the routes, being Newton Central School, Richmond Road School, Grey Lynn School, Westmere School, Western Springs College / Ngā Puna o Waiōrea, Pasadena Intermediate School and Point Chevalier School, who last year had a combined roll of over 4,000 students.
  • The Grey Lynn Residents’ Association, the Auckland City Centre Residents’ Group, and many community groups in the project areas.
  • The Ponsonby Business Association and the Karangahape Road Business Association, who together represent over 1,000 businesses and property owners.
  • The Auckland Regional Public Health Service; Ora Taio: the NZ Climate & Health Council; Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation; and Sport Waitākere.
  • A broad range of NGOs and advocacy groups, including the Campaign for Better Transport, Living Streets Aotearoa, Brake Aotearoa New Zealand, Generation Zero, the Coalition for More Homes, EcoMatters and Bike Auckland.

A full list of the supporting organisations is set out at the end of this letter.

We are aware that Auckland Transport has also received extensive correspondence from other groups, businesses and individuals in relation to the projects, which have been overwhelmingly in support. The projects also have the support of the Waitematā and Albert-Eden Local Boards, and the MPs for Mt Albert and Auckland Central.

The Mayor’s letter of expectation directs Auckland Transport to “deeply understand and respond to what matters most to Aucklanders in transport”. The message from the community has been loud and clear: the projects have huge community support; they have been delayed far too long; and they must now be urgently delivered. If Auckland Council and Auckland Transport do not proceed, they will be acting contrary to the wishes of the community.

We note the following points in relation to the Great North Road project:

  1. The project has already suffered extraordinary delays, having been planned since 2010, funded through the Urban Cycleways Programme since 2015, and subject to two rounds of extensive public consultation.
  1. The project is shovel-ready and fully funded, including a significant but time-limited government co-funding contribution. Waka Kotahi has made clear that the co-funding may be lost if the project is not completed within the next financial year.
  1. Construction is planned to align with important stormwater upgrades that need to proceed in any event. If the works do not proceed together, the community may be subject to two rounds of construction, and the cost to ratepayers will increase.
  1. The project design balances competing pressures appropriately. It reduces costs by working largely within the existing kerbs, while providing upgraded bus lanes, protected cycleways, safe crossings, more trees, and an improved streetscape.
  1. Any suggestion that a cycleway could be accommodated within the existing footpath is misconceived. Pedestrian numbers are increasing as more apartments are built on Great North Road. Squeezing bikes onto the footpath would be unsafe, leave insufficient space for people on foot, detract from the public realm, and yet still require removal of on street parking. The outcome would be inadequate and unacceptable.
  1. The project has already been through an exhaustive design process. The design cannot be improved within the existing project budget. Any redesign and reconsultation would only result in unnecessary further costs for ratepayers.

Vulnerable road users are continuing to pay for Auckland Transport’s arbitrary delays to critical safety work. In the last few days, a driver hit and injured a person cycling on Great North Road within the project area. Last week marked a year since the death of Levi James on Manukau Road, but there has still been no tangible response from Auckland Transport. Deaths, serious injuries and near misses will continue to occur while the local authorities fail to act.

It is a matter of serious concern that the only projects Auckland Transport has paused are those that most effectively meet Auckland Council’s requirements for action to improve safety, expand travel choices, and reduce emissions. We urge all members of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee to confirm their unqualified support for the Great North Road project and the other inner west projects, and to direct Auckland Transport to proceed with construction as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Tony Mitchell
Bike Auckland

Full list of organisations calling for urgent delivery of the inner west street improvements:

Newton Central School –

Richmond Road School –

Grey Lynn School –

Westmere School –

Western Springs College –

Ngā Puna o Waiōrea –

Pasadena Intermediate School –

Point Chevalier School –

Grey Lynn Residents Association –

Auckland City Centre Residents’ Group –

Ponsonby Business Association –

Karangahape Road Business Association –

Auckland Regional Public Health Service –

Sport Waitākere –

Aktive – Auckland Sport & Recreation –

Western Springs Association Football Club –

Ora Taio: the NZ Climate & Health Council –

Living Streets Aotearoa –

Campaign for Better Transport –

Brake Aotearoa New Zealand –

NZ School Speeds –

Grey Lynn Farmers Market –

Cohaus –

Point Chevalier Social Enterprise Trust –

Grey Lynn 2030 –

Transition Town Point Chevalier –

Bike Grey Lynn –

Bike Pt Chev –

Cycling Without Age Point Chevalier –

New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities –

Coalition for More Homes –

Generation Zero –

Greater Auckland –

Women in Urbanism Aotearoa –

Movement –

Bike Auckland –

Cycling Action Network –

All Aboard Aotearoa –

1Point5 Project –

Greenpeace Aotearoa –

350 Tāmaki Makaurau –

Fridays for Future Tāmaki Makaurau –

Citizens’ Climate Lobby NZ –

Forest & Bird Youth –

EcoMatters Environment Trust –

Students of Urban Planning and Architecture –

Big Street Bikers –

Urgent Couriers –

Inspiring Stories –

Repair Café Aotearoa New Zealand –

Auckland Library of Tools –

GetAcross –

Mahu City Express –

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