From Barbara Cuthbert, CAA Chair
What does it tell us when we hear that many thousands of people went on-line to read the Auckland Transport Blog item on the Congestion Free Network (CFN) last week?
We are impressed by the CFN initiative – and have accepted the challenge to add cycling into the mix. My take on the spectacular level of public interest in CFN confirms that many Aucklanders do not have faith in the car and road-centric plans that still feature highly in much of the transport investment projected for the next decade in Auckland. After years of ignoring public requests for better public transport, walking and cycling networks, we continue to see a heavy element of ‘business as usual’.
It may be simplistic, but it’s tempting to relate the worst of this out-moded thinking to the fact that Council and national politicians (and their advisers) who determine Auckland’s transport spending, spend their days dashing to meetings across the region in private cars and taxis. Hence, their personal transport habits and experiences do not reflect those of most Aucklanders. Compare their focus with that of many Local Board members, whose daily experiences and priorities are more in line with those of their constituents. Does this explain why the best of the Local Boards are behind some of Auckland’s most innovative plans for smart public transport, walking and cycling, such as Greenways?
This is a lengthy intro to the fact that Cycle Action is keen to have more and closer contact with our constituents. All of our committee commute and enjoy getting around on bikes, so we’re in synch with our supporters’ priorities and concerns. We also know that cyclists tend to be smart thinkers, are often very techy, have strong environmental awareness and are highly observant of the road environment. It’s also evident that as cyclists are often affected by other road users’ mistakes, and at the bottom of the feeding chain for transport spending, we are deeply interested in getting better value from every dollar of transport budget.
We hugely value your discussion points and ideas generated by comments on our website blogs and FB, in emails, or from people who increasingly approach me in the street, at cafes, and on my daily trips on ferries and regular train trips with my bike. Our appetite to engage is insatiable, and we need every bit of help you can give us. Please don’t hesitate to add comments to the blog, (or offer to write to a guest blog!) or to flick me an email or a text.
Another way to help is to come to our public events. It was terrific to have a packed room for our last monthly meeting in June, when Daniel Newcombe gave his entertaining and informative presentation on why most of the city’s traffic red lights fail to meet the needs of cyclists – and to hear the response from some of our colleagues at AT and NZTA.
Our July public meeting is next Thursday 25th. Join us at 6pm at Ellen Melville Hall to hear staff from AT and NZTA present concept proposals for consultation on:
The East-West Link – Described as a project to connect the industrial heartlands of Onehunga, Favona, Ellerslie/Penrose and Sylvia Park, we are told this will also include a focus on public transport and cycling improvements, not just the freight improvements that catapulted this project the top of AT’s wishlist.
- The Central East-West Transport Study – including the City Centre Masterplan framework and strategic direction (Quay St Boulevard, Victoria St Linear Park and so on) as well as the proposed 2016 bus network and the changing city centre land uses, for example around the City Rail Link stations.
Cycle Action will be giving feedback to both projects after the night. We want to get your input as well – so please come to these presentations. As our meeting room is cosy, rather than roomy, please RSVP here if you intend to join us.
PS – Thanks to our mates from architectural and design practice ‘Matter’ for the great photo at the top.