By Barbara Cuthbert, CAA Chair
I travelled out to Henderson with my bike yesterday on the 7.15am train to speak to Cycle Action’s submission to the Regional Land Transport Plan. (Nice to be smiled at by the conductor and joined by other passengers with bikes.) The hearing was before Commissioners from the Auckland Transport Board, who received submitters with interest and respect. I rode back on the NW Cycleway, so can report on progress there. But I’ll deal with the Henderson hearing first.
Our submission focused on developing radial routes for direct, off road travel beside Auckland’s motorway system and the mostly on-road Regional Cycle Network (RCN) which connects cyclists to transport, community and employment centres. We also asked for more support facilities, such as secure, covered bike parking and I showed a slide of Fullers’ Waiheke Bus bike racks. I stressed these projects need increased cycling funds. I told the Commissioners that parts of the RCN described as ‘completed’ by Auckland Transport need to be upgraded for safer riding. I also focused on achieving the long-standing official goal of completing 50% of the RCN by 2016. Our bottom line is that our city’s cyclists need to be able to travel from A to B in safety and convenience ie – we need connected routes, rather than the existing disjointed cyclelanes dotted randomly across Auckland.
An impressive number of high quality submissions have made asking for more cycling investment. One of these was from Ora Taiao, a group of health professionals committed to promoting science and evidence-based policies for health, equity and community resilience. (Ora means to be alive, well, safe, cured, recovered, healthy. Taiao can be translated as world, Earth, environment, nature, country.) Rhys Jones spoke in compelling terms to the submission. We are so lucky having such allies helping us change Auckland for cycling! rom A to B in safety and convenience, ie – we need connected routes, rather than the existing disjointed cyclelanes dotted randomly across Auckland.
On my return I diverted along Lincoln Rd to get to the NW Cycleway as I wanted to check out work underway in Triangle Rd to prevent cars from queueing in the cyclelane to get to the motorway. The trip showed me we desperately need safer cycling on Lincoln Rd, as it a mayhem zone of vehicle crossings, fast, dense traffic and sunken stormwater traps. I also question whether the Triangle Rd work will keep cyclists safe right up to the Lincoln Rd intersection, but I am happy to be proven wrong. My spirits lifted when I noticed new work to extend the offroad cycleway beside the Lincoln Rd interchange.
This is a surprise, early benefit for cycling from the Waterview-SH 16 road project. Next I noticed a little track sweeper with its lights on, approaching along the cycleway. It stopped, and I chatted to the driver. Via is a delightful man, (born in a village on Tongatapu) who works to clear glass, litter and stones from the route. He lamented that motorway crashes throw these hazards onto the cycleway so often he usually sweeps it twice a week. His personal interest in keeping the route safe for cyclists conveyed dedication and empathy. I rode on, mentally heralding him as a quiet hero of the NW Cycleway and another person working to change Auckland for cycling!