LeverageLast night’s announcement of the second big tranche of Urban Cycle Fund money made CAA break out the bubbly at our nicely timed monthly meeting. Looking over the announcement list of projects for Auckland felt a wee bit like looking over a whole pile of gift-wrapped goodies.

What a list – we’ll discuss the Auckland projects in more detail in future blogs, but first let’s have a look at what this really means in the bigger picture.

Following yesterday’s Council budget being passed – which made possible many of the UCF projects in the first place – we can now look forward to the next three years where, for the first time in recent history, the perennial funding problem can take a back seat. Now is the time for action.

Auckland’s bid for the UCF funds – led ably by Kathryn King, Auckland Transport’s walking & cycling manager – is to show Aucklanders the possibilities of cycling in a whole new way. To showcase that even in a city of cars, you can turn the tiller around, and get people to choose bikes.

UCF launch in Rotorua - from right to left, Bruce Copeland (CAA), Ernst Zollner (NZTA Auckland) and Patrick Reynolds (Transport Blog), talking with John Key about cycling.
UCF launch in Rotorua – from right to left, Bruce Copeland (CAA), Ernst Zollner (NZTA Auckland) and Patrick Reynolds (Transport Blog), talking cycling with John Key.

But to make a splash, you need to concentrate your paint!

You need to get results, and fast. Not in 10 years, and not incrementally in bits and pieces all over the city. You need to go where the most people are, and the most possible bike trips fast. And like in Copenhagen, Portland or Melbourne, that is the Central City and the direcly surrounding suburbs.

We know that the UCF funding comes with a clear mandate. “Use it or lose it“. If hassles about, say, car parking removal slow or stop the project, the money will not wait – we hear AT has been told that very clearly. And if the UCF itself isn’t a success, if all we have to show is a measly extra percent mode share here or there, there won’t be more money down the line.

This is the point where we make choices – go all out, or fritter our chances away. The next 3 years will be exciting, and incredibly important. Cycle Action has worked behind the scenes and in public for years to get here. Let’s do it.

So what’s in it for Auckland?

The red routes will receive UCF funding in the next 3 years.
The red routes will receive UCF funding in the next 3 years.

A whole lot – too much, in fact, to quickly describe. Routes ranging from Quay Street to Victoria Street to K’Road to Nelson Street, to links to the surrounding suburbs like Ian McKinnon Drive, Great North Road, Sarsfield / Curran Street and new routes through the Wynyard Quarter (which will help SkyPath, if approved).

Then there’s routes further out, like a Parnell-Newmarket route, the Glen Innes-Tamaki Drive project, a “spur line” extension of the Waterview Cycleway to link Avondale and New Lynn (great for locals too, not just long-distance riders) and projects to better integrate New Lynn and Glen Innes PT hubs. Sadly missing out for now are the South and the North Shore, but we note that the NZTA map shows both SkyPath and SeaPath as projects to be delivered in the same timeframe (though with the qualifier of consents and funding – both of which is likely to happen, knock on wood).

NZTA Auckland Press Release and Auckland Project List / Map

 

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  • FletcherB

    This is indeed good news… Now that funds are not in quite so short supply- can we put in a request not just for new infrastructure but refurbishment of existing? The state of the cracked bumpy concrete interspersed with even bumpier patches of bitumen on the Gt North Rd stretch of Waterview shared path (joining N-W at Carrington ramp) is dreadfull and could do with fixing along it’s entire length… or is this already planned as part of the whole Waterview project?

    I expect there are other existing paths I’m less familiar with, that could use some repair too?

    • Max

      I believe that will get new seal, but not 100% sure. There will also be a new shared path on the western side of said road after Waterview finishes, and of course the new link across to Unitec.

      Yes, the maintenance and deficiencies on “completed” routes is an issue, one of the many needing to be tackled.

    • wayne

      Yes it is difficult to get repairs done. You have to report a problem on the AT/AC website.Simple things like trees trimmed, glass swept happen reasonably quickly. Repairs that cost money take longer as you have to wait for funds to be budgeted. I take a note of the report number and ring them every month or so, to ask for a progress report. This lets them know someone still cares about the problem, and no doubt generates some paper work to remind them.

  • Bruce Copeland

    Yeh good point, be great to give the tired old stuff a tart up to go with the shiny new infrastructure. Cycling isn’t going to be second class anymore. Also what about doing the new stuff well too. They have resealed part of Ponsonby Road, in the Franklin Road Intersection the manhole is now significantly below the road surface at a tyre blowing depth. Hope no one hits it and comes off.

    Why is it that manholes, telecommunication plates, tram lines all are on the part of the road that cyclists need to use?

  • Christopher

    $100m will be very very welcome, but in some senses annoyingly still feels like chump change in the context of a $10b roading package. And hopefully someone is keeping a good eye on investments in Auckland to make sure that it makes sense – there is a network developing, but I’m hopeless at ‘seeing’ it – I just ride where I need to, network or no network.