Last 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.
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?
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).