Waka Kotahi rejects Liberate the Lane

Dec 17, 2021
Waka Kotahi rejects Liberate the Lane

Bike Auckland

Bike Auckland are disappointed and concerned at the decision by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency not to open a lane on the Auckland Harbour bridge for people wishing to walk or cycle across the Waitematā.


The climate crisis demands we think differently, move nimbly and act quickly to make Auckland a more bikeable city. It is extremely concerning that what appears to be the most pragmatic solution to enabling sustainable transport choice for the people of Auckland has been rejected without even trialling the approach, as requested by Bike Auckland since the beginning of this year.


‘More courageous leadership is required by government and their agencies to make Auckland a more liveable and sustainable city, the likes of which we have witnessed in numerous international cities over recent years.’ says Bike Auckland Chair, Tony Mitchell. ‘Auckland is rapidly being left behind by the rest of the world when it comes to providing active mobility options for its residents.’


At our Liberate the lane rally on May 30th, we saw that the bridge was not only easy for people of all ages and abilities to cross, but that it was a joyous, safe experience. Aucklanders who are concerned about climate change and those who cannot safely operate a motor vehicle due to age, income, illness or disability have been denied access to a critical link in Auckland’s transport network, and this decision embeds this barrier to participation and mobility.


Investigative reports assessing the viability of different options for cross harbour travel suggest that opening up a lane on the existing bridge is possible, cost effective and could have minimal impact on other road users. As such, we believe that this remains the best solution for providing accessibility across the harbour, and at the very least, is worthy of a short-term trial.


The nature and timing of this decision calls into question Waka Kotahi’s ability to work closely with the community and stakeholder groups, and their effectiveness at achieving the outcomes of the Government Policy Statement on Transport – including safe and healthy people; environmental sustainability; and resilience and security in the transport network.


Bike Auckland are disappointed that the Waka Kotahi board have chosen to ignore the climate crisis, government direction and the strong desire of the community to be provided with genuine, equitable transport choice; and we will be investigating further action and options to review this decision and achieve a better outcome for all Aucklanders.


If you would like to help make Auckland a more accessible, sustainable place to live, join Bike Auckland today.

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