Some ruminations on the City Rail Link announcements…
Well, first off, it means that the average Aucklander – and the average politician – will eventually see that there ARE alternatives to the car in Auckland. Once that switch is flipped, a lot of things that don’t involve cars – including cycling investment – should be easier to achieve.
Secondly, with the CRL – and all the extra trains all over the rail network which it will make possible (“not a loop”) – it will be much easier and faster to “Bike & Ride”. Cycle up to your nearest train station, zip across town on our new electric trains, and there you are. You will likely not be able to take your bike on the train during peak hours, but maybe at the end of the trip you will be able to pick up a hire bike? “Transport integration” & “multi-modal transport” have so far cropped up more often in reports and vision statements in Auckland than in reality. But the rail network revolution the CRL will give us will make “Bike & Ride” so much easier.
Thirdly, it will give us a chance that cycleways, especially in the inner suburbs, aren’t squeezed out by extra cars & buses. If the CRL wasn’t built, to cater for the extra population and extra traffic coming in the next 10-20 years, we would instead see numerous new bus lanes, busways and – yes – new road widening. For cars, not for bikes. With the CRL to take that pressure off, we have a much better chance to make our streets bike-friendly.
There are supposed to be some other significant projects announced in Key’s speech today – including rumours about another Waitemata Harbour Crossing. We might have some comment on the impacts of those on cycling later, once we know more.