The days are short and the weeks feel shorter – and suddenly it’s almost closing time for feedback on Local Board Plans. Feedback closes 4pm Friday 30 June – make sure you have your say!
Q. Why is this important?
Because your Local Board is one of 21 hyper-local bodies with significant place-making power. Via your Local Board, you can transform the streets you live, walk, and bike on – from little things like better bike parking, or ramps instead of hard curbs, to area-wide issues like safer speeds and Vision Zero and greenways through parks.
The Local Board Plan will cover the next three years… and you can get a lot done in three years! Your board needs your support for its vision – and it needs you to point out what’s missing.
Q. What do I need to do?
Luckily, it’s quite easy to have your say. In fact, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Find out what Local Board area you’re in, right here.
2. Scan your Local Board’s Draft Plan – all the links are on this page.
3. Give your feedback via the online form. Or, you can comment on your Local Board’s Facebook page, using the phrase ‘Local Board Plan feedback’.
(Note: if you’re really fired up, you can comment on more than one Local Board Plan. We suggest starting close to home).
Q. Okay, great – but what should I say?
Good question! In previous rounds, Bike Auckland has thoroughly digested each and every Local Board’s budget or plan, given official feedback on all of them, and then shared that information with you.
This time, we’ve been up to our noses in other things (including the East-West Link hearing, the Travelwise Choices Awards, running the ride marshals for the Waterview Tunnel Rides, preparing a calendar of spring events, working on an election campaign, and giving feedback on a multitude of other projects).
So here are some tools to empower you to scan a plan and make your feedback count.
- THINK POSITIVE – often our elected officials only hear from people who want something stopped, or who disapprove of how something went. This is a chance to praise any improvements, no matter how small, and point out how the next steps will leverage those small wins. If you’ve got critiques (and who hasn’t?), highlight the potential. As Oscar Wilde almost said, ‘We’re all in the badly swept glass-filled gutter, but some of us are looking at the planter-protected cycleway that will revitalise our town centre.’
- BE YOURSELF – You don’t need a political science degree to describe how your own experience would be different if… ‘If my kids could bike safely to school, that would be one less car on the road in the morning and two healthy little citizens who feel at home in their neighbourhood.’ ‘If there was better lighting in that park, I’d be more likely to walk to the bus.’ ‘If there was bike parking at the shops…’ ‘If the rat-runners stopped flying down my street…’
- LOOK FOR KEYWORDS – here are some major keywords to look for, so you can find things to support or expand on. (And if you don’t find these keywords in your Local Board plan, mention them in your feedback!)
- Transport. This will take you straight to the sections where you’ll most likely find any priorities to do with bikes.
- Cycling, obviously. What does the plan promise in the way of support for cycling, cycleways, cycle or bike infrastructure? Even if the plans are a bit vague, support them, and explain why. The LB needs to know there’s support out there.
- Greenways. Does your LB have a Greenways Plan, for safe connected walking and biking paths through parks and neighbourhood streets? If not, please encourage them to create one. If they do, great! Do they mention any priorities for building particular paths? Support them, or suggest others.
- Local Board Transport Capital Fund. Every LB has a significant fund that can be put towards street improvements. Often, this doesn’t get used… because nobody asks. If you can think of a project, mention it! Safer school routes? A missing link? A broken sidewalk? Better crossings on your main street?
- Vision Zero or any reference to safer speeds, traffic-calming, road safety. Support your LB’s initiatives to improve safety and encourage local trips on foot and on bike.
- Pedestrians – because anything that makes streets sweeter for pedestrians (slower speeds, better crossings) is likely to be good for people on bikes, too. For example, the Waitemata Local Board proposes to ‘Advocate to the New Zealand Transport Agency to change the give way rule at side street crossings to favour pedestrians.’ This would apply to shared paths, too, allowing for continuous travel without having to worry about being run over by turning vehicles.
- Parks, health, children, diversity, connections, sustainability, heritage, strong community... you name it, there’s a role for bikes in almost every key priority a board can think of. Some LBs are very quick to join the dots; others need locals to spell out the connection. Get a handle on what matters to your Local Board, and then let them know how more people on bikes will solve it for them!
Lastly, pat yourself on the back for being a good citizen. You’re a good citizen!