Auckland Transport’s upcoming restructure is in the news (Cycling unit pays price for Auckland Transport dysfunction; Auckland Council’s transport agency rolls out major restructure). Updated 6 November: read our op-ed at The Spinoff, where we lay out the questions this raises.
We’re not alone in registering strong concern, and we’ll be watching developments closely. Here’s our statement.
MEDIA RELEASE: 2 November 2018
Auckland Transport’s Walking and Cycling Programme Under Threat
Proposed restructure risks major loss of expertise and experience at a critical moment in Auckland’s transport planning evolution, says city’s cycling advocacy organisation.
Bike Auckland, the nonprofit advocacy organisation for people on bikes, is deeply concerned by reports that Auckland Transport proposes dismantling its dedicated Walking and Cycling team, at a time when the city needs world-class infrastructure for people on foot and on bicycles more than ever.
Auckland Transport advised stakeholders on November 1st that “internal structural changes” will “provide an increased focus on strategic priorities” but gave no specifics. However, reports that specialist roles for walking and cycling within the agency are being disestablished have raised concerns about a loss of key experience and expertise – risking a downsizing of capability in the very modes Auckland Transport has been instructed to invest in by Auckland Council, the NZ Transport Agency, central government and the majority of Aucklanders.
Bike Auckland calls on Auckland Transport to explain how disestablishing its walking and cycling team will enhance its focus on walking and cycling and help remedy historic underinvestment in these modes; and to clarify who will continue to champion active transport within the organisation.
Bike Auckland is especially concerned at a loss of focus and dilution of expertise at a time when Aucklanders are demonstrably embracing reliable, affordable, nimble, sustainable and congestion-free ways to get around our growing city and connect to public transport, in ever-expanding numbers.
“Auckland Transport says the proposed restructure will ‘ensure delivery of what Auckland needs and wants’,” says Bike Auckland chair and spokesperson Barb Cuthbert. “But what Auckland needs and wants is rapidly outstripping current planning, as vividly revealed by the rise in Aucklanders of all kinds on bikes, the growing popularity of e-bikes, and the arrival of shared e-scooters. Most of our streets and footpaths aren’t safe or fit for purpose for the new ways we’re getting around. We need safe, connected routes for all ages: in the city, to and from public transport – and in our neighbourhoods, especially if we want swift delivery on the Mayor’s promise of more kids biking to school.”
“Aucklanders deserve an explanation of exactly how this proposal will achieve a comprehensive transport plan in which walking, cycling and public transport combine to create a liveable, safe, congestion-free, carbon-neutral city for people of all ages and abilities. Auckland Transport must move quickly to prove that Auckland’s bike boom is not being undermined just as it kicks into high gear.”
About Bike Auckland
Bike Auckland is the nonprofit organisation working for a better city for people on bikes. We advocate for a truly bikeable city, advise on best practice bike facilities, and activate neighbourhoods by getting more Aucklanders on bikes. www.bikeauckland.org.nz
Barb Cuthbert, Chairperson, Bike Auckland