Resetting the compass for cycling in Auckland

Cycling celebration after the infrastructure committee meetingA fantastic collaboration of the Transport strategy unit at Auckland Council,  Auckland Transport, councillors, Greenways Project, Generation Zero, Cycle Action Auckland, Transport Blog, Walk Auckland, with NZTA and AA in support came together at the Infrastructure Committee chaired by Cr Mike Lee on 12 March.

After years of feeling like we are making very little progress, as Cr Chris Darby said “we reset the compass for cycling in Auckland” when the Infrastructure committee voted to support a significantly enhanced effort to improve cycling infrastructure in Auckland with the following resolution.

a)    acknowledge the importance of cycling in contributing to the vision of creating the world’s most liveable city particularly through enabling Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #3, “Move to outstanding public transport within one network” and Auckland Plan Transformational Shift #4, “Radically improve the quality of urban living”

b)    working with the Auckland Development Committee, support greater financial commitment within the Long-term Plan for cycleways, including the preparation of an integrated regional implementation strategy.

c)    encourage Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to explore innovative trial projects in the near-term that increase safety and attract a wider range of people to cycling

d)    request staff to review baseline data monitoring and its adequacy in understanding cycling and walking contribution to transport, and further to provide recommendations on key performance indicators (kpi’s) that may then be incorporated into the Auckland Transport Statement of Intent (SOI)

e)    endorse that the committee Chair writes to the Chairman of Auckland Transport forwarding the report ‘Role of Cycling in Auckland’ and communicates the Infrastructure Committee decisions on the need for a significantly enhanced effort to improved cycling infrastructure in Auckland.

Generation Zero, as one of the groups presenting, made some compelling points:

  • Auckland’s per capita cycling investment spend is $6.05 compared with Christchurch’s $38.47
  • With the current budget it is going to take 40 years to complete the Auckland Cycle Network (the Auckland Plan target is completion by 2030)
  • Just by increasing cycling to 5% mode share of transport trips will lead to big health benefits (such as avoiding 116 deaths a year from increased physical activity)
  • Cycle lanes are the best tool in the urban tool book for attracting young talent to cities.
  • The US experience is that the number one thing tech companies want is cycle lanes

An excellent officer report “Role of Cycling in Auckland” (search on the agenda for the Infrastructure Committee) was also presented to the committee. I highly recommend this report for providing a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of investing in cycling.

The decision of the committee is great news as it means we are going to see a very different integrated transport plan come out of Auckland Transport and increased funding in the LTP.