Opening of the new Parnell Train Station

Opening of the new Parnell Train Station
Cutting the ribbon at the Parnell Station opening with Cr Mike Lee, Mayor Phil Goff and Auckland Transport Chair, Lester Levy

Speech on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board at the Parnell Station Opening ceremony held on 13 March 2017

It is a great honour to represent the Waitematā Local Board and to have the opportunity to speak in front of such a distinguished gathering at a truly momentous occasion for Auckland.  The opening of Parnell station is a significant milestone in the ongoing renaissance of Auckland’s rapid transit network.

I’m also fortunate to be speaking last  – not because I put value in getting the last word but because although there have been many thank yous and tributes there are still important acknowledgements to be made from the Board’s perspective.

I would first like to acknowledge this place. Parnell station is located in the historic Waipapa valley , a site of significance to mana whenua back into time and the early settlers of Auckland who coveted the strategic location and pure waters of Waipapa Stream.

The fact the station is located in the Waipapa valley is thanks in large part to many people gathered here today who fought for the valley’s heritiage to be recognised,  the day lighting of the Waipapa stream, regeneration of the stream banks and to maintain public access to Parnell and the Domain. There is no time to traverse the history now but the Board is looking forward to documenting it with the community and finding ways we can include story telling in the valley and at the station.

I know there is a long roll call of people who played a role – let me acknowledge former Auckland City Councillors Richard Simpson (attending today all the way from Brisbane), Christine Caughey (well ahead of their colleagues at the time in valuing public transport over motorway building madness);  members of Parnell Heritage, Parnell Community Committee Luke Niue, Jennie Goulding, Mary Barry,  Rendell Macintosh, Roger Cole-Bake; Debbie Harkness former Parnell Mainstreet Manager was a strong supporter back in 2008, and more recently Cheryl Adamson and the Parnell Business association all who have helped keep the focus on Parnell as a destination.

Before I turn to the man who deserves recognition as the driving force behind Parnell Station. I’d like to acknowledge those who did the work behind the scenes and deserve to feel very proud today in particular Nick Seymour, who worked on the project for AT from 2008 until September 2016. The early work led by Nick and his team involved preparing the construction of new platforms and station building. That early enabling work involved a monumental earth moving effort without which the station would not likely have been built.

Giving wind to the workers and politicians I acknowledge all the public transport advocates who campaigned for a rail station over the years.

The Waitematā Local Board has supported the Parnell Station project since day one. This is of course down to Councillor Mike Lee.  There has rarely been a local board meeting since 2010 at which Mike hasn’t updated the board on the progress of the Station.  He has fought long and hard for a station in this location starting back in 2007.  As Chairman of the ARC he was also instrumental in saving the critical element of the heritage station.

Thank you Councillor Mike Lee.  A proud day for many people here but particularly you Mike.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge my fellow board members – Shale, Richard, Adriana, Vernon, here today  who led by Shale last term supported the Board funding, from our transport capex fund, the path connection from the platform through the Domain to Carlaw Park.   Thank goodness we do have some skin in the game to justify a spot on the run sheet with the opportunity to give our acknowledgments today!

We look forward to the restoration of the station building; realizing the benefits for Parnell and the expansion of services as the station comes into its own– which is certainly guaranteed once 600 apartments are built right here for gold card users and the connections to the university and Domain are complete.  Thanks to all those who had the vision to see the project through in this location.

Next we’re determined to open up the old Parnell rail tunnel (in better condition than the new tunnel I might add)  to create a unique greenway walking and cycling path from the Strand to Newmarket via Parnell Station. A project we think is worthy of government funding.

Thank you once again for this opportunity to speak today and to acknowledge everyone involved

Related reading

Parnell Station is open, Our Auckland 

Parnell rail station opens with heritage building sporting original colours, NZ Herald


A progressive transport agenda

Labour transport panel with Patrick ReynoldsOn 23 May I took part in a panel discussion with Patrick Reynolds (Transport Blog contributor) and Phil Twyford MP (Labour’s Transport spokesperson) on the future of transport in Auckland.

The event was organised by the Auckland Isthmus Labour Hub and MC’ed by Labour MP Jacinda Ardern.

We were asked to start the discussion by each presenting our thoughts on what a progressive agenda for Auckland’s Transport should look like, and what we need to get there.  

Thank you to Auckland Isthmus Labour Hub for organising this evenings event and for the invitation to take part on the panel.

I’d like to bring a local board member perspective to the discussion.

Firstly a confession – I don’t ride a bike because I am an evangelical greenie on 2 wheels I actually ride a bike because I am just a lazy transport user. I get door to door parking, and hardly ever have to walk!

When I started out as transport advocate about 7 years ago one of the first politicians I met said to me that no one will ever cycle in Auckland because it is too hilly and it rains too much.

That same politician is now “leader of the opposition” on the Waitemata Local Board.  And he is now very much in the minority as what I would call a “mono-modal-list”. Of 7 members on the Board  5 are truly multi-modal – users of PT and active transport.

This is by way of introduction to bring me to a few comments I would like to make about what I think is a progressive transport agenda, how that is starting to be embraced in Auckland but what is needed to actually get there. I think a positive transformation has been happening not just with the make up of elected reps (on Waiheke I hear board members are 100% e-bike users!) but in Auckland’s transport usage & attitudes.

Where Aucklanders have been provided choice they are showing they are not DNA programmed to just drive cars (as we’ve been led to believe) and they are also saying they want options. For example:

  • At the last census 51% of Waitemata residents didn’t drive to work in a private motor vehicle
  • There are more people arriving into the city centre in the morning peak by PT than car
  • Over 50% of households in the city centre don’t even have access to a car
  • 60% of Aucklanders  say they would cycle if it felt safe to do so

So when I think of a  progressive transport agenda it is definitely about PT and active transport and the Government getting seriously on board with funding (key elements that Patrick and Phil highlighted in their opening remarks).

But I think a progressive agenda goes much further so that kids can actually retake the streets. Walkable communities, slower speeds, the re-prioritisation of road space, accessible mobility, changes to the give way rules to favour pedestrians,  NYC- style “vision zero” where we don’t accept any fatalities as “normal” and a “complete” street design approach every time so streets are usable by all ages and abilities regardless of the mode of transport.  

I am backing this kind of progressive transport agenda because of the environmental, social, economic and health benefits it will unleash (and the promise of a happy city as we’ve heard about at the recent Auckland Conversations! )

Of course I’m presuming everyone here knows the theory and have heard the successes from places like NYC, Portland, London, Copenhagen, Melbourne that have adopted truly “progressive” agendas . [But then I could be wrong you could be all  thinking progressive means self driving transport pods and monorails! ].

I think we’ve started to make some significant steps in Auckland towards a progressive transport agenda – and not just in the city centre. 

A big factor has been the super city structure and the separation of politicians from every day transport decisions  [confession number 2 I am a big fan of the super city ] We forget how dire it was when Auckland city council’s transport decisions used to be made by politicians from Remuera.  

We definitely still have a long way to go.  It has been over 4 years of frustratingly hard work getting Auckland Transport’s agenda to align with local priorities and for AT to  stop building business as usual crap.    I think the ship is turning but delivery and leadership is still a big issue. And it doesn’t help that central government is clearly calling the shots in the background.

But no amount of government funding or alignment is going to help us achieve a progressive agenda if we haven’t brought the community along with us.  And I think this is one aspect of what we need to get there.

I think Aucklanders over all want the big picture of a world class PT  [ that Patrick/Phil describes] but just not the progressive package if it means the removal of parking on their street, speed bumps, speed cameras on their route to work  or an apartment block next door.  To give one example. Auckland Transport is trying to implement a complete street design for Franklin Road – everything can be catered for including parking but the residents don’t want it because of concerns about the dangers of leaf fall and the safety of  cyclelanes.

We have some ways to go before we are YIMBIES for a progressive transport agenda in our neighbourhood.  But I do take comfort from what Janette Sadik-Khan (former Commissioner of Transport for NYC) said on her visit here that people are actually ahead of the politicians and press. She said what worked in NYC was lots of public consultation and lots of data.

To conclude: we need to know what a progressive agenda looks like (One indicator I have given for being able to recognise what this is is when we see kids playing in the streets); the community has to buy it;   Central government has to come to the party with funding and alignment; but we have to ensure a strong progressive Council – Mayor, Councillors and Local Board members – is elected next year to continue the work that has been started over the last 5 years and is committed to delivering on the ground.

After the panelists spoke a lively discussed followed with questions from the floor.

[Note: City vision is a coalition of Labour, Green and community independents. I do not belong to a political party. The views expressed are my own and not City Vision policy]

Bike to the Future

Along with hundreds of other I went on Bike to the Future today- a  cycle ride in support of separated cycle lanes on Karangahape Road and Ponsonby Road organised by Generation Zero. I loved seeing the variety of people on the ride – there were no “cyclists” just Aucklanders of all ages wanting to be able to travel safely on the roads.

Generation Zero have ran a creative, effective campaign pushing for bike lanes (the petition is still open) with the support of the Waitematā Local Board and the K’rd Business Association.  The good news is that Auckland Transport is currently at the investigation stage. The turnout today really is a positive indication of the level of support for making Auckland a great place to cycle.

Thank you to everyone involved for organising Bike to the Future.


Grafton Gully Cycleway opening

Auckland’s biggest ever cycle infrastructure project was opened yesterday (Saturday 6 September 2014) by Barb Cuthbert, Chair of Cycle Action Auckland, the PM and the Mayor Len Brown.  The Grafton Gully cycleway links the NW cycleway via Upper Queen Street Bridge to Quay Street via new separated cycle lanes on Beach Road.  Transport blog recorded the opening speeches. There were many people to thank and acknowledge for the successful completion of the project after many years work (much of it behind the scenes to keep the project alive)

I’ve never been so excited about a cycleway opening before. Grafton Gully sets a new standard for design, safety and connectivity. It is beautiful to ride and gives a glimpse of what should be possible across Auckland to make cycling pleasant and easy. I especially love how the route has opened up all the  long forgotten bush in the gully and provides a stunning view down to the Harbour (the Waitematā Local Board has plans for walking connections into Symonds St Cemetery which will open up even more of the native bush).

What was a bit lost in the applause for NZTA’s work on Grafton Gully was that Upper Queen Street Bridge (the removal of general traffic lanes and slip lanes to provide a new shared path)  and Auckland Transport’s Beach Road cycleway was also opened at the same time. The project teams have worked extraordinarily hard to coordinate the opening of all three sections and deserved far greater acknowledgement.

In March I reported that Auckland Transport was 6 months behind NZTA and that Upper Queen Street Bridge was not even at the design stage.  The Waitematā Local Board’s advocacy was instrumental in both projects being brought forward. We also funded the installation of a drinking station on the corner of Upper Queen Street and Ian McKinnon Drive ( a location suggested by Cycle Action Auckland).

I think we can now look forward to a fabulous summer of cycling in Auckland especially once Waterfront Auckland’s Westhaven Promenade opens later in the year.


Transport Blog – the completed Grafton Gully Cycleway (lots of photos and videos)

Cycle Action Auckland  – Go have ride – Grafton Gully and Beach Rd open

NZTA media release – Big boost for Auckland cyclists with opening of central city link

Vernon Tava – opening of the Grafton Gully cycleway

Submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2015

UPDATE: As I have acknowledged in my September monthly report when I made my submission on the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport  I was convinced it was a waste of time however I was proved wrong – on 19 August  the Prime Minister John Key  announced $100 million in new funding to be made available over the next four years to accelerate cycleways in urban centres after a record breaking number of submissions were received on the GPS supporting cycling investment. It is proposed that an Urban Cycleway Investment Panel will investigate opportunities to invest in urban cycleways that would expand and improve the cycling network.

What is significant is that for the first time the National government has acknowledged the benefits commuter cycling and the need to provide connected infrastructure. The challenge to Auckland Transport will be to ensure that robust investment proposals are ready to go so that Auckland can tap into this fund (which does not require matched funding from AT).

I made a quick submission yesterday on the draft GPS on Land Transport with one minute to spare before the consultation closed.

I was hoping to present a fuller case for investing in walking and cycling but ran out of time.  Thankfully I was able to draw on the submission from the On Yer Bike campaign  which encouraged  a record breaking 3,400 responses.  Sadly I don’t think submissions on the GPS will make any difference to the government’s crazy obsession with building uneconomic roads & motorways at the expense of all other transport modes but I wanted to join those demanding investment in cycling.

Dear Minister Brownlee,

I am Deputy Chair of the Waitematā Local Board representing the central suburbs and city centre of Auckland of almost 80,000 people.  The latest census has demonstrated the benefits of investment in public transport and walking/cycling in the Waitematā read. Where people are provided choice in Auckland they are leaving their car at home.

51% of people in Waitematā travelled to work on census day by means other than a car compared with the Auckland average of 16%

25% in Waitematā do not own a car compared with 19% in 2006 (rising to 51% in the city centre)

The draft GPS does not reflect Aucklander’s demand for transport choice.  The draft Government Policy Statement proposes to spend well under 1% of the budget on walking and cycling.

I therefore request that the government allocate significantly more funding to PT and walking and cycling in the 2015 Government Policy Statement on land transport.

In particular I request that the budget for active transport is increased from $15-30 million per year to $45-90 million per year for the next 3 years with progressive increases after that. This is a small increase relative to the total budget of $3.5 billion per year, but would start to make a real difference for cycling. The NZ Transport Agency should take an active leadership role in improving cycling.

Auckland Transport’s surveys have indicated that almost 60% of Aucklanders would cycle if they felt safe. Completion of the Auckland Cycle Network would give people a viable choice about cycling and provide more people with access to PT.

Investment in cycling is also consistent with the proposed three priority areas in the GPS

A strong and continuing focus on economic growth and productivity

Internationally competitive cities are now recognising is that a good walking and cycling environment is a pre-condition for an economically healthy city. It means higher rents, increases property values and creates economic benefits.

Road safety

Investing in cycling infrastructure creates a safer roading environment for all road users

For example, after a parking-protected bike lane was installed on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue, all traffic-related injuries dropped 50 percent. Injuries to pedestrians dropped 29 percent and injuries to cyclists dropped 57 percent


Investment in cycling infrastructure represents excellent value for money. In the UK the average BCR is estimated to be 19:1 (and this is without factoring in all the possible environmental benefits such as the reduction in air pollution and the health benefits)

By providing transport choice the road system is less congested and provides for the movement of freight and the people and services that need to be on the road.

The roading investment as proposed in the draft GPS is low value for money.

I ask the Minster to consider the data from New Zealand and internationally and transport trends to finalise a GPS that is economically responsible, environmentally sustainable and will meet the transport requirements of  Aucklanders now and for future generations.

Conference report back: Velo-City Global 2014

Pippa Coom at Velo-City 2014I attended a very special celebration of cycling at the Velo-City 2014 conference in Adelaide in May with member Christopher Dempsey from the Waitematā Local Board. It was the first time the world’s premier cycling planning conference has been hosted in the southern hemisphere to offer opportunities for cycle advocates, practitioners, decision makers, policy makers, planners, engineers etc. from around the world to come together for four days to discuss ways to create and sustain bike-friendly cities. The conference provided valuable lessons from countries and cities where cycling is a valued part of daily transport and recreation.

Like Auckland, Adelaide has got a long way to go to be a great place to cycle but it was encouraging to see a recent commitment to cycling with new bike lanes and bike parking.

The key themes I took away from the conference are:

  • the importance of a connected network that integrates cycling into the transport choices available;
  • understanding  and selling (via data) the economic, safety and health benefits for everyone of investing in cycling infrastructure; and
  • if we are going to meet the challenges of our time and grow as a sustainable city we must act to make cycling (and walking/riding) a priority (we can’t afford not to)

Here are some of my conference highlights from the many speakers:

Janette Sadik -Khan at Velo-city 2014Janette Sadik-Khan:  Bike to the future (transformational leadership in action)

The former NYC Commissioner of Transportation came to Adelaide straight from a tremendous Auckland reception and Auckland Conversation presentation (including a Frocks on Bikes ride which was one of the most inspiring, fun and exciting bicycle rides I’ve ever been on). Some of her key points:

  • In NY the mayor took a long term view and sought to put in place a “course correction” to really transform NYC streets. The streets have been reimaged
  • Younger people want choice and want to NOT have the burden of owning a car
  • Choices on how we prioritise our streets will have an impact for generations to come
  • Safety in numbers has been demonstrated with NY streets safer than at any time in the last 100 years – speeding by cars has dropped by 75% on streets with cycle lanes
  • Economic benefits of sustainable streets – 50% increase in retail spend
  • Budgetary constraints are not an excuse- in NY cycling infrastructure is still only 1% of the budget
  • Good streets are safe and good for business (it is not zero sum game)
  • She said that bike lanes can truly transform a city and that most of the beneficiaries aren’t even cyclists.
  • When people are provided with choice they vote with their feet
  • Look at it from a business perspective – you couldn’t make no changes to your major asset for 50 years and expect to still be in business

She emphasised the importance of public consultation and that in NY they relied extensively on public outreach that provides the opportunity to better understand what people’s key issues are and that by helping them with these issues, it’s often possible to turn one’s biggest opponents into huge advocates.

Key message: So many to chose but I liked her observation that people are ahead of the press and politicians

Placemaking in AdelaideEthan Kent  Place to Place: Changing the transportation paradigm with place making

Ethan Kent, Project for Public Spaces is another of the Velo-city speakers that we are fortunate to have hosted in Auckland recently.  He is a practitioner of “lighter, quicker, cheaper” for short term trials or experimental projects.

  • He asks the question what if we planned streets as places
  • Place- led planning engages community in a much more holistic, sustainable and productive manner than a project, discipline or even context driven approach.
  • Proposed that planning should start with place concepts/aspirations and then allow specialists to develop concepts/options to deliver these outcomes.
  • He noted that when parking is an issue/problem, it’s usually a good indicator that a city doesn’t have a big enough vision for itself.
  • He acknowledged the importance of the advocates – many of PPS concepts were put into practice in NYC
  • He sees place making as a convergence of movements (climate change, smart growth, civic society, local economics, local food systems, historic preservation, community engagement)

Key message:

If you plan for cars and traffic you get cars and traffic

If you plan for people and places you get places and people

(I also attended a place making workshop with Ethan and will report on this separately)

Bojun Borkman-Chiswell: Bicycle journalism, solo film making, the unearthing of a global cycle and the almost certain future of cities

Bojun Borkman-Chiswell presentationIn a challenging and confrontational presentation Bojun brought a feminist perspective to the conference. She gave voice to women all around the world who rely on the bicycle but are being severely disadvantaged due to the politics of road funding and building.

She called on the male sports culture dominated bicycle conversation to stop to make way for women. She said we need to look at the emancipation of women as the key to returning liveability to our cities.

(The conference opened and closed with all male presentations and out of 29 plenary speakers only 6 were women)

Key message: Make it fun, free and fashionable and women will ride

Niels Hoe:  Cycling as the engine for financially and socially sustainable cities

The people in Copenhagen are the happiest on the planet and says Niels it is no coincidence that it is also a great place to cycle. His presentation focused on the economic benefits of a city for people who walk and bike – those that have the time to see what is in the shop window

  • Accessible and better streets  = more revenue
  • Drivers spend more per visit but shop less often
  • To encourage shopping by bike – make it easy and convenient

Key message: Cycling is good for business

Dr Lawrence Frank:  New research on the health impacts of land use and transportation investment decisions: new tools to support evidence based decision making

He noted the huge health benefit savings of moving from a car-dependent culture to a community that integrates active modes of transport. The quickest thing we can do he says to meet the challenges of our time (global warming, obesity crisis) is reappropriate road space.

His research showed that whether we will change our behaviour and our travel choices are influenced by where we live and what form of travel is intuitive.

  • 3.43 times more likely to meet physical activity targets if take public transport
  • Every extra hour in a car translates into 6% increase in obesity
  • Need to enable people to inhibit health promoting behaviours they want and we are not providing for this

Dr Frank’s presentation highlighted the importance of including the health benefits of walking and cycling improvements in any cost benefit analysis

Key message: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!

Jonathan Daly:  is separation the answer?

Frome St protected cycle way AdelaideIn a session on treating our streets as public space, behaviourologist, urbanist and designer, Jonathan Daly challenged the decision makers to ask the right question (and to look at who is asking the questions).

He says that if the starting point is that it is all about infrastructure this becomes problematic. If the answer always is separation this can end up creating more problems than it solves.

  • It is not surprising that everyone drives as driving is intuitive while cycling is not
  • He focused on re-building cooperation in our shared spaces rather than looking to separation
  • If end up with separation around schools then haven’t created the right environment

Key message: There is no silver bullet – a whole lot of things will make an environment intuitive.

Leadership challenges in treating cities as public space: Presentations from Mayoral representatives from around the world:

In Copenhagen currently 41% people cycle to work but the target is 50% by 2015

  • The Mayor asked how can we afford to not find space to invest in cycling
  • Cycling shouldn’t be an aim in itself but the means

Mayor of Copenhagen at Velo-City 2014If you want people to meet and interact get them out of their car so they use their feet was the message from Vienna.

  • Slower speeds in Vienna with 2/3 of streets now 30km
  • A great analogy for supporting bike and car share “If you want a glass of milk you don’t have to buy a cow”
  • A good city means dialogue and controversy – getting people engaged in their environment and its transformations can only be a good sign of things to come

Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Stephen Yarwood gave a presentation on leadership aimed at elected representatives with his 8 key points.

  1. Motivated people achieve great results
  2. Connect to your community and ask questions
  3. Communicate results
  4. Change is hard – we are programmed not to like change. Only reason don’t like change if it is badly communicated
  5. Make mistakes – have to make mistakes but have fun when doing it
  6. Dare to dream – just look at the  transformation of Melbourne over 20 years to see what is possible
  7. Be frank and fearless
  8. Reflect the mood of the city – be the change you want to see

Steven Fleming: inventing building typologies and urban morphologies that proceed from bicycle motion

Like other speakers Steven spoke about our cities being intuitive to drive but not cycle. He looked at design to convince women to live in bike- focused housing . For example being able to take a cargo bike right into the kitchen (like the car in the internal garage)

  • He  thinks that walkable city make you bored, fat and trapped
  • Activity nodes (rather than a central activated place) – let bikes shrink the gaps in between
  • Architecture precipitated the age of the car – can do the same for the age of the bike

Craig Richards:  bike riding is booming – but is the current progress quick enough?

The Victorian advocacy group Bicycle network  has a campaign to petition the PM of Australia to commit $7.5bn to fund $7500km of cycle lanes based on the following simple numbers:

  • The number of people becoming inactive is 20x more than taking up cycling
  • 63% of Australians are inactive
  • Inactivity costs $13.8bn per year
  • 59% of people want to ride a bike but are concerned about cars and trucks
  • Separated lanes and paths will overcome their concern
  • If 59% of people take up riding Australia will save $8.1bn per year
  • $7.5bn will buy 7500km of separated bike lanes and paths
  • It will transform Australia into the most bike friendly and physically active country in the world

Timothy Papandreou, Director of Strategic Planning & Policy at the San Francisco municipal transportation agency: how SF is tripling bike share mode by 2018

Tim Papandeaou at Velo-City 2014Following on from Janette Sadik –Khan I think Tim (photo right) was one of the most relevant speakers for Auckland because San Francisco has adopted many of the same strategies as NY to achieve sustainable streets with impressive results.  Like Auckland, SF also has one agency and is taking a multi-modal approach. Some of Tim’s points:

  • Driving is the distraction not texting
  • Describing people as “cyclists” or “pedestrians” is divisive – in SF they just focus on people
  • Opportunity to achieve a 15-30% reduction in cars
  • Virtuous cycle of integrated investments
  • Progressive parking demand management plan is the most important tool to create more sustainable streets and promote alternative transport options
  • Trifecta needed to make cycling happen  Mayor/leadership + advocates  + “plangineers”
  • Quick and easy wins – eg pedestrian build outs designed with paint
  • Get the parking right before put in the cycle lanes
  • Use lots of green paint and signage

Key message: All politicians in SF now run on a platform of “complete” streets- won’t win and look foolish if don’t

Florian Lennert:  Mobility for future cities

The conference closed with Florian Lennert of Innoz who discussed intelligent cities using Berlin as a prime example.

  • Future of mobility will be future of urban mobility
  • 90% of the time only 1 person occupies a car which is very inefficient mobility
  • While cities are meant to be urban spaces for people, the focus has changed to make them about ‘the car’ and this needs to be challenged.
  • But it is not just about the bicycle – instead the transport alternative that makes sense. Private car ownership in cities doesn’t make sense for most people, (electric) car sharing however is progressive alternative. Beyond bikes, other small mobility devices such as Segway or even (kick) scooters can be highly effective transport options in cities.
  • Shift to multi – modal behaviour which in the German experience has led to a 20 % drop in car use

Key message: The future = multi modal sustainable mobility on demand

Data data data

“In God we trust – everyone else bring data” – Mayor Bloomberg (quoted by Janette Sadik-Khan in her presentation). Some examples of the data presented at the conference:

  • Investment in cycling on 9th Avenue led to a 49% increase in business
  • A study of a park and ride in Perth showed that 80% had travelled LESS THAN 800m
  • The “green dividend” in Portland has saved the city $1.2 billion through cycling before even factoring in the health benefits
  • In Germany only 16% of people are traditional car drivers who won’t consider alternatives
  • For $60m it is possible to build 300 km of cycle way or 1 km of motorway

The Auckland team

Ponsonby Bike corral presentation Velo-City 2014 AdelaideIt was slightly surreal to be celebrating the installation of one bike corral in Auckland at a conference dominated by bike-friendly countries with bike parking buildings for 30,000 bikes.

But regardless of what you think of the video made to show at the conference (described by Transport Blog as “tone deaf”) even the Europeans were impressed with the research that Auckland Transport has undertaken on the use of the bike corral and the economic benefits. Anja Vroegop   (Auckland Transport – Community transport team) presented the evaluation of the trial including:

  • $1.14 spent per minute compared with car of $1.18
  • At peak the bike corral generated $684 per hour compared with $70 for one car park that it replaced

Three other members of the Auckland Transport team gave presentations at the conference. I’ve asked them to present to the Waitemata Local Board at one of our workshops so that all members can have the opportunity to discuss what we learnt from the conference.

Christopher Dempsey in his presentation in the last (but well attended) session of the conference themed “peddling cycling to the pollies” said that he had more rights in New Zealand as a gay man than as a cyclist.

Attendance costs

Pippa Coom, Cr Chris Darby, Christopher Dempsey at Velo-city 2014 AdelaideMy conference registration and my airfare to Adelaide were paid for from the Local Board professional development budget.

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the conference. I came away grateful to have been inspired by amazing people who have achieved fantastic results.

It can often feel that we have an overwhelming amount to do to provide genuine transport choices in Auckland and that we are never going to get the cycling network built (in my life time anyway). Therefore it was encouraging to hear Janette Sadik–Khan say on her visit that it felt to her as if Auckland is at a tipping point and has the potential to be a great place to cycle. As she says – it is just going to take vision, political courage and advocacy.




Getting parking right for Auckland

I’ve just attended the Velo-City 2014 conference in Adelaide.  One of the best speakers was Tim Papandreou, Director of Strategic Planning & Policy at the San Fransico municipal transportation agency.  Tim spoke about the range of strategies his agency is employing to achieve sustainable streets.

One of the most important tools, he says, is parking demand management to create more sustainable streets and promote alternative transport options. In SF they estimated 20% of congestion was caused by drivers looking for parking. The approach they have taken with lots of success  (SF Park) is to provide flexible parking options using smart technology to optimise existing parking resources.

There is a lot to be learnt from SF but their parking management approach is particularly relevant as Auckland Transport starts consultation on the Parking discussion document.  Feed back on the document will determine how future parking is managed in Auckland to cope with continuing growth and competing demands on public space.

This following article was first published in Ponsonby News

St Marys Bay parkingParking discussion document

Parking for cars causes one of the biggest headaches for Aucklanders particularly  in our historic inner city suburbs and  the city centre.   In Freemans Bay commuters are waking up residents from the early hours as they start circling for “free” parking. In Ponsonby residents on narrow streets are frustrated at getting infringement notices for parking on the footpath. In Herne Bay residents are feeling the downside of the successful St Marys Bay resident’s parking zone as commuters get pushed into neighbouring streets.

On the Strip the most frequent complaint is about the lack of parking. There are many more issues around price, availability and how public space on our streets is allocated to parking often to the detriment of other transport priorities.    As further development occurs (with less parking built off-street under the Unitary Plan) and the inner city population increases greater demands are going to be placed on space for parking.

The super city restructuring brought together seven legacy council systems of managing parking which created inequalities across the city and failed to resolve long-standing parking issues. For the first time a comprehensive region wide parking policy review is being undertaken by Auckland Transport. Public consultation is open until the end of June to give feedback on how the key parking issues facing Auckland should be addressed.

For the city fringe the proposed approach  applies “demand responsive pricing” for parking adjacent to businesses (using pricing to create capacity – this is how the new city centre parking zone works), the introduction of resident parking scheme (like that currently trialled in St Marys Bay) with priority given to heritage properties with no off- street parking , and paid parking for residential streets close to business, shopping, leisure or public transport.

On arterials it is proposed to prioritise public transport and cycling ahead of parking. Auckland Transport has suggested this may require replacement parking for businesses at convenient locations (as it is currently planned for Dominion Road).

Feedback on a parking discussion document will shape Auckland Transport’s parking strategy and open up the way for the roll out of resident parking zones. These zones will be a game changer for busy areas like Ponsonby Road and neighbouring suburbs where huge amounts of parking could be freed up from commuters for residents and short term visitors.

The Waitemata Local Board will be providing feedback on the discussion document. Our starting point is for effective parking management to provide residents with access to parking in inner city suburbs and to prioritise parking in town centres to support local businesses and welcome shoppers.  We will be listening to our community’s views before commenting.

There is often a perception that the problem with parking is just that there is not enough. However a look at the overall policy approach shows the current issues are really about poor and inconsistent management of our available resources. We welcome Auckland Transport tackling this challenging and at times emotive topic with community input and look forward to the implementation of solutions as soon as possible.

The parking discussion document is available on Auckland Transport’s website:


Frocks on Bikes bike ride with Janette Sadik-Khan

Janette Sadik KhanFrocks on Bikes is delighted to welcome to town New York’s transport revolutionary Janette Sadik-Khan, with a frockalicious bike tour along central Auckland’s scenic paths and shopping streets on Saturday 24th May.

New York City’s former Department of Transportation Commissioner worked miracles during her tenure under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her team transformed many of NYC’s ‘mean streets’ to increasingly friendly shared spaces with innovations such as a pedestrian mall in Times Square, and more than 480km of new bike lanes. Now, as Transportation Principal at Bloomberg Associates (alongside her former boss), she is inspiring other cities to create “complete streets” with space for everyone, whether they are on foot, on bike, in buses or cars, and Frocks on Bikes are thrilled to be able to share their experiences of cycling in Auckland with Sadik-Khan.

Frocks on Bikes, which began in Wellington in 2008 and now has 13 “frock flocks” across New Zealand and Australia, celebrates the casual chic and cheerful freedom of women on bicycles. “Our philosophy is you can ride however often you want, at whatever speed you like, in whatever you love to wear – yes, even a frock!” says Auckland Frocks on Bikes co-ordinator Nic Williams.

“The research is clear: the more women out and about on two wheelsthe safer your city for everyone. Women on bicycles are a “indicator species” for a healthy urban environment. The sight of women on bikes sends a message that cycling is fun and that roads are for sharing, which encourages even more people.”

Safety is not the only benefit. New York studies show that bike-friendly streets are great for retail and real estate: Manhattan’s 9th Ave retailers experienced sales increases of 49% after a protected bike lane went in. Potential bike lanes on Auckland’s shopping streets such as Karangahape and Ponsonby Roads are guaranteed to have the same positive retail impact. With baskets and panniers typical on the springy, upright commuter bikes we like to ride, Frockers are well-placed to shop, shop, shop.

And then there’s our health. European studies show that women (and men) who cycle for just 30 minutes a day sleep better, look healthier, think better, concentrate more, live longer, save more money and lower their risks of heart disease and cancer. The best part? Most of this research is based on studies of moderate cycling, the kind of cruisy, pleasant cycling that Frocks on Bikes loves best.

However, says Williams, yet more research concludes that to get more women out cycling, streets must be transformed into bike-friendly avenues. Frocks on Bikes are looking forward to rolling along some of central Auckland’s magnificent ridgeline roads with Janette Sadik-Khan, and hearing her thoughts on how our city can improve our streets for all the people who use them.

Itinerary for Saturday 24 May 

2.30pm: Q&A at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, with Janette Sadik-Khan, Mayor Len Brown, Ludo Campbell-Reid and Frocks on Bikes members

3.00pm: Frocks on Bikes ride begins

Dress Code: Frocks or your normal, everyday clothes!

RSVP to: Nic Williams – or Ph 021 110 7148

Auckland Council, who is hosting Sadik-Kahn will also have a video recording of her free talk on Monday 26th May (now at full capacity) – posted to the Auckland Conversations website.

WHAT THE FROCK?! Frock-busting the big myths about cycling in Auckland:

Too rainy? We can count on one hand the number of times we’ve gotten drenched while out cycling in Auckland. (The former North Shore City Council did the numbers: if you rode to work every day of the year, you’d only get wet on a dozen of those days.)

Too hilly? Looks are deceiving! Most Auckland roads are pleasantly manageable. We ride at our own speed and barely break a sweat tootling up College Hill in first gear. We arrive at our destination with a fetching blush to our cheeks.

Too inconvenient? We love our lycra-clad sport-cycling brothers and sisters, but we have no need for a shower and a change of clothes by the time we get to work. The point of Frocking is to be able to ride from A to B in your fabulous everyday clothes. Plus, we can always find a park (and we don’t have to pay for it).

Not safe? While Auckland’s roads can definitely do with improvements, there’s interesting driver psychology in play when more women are cycling in “ordinary” clothes. A UK study showed drivers are more likely to slow down around female urban cyclists (or at least a bloke wearing a long, blonde wig!), and give them a wider berth when passing. This heightened attention to courtesy pays off for everyone on the road.

In other words, there has been never been a better time to ride.

Future of Transport in Auckland

Along with thousands of Aucklanders last weekend I celebrated a new era of transport for the city with the launch of the electric trains at Britomart.

The EMU launch on Transport Blog and a really interesting history of how the trains were saved in Auckland here



Transport advocacy at Auckland Council

Photo credit: Cathy Casey
Photo credit: Cathy Casey

Every year each of the 21 Local Boards has an opportunity to present to the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors of Auckland Council) on their activities, advocacy areas and budget requests that the Board wants included in the Annual Plan.

Today the Waitemata Local Board, led by Shale Chambers, had our turn to  outline our priorities for 14/15.  I spoke to our transport advocacy areas:


I come here today still buzzing from having experienced the future of transport in Auckland on the electric train on Sunday and with good news from the latest census data that clearly shows that when Aucklanders are provided transport choice they are eager to take up PT, walking and cycling.  On census day 51% of residents in Waitemata travelled to work by means other than a car.

We have developed a comprehensive list of 20 transport advocacy areas for 14/15 that respond to the transport expectations of our residents, visitors and businesses that can be summed up as investment in cycling and walking infrastructure, pedestrian safety and amenity, quality street design, and effective parking management as we work towards an outstanding public transport system as part of a congestion free network

We are seeking a clear direction from the Governing Body to Auckland Transport that our local board transport initiatives must be incorporated into their 14/15 programme of work.

I would like to quickly highlight 5 specific areas.

Greenways The GB is very familiar with the concept of greenways and it is great so many Boards have either developed or are developing Greenways plans. The successful implementation of the Greenways Plan requires co-ordination and commitment from St Marys Bay parkingnot only Waitemata Local Board but also  the wider Council family. We are advocating that a regional greenways budget is secured in the Auckland Transport budget and included in the Auckland Transport Statement of Intent

Inner City Parking Scheme –  The number one complaint received by Auckland Transport is in relation to parking issues in our inner city suburbs particularly Freemans Bays as a result of all day commuter parking.  The situation is getting worse and has a number of negative impacts not just on residents but on local businesses. We support the roll out of resident parking zones for our inner city suburbs like the scheme currently being trialled in St Marys Bay. We want to see this happen by the end of the year following Auckland Transport’s consultation on their parking strategy.

Franklin RoadFranklin Road –  The much needed  upgrade of Franklin Road has been postponed for many years as it has been in the too hard basket.  This project includes road resurfacing, undergrounding of services, footpath upgrade, pedestrian crossings, cycle path and on road parking and to provide for safe and continuous walking and cycling pathways from Ponsonby Road to Victoria Park.

The good news is that Auckland Transport has recently put the project back on the table and is revisiting  a design from 2011 but needs a budget allocated to the upgrade by Council.

Intersections and Amenity for pedestrians and cyclists – After a really slow start there are positive signs that Auckland Transport is starting to make progress on improving the pedestrian and cycling experience in Waitemata.

We have provided a very detailed list of safety and infrastructure improvements in our advocacy section, which has been done deliberately to make sure local priorities are included in AT’s work programme and funded from the regional safety and maintenance budgets.  This includes cycle lanes  on Carlton Gore Road, linking Beach Road with the Grafton Gully Cycleway , and advocating for a change of the give way rule at intersections in favour of pedestrians

SkypathSkypath – Lastly thank you for supporting the Auckland Harbour Bridge Skypath so far. One of the most exciting and transformation projects currently underway in Auckland.

We would like to request that the Governing Body continues to progress and provide regional leadership for the skypath.

Our full list of transport advocacy areas for 14/15

Auckland Transport

  • Cycle infrastructure
    • Consult with local boards on the development of the Cycling Business Plan and routes and priorities of the Auckland Cycle Network.
    • Improve cycle infrastructure through the completion and extension of the Auckland Cycle Network with safe, connected, dedicated cycleways including:
    • Carlton Gore Road (bike lanes currently planned).
    • Beach Road, linking with the Grafton Gully Cycleway and with Tamaki Drive and Parnell Station.
    • Parnell to the City Centre walk/cycleway, through the new underpass south of the Parnell Train Station.
    • Nelson & Hobson Street (with separated two-way cycleways, as described in the City Centre Masterplan).
    • Wellesley St connection to Auckland Domain under Symonds St overbridge and on-road connection to the NZTA funded / constructed Grafton Gully Cycleway.
      • Prioritise the upgrade of all routes in 2014/2015 currently identified as “complete” on the Auckland Cycle Network within the Waitematā Local Board area, but are not of a safe standard.
      • Traffic calming
        • Undertake a trial of a slow speed zone in a residential area.
        • Implement the city centre 30km per hour speed zone (as described in the City Centre Masterplan) and the Wynyard Quarter slower speed zone.
  • Cycle safety
    • Prioritise the installation of advance cycle stop boxes with feeder lanes including in the following locations:                    I.      Williamson Avenue northeast coming onto Ponsonby Road
    •  II.     College Hill Road westbound coming onto Ponsonby Road
    •  III.     Tamaki Drive, westbound at The Strand
    • IV.         St Stephen’s Avenue westbound coming onto Parnell Road
    • v.            Karangahape Road eastbound at Symonds Street, onto the Grafton Bridge
    • VI.         Great North Road eastbound coming on to Karangahape Road.
  • Ensure safe, connected and continuous cycling is provided for in the St Lukes bridge widening including undertaking cycling safety works at the Bullock Track and Great North Road intersection.
  • Pedestrian safety and amenity
    • Improve intersections for pedestrians with substantial foot traffic and develop solutions to improve safety and amenity for pedestrians. This includes:
    •                   I.      All intersections with left–turn slip lanes and no pedestrian facility
    •                II.      Intersections with long pedestrian crossing delays.
    •                III.    Undertaking route optimisation for pedestrians in the city centre including automatic pedestrian phases on one way streets.
  • Advocate for a change of the give way rule requiring motorists to give way to pedestrians crossing parallel to the priority (main) road at intersections.
  • Richmond Road Safety Plan
    • Complete the implementation of the safety improvement action plan during the 2014-2015 financial year in conjunction with Auckland Council for the shopping areas and school zones of Richmond Road, concentrating on the following elements:
    •                     I.    Pedestrian and cycle safety
    •                    II.    Traffic calming and slower speeds
    •                   III.    Urban design.
  • Franklin Road upgrade
    • Undertake the planned upgrade of Franklin Road including road resurfacing, undergrounding of services, footpath upgrade, pedestrian crossings, cycle path and on road parking and to  provide for safe and continuous walking and cycling pathways from Ponsonby Road to Victoria Park including continuous pedestrian facilities (i.e. an unbroken footpath on both sides of the road) across all side streets, driveways and intersections (for example by installing raised tables).
  • Newmarket traffic management plan
    • Develop a traffic management plan for Newmarket to make traffic flow in a way that is logical and supports public transport, walking and cycling and economic development. This would include consideration of parking, arterial infrastructure, motorway access and signage.
  • Residential parking zone
    • Auckland Transport to implement the residential parking zone scheme to manage commuter parking in central Auckland suburbs following consultation with residents.
  • Auckland Domain traffic management
    • Auckland Transport to improve walking and cycling access to and around the Domain, while discouraging commuter parking use of the Domain through:
    • I.    Implementation of a parking scheme for the Domain that works to discourage commuter parking (e.g. through pricing)
    •  II.    Improving walking and cycling options
  • Contribute to the development of a Masterplan for the Domain (to be led by Auckland Council).
  • SkyPath
    • Auckland Transport and Auckland Waterfront to progress the Auckland Harbour pathway project (the SkyPath) for delivery in 2014/2015.
  • Footpaths
    • Prioritise the 2014/2015 footpath renewal programme in conjunction with the Waitematā Local Board.
    • Create an agreed public consultation framework for the footpath renewal programme.
  • Greenways
    • Fund and deliver the on-road components of the Waitematā Local Board greenways project prioritised for 2014/2015.
  • Set the three year programme of works in collaboration with the Waitematā Local Board with regards to footpaths, road safety initiatives, cycleways, parking, greenways.
  • Support other Waitematā Local Board agreement priorities including:
    • the introduction of low impact storm water solutions in the Local Board area;
    • delivery of green walls, roofs and community gardens on Auckland Transport assets e.g. car park buildings;
    • drinking water fountains in the street environment;
    • development and implementation of the Ponsonby Road master plan, the Karangahape Precinct Plan and the Newton Precinct Plan;
    • Wayfinding signage for pedestrians; and
    • Upgrade of Teed Street (western part), York Street and Kent Street, Newmarket.

Skypath open day

It is very exciting to see progress being made on the Skypath designs which are going to be on view for feedback on Saturday.

Open Day sessions:

10 am to 12pm:        Westhaven, beside AJ Hackett’s ‘Bridge Climb’ base, Curran St.

1:30pm to 3:30pm:   Northcote, under the bridge at Stokes Point, Princes St.

The images are available on our website:  with link to Dropbox

The open day is in preparation for SkyPath’s Resource Consent application which will be fully notified to enable anyone to make a submission.

Skypath open day

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.