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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

Value-for-money

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.

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