Auckland Conversations: Fixing Auckland’s Transport

Auckland Conversations is an exciting series featuring leaders and experts in design, planning, heritage, environment and socio-economics discussing the issues facing Auckland’s development.  Tonight Auckland Conversations tackles the topic of Transport and I am really delighted to be one of the panelists.

Fixing Auckland’s Transport – The 10-Year Budget 2015-2025

Monday 2 March, doors open 5pm for a 5.30pm start
Lower NZI Conference Room, Aotea Centre, central Auckland

Auckland is the country’s fastest-growing region with transport considered the single biggest issue. Major investment will be needed in the next decade to avoid worsening congestion and the impact this will have on our economy, environment and way of life.

We have a choice to make. Do we accept a basic transport network which costs less, or do we invest more to get the advanced transport programme set out in the 30-year vision for our region, known as the Auckland Plan.

If we choose to fix Auckland’s transport issues and get our city moving, we need to consider how we should pay for it. This could be through increased fuel taxes and higher rates, or through the introduction of a new motorway charge.

Hear from a range of experts who will outline the key transport issues facing Aucklanders in the 10-year budget.

MC Fran O’Sullivan – NZ Herald

Presentation: Mayor Len Brown: The 10 Year Budget and outline of Transport Options

Panellists

David Warburton – CEO, Auckland Transport

Sudhvir Singh – Generation Zero

Peter Winder – Transport Funding – Independent Advisory Board

Patrick Reynolds – Transport Blog

Pippa Coom – Waitematā Local Board

More information on Shape.co.nz Fixing Auckland’s Transport

Khartoum Place re-opening – the new Kate Sheppard Place


Speech for the reopening of Khartoum Place on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board 

10 September 2014

  • Suffrage memorial Khartoum Place It’s a pleasure to be here to help celebrate the re-opening and upgrade of what is a special and significant space for Auckland city
  • Waitematā Local Board Chair Shale Chambers, your co-host, has stood aside so I can make some very specific acknowledgements today.
  • As the Mayor touched on, this is the site of the Woman’s Suffrage Centenary Memorial,   which honours the strength and determination of Auckland women who worked towards the goal of women’s suffrage. The memorial is made of over 2000 coloured tiles designed by artists Claudia Pond Eyley and Jan Morrison commissioned for Suffrage Centennial Year in 1993
  • We’ve come together here many times to commemorate Suffrage Day Aotearoa New Zealand – coming up next week on 19 September (all invited back) – and International Womens Day. And yes I always have my bike with me – the transport of the suffragists symbolised in the tiles.!
  • Khartoum place with Art GalleryAs many of you may know, during the redesign of this space the Memorial came under attack and was at risk of being moved.  Khartoum place was described as a “sordid blot on Auckland’s urban landscape” and the memorial a “makeshift urinal”.
  • The suffrage mural was designed for this space and brings an added depth to what  Khartoum Place is. I hope you agree the re-design that we are celebrating today has enhanced the Memorial and secured its place in the city centre as a cultural and heritage asset. In fact the upgrade would not look so amazing with out the memorial as the centre piece
  • I’d like to acknowledge all those who have fought to retain the Memorial in particular Margaret Wilson, Michelle Wright, Patricia Woodley, Julie Fairey and pro bono lawyers from Ellis Gould Joanna van den Bergen and Julie Goodyear.  I also acknowledge the unwavering determination of Cr Cathy Casey supported by the Mayor and political colleagues who  secured the memorial (Cathy moved the last amendment  at the end of 5 days of Unitary Plan meetings to get support for lifting the proposed draft Unitary Plan designation of “road reserve” from Khartoum Place and replacing it with an “open space” zoning.  Women’s Suffrage Memorial in Khartoum Place is identified as “a historic heritage place” in the Unitary Place).
  • Khartoum Place reopening with Len Brown and Shale ChambersI think we can now relax that he battle of Khartoum has been won and that the memorial is here to stay.
  • The Mayor has thanked the many people involved in the Khartoum place upgrade . As a politician I attend many openings when the politicians are acknowledged but really have done very little but show up for the refreshments.  Today is different.
  • Today I acknowledge not just those who politically fought for the retention of the Suffrage memorial in Khartoum Place but also those who had the courage and tenacity to forge ahead with the upgrade.  The upgrade project was in danger of being delayed or canned about 2 years ago but Shale doggedly pushed it through with the support of the Mayor.  He knew that if we lost our nerve we would lose momentum and the upgrade could be in danger of not happening at all (Some of the opposition to the upgrade was very unstandable neighbouring businesses had already experienced a lot of disruption in the area).   I think today he has been vindicated and I thank him.
  • For too long Auckland has just been ok and our street spaces have not lived up to the majesty of our natural environment or our desire to be taken seriously as an international city. However projects such as this, completed to an exceptionally high standard to last for generations, have allowed us to see our city in a new light and to take pride in our city centre.
  • The Waitematā Local Board is committed to continue to play our role in making the inner city a more liveable, vibrant and connected place that welcomes all people of all ages.
  • Looking around now at how  beautiful Khartoum place looks with the memorial at its heart I think all that is needed is for this space to be  named not after an imperial battle that New Zealand actually refused to take part in but in the future I look forward to it being named Suffrage Place or Kate Sheppard Place.

Khartoum place portraits Revamp of Iconic Auckland location complete – Auckland Council media release

Margaret Wilson representing the National Council of Women officially reopened Khartoum Place following the upgrade with the Mayor Len Brown and Waitemata Local Board Chair, Shale Chambers.

Entertainment in the square after the ribbon cutting was provided by a band made up of very talented Council employees. Fine arts students from Auckland University provided portraits (Briony right working on my sketch)

 

The Power of You celebrating Fair Trade Auckland

Fair Trade Auckland celebration L-R Wayne Walker, Pippa Coom, Rose from Ghana and Penny HulseAt the Fair Trade Auckland Power of You celebration this evening we heard from Rose, a cocoa farmer from Ghana  who highlighted the many benefits the fair trade premium has brought to her village including clean water.

 Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse also spoke about how much Fairtrade certified product has been consumed at Auckland Council since May 2012 (when Auckland became a Fair Trade City) 

10,905kg of  fairtrade coffee

2,796kg of fairtrade hot chocolate

1430 kg of instant coffee

4290kg of sugar

and a staggering 1,253,250 tea bags!

In total this has returned more than $20,000 in fair trade premiums to producers.  It really shows the Power of You and the direct benefits of purchasing fair trade.

Fair trade fortnight 3 – 18 May 2014

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.

Waitematā Local Board transport advocacy areas

Auckland Council Annual plan 14 15Submissions on the Auckland Council Annual Plan 14/15 close on Monday at 4pm. This is a good opportunity to let your Local Board and the Governing Body (the Mayor and Councillors) know what key transport projects you think should be prioritised. 

The plan is essentially the Council budget for year 3 of the Long Term Plan. Publicity has been very low key this year  because there are so few new spending proposals or changes from the Long Term Plan and the main focus at the moment is on the proposed Unitary Plan consultation (submissions close on 28 February). But it is still worthwhile making a submission.

As part of the Annual Plan, Local Boards consult on their one year agreements with the governing body – our funding and service levels – and outline our proposed projects and activities (the proposed budget changes of each Local Board are available here)

In their annual agreement Local Boards also put forward all the projects they are advocating for to the Governing Body and the CCO’s in particular Auckland Transport. The Waitematā  Local  Board has the longest list of advocacy areas of any Board in relation to transport projects that we want Auckland Transport to fund and take forward. Our complete list is below. 

So in providing feedback on the Annual Plan 204/15 you can comment on the Governing body’s key transport priorities ( I find the Transport theme very disappointing as it  doesn’t include any walking and cycling projects as priorities  – full document here ) and your Local Board’s transport advocacy areas. The online feedback form is available here

cycle lane Lower Domain DriveWaitematā Local Board Advocacy areas to 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

Work with the local board on identifying traffic calming measures for the shopping areas in Parnell, Ponsonby, Karangahape Road and Richmond Road to support 40km per hour zones. This would include for example, raised crossings, raised intersections and kerb build-outs to narrow the road.

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).

Cycle safety

Prioritise the installation of advance cycle stop boxes with feeder lanes including in the following locations:

  • Williamson Avenue northeast coming onto Ponsonby Road
  • College Hill Road westbound coming onto Ponsonby Road
  • Tamaki Drive, westbound at The Strand
  •  St Stephen’s Avenue westbound coming onto Parnell Road
  • Karangahape Road eastbound at Symonds Street, onto the Grafton Bridge
  • 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:

  • All intersections with left–turn slip lanes and no pedestrian facility
  • Intersections with long pedestrian crossing delays
  • 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

  • Pedestrian and cycle safety
  • Traffic calming and slower speeds
  • Urban design.

Franklin Road upgrade

Undertake the planned upgrade of Franklin Road 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.

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:

  •  Implementation of a parking scheme for the Domain that works to discourage commuter parking (e.g. through pricing)
  •  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;
  • Wayfinding signage for pedestrians; and
  • Upgrade of Teed Street (western part), York Street and Kent Street, Newmarket.

Beautiful Waitematā berms

Since Auckland Council stopped paying for the grass verges/berms to be mowed in October last year the landscape of our streets has been changing in new and beautiful ways. Yes there are some scruffy roadsides (and as a Board we have been following up with Auckland Transport to maintain berms that have no obvious “owner”- the NZ Herald has reported on this today) but for the most part as I travel around the Waitematā area I have been impressed with what’s starting to grow and how well cared for our neighbourhoods are looking.

There have been other spin offs too. The bees and butterflies are new beneficiaries  enjoying all the roadside food from the flowing berms (one of my neighbours has been leaving a patch of meadow grass for the bees).  Maintaining the berms encourages neighbourly interactions as I have seen on my own road. My neighbour mows our berm as we don’t have a lawn mower. I took the opportunity to meet new neighbours when they were outside planting their berm. Other neighbours finally got talking again after a long running dispute.

It’s also made me appreciate how many residents have been proudly looking after their berms for many years despite it previously being a paid service (not surprisingly as the contractors often did a very poor job).  It was only in the old Auckland City Council area that berms were mowed at ratepayer expense- the rest of Auckland can’t figure out what the fuss is about.  I am all for Auckland Transport maintaining verges that are not getting looked after (usually for very good reasons) but I think we should enjoy, encourage and celebrate our new urban landscapes that have been liberated from expensive Council mono-mowing.

More information

Berm mowing responsibilities on Auckland Transport’s website

Alternative ideas for berm mowing – Auckland City Harbour News, 9 October 2013

Tips for planting bio-corridors – Grey Lynn 2030

Update

Pimp my berm – berm planting in Elleslie on Seven Sharp 12 February 2014

Declaration of member interests December 2013

Auckland Council’s Code of Conduct requires elected representatives to complete an annual declaration of interests. My first declaration was  submitted as requested at the end of June 2012.   No request for a further declaration was made to elected representatives until early December 2013 (due date 20 January 2014) requesting a declaration back dated to 1 January 2012. However I have reported all gifts in my monthly board reports and have declared all interests for this term at the Board’s first business meeting on 10 December (recorded in the minutes).

I have also maintained a Registry of interests on my website since August 2012.  (A declaration of interest summaries is available for Ward Councillors on the Auckland Council website.  The summary is not currently available for Board Members).

As an elected representative I wish to be as transparent and open as possible about all my interests.  I take very seriously my responsibility to approach decision making with an open mind, to make decisions in the public interest and to be fully accountable for my decisions and actions. Being completely open about my interests is just one of the ways I personally wish to maintain the high standard of conduct that is expected of me in my role.

December 2013 Declaration

Interests in land: 16 Firth Road, Grey Lynn (jointly with my partner)

Companies: (partner) Paul Shortland Limited, Pallet Lock Limited, Firth Road Trustees Limited

Trusts: Connected Media, Grey Lynn 2030, Kelmarna Community Garden (until May 2013)

Memberships: Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Grey Lynn RSC, Cycle Action Auckland (until December 2013), YWCA (2012-13), Vintage Austin Register, Auckland Girls Grammar Old Girls Association, Sustainable Business Network, Grey Lynn Business Association (until November 2013).

Name of debtors: n/a

Name of creditors: n/a

Appointments: n/a

Gifts: (1 July 2012 – 31 December 2013) Tickets to Auckland Arts Festival, Basement Theatre, ATC opening nights, Tim Bray Productions, Seafood Festival 2012, Taste Auckland, NZ Ballet, Q Theatre  (value unknown but only package of Arts Festival tickets likely to be over $300)

Additional Declaration: Partner, Paul Shortland was a member of the Mayor’s consensus building group (representing Cycle Action Auckland)

Walking and cycling on Auckland Harbour Bridge a step closer with approval of Skypath

SkypathYesterday’s Governing Body meeting was dominated by the censure of the Mayor. But also on the agenda was a very significant and exciting project that has strong public support. In a confidential session the council voted to move the project to the next phase allowing council officers to work towards a formal agreement with the Skypath trust and their backers.

The Skypath presentation is available here including details of the proposed construction and a range of  impressive design images . Ben from Cycle Action Auckland also spoke in support of the project and highlighted that it is a critical link for walking and cycling.  More details on how the path will connect at each end on Transport Blog. 

Photo credit: Cathy Casey
Photo credit: Cathy Casey

I had a last minute call up to speak on behalf of the Waitemata Local Board (standing in for our Chair Shale Chambers who waited 3 hours to speak) to confirm the backing of the Board.

I noted the Board’s long term support for the project which is included in our Local Board Plan and emphasised that we are now keen to move on to the details which will address the concerns raised by the resident associations. There is no doubt that it is a transformational project that has the Board’s full support to be taken forward to the next stage.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to get to the project to this point in particular Bevan Woodward from the Skypath Trust.

 

 

 

Strong result for City Vision and centre-left

Media Release from City Vision

13 October 2013

Strong result for City Vision and centre-left

“The 2013 Auckland Council elections have seen a strong performance from City Vision and progressive teams across the Auckland isthmus”, says Gwen Shaw, Campaign Co-ordinator for City Vision.

“On the Auckland Isthmus City Vision achieved the following results:

  • In the Waitemata & Gulf Islands Ward incumbent City Vision-endorsed Councillor Mike Lee was returned with a strong majority.
  • In the Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward incumbent City Vision Councillor Cathy Casey was comfortably returned.
  • On the Waitemata Local Board, City Vision retained five out of seven positions.
  • On the Albert-Eden Local Board, City Vision retained five out of eight positions.
  • On the Puketapapa Local Board, Roskill Community Voice increased representation to win four out of six positions.

“When taken together with the Whau Local Board result (five Labour members elected on a Board of seven) and Maungakiekie-Tamaki (four Labour members elected on a Board of seven), this means that all Local Boards on the Auckland isthmus, with the exception of Orakei, are controlled by progressive groupings. This is a major achievement and a huge change from the old Auckland City days of C&R domination.

“Regretfully, some high quality City Vision candidates were not successful this election. We also note with sadness the loss of Richard Northey as Maungakiekie-Tamaki Ward Councillor. City Vision has worked extensively with Richard over the years and we know him to be a person of great integrity and knowledge who has served his community faithfully. His contribution on Council will be greatly missed.

“With strong progressive representation across the Auckland Isthmus we will be working hard to engage our local communities over the coming term. We campaigned on public ownership of Auckland’s assets, empowering local communities, treating people and our environment with respect, and building a congestion free network. We thank Aucklanders for their support this election and will work hard to advance the values and policies we were elected upon”, says Gwen Shaw.

ENDS

Contact Gwen Shaw 027 4144074

A quick round up of Unitary Plan feedback

In the final days of feedback on the  draft Unitary Plan I  am impressed with the focus and attention to detail that has been put into a number of template submissions on the plan. These templates do the hard work of analysing many of the complex rules in the proposals and pull together the key issues.

Here are my favourites so far that I will be using for my own personal feedback:

Auckland Transport Blog

Grey Lynn Residents Association  – Quick feedback template

Generation Zero – Quick feedback

Environmental Defense Society  (all 71 pages!)

Greens

I also really enjoyed reading Russell Brown’s A Plea for Sanity on the Unitary Plan

The feedback form is available here  . Due by 5pm on Friday 31 May

(Received an email from the 2040 group asking you to give feedback?  Read this first before using any of the content – unfortunately it is highly misleading)

A selection of photos from the Waitemata Local Board’s unitary plan adventures