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ARC supports walking and cycling facilities

ARC supports walking and cycling facilities on
Auckland Harbour Bridge

10 September 2008

The Auckland Regional Council supports walking and cycling facilities on Auckland Harbour Bridge and thinks the project should be ranked against other project in the region’s next transport funding round.

The transport and urban development committee today voted to support the project, subject to an evaluation of the benefits against other regional priorities.

The regional council will encourage its partners in a study on the project to allow its relative merit to be examined as part of the Regional Land Transport Programme (RLTP). The next RLTP will prioritise projects for funding for the three years from 2009/10 to 2011/12.

Committee chair Christine Rose says this would be a transparent way to see how the facility stacked up against other transport projects, and the draft programme would also be open for public comment.

The organisations taking part in the study - the ARC, the NZ Transport Agency, Auckland City Council, North Shore City Council and Auckland Regional Transport Authority – are this month giving their initial reaction to the finding that it is possible to build walk and cycle facilities on the bridge. It can be done by narrowing the clip-on lanes or by widening the bridge. Estimated costs range from $24 million to $43 million, depending on the option chosen.

Cr Rose said the ARC has not, at this stage, expressed a preference for a particular option. “There was a feeling at today’s meeting that we needed more information about narrowing the lanes as part of the least expensive option.

There was also discussion about the need to look at benefits beyond those relating to strictly to transport. This could include tourism, recreation [as opposed to commuting], safety, providing a catalyst for other walking and cycling improvements, and an inevitable escalation in cost if Auckland waits another 20 or 30 years to tackle the project.”

While there were still questions to be answered, the ARC remained supportive of the project and was keen to see issues clearly defined and matters brought to a head. “The feedback from study partners will help tease out the two critical issues – what do we want and what can we afford.

“Our resolution today reflects our view that the Regional Land Transport Programme could well be a disciplined and democratic way to assess the project against other walking and cycling projects, and against other transport projects.

“The study has told us it is possible to put walking and cycling on the bridge - that’s a milestone in itself and it is certainly too soon to put this in the ‘too hard, too expensive basket’. We should work through the issues and the project needs to remain on the table in order to do that,” Cr Rose says.

ENDS

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