A cycle-able Auckland in doubt as AT axes
A cycle-able Auckland in doubt as AT axes its active transport team.
Auckland’s future as a cycle-able city is in question if Auckland Transport abandons its active transport team.
Cycling advocacy group Choice Biking, stands with fellow cycling stakeholders to express deep concern at news of Auckland Transport's plans to axe its Walking and Cycling team.
These plans, from what is known so far, appear to abandon the organisation’s goals “to accommodate more spatially (and environmentally) efficient modes of transport”, as emphasised by Board Chair Lester Levy in March this year.
Choice Biking fails to see any scenario in which the disestablishment of the Walking and Cycling team will allow the continued fragile growth of active transport across Tāmaki Makaurau. Rather, this move has all the appearance of a transport institution which has yet to come to terms with the new priorities of local and national government, and those of the clear majority of Aucklanders – who crave real transport choice.
Choice Biking organiser Tim Gummer says: “However the executive may ‘talk up’ encouraging walking and cycling, deeds matter most. A simple search for “cycling czar” will show that almost every great city’s liveability and bike-ability has been improved by the role of cycling specialists in transport institutions”.
“While few would claim that Auckland Transport’s initial rollout of new cycle infrastructure has been without issues, abandoning cycling expertise and leadership will likely slow the woefully overdue development of proper separated cycleways, vital to giving more Aucklanders the confidence to get out of their cars and try a socially beneficial alternative mode,” Gummer continues. “But critically, without a dedicated active transport unit, it is hard to see how a citywide behavioural shift to a more multi-modal mix will be encouraged, to leverage investment in new infrastructure”.
We call on Mayor Phil Goff, and Council, to seek assurances from the Auckland Transport Board that existing valuable expertise will not be lost, and that cycling and walking will continue to have a team dedicated to its growth.