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Improvements Afoot For Pedestrians


MEDIA RELEASE


20 November 2002

Improvements Afoot For Pedestrians

The Auckland City Council is increasing its annual investment in footpaths to ensure adequate maintenance and to bring some of the city’s worst footpaths to a satisfactory standard.

The council is addressing a shortfall in annual footpath maintenance funding and has provided $7.1 million in its planning for the next financial year to maintain its footpaths to a satisfactory level.

Auckland City is responsible for maintaining a 2,114 kilometre network of footpaths on the isthmus and the gulf islands.

While the council has been increasing its footpath maintenance spend in recent years, from $3.6 million in 1998 to $6.4 million this year, more accurate data now available shows that $7.1 million a year is needed to maintain the footpaths to an acceptable standard.

The council has also received advice that an additional investment of approximately $45million is required to bring those footpaths currently in a poor or very poor condition to an acceptable level.

Councillor Greg McKeown, chairperson of the Transport Committee, says the additional capital is required to fix the worst footpaths as early as funding priorities allow. Council also needs to ensure the problems causing the damage are identified and remedied.

“The council needs to improve its monitoring to make sure utility operators, contractors, developers and others who damage footpaths restore them to an acceptable standard at no cost to the ratepayer,” says Councillor McKeown.

“Equally, council has to make sure it is playing its part and fixing footpaths and making improvements where we can, within the budget constraints of the catch-up requirement.”

Councillor McKeown says footpath maintenance should be done, wherever possible, in conjunction with utilities’ undergrounding projects which might require greater co-operation between the council and other organisations.

He says there has to be a move away from the historic ‘patchwork mode’ of footpath maintenance to better design and maintenance of streetscapes generally.

The focus, says Councillor McKeown, should be on a commitment to improving quality in design and choice of materials, minimising clutter, planting appropriate trees, reducing signage and developing consistent streetscaping themes.

The council’s recent Annual Plan Direction Setting meeting noted the $45 million required to fix the footpath maintenance backlog and asked the chief executive to “factor this in to the competing requirements” for the 2003 capital expenditure budget.

Officers reported a new code of practice has been introduced to address the problem of utilities ensuring footpaths are reinstated to an acceptable standard and the practise of bonds/deposits from developers to cover street damage has been reinstated.

ENDS

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