Friday, August 19, 2022

Heather du Plessis Allan: Aucklander's want more frequent public transport not more cycleways


Have I got my hands on something good for you. Now, you know how we're constantly told by the authorities that there's all this public support for cycleways? And you sit there thinking, well, nobody I know likes the cycleways, so what's going? Where can this possibly go? What?

Well, here's the answer: Looks like they're fudging the numbers. There isn't majority support for cycleways at all. Today, the Ratepayers Alliance has released a public survey conducted by Auckland Transport that I think might be the first real insight that we've had into what Aucklander’s  actually think about cycleways. And let's have a little guessing game on this one, right?

The majority of Aucklander’s want Auckland council to stop investing in cycleways immediately. So guess what proportion of Aucklander’s actually support the funding of cycleways in the city in the short term? 40%, no, 30%, no, 20%, no, not even 15%, 12%. 12% support the funding of cycleways in the city in the short term. That's fewer than one in eight Aucklander’s who want the council to put money into cycleways right now.

Instead, what Aucklander’s really want right now is to be able to get around the city faster. So they want faster, more frequent public transport (48%),  new roads to solve congestion (37%),  increase the capacity of existing roads (32%), build new public transport for growing suburbs (26%), build new roads to growing suburbs (26%).

So the top five priorities for money right now in Auckland are public transport and roads to get us moving faster, not cycleways with only 12%. Now, the reason I'm bringing this to you is because I think the survey is really important for a number of reasons, and I do apologize if you're outside of Auckland, but I tell you what, I bet you it's exactly the same situation in whatever town or city you're in right now regarding cycleways.

This is important because this survey undermines every single insistence from public officials and cycling advocates that there is majority support for cycleways in the short term. There isn't. And this survey has not yet been made public, even though it was done more than 18 months ago.

And most importantly, the council is ignoring right now what people want. So, two months ago, the council voted to spend $2 billion on cycleways, which we don't want. And today, they just voted for that ridiculous climate change plan, which will require them to plow huge amounts of money into cycleways because they want to lift our biking from zero 4% to 17% of total trips in eight years.

Now, I don't know why this document has only been released now and not beforehand, and I don't know why it took an official information request from the Ratepayers Alliance to get hold of it, but I can see it definitely undermines Auckland council's push for cycling. Because it shows just how many of us want them to stop the cycleways right away and it is just so frustrating when you see this to watch how they are ignoring what we actually want.

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,
Thanks for bringing this coverup to our attention.
I maintain that effective public transport is defined by the Four Fs:
- Fast (gets me where I want to go in the shortest possible time)
- Fair (at an affordable price)
- Frequent -(takes me where I want to go, when I want to go there)
- Forecastable (this is about reliability. Transport turns up and delivers me to where I want to go within the time it commits to doing so )
Get those all in the same lot and you have PT nirvana.

Anonymous said...

i would say the immediate target should be 'reliable'. frequent/fast/fair/flexible are all nice to have, but if the bus does not show up or tracking does not work or the train gets cancelled because the driver got covid and no backup is available, passengers are pushed to take an uber. once the cost of the trip goes up by order of magnitude, a car becomes more attractive...

Kiwialan said...

Hi Heather, I don't know how to contact you so I will just leave my message here. I used to enjoy leaving my comments on your posts but I had a heart attack last Sunday week so my wife asked me to unsubscribe from the Taxpayer's Union, Groundswell and Breaking Views newsletters. I am 72 now and although I hate social and political injustices my wife said it is time to worry about enjoying the fruits of our labours , not upsetting myself on things I can't change. If you and Barry are in Christchurch please pop in, I have all the Barry Crump originals. Thank you for your interesting columns in the past and your show.