Month: January 2014

Cycling – a Rehash

An Article and a Redux

 

I caught on Twitter yesterday this from Campbell Live:

So cue watching Campbell live for the cycling clip and article which you see here below

Future plans for Auckland cycleways announced

By  Thursday 30 Jan 2014 7:13p.m.

 

Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Campbell Live reporter Lachlan Forsyth took on Auckland’s traffic this afternoon to discuss the future plans for Auckland’s cycleways.

“We’re doing around 1000km of cycle pedestrian way, we want to do that over 30 years,” says Mr Brown.

Figures from Lobby group Gen Zero suggest Auckland’s per capita investment in cycling is woeful – $5.70 compared to Dunedin’s $14.90 and Wellington’s $21. At $37, Christchurch spends more than seven times as much.

“We have not been spending enough and we will be looking to spend more, reflecting a sentiment amongst Aucklanders that we really need to have the options up,” says Mr Brown.

The Mayor has stated that he wants a higher prioritisation of cycling projects against other transport initiatives, the construction of Skypath, and a $900 million 1000 km cycle network completed over the next 30 years.

Auckland Transport already has an annual budget of $1.1 billion, overseeing more than 7000km of road.The Skypath is a much needed link for pedestrians and cyclists over the Harbour Bridge, but Mr Brown says a final decision will be made in the next few months.

“It really depends on how we go with our discussions with the Northcote community and St Mary’s Bay community.”

One problem that cyclists often come across is traffic lights not registering them. This means the lights stay red unless a car comes along.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Future-plans-for-Auckland-cycleways-announced/tabid/817/articleID/330403/Default.aspx#ixzz2rumaJya7

Long story short it is material already covered before and unless the 2015 Long Term Plan changes the funding allocation (discussion on the LTP is later this year) we will be maintaining the status quo in building cycling infrastructure. That said I have noticed the South Auckland Local Boards being proactive with adding more cycling infrastructure ranging from the green paint, to shared paths, to even the odd dedicated cycle path, to improving intersection crossings. While it is mainly remedial works to improve existing areas none the less the respective Local Boards seem to be doing more than other areas in Auckland.

 

Most recent piece of remedial works was here in Manukau (I’ll get pictures when next down there)

 

And some examples of cycling infrastructure that is already in place and being added to over time

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What does limit the Local Boards doing more is the piddly budgets they get from the main Council to carry out these kind of beneficial tasks. Sadly this 2014/2015 Annual Plan and possibly the 2015 Long Term Plan will see Local Boards get no more money to the point they could be facing cuts to their budgets. Rather unacceptable in my eyes as the Local Boards are more responsive than the Governing Body in tending to local beneficial projects…

 

Finally I noted on Campbell Live this:

 

To which I say it is time for the redux here: Cycling Accident Leaves Larger Questions To Be Answered

Some solutions that are short, medium and long term were all provided as examples.

 

 

An Integrated Ticket System that is Ahead of Time and Budget

Sydney Public Transport Integrated Ticketing System Progressing Well

(Better than Auckland and Melbourne too)

 

We know the AT-HOP integrated ticketing scheme roll out by Auckland Transport for our public transport system has not been flash hot with delays and issues for the buses (trains and ferries when rather well). However, in Sydney their Opal public transport integrated ticketing scheme roll out is going surprisingly well and apparently ahead on time.

From Sydney Morning Herald:

Opal card use to be extended next week

Date
January 23, 2014 – 2:37PM

Transport Reporter

About half of all Sydney train passengers will be able to use Opal cards by the end of next week.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday that the distribution of the public transport smartcard system is ahead of schedule.

From Friday, January 31, the Opal will be available at train stations between Strathfield and Redfern, Strathfield and Hornsby, Chatswood and Wyong, and on the Epping to Chatswood line.

Announcing the latest stage of the $1.2 billion ticketing system at Strathfield Station, Premier Barry O’Farrell and Ms Berejiklian said the government was on track to ensure the card could be used on all trains, buses and ferries by the end of the year. The light rail will be added next year.

“We are slightly ahead of schedule,” Ms Berejiklian said, “but I say that without being complacent.

“If you look at the way other cities around the world and around Australia have implemented integrated ticketing, it hasn’t gone without problems. It hasn’t gone without glitches,” she said.

“Even though we’ve had great success to date, we will never be complacent.”

The Opal is already available on the eastern suburbs line to Bondi Junction, on the city circle line and on the north shore line to Chatswood, all Sydney Ferries, and two bus routes.

But the take-up of the card has been fairly slow. Some public transport users have been put off by the relative cost of paying with the card, which can be more expensive than using a monthly or quarterly ticket.

Others have been waiting for it to be extended to more train stations and buses.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/opal-card-use-to-be-extended-next-week-20140123-31atu.html#ixzz2rByd0PaX

 

Well done New South Wales State Government and Sydney city. But where Auckland will have an advantage (eventually) is on integrated fares something Sydney does not seem to be doing.

Continuing from the SMH article:

Experts have criticised the decision to continue to charge people different fares when they change from one mode of transport to another. But Ms Berejiklian said she did not think users of different types of transport should subsidise the other.

“We don’t think it’s fair that people who catch trains and buses should be subsidising people who catch ferries,” she said.

“Every mode of transport costs a different amount for the government to provide, and we want to make sure it’s an open and fair system.”

About 45,000 Opal cards have been registered, and the government has not yet said when it will stop selling paper tickets.

Mr O’Farrell said queuing for a ticket would be a thing of the past. “This is particularly great news for customers on the central coast,” he said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/opal-card-use-to-be-extended-next-week-20140123-31atu.html#ixzz2rBzR2iw7

 

None the less next time I go to Sydney on holiday I’ll try out Opal and see how it goes (last time I used the old paper ticket system and that was not that bad – especially compared to our train paper tickets for the rail network here in Auckland).

 

Sydney Heavy Rail Ticket - Airport Line
Sydney Heavy Rail Ticket – Airport Line

 

Annual Plan Submissions Now Called For

Have your say on council’s draft Annual Plan

 

From Auckland Council on the up coming Annual Plan (a Council budget document) submission process:

Have your say on council’s draft Annual Plan

 

How Auckland Council plans to invest in projects and programmes to meet the growing needs of the region are outlined in the draft Annual Plan 2014/2015 which opens for public consultation this week.

The plan details the organisation’s proposed budget, activities and investment programme for next financial year. It also includes draft local board agreements that highlight each of the board’s local priorities, projects and advocacy issues

Auckland’s continuing population growth, a public desire for higher quality infrastructure and maintenance of existing assets is driving council’s significant investment programme.

$1.8 billion of capital expenditure is planned in the next financial year, with $1.25 billion of new assets to be bought or built, including:

  • $146m to continue purchasing electric trains and $193m for the next stage of the City Rail Link
  • $85m for local and sports parks
  • $25m to continue development of new libraries in Massey North, Te Atatu Peninsula, Devonport, Flat Bush, Takanini and Ōtāhuhu
  • $19m to upgrade town centres, including New Lynn, Westgate, Devonport, Mt Albert and Pukekohe

 

“It is important that we continue to invest in the future, in major region-wide infrastructure, and in local communities through projects such as new libraries, town centres, parks and sports ground upgrades,” says the Mayor.

“Aucklanders want financial prudence, which is the why the draft annual plan is based on ongoing savings, a low average rate increase and judicious investment.”

The average rates increase for the 2014/2015 financial year has reduced from an average of 4.9 per cent (as projected in our 10-year long-term plan) to an average of 2.4 per cent.

The council is seeking feedback on the proposed draft Annual Plan, including the local projects and proposed budget changes raised by each local board.  Through the draft annual plan the council is also consulting on:

  • implementing a strategy for Eden Park, Mount Smart, Western Springs and North Harbour stadiums that involves developing new facilities, shifting some sporting codes and streamlining operations at each venue to more efficiently accommodate major events and ensure the venues’ long-term success
  • delivering a wider range of benefits to Aucklanders and the creative sector by providing increased funding to the Auckland Arts Festival Trust to allow the festival become an annual event rather than every two years

 

Submissions on Auckland Council’s draft Annual Plan 2014/2015 open 23 January and close Monday, 24 February 2014.

 

More information on the draft annual plan and how to make a submission will be available online at www.annualplan.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz  from 23 January.

—ends–

 

Annual Plan and Unitary Plan Submissions at the same time, enough to keep you bogged down for the next four weeks. None-the-less if you can do submit on the Council budget document for the 2014/2015 year.