What can Christchurch learn from The Netherlands?

Something has been bugging me since Minister Simon Bridges announced the Urban Cycleway Fund. Where the money is going Auckland wise, i.e the Auckland Isthmus.

Now to be fair looking at the maps that came out from the announcement there are “plans” to fund more cycleway infrastructure across the rest of the City except Southern Auckland (apart from the Southern Motorway).

So it came to me why is Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, and the Government dithering on cycling infrastructure in an area of Auckland (the South) that has high social deprivation?

The South needs all the help it can get (through infrastructure and encouragement rather than the punitive BIG STICK like Sugar Taxes) and for the most part we have the basics to a cycling network down here. The problem is that it is very fragmented thus not well connected. Our roads are not that much better either and that could be in part to both bad planning and the fact we house four of the five heavy industrial complexes (so we generate a lot of freight traffic).

However, Southern Auckland has a lot of urban and rural beauty that you can not find on the Isthmus as well. Also as we know most commutes generated are within five kilometres from home (so local).

So where does this lead us to?

A very large area of Auckland that sadly does have high social deprivation but also have remarkable positive geographic qualities not really being focused on in terms of active transport investment.

What makes the situation even more bizarre to downright frustrating is that South Auckland is first off the rank for the New Bus Network next year. So we get a new public transport network but missing a connected complementary active transport network.

Something smells here folks it really does.

I wonder why the South is not the focus of more cash to build more active transport infrastructure to complement the incoming public transport infrastructure.

I hope the reason isn’t due to class and elitism from the Isthmus……

Cycling in Christchurch

Having had a month ranging far and wide around The Netherlands (and a month since to reflect), I think I’m starting to see some common trends emerging in terms of what makes the Dutch get on their bikes so much more than us (or indeed, almost anyone on the world). After showing you the sights of various interesting places like Utrecht, Groningen, Enschede and Houten (not to mention all the other cities I visited but didn’t write a post about, like Apeldoorn, Delft or The Hague), let’s put all that together to see what bubbles to the surface.

The most important cycling sign in the Netherlands... The most important cycling sign in the Netherlands…

I had a few colleagues in The Netherlands ask me my thoughts on how different Dutch cities differ between each other. And yes, they often have different little ways of doing things in terms of the markings used, or calming features, or…

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2 thoughts on “What can Christchurch learn from The Netherlands?

  1. Ben, my understanding was that some of the UCF funding should be going towards helping the Mangere Future Streets project; certainly that was in the original application. It’s a little bit odd that the official blurb is labelling the project “Links to Public Trpt” – that was only part of the original proposal ($2m UCF requested for PT links I believe). The whole project applied for was called “Links to Key Destinations” and as well as Mangere also included some works on Mt Roskill and Waitemata Safe Routes. I don’t believe we fully funded the proposal, but I thought there was still more than just PT links.

    Notwithstanding that, I think a deliberate approach with the Auckland UCF programme was to not spread things too thinly. So start with building/improving the various links into the central city and then build out from there. The UCF money will of course only go so far if you are targeting larger projects (which are probably the trickier ones to get funded through conventional means). And it doesn’t stop AT from putting up conventional AT/NLTF funds for other projects outside of the UCF.

    1. I’ll have to check the Mangere Future Streets one again as that keeps popping up and down just about every time the Auckland Development Committee meets (monthly).

      While I understand the start small approach and starting on the Isthmus first (yes it is the most logical) as I noted in my post it was the Future 2018 situation that caught my attention (thus post).

      Southern Auckland by enlarge was missing from the Future 2018 part in comparison to the rest of the City.

      Perhaps with The Southern Initiative sitting over the Southern Wards a targeted approach on active modes under TSI should be considered.

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