One resident's thoughts on transport and housing in Auckland


Walking in Auckland.

Auckland is about People.

Roads, Trains, Awards or Budgets, these all mean nothing unless they make life better for the people of Auckland.

I loved growing up in Auckland and having my family in Auckland because there is so much that you can do outdoors without having to pay an arm and a leg for it.

As Auckland has grown and competition for access to public areas has increased, so has the difficulty of getting places. Where people used to walk to the beach, now many have to drive because they cannot afford to live close enough. Our quiet shopping streets have become vehicle thoroughfares and trying to get parking can be a nightmare.

If there is one thing I would like to see in Auckland it would be for us to get back to using our legs to get about.

We now have some great "people friendly" areas

We now have some great "people friendly" areas such as around the Viaduct Basin, Wynyard Quarter and the Walking Street in Britomart. These developments are some of the best things that have happened in our city recently. Similarly, the pedestrian and cycle access around Tamaki is very popular. Takapuna beachfront has been opened up to provide better public access. All of these developments have been very successful and residents have voted with their feet by regularly getting out and enjoying these places. Lets have more of the same.

 

We can have different reasons for walking, although often we mix these up by having more than one reason for a journey.

  • Walking for pleasure is enjoyed by many Aucklanders on an increasing number of scenic tracks
  • Walking for exercise is a popular and inexpensive alternative to the gym
  • Walking to get somewhere is the most environmentally friendly means of transport available
I mention this because I don't want to assume that getting people to walk more is always going to reduce other forms of transport, but in some cases it can, and it those cases that I am most interested in discussing now. For a few people who live close enough to their work, walking can be the sole method of commmuting. For others it's just part of the journey and the distance walked can have a significant influence in a commuter's decision about the transport mode that they use.

Pedestrian access to shopping, and services is less prevalent than it could be. Where I live, they still think that building a carpark is all that is needed to make a shopping center accessable. Try walking from Albany bus station to the Westfield Plaza.

In a number of countries that I have visited, shopping centers are linked by covered walkways to nearby train or bus stations. Hong Kong has an 800m long covered outdoor escalator system to get people up the hill and also has an extensive elevated walkway system linking more than 20 buildings and many transport points like the ferry pier, MTR stations, bus terminal and tram. I have used this myself and it is a very effective means of getting around in a very crowded city.

At Sylvia Park

At Sylvia Park there is a nice new pedestrian bridge to get people safely across the rail track. Would it have been much more expensive to continue another ten meters to connect directly into the shopping center? If I owned a shopping center I think I would be offerring to pay the building costs to get that direct access for shoppers from the train straight into my store.

Akoranga Bus Station

Akoranga Bus Station managed to get an impressive 150m covered walkway to the far side of the motorway. This is what I would like to see more of.

At Smales Farm

At Smales Farm Station there is a nice new pedestrian bridge to get people safely across the main bus lanes, but then people have to negotiate the local busses and cars to get anywhere. Maybe its a little ambitious of me to think I could walk under cover on an elevated walkway from Smales Farm Station to North Shore Hospital (less than 0.5km to the new Elective Surgery Center). But lets just think what is on the way. The Q4, AirNZ and Sovereign Buildings could be provided with a direct all weather walkway to the station. Exits down to Bus Stops either side of Taharoto Rd. There could be an exit to the Poynton Retirement Village. A project like this could make the station a lot more user friendly.

Pedestrian access to work places. Many industrial workplaces are only accessable by car. Offices are more frequently located within walking distance of public transport. Suburban workplaces may be within walking distance of a bus stop or train station but other factors regarding the quality of suburban services can have a greater influence on the decision whether to use public transport in these cases.

When I lived in Sydney I walked just over 1km every work day to the nearest train station. When I moved back to Auckland there was no station near my home so every day I am getting fatter and polluting the air instead.

 
 

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