GUEST BLOG: Bryan Bruce – My problem with the Auckland bike bridge

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If you live in Auckland you may recall that around 9 months ago two trucks were blown over on the Auckland Harbour Bridge by high winds.

A central strut had to be replaced and the disruption to the Auckland and New Zealand economy was significant.

You might think that incident would have taught us we really should develop a second connection across the Waitemata harbour and indeed, as of last week a second crossing has been approved.

Auckland is to have a separate $680m cycle and walking bridge.

Now.. I’m having some trouble with that decision.

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Am I in favour of being able to cycle and walk across the bridge ?

Yes.

Would that be possible without building a new cycle and walk bridge?

I think the answer might also very well be Yes.

Of course you’d have to encourage more people to use public transport .

How would you do that?

Make bus travel free.

Charge a city congestion tax for cars which have less than two passengers.

This might well free up a lane for bikes much quicker than building a special bridge.

I’d then think about putting the $680 million towards building a train tunnel to link up with the CBD and alongside it I’d like to see a tunnel of the size of the one under Sydney Harbour

I know we are probably talking several $ Billion here , but someone needs to do the economic modelling of how much it costs our economy for the Auckland traffic to be largely grid locked for several hours a day.

I’d also really like to know how much it cost Auckland businesses in loss of revenue and how much it cost Aucklanders in increased costs of getting from A to B back in September of last year when the bridge got damaged.

State Highway 1 is the main artery north and south in our country. It needs a heart operation at the Waitamata. If we want to create a vibrant economy to house and feed everyone in our country we do have to spend on infrastructure.

PS The main artery argument also applies to the folks in South Canterbury . Every town and city straddled along State Highway 1 needs to a viable alternative route in and out of their centre because we can’t have a 21st century economy with 19th century road system.

 

Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.

12 COMMENTS

  1. The obvious answer is a second harbor crossing for COMMUTER traffic that bypasses the city either by tunnel or viaduct.

    Name one other city of note (say population of +1m) in a first world country with a large portion of their population separated from the rest by a large body of water that has ONE access point (with a side access out west) to link the 2 populations centers up.

    Toll the fucker, add congestions charges to the CBD (no idea why you would go in there other than to work anyway) and what ever other user pays system you want on the motorways. Works everywhere else in the world.

    Only in (little) Aotearoa do we try and fix something like our most pressing infrastructure issue with a woke, womble white elephant of a project. Can’t believe I’m saying this but bring back Twyford. LOL.

  2. Oh dear, Bryan. Haven’t you noticed that that, at 420 ppm, atmospheric CO2 is already waaaaaaaay past the sustainable level (of around 350 ppm), and that most of the same (tunnels, buses, trucks cars, economic growth etc.) pushes it even further from where it needs to be.

    Oh, I forgot. According to Jacinda & Co., its a ‘Climate Emergency’ -so that means business as usual.

  3. The cycle bridge will have 3,000 users a day? Mmmmm, some might accept that number.

    The road south of Whangarei to the Marsden Point turn off has 20,000 vehicles a day. The rail link to Marsden Point will take some trucks off the road. The masses of trucks heading to Auckland from Whangarei will still be on that road. The cost of four-laning that section of highway it is too high? What’s it going to be when inevitably it has to be improved?

  4. All it is, is a bunch of middle-class climate change activists on bikes!
    Where Mums & Dads get to feel like their kids at Extinction Retards demos because they’re too old to participate at the kid’s demos.

    180,000 vehicles a day versus at best 800 – 1000 bikers a day. It only makes sense to build a safer alternate bridge, but NO!

    They “WANT” a full lane on an already crowded highly dangerous traffic-congested bridge to expose their kids to!

    This tells you that this is not about biking at all! It’s the woke middle-class gentrification mob getting what they want, now!

    You know it, when Pippa Coombe and Chris Darby (Councillors) are behind these ‘popular’ local issues.

  5. There’s a recently updated ferry terminal at Northcote point and a two year old, 16 million dollar cycle lane in Northcote.

    The ferries stopping at Northcote can and do accept bikes, and to anyone saying the ferry might not be able to accommodate all the additional bikes, then I suggest they ask the Council to put on more ferries.

    Ditto the Bayswater, Birkenhead and Devonport ferry services: They all accept bikes and always have.

  6. Muldoon taking the Harbour Bridge toll off won votes for National. Labour putting a cycle bridge in will win votes?
    Would National/Act getting in in 2023 see the project off the books?

  7. Like you Brian I have a lot of trouble understanding how the cost of the planned cycle/walk bridge can be justified. Whilst the idea of using an existing lane for as a cycle-way may seem an easy fix, engineering considerations would doom it, just as it did the Skypath. A concrete barrier to segregate trucks and cars would be required (H&S) so putting significant extra loads on the aging structure, then comes the required wind barriers and their vibration harmonics. The cycle ferry or bus is the only immediately available option (such a service would be justified as each cyclist removes a car from the road). Then we need to get on with the real solution – a mass transport crossing be it for train or bus.

  8. Like you Brian I have a lot of trouble understanding how the cost of the planned cycle/walk bridge can be justified. Whilst the idea of using an existing lane for as a cycle-way may seem an easy fix, engineering considerations would doom it, just as it did the Skypath. A concrete barrier to segregate trucks and cars would be required (H&S) so putting significant extra loads on the aging structure, then comes the required wind barriers and their vibration harmonics. The cycle ferry or bus is the only immediately available option (such a service would be justified as each cyclist removes a car from the road). Then we need to get on with the real solution – a mass transport crossing be it for train or bus.

  9. Extraordinary! A blogger on this Auckland-centric site has recognised (admittedly only as an afterthought) the existence of the South Island

  10. Making public transport free is not as good an idea as it might sound.
    It will be good for getting more people who work civilised hours to and from work in the major centres.
    But it will not solve the problems of people who use cars:
    For recreational use
    To drive to and shop at Paknsave, Bunnings, Briscoes……etc.
    To go to the doctor, hospital, dentist
    Who go out to dinner in the evening and go out in the weekends.
    Who go to watch the rugby at the Cake tin or the Speedway at Te Marua.
    Who work irregular hours or at night.
    Who drop their kids off at school and then go to work, or come from work and pick up their kids from school and then go home.
    And that is a sizeable percentage
    These people can’t use public transport because it does not cater for these needs.
    The biggest challenge of any comprehensive plan to increase public transport usage will be to cater for the needs of more road users, not just those who work from 9-5 Monday to Friday.

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