Hobson Article - March 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

One of the joys of summer is getting out on a bike.  My preference is mountain-biking, but Kiwis of all ages enjoy the freedom of riding.  And in any great city it should be one of the options for getting around.  Certainly in this part of Auckland, Remuera for example, we would expect cycling to be a good option for hard-up university students making their way to the CBD.  Good for them and good for everyone else.

But the perils of Khyber Pass and Symonds Street can put off even the most bold.  So I’m pleased that my colleague, Simon Bridges, Minister for Transport, has put a further $22.5 million investment to accelerate six Auckland cycleways as part of the government’s Urban Cycleways Programme.

One of the projects, the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive cycleway, will be brilliant for our typical Meadowbank or Remuera uni student.  They’ll be able to sweep down Orakei Road then shoot across Hobson Bay alongside the rail line and be in town in no time at all. 

The Urban Cycleways Programme of safer and user friendly cycleways is providing $100 million over the next four years so high-quality projects can get underway much sooner than before.

Because Auckland is a rapidly-growing and thriving city we need to keep investing to improve the effectiveness of every form of transport.

High-quality infrastructure and effective transport networks underpin a strong economy.

We are investing more resources than ever before to help build Auckland’s transport network - around a billion dollars a year.  These include significant projects like the Waterview Connection, the East-West link, the widening of the North Western Motorway, the electrification of commuter rail, and the acceleration of motorway projects on the Northern and Southern Corridors.

The Waterview Connection, a colossal project by New Zealand standards, will impact traffic patterns across the entire city.  In Epsom we should find traffic congestion along Manukau Road and other arterials reduced when airport-to-CBD traffic follows the new motorway route. 

The key is to keep on investing in every form of transport – for cars, public transport, cycles and pedestrians – so that a growing Auckland doesn’t become a victim of its own success.

Meantime, as the Parliamentary year begins again and I focus more energy on my new responsibilities as Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the door of my office in the Epsom electorate will remain open.  I’m always keen to hear feedback on the Government’s performance and ideas for improvements.