PRESS RELEASE: GETACROSS
The GetAcross campaign is lodging a complaint with the Auditor-General over the NZ Transport Agency's unprofessional and misleading conduct in regard to the Auckland Harbour Bridge walkway and cycleway study.
GetAcross spokesperson Bevan Woodward said "After meeting with Ministry of Transport officials to outline our concerns, it was suggested that we refer this matter to the Auditor-General."
"We have outlined four key concerns, summarised as:
- Despite many prior assurances that the Bridge was being future-proofed for walking & cycling by Transport Agency, their Board relied on a last minute "rough assessment" letter (marked "private & confidential') to effectively kill the project
- Misleading information has been provided by NZTA CEO Geoff Dangerfield and his staff. Transport Agency's CEO Geoff Dangerfield, who has participated in providing misleading information with regard to the Auckland Harbour Bridge's 50th Anniversary celebrations
- A lack of respect for proper process and legal deadlines
- Broken Promises: A number of commitments and Board level resolutions have been ignored by Transport Agency staff
"We had expected that the Transport Agency, as a Government owned crown entity, would act honestly and with integrity in its dealing. But unfortunately, this has not been the case and here we present compelling material for the Auditor-General to launch an inquiry.
Walk Auckland's Andy Smith says: "Sunday's Demonstration of Support takes on even more significance. We hope that Aucklanders will turn out on mass to show their support for walking and cycling on the Harbour Bridge and express their disgust with the Transport Agency's conduct."
A copy of GetAcross's letter outlining the case for the Auditor-General's office to initiate an inquiry is attached.
The supporting documentation is available online at http://www.fast.gen.nz/page/walking(and)biking-on-the-bridge/auditor-general-investigation/
The Demonstration of Support
On Sunday, May 24, 2009 the Auckland Harbour Bridge will be 50 years old. But rather than commiserate half a century of denied access, come and show your support for walking and cycling access on the Bridge...
WHAT: A public demonstration of support with Speakers, a coffee stand, Mr Whippy and a lolly scramble for the kids!
WHEN: 9am, Sunday, May 24, 2009
WHERE: Meet at Point Erin, city side of the Bridge
BRING: A banner saying why you support walking and cycling access on the Bridge
Will we will get to cross the bridge? The Police have changed their position and now say we can't go across, however if enough supporters turn up then we think they'll allow us safe passage.
And more importantly, the more supporters that turn up then the stronger our message, and sooner the walk/cycleway will be built.
Walking and Cycling Access on the Auckland Harbour Bridge
Frequently Asked Questions re: the Walk/Cycle way
'Isn't it too expensive and how would it be funded?'
The cost is significant but the resulting economic benefits from health, decongestion, CO2 reduction and tourism are far greater.
Funding for the walkway and cycleway could come from the Auckland regional fuel tax which has allocated $54 million to TDM, walking and cycling projects.
Auckland's 10 year Regional Land Transport Strategy stipulates that 4% of the total Auckland transport budget is to be spent on TDM, walking and cycling. Yet after three years, only half of this allocation has been spent. The accumulated under-spend is estimated at $42 million (and increasing by approximately
$15 million per annum).
The media is reporting the cost at $24 to $43 million, depending upon which option is chosen. However these cost estimates include a 30% contingency and 15% funding risk. The actual cost for the project excluding allocation for contingency and funding risks, ranges between $13 million and $24.5 million.
'Is it a priority for the region?'
Yes, the walk/cycle way not only fixes most the most glaring gap in Auckland walking and cycling network, it is a corner stone project for improving walking and cycling in the Auckland region - similar to Britomart Station being the corner stone project for the revival of Auckland's once dreadful rail passenger service.
Currently Auckland has the reputation of being one of the worst cities in the world for walking (pg 28, ARTA's Sustainable Transport Plan 2006-16) and only 1% of Aucklanders regard cycling as "always safe" (ARC's Community Perceptions Report 2007).
'Do Aucklanders want it?'
Yes, in November 2007, Y&R commissioned market research to gauge the level of support amongst Aucklanders for the walkway and cycleway. Very strong support was revealed, with 76% in support, 12% against and 12% unsure. See the survey results at: www.caa.org.nz/AHB/Support/MarketResearch.pdf
'Will it affect the flow of traffic across the Bridge?'
No, the walk/cycleway will not affect the number of lanes on the bridge and any reconfiguration of lane widths will be designed to keep traffic flowing safely and with sufficient space for comfortable driving.
'Aren't the clip-ons too unstable for a walkway and cycleway?'
The clip-ons are currently undergoing a major strengthening project which includes the addition of 700 tonnes of steel at an estimated cost of $45 million. This strengthening will reduce movement making the walk/cycleway safe and comfortable;
"Through innovative thinking, further structural elements have been incorporated into the current strengthening works at relatively low cost to future proof for future walking and cycling options on the box girders [clip-ons]." May 2008 Board Transit Paper 6189 www.caa.org.nz/AHB/Comms/TransitBdPaper6189.pdf
'The Government's Policy Statement doesn't allow enough funding'
The Government Policy Statement sets a cap on its "walking and cycling facilities" activity class of $30 million per year. However Ministry of Transport advises that the walkway and cycleway could be included under the much larger activity class of "New & improved infrastructure for State highways", which has $750 million allocated per year.
'Isn't it too steep to walk or cycle over the Auckland Harbour Bridge?'
The gradient of the bridge is 5%. Cycle experts advise that a steep gradient is one that exceeds 7% and that modern bicycles have gears designed for such gradients.
The Waitemata Harbour Crossing Study (completed in March 2008, involving transport officers from ACC, ARC, ARTA, NSCC and Transit) determined the Auckland Harbour Bridge as the recommended option for providing cycling and walking access across the harbour.
'Is it safe to bike or walk on the bridge?'
Yes, the walkway and cycleway ensures the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists by separating them from the general traffic with purpose-built barriers which include handrails and provide protection from wind and traffic emissions.
The cycle path will be attached to the west side of the bridge, and the walkway will be attached to the east side of the bridge. Cyclists will need to maintain safe speeds as they down come off the bridge, a situation very similar to the Greenhithe Bridge shared path.
'Why not wait until the next harbour crossing, or use racks on the front of buses to carry bikes?'
The Waitemata Next Harbour Crossing Study 2008 determined the next harbour crossing shall be a tunnel for vehicles, with walking and cycling access to be provided on the existing Auckland Harbour Bridge. Waiting for the harbour tunnel to is built means waiting 20 years or more for walking and cycling access across the harbour.
Putting bikes on buses to cross the bridge is not a satisfactory option, as cyclists enjoy cycling for fitness and convenience, and don't want the delays and financial cost of taking a bus. A bus can carry a maximum of 3 bicycles at time, thus it is not appropriate for the estimated demand of 500 to 1,500 cyclists/day.
Cyclists currently use ferries to cross the harbour; however the demand is now exceeding capacity at peak times, hence Fullers Ferries support walking and cycling access on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.