Living Streets Aotearoa is a national organisation with a vision of
More people choosing to walk more often.
The objectives of Living Streets are:
- To promote walking as a healthy, accessible, cheap, sociable and environmentally-friendly means of transport and recreation.
- To promote the social and economic benefits of pedestrian-friendly communities.
- To work for walking-friendly communities with improved access and conditions for walkers, pedestrians and runners.
- To advocate for greater representation of walker and pedestrian concerns in land use and transport planning and urban design.
- To raise the profile of walking through education, debate, campaigns, publications, seminars and conferences.
- To foster consideration for people with special mobility needs.
Living Streets North Shore is the North Shore based branch / walking user group of Living Streets Aotearoa, which is working to make all areas of North Shore City more walking-friendly.
Living Streets North Shore represents a group of people from community, transport, health, recreation and other sectors of North Shore supported by Living Streets Aotearoa to advocate for better walking infrastructure and policies and for the needs of those using the pedestrian facilities of the city.
For more information, please see: www.livingstreets.org.nz
We welcome this opportunity to submit on North Shore City Council’s Draft Annual Plan.
We are pleased to note the Council’s “growing appreciation of the effects of climate change” in the opening statement of the Overview section of this plane (Module 1, p.6). This would suggest that the Council will consider expenditure which encourages a reduction in greenhouse gases.
We support the stated aims of the transport expenditure outlined in the Overview
The planned transport capital works programme, together with planned programmes funded through operating expenditure, progresses the implementation of the 2006 North Shore Transport Strategy and generally accords with national and regional policies. The key outcomes expected from the strategy are:
- A transport system that provides choice, accessibility, efficiency, and that integrates with land use planning
- City residents who are safer, healthier and fitter, and who walk, cycle and use public transport more often
- A city environment that is sustainable and more pleasant and attractive
(Module 1, p.9)
We would like to see the importance of the Draft Walking Strategy, along with the Draft Cycling Strategy also acknowledged here.
We support initiatives such as behaviour change management, upgrading of footpaths, town centre improvements and Travelwise which should lead to improved pedestrian infrastructure and improved options for active modes of transport.
We are pleased to see that the importance of footpaths and cycle ways in promoting health and physical activity is acknowledged in the City Direction section of the Draft Plan (Module 2, p. 10).
However we are disappointed to see reduced expenditure on cycle ways as these too offer improved active mode travel choices.
It appears from the Draft City Plan Transport Capital Works list that funding for new footpaths is a somewhat static amount with any increase in line with projected inflation. While we welcome this commitment to new footpaths we would like to see footpaths and cycle ways receiving a greater proportion of the transport budget.
We would like to see more money budgeted for street lighting, particularly on local neighbourhood roads. With the lengthening of daylight saving, which is generally welcomed, more people are walking in their neighbourhoods in the dark or early dawn either on the way to work or walking for health before work. Good street lighting on local streets enhances a community’s perception of safety and may well encourage more people to walk early in the morning and at night. CPTED principles should be applied to enhance public safety and the perception of personal safety.
Town Centre Plans
We support the funding committed for town centre upgrades. It is hoped these will bring improvements for pedestrians by calming traffic and providing better infrastructure for those choosing active modes of transport to access their local town centres.
We note the $20 million over 15 years committed to walkways in the Draft City Plan Parks Capital Works List. This is a disappointingly small sum. We believe this misses the many opportunities to improve off-road walking and cycling networks throughout the city. We would like to see greater coordination between the transport and parks departments to ensure that walkway projects can attract New Zealand Transport Agency funding. This would enable such projects to be progressed in a more coordinated and expeditious manner.
The lack of progress on the Takapuna-Devonport Walkway/cycle way project is a case in point. This project has been identified as a priority by both the Takapuna and Devonport Community boards. However we see in the Parks Capital Works List that various phases of this project are clearly underfunded and that the key Stage 3 (Northboro pipe bridge) has been relegated to a feasibility plan in 2020-2021. This is so far in the future to be meaningless, particularly in view of the current uncertainties over governance in the Auckland region.
Living Streets is supportive of the national cycle way network concept being explored by the Government provided the network also caters for those who choose to walk. We believe a number of underdeveloped networks with scenic values of national importance (such as the Takapuna-Devonport route) exist in North Shore City. We suggest that the Council should identify these and seek whatever funding may be available from central government to bring these up to a standard suitable for such a national network.
Takapuna Public Parking
We do not support the proposal to build a car parking building in Takapuna on the old gasometer site “focusing on commuter parking provision close to the CBD” (Module 3, p44). This is directly contradictory to the Council’s objective of travel behaviour change and the encouragement of more people to walk, cycle or use public transport. Takapuna is well served by public transport and a number of people are already choosing to walk to workplaces in Takapuna.
The inaugural Walk2Walk breakfast event held in Takapuna on 18 March 2009 attracted over 100 people, many of whom chose to walk to their place of employment in Takapuna. Instead of spending over $35 million over the next three years on a car parking building as proposed in the draft plan (Transport Capital Works Plan, p.2), this money would be better spent on working with employers and employees of businesses in the CBD who are already showing a commitment to active modes of transport, and on improving infrastructure for active transport modes and public transport.
Living Streets North Shore welcomes North Shore City’s commitment to supporting walking as an active mode of transport and its acknowledgement of the benefits of active modes for personal health, the environment and community cohesion.
We believe the Council’s work on the Draft Walking Strategy shows a promising commitment to improving and encouraging walking in the city. We are keen to see the final strategy and more importantly the Implementation Plan. We would like to see evidence that adequate funds have been allocated over the life of the Draft City Plan to ensure that objectives coming out of the strategy, in particular mapping and signposting, can be implemented.
We are however disappointed that the Council’s stated objectives are not backed by a shift in funding from roading and parking projects to walking and cycling infrastructure.
We understand that corridor and other road upgrade projects and traffic safety projects will include improved provision for pedestrians and cyclists. We would like to see this more explicitly stated to ensure that pedestrian safety and convenience indeed receive a fair share of roading project funding.
We particularly object to the provision of funding for additional car parking space in Takapuna.
We wish to see greater efforts to attract NZTA subsidies for walking projects to create effective off-road networks which people generally find more pleasant than walking on busy arterial roads.
We would like to make an oral submission at the City Plan hearings in May.
Living Streets North Shore
C/o Gay Richards, Convenor, Living Stets North Shore
20A Roberts Ave
Bayswater, North Shore City, 0622
Ph: 445 6568
Email: gay.richards at livingstreets.org.nz