Tagata Pasifika

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Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

South Aucklanders urged to speak up on city’s transport plan

Congestion, gridlock and motorway capacity is a concern for south Auckland. Photo: Ricky Wilson/Stuff
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau of Local Democracy Reporting

South Aucklanders are being urged to have their say on the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP), which will shape Auckland’s transport network in the next 10 years.

The RLTP details the areas that Auckland Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and KiwiRail will focus on to respond to the region’s transport challenges.

It also outlines the proposed 10-year investment programme for specific transport projects.

Public consultation for the RLTP ends today (June 17).

‘We pay rates too’

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia said residents still have time to have their say.

“If you don’t, then other parts of Auckland will speak on your behalf, affecting how you and your family will travel around this city in the future,” Autagavaia said.

He said south Auckland, including Ōtara-Papatoetoe, suffered from public transport inequity.

“That is one of the factors as to why we are car-dependant. We also have higher incidents of injuries and accidents along our transport routes.”

He said south Aucklanders paid rates and their voices mattered like everyone else.

Autagavaia urged residents to look at gaps in funding for things like improved public transport and safety.

“We are unlikely to see some of the safer biking initiatives that have been operating in Ōtara. Advocacy for free or cheaper public transport will likely be halted.

“If residents are concerned about the underfunding of these activities, they should urge Auckland Transport to advocate to the Government to put focus on these areas, and fund accordingly.”

He said with the limited pool of funding from the Government, the Airport to Botany project has been put on hold indefinitely.

“This is exactly what the residents of Ōtara and Papatoetoe feared would happen, now that the route designation has been confirmed, affecting hundreds of residential properties.

“Those families will now live in limbo, and affect their property prices, for a project that is designated, but unfunded.”

Howick Local Board chair Damian Light said there was a need to address congestion, safety, and resilience.

“But there’s ever enough funding – this plan helps prioritise what we do and when,” Light said.

Residents should consider the proposed draft plan to part fund the Eastern Busway, with the last portion between Burswood and Botany (Stage 4) deferred, he said.

The funding would provide a new rapid transit connection from Panmure to Botany, including the flyover, a new bus interchange at Pakuranga and an interim interchange at Botany.

The last stage and Botany interchange would wait until the Airport to Botany project was better understood.

“Half Moon Bay has been selected as one of the first locations for these new vessels so locals may want to consider their feedback on this.”

Another significant project proposed for Howick area was Mill Road, delivered by NZTA.

Light said previous versions of the project have included an upgrade for the Redoubt and Murphys Road intersection, as well as Murphys and Murphys Road and Murphys Park Drive intersection.

“We strongly encourage locals to have their say, to make sure that we get the transport network that we need to provide for our growing population.

“Too often in these consultations our taiohi (youth) aren’t heard yet we know that they’re far more likely to be impacted by the decisions. So please encourage everyone you know to make sure they have their say.”

Gridlock, congestion, motorway capacity concerns

Franklin, Manurewa and Papakura local board chairs were concerned about the congestion and lack of resilience in the roading network.

Papakura chairperson Brent Catchpole said they continue to see gridlock and other disruptions, with the economic disruption that brought.

“Yet, we are no closer to an alternative route,” Catchpole said.

Catchpole said the impact of growth on traffic volume showed no signs of abating, and infrastructure struggled to keep up.

“It’s really quite simple, if you want to see rail level crossings go, to see more invested in roads, more pathways or better public transport, you need to speak up.”

Franklin Local Board chair Angela Fulljames said the RLTP listed some critical projects in their area.

Rail featured strongly in the plan, but commuters needed faster trips, better park and ride facilities, and cars must also be catered for, she said.

Fulljames said an alternative to the motorway – Mill Road, and the corridor to it – again featured on the plan.

“Anyone who uses the motorway knows there needs to be an alternative. We’ve all spent hours in delays caused by accidents. Growth continues to make it worse.”

Fulljames says being a part of the consultation process allowed a chance for those dealing with problem intersections to be heard.

“It will help our advocacy if residents call for funds to be prioritised, especially in growth areas where developments are creating more traffic.”

Manurewa board chair Matt Winiata said like their neighbours, they were concerned about a lack of resilience in the roading network, roads that need repair, congestion and its economic cost.

“We hear a lot about congestion and how hard it is for those who rely on cars, so drivers need to speak up so their needs are considered too,” Winiata said.

“But also about safety in our streets, which seem to carry more heavy traffic than ever. Recent failures on the motorway network show that things aren’t simple for us in the south.”

He said growth continued to add people to the community, but also cars to the network.

“If people believe it’s time drivers and the road network took priority, they need to say so.”

Local democracy reporting

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