Call to ditch the car

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

An Auck­land doc­tor is call­ing on newly elected coun­cil of­fi­cials to de­velop al­ter­na­tives to steer peo­ple away from their de­pen­dence on cars.

Col­lege of Pub­lic Health Medicine pres­i­dent Ju­lia Peters says the cur­rent over-re­liance on pri­vate ve­hi­cles has neg­a­tive im­pacts on health through pol­lu­tion, in­creased seden­tary time and road traf­fic crashes.

The in­ner city res­i­dent would like to see ac­tive travel and pub­lic trans­port pri­ori­tised by the mayor and coun­cil­lors.

‘‘Ac­tive and sus­tain­able modes of trans­port, such as walk­ing and cy­cling, pos­i­tively af­fect health. There are strong links be­tween ‘in­ci­den­tal’ ex­er­cise and im­proved health,’’ she says.

‘‘Walk­ing or cy­cling can im­prove phys­i­cal and men­tal health, com­mu­nity life, so­cial well­be­ing and com­mu­nity safety.’’

Dr Peters says jour­neys of less than two kilo­me­tres can be com­pleted by most peo­ple us­ing their legs.

She says the sec­ond best op­tion is pub­lic trans­port, which also en­cour­ages phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and pro­duces less harm­ful emis­sions when com­pared with cars.

‘‘But the cur­rent trans­port in­fra­struc­ture fo­cuses on pri­vate ve­hi­cle trans­port,’’ she says.

The Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board is one lo­cal au­thor­ity that al­ready has a fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing trans­port al­ter­na­tives.

The board has been work­ing on lay­ing green­ways through­out its elec­torate since 2011.

A green­way is a net­work of at­trac­tive and safe routes for cy­clists and walk­ers through parks and along slow-speed ‘green streets’.

The project was put in place by for­mer board chair­man Richard Barter who wanted to pop­u­larise cy­cling.

Nine other lo­cal boards are im­ple­ment­ing green­way plans.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Get mov­ing: Mayor Len Brown with for­mer Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board chair­man Richard Barter open­ing a sec­tion of the green­way cy­cle path ear­lier this year.

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