Foot traf­fic cost­ing mil­lions

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PASLEY

Pedes­trian con­ges­tion is cost­ing Auck­land nearly $200 mil­lion each year, a new re­port says.

A busi­ness case, which will be pre­sented to Auck­land Coun­cil later this month, called In­ves­ti­gat­ing the Eco­nomic Value of Walk­ing in the Auck­land City Cen­tre, es­ti­mated the cost of walk­ing de­lays ev­ery year for Auck­land was $186m.

For the first time since the 1950s there were more peo­ple com­mut­ing to the city cen­tre by pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling than driv­ing, the coun­cil re­port said.

High St had 13 times as many pedes­tri­ans as ve­hi­cles each day and Queen St had four times as many.

The city cen­tre’s res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion had dou­bled to 50,000 over the last 10 years and the num­ber of pedes­tri­ans on Queen St had dou­bled since 2012, the re­port said.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s city cen­tre de­sign man­ager Tim Fitz­patrick said the busi­ness case put a mon­e­tary value on peo­ple’s loss of pro­duc­tiv­ity as they waited at street cor­ners or traf­fic lights.

Six out of eight of the key ob­jec­tives in Auck­land’s 20-year ‘‘city cen­tre mas­ter­plan’’ were around im­prov­ing pedes­trian con­nec­tions in the city, he said.

‘‘We needed an im­proved un­der­stand­ing of the amount of walk­ing tak­ing place in the city cen­tre and its eco­nomic value,’’ Fitz­patrick said.

Auck­land Coun­cil plan­ning com­mit­tee chair­man Chris Darby said the re­port alerted Auck­land Coun­cil to a new kind of con­ges­tion - pedes­trian con­ges­tion.

Five years ago there was room for pedes­tri­ans, but in morn­ing and evening peaks in the CBD it had be­come shoul­der to shoul­der, Darby said.

The as­sump­tion that con­ges­tion was limited to ve­hi­cles was no longer true, he said.

‘‘Peo­ple are em­brac­ing ac­tive trans­port over their per­sonal pri- vate mo­tor ve­hi­cles,’’ Darby said.

Auck­land coun­cil­lor Richard Hills said roads needed to pri­ori­tise com­muters.

‘‘Our plan is for Queen St to lose cars and be­come a place for pedes­tri­ans and light rail,’’ Hills said.

Turn­ing Queen St into a pedes­trian-only road with light rail could ben­e­fit the city $702,000 ev­ery year, the re­port said. AT es­ti­mated light rail would cost about $1 bil­lion, com­pared with $2.2 bil­lion for heavy rail.


For the first time since the 1950s there are more peo­ple com­mut­ing to the city cen­tre by pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling than driv­ing.

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