Speed given to city’s transport projects
Investment in Onehunga’s transport connections is being kick-started by council, but not everyone is happy.
The interim transport levy will help fund work related to the East West Connections project, as well as other high priority Auckland projects over the next three years.
On May 21 Auckland Council’s Finance and Performance Committee agreed to fund $308 million of the additional $523m capital expenditure, with the rest coming from the Government.
Youth-led organisation Generation Zero is supportive of the programme overall.
‘‘It prioritises the essential public transport, walking and cycling projects that Aucklanders have called for and is another step in the right direction for our city,’’ spokesman Sudhvir Singh says.
But allocating funding to the East West Connection is the wrong move, he says.
‘‘We are yet to see a costbenefit analysis that justifies another large scale motorway project severing Auckland.’’
National Road Carriers chief executive David Aitken disagrees, saying the project has been on the cards since the 1960s.
The joint NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport project aims to improve commuter and freight links as well as public transport, walking and cycling options over the next 30 years.
The Accelerated Transport Programme includes a budget of $1.5m per annum for the East West Connections project.
This allows for investigation and design work to take place as well as the potential to include some small works until 2019.
Construction is scheduled for the 2021 to 2024 period but work needs to sooner, Aitken says.
‘‘It is one of the top priority projects in Auckland.
‘‘We were expecting it to have been finished by 2021.
‘‘They just need to get on with it. We want complete connectivity between State Highway 1 and State Highway 20.’’
Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall is excited that progress is being made.
‘‘Getting the route implemented will not only help our really important freight distribution and the manufacturing sector in Onehunga, but also will relieve some of the heavy congestion on our residential streets from Church St up to Campbell Rd.’’
Cycling infrastructure will also receive a boost, with an extra 52 kilometres of the Auckland Cycle Network being created.
This is welcomed news for Cycle Action chairwoman Barbara Cuthbert.
It means work can continue on the Nelson St cycleway and then work around connecting up the northwestern cycleway, she says.
‘‘Then we can start planning the North Shore SeaPath to connect to the SkyPath under the harbour bridge and the cycleways up and down the northern and southern motorways.’’
The $3m which will go towards local board walking and cycling initiatives is also important, Cuthbert says.
‘‘It’s the smart linking across the city which will enable local people to get on to the big flashy projects.’’
The East West Connections project will receive $1.5 million per annum as part of the Accelerated Transport Programme.