Foot traffic costing millions
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.