Greater emphasis is needed on improving public transport, especially in the east, Franklin Local Board has told Auckland Transport in its Regional Land Transport Plan feedback.
It also wants a more strategic approach to road maintenance and renewals, and a return to pre-COVID-19 Local Board Transport Capital Fund levels.
The board raised several issues in its submission, asking that its advocacy priorities be considered because they were formulated after public consultations.
Board chair Andy Baker says among those priorities was a call for Pine Harbour to be developed to cater for more services, better road links and more park and ride facilities.
“More people are looking for alternative ways to commute than sitting on motorways and that is a good thing. But in the east of Franklin, accessing rail links is not that easy, and the ferry services into and out of Pine Harbour are comparatively limited.”
He says the board believes a transport node system supporting regular bus services linking to rail and sea routes would better enable developing communities to access the city in an environmentally sustainable way.
“We talk a lot about changing the way we behave to support better climate change outcomes, but the means to do so are not always as readily available as we would like.”
The board was widely supportive of the plan, saying it captured most issues, but says more could be done.
“We are building more train stations between Papakura and Pukekohe as electrification draws closer. That will take people off the roads and on to public transport, but it can only happen if you have good access to stations.”
As one of the largest geographical board areas, roading infrastructure remained critical.
“Cars are not going anywhere, literally or metaphorically. If you live on the Awhitu or at Orere Point there’s not a lot of public transport. As an important rural area, we need roads renewed for today’s use, not for what they once were,” Baker says.
The board called for local board transport funding to be re-instated to pre-COVID-19 levels and for funding lost during the pandemic to be restored. “That fund allows us, with Auckland Transport, to deliver important local projects that don’t register in regional priorities,” Baker says.
It also called for more balance around cycle and walkways, saying funding appeared to be weighted to the city environment, and praised the Vision Zero goal of eliminating road deaths and serious injuries.
“It’s easy to criticise spending in that area, but everyone has the right to be able to walk, cycle and use the roads around their homes without taking their lives in their hands.”