From somebody who loves numbers, here are some important ones about our city that you need to know.
This is Auckland Transport’s proposed speed limit for vehicles travelling within the city centre, and parts of Mission Bay and St Heliers. Whilst public consultation has now closed, I will update you on the results. As yet, I am not 100 per cent convinced that the evidence is there for a 24/7 30km/h speed zone for all vehicles, in all streets, within the city centre (there are a couple being reduced to 10km/h), Mission Bay and St Heliers. I say that as:
• I have yet to receive the evidence of 50kms being wrong relative to these areas
• I don’t understand why it is acceptable for a higher speed of 40
kms to apply to school zones, yet not for the other areas flagged
• It was only halfway through the consultation period that AT revealed to me they would not just be changing signage, but would need ‘engineering solutions’ to physically slow traffic down. This would specifically include Mission Bay and St Heliers, with the suggestion of many extra raised pedestrian crossings, a roundabout and the loss of up to 47 carparks
Many people have written to me asking that pedestrian behaviour be better managed. It is absolutely frightening to have someone step from the footpath in front of your vehicle, without looking. This is one of the drivers (pardon the pun) around the slower limits. AT want to ensure that even if people make mistakes, it shouldn’t cost them their life. There is no price on a life, but with money invested in the separation of cycle lanes from vehicles and pedestrians, the suggestion of a strong campaign targeting pedestrian behaviour seems sensible to me, before potentially adding to congestion.
On the other hand, in some suburban areas (such as Meadowbank), communities are requesting lower speed limits. ‘Rat running’ in some of our narrow residential streets is causing
This is the number we were given two years ago on the vehicle numbers travelling along the section of Tamaki Dr outside the Outdoor Boating Club, every weekday. No-one wants to give me an updated one, but it reflects the number of vehicles facing congestion chaos now Quay St has been reduced to one lane each way, which happened without notice in December.
The news on this isn’t good. The changes were needed to urgently undertake wharf strengthening works. I’m told the footprint of these works, and time needed for completion, does not allow a return to four lanes, even temporarily. There have been alterations to bus routes, but until the City Rail Link is completed in 2024, we lack a true public transport connection into and through the central city, to at least reduce some of these vehicles. AT suggests our east/west route should involve travelling via The Strand, onto the motorway, and back off again, with new off-ramps. The New Zealand Transport Authority, who manage motorways, are yet to prioritise the new ramps to allow this route to be an alternative. So it’s a nightmare
in the short term. I’ve been promised regular updates from AT so please check my website: desleysimpson.co.nz
$13.5 million is the savings figure achieved by Auckland Council in six months, from our half year update. It’s a relatively small number on its own but is a key part of our overall plan to save $23m this year, $60m in the next three years and $560m over the next decade. That half a billion is on top of the over $288m Auckland Council has cumulatively saved since amalgamation. It’s been identified in both cutting operational costs, and through cost avoidance and capital expenditure savings particularly identified through our Value for Money programme, which I have championed. These are ambitious targets, and savings can easily be wiped out by significant weather events or budget overruns. However I stand committed to do my part in trying to prioritise efficient and effective use of ratepayers’ funds.