So, as the Herald announced yesterday, Len Brown did manage to getÂ the CBD rail link into the budget for the Long-Term Plan with $112 million to be spent on property purchases next financial year.
This is a pretty significant achievement – this project has literally been on the books since the 1920s, but Len Brown is the first Mayor to actually get serious money spent on it – enough to ensure (fingers crossed) that the project will, one day, finally happen.
In other news, cyclists will be pleased to hear that the walk/cycleway across the Harbour Bridge did make it into the plan although, sadly, with no funding attached.
I’ve posted a comment below from Kirsten from the Skypath team with more detail.
” it’s great that the SkyPath (the Harbour Bridge walk and cycle way) has been included in the Long Term Plan for Auckland as a â€œzero-budgetâ€ line item. Although this means Council hasn’t made any funding commitment, the important thing is that it keeps the project on the table and gives Council the chance to fully consider the funding options.
Plus it provides confidence to private investors that Council engagement will now build on the agreement with NZTA regarding the construction feasibility.
SkyPath will link to the waterfront walk and cycleway which will run from the Wynyard Quarter to Westhaven, so it’s also wonderful that there is $9million in the LTP for this.
These two projects will have huge synergy, providing a great commuting link for walkers and cyclists from the North Shore right into the CBD, and also creating a very attractive Auckland waterfront experience for tourists and locals.
The SkyPath will be self-funding through the user toll â€“ $2 per trip if you use a HopCard.
This is likely to be the only way to provide this much-wanted access across the harbour in the next 20 or possibly 30 years, as NZTA have repeatedly said they won’t fund a Bridge walking and cycling facility.
Aucklanders made it clear to Council that they want this facility, and thanks to everyone who took the time to submit or contact Councillors. More than 60% of submissions on walking and cycling to the Draft LTP and RLTP supported access across the Bridge.
Len Brown also has been right behind the project for a long time. This brings the SkyPath proposal out of the background- watch for further developments! More on the proposal “
I’ve got no time for any analysis of this decision except to say full credit to Bevan, Kirsten and the rest of their team for their tireless work on this issue.
So what do you think about the council’s decision? Good news? Bad news? Would you rather wait until we can get an untolled cycleway? Or is a tolled cycleway better than nothing at all?
PS: So the budget was a bit of a downer huh? Unless you’re really rich or quite old that is. I haven’t had time (and won’t for some days) to sieve through it all and look to see if there were any changes to cycling funding (highly doubtful, anyway) but, if you spot anything that’s relevant post it in the comments and I’ll blog about it.