This week I have a couple of thoughts to share.
Accident on the Auckland Harbour Bridge illustrates need for greater resilience in our road network. Sunday’s accident on the Harbour Bridge acts as a reminder that we are often only one incident away from entire communities being cut off. Strengthening the resilience of our roading infrastructure needs to be given far more focus that it is currently.
Should Sunday’s crash have caused long-term damage the only viable workaround is a diversion via SH 16 & SH 18. A trip that more than triples the journey distance from central Auckland to Takapuna, and if it were to be the only option, would likely result in significant traffic delays for anyone attempting to travel across Auckland. Faced with the increasing reality that our ability to cross the bridge is in delicate balance, it is concerning that authorities would even entertain the idea of allocating precious transport space to walking and cycling. We need to concentrate on building resilience into our network not increasing its fragility. Prioritising walking and cycling across the Harbour Bridge without first investing in critical roading infrastructure that ensures essential products and services, and New Zealanders, can move North and South across our largest city needs to be the priority. On behalf of our members, we are passionate about this topic, and we are working with Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and other stakeholders to ensure investment in critical infrastructure such as a resilient harbour crossing is prioritised.
Throughout New Zealand there are too many examples of single pieces of critical infrastructure that if taken out isolate communities and or cause significant disruption.
This is why everyone needs to actively participate in the democratic process we are so fortunate to have in New Zealand.
Local body elections – exercise your right to choose who represents us on the city, district, and regional councils across New Zealand. This week voting papers have been appearing in our letterboxes across the country and we have until Saturday 8 October to vote in our local body elections. Voting is a critical way we can shape what happens in our communities. The people who are elected to our local councils and get to make decisions about our daily lives and the future of our towns and cities, are chosen by us to represent us. Elected councillors set and collect rates, oversee town planning, and provide services like rubbish collection, parks, and libraries.
For the transport industry, the fact councillors ‘oversee town planning’ is critically important. We encourage you to investigate what your potential candidates’ views are on transport, infrastructure investment, roading and climate change. Make sure you know what impact the decisions they may take on your behalf may have on your community, business, and ability to operate. If you haven’t received your voting papers we encourage you to reach out to your local Electoral Officer to get your papers sent so you can have your say in the upcoming elections.
Lastly, yesterday I attended our monthly Board meeting where I gave my feedback on the NRC strategy and next steps. As a new CEO it is a great position to be stepping into an organisation like NRC that has a clear vision, purpose and direction, with members at the heart of everything it does. I’m excited with where we are heading and looking forward to sharing more on this with you soon.
Whether you are a fan or not of Monday’s surprise public holiday, I hope you have the opportunity to spend it with family and loved ones.