Our communities are more vibrant, liveable places when people can move around them on foot or by cycle. Active transport is good for our health and good for our environment.
Yet, the amount people walk and cycle has fallen over several decades. Worse, as walking and cycling has decreased it has become more dangerous for those that do, with 28 pedestrians killed this year and the risk of being hit by a car per kilometre travelled rising for cyclists.
Good infrastructure can reduce or eliminate the danger by separating people who are walking or cycling from motorised traffic. In recent years, some good progress has been made on this. Auckland’s Lightpath has become an iconic example of modern, safe cycle and walking infrastructure. The share of trips taken by bicycle or on foot is rising in Auckland.
More projects like that are needed around the country to further increase the number of people choosing active transport.
make it easier and safer to walk or cycle in our communities by committing more funding to urban cycleways, active neighbourhoods projects, and the Skypath on Auckland Harbour Bridge.
To do this, Labour will renew the current Urban Cycleways Fund for a further three years. This $100m fund has helped to fund projects such as the Lightpath and Nelson Street cycleway in Auckland and is set to be exhausted by the middle of next year. This extension will mean another $100m is available for the following three years for modern cycleways, separated from traffic.
Labour will also establish a new ‘Active Neighbourhoods’ Fund to complement the Urban Cycleways Fund with $15m a year to invest. This will invite contestable applications for smaller community level projects that will encourage walking or cycling at the local level, for example around schools, shopping areas and community facilities, or public transport hubs.
To create a step-change in walking and cycling accessibility for Auckland, Labour will commit up to $30m for Skypath – a walking and cycling shared path on the city side of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. The current government has said it supports this project, but has failed to provide the funding needed.
These projects will mean people can walk and cycle separated from the dangers of motorised traffic. They will save lives and give people confidence that they and their children can walk and cycle in safety.
Countries such as the Netherlands and Germany have shown that investment in safe, separated walking and cycling paths leads to increases in the number of people choosing those transport options. That’s good for our health, it’s good for our environment, and it’s good for our communities.