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Alternative transport plan aims for less cars, much more rail

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 19/07/2013

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Those behind an alternative vision for fixing Auckland's transport woes say their plan would be cheaper and easier to build than other options.

The Auckland Transport Blog and youth movement Generation Zero have put forward a comprehensive plan for how they see the future of getting around Auckland and it's gaining a following.

Using a series of stylised maps akin to the classic London Underground one, the Congestion Free Network shows how the two organisations see the future of Auckland transport.

Where much of the proposed investment outlined by Prime Minister John Key two weeks ago would see money ploughed into improving the road network for private vehicles, the alternative vision prefers getting less cars on the roads.

Blog editor Patrick Reynolds says when it comes to transport you get what you build for.

If what you build is roads, what you will invariably get is cars driving on and eventually clogging up those roads.

Nor is the Congestion Free Network seeking a much increased rail presence.

Rather it's a system that by 2030 would include some rail extensions, including a finger out to Mt Roskill from Mt Albert, a comprehensive network of busways, and ferry links between Hobsonville and Half Moon Bay.

"We should only do rail where we can justify the expenditure, for example in the city where there is no more road space available.

"On the edges it is a lot better to use the shoulders for buses and add some stations."

Mr Reynolds says a good transport network offers two things: options other than driving, and a way of avoiding driving altogether.

"This is an urban solution for one city of scale - Auckland," Mr Reynolds says.

"It's not anti-roads but we have the roads and we have to stop blowing ever-increasing amounts of money on them.

"Auckland is growing and congestion will just grow if we keep these policies."

The architectural photographer says the alternative plan is supportive of the City Rail Link and a second harbour crossing, but one that is rail only.

Mr Reynolds says through his work he spends much of his time looking at and thinking about built forms.

In Auckland people have failed to live up to the standards set by the stunning natural environment.

Better transport planning would go some way to improving the "shape" of the city.

"The great news is that Auckland is really fixable. It's small enough for that to be possible but big enough that there is the money around to do it."

Go to transportblog.co.nz to learn more about the Congestion Free Network and see maps showing how it could be implemented during the next 20 years.

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