Get rid of Ponsonby (and give the money to suburbs that are actually taking new housing) | Biden News


The call to end Auckland’s ‘gold standard’ bike lane program may be misguided, but there is a grain of truth in the objections.

IIn a shocking and unprecedented turn of events, the Herald recently ran a negative story about the proposed bike lane. You might faint and tear up with surprise, but it’s true. Under the heading “$100 million bike project in doubt under Oakland Mayor Wayne Brown”noted objective, fair-minded reporter Bernard Orsman writes that the three upgrades are “apparently on the back burner” as Brown orders AT to focus on less expensive bike lanes.

As it is the Herald’s traditional reporting on Oakland’s problemshistory is riddled with distortions. Some of the bike lanes in question are not just bike lanes at all, but road renewal. As Russell Brown points out, the real scandal is that the AT is spending its cycling budget on rebuilding a road built by its predecessors. over a pile of settling debris.

Wayne Brown doesn’t have the authority to set anything adrift without the approval of the council’s governing body, but even if he did, canceling the projects would be a bad idea. They will connect several town centers to each other and the North West Motorway cycleway, creating a network effect which should reduce the strain on our congested road system. While congestion advocates like Lee might want the streets to be clogged with vehicles, taxi drivers and people carrying entire children’s netball teamsthey deserve to be able to get around without competing for scarce road space with a Ponsonby barrister driving 400m to pick up fine cheeses in an overspec Ford Ranger.

That being said, the story contains a grain of truth. In his quotes to Orsman, Lee says AT’s plans are “horribly expensive.” This may or may not be accurate when it comes to these projects, but it is certainly true that our government is spending too much on gold standard infrastructure in its ward, Waitemata, which includes the affluent central suburbs of Ponsonby, Gray Lynn, Herne Bay, Westmere and Parnell. Many of these neighborhoods refuse to accept much new housingciting the “special character” of their renovated villas.

Although the council often whines misleadingly about creating a “compact city”, it is dense construction is prohibited on approximately 40% of the land within 5 km of the city center. Waitemata’s population actually fell by 9.7% last year.. Fewer housing permits are issued there than elsewhere. The suburbs closest to the city center aren’t just growing more slowly than elsewhere; they decrease.

Despite this, these suburbs are also some of the biggest beneficiaries of the council’s infrastructure investment. Lee’s hated bike lanes are just the tip of the iceberg. Three new commuter rail stations are being built within walking distance of the so-called distinctive suburbs of Tamaki Makaurau, which already have rapid transit. The parks are untouched. There are many pools. Roads are blocked.

Mmeanwhile, it takes Amanda Kennedy three hours to get to work by public transportation. She is no longer allowed to drive after being recently diagnosed with adult-onset epilepsy following a bout of Covid. Now her commute from Henderson Valley involves a tortuous bus journey through west Oakland, if the bus even comes. In an effort to find a more reliable alternative, she recently bought an e-scooter to get to Sunnyvale train station, just for train frequency will be reduced as Kiwirail works to address a decade of underinvestment in track maintenance.

“People with epilepsy, other disabilities or without cars for whatever reason still need to exist and get around,” she says. “We pay taxes, pay rates and subsidize actually functioning public transport for people in posh suburbs while our normal transport needs are ignored.”

The latest Auckland Council statistics show that more homes have been approved in the Henderson-Massey area than anywhere else. The influx of housing opens up opportunities, but it is not accompanied by the necessary large-scale investment in infrastructure. Kennedy’s journey is so long because the west has almost no dedicated bus lanes, no rapid transit like the Northern Busway, and few cycle lanes to reduce road congestion.

“Density in West Auckland continues to grow, with no apparent plans to improve transport or urban infrastructure, while people in sparsely populated inner-city suburbs enjoy frequent buses and thriving town centres,” she says. “The plan for how all these extra people are going to get in and out of west Oakland seems to be the planners closing their eyes and going LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”

In general, the wealthier the area and the closer it is to existing infrastructure, the less likely the council will allow people to build housing (Graph: Greater Auckland)

Waitakere councilor Shane Henderson says the West’s unrivaled hospitality is not getting extra council funding. At a recent council meeting, he pleaded with his colleagues from the wealthier, better-served and connected suburbs “do your part”. He says poor communities on Auckland’s fringes are often not heard at the council table, while residents of wealthy inner suburbs complain until they get their way. It may be their right in a democracy, but he believes it must come at a cost – literally. “If communities don’t want to take the growth, that’s fine. But I think they shouldn’t take so much funding either. This is, of course, a quid pro quo situation.”

The same goes for the south. Until Henderson-Massey took over, Papakura regularly topped the council’s list of approvals granted. Local councilor Angela Dalton says growth has not come with enough extra money for public utilities and transport upgrades. “I think it’s terrible, honestly. Especially when I look at what other areas are getting. Look at Ōrākei: it’s beautiful. When you look at how the suburbs are getting these great projects and we’re not getting what we need to support a growing community, it’s not fair. It’s not fair. This is completely unfair.”

To add insult to injury, suburbs like Ponsonby are economic parasites on poorer suburbs that actually take their share of the growth. The study was conducted in Lafayette, Louisiana and Eugene, Oregon, shows that dense residential development brings positive returns to city councils, while sprawl and low-density development like that found in suburban Oakland negatively affects city finances.


Many of the rich residents of the Auckland suburbs are probably the ones who wander about the so-called benefit bludgers, even if economists go on television to tell politicians and bankers to create more unemployed people to help the economy. In fact, the residents of dachas in our city are the biggest bludgers. They selfishly refuse to welcome new people into their neighborhood, and then ask the people who live in the densely populated neighborhoods they rejected to subsidize their lifestyle.

But the people of Ponsonby cannot sit back and do nothing and expect free handouts from the government and taxpayers. Bernard Orsman and Mike Lee are right: Gray Lynn, Westmere and Herne Bay should get less gold standard infrastructure. Instead, Te Atatu Peninsula needs new playgrounds. Papakura needs protected cycle lanes. Kennedy needs a bus that doesn’t get stuck in traffic, or trains that come more than once a day. If you don’t host more people, you can’t ask for more money. It’s time to defund Ponsonby and give it to suburbs that do their part.

Keep an eye on Bernard Gickey When the facts change on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast provider.


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