So does this amount to a backdown brought about by a realisation that what they are planning is appalling, or is it merely a public relations sop to calm the agitated locals? To answer this, we need to look at what the media release says.
|An important area|
NZTA's Tommy Parker then tells us there is "no preferred option", which on the evidence so far is nonsense, but just to help the citizens of Mangere and Otahuhu come to the right decision, we are told again that this is an "important issue that will affect jobs, the streets families live in, and the way people and freight can move safely around this area..." Jobs, got it? Oh, yeah, and freight. This, in case you need reminding gentle reader, is all about the current government's obsession with freight.
|A key pedestrian amenity in Mangere|
More to the point, if AT really wanted to better understand the transport needs of the area, they could have consulted with their colleagues who are presently working on the South Auckland public transport upgrade. Or they could have talked to the community transport team, who would have told them that it is difficult to get around Mangere in anything other than an SUV, and that it is almost completely lacking in pedestrian and cycling amenities.
|Conflict areas - not in Mangere and Otahuhu|
But back to the media release. It goes on to stress again that we NEED to do something because it's about jobs and economic growth. We don't have the room to argue that claim here but it, too, is rubbish. Suffice to say there is no logically necessary connection between a traffic conflict area in Onehunga, the fact jobs are located at the airport, and the need to put a motorway through a residential area. Indeed, if it is the presence of employment at the airport that is a concern, then AT would be prioritising the multi-modal link to the airport that includes cycle lanes and an extension of the rail because it is these that will reduce traffic volumes.
Finally, the somewhat exaggerated cross-Mangere freight problem is dumped back into the lap of South Auckland's residents again: "We’re asking for people’s patience, but more importantly we are asking for their help."
Sure. We'll give you some help when you come to us with an honest description of the problem, and a genuinely multi-modal plan to deal with it, including the improvement of pedestrian, cycling and public transport amenities in the area. In the meantime, stop fobbing us off with this claptrap.