Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Congestion issues in Auckland eroding quality of life

The rush 'hour' has been getting longer and heavier, and even traffic during none peak times has been getting worse. Photo /  Dean Purcell
The rush 'hour' has been getting longer and heavier, and even traffic during none peak times has been getting worse. Photo / Dean Purcell

Auckland's congestion problem is so dire, many have looked at moving home, changing jobs or leaving the city because their quality of life is being eroded.

The results of an Automobile Association's survey of its members found almost half were reaching breaking point and were considering moving hose or changing jobs because of traffic.

"We have bought a section in Tauranga ... Abandoning Auckland is the only way that we can see to get out of this god-awful traffic situation," one member said.

And two thirds said congestion had significantly worsened over the last five years with the morning peak being heavier and lasting longer while the traffic even during off peak hours on motorways and arterial roads was deteriorating.

AA spokesman Barney Irvine says the survey highlights just how much anxiety is out there as Auckland's infrastructure struggles to keep pace with growth.

"They're worried that their quality of life is being eroded, and they don't see anyone stepping up to address it."

Of the 1300 survey respondents, almost 75 per cent considered transport policy either a very high or high priority for the incoming mayor, alongside affordable housing.

Mr Irvine said local and central government need to implement a "focused and sustained" campaign against Auckland's congestion.

"The first step should be to establish congestion targets that Aucklanders can see and understand. The second should be to set up a new taskforce - a kind of congestion 'hit squad' - to help achieve them. Brisbane has a Congestion Reduction Unit, and we think we need something similar here."

The AA also wanted to see more investment in Park and Ride stations and Mr Irvine said no other step could do more to break down barriers to public transport use.

"It's about making the system meet people's needs - particularly the 80-85 per cent who drive - not trying to make people change to meet the needs of the system."

- NZ Herald

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