When the wind blew over a truck on Auckland's Harbour Bridge on Friday, chaos quickly spread throughout the city. It spread into a few minds, too.
The smooth functioning of traffic in Auckland was literally wrecked by an extreme weather event. But for the National Party, the Auckland Business Chamber and others, the automatic response was to call for more of the kind of infrastructure that will contribute to more extreme weather events: more roads.
This is an election issue, although it doesn't look much like one, and it would be useful if the politicians could keep a couple of things in mind.
First, although there are proposals for a "second harbour crossing", we already have that. It's called the Upper Harbour Bridge, known more commonly as the Greenhithe Bridge, and it's a five-lane component of the city's Western Ring Route.
With the new tunnel and interchange at Waterview, that Ring Route now provides a fully functional motorway alternative to getting around Auckland from north to south, and in and out of the central city.
True, it gets congested at peak times, but it works. If an emergency means the harbour bridge has to close at any time, the Ring Route is there.
That means, with the Greenhithe Bridge in place, another harbour crossing would become our third. National and Labour say the new crossing should be tunnels under the Waitematā and want digging to start within the next 10 years.
The second bridge issue: there are too many trucks on it and too much other traffic too. But the 20th-century solution to both problems, of building more roads for those vehicles, is not the only option.
They can be solved by reducing the number of vehicles, with the added advantages of having fewer vehicles clogging up the city centre, reduced carbon emissions and greater efficiencies for commuters and freight haulage too.
The obvious solution for commuter vehicles is for the Waitematā to have a rail crossing, thus making it possible for the North Shore to be served, over time, by rail. Not just a line, but an entire network.
It would have to be light rail, or a modern high-tech variation of it, and it might run in tunnels under the harbour, but it also might run over the existing bridge.
Light rail is easier to build than heavy rail. But the bigger reason to favour it is that the existing heavy rail network, even with the expansion offered by the City Rail Link, will not have the capacity to add whole new services. The CRL will be full up with the Eastern, Southern and Western Lines.
The solution for freight is to reduce our reliance on trucks. The proposal to move the Auckland port to Northport (and partly to Tauranga) has, at its heart, a plan to transfer up to 80 per cent of freight haulage to rail, preferably electric, with a re-established northern main trunk line that runs around the west of Auckland.
With the port gone from the Waitematā, and an enormous new inland port, or freight hub, near Kumeu, that would mean drastically fewer trucks on the bridge and on every other part of the city's motorway network too.
There are so many economic, social, cultural and environmental objectives that resolves.
It's not going to be done inside 20 years. But when we're talking about what to do about damage from a truck blown over on the harbour bridge, the solutions need to be future-focused and big picture.
Transport in Auckland has been blighted so often by a failure to focus on the future. There's no better example than on the Northwestern Motorway, where the last National Government continued with the Ring Route but cancelled the plan to include rapid bus lanes.
How much damage did that do? On the harbour bridge, nearly half the commuters in peak time are in a rapid bus. If the city's northwest had the same service, that motorway would be more functional for all its users, including private motor vehicles, and would have greater value as an alternative to the bridge.
The lesson is that commuter transport spending must be utterly focused on mass transit. It's the key to making it work for all users – and to urban climate action.
These days, everyone agrees planning should be future-focused. But this is what it means. Learning how to think laterally. Resisting the very natural urge to revert to what we used to do, because that's what we know. Integrating the various goals.
It's specially important this election, because the post-Covid rebuild will soak up all the infrastructure spending for decades. But there's very little electoral scrutiny of what we're going to build or why. It's just so hard to think about anything except the present.
National says it wants those new tunnels for road and rail. But why? No one has yet made a good argument for building more roads for private vehicles across the harbour.
Labour wants to build the tunnels but hasn't said what for. The Greens haven't said either: their transport plan will be out next week. None of them has made a specific commitment to moving the port.
Oh, and while we're here, could they get a move on too with the cycleway? That, surely, compared to the debate about digging tunnels, is the easy part.