There’s an article in the NZ Herald this week, Auckland house prices vs world’s, which compares the median house price in Auckland – a whopping $670,000 – with other similarly priced homes around the world. The house chosen for comparison in Auckland, is a $675,000 five-bedroom, three-bathroom house in the suburb of New Windsor. New Windsor is a featureless suburb sandwiched between the suburbs of New Lynn (rough and industrial) and Mount Roskill (up and coming but also featureless). The primary schools in the area are all fairly low decile (five and under) and the house is on a main road. It’s over 9km from the city centre, there’s no train and peak-hour traffic will resemble a parking lot.
As is typical of car-obsessed Auckland, a reported feature of this house is parking for five cars. That’s right folks, five cars because if you want to live in Auckland, you gotta love your car and the more of them, the better. The nearest supermarket is a two-minute drive away. Who wants to walk to the shops when you can drive? Even better is the brand spanking new motorway about to be built right next door.
Is this really how people want to live?
This week I stumbled across a report titled, Generated traffic and induced travel. The report explains how the building of more roads and motorways does not actually reduce congestion because traffic congestion will always tend towards equilibrium. This is how it works: congestion -> build new motorway -> temporarily reduced congestion that encourages new traffic to the road -> congestion again. If you build it, they will come (they referring to additional cars). The industry term for this is generated traffic. Building new roads and motorways generates new traffic, it does not reduce it.
The New Zealand government does not understand this concept. This is the transport plan for 2012 – 2015:
If New Zealand wants to throw money down the toilet by building new roads and motorways and create car-dependent, polluted cities that encourage a sedentary lifestyle with the associated skyrocketing health care costs, then it’s probably going about it the right way.