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Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal – The Second Century of Auckland Transport –
This Part Two of a planned trilogy builds on the founding and development of Auckland’s transport systems from 1940 to the present – describing how the motor vehicle evolved from a novelty and a nuisance of the 1920s to an indispensable utility that virtually replaced the city’s public transport services with chronic road congestion.
This is a story of countless, costly transport studies and reports and why most of the advice generated was not acted upon. It is a tale of how the parochialism and fragmented vision of city leaders played into the hands of begrudging, purse-string-holding Governments of the day; of Governments all too willing to favour the laissez-faire principles of those tyre-and-tarmac entrepreneurs collectively known as the ‘Road Gang’ – those descendants of Auckland’s ‘limited circle’ and other ‘gentlemen of fortune’ who shaped the city’s early growth and who continue to dominate its future by way of land speculation and financial control.
It has been a long, overcrowded road since the concept and ambition of an Auckland underground railway was first proposed by Royal Engineers in 1860.
With the belated start of the ‘City Rail Link’, a happy ending is anticipated.