In a word.. No.
Now, there is a myth that because Copenhagen is flat, its better for cyclists. Well, there is a myth that it is a myth. Fact is, flat land makes a difference. Condensed housing makes a difference (shorter commutes), better cycle paths make a difference, strong voices encouraging cycling make a difference.
1. Auckland is built on volcanos, so it is hilly. The main street of Auckland is a steep hill, for goodness sakes. Not matter what, people are going to get hot and sweaty riding to work, unless they are very very lucky.
2. Housing in Auckland is not condensed. Auckland is spread out and the nature of the land in Auckland makes it have to be so. There is some suggestion that we can move industry out to the suburbs so that people dont have to go to the CBD. That is however, impracticable and unlikely to happen. Take the internet industry, for example. Virtually all the helpdesk’s and network centres are on the north shore, or the CBD, so if you live south, east, or west, you have to commute. If you work in the freezing works, you have to go to Otahuhu, etc etc. People generally prefer to live where they live, and suffer with the commute.
People also, generally, prefer not to live in Apartments in NZ, we prefer a bit of lawn, a garage, a pool, a trampoline, etc.
So, moving industry or condensing housing etc is also impracticable.
3. Cycleways in NZ are generallt shocking although getting better. IMHO finding routes that make commuting easier and safer would be one of the highest priorities. This does not mean spending money on tamaki drive so weekend riders can get a blast in, it means spending money on things like the western cycleway, which I think is absolutely amazing. I have to commute up from Manurewa, along Gt Sth Rd, to Upper Queen St and alot of the time it is terrifying. I LOVE my rides on the cycleway, even though it could use some improvement it is still a million times better than what i have.
Finding some direct paths from each point of the compass into the city (much like train routes) would make cycling more enjoyable, safer, faster, and more people would do it. By the bucketload.
4. Strong voices advocating cycling we have, or are starting to get. The problem is, it is “joe cyclist” as usual, its someone with a particular axe to grind (someone who prefers a particular kind of cycling, or some greenie with wacked out ideas on tolls and global warming). The minority with the loudest voices and the biggest chips on their shoulders, who preceed to alienate Mr Smith who just wants to do a bit for the environment, get a bit fit, save some gas and money, and not die in the process.
We have a problem, and I dont think we’re being sensible about it. Sure, we’re now talking about it more than ever, but I am not sure its the right people. We are in a situation where commuting in a motorised vehicle is hellish; petrol, parking, traffic, time, etc, and have the opportunity to get more people on bikes. We need to be sensible, and get those people who are already passionate about biking on the same page, and do something about it.
Auckland is not Copenhagen, or Portland, or anywhere else. It is Auckland, and it is filled with Kiwi’s, and we are a particular, and peculiar bunch.
The time for change is here.