Keith Mexsom

Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal

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Gas Pedal to Back-Pedal — The Second Century of Auckland Transport -
This is an historical narrative describing real persons and factual events that have resulted in the Auckland of today. There are many possible readers who might be interested in aspects of:
Transport — the books contain a lot of history about trams, suburban rail, buses, ferries, and of course motor vehicles, and the legislation that has governed their operation.
Politics — the books contain a good deal of information about the political and funding conflicts that have existed between central government and local government; between local government entities and each other; between public and private interests. This book illustrates how these conflicts often unduly influenced the decisions that were made and resulted in today's road congestion.
City Planning — the books contain information about the successes and failures of central government and city planners and include descriptions of the many disconnects between transport and land use.
Suburban Rail — the City Rail Link is to be completed soon — the books provide a complete narrative of why it took so long to fund and start a project first proposed as an essential undertaking more than a century ago. The number of studies and reports that were undertaken and ignored in that time is astounding.
Reference Value — this book and its predecessor, Waka Paddle to Gas Pedal, are extensively and accurately referenced and indexed. The content is a comprehensive account — too comprehensive in parts — hence their length. The range of topics covered provides interest for all readers determined to learn how the workings of central and local governments have influenced an Aucklander's present environment and circumstances — whether it be the congested roads, the toxic atmosphere, or even the housing shortage. The content of this book is supported by my 12 years of study and research.

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.

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1,583 printed pages
Original publication
Keith Mexsom



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