I was taking a look through the very useful Franklin Live website this evening, which has video recordings of pretty much every Council meeting (though I wish the videos were on Youtube for easier searching!) and came across a presentation at the October Transport Committee meeting on the City Centre Future Access Study.

This study (seemingly known as the CCFAS) came out of the much debated government review of the business case for the City Rail Link in the first half of last year. It is a key part of resolving differences in opinion between Central Government and Auckland Council/Auckland Transport over the merits of the City Rail Link by looking at what the problems really are when it comes to access to the city centre and then looking, in more detail than has occurred previously, at the different options (including the CRL) for resolving those problems.

There’s quite a lot of information in the video (it’s 20 minutes long and largely just audio with the same slide shown), if you listen to what Auckland Transport’s Special Projects Manager Claire Stewart has to say. Click on the image below (or here) to go through to the video: 

 A few observations from watching the video:

  • It’s interesting and somewhat unsurprising that the options evaluation has got down to pretty much the same short-list that the earlier business case did.
  • It seems like there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get central government officials to better understand the purpose of the project and the need for it, which is excellent as hopefully we might be able to close the gap (at least at a non-political level) between the two parties in terms of whether the project stacks up.
  • Auckland Transport’s budget for the CRL project for 2012/13 is $95 million for property purchase and around $15 million to advance the design. So we really are starting to see some significant funding going towards making the CRL actually happen.
  • The Future Access Study will be completed by the end of October so we should have some really interesting information coming to light in the not too distant future.
  • It seems like the transport modelling for the project is finally taking into consideration the issue of crowding, which is a bit of a no-brainer as clearly one of the main reasons why the CRL is necessary is because otherwise the bus system gets completely swamped and overcrowded.

Altogether it seems like perhaps progress on the CRL’s technical justification is proceeding a little bit better that I had thought, particularly in terms of the relationship with Central Government agencies and in undertaking some important tweaks to the transport modelling – which seemingly so much faith is put in. I certainly look forward to finding out the final results of this City Centre Future Access Study.

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  1. I wonder if ‘surface bus’ is still an option with this new bus network going in over the next couple of years. I assume the conclusion will be that the surface bus system through the central city is close to optimised and full in it’s current form, and anything more would require big time bus lanes on every main road and motorway leading to the city. That should scare the MoT away from the “just run more buses” camp. I also can’t see how that or the underground bus option would work without a couple of new busways to feed them. After all, it’s not like we already have three or four long underutilised busways stretching across the region that only need a tunnel in the city to work properly. We’d need to build the tunnel and the network that feeds it. Yay CRL!

  2. Present access requires the step change of the CRL so unless they really can show there is less than no future for the City Centre and all Auckland is packing up and moving to, say, Warkworth, or perhaps Levin, or one of those other areas favoured by the genius panopticon Steven Joyce and robin to his batman the wilfully anti-urban Mr B. it will be very surprising if this study doesn’t at last conclude the bleeding obvious.

    Although, who knows what forces may still be trying to assure the disinterested of Wellington that Auckland will be just lovely with buses stacked three high on every single city street or in diesel fumed caverns before chugging on to every road and arterial in nose to tail road-trains?

    Sorry, but it is hard not to be a little cynical: show me a RoNS that has had even 10% of the scrutiny that this project has….?

    1. Not really the case though as even the original plan was to spend the next few years getting the consent sorted and doing the detailed design. It will only really start to delay things if there is still no decision by 2015. In many ways this could work against the government as the transport models are having to be improved to better deal with PT usage so that could lead to other projects become more viable and I’m sure these new and improved models will be used for other projects like rail to the airport.

    1. I think they’re based on the issues central government raised with the business case:

      • Finalisation and implementation of the Auckland spatial plan and City Centre Masterplan to establish achievable growth projections for the CBD and to quantify where the growth projected for the CBD will occur
      • Development of a robust multi-modal plan for future transport into the CBD, which includes a thorough analysis of all the alternatives
      • Begin implementation of large scale residential developments along the rail corridors to capitalise on the current upgrade and electrification.
      • Implement additional park and ride sites and bus feeder services to drive further increases in public transport demand

      I know that’s only four. From here: http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/case-auckland-cbd-rail-link-not-yet-made

      1. Cheers for that. It’s interesting – at the time I remembered Steven Joyce being scathing about all things rail, but reading his statements now, they were designed to let him change his mind if council comes up with a better case. And those issues are/were all legitimate problems. Who knows? Maybe we can talk the Nats into it after all.

  3. Funny how they’re all ‘multi-modal’ when faced with a project that doesn’t include roads. Otherwise they’re deaf to any mode that isn’t a State highway.

    But also, and this never ceases to amaze me, if driving is your thing, and it undeniably is for both the government and very active lobbyists like the AA, why aren’t you right behind this, get those reluctant drivers and awful riders buses outta the way and onto their stupid rail network, worth spend a small fraction of the transport pie to clear the road for the right thinking people isn’t it?

    Of course I know how the thinking really goes: when they say bus they mean road, which means car, because they believe that no one really except the hopeless, poor, and mad would actually choose to use PT.

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