Auckland’s geography has helped to define how the city has developed, both at a regional level but also at a local level. As the city has grown we have worked around the natural barriers often taking the path of least resistance/cost but that has left us with some places that can be extremely circuitous to get around. In this post I want to look at a few places where actually adding in a road would be extremely beneficial, not just for cars but also for buses, walkers and cyclists.

First up in the West we have the another crossing of the Whau River. At the moment, particularly anyone around the Glen Eden area, has an extremely long route to travel to get to either the Avondale peninsula or to the motorway. This crossing actually had some work done on a few years ago and the preferred alignment is shown below was to link the roundabout on Rosebank Rd/Patiki Rd to Hepburn Rd and was costed in 2008 dollars at $73 million for a two lane bridge or $106 million for a four lane one. Such a route could have potentially dramatically reduced the amount of pressure that is placed on the Te Atatu and Gt North Rd interchanges and potentially been a useful bus route, especially if a busway was built alongside SH16.

Whau River Crossing

While the Whau River crossing wouldn’t come cheap, there are others that wouldn’t cost nearly as much. This time lets jump across to the East to the area around Pakuragna. The waterways around here have created some huge barriers that require all traffic from further East to be forced onto a handful of roads in order to get west. It is also difficult to serve with public transport due to the way that the two key routes, Pakuranga Rd and Ti Rakau Dr, continue to separate like a wedge the further they get from Pakuranga where the only two crossings of the river north of the motorway exist. In this case a small bridge between Hope Farm Ave and La Trobe St would amongst other things, allow for a logical third main bus route from the east to pierce right through the middle of that wedge. I imagine it would also be hugely beneficial to those who may want to cycle in that area too.

Hope Farm Ave Crossing

In the North another potential, although probably quite difficult and expensive link we have discussed in the past is a bridge between Greenhithe and Beach Haven. Its something which could provide another useful North/South bus route along the shore and would dramatically cut down on travel times from upper harbour areas.

Beachhaven to Greenhithe Bridge

There are probably also countless other places where new links in the form of bridges or perhaps as a result of removing a few houses could make a massive difference to how people get around by walking or cycling, make a more logical bus network or even to help spread vehicle traffic out further by reducing bottlenecks. If you were to have a programme of work to make some of these new links, what ones would you like to see.

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      1. Putting your hand up to be chief proof reader for the blog? Nice work :-). I’m sure the mod’s will be very happy with your offer.

        1. “the mod’s” …? Surely you jest! 🙂

          On topic: doesn’t the long-term plan for the New Lynn area include a new crossing from Delta Ave to Avondale racecourse?

    1. Remove a house for pedestrians and cyclists? Are you insane? Don’t you know houses only get demolished or moved for high value works, like roads? Big Gerry will be very disappointed that people like you exist :-). Personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea. In order to make Auckland more walkable and cyclable, AC need someone to draw out the city and work out what is required to create a grid system where it can benefit such activities. Buy and redevelop properties, where viable, in order to create both high intensity housing and active transport thoroughfares.

      1. Totally for more of this thinking. There’s a lot of love for Aucklands “streetcar suburbs” on this blog. Fair enough when you compare it to the rest of the city. But the truth of them is that they are not richly connected. They have sparse often incomplete grids with fairly narrow streets for main routes (eg dominion road). It makes it hard to do things like bike boulevards that are easy in richly connected, denser grids such as Portland and Vancouver. On top of that walking is impaired for obvious reasons. The situation is similar in Wellington. Christchurch fares better. However the suggestion that councils should be looking to complete missing connections on the grid seems to meet with opposition or a mental block from most people. Not sure why.

    2. This is a good idea. Apparently the history types are against it, not wanting to break a long line of old houses.

      Though a decent cycling route on one of the main roads would be many times better.

      1. I’m sure if you left a decent chunk of the picket fence and put in a period appropriate roofed gateway type of thing the “history” folks would be ok with it. In a few years people would assume it had always been there.
        Buying the house would be the tricky part. Is it a Million Dollar connection? Cause it would be…

        1. Thanks Geoff. I know you are particularly interested in the heritage housing movement (which I think is a good thing) and I figured having a reserve (with the picket fence) might be looked upon more favourably than replacing an old house with a modern building. As the pathway would not take up an entire section, what if the heritage house was replaced with ‘heritage’ looking apartments?

    3. We already do have that cycling link, it’s called Sandringham Rd. I can’t help but wonder of those who advocate for a backstreets ramble of dog legs and winding detours for a cycle corridor ever actually cycle themselves.

      1. Sandringham Rd is perfect – for skilled adult cyclists. We will not have great cycling numbers until infrastructure is designed for cyclists of all ages.

        1. Ok, so why advocate for keeping Sandringham Rd for skilled adult cyclists and only allowing the rest to ride on a back streets tiki tour that goes from nowhere to nowhere in a roundabout fashion? Why not just make cycling on Sandringham Rd (and every other road) more accessible to the average person?

        2. What’s wrong with riding back streets as long as they can get you to places? Hence the creation of walking and cycling alleys. I present the Dominion Rd upgrade as my first piece of evidence to show how difficult it can be to get cycling infrastructure built into busy main roads – not to mention expensive. Creating theses alleys by redeveloping parts of neighbourhoods could be a very cost effective way of opening the city to more cycling and walking. How would you make Sandringham Road more accessible and safer for cyclists without removing the bus lanes and parking (which goes against walkability guidelines anyway)? The footpath / kerb space is not wide enough for off road lanes.

        3. Oh, and I’m not advocating keeping Sandringham Road for skilled riders. If they feel they want to ride along there then good on them. Me, I would rather meander along residential streets.

        4. To widen Dominion Road to create cycle lanes was going to cost $50m according to AT. Remove, redeveloping 4 properties @ $1.2m each would be a very cost effective way of providing an alternative route and could also increase property prices even more – more rates. If they were developed with some period looking apartments it could even cost less.

  1. As for the Whau crossing, it would take a huge amount of pressure off Te Atatu Road and would remove the need for the Te Atatu Road widening project. Also, I would also turn Edmonton Road, between Central Park Drive and Te Atatu Road, into a residential street again, redevelop Central Park Drive as the main alternative (the corridor is huge and was obviously designed for a 4 lane road all the way to Lincoln Road). Then the Te Atatu South residents can have their suburb back.

    1. Yes great thinking on the Whau bridge. $25m to widen the road could go to building the bridge.

      Also will massively aid people in Glendene, Kelston. Bus trips there to the city take an hour, probably 20 minutes on the bus across a new bridge.

    2. Would love to have my suburb Te Atatu back to people and not cars with a new bridge!

      The council is looking to expand businesses and jobs in Rosebank Rd so improved access for businesses there and people to jobs from Glendene, etc would be smart. Spam Farm businesses in Glendene will have better assess to the motorway too.

        1. No couldn’t make it but from what I understand it was more about busways and ferries than bridges and Te Atatu Rd.

    3. I see the Whau crossing as 2 lanes with a centre median (to allow redirection of vehicles in case of a beakdown). What we don’t want to do is turn the residential feeder roads into traffic sewers. The idea is to balance the volumes on the roads around the area and get away from the ‘arterial’ thinking.

      1. Change of mind. Whau bridge at 4 lanes – 2 x traffic and 2 x bus / T2. In conjunction with widening to the NW motorway this could give roughly 2km of dedicated HOV lanes.

  2. Matt, the thing you map doesn’t show is the fairly extensive, off road path network on the eastern side of Cascades Road. Creating an off road shared path on Hope Farm Ave, and a crossing over / under Cascades Road would open up that whole area to cyclists of all ages.

    1. You can draw and measure on google maps if you have a google or gmail login, also the free version of google earth has draw and measure tools built in.

    2. It depends on what I am doing, Google maps is great for measuring stuff as you can move the lines around as required however for these images I just take a snapshot of the the part of the image I wanted and put it into Powerpoint then drew the lines on top. It also also allows things like arrows etc. and I think that the lines have a nicer, softer quality to them.

      1. Thanks Geoff, Nick, and Matt, I do have a gmail/google login and Powerpoint, so I’ll have a play. Cheers, Jamie

  3. a bus/bike/ped bridge linking Byron Ave to Des Swann Drive in Takapuna would allow much better bus connections through the Takapuna metro centre to and from Akoranga Station

    when the station opened ARTA lost several regular riders from the 911 by routeing it through Fred Thomas Drive rather than Barrys Point Rd and they wouldn’t even consider new bus stops at Fred Thomas/Des Swann (yes, I know it was a North Shore responsibility at the time)

  4. There are a few little connections around Mangere East that would do wonders for a more connective street network.

    1. The proposal for Whau has been around a while. Comes down to cost and political power. Interesting how on the draft plan for the Henderson Massey board they had plans for another bridge to Te Atatu Peninsula on it but not this bridge which makes more sense. 3 councilors living in the Peninsula maybe a reason. Thankfully it was scrapped.

      1. Don’t worry about the Peninsula bridge. That was well and truly opposed. I think 97% of submissions were in the ‘NO’ category 🙂

  5. Matt, thanks for highlighting the Whau bridge idea. It makes so much sense. People in the electorate often raise it with me. As has been noted it would be much better to re-allocate the $27m budgeted for widening Te Atatu Rd as a down payment on the Whau bridge. It would have the added benefit of linking Glendene people to jobs at Rosebank Rd, and a busway station! BTW I am still waiting for Auckland Transport to respond to my concern that the Te Atatu Rd widening is very weak on public transport and needs to be completely re-thought given that Te Atatu Rd is about to become a high-frequency PT route.

    1. As a busdriver i’ve been waiting 10 years for AT to make a decision on this Whau bridge idea…….it makes obviously “To Much Sense” for AT to comprehend…..

      1. Whau Creek Crossing? Yes, yes, yes & yes!
        All the pathetically slow and over-engineered work being done on the western ring route, causeway, Lincoln Rd & Te Atatu Rd interchanges and bits in between are mere window dressing because Te Atatu Rd Sth & Lincoln Rd are the choke points that determine the flow limit on the North Western at peak time. (and currently mean the afternoon peak on the NW is 3:30 to 7:30 – 4 hrs as people try to avoid the area)
        All I see happening once the three and four(???) laning is finished is that the left most lanes remain crawler lane/holding bays that feed the over congested TeAtatu Sth and Lincoln Rds and the through traffic to Massey, WestHarbour and Helensville in the centre lanes fly past at dangerously high speed differentials creating risks for all parties. It’s tough enough currently trying to get on at Patkiki going west at rush hour and merging across the Ta Atatu bound traffic to get into the lanes that go further west.
        I would stop the three & four laning beyond the Patiki off ramp NOW! Do the Whau Creek thing first with a HEAVY PT, cycling and industry service emphasis. Reduce private cars using the bridge to reduce the impact on the residential roads to the west, by selective heavy tolling or permanent T2. Keep heavy transport off the residential roads by banning certain vehicle classes west of Harmel Rd. Linking the Glendene & Patiki indrustrial areas would have huge benefits for the businesses and commuting workers. This would be roading that creates economic value rather than just moving cars around.
        After this is place Gerry and his mates can reassess the value of further works along the NW Motorway west of Patiki.

        Tell me Phil, what can I do to help make this happen?

        Cheers Mr Plod

        1. I heard a rumor that AT are going to spend a bucket load to 6 lane a section of Lincoln Rd well just to add to the total cost. Unsubstantiated so is anyone is in a position to verify or say its wrong?

  6. Whilst appreciating that you guys don’t approve of money spent in improving the South Auckland infrastructure: extending Weymouth Road to cross the narrows of Pahurehure Inlet to Karaka and on to Linwood Road would be a massive benefit to Franklin. It would also take a great deal of pressure off the Southern Motorway.

    1. I just took a look at that proposal – it is a virtual extension of Route 17 that would as you said connect the west-end of Karaka to the south western end of South Auckland and through to Wiri, the airport and State Highway 20 (basically a rather long Western Ring Route Bypass (bypassing Manukau, Manurewa and Takanini).

      Yes it might/would open transit links from Franklin to South Auckland and bypass State Highway One to an extent – but it is also asking for the entire area to be opened up for Greenfield development as well – quicker than expected. Was checking where the rail was – but unless someone wants to embark on a massive state sponsored public works scheme, building a rail line to boot is well out of it

    2. Not sure where you get the idea that we oppose improving infrastructure in South Auckland from, There are probably heaps of places that could benefit from being connected through missing links. I think the bridge you mention is something that should probably only happen if the area was to be heavily developed and if was to be of real use would probably also require a route from the intersection of SH22 and Glenbrook Rd north to meet it but all up you would be looking at huge costs. One thing I would like to see happen is when the Takanini interchange is upgraded is that the annoying northbound onramp is changed and the space freed up may allow for Brylee Dr to be extended north to Gt South Rd which would give those in Conifer Grove another route in and out of the area. Currently if something like a truck was to strike the Walter Strevens Dr bridge and take it out of action, those residents would be cut off.

    3. The real danger with your proposal is that it could very well turn Weymouth Rd, a residential street, into an arterial which would have some significant downsides for the residents. We need to get away from doing this to residential streets.

  7. The extension of Weymouth Rd south & Whau crossing have been planned for many years. Politics & funding.
    A harbour crossing at Meola reef is anonther potential linkage from years gone by.

    1. “A harbour crossing at Meola reef is anonther potential linkage from years gone by.”

      There are no decent roads at either end of that crossing,once an extension to the relevant motorways at each end was added the cost would be way above the current harbour crossing plan which is already $5bn.

    2. Anthony- the Meola crossing is never going to happen. Unless you feel you can bulldoze the Zoo, Motat 2, a school and two streams?

      Then there’s the connectivity gap.

      The last thing Auckland needs is another Waitemata Harbour Crossing…

      1. and where would a Meola Reef crossing land on the Shore? Better not mention turning Birkenhead Ave/Glenfield Rd into a motorway or it will become another road of national nuisance.

        1. There’s already a pedestrian/ cycle/ tram connection through there, cars would ruin it imho

  8. Just noticed that outlines a bunch of arterial road improvements too. Some of which were implemented like to miserable Balmoral Road corridor. A few other interesting ones too like the extension of the Airport motorway to the east. This corridor can still be clearly seen heading towards Savill Drive as houses clearly built at later date.
    Are a few other strange ones like an extra road to Devonport bypassing Haukraki. Also shows the South Eastern Highway, built just over a decade ago. Then you have upgrades like the Mill Road corridor which is going to happen over the next decade!

  9. Just a question: How would you guys feel if some of the land-based routes (i.e., not Meola Reef to Kauri Point!) in the plan in Matt’s comment were hidden below ground and the existing use or improved medium-high density mixed-use areas and/or urban parks/recreational areas were over them?

    The same could be done for existing motorway routes, and for railway routes – improving their alignments and connections to surrounding areas at stations. The leases from the medium-high density mixed-use areas above could pay for the development (e.g., the way Lower Hutt was developed in the 1930s/40s).

    The original street patterns and neighbourhoods could be restored above as though the severance had never happened.

    1. Jamie- there are proposals to do just that already. The City Centre Masterplan has a pie in the sky “cover grafton motorway with a park”, but there’s a prop that might work in Newmarket over the rail junction. Post about it it two weeks back?

      1. Auckland CIty looked at Newmarket options while I was there, late ’90s early ’00s, including an over the rail road from the Remuera Rd bridge to Broadway, big, big dollars, difficult to make a sensible connection to either Khyber Pass or Carlton Gore, massive urban amenity issues and (from meory) didn’t do a great deal on the traffic front

        Newmarket is a bit of a problem, a physically very constrained area with high land values, Manukau, Great South and Remuera roads all converging into Broadway with Gillies Ave as a bit of an awkward bypass

        however, many residents choose to be carless because of the very good PT links to the CBD, so Newmarket’s solutions rest with continuing PT enhancements, walking, cycling and demand management measures, with the trend to drive less, building more roads will not provide a solution, sorry Gerry!

  10. Thanks Geoff, I’ll take a look. Newmarket is an obvious place to start, but I’ve been thinking about the whole CMJ area and its approaches, and the Western and Southern rail lines to New Lynn and Penrose, respectively. I’ve been thinking about this since I was a kid (i.e., for 30 years).

    1. Here is the Newmarket one Geoff is referring to. In general I have no issue with covering the existing motorways and think we should look to do it where possible however I’m not so sure about creating any new routes underground other than what is planned with Waterview. Going underground is very expensive, as an example New Lynn cost about $140m for a 900m trench and station while the 3 lanes of the VPT cost ~$400m. You would have to get a lot of development above those corridors to make it a justifiable way of developing them.

  11. Thanks Matt. When things are done as ad hoc one-offs they’re going to be expensive, but if done as a rolling program the costs can come down, and the lease income streams can be over 100 years or more (and the interest rate can be 0-2%, if funded by the Reserve Bank, like parts of the Lower Hutt development was/is said to have been in the 1930s/40s).

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