Auckland Transport is proposing to widen Lincoln Rd – something that in my opinion is probably already Auckland’s most soul destroying street, particularly from a land use perspective. Every time I travel down there (which is frequently as I live not far from it) it always reminds me of the worst aspects of auto-dependency. Even the recently built ASB regional centre promotes auto-dependency by not only having a drive through ATM but also drive through banking.

It’s a road that doesn’t seem to do anything well. It’s a road that is quite wide with a minimum of five lanes (two each way and a full painted median), the major intersections are massive blowing the road out even wider to cater for turning in all directions including slip lanes yet can also get horribly congested, particularly for people heading towards the motorway – which the NZTA are currently upgrading into an absolute monstrosity.Β On top of that it has poor pedestrian amenity, no cycling amenity and the only bit of bus amenity being a small section northbound at the intersection with Triangle Rd/Central Park Dr to give buses a slight head start.

AT say the road carries about 42,000 vehicles per day and a poor safety record with 446 crashes reported between 2008 and 2012, over a third of which were from drivers exiting driveways or side roads failing to give way.Β The road has also been listed in various documents over the years as needing to be an RTN in the future as part of the primary route connecting the North Shore to West Auckland. The area surrounding the road is also home to around 8,500 residents, 9,000 jobs, a primary school and the Waitakere Hospital.

It’s the northern section which is the worst and that is the part AT are proposing to upgrade with the plans being to

The upgrade seeks to

  • widen Lincoln Road to provide an additional bus and high occupancy vehicle (transit) lane on each side of the road to increase capacity and improve pasenger travel times.
  • upgrade existing intersections to reduce congestion and improve safety
  • build a solid raised and planted median to replace the existing painted median to improve vehicle and pedestrian safety
  • install shared paths for pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the road
  • implement stormwater treatments to minimise surface flooding
  • relocate and upgrade existing utility services
  • integrate with the NZ Transport Agency’s current motorway interchange upgrade.

There are some seriously big cop-outs there,Β a transit lane (because there aren’t already enough lanes for private vehicles to use) and shared paths that will pit pedestrians against cyclists (although the road is so horrible that very few people walk anyway). Here is what the typical mid-block cross section is meant to look like.

Lincoln Road cross section of proposed development

However while the mid-block may be 7 lanes wide (including median) the major intersections of Universal Dr and Triangle Rd/Central Park Dr blow out to over 9 lanes in width in a bid to cater for every kind of vehicle movement its own lane

Lincoln Rd - Triangle-Central Park intersection

And here is a video (from which the image above has been taken) showing the works planned

There is some more detail about some of the features on the AT website and they say the that construction isn’t planned to start until 2018. Here is the timeline.

Lincoln Rd Time Line

There will also be two open days about the project next week

Thursday 5 December
3.30pm – 7.30pm
Netball Waitakere Centre
31-35 Te Pai Place

Saturday 7 December,
10am – 2pm
Lincoln Green Conference Centre
159 Lincoln Road (use Te Pai Place entrance)

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  1. Remembering that Onewa Rd’s T3 lane is a huge success, I think this isn’t so bad. The tree lined median will hopefully make it feel like a sort of boulevard, and for cyclists on the footpath, this would be good for “low speed” cycling (ie urban cycling, or the type of cycling that does not involve lycra).

    So long as they don’t water the T3 lane down to T2, from what I’ve seen of this upgrade, it’s actually still reasonably good, and an overall improvement on the status quo. Could be better, but could have been far worse (grade separation, more general traffic lanes, no footpath improvements).

    1. So what about changing one of the existing lanes to T3? Or, if that doesn’t work overall (because, concerns about car drivers…) why not actually put a proper busway DOWN THE middle, rather than T3 lanes along the edges that are going to be congested at intersections with cross-traffic merging and passing through?

      1. Well see, the buses still need to stop on the side of the road to pick up passengers, putting them in the middle mean they have to fight through 2 or 3 lanes of traffic to stop.

        Love how the video shows basically NO cars actually using the road.

        1. “putting them in the middle mean they have to fight through 2 or 3 lanes of traffic to stop”

          Uhm. No. I was talking of a proper busway. With the stops in the middle too. Pedestrians can access the stops using the signalised pedestrian crossings at the intersections. Buses have a free ride, uninterrupted by anything except traffic lights, but no cars in their way anymore. Not magic, done in thousands of cities worldwide.

        2. I noticed that, the road is empty of cars, but has buses quite prominent. A bit of propaganda there.

          What’s the point of running all these buses between Henderson and the motorway anyway? Is the plan to load up with passengers in Henderson then take them up the bus lanes and motorway to the city, in competition with the trains?

          1. Because the transport system is about more than just going into the CBD and back. Think about what Henderson has that others who live in Te Atatu or Massey (or even further afield) might need to access. Hospital, Work and Income etc etc. Good public transport = freedom.

      2. You’re right about the cross-traffic and merging: After the Central Park Drive intersection, the T3 lane and the left hand straight ahead lane criss-cross! How absurd.

  2. I like the idea of a raised median – some cars use the painted median as a third lane in the mornings.

    But the upgrade is pointless. The bottleneck is the ramp signals at the motorway on-ramp . You could make Lincoln Rd 20 lanes across and it would still clog up. Commuting using Lincoln Rd is not worth the stress so I take the train!

    1. Ran, the Auckland response to your query would be (has been!) to add more lanes to that on-ramp, and to add more lanes to the motorway. Good on you for using the train, but even your answer to me betrays the Auckland mindset. Congested road? Widen it.

      1. Max – what about those slip lanes? I know those are very dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. Does AT/NZTA not recognise that?

        This is a much better design but it is of course from a country (Netherlands) that values the lives of its citizens above the movement of steel boxes:

        1. The answer is easy. Slip lanes move more cars.

          PS to Conan: As far as I know, the “slip lanes are history” logic was only ever proposed for the City Centre. And even there, I am not sure whether AT wouldn’t try to build them anyway, sadly.

    2. And thats why this upgrade wont result in more cars. The road already gets more cars than the interchange can handle and no more capacity for general traffic is being added. What will result in more cars however is the new development on the road. Where are the posts complaining about the new supermarket?

    3. Yep, good point Ran, this isn’t going to actually fix anything is it, apart from providing more space for more cars to queue in peak hours (which is not just the normal weekday peak, I’ve been stuck in tail backs to Universal Drive on Saturday afternoons).

      And goosoid, am I the only one to recall that slip lanes were to be a thing of the past as far as Auckland council was concerned? Did AT not get that memo?

      1. slip lanes were to be a thing of the past

        [[citation needed]]. Lovely if so, but I don’t think anyone in council has said that.

        I don’t think AT have even committed to providing pedestrian crossings on every leg at traffic lights or footpaths on both sides of the road, let alone something more “radical” like eliminating slip lanes.

        1. As I noted above, I believe this was/is part of the City Centre Masterplan. And it is part of the Waitemata Local Board aspirations. To my knowledge, nobody (in power) ever proposed it for all the city…

  3. From your post it seems you dont like transit lanes, footpaths or cycleways which seems very strange.

    Can you also elaborate as to what is so wrong with the new interchange? Its the same as any other modern interchange with safe ramps, stormwater treatment and cycle/pedestrain facilities. Granted the crossing of the road isnt great but the new cycleway is fantastic.

    1. I don’t have so much of a problem with the mid block proposals other than I think the extra lanes should be bus only. The raised median does help. But do have a problem with the massive intersections that are just designed to make it as easy as possible to drive everywhere at the expense of pedestrians.

      The interchange is a monstrosity, did you design the new it? Please tell me why it needs 7 lanes on the bridge across the motorway or 3 lanes to turn southbound on to Lincoln Rd. I note the NZTA have already have had to make changes to the part of Lincoln Rd north of Central Park Dr as now that northbound lanes have access to the motorway eastbound it has blocked up Lincoln Rd meaning those heading to the Westbound ramps were being held up. It wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to predict that would happen.

      Also I wouldn’t say the the crossing for cyclists “isn’t great”. Instead I would say it’s horrendous, you have to make four separate crossings just to get across one road.

      1. Cant say i designed it. However the reason it has 5 lanes over the bridge (not 7) is that the two main flows cross over each other.

        In regards to the two lanes going straight through, maybe that gives you an idea as to what happens if you push two movements into one lane. Aka remove an existing lane to make it a transit lane.

          1. As i said above, the two main movements cross over each other and therefore you need all this space for cars to sit and wait.

            I had designed a free flow option that required a bridge half the size and saved 60s per phase and was cheaper but thats a story for another day.

    2. Can you point out where in the proposal this cycleway is on Lincoln Road? Because the only cycle infrastructure of any kind I’m seeing is short lengths of cycle lane on the intersecting streets, and signs saying that bikes are allowed on the footpath.

      1. There is a cycleway on the western side of the motorway heading towards te atatu that is going to be ectended through to westgate. In the past cyclists where required to weave through the local roads in the industrial area.

        1. As in, an extension of the North-Western cycleway? Well, that’s something. You’d think AT would be crowing about that, or at least put it on the plans.

          Of course, you don’t have to widen Lincoln Road to build a cycleway beside the motorway…

        2. People on bikes have destinations just like people in cars so the network needs to be about much more than just the NW ‘shared path’.

    3. Yes where is this “fantastic new cycleway”? I can’t see any cycleway in that intersection above.

      In fact it looks like a cyclists nightmare, just to go straight ahead you have to merge to the right across a lane of vehicles trying to turn left. I can see many cyclists dying underneath left turning trucks that didn’t notice them.

      At least they have put a crossing in for the pedestrians across the slip lane, a rarity in auckland. That should slow the left turning cars a little.

  4. That’s downright crazy… how long are they going to keep widening the infrastructure to allow ever more cars to commute into central Auckland (where space is not infinite) – PT’s so definitely the way to improve Lincoln Rd. The current state of congestion during peak traffic hours would actually help this cause, while reducing car commute time makes using the car more attractive, which is not a sustainable solution.

  5. Least I am not the only one who uses “boxes” when drawing up urban design concepts πŸ˜›

    That aside I was thinking why don’t we declare it a State Highway ( 85 as a random number), ban walking and cycling along the fringe, lift the speed limit and declare it an expressway/
    Might as well after seeing what is being proposed for Lincoln Road there……….

    And yes I the /sarc tag too πŸ˜›

    1. I have to agree. From what I see all this project does is add a bus/T3 lane. Surely that’s something that the blog would be happy about.

      Moving on, How many buses will actually run on Lincoln Rd with the New network. Doesn’t it emphasise the rail network more? I think you need a minimum of about 15 buses per hour at peak to justify a bus decision. 15 buses full is about 750 people which is at the lower end of the spectrum of how many cars an arterial lane carries.

      1. There’s one frequent network bus on Lincoln Road and a couple of minor routes that go on the road for shorter periods. It wouldn’t be anywhere near 15 per hour.

        This project adds one or two through lanes per direction in various parts of the road. One of them is going to be T3 (presumably just in the peak, and if it lasts that long before becoming T2). It’s not a win for public transport, for the very good reason that you point out – not very many routes use it! This project is about moving more cars to and from the motorway and the big box stores, and trying to encourage cyclists to get out of the way. That’s it.

    2. If you look at the Auckland Plan you’ll see that Lincoln Rd is part of the rapid transit network and is intended to carry the Henderson to Albany rapid transit line, in addition to the aforementioned frequent network route and several connector and local routes as identified in the RPTP.

      This places Lincoln Rd in the same class of service delivery requirements as the Northern Busway and AMETI.

      By the way, the number of routes using a corridor isn’t much of a measure of how busy or important it is, in fact the busiest and most important corridors on the New Network have only a single high frequency, high capacity route.

      For example the northern busway north of Smales Farm and Queen St will only have one route each under the RPTP, doesn’t stop them being the first and second busiest PT corridors in Auckland respectively.

          1. Latest draft of the RPTP has an Albany-Ponsonby-Newmarket all day service which will presumably use the busway.

  6. Good one!

    You had me going for a moment there.
    This post is clearly satire.

    There is no way any sane person could see this as a solution to the issues with Lincoln road.

    As money seems to be no object, why not run a regular tram service down the middle with an easy connect to Henderson Train Station?

    And where are the cyclelanes – why does AT hate cyclists?

    1. You can’t see the cycle lanes because they’re cleverly designed as a shared path with no priority, just like #autodependency requires.

  7. Polls show Aucklanders want more public transport and I’m sure they want lower rates. So what does AT do? Piss away billions making awful roads into awfuller, wider mini-expressways. There’s $2.5 billion in the ITP just for miscellaneous widenings they didn’t bother to list individually, let alone Great South Road, Mill Road, Lake Road and the like.

    Yay for our undemocratic CCO, and a mayor and council who either want this to continue, or just don’t care. Why did I vote for Len again?

    1. “Why did I vote for Len again?”

      Because Palino would have APLLAUDED this kind of scheme, whereas Len Brown “just” lets it happen?

      1. I wouldn’t have voted for some Tory clown like Palino, but I seriously considered Minto, or, more likely, just leaving the mayoral ballot blank.

      2. Bingo, that’s the difference between left and right politicians when it comes to road building. One says it’s good, and does it. The other says it’s bad, but also does it. That will be brought home to a lot of people when the next change of government happens, and all the road building continues.

        1. @Geoff: You’re right about Len (to the extent he even counts as “left”), and definitely a hypothetical “buses need roads too” Labour majority government.

          But the next Labour government, barring something bizarre happening, is going to have to include the Greens in a far more significant capacity than before. There’s no realistic election result that’s going to allow Labour to form a majority with anyone else, unlike 2002 and 2005, where the Greens knew they weren’t indispensable. The Greens have also gotten significantly more sophisticated and adept in their time in Parliament, so I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out their influence.

          1. I agree with Steve above but I would like to add that the left/right dialectic is only useful for a superficial understanding of the forces at work here. There is also a change/no change balance to understand. It is pretty clear that ‘business as usual’ is only sustainable (in the purest sense of the word) for so long; I am confident that the next new government will have to look for new ways no matter what colour you want to think of them as wearing.

            In other words in times of change, which this is, the past is less of a guide to the future than might otherwise be the case.

          2. Yes, you only have to look at the one billion pounds the right-wing mayor of London is spending on cycling infrastructure, and the cycling infrastructure that New york got under Bloombergs watch, to see that this is not a left/right issue.

            I think National here see it as a matter of private(good) vs public(bad), but fiscal conservatives can also view it as gross waste of money building new roads that will only fill up(bad) vs using our existing roads in a smarter more efficient matter (good).

            There are plenty of other conservative governments warming to public transport from an economic perspective.



  8. What do these people think.

    “Hmm, this road is busy, perhaps we should widen it and make it easier for people to get where they’re going by car.”
    “Hmm, now that it’s easy for people to drive, more people are driving and it’s just as busy as before… Maybe we should widen it so it’s easier for people to get where there going by car.”
    “Hmm, now that it’s easy…”


  9. This is roading nirvana that the God of roads dreams of. More lanes than SH 1 or some of the freeways in the States, hundreds of millions of dollars in cost, endless cars funnelling into a three lane motorway that somehow is supposed to cope and great North Road at the other and other sundry side roads. Genius!

  10. The other part of the story of Lincoln Road is big box retail wanting to locate near motorway offramps, and Councils seemingly being powerless to stop them wasting valauble higher-value employment locations by doing so.

    1. I’ve always found the reasoning a bit strange.
      There is big box retail in New Lynn to the east, and to the west there’s, um, Westgate.

      So the catchment area for those retailers is between New Lynn and Westgate.
      Wouldn’t retailers be better served by a quality bus or tram service connecting at Henderson train station and running the length of Lincoln road.

      As well as retailers, there is a very nice park, a hospital as well as a fair amount of commuters.
      Redirecting the focus to create an environment for the clean, safe and enjoyable transport of people rather than cars would seem to be a no brainer for this area.
      In doing so you would end up with more foot traffic, opening up opportunities for cafe’s and restaurants as well.

      1. I agree. Markets seem somewhat shite at allocating resources like motorway connections.

        Let’s hope they subversively plant big trees on the built-up median that eventually helps create a cafe-lined boulevard instead.

  11. Gobsmacking. Widen the road for more vehicles – and you will get more vehicles. But it’s just as foolish to look at Lincoln Rd as a separate entity to its surroundings. Big box retail is predicated on the notion of the automobile. The whole thing is a disaster. Until we massively incentivise small scale, community-based development and infrastructure – and make the property developers responsible for integrating their projects into sustainable urban transport networks – we’ll just keep getting more and more of this.

  12. Actually I’m pretty sure Aucklanders don’t want more PT. They want the existing scheduled PT to turn the f#k up. Seriously. 5 Times in 2 weeks services just havent appeared. Most people wouldn’t come back after the first time.

    Stop expecting people to trust you with further billions to f#k them more

  13. Diagram looks like peds/cyclists can go all over the ‘berm’. Convenient.

    Guessing cyclists are meant to dismount, divert gracefully around slip lane ped crossings, wait for crossing light and smile gratefully.

    1. I am not that cyclist.

      I am assertive, brightly coloured, have a camera affixed to my helmet.
      You will recognise my right to be on the road!

  14. Shared paths totally in conflict with ATs supposed aim of getting people cycling for transport. This looks almost as bad as Ti Rakau Drive, which is awful at any time of day, no matter what one’s mode of travel.

  15. Lincoln Road, including the intersection of Lincoln Rd and Universal Drive, is a legacy of bad traffic planning, but it is hard to see how this will improve anything.
    How come “upgrade” never means improving cycling and pedestrian amenities, or more and better landscaping, or taking out parking and putting in a playground, or any of those other things we know make urban environments pleasant places to be? I see the video calls it the Lincoln Road fly-through. LOL!

  16. This is the unfortunate outcome of not building the Henderson motorway. The motorway out west should have gone through New Lynn and Henderson, instead of by-passing them. It was always inevitable that as New Lynn and Henderson grow, there will be bigger and bigger arterials linking them to the distant, misplaced motorway. Just wait until the Unitary Plan kicks in, and these western centres grow more dense. I suspect we’ll eventually see the likes of Lincoln Rd duplicated entirely, into 20 lane bohemoths.

    This widening proposal isn’t new BTW. It’s been planned for ages, and was always intended to be constructed after the government finishes the new motorway interchange that enables it. The whole concept including interchange and widening has essentially been a joint effort between government and AT.

    The irony is that it was this blog criticizing the interchange having so many lanes to dump traffic into the narrower Lincoln Rd. Now it’s the widening of that road to solve that, that is being criticized. What should be criticized is the plan to make all this much worse by cramming lots more people into the area. If you think the wider Lincoln Rd will be bad, you’re going to hate what the UP leads to.

    1. A motorway is the answer? You’ve got to be kidding me? You appear to be someone who loves sprawl, #autodomination but also has a fascination with trains.

      1. I didn’t say build a motorway – I said the motorway was built in the wrong place, and because of that, as Henderson and New Lynn grow, the arterials linking them to the motorway are going to get bigger. It won’t stop with Lincoln Rd, mark my words. New Lynn will be targeted next, then New Lynn to Henderson. You are going to get a defacto motorway looping through New Lynn and Henderson within 20 years regardless.

    2. No Geoff. The problem is not the quantity of people in the area it is the repeated commitment to the private car as the only well supported means of movement for all those people. With the entirely predictable and clearly now observable result that that mode is completely oversubscribed. To loosen belt on this excess of demand is entirely the worst thing to do at this place and this time. This will not help the patient with its weight roblem.

      What this corridor needs is a (for Auckland) radical injection of Transit and Active priority, get those buses carrying so many more people speeding past the banks of cars and the people here, like the North Shore people before them, will act rationally and choose the better and faster mode. Of course this would have to extend down SH16 and link efficiently with Henderson Station too. This would work we know because it is working now on the Shore, and it is a total tragedy that there is a clear lack of vision, leadership, and would have to say talent at AT to bring this about.

      Auto domination and auto dependency are not inevitabilities but decisions. And here AT is deciding to reinforce both in west Auckland. A decision to make both the place and people poorer as a result.

      A sloppy T3 on a route with the same transit designation as the Northern Busway is a sign of West Aucklanders not being treated with the same respect as their richer neighbours over the harbour by this allegedly ‘Council Controlled Organisation’.

      1. It’s unrealistic to say the growth could be entirely catered for by other modes. With growth comes increased use of all modes, and even a large injection of PT projects will not change the fact that cars will remain the #1 mode.

        The UP will unfortunately lead to more Lincoln Rd style projects in this area – it’s guaranteed.

        1. It’s not guaranteed. If you want faster access to the motorway, live closer to the motorway. We can and must do better at providing quality PT routes. It is the cost affordable option. Building more roads will only lead to higher rates.

          1. I would venture to say that Central Park Drive and Triangle road need their own east facing on/off ramps and Royal Rd needs West facing on/off ramps. Trying to get all traffic down a single road doesn’t work.

  17. There isn’t enough U-turn facilities on the raised median between intersections. Just a very long straight raised median. Sadly this will piss everyone off. There should be one at least every couple of hundreds of meters.

    1. Turn into a light controlled street, complete the U turn and come back out on the side of Lincoln Rd you want to access. Sounds hard but go on, try it. The rest of the world manages.

      1. That’s why we need Poinsettia with an open median. Have a look at the plan. Every other street has an open median. The distance of the unbroken median is way to long. Everyone would benefit from having it open.

  18. Also, there is no way to turn into Poinsettia Place from the other side of Lincoln Road. Please change the design, so that you can turn into this street as it is a very busy street when parents pick up their children from school. And not having the median open for this street will cause even more traffic on Lincoln Rd. with parents trying to find places for a U-turn somewhere else.

    1. Use Pomaria Rd instead. (Will no one think of the cars). Or maybe push to make it safe enough for kids to, you know, walk or cycle to school? Crazy huh?

  19. Pomaria is already too busy enough, or they will have to widen the street there to. Poinsettia needs to have an open median to distribute traffic evenly.

  20. This is like one of those car ads where a there is nothing on the road except the machine (and the dream) being sold. The reality is way uglier.

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