This great photo by Richard Joseph shows just how wide Quay St is and how much it is focused on the movement of vehicles.

All up the width between the buildings and the red fence/Ferry building is about 30m. Here’s an example of what would fit in that width.

  • Two footpaths, wider on the seaward side.
  • Bidirectional cycle lane
  • Light rail line to connect Wynyard Quarter to Britomart and eventually up Queen St. Can also be used for bus lanes.
  • Two general traffic lanes (there will likely still be some need for general traffic access but with a narrowed road and other traffic calming measures they wouldn’t be practical as an arterial route like they are now).
  • Each mode separated by raised and planted medians with frequent gaps for easy pedestrian access to the waterfront.

Quay St Steetmix

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  1. Where would such a tramway go? I know there is talk of extending it along the eastern bays but I just don’t see it fitting the road width out there

    1. In the long run, space could be provided from car parking and seawall widening. But it could also be a busway, with buses transferring back to normal traffic lanes at some stage where constraints are too tight.

  2. Good stuff, Matt.

    The dedicated cycle path has of course been a key part of CAA’s advocacy, and as far as I am aware, this is included in the future plans. “As far as I am aware”, because the plans were were given by AT to comment on werent final yet.

  3. I’d like to see the cycle path be a single lane each way (ie, one on each side of the road) to ensure shops are easily accessed by people on bikes without having to go onto the footpath..

    1. Why not a two-way cycle path on EACH side of the road – after all thats what they do for pedestrians- so cyclists should have a choice as to what side they cycle on regardless of direction. Just like pedestrians have.

  4. Well with 30m to play with this just goes to show all sorts of things are possible. Time to declare Quay St no longer part of the freight or arterial road network, and assign the motorways and other roads to the task.

    I would connect Tamaki Dr to Tangihua St as the main route, then keep only one lane each way on Quay St from there to Commerce St. Likewise, Hobson St to Albert St to one lane each way, while the central bit from Albert to Commerce closed entirely, assuming that buses could still get in and out ok.

    Get rid of the Hobson St viaduct entirely and remake lower Hobson St as basically an access road to Princes Wharf only.

    So two access loops with a pedestrian only bit between it. That would be no more highway through route, but vehicle access maintained to the various buildings that need it, and a great plaza type area from Britomart to the Ferry Building and Queens Wharf.

    Would need a full rejig of bus movements and stops though.

    1. Ah, the old saw – make one project dependent on another, then not do both.

      Customs Street isn’t even on the CRL route – all it will be affected is at one intersection. Traffic management can provide temporary routes while that is being rebuilt – including ON the same intersection. If you read the documentation for the CRL, you will see that they never intend closing the affected intersections fully, except for very short periods (days, or at most, weeks). The style will be to work half of the intersection, then reopen and work on the other half.

      So absolutely no reason to stop Quay Street for another 5-10 years just because of CRL.

    2. Which is why we need to get the cut and cover bit finished asap. Once Quay / Customs is complete there is no need for any diversions to Quay. It could be as little as 18 months away if we got started now.

  5. Heresy on a blog like this but where would all the cars go. Custom and quay street are already extremely busy during peak.

    Won’t it just shift east west driving uptown a bit. Add this to the park along Victoria street and we had better ensure that public transport is up to it.

    Are you suggesting the proposed changes to the bus network and CRL are enough or would more be needed?

    1. There is still a lot of optimisation that can be made to east-west traffic like making better use of Grafton Gully for cars to use.

      Yes better PT is needed in the city and the CRL + bus changes should address most of that.for some time into the future.

    2. Why do people seem to think that people in cars driving across town rather than taking the motorway built at great expense should be allowed to continue to do that for ever and infinity. Fact is the shape and form of the city is changing and part of that is repurposing roads to provide for more than the movement of cars. Quay Street is one of those. It may pain those who like to think of the central city as simply their motorway onramp, but it too now has a large and expanding population, and as a result is going to have to serve those people too. Not just those who live in the suburbs and see Quay Street as an alternative to the motorway.

      1. Because Grafton Gully is an absolute nightmare for those wanting to head north at the end of the day.

        My actual point was you need to identify why those people are in cars because if there is no public transport option for them, then they will continue to use cars. I cant remember the exact figure but the Northern ‘Bus’ Lane is really only 40-50% of the road between Britomart and the North. Fanshawe doesn’t even have a full bus land in either direction!

        This plan might be the ultimate goal but we need to get other things done first. Matt thinks the proposed bus changes are enough so if we make more bus lanes, we can start taking away car lanes which will further reinforce the behaviour. A tram up Queen Street does nothing for the people that are driving across the city (and as pointed out, duplicates the CRL).

        1. “Because Grafton Gully is an absolute nightmare for those wanting to head north at the end of the day”

          It is that no doubt. The primary reason for this nightmare seems to be the ramp meter on the northern link. This seems to be to provide good road space to the cars entering at Fanshaw as there is rarely traffic issues in this area and it has its won lane to enter the motorway into. So turn this meter off, turn the meter at Fanshaw on (they are already there- the traffic lights at Beaumont/Fanshaw) and the northern link would becoming the primary entrance northbound for the eastern side of the city. It used to be quicker for me to drive down Quay St from my work in the Strand than to take the northern link.

      2. BBC, we both know the car drivers far outnumber the PT users so lets not waste energy on discussing ideas that are not going to be popular with the vast majority of the community.

        1. Across the whole city that may be true except in the CBD that is not the case. Currently the same number of people get to town by PT as they do by car, add in walking and cycling and the % of people arriving by car is only 45% and that number is falling. That number includes anyone using Quay St for an east-west route.

          1. Matt, like most things it will be a cost issue. You would be asking all of the city to fund this and the car owning voters would be screaming ‘enough train sets’. Not every Fracking road needs to be narrowed, not every Fracking car needs to be replaced by a bus or a train. I think Auckland should invest in the CRL and that Queen st should be pedestrianised with a PT loop for buses but there is not a bottomless pit of cash. Sure I hear you say ‘what about the CFN’ but that is just robbing money from road projects to build PT projects you like. Aucklands car users just don’t want that and it’s time to accept that you do not hold the power to force people to give up the freedom of their cars.

          2. Well when the road space becomes priced (as it will – either through explicit road/congestion taxes, higher fuel prices, parking charges or simply more and more time stuck in congestion), then those car drivers along Quay and other roads will suddenly want options and they’ll (rightfully) expect PT options to be there that work for them.

            The only way to provide that (short of bowling the entire CBD to build more roads) is to make trade-offs against single occupant cars to allow more multi-occupant vehicles instead (e.g PT).

            And parking outside your place and walking over the bridge via SkyPath will help some folks, if the buses or whatever are all full, but others will want to be able to get a NEX bus or whatever to the CBD easily. So there is an element of carrot and stick here.

            You have to use the (less road space sometimes for cars in the short term) stick to ensure that they can share in the (PT) carrot in the future.

            No one is advocating the banning of all cars – for Auckland thats not an option.

            But that doesn’t mean either that the current status quo of cars dominating over everything else is set in tablets of stone like the 10 commandments Moses was given.

            As for PT projects robbing road projects ala CFN – there are trade-offs in everything to do with transport spending
            – someone has to make value calls on which of the many competing projects should be funded – as they can’t all be funded.
            Thats not a new issue or one particular to the CBD or Auckland.

            All that CFN says is lets re-balance the present one-sided spending and give PT a bigger slice of the Transport spending pie
            – and its only fair to do so as roads have had almost the entire share of such spending for 60+ years.

            I hardly call that being “greedy”, “unworkable” or “arrogant” as you suggest.

  6. That is a lot f width for pedestrian traffic that doesn’t really exist. You could half the footpath width and put in dedicated cycle lanes right now.
    Light rail should not be needed – if people need to use PT to Wynyard they should take the bus. And up queen street? Are you proposing a light rail up Queen and the CRL up Albert? Do you not think that might be a bit train set overkill?
    As Mike says above – Custom and Quay are very busy at rush hour (a reason not to remove the Hobson st flyover) so we shouldn’t reduce the car lanes.
    So – cut back the footpath – remove parking – and make a proper cycle path (as Bryce says on both sides) and you have all the improvement you need. You could even run a bus service from Wynyard to Upper Queen Street via Britomart on a dedicated bas lane (made possible by removing parking).
    Problem fixed without the huge and silly expense of more train sets.

    1. Phil I realise you don’t live in New Zealand so you probably don’t know, bit there is a lot of foot traffic on the waterfront these days. I was jogging along Quay St the other day and had to cross to the south side, there were too many people on the north to go faster than walking pace. I figure there would be a lot more too if it weren’t a six lane highway.

      Bus lanes on Queen st and Quay would be a good start, there is no parking to remove but there are excess traffic lanes so easy to take one of those. Light rail isn’t overkill, it would serve a different function to the CRL. CRL is to get people in and out of the city, amongst other things. PT at street level is to get people around within the City Centre, hop on hop off travel. The fact Melbourne has trams on every street doesn’t stop them having a four track city loop train tunnel. Both are regularly crowded beyond capacity.

      Light rail would also be cheaper to operate than buses at the levels of occupancy we see today. The current City Link bus runs every few minutes and is standing room only most of the day.

      Quay st is busy at rush hour because we let it be. I can guarantee it wouldn’t be as busy if you closed it off to through traffic. Those folks can stay on the motorway, or go around., or not drive across town at all.

    2. Phil the footpath widths I used in the image above are the same as what exist today. You might be the only person who things they are too big. As for the cars, see my comment in reply to Mike, there’s still a lot of optimisation that could occur to better use the network we have which would reduce traffic demand on Quay St.

      As for light rail up Queen St, like Nick says it would be serving a different purpose to the CRL.

  7. What would light rail do that buses couldn’t? Dont get me wrong here – I am all for taking cars out of Queen Street and having a PT loop but If you have a dedicated bus lane which loops Wynard – Britomart – Queen Street – K Rd – Ponsonby Rd – College Hill you would have a nice hop on hop off PT system. If its dedicated with its own lanes right of ways etc it would be a fast and cheap option to ride around the city. Frequency can be every 15 mins and if you need to add resilience you just buy another bus. That would be a lot cheaper than another train set.
    Len is having a pretty tough job selling the CRL to rate payers and the Govt – do you really think people will welcome an additional Rail project that needs funding?
    I wont argue foot traffic on Quay except to say I find East of Britomart to be pretty empty most days I have been there. Whats for people to visit? A Japanese steak house, a couple of tacky Asian shops , and commercial wharfs. I see Quay as a busy and important transit route East-West across the city. Car drivers don’t want to go around the long way and why should they and cyclists deserve dedicated lanes.
    Of course its all opinion.

    1. “Len is having a pretty tough job selling the CRL to rate payers and the Govt”

      Nice try. Most Auckland citizens supported the CRL in recent polling – and before that in Nat party polls, which is when the govt reluctantly stopped opposing it.

      1. If the CRL was so popular with rate payers and the Govt No pants Len wouldn’t have trouble getting an early start to the project.

        1. Current Government is only holding out as they want to keep their electoral options open – as soon as the polling starts telling them formally what they already know – its popular in Auckland and NZ wide *and* will cost them votes/Government if they don’t commit – they will jump behind the CRL.

          And of course, a change of Government later this year means the CRL “starts by lunchtime”.

          The only argument the Government can really put up against the CRL is their ideologicial need to spend that money on “Roads of (very) Dubious Significance” – that is making RoDS for their own back.

          Which is exactly like the position that the UK Government has right now on HS2.
          HS2 will happen for no other reason than some UK politicians are wedded to it, just like the Dead Albatross was to the Ancient Mariner.

          The politicians know its not really gonna be economical or justified in the medium and longer terms but they’re committed to it so come hell or high-water – which for most of the UK that is about now isn’t it?

    2. Actually in the short to medium term I agree the cheapest and easiest solution is narrow down Queen St and leave it bus only. That would have massive impacts and would probably allow the mid block crossings to be removed as it’s pretty easy to cross a road that only has buses every few minutes (is already more than every 15 minutes and gets very busy). That would also speed up the buses. You will also notice that in the CFN we only have that link in after the CRL so it is not about doing both at once.

      Lastly one of the impacts of doing up Quay St is it would become a nicer place and therefore those buildings that front it will develop over time to more interesting places. If you were here you could look at what’s happening with Fort St which has been massively revitalised thanks to the shared space and people have responded, revenue was up over 100% and hospo revenue up over 400% as a result.

    3. What light rail can do that buses can’t is be cheap and efficient on very high passenger volumes in a constrained corridor.

      Buses are very efficient up to a point, and beyond that point where you have space for large stations and circulation. In Queen St there are very high demands, enough to run a bus every few minutes full. To go much beyond that would lead to requirements for bus lanes plus stopping lanes, stops that can handle two or thee buses at a time, and the means to turn those buses at each end and lay them over. So there is a question. Of whether we want stacks of buses doing layover for timekeeping along Quay St and K Rd.

      Trams on in the other hand have a higher capacity per vehicle, and per driver as a result, so they are a lot more cost effective on high patronage routes. Effectively they hold four times the people per driver, so have one fourth the staffing cost which bears a big impact on opex…. If you have enough people to keep them routinely quite full.

      They also load and unload faster, with level boarding from four or more doors per side simultaneously. Again when it’s a very busy street corridor that can mean much faster cycle times, which equates to faster trips for passengers, cheaper operations, and higher capacity with a given fleet and infrastructure.

      It also means in a very constrained corridor like the Queen St valley, but one that is also very high profile with an expectation for world class urban environments, you can deliver high capacity and efficiency without blowing out the footprint.

      So yes a two lane Queen St for buses only would work wonders. But at some point they will find it cheaper and more effective to run trams.

  8. “What would light rail do that buses couldn’t?”

    Apart from any other consideration, light rail would not consume fossil fuels or emit noxious gases.

    1. Glass quarter empty eh Phil? You’d always reject the good cos it isn’t perfect?

      Actually it varies year to year between about 20-28% and we are either the closure of one ageing and not very profitable aluminium smelter or a change in policy away from that figure being towards if not actually at 100%.

      Other than Iceland pretty much no other nation is as well placed as NZ to have the great advantage of total renewable generation. And as use has been flat to falling recently we’ed have rocks in our heads not to be moving whatever parts of the tricky transport networks to our home grown energy as we can.

      1. Patrick – you obviously need a lesson on how power gen works. Most fossil fuel is used in turbines which are used for switching. That means they can be fired up fast and shut down again to cope with peaking. Rivers are not very good at that so it is unlikely that NZ will ever have total renewable electric.
        Of course we could if we went down the nuclear route – the path eventually the rest of the world is likely to take but I doubt you are in favour of that.
        And what ever your choice of energy – a second train set is not needed – not wanted and not in anyone’s budget.

        1. Phil,
          Nuclear is not useful or needed.
          Nuclear power requires that we would need to have at least two of them – one to provide back-up for the first during outages/refueling.

          And the eye-wateringly expensive cost of just one Nuclear plant to build and operate (let alone decommissioning) would be something little old NZ could not afford.
          Let alone the two needed.

          And of course, Nuclear power plants take even longer than coal powered ones to “spin up” and ramp down, so you still need peaking plants.

          In any case right now we have more electricity generation than we actually use, once you remove the smelter, we will have more than we can use for the next 10+ years of growth.

          1. Nuclear power is hopelessly expensive. Gas powered turbines are no longer easy to “spin up” and ramp down because they now have complex plant to increase energy efficiency. There are dedicated gas powered stations for peak load that are less efficient, but easy to vary the power delivered. Hydro is now preferred to take up daily variations, but you cannot “turn off” a river, so there is power wasted at night that would be perfect for recharging electric cars.

          2. Neil that’s not quite true about hydro flow. I have stood next to the operators at MRP’s control centre as they trim the flow very precisely to ramp up and slow down for peak demand. They are very nimble especially compared to coal furnaces that once going are hopelessly inefficient to alter, which is why home water is heated at night in Australia so there is something for night time supply to do.

            It is true that MRP’s Waikato system is a ‘run of the river’ system which means there is little storage outside of lake Taupo (a bit at Karapiro) which does mean that once the decision is made to run a volume from the big lake they do pretty much need to run it all the way to the Tron. But that is only one set up and very specific to those little plants on that river.

            The opportunity to store water when the wind is blowing is the big opportunity for NZ power companies already with hydro assets, this not only mitigates the intermittency issue of the wind asset but also helps enormously with the intermittency of water supply, as the two have such vastly different cycles. Varying wind smooths out variation in rainfall and snowmelt. Lowering the threat from dry years.

            NZ wind farms are unsubsidised and produce at the highest efficiencies worldwide for land based systems. There are a lot of consented projects ready to go right now but demand is weak….

        2. Sorry sausage wrong again. There are absolutely no technical barriers to 100% renewable gen. Especially one primarily based on hydro and and geo. providing base load. Hydro and wind balance very well. It would require new investment and grid changes (some of which are underway), and to get there we would probably profit from a different financial structure to the current clumsy one. And there is the sunk cost in existing gas plant, but that really is a waste of our gas resource.

          Nuclear is the worst possible direction for NZ: More last century thinking, soooooo expensive, still dependant on imported fuels and always comes with excessive limitations on civil freedoms and threat to the environment. Where should we put it? Christchurch? They might of mentioned in the Telegraph that we have a few earthquakes here….

          Nuclear; look how the idiots running your country are stuffing that up! The slowest and most expensive way to export money you don’t have to the French.

          Electricity supply is one area NZ is a world leader (somewhat fortuitously) hardly a country on the planet that wouldn’t be completely envious of that 70-80% renewable figure… And with time and good leadership we can improve that further.

          Of course distributed generation is the big mover this decade, nicely disruptive to lazy market structures.

          1. “Of course distributed generation is the big mover this decade, nicely disruptive to lazy market structures”

            Exactly right, and to be fair to the Greens, their plan to encourage 30,000 solar equipped homes over 3 years – if done right – has the capability to shake up the lazy
            (and laissez-faire) power markets. Especially with the right market electricity market structures in place – and therefore less market distortion – will result in NZ adding a lot of distributed day time electricity to the mix.

            And with a good mix of geothermal and hydro power available like we have, you can cover the shortfall of solar and wind easily, by drawing down the hydro and geothermal as needed and overnight when the sun don’t shine (or the wind don’t always blow). Doesn’t help the like or Mighty River Power with their run of the river hydro though but the likes of Meridian with the great south island Hydro dams (and Manapouri too once Tiwai closes), will be able to cover that and MRP will be consigned to a base load operation only.

            Tesla, the “electric car company” is seriously ramping up plans to build its own world-leading Lithium battery pack making plant in the US (Nevada or New Mexico are the two favourites vying for the selection), to not only build battery packs for their current and future car models, they are also going to be making house-sized battery storage packs for use in distributed (in home/near home) power storage as well.
            And that coupled with local wind and solar generation technologies will completely change the economics of your distributed power generation system when you can store excess power locally and then draw it down locally.

            Its not a no-brainer, but for a country like NZ, being able to kick the Fossil Fuel habit for as much of the base/peak electricity load as possible is nothing but good news medium and longer term. Leaving the rest of the FF imports for the transport sector while that too transitions.

        3. “Of course we could if we went down the nuclear route”

          Oh come on. Seriously? Anyone who still uses the word nuclear in a discussion on energy generation has lost their grip on reality.

          Quotes from an article* last December in The Guardian:
          ‘The chairman of the American-led consortium that runs Britain’s largest nuclear complex at Sellafield was forced into a humiliating apology on Wednesday after admitting a raft of cost overruns, performance failures and an expenses scandal.’

          ‘The Guardian reported this week that the bill for cleaning up the Cumbria site will rise even higher than its current estimated figure of £70bn as operators struggle to assess the full scale of the task.’

          £70bn!! Words fail me.


          1. Believe what you like but as I’m the one working in energy trading I’m going to guess I know more about this stuff than you guys. As I said above, NZ won’t go nuclear because we will continue to use fossil fuels. This makes economic sense based on our circumstances. That does not mean the rest of the world will not go down the nuclear route and here is an article from your own beloved Guardian showing global growth in nuclear power gen unfortunately to meet emissions most countries have to do this.
            Patrick is quite wrong about NZ being able to be 100% renewable power gen but I’m always up for a laugh if he wants to explain how he would manage switching and peak demand with his wind farms, battery cars, or magic fairy dust.
            However back to the Quay st discussion. The CRL is already costing 3 Billion and a light rail ( that would duplicate the CRL) would cost at least another 1 Billion. Add in the investment Pat wants on changing NZ power gen and we are getting into serious money. No wonder you all vote Labour, you think money grows on trees.
            Quite simply we could afford a bus loop and cycle paths but what this plan calls for is pie in the sky crazy

          2. We can afford all this tomorrow and even more – if we stop the lunacy of never-ending motorway construction and widening especially on those Holiday highways to nowhere much.

            Fortunately, it will stop, the only question is how soon – by the end of this year, or 3 years from now?

            As for 100% power generation using renewables – well Iceland manages to do it and they don’t have nearly the same level of generation options as we do so can’t load balance as finely as we can/could. They mainly have Geo-Thermal so have the go for it with one source of energy.

            But they can, like we could, simply over build on renewables, run them at 100% capacity, and then “waste” the extra load when its not needed to heat the air or do something wasteful, which is easy to stop doing when the other loads need that power. Yes its morally repugnant to waste renewable resources like that.

            But Hell thats what they do now for fracked (and not fracked) oil fields now isn’t it? – flare off the unwanted fossil fuels like gas and oil – and unlike Iceland or here – they are not renewable.

            As for CRL and Queen St duplication.

            Any Queen Street route (whether done using Light Rail or Diesel or Electric Buses or even Horse drawn trams) doesn’t compete with the CRL,
            It complements it by allowing people who need to move up and down Queen St, surface level access to a means to do so quicker than walking.

            Surface transport means the transport is right where the people are – Aotea and K’Rd for all their positives, are not on Queen street and can’t be due to the alignment and other technical issues or CRL. As was pointed out earlier, Melbourne has surface transport (Trams) and underground Metro lines and they complement each other well.
            Same here. CRL is a through link, not a “loop” its designed to get all outer suburbs much closer to the CBD. Once in the CBD you still need Pt options to get around within the CBD.

            And it has also been pointed out, this can be done right now, with the right political will so doesn’t need to be done at the same time as CRL and/or it could come later.
            And can start with buses tomorrow if so desired. Longer term, yes some renewables powered PT option is best as if nothing else – it gets rid of a major source of air pollution particularly fine particulate matter – those things that cause cancers and other diseases – which is better for all users of the CBD and NZ Inc – who will end up paying for the health costs of those who get such health problems from the PT.

          3. Typical response phil, making up costs like it would cost $1b for light rail up Queen St.
            Some quick calculations.
            – K Rd to Wynyard via Britomart is 2.5km so that’s 5km of double track.
            – Wynyard tram cost $8m to build a few years ago for ~1.2km of track
            – Lets assume $15m per km for light rail tracks up Queen St and $10m for a new crossing of the Viaduct.
            – We get 5km x $15m = $60m + $10m for bridge so $70m.
            – Add in ~6 LR vehicles at ~$6m each and you get a grand totoal of about $100m.
            So all up it might cost 1/10 of what you made up out of thin air.

          4. Neil – you think it would cost $100m for a depot? That’s what it cost to build the one for out EMU’s which is designed to maintain a fleet of about 80 trains (we are getting 57 but has been designed for post CRL). The cost of the current depot for the Wynyard horizontal ferris wheel was included in that $8m.

            Bryce – the majority of the cost of that $47m option was for making it an icon and with a fairly unique opening method. Could be build for a lot less than that if we really wanted.

          5. AT does nothing with $8M. They are spending $5M on a fancy pedestrian crossing at Devonport Wharf! $8M wouldn’t even pay for the design consultants

          6. Of se it could but at this time design appears to be very important for Auckland Council (I understand the budget for the Fanshaw St interchange is in the region of $30M alone) so I cannot see them building a ‘budget bridge’. I don’t think it will be $40M but I can’t see it being $10M either.

  9. If general traffic really must continue on this road( which most does not in my opinion), you could underground a reduced roadway for 200 – 400 mtrs, then open all the above ground area for PT, cycling, walking.

  10. Phil we’ve all heard your bragging about your great authority before but as, at least on this forum, you are so consistently inaccurate; always leaning on the scales with only half of the facts we have learnt that your presentation of evidence, when offered, is always tendencious. For example:

    The Guardian graphic above does not show the net output of the sector just some new builds. These do not offset the closures in the OECD; In Germany, Japan, and the US, soon to joined by the UK too. Hugely costly retirements that just underline what a failure this technology has been; ‘too cheap meter’ was the promise remember.

    The FACT is that Nuclear as a share of global primary energy is not growing at all, in fact has stalled and been in some decline in recent years.

    Anyway the idea that we should be happy that nations even less well resourced and as technically sophisticated as Japan are building these things is preposterous. In the shadow of Fukushima Argentina is getting one of these toys to look after; really? This a good thing?

      1. “To be fair Argentina aren’t nuclear slouches, they have built their own bombs before.”

        Making something blow up nuclear-ly is in some ways a lot easier than making it create power, safely, over decades. Plus, in some other regards, totally different in the science too. Bad comparison.

  11. As far as I am aware, Quay St will remain as it is until after CRL is finished. Based on my observations during weekdays, Quay St isnt used by through traffic, it is mainly used by vehicles trying to reach destinations within the city. In many cases the vehicles are trying to access Hobson st. There is very little traffic that gets all the way to Beaumont St. You cannot shove all the cars onto Customs St because it is clogged with Buses at peak times and this is only going to get worse. As for fully separating those modes, you will end up with nightmare intersections because of complicated signal phasing.

    General question though, if you were to half the number of lanes on quay st, and give all that space to pedestrians, would it be better to use that space on the north side or the south side of quay st?

    1. Ari: South! Sun onto pavement in front of the buildings: fantastic for hospo. Bike lanes between pavement and traffic lanes for separation. Pavement on Northern [seaward] side is wide enough so long as the cyclists are off it, again; bikelanes.

  12. Phil, I guess the thing is that you are more focussed on what has been, whereas others here are more interested in how things are changing.

    Genesis has mothballed half of Huntly and would love to wind down the rest, but in a market where demand is flat to falling it is hard to justify new generation even if the old kit is so expensive to run. It’s the old capex v opex problem. Interestingly just like extending the rail network in Auckland. Old school motorheads have a violent knee-jerk reaction against ANY capex spending on things that run on rails, yet that means that we are stuck with an inefficient system with unnecessarily high opex [which you’d think they’d also hate]. There are places of high demand and network fixes that would repay spending rail capex with reduced opex. Just good business. But yes that is the case only for a few routes and elsewhere buses are the best answer.

    Same with electricity generation, the cost curves are crossing, that’s all. Ten or so years ago there were plans for a new gas plant north of Auckland, where has that gone? Any new generation in NZ will be Wind and Geo. We are heading for 100% because it makes the best business sense by any whole of life analysis. The interesting question really is more about the role of distributed [solar mostly] generation in the mix further offsetting demand but changing pressures on both the grid and the power cos financial structures, and when that smelter will go.

    On the UK’s very strange nuclear deal:

    “It is economically daft. The guaranteed price [being offered to French state company EDF] is over seven times the unsubsidised price of new wind in the US, four or five times the unsubsidised price of new solar power in the US. Nuclear prices only go up. Renewable energy prices come down. There is absolutely no business case for nuclear. The British policy has nothing to do with economic or any other rational base for decision making.”

    From here:

    Sunk costs and the inertia of legacy systems do mean that old structures often persist past their use by dates, especially in the minds of those who identify with them [The British Empire ffs!]. But it’s the trend that really matters, especially in times of profound structural change. Like now.

    1. There is another significant generator in NZ, that is Fonterra who have a number of Co-gen plants at their factories. These are very efficient and cannot be simply replaced by wind or solar as they run 24×7. As well as electricity they provide most of the hot water requirements for the factory.

      1. But those are outside of the network. No one is suggesting co gen stops. This isn’t an ideological imperative but just good economic sense, where there are efficiencies like industrial co-gen why would they stop?

        1. Very true and they are VERY efficient, but they are included in NZ figures. This means NZ will not get a 100% renewable report while they operate.

          1. Nice minor point, do you know how much co-gen generates? So if we get to 90 or 95% we will still have lower on going cost for a very important part of our primary energy production and therefore some international competitiveness. Not to mention a gas resource liberated from electricity production available for other uses like co-gen.

            Incidentally these plants could be run on Concentrated Solar but we wouldn’t we go the expense of building this unless current sources became unavailable or prohibitively expensive which is unlikely as they have local supply.

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