Auckland Transport and the NZTA have announced another series of open days to discuss the East West Link. This time though they are presenting six options for what may be built which range from upgrades of local roads to potentially mega expensive new roads.
Community feedback is being sought on options identified by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport to improve transport connections in the Onehunga – Penrose area and reliability of bus services between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park.
The Transport Agency’s spokesperson Brett Gliddon says the planned improvements are important to deliver a transport network that can continue to support the growing movement of people and goods.
“The East West Connections area is the engine room of New Zealand’s industrial and manufacturing economy and home to a number of our most vibrant communities. These improvements are needed to ensure that both the nation’s supply chains and the local transport network function effectively.”
“Public feedback to date has supported the need to address congestion and delays in the Onehunga-Penrose area, as well as improving bus services.
“No decision has been made about any of the options, and our first priority is to get feedback from the community before the project is developed further,” says Mr Gliddon.
The proposed options identify roading improvements and new cycle links on the north side of the Māngere inlet, along with some bus priority lanes between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park.
Auckland Transport’s Key Strategic Initiatives Project Director, Theunis Van Schalkwyk, says creating bus priority between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park will make bus journeys faster and more reliable.
“This is a key part of delivering a Frequent Network for public transport in the area and creates a better connection for people getting to work,” he says.
The options being considered for the Onehunga – Penrose area range from upgrading existing routes, through to new connections between the Southwestern and Southern Motorways (State Highways 20 and 1). Common to all options is the improvement of public transport between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park as well as improvements to walking and cycling facilities, including the Waikaraka cycleway.
To help explain the options and get people’s feedback, the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport are planning a series of community open days this month which will be supported by workshops on specific topics.
“We had great feedback from the community in July and August and we want this to continue with the options now being proposed. We will be using the next round of feedback to further develop and investigate the options in order to assist us in identifying the best option to progress to detailed design,” Mr Gliddon says.
Open days will be held at the following locations:
- Saturday 11 October: Onehunga Primary School Hall, 122 Arthur Street, Onehunga (10am-1pm)
- Thursday 16 October: Otahuhu College Sports Pavilion, 53 Mangere Road, Ōtāhuhu (opposite Otahuhu College) (3:30pm -7:30pm)
- Sunday 19 October: Te Papapa Squash Club, Fergusson Park, Olea Road, Onehunga (1pm – 4pm)
There will also be a number of workshops on specific topics for people who would like to provide more detailed feedback. To find out more about the workshops go to www.nzta.govt.nz/east-west and email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
For more information on the options and to submit feedback, please visit the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport websites.
The East West Connections programme is one of four accelerated projects in Auckland identified by the Government to help ease congestion, support economic growth and improve safety.
In addition to East West Connections, the other projects relate to improvements on the Northern and Southern Motorways (SH1), and at the SH20A/Kirkbride Road intersection.
The key part are the options though. As mentioned above, regardless of what roading options are built all options will include upgrading the PT route between Mangere and Sylvia Park which is one of the routes confirmed in the New Network for South Auckland. They say this will entail
- Provision of bus lanes along sections of the public transport route (for example Mt Wellington Highway, Walmsley Road, Massey Road)
- Potential to have bus priority at intersections
- Review of bus stop locations along the route
- Potential to improve waling and cycling facilities along the road
It’s great to see the PT route getting attention, the only possible concern is that in their bid to come across as being multi-modal are they putting a lot of money into this bus route at the expense of others in the area that might have higher needs for bus priority.
Onto the road options. One thing that immediately stood out for me was that every single option involved the NZTA further widening SH20 between Neilson St and Queenstown Rd. The motorway here was only just widened to three lanes each way as part of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project so how wide does the motorway here really have to be.
This is simply an upgrade of the existing roads with some localised widening and intersection upgrades. It seems like a good place to start by having the existing route optimised before embarking on some of the more expensive options below.
This takes Option A by adding a set of south facing ramps going from Church St to SH1 with additional lanes on the motorway through to Princes St. This has the benefit of taking pressure off Gt South Rd and the Mt Wellington interchange.
This is quite different to the above two options. Going from West to East it adds a new connection between Onehunga Harbour Rd and Galway St which presumably takes pressure off the Onehunga Mall/Neilson St intersection. The big change here though is a new road from Angle St through to Gt South Rd along with an upgrade of Sylvia Park Rd and new south facing ramps onto a widened motorway. I get the feeling that this or Option D is the preferred solution.
This takes option C and adds an upgrade to the Glouscester Park interchange. The problem with this is the NZTA’s predecessors tried to upgrade this interchange as part of the Manukau Harbour Crossing project but were rejected consent to do so due to the damage to what remains of the volcanic cone
This seems by far the worst of the options and involves building a road all the way along the foreshore which would likely have significant environmental impacts. At the eastern end the road plows through some commercial, likely on a flyover before joining SH1.
I get the impression that perhaps the road planners/engineers see this the next step after building Option C/D. That means it’s likely that if one of those options are chosen then not long after we’ll see calls from trucking companies for this section to be completed too.
There are some good aspects to most of these but also some horrific ones like the suggestion of blocking off the whole Northern edge of the Mangere Inlet.
One of the huge advantages to Option A in particular is it would allow AT to get some improvements into the area quickly and see the impact they have while it refines the options to see if they improve. Personally I think Option B is the best option for the time being but in saying that there are some good sections from some of the other options, for example the connection between Onehunga Harbour Rd and Galway St.
If you live in the area (or even if you don’t) I’d suggest popping along and giving your thoughts.