We were rightly dismayed when the previous Transport Minister vetoed the desperately needed extension of the famously successful Northern Busway as part of the big spend up on SH1 on the North Shore. We suspect NZTA were too, as they know that the Busway the single most effective tool for reducing congestion and increasing access and human happiness for the travelling public on this route. And is a vital part of the booming Rapid Transit Network. Additionally this extension surely also helps streamline the general traffic lane design through the SH1/SH18 intersection and beyond. NZTA must be keen to not have to factor in growing numbers of merging buses from shoulder lanes etc.

So we are very pleased to find that the agency has found a way to return this logical part of the project to the programme and out of the shadow of ministerial whim [presumably the change of Minister helped?]:

Northern Corridor

Here is the full document.

Bus users report that their journeys between Constellation and Albany Stations can currently take up a disproportionately large amount of the total trip because of the absence of any Transit right of way; the buses of course are not only themselves delayed but are also delaying other road users here.

The extension will not be a minor structure but as it adjacent to commercial properties it is hard to see how the usual forces of compliant will be able get much traction against it, but it will still need public support at the consultation phase, so Busway users, let yourselves be heard.

We understand the current Busway is built to a standard to enable upgrading to rail systems, we would expect this standard to be continued on this extension, as this does look like the most logical way to next cross the Waitemata Harbour.

Finally, because this is a) spending on the Shore b) not ratepayers funds, and c) not spending on a train or a bike, even the venerable George Wood will be in favour of the proposed extension.

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61 comments

  1. Cycleways look good, busway looks good, and they’ve gone for the cheapest, and best fit m’way sln. An outbreak of competency at the NZTA.

    Hopefully they also put in a station with lots of bike parking at Rosedale Rd, and include segregated on road cycle lanes on the new road that they will have to build at Carribean Dr.

    1. Just like Japan. honestly if they took out all the car parks and made people bike to train/bus stations that would be less cars. I find it ironic to try to encourage people to go by car to a public transport station.

      1. Park and ride is pretty stupid imo. There’s about 1500 places in total. If we assume 130% utilization, then that’s 2000 users, or 4000 trips a day. I worry the focus on park and ride is disproportionate to the number of users it encourages.

        1500 places is 22.5 acres of land (assuming 15sqm per park) – I feel that could be better spent on mid density development around stations.

    2. Just trying to work out where this would go at Rosedale as it is needed. I think if they built a Sunnynook style station they could possibly just squeeze it in. Otherwise I think the best bet would be to take out the dive shop building. The Turners building on the otherside would be too big and expensive to remove.

      1. I’d put it just North of the dive shop unless the shops need to be bought anyway. And yes, Sunnynook style. No Need for any carparks except drop off

        1. Yes to a station between Constellation and Albany. And I guess one at Rosedale Rd is good for bus connection but perhaps there’s a case for it to go just above Greville for walk up with a ped bridge like at Akoranga for connection to southern Albany and Massey campus? Or perhaps the Busway should cross the motorway earlier and have an Albany south Station [in either case no parking]?

        2. Terrible access to the site behind the dive shops unless the only buses are the NEX with no connections. With the walk/cycle way I guess that could work. This would be purely for Rosedale area access. Uni students would be better at the main Albany station where it is a 10-15 min walk or 5 minute connector bus.

          1. Could be a very god frequent service Browns Bay to Schnapper Rock via Rosedale that would work well with ped access directly from Rosedale Road.

  2. “Finally, because this is a) spending on the Shore b) not ratepayers funds, and c) not spending on a train or a bike, even the venerable George Wood will be in favour of the proposed extension.

    Uh-oh, I see a cycleway in the proposal.

      1. There’s also the wee matter that this SH1-SH18 link (and the whole WRR, for that matter) render the road part of the $4b AWHC (his favourite project) as pointless.

  3. Are there any models of how the SH1-SH18 motorway to motorway intersection along with the rest the SH18/SH16/SH20 improvements will effect the number of heavy trucks that need to drive over the harbour bridge?

    1. Also, are there any models of how many more lanes we’ll need in this area if the AWHC is two 3-lane road tunnels, given it will bring the number of lanes to 19 over the Waitemata Harbour / 14 over the inner harbour.

    2. Thanks for your question Brendan. I also wonder if there is any consideration for the use of barges and roll on roll off containers that were used for a while on the coastal shipping. I feel that there is a good case for looking at that again as a way of reducing road problems, Emissions, and even maybe the canal to Onehunga and get a lot of those containers off the streets.

    3. As I understand it, trucks with over-dimensioned loads and/or dangerous goods will not be able to use the Waterview tunnels.

  4. It is absolutely vital strategically that the extension be designed to rail standards, but to light rail or heavy rail? The latter is obviously much more stringent. My understanding is that the original busway was designed to light rail standards only.

    1. Yes that’s our understanding too. There is of course the intermediate class of Light Metro and we would be particularly interested to know whether its ready for that…?

      http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2012/01/27/light-metro-for-the-north-shore-a-superior-alternative-to-a-harbour-motorway-tunnel/

      http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2015/03/31/an-alternative-awhc/

      Light Rail to Shore option:

      http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2015/07/14/extend-light-rail-to-the-north-shore/

    2. Only the section from Sunnynook to Constellation isn’t high enough standard for both, this section can easily be both and therefore should be.

    1. Yes exactly, once we finally gain our independence from the evil empire you will regret spending any of our money on us.

    2. I lived in Manukau and used the NEX when heading to Albany a couple of times.

      Just because you may not want to use it, doesn’t mean that others won’t.

      1. Nik I think they are gently trolling the ‘Shore only’ attitudes of people like George Wood: Who hates rail because it’s currently only on the wrong side of the bridge.

        Most people agree it’s best if everywhere and everyone has great access, and greater choice.

  5. Great to see Auckland is getting more stacked interchanges. Too bad the initial plan is only for double stacked flyover ramps, ideally this should be a minimum of a three-stack. All real cities have stacked exchanges at least four high, ideally five high like the beautiful High Five shown at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack_interchange.

    I can’t wait to be able to look out from my place and see a beautiful three-stack many stories high where the end of the AWHC tunnel meets Onewa Rd, where you cycle fanatics want to build a Seapath. Then I’ll know that Auckland is finally properly addressing it’s congestion problem.

  6. Just a crying shame that the old ARC built a big rubbish dump between Rosedale and Greville, but fairly typical for them. Otherwise a station and town centre would have made sense. One day someone will have to dig all the rubbish out again and move it away from the city.

    1. Yeah, I’ve always felt the same about the tip between Barry’s Point Road and the Akoranga busway station in Takapuna. Apparently the rubbish is still settling – they used to get random junk filtering up onto the Rosmini playing fields. Not sure if it’s ever going to be stable enough to build on.

      I guess it’s not all bad though – it’s the nicest bit of the walk from Akoranga to my grandma’s house. Certainly better than Taharoto Rd…

  7. Great news today, the Basin Reserve Flyover has been torpedoed again, what’s the bet the NZTA waste even more money appealing again

    1. Whoo Hoo! Thanks for that. I hadn’t heard about it yet.
      First bit of good transport news in Wellington for months.
      No doubt all the single-occupant-get-out-of-my-way-I’m-king-of-the-road car-addicts will bitch and moan over this. You wait, they will all be threatening to leave Wellington and move up to. . . .?? (I don’t think they exactly know where). Some fictitious shangri-la where all they do is build moar roads.

      Great news guys. Let’s hope the rest of Steven Joyce’s misguided motorways bite the dust.
      Good riddance, Roads of National’s Stupidity!

  8. strange, why not come and go from Albany station via Elliot Rose Ave and the McClymonts overbridge, it’s already there after-all

    according to the Shore District Plan, there was supposed to be more reserve land between the motorway and the buildings along Arrenway Dr, but one of the development control officers somehow let that slip

  9. Add a Bus interchange at Rosedale Rd. Bus lanes along Rosedale Rd and into the Rosedale Business Park. Build a bus interchange on SH18 and this will allow great bus service through the business area from North, South and West.

    1. Yes an elevated ‘inline station’ directly connected to Rosedale Rd bus stops below. A quick and weather protected transfer to the Busway above. No parking. Just like a Vancouver SkyTrain Station, or closer to home, an inversion of the Sunnybrook set up; the busway above rather than below. Efficient. Best if it at least extends over the road so transferers [transferees?] don’t ever have to cross Rosedale.

  10. Wow – am I reading this right? Making Constellation Drive into a proper motorway and severing side street connections would gut that whole community, that part of the road is full of shops, cafes, supermarkets and a heap of employers large and small, the Constellation side streets connect the suburb of Unsworth to Albany and the north of the shore. Traffic doesn’t even travel that fast along there it is all median strips and lights and people turning into the businesses.

    1. No Constellation Dr will remain its horrid car centric self, it’s Upper Harbour Highway that’s having all the money spent on it to turn it into slightly more of a motorway.

  11. Well extremely good news.

    Two reasons to toast to NZTA last night. Their excellent work on the Northern Busway, and the good result on their poor work in Wellington.

    May these be signs of things to come.

    Cheers.

    And well done Matthew Palmer, our QC v the Port and again v NZTA WGTN.

    1. Good people. Congratulations to Matthew Palmer and Save the Basin and all their supporters.

      The courts were completely unimpressed with NZTA’s dishonest policy of planning for a huge project and then cutting it into little bits and making them ‘necessary’. It means that we’re not having the conversations we need to have about demand and a city, and wasting money hundreds of millions at a time.

      1. “The courts were completely unimpressed with NZTA’s dishonest policy of planning for a huge project and then cutting it into little bits and making them ‘necessary” – not true, I’m afraid. What the court said is that the Board did not err in law in its decision – it had nothing to say about NZTA’s policies, because they had no relevance to the appeal.

        As I understand it the Board criticised NZTA’s policy of including enabling benefits, ie benefits from proceeding with a future unconsented project (eg the Mt Victoria tunnel duplication) in the benefits of a current project, and the court ruled that that was not erroneous in law.

        But the judgement (at http://courtsofnz.govt.nz/front-page/cases/new-zealand-transport-agency-v-architectural-centre-incorporated-and-ors) is complex, and closer reading will undoubtedly tease out more.

        1. Well this is very important as it has huge implications for AWHC. Clearly as currently planned it involves huge amounts of additional work all through the SH and local Rd networks which they will never cost as part of this project. Unbundling is the motorway industry’s modus operandi. And remember unbundling was exactly one of the key things that unimpressed the High court in the Ports case too.

          Death by a thousand cuts is essentially what the unbundling of big projects amounts to. Even the Western Ring Route, a project with much more value than AWHC [as currently proposed] never gets added up properly. I saw $2b in the Herald, but this doesn’t include every part of SH 20, 16,18 from SH1 at Manukau to this next intersection with SH1 on the Shore.

          Yet whenever any mention of rail investment happens they reach right back to sums spent by the previous government and add it all up. And that’s fine to ‘bundle’ it all together, but please can we just treat all investment in transport infra the same.

          1. To do that you’d want the same agency to be planning and funding them.

            NZTA would be the natural place, but is currently constrained legislatively.

            Following this line of argument a little further, the question becomes how is the maintenance funded and should NZTA be the funding agency for new capital projects and upkeep/maintenance projects.

            Could this eventually lead to Mainfreight being able to run there own trains. Sort of like free markets, but on rail rather than road.

  12. So kiwirail would be split into two parts, infrastructure & trains (basically kiwirail freight) with nzta taking over the infrastructure & charging various parties to use the network?

    1. NZTA might be the ‘natural place’ for KiwiRail infrastructure to reside but it all comes down to costs versus benefits, and key personalities involved at a decision-making level.

      Recent Treasury advice recommending that KiwiRail be shut down had to concede that the current operation is actually very low cost, there are very few savings to be made from splitting the operation. The track record of British privatisation and balkanisation into infrastructure, train owners and multiple operators strongly suggests that costs will increase substantially with splitting the operation. The issue is not efficiency, it is the level of investment.

      Then there are the personalities involved. Do you really want certain of the senior MoT or NZTA officials let loose on KiwiRail? You may find it equivalent to letting the fox into the hen-house.

      1. How do you increase the utility of the rail network without continued investment ?

        I agree that the track record, especially at the political level, which I call as from the senior executives of NZTA and up to the politicians does not inspire me to think that the outcomes of splitting operations and infrastructure would be great.

      1. I wonder, instead of the interchange at Constellation, would the interchange between SH18 busway and Northern Busway be just as useful at our proposed Rosedale Rd station?

          1. Agree with Sailor Boy. Actually some may go into CBD but still better to have change at Constellation than at Rosedale. Of course some people from West will go North and these will be covered by buses Northbound from Constellation.

  13. Have noticed that every 2nd NEX bus (possibly even 2 out of 3 buses) going in the opposite direction to the main flow of traffic (ie heading North in morning and South in evening) is out of service presumably to reposition to Albany or Britomart in the morning or evening respectively. I’ve noticed many punters waiting at bus stops as these empty buses fly past. It just seems like such a wasted resource. You would think that surely they could be put into use even if only an express service along the lines of non-stop Albany-Britomart or Viceversa. In the case of the South bound evening buses it wouldn’t be an issue to add say Akoranga to the mix either since it doesn’t involve driving around the block etc. would spread the passenger load out a bit, encourage more use due to an express service and wouldn’t cost any extra to do.

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