Tomorrow is the next Auckland Transport board meeting and as usual I’ve been through the board papers to pick out the parts that were interesting to me.

The most interesting details appear to be in the closed session and that appears no different this month. Some of the topics are:

  • Newmarket Level Crossing Project – I assume this will be seeking approval to lodge the Notice of Requirement
  • LRT Alignment
  • Deep Dive – Bus
  • K’Road Value Engineering Outcomes – My guess is this is about the K Rd station for the CRL. AT’s project page now says they’re now only going to build one entrance initially and I’ve heard some rumours that it’s the Beresford Square entrance that will not be built. It seems to me this is incredibly short sighted and a classic case of ‘value engineering‘ engineering all of the value out of the project.

K Rd station Beresford Entrance

  • CRL Communication Strategies update – This is likely to be about communication to manage the disruption caused by the CRL construction.
  • Britomart Development update – presumably the bid by Cooper & Co to develop the site behind Britomart

On to the main business report.

  • Te Atatu Rd – Construction has now begun and will is due to be completed in February 2017
  • K Rd Cycleway – AT say ‘ concept design for stakeholder input is planned for the end of 2015.’ I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
  • Nelson St Cycleway – According to the report consultation is due to start any day now on phase 2 which for Pitt St and north of Victoria St. The main issues is whether it uses Nelson St or Hobson St to get to Fanshawe St and down to Quay St. I personally think they should do both options.
  • Beach Rd Cycleway Stage 2 – Construction is due to be completed by the end of this month with a public opening ceremony for 18 September.
  • Otahuhu Bus-Train Interchange – Construction is due to start in mid-September and due to be completed in June next year before the rollout of the new bus network in October.
  • Manukau Bus-Train Interchange – AT are increasing the capacity of the interchange from 16 to 25 bays although two will be for bus layover. They say the key reason for the change is that the various inter-city bus operators will move from the CBD operate from there. Presumably this means that inter-city bus users going to/from the CBD will have to transfer to a train at Manukau. Particularly at peak times this might actually end up a faster outcome.
  • Parnell Station – Works on the platform are due to be completed in October but there is no date yet for when it will come in to use. Also of note is the old Mainline steam sheds are currently being demolished as the site was recently sold to a retirement village company. There’s a bit of an irony in that we will end up with a retirement village on one side of the tracks and Student accommodation on the other.
  • AMETI (Reeves Rd Flyover) – AT say a joint review between them, the council and the NZTA of the timing of Flyover and the busway from Pakuranga to Botany has been  happening with final discussions around funding options due to happen in August/September. The recommendations from the review will go to the AT and NZTA boards in October and the Council Infrastructure committee in November. I wonder how much they’ve taken in to account the Basin Reserve Flyover decision, in particular as they’ve said the Reeves Rd Flyover won’t improve things unless they also replicate similar solutions at Waipuna Rd and Carbine Rd.
  • Mill Rd – The hearings for the Notice of Requirement start at the end of the month. They say there were 286 submissions of which 216 were pro-forma ones in opposition.
  • WiFi on PT – AT will extend WiFi to all PT modes and vehicles – we saw WiFi as a requirement for new buses last week. AT are already trialling it on trains and it was available on the special service they put on for the EMU celebration just over a week ago. A trial will also begin on Gulf Harbour ferries and the Northern Express soon.
  • Active Modes Survey – AT say they’ve surveyed 1,600 Aucklander’s about walking and cycling along with their motivations and barriers for doing so. The high level results are completely unsurprising with concerns over safety from sharing lanes with cars continuing to be the largest barrier to more people cycling.
  • Rail Service Performance – there is a fairly lengthy comment about the performance of the rail system.

Service delivery (or reliability) is the proportion of trains not cancelled in full or part and arrive at their final destination. Punctuality is the proportion of trains that were not cancelled in full or part and that arrived at their final destination within five minutes of the scheduled time. Presented below are the services scheduled (blue bars), total services operated on-time (yellow line) and punctuality percentage (red line) trends.

There was a significant improvement in performance recorded during the month, partly reflecting the changes implemented from 20 July which saw the replacement of diesel trains with EMUs on all lines except on the non-electrified section between Papakura and Pukekohe. The operation of a single common fleet type removed many of the restrictions that previously existed that had complicated service recovery by allowing trains and crews to be swapped between lines thereby limiting the adverse impacts following service disruption.

For Jul-2015 service delivery (reliability) was 96.6% and punctuality was 83.7% compared to the 12 month average of 96.0% (94.9% last 6 months average and low of of 92.9% in April) and 83.1% (79.2% last 6 months average and low of 73.6% in June).

For the period 1-9 August, performance improved further with reliability at 98% and punctuality at 89% across 3,766 services.

A number of days in mid-August have seen performance at more than 99% service delivery and 90-95% punctuality.

While only a few weeks into the full EMU operations, service performance improvement is encouraging and supports the decision to introduce earlier the full EMU services. A joint team of AT, Transdev, KiwiRail and CAF are now focused on delivering the planned improvements

Rail Service Performance - July 15

  • Some other PT comments:
    • The first Howick & Eastern double decker arrives in the first week of September.
    • The first of the new bus shelters have started has been installed. It appears that the focus is on getting a number rolled out on the Hibiscus coast in preparation of the new network which rolls out in October
    • AT have asked Transdev and Kiwirail to review the timetables for the Pukekohe shuttle after complains the transfer time between services was too short.
    • On the roll-out of more bus priority they say that over the last month:
      • Onewa Road T3 lane (city bound) – went live in July
      • Park Road bus lane (hospital to Carlton Gore Road) – consultation completed; construction due to commence in September
      • Parnell Road bus lane (St Stephens to Sarawia Street – outbound) – consultation completed; construction due for completion in August
      • Manukau Road/Pah Road transit lanes – internal consultation completed – consultation underway
      • Great North Road bus lanes (New Lynn to Ash Street) – final concept plans completed – consultation completed
      • Totara Avenue signal removal – improvements to New Lynn bus interchange; construction completed and live
      • Esmonde Road bus lane – construction to commence September.
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  1. I don’t understand the need for the Reeves Rd flyover but I think Grade seperation at Carbine rd would be a good idea as it is a dodgy intersection with poor sightlines and requires eastbound cars to slam on their brakes going downhill.

    1. A deep dive is an in depth analysis to find improvements in a single business activity. In this case I would day buses

    2. I think it’s a combination of a bus and a tunnel boring machine. It arrives on request when ordered through an app called “Tuber”. The deep dive bus then pops up out of the ground like a mole, and you jump on. Sweet!

    3. That last graph is … not the best? Two comments:
      1. The descriptions used in the text (reliability and punctuality) are not reflected in the legend on the graph, which makes it harder to read; and
      2. The number quoted in the text for reliability (96.6%) does not *seem* to align with the number shown on the graph (~93%).

  2. It would be nice if “Value Engineering” stopped Mills Rd and the Reeves Rd Flyover. I know wishful thinking but it could happen.

  3. There’s a lot in there. Well a new station between student accommodation and retirement apartments isn’t so bad. Better than just being between a park and ‘heritage’ sheds. Despite his nostalgic obsession with serving the no longer used structures of the past muddling his Transit advocacy, new development might just come to save this Mike Lee project.

    The K Rd rumours are very concerning. This is not a ‘demand’ station but an urban transformation one. Which is to say unlike Aotea it is not there to meet an high existing demand but rather to stimulate future demand through high visibility and transformative development. While there is more development potential immediately surrounding the Mercury Lane entrance, and it is potentially a very important development stimulant for this whole slope, I do worry about its viability as the only entrance. The Station will be invisible.

    Deep stations are long and expensive builds, I can see the point, perhaps if they are planning on opening earlier with the sorthern entrance while they build the Beresford Square one, that could be good? But not if it is put off indefinitely.

    Additionally, the new cycleway is another help to this area, but AT/AC also need to address the very poor road layout too. Good development, especially residential needs those roads calmed and not, as they are now, specifically designed for rat-running. I ran an Urban Design studio for this area last year and it has huge potential. Its not easy but has some tricks, like building height limits increase as to go down the hill which works with the orientation…

    1. I agree – dropping the entrance would be an understandable cost-saving decision provided everything else was designed in such a way that it could be built later (and I don’t see why it couldn’t be).

      In principle I don’t have a problem with the concept of value-engineering, although I do start to wonder when the desire for cost-efficiency starts impacting too much on strategic outcomes? We’ve already lost one CRL station altogether, to lose a very visible entrance to one of the remaining two stations is, well, unfortunate.

      1. Pick the best entrance, build that one first and be done with it. Nobody is every going to come back and drop a hundred million to build a second entrance after the fact, no matter what talk of ‘future proofing’.

        If you can’t afford to do it right, at least do the best of the alternatives.

        1. I can’t see the logic of selecting Mercury Lane over Beresford Square for a K’Road station entrance – unless it’s narrowly about cost.

          Beresford Sq has a far superior walkable catchment – with Mercury Lane tucked in a dead-end corner, suffering from motorway severance. The micro-scale details of pedestrian connectivity around these stations will really matter for their success.

    2. I think that the reality of PT development in NZ means that building it “later” means not building it at all

      I sincerely hope that plans to extend the busway north could prove me wrong

      1. For all practical purposes, that’s what it means, especially since doing it later will cost twice as much as doing it as part of the larger project.

        Value engineering means doing the minimum required to get the job done. That’s not a good philosophy when building something with a 100+ year service life.

  4. “Manukau Bus-Train Interchange – AT are increasing the capacity of the interchange from 16 to 25 bays although two will be for bus layover. They say the key reason for the change is that the various inter-city bus operators will move from the CBD operate from there. Presumably this means that inter-city bus users going to/from the CBD will have to transfer to a train at Manukau. Particularly at peak times this might actually end up a faster outcome.”

    Well this is going to be interesting. I wonder if AT will strengthen the frequencies from Manukau to the Airport using the 380 bus then if Manukau is to house inter city base operations AND get NZTA to get a move on for some interim solutions for SH20B seeming it backs up in the peak (was thinking bus lanes here).

    However, given the recent Resolutions from the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board AND the Auckland Development Committee over Lot 59 (the Interchange) ( ) I wonder if AT has factored them into account or “here we go again” next month to the point of the entire thing being done by Committee (not exactly what I would want). And no I would not be afraid to go back to the ADC next month calling for an ALL STOP and doing the entire thing from scratch so we get it right the first time before any sods are turned.

    Note to AT: go build the inter city operations on that blank piece of land next door that Nick Smith tried to pilfer…..
    While the bus interchange should be linear and just use Putney Way in front of those buildings freeing up the land for other more suitable uses.

    1. No 1. The location’s already been decided No 2. The 380 route is being axed with the Southern bus network tender. So to answer your question, probably not

      1. The 380 route is not being axed. It changes to the 30 route. Down side is that this route will only be served by buses every 30 minutes due to budget constraints. However AT say it could go to 15 minutes when / if money is made available.

        1. Yes, calm down, what I meant is the “Airporter” branded service is being axed in favour of route 30. Happy? 🙂

  5. Not building Beresford seems like a disaster to me. By far the better location.

    I was also of the impression that underground stations required at least two entrances in case the station needed to be evacuated.

  6. Good to see more progress on cycling though. We’re at the start of something good, and AT deserve thanks for their part in this transition.

    1. Most of that stuff is in the report just a summary what’s being worked on, not anything that needs a decision. It’s only really the closed session stuff where stuff happens

  7. Why should a Mercury lane enterance be cheaper than Beresford? Surely location shouldn’t make much difference, only size and architecture?

  8. Interesting about long distance buses being linked in with the trains at Manukau. Makes a lot of sense, and good to see some integration taking place between AT and non-AT services, as part of a national network rather than just an Auckland one.

    Also, from December, the Northern Explorer will cease using Britomart, and the remaining platform at the old Auckland station will be reopened for it instead. So 12 years on from Britomart’s opening, long distance trains will be relocating back to the old station. Not so good for connectivity with the rest of the Auckland network though. Ideally, they would make Newmarket a stop for the Northern Explorer, so people can connect with the Western Line.

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