This is a guest post from reader Bryce P

As you should be well aware by now, the New Bus Network for Hibiscus Coast is due to go live in late October. This brings a large number of changes for bus services on the Hibiscus Coast, notably the extension of the NEX to the Hibiscus Coast Park’n’Ride.

What I have noticed though is that while all services back to the Orewa and Whangaparaoa return back along Silverdale Street, the outgoing services to the Park’n’Ride miss the town centre completely.

Silverdale Town Centre Bus Route

The key reason for this will be due to Park’n’Ride buses not being able to return to Hibiscus Coast Highway from Silverdale Street due to no signalised intersection.

Signalising the intersection has been discussed for a number of years and, before the Super City was formed, was even funded by the then Rodney District Council. It is acknowledged as a key component to reconnect the Silverdale shops and the business area and is supported by both the Local Board and the local Business Association. Unfortunately Auckland Transport do not see this as a matter that needs attention and in fact have suggested that safety is a reason they have resisted installing traffic lights here (quite how they figure this has not been explained).

Aside from reconnecting these two areas of Silverdale, installing traffic lights would also allow all buses to utilise the bus stops outside the new Silverdale Town Centre. This, in turn, allows locals to shop or access the buses from the local area, including Millwater. Across the road there are already terraces beign built and now there is a plan for a new Farmers store. Silverdale is the new hub for the area.

Also, it looks like some locals have already worked out how well bikes and public transport work together.

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So Auckland Transport, lets have those lights and open up another section of the New Network. But you might want to order some bike racks at the same time.

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29 comments

  1. Just in case somone else is confused: The wording of inbound / outbound confused me relating to the graphic…graphic is inbound/outbound to Silverdale, whereas “the outgoing services to the Park’n’Ride miss the town centre completely.”… is in context of from Orewa and Whangaparaoa.

  2. The service along dairy flat highway is horrid though, frequency down to 2 hours and loss of weekend services. Otherwise mostly improved.

    1. Having spent a bit of time thinking about this, I believe that, rather than any Albany – Silverdale busway extension simply following the motorway, it should divert westwards near the BP travelstop and link to Dairy Flat Highway at Dairy Flat, with a park’n’ride added at that point and then carry onto Silverdale.

      1. What would be the benefit of diverting so far West? The increased park n ride (when completed) will serve the passengers from that area?

        1. Based on UP maps the Dairy Flat area will intensify. That, combined with the level of traffic along Kahikatea Flat road now, makes it a good location.

  3. In the interim they need to have a bus stop on HBC opposite the Northern Arena. There is already a large should there so it would only need some yellow paint to make this happen.

  4. Is there going to be radio contact between Ritchies and North Star drivers for connections at HC Station?

    Especially at night, Ritchies connecting buses along the Northern Busway wait for the NEX to arrive if they are radioed. This could be quite important at HC Station.

  5. As per a previous post having the bus interchange at the mall ( where people want to go) makes more sense than at the current place, Which is where people want to travel through. Something to look at for the future?

  6. As a local cyclist, car driver, & user of PT, the current diversion loop around Silverdale St and back to HBC h/way is a pointless delay esp on express services, and worse now the P&R has been added. Not much point cycling there; nothing special apart from the historic village, it’s down a steep hill, & 2 lanes of cars doing 70km/h (officially) each way.

    Adding signals would be bad enough – the P&R has already slowed traffic further along the road, & it’s yet another impediment to PT as buses now have another stupid loop to complete and wait at another intersection to rejoin the h/way.
    In addition though, requiring buses to turn into Silverdale St (why?) then return to the h/way – this time via signals – would be a huge waste of time for people who just want to get from the Coast to the NEX.

    The current Coast-bound ‘transfers’ in Silverdale St are so screwed up the moment that’s it’s actually faster to stay on the Orewa bus and *walk* from HBC h/way to Red Beach shops than it is to wait for the connecting bus to leave Silverdale St & head out along the Peninsula. And I can catch the citybound “express” 895x from Red Beach & sometimes spend 20mins on the bus & still only be in Silverdale because of the waiting in Silverdale St for connections and having to do the whole loop from Silverdale St to get back on the h/way towards city.

    Silverdale is mostly retail and light industry; because of geography and h/way it’s hardly going to be a quaxing destination, and it certainly doesn’t hold much scenic attraction. Let’s allow the buses to take people through there as quickly as possible, with as few diversions between there & city as can be managed.

    1. Silverdale isn’t a quaxing destination? Warehouse, Countdown, Cafes? The town centre will be the new hub for the area. Add lights to Silverdale St and the trip time may even be quicker. As I’ve described here is not a loop but an extra stop that enables the quickly growing population of Millwater residents to access. In fact, adding the lights removes the current loop.

      Note, the pic above isn’t quite clear but there a 3 bikes at that bus stop across from Countdown. And they’re there regularly. What if the NEX came all the way to the town centre rather than a park’n’ride in a paddock?
      http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2015/07/02/guest-post-next-step-for-the-nex-in-silverdale/

  7. Are you serious? Silverdale’s an awful quaxing destination! Why would anyone cycle there for any purpose? I can bike to cafes & Countdown (prefer New World) at Orewa beach while almost completely avoiding cars, and enjoying great views! From Red Beach for example you can take shortcuts, paths & back roads to the reserve by the Orewa river mouth, then you have multiple choices of cycleway (both sides of estuary), & path between campground & beach. Not to mention riding on beach! The supermarkets are 30secs from beach!
    Contrast this with riding uphill, then a couple of k’s with 70km/h highway traffic to some boring shopping centre with no scenic attraction to speak of. And back again.

    Why would Millwater folk cycle through traffic to the bland retail patch of Silverdale? They can simply go straight on to the cycleway (either side) to Orewa beach shops. Given a choice of beach cafe, surf club etc at Orewa, or some Silverdale outlet overlooking carparks & roads I know which I’d prefer. The only reason to go to Silverdale is the French bakery, but like everyone else I drive there & don’t hang about.

    Adding lights at the bottom of Silverdale will be a traffic nightmare; it’s bad enough free-flowing. The fastest current PT service to HBC is the 897X because it avoids Silverdale St and goes straight through that intersection, unimpeded by lights, loops or transfers.

    3 regular bikes at Countdown suggests young staff members. There’s a reason the cycleway was built around an estuary not a carpark. Yes NEX would be a boost to Silverdale but because of traffic, geography and lack of appeal at Silverdale I still won’t be cycling there. In fact, unless PT was properly managed it would be another traffic nightmare if everyone was driving to the NEX there. Hence yet another reason not to cycle there…

        1. OMG Farmers! Was that supposed to be a drawcard? I doubt they’re relying on quaxing clientèle…
          Meanwhile, as I have no suicide wish, I’ll *drive* in rush-hour traffic to the French bakery for their coffee & croissant special ($5), then get the hell out of Silverdale and head to beach.

  8. The big issue for lights at Silverdale St is the steep grade and the traffic speed on the road – there’s a real risk of heavy vehicles travelling at the legal speed limit not being able to stop at the intersection. While the answer may be to lower the speed limit, the accepted wisdom is that you can’t do that unless the road environment also supports that – or the speed limit will not be honoured in practice.

    1. I don’t agree that 70kmh and that grade are incompatible (a very similar situation exists on the SE arterial) but anyway, we should find a solution rather than looking for barriers. Right now, through traffic is prioritised over local traffic. Like a motorway.

      1. Build Penlink then you can reduce the speed limit on HBC (to 60km/h).
        Another option would be to build a flyover over that section of road (since it is in a dip anyway), that would improve the safety of the intersection and allow for buses to use Silverdale town in both directions. Of course they already have plans to build a link up past Pak N Save which would also be good.

        1. It doesn’t need PENLINK in order to rduce the speed. It’s not a long piece of road. The time savings are minimal. AT have used that excuse as bait.

          1. Considering it used to be a 100km/h highway and is effectively the only access to the peninsular then yes it does need to keep it’s current speed limit (unless Penlink is built). It has limited access onto it and is divided so is safe in that regard.

      2. It has similarities to a motorway – it’s the HBC *Highway*. I don’t have any problems accessing businesses on either side of the highway so what’s the need for lights? You can also turn into Silverdale centre at the lights at the top of the hill prior to the dip (Whanga Rd) so I don’t see how access or egress is an issue.

        Penlink would be an environmental disaster & ruin the charm of Stillwater.

        1. Would love to see your evidence as to how Penlink would be an environmental disaster?
          Modern construction methods are very careful to protect the environment.
          As for the charm of Stillwater…meh… it’s a hippy enclave down a shitty winding road that is dangerous for anything but cars and is dangerous for cars.
          Stillwater would have PT after Penlink, and PT in general would be greatly improved for the tens of thousands of residents on the peninsular while providing a quicker and safer access to the motorway (and providing that alternative since WhangaP road is constantly blocked one way or the other with accidents etc). Stillwater would also benefit greatly from the improved access both back to the motorway but also across the estuary to the shops etc on the Peninsular (it would also be quicker to get to Red Beach/Orewa).

          1. Wow you would be a fun tour guide Bruce…’Everything that can be seen from the motorway!’…
            The only advantage of Penlink would be it diverting you away from our neighbourhood. For impact evidence, how about driving under the motorway bridge by Johnstone Hill tunnels; anything look out of place? Doubt you’ve been there as it’s an *unsealed* ‘shitty, winding road’. And yet you expect PT on such roads..!?
            You don’t move to a peninsula then moan about there being only one route in & out. Why not move to Manukau, not so many roads you dislike, & it’s motorway heaven.

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