The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one of the core problems facing Auckland. That is, the city’s land-use and transport plans are not always well aligned.

That’s illustrated nicely in their maps of intensification opportunities around rail stations – red circles indicate places where apartment and townhouse development is generally discouraged under the draft Unitary Plan.

NZCID - ATAP response - Land Use Train

In short, we’re fixing our city’s rapid transit network – and it’s long since time we did that! – but we may need to do more to get the best out of the investment by enabling intensive development around train stations.

As a point of contrast, I recently visited Sydney on the way back from a work trip to Australia and spent a day wandering around the city looking at stuff – it’s a great walking city. And I’ve got to say: they don’t waffle around with upzoning there. When they choose to redevelop a brownfield area, the debate isn’t between whether two or three storeys should be allowed. The question is whether to go ten, twenty, or thirty storeys. And they’re willing to back that up with new rapid transit where needed.

Auckland is different. We build rapid transit infrastructure haltingly, in fits and starts, and when governments choose to accelerate road projects, busways are left to progress through the queue. And while the Unitary Plan is a fine step forward, it’s really just the start of the conversation about how we should modernise our planning rules for a 21st-century city.

But change is needed. Because, as NZCID’s report unintentionally illustrates, Auckland’s arrived at the end of its growth model of the past 50 years. It’s kaput. We may be able to kludge it back into action for a bit, but make no mistake: it will seize up again. And so we need to design a new growth model.

The old growth model was as follows:

  • Build some roads and water pipes out into the countryside
  • Build some houses on the paddocks this opens up for development
  • Repeat when necessary.

This isn’t necessarily a bad model. It’s simple, and it works reasonably well provided that some schools and shops and jobs move outwards as well. But it’s got some subtle pathologies – e.g. street networks that preclude future transport choices, environmental impacts, etc.

And, more importantly, this growth model is inherently self-limiting in a location like Auckland. There are two reasons for this:

  • First, geographic constraints. Auckland is situated on a narrow isthmus between two harbours. We run out of proximate land for housing much more rapidly than other cities – which means that we must build up much more rapidly than other growing cities.
  • Second, the spatial cost of road transport. Geography gives Auckland many pinch points – over the Waitemata Harbour and across the portages at either edge of the isthmus. It’s intrinsically challenging to keep pumping cars through narrow pinch points. Adding motorway lanes will only get more costly in the future – as NZCID’s eastern motorway proposal demonstrates.

We can’t avoid the consequences of these constraints by metamorphosing into a polycentric city… because that’s already happened. Only one in five jobs is located in the city centre and fringe. The rest are elsewhere. If there are major gains to be had from dispersal, we have already achieved them. We can’t count on more of the same to help us escape the geometric realities.

And here’s the thing: If we insist that we must keep on doing more of the same, we will instead do nothing. If it is truly necessary to build something like NZCID’s eastern motorway tunnel to enable urban growth in Auckland, we probably won’t grow. It’s not feasible to spend a decade of Auckland’s transport infrastructure budget on a single road. (And it’s not ethical to borrow the money from future generations, who don’t have a say in what gets built.)

So we need a different growth model. I don’t have all the answers – who does? – but here are a few thoughts on what that might look like, focusing on the transport infrastructure part of the picture. (Elsewhere, I’ve discussed the role of pricing and the need to rethink policies that limit housing choice.)

First and foremost, we must recognise that this growth model is self-limiting due to its reliance on a single transport mode – cars. Cars are great for lots of things, but they occupy a lot of space both when in motion and when sitting around. This is not an advantage in a city as geographically constrained as Auckland.

If we invest in a way that ensures that all new entrants to the city must use cars for most travel, then it will come back to bite us. If people know that new housing in their neighbourhood will inevitably mean more people parking in their preferred spot on the street, they will oppose it. (No matter how mindlessly hypocritical it is to claim a property right over a public street!) If they know that a new suburb on the edge of town will mean more cars jostling for space on the road during their morning commute, they will oppose it.

And if they’re presented with the bill to build all the new roads needed to keep the cars flowing, they’ll vote against it. Roads are expensive, and people don’t like it when their rates go up.

Second, we must recognise that there are alternatives. Public transport and cycling can offer great mobility at a much lower spatial cost than cars. If we want to increase mobility in a growing city, we need to make much greater use of these transport modes.

Litman-space-required-by-mode

It can be challenging to make the transition, as developing these networks means thinking about infrastructure and transport services differently. It means paying much more attention to how humans may behave out there on the street – i.e. what will make them feel safe in a cycle lane, or what will make it possible for them to transfer painlessly between buses. But it’s fundamentally possible.

Third, one key consideration when building these modes is that they should be built in advance of growth, so that they can lead and shape development rather than trying to catch up with it. At present, we very much take a “roads first” philosophy to greenfield areas – i.e. building lots of lanes on day one, and coming back years later to retrofit public transport to address the resulting congestion.

The perverse consequence is that this locks in a largely car-dependent urban form on the edge of the city, exacerbating the self-limiting features of our current growth model. Unwinding that is costly and difficult. A “rapid transit first” approach would save us a lot of that trouble.

Fortunately, as Matt highlighted in a recent post on Auckland Transport’s consultation on transport for future urban growth, that’s a realistic option. We’ve got the ability to develop rail stations in Drury and extend busways to Silverdale and Northwest Auckland.

TFUG - Draft Preferred Plan - South

But change doesn’t happen of its own volition: policymakers have to choose to change. So here’s a simple message: If you start a sentence by saying “we need more land for housing…” the next words out of your mouth should be “… and therefore here are some rapid transit investments we should make to support it.”

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70 comments

  1. I think the spatial requirements of motorcycles are vastly overstated. The assumption is motorcycles use infrastructure designed for cars and trucks. Even then it is overstated, there is no way motorcycles take the same space as cars – check how quickly a bunch of motorcyclists clear an intersection compared to a line of cars for example.

    “And it’s not ethical to borrow the money from future generations, who don’t have a say in what gets built.”

    Wow that is a fairly extreme view I would have thought. No borrowing for infrastructure investment? The council is currently planning on borrowing virtually indefinitely for infra investment. Without borrowing we would be building not a lot. Including not a lot of rapid transit. What model would you use to fund the CRL for example?

    1. Yeah, I used to ride a motorcycle; that chart seems a bit unfair to it. However, any sensible motorcyclist *will* leave lots of space around them when in moving traffic, and filter only when traffic’s stopped at a signal.

      I should have qualified the “borrowing” statement a bit more – it was referring specifically to borrowing to build *one* megaroad. See below.

  2. Oh dear, going off about cars again?. Your recent trip to Sydney would have also shown you that their roading system and utilization of that infrastructure is also smarter than the way we do it here, and for much higher volumes. Speed limits in suburban areas are higher, arterials are two lanes each way, traffic lights are synchronized, no mad speed humps or ‘traffic calming bollocks’, and there are NO onramp lights. As much as you are super keen on PT, ALL forms of transport must operate efficiently, surely?.

    1. Seriously, have you ever driven in Sydney?
      I lived there for 2 years very recently and that is not my experience of driving in Sydney at all. It’s a gridlocked mess.
      But it does have trains, and light rail, and good buses.

      1. Sydney’s roads are so free that only 14% of people accessing the city centre do so in a car. And that was back in 2011/12, it’s likely around only 10% now. Ricardo you really have no idea how cities work:

        And by far the bulk of those PT trips are on rail. The city couldn’t function without rail, but if suddenly no one could drive to the city; it would hardly be noticed.

        So they are fast building more; underground Metro Rail, and surface Light Rail are both under construction now.

    2. Same experience here.

      The biggest difference is Sydney: trains vs. Auckland: no trains [to close approximation].

      And, driving into the CBD is a breeze in Auckland, even counter-peak during rush hour, and especially during the weekend. Don’t even think of doing that in Sydney.

      Speed limits, yes we can increase them but a lot of people will die. If you value human life over moving fractionally faster, the sensible option is decreasing the speed limit to 30 in the town centres and CBD.

  3. Hang on, its not ethical to borrow money to pay for a tunnel that future generations will have to pay for? So you dont support the CRL, or rapid transit to our new growth areas?

    1. Yeah I take the opposite view, very long lasting capital investments, ones that increase in value over time, and whose costs are substantially up front in fact need to be paid for over a longer period for fairness.

      The CRL is a very good example. Urban rail tunnels don’t date, they are multigenerational assets that generally increase in value as the city’s above them grow; ie they carry more people and the value of that movement increases as competition for street space increases.

      The earliest urban rail tunnels in the world, in London and Budapest, are carrying even more passengers now than they did up opening, sure the trains themselves have been upgraded a couple of times, and no doubt the signals, but essentially the investment made Victorians has become a free gift to their ancestors. The capex cost amortises over a very very long time.

      While I want to part of a society that builds good assets for future generations, ones that keep giving value over and over, in the way that underground electric does, it also makes sense to spread that cost out over at least the first generation that gets the benefit, if not more…? Long term bonds, or property rates that service debt, rather than directly cover capex, make sense, in this context.

    2. I can’t speak for Peter but I suspect his views on borrowing are related to the BCR for AWHC being less than one. Basically, whenever such a project is accelerated in a climate where there is government debt. then the government is effectively (from an economic perspective) transferring wealth from the future to present generations. The CRL, on the other hand, appears to have a BCR around 1-1.5. In which case it’s fairly neutral from a debt / inter-generational equity perspective.

    3. I should have qualified that statement more clearly. I’m referring specifically to borrowing the extremely large sums involved to build the single road proposed by the NZCID. I’m in favour of borrowing to fund infrastructure, but I’d prefer to take a portfolio approach to investment (and exercise good discipline about BCRs) rather than putting all the eggs in one basket.

      Basically, big debt financed investments plus ad-hoc project selection sounds a lot like Muldoon’s Think Big, which wasn’t an easy financial hole to get out of.

  4. Excellent post Peter. Essentially what you’re saying is: The city’s transport budget IS the city’s land-use policy.

    This is one of the great tensions in Auckland because of the particular and mode-biased way central government decides on our transport spending and especially its timing, more often than not works completely against the stated and agreed land use policy of the Council.

  5. The best post so far this year. Your analysis is spot on. The key points of Peters post that resonated with me was that change was needed in the way cities are planned as clearly the RMA is to slow and cumbersome to cope with rapid developments in the way we live and work. The unitary plan is hopelessly inadequate to deal with the problems we have now let alone the demands coming up in the next 10 years. 4 years of UP and we still do not have a decision and no one knows what they can do with their land until at least the end of this year. It is a total shambles.
    The other point that resonates is that auckland is and always will be poly centric and that we should be 100% encouraging and accelerating the trend to work and live in each centre. This would have a huge impact on cross city travel.and refocus people on their neighbourhoods. For example on the Shore high density around Albany,Takapuna,Glenfield, Birkenhead with well thought out mixed use zones to provide work spaces is paramount. The present UP is insipid and lacking vision.

    1. The polycenytric model is like car pooling and communism. A great idea until reality in the form of human decisions is introduced. They just don’t work as advertised.

      People change jobs. Different people in the household work in different places. So you may start off having everyone working for example in Albany but then one moves to a job in Ellerslie. Or the employer moves. Suddenly one person is travelling cross city by car as the volume of people commuting from Albany to Ellerslie is not great enough to make good PT options viable.

      Even if there is just one worker in the family, does the entire family have to uproot every time that person changes job? So the children have to move school for example? With most people working for a single employer for less than 5 years, this is a real issue.

      Alternatively, you are saying that people should only look for jobs in the area they live. Putting aside the practicalities of that, it then completely counteracts the whole point of living in a big city, access to a large and varied job market.

      As Peter says in the article, if a polycentric model was the answer, we shouldn’t have a problem. Centralisation may not be perfect but until we have a better model (and that better model is definitely not a polycentric city), we have to do our best with it.

      1. The situation in AKL is we have a strengthening master centre in a healthily polycentric context. The return of the centre is very good for spatial efficiencies and of course supports those satellite centres, and visa-versa, which we also want to strengthen and develop their own place qualities and agglomeration economies. There is no question of falling entirely to one or other of these patterns.

        But there is also nothing to be gained by running a transport policy entirely intent on intensivising spread, quite the reverse; it should aid intensification wherever possible for its increased productivity and aid outward growth on as efficient a pattern as possible.

        The State Highway biased current system unfortunately does the former. We need to unpack NZTA’s structural mode bias, and work more with true mode-blind analyses.

      2. Yes you are right human decisions come into it ….but taking that line to its natural conclusion if it costs too much time and cost due to congestion then people will choose jobs closer to home…the problem is that the jobs are not there….so put the jobs where people are choosing to live. My families case is typical. My wife wants a job on the shore so she doesnt spend between 2 to 3 hrs of her day travelling. The problem is that there are no jobs for her on the shore. For myself I choose jobs on the shore and discourage those elsewhere with differential pricing. My daughter goes to the local school but although there are universities on the shore the variety of courses granted isnt as great but hey good time for the kids to get out and see the world and flat in the city. My point is that a multinodal city will reduce congestion IF there is sufficient investment in the nodes . Sure we still need the central city for high end knowledge growth etc but not all of us need or want that for ourselves. A multinodal city gives some choice which at the moment we do not have.The economic benefits would come from not expanding the motorways, there is plenty of room to fit in more people around Glenfield ,birkenhead, northcote, takapuna,albany and as a result journeys will be shorter and there is plenty of capacity on PT and the motorways to the city.

        1. “The problem is that there are no jobs for her on the shore”

          The problem is that highly skilled jobs (which your wife presumably has if there is nothing on the shore) tend to locate in the centre of cities to maximise access to prospective staff. It is a rational geometric choice. We can allow nodes to form at Albany and Takapuna, but the centre will always be a massive attraction.

        2. There is nothing stopping those employers from relocating to the North Shore at the moment as far as I’m aware, and I would imagine the rent would be cheaper. However, those employers still choose to be located centrally to get the widest pool of talent and best agglomeration benefits.

        3. You are still massively restricting your choice of jobs. If so, then what is the point of living in a big city.

          If you strategy is to make Auckland a less desirable place to live so everyone thinks they may as well move to a smaller city then it is a good one.

          If your aim is to make Auckland a better place to live as a city, it is a terrible idea.

          The vast majority of jobs in Auckland are located close to the rail lines or busway. Why don’t we just upgrade the rapid transit network to make it easier to get to your job so you can have more variety?

    2. Thanks Robert! I’m actually fairly optimistic about the Unitary Plan – it’s not going to be perfect, but even if the Council doesn’t agree to any further changes it will still be a useful step forward. But as I said, the city will have to carry on the debate.

      I came up with a pretty neat way to quantify the impact of Auckland’s urban form on transport patterns. I re-analysed data from my 2014 paper on housing and transport costs to look at the relationship between distance to the CBD and average road commuting distances.

      In a purely monocentric city, there would be a one-to-one relationship: a 1km increase in distance would translate into a 1km increase in commuting distance. In Auckland, it’s more like a 1 to 0.25 relationship. People in the inner suburbs commute more, on average, than they would in a monocentric city, while people on the fringes of the city commute less.

      So the past gains from polycentricity are real, but it’s a one-time deal.

        1. No, it *increases* transport costs, but to a lesser degree than would be the case in a purely monocentric city. And – coming back to one of the central points of the post – regardless of the exact travel distances a city like Auckland faces challenges funnelling cars through a relatively small number of pinch-points.

  6. Auckland isn’t situated on a narrow isthmus between two harbours. Auckland is situated on two vast areas that link together on a narrow isthmus. Time to take off your blinkered glasses and visit Karaka, Clevedon, Whitford, Dairy Flat and that really big area that extends to the Kaipara.

    1. ‘Auckland isn’t situated on a narrow isthmus between two harbours’ no of course not; it’s on a narrow isthmus situated between three harbours, two forested mountain ranges, a whole lot of productive farmland, and some swamps. Blinkers off.

      1. Good point, which needs repeating. I wish those who advocate endlessly for expansion of the city boundaries would consider that we can’t grow our food on harbours, mountain ranges and swamps.

        In my view productive farmland is the most valuable land of all and it should be rigorously protected.

        1. What is interesting is a lot of the proposed expansion under the PAUP is predominantly in the south and west. The MUL is unmoved in the north, and this is the area of the most marginal soil. Phil Goff was talking about not devloping good horticultural areas so perhaps he has a northwards expansion in mind.

          1. That is because of the NIMBY clowns occupying the central isthmus and various other so-called “desirable suburbs” preventing any meaningful intensification over one storey and a Council which kowtows to those nitwits.

          2. Hi JBM – I understand your passion (and feelings of vexation!) but I’d encourage you to be a bit less pejorative when describing people you disagree with (e.g. “NIMBY clowns”, “nitwits”).

            As a general reminder to all commenters, the user guidelines encourage civility, rather than ad-hominems.

        2. “In my view productive farmland is the most valuable land of all and it should be rigorously protected”

          By what metrics is it valuable? In dollar terms it is worth about 10% of residential land.

      2. So now they are off perhaps we can start using images that show Auckland in its entirety. Perhaps we can also start addressing the transport needs of the places where the growth will actually occur rather than flogging the ‘intensification is everything’ dead horse. Look where that has got us- importing cars for people to live in.

        1. “Perhaps we can also start addressing the transport needs of the places where the growth will actually occur”

          I’m pretty sure that was the entire purpose of this post.

        2. “Look where that has got us” Yes in the -4 months that the unitary plan has been in place it has had huge negative effects.

          1. It wasn’t the intensification is everything mantra that ruined Auckland, it was the BANANA mantra. No intensification, not sprawl, just children sleeping in cars.

          2. Right so according to you the problem was caused by rules we have always had rather than the change in the 1990’s that limited development in order to try and achieve intensification. Dude they put the stoppers on growth and created this. That was their goal and now they have achieved it. As I said to P Hulse at the Auckland Plan hearings, they should be ashamed of themselves.

          3. Yes it has to be said – the Auckland regional growth strategy has been a spectacular failure.

          4. Actually Matthew it achieved exactly what it set out to do- put the squeeze on Auckland through prices. The real problem was it did the wrong thing really well.

          5. Well yes you are right. I sincerely hope the consequences on housing supply were not intended however, if they were that makes it even worse.

      1. I’ve deleted your comments because rather than discussing the central point of this post – i.e. how to deal with the transport challenges associated with a growing, geographically constrained city – they simply repeat the same point you’ve made ad nauseum in countless other threads. That is in violation of user guideline 8i, which discourages obsessive arguing in a thread or threads.

  7. Is there going to be an effective change in our carbon use int the next 10 years?
    If so how will that affect congestion on our roads?
    Where is the provision for that in our road building plans?
    NZTA needs to be looking at rail as part of the Transport infrastructure that has the potential to be a major factor in the changes to out carbon emissions.

  8. Instead of developing the rail station in Drury – develop the next stop down in Paerata as a park and ride.

    Paerata is already slated for growth, but there is still time to design a park and ride that will take train commuter parking away from both Pukekohe and Papakura. This upgraded station will provide an alternative transport option for both workers coming in to the Industrial Park, and residents resulting from the planned residential growth.

    Even better – eventually it may occur to Auckland Transport to extend the already existing and in-use rail line from Paerata to Waiuku. Essentially providing public transport to a currently forgotten region of residents in Awhitu and west Franklin.

      1. You mean Neal Development’s Penihana 300+ lot subdivision (aka “Swanson Village”), on which the first houses are already being built? Have a look in the background of photo 2 (on the real estate listing for another Swanson subdivision), the “horse paddock” is the brown area next to the Swanson Railway Station (railway line is at right edge of photo) rhttp://www.realestate.co.nz/2805113 🙂

    1. I think the whole Paerata thing is probably over cooked in the PAUP. You will have a huge level of growth there with all the cars that generates concentrated in the one place rather than spread. The congestion will be atrocious. The silly part is people who won’t want to use the train will also have to live near the station and contribute to the traffic jamb all because someone thought that was a good idea.

      1. Wow. You can do better than that, surely, John. This comment is simply a version of ‘no one will use the train’ and your evidence is? Of course not everyone will use use the train all the time. But recent experience shows that more than enough are likely to, especially at peak times, to leave the roads more functional for longer for those that don’t. Especially if the place is designed around station access from the start, and the service is frequent and has good enough span.

        Why not bring your experience and skepticism to urging those responsible to get those details right rather than repeating unsupported and out of date sweeping generalisations?

        1. Just take a look at what the Council has been pushing. Virtually all southern development being shoved into the rail corridor. As you know Auckland certainly isn’t constrained by geography down there it is only constrained by planning rules (and how well has that worked out on the isthmus?). So rather than letting people who wont use the train buy a house in an area away from the station and letting people who want the train get a clear run at houses near the station, the Council wants no choice at all. Everyone competes for a house by the station whether they will use the train or not. Try googling ‘foot voting’ or ask Peter to explain Tiebout Sorting to you.

          1. The Council nor anyone has planned Transit Oriented Development in Auckland in living memory, all we’ve ever done is shove a road into a paddock and sell some lots, with sprawlly destiny restrictions, how you can claim this is the same as before is baffling.

            It’s long over due that we try some TODs, or are your views on this as out of date as ‘no one uses the trains’?

          2. I am not saying no one uses trains, I am saying some people wont use trains and it is stupid to shove them into TOD where they will bid up prices. The result is those who will use trains will face high prices and a perhaps a shortage of the type of housing they desire. All because some twit decided all development in the south should be in the transport corridor. Name and shame that person I say!

          3. oh course some won’t use trains, and they can use the roads, the roads that will be emptier because those others who do use trains…. is this really so hard to grasp?

          4. What rubbish. There are plenty of roads to cater for those who have an ideological hatred of using the train, including SH1.

          5. “Virtually all southern development being shoved into the rail corridor.”
            AFAIK, this was the preferred option of residents who responded to the PAUP consultation on the RUB in Franklin.

            However, current Franklin development is not limited to this option, and I can think of several large scale developments that are happening, nowhere near the rail corridor. And I’m only thinking of a small region of this area.

      2. “people who won’t want to use the train will also have to live near the station”.
        There is no compulsion involved. There’s an awful lot of new housing going up in the area that is nowhere near rail and I suspect that some current owners of properties that are not close to rail will sell up and move to the rail-centric development.

        “and contribute to the traffic jamb (sic)”

        Then they won’t have a leg to stand on, n’est-ce pas?

    2. Yes, instead of 2,000 dwellings and 20 businesses next to a station let’s have 200 car parks. That will obviously generate more ridership and make the station a pleasant place to walk or cycle to. /sarc

      1. “… 2,000 dwellings and 20 businesses next to a station let’s have 200 car parks”
        Ideally, there would be a reliable shuttle service that picks up passengers and then drops them off. But that seems too much to hope for – given current planning and investment priorities.

        Second best would be an underground carpark with a green field on top, which would be a great design for this particular location – and could be funded out of development contributions from planned development. My point was, as a location – it has better long term options and outcomes than Drury. (Which BTW, started as a project from the 16 yr old daughter of an AT executive, who lives in the area).

        A couple of points: Pukekohe (and Franklin as a whole) has not been well served with affordable public transport options. People will almost need to be coerced or seduced into using it. Drury does not stand out in any particular way in terms of resolving this issue. A well-designed park (or shuttle) and ride would go some way to doing this for residents on the other side of the Southern Motorway. And if by any chance, future governments took climate change seriously and invested in better public transport. Then the already existing junction and rail-line into Waiuku could be widened and utilised to serve a previously ignored residential population.

        1. If by the best, you mean the easiest for people to drive to you are right. If you mean the best as in most patronage generated then actually building lots of stuff near the train line is the best. We could build a park and ride at Drury and both Paratea stations so that .05% of Auckland can drive to the station, costing AT $20m or, we could allow developers to build large mixed use buildings on the site, costing AT nothing and allowing 1% of Auckland’s population to live on those 3 individual sites next to train station.

          Your idea of a shuttle works well if no one lives by the station, and park and ride works well where density is too low to justify a good bus service, but as Vancouver, Venice, Paris, London, etc demonstrate the best way to get people to use trains is to let them live next to stations.

          1. “Vancouver, Venice, Paris, London, etc demonstrate the best way to get people to use trains is to let them live next to stations”
            Yes. It works in Venice, Paris and London primarily because of the historical social use of public transport (and their initial development as pedestrian hubs (sans Vancouver)- but in areas that have been very car centric, this approach will not encourage a change to public transport use for those already living there.

            Your approach means that Franklin/South Auckland (where sprawl is fairly common) will never be able to justify investment in considered public transport. Build the intensive residential hubs by all means, I’m all for it. But also be forward planners/persuaders. The social change towards the use of public transport will not come if it is not available or reliable.

            “We could build a park and ride at Drury and both Paratea stations so that .05% of Auckland can drive to the station, costing AT $20m”
            Franklin Local Board approved a grant of over $14 million towards the V8 races in Pukekohe a few years ago. In this time of necessary climate change transition I considered this an arrogant decision, and would have preferred this money to have been put towards a train station however managed. But the political will is still towards cars.

            “If by the best, you mean the easiest for people to drive to you are right.”
            You seem determined to avoid the gist of what I am saying. There are a growing number of residents in Pukekohe and Franklin who have no option but to get in their cars and commute to their jobs (many travelling into the CBD or central Auckland). If their travel time was reduced to the distance to the nearest railway – then to me that is a benefit, although you reply as if there is always a greenfields development and it is possible to change historical social mores with new builds.

            Don’t misunderstand me. I am fully in favour of well-designed intensification around railway corridors where this is possible. That is an easy get.

            But we also have to plan for the hard-to-get behavioural changes of Aucklanders.

            As far as I can see, very little is done in Franklin to persuade residents to use public transport – including a failure of affordability, reliability and ease of use.

            It is harder than you make out to change peoples views, but that does not mean that they should be ignored. It will come slowly, but access will be the best persuasion that to be within walking or cycling distance of a rail station is a preferred location.

    3. Sarcasm or not, that actually happened in Albany. It is planned to happen in Warkworth, they went as far as drawing the station a kilometre outside the town. There have been stories over here about white-anting around Manukau on an epic scale.

      People drive to the station (not everyone, but look at that full parking lot) because the parking pushes everything else away outside walking distance (*). And what’s around the station on the other end? Parking. Golf course. Some houses. Nothing to see within walking distance. So what do you do once you get off the train/bus? Take another bus, which in the weekend comes every 30 or 60 minutes? There goes the advantage of having rapid transit. You can drive both ways in less time than you have to wait for that bus. Boom, self-fulfilling prophecy fulfilled.

      (*) as we all know, bicycling can solve that problem more efficiently than cars, but the reason that doesn’t work is an entirely different story.

  9. Yes Drury is a good test case for building the station with the new development (even though was one way back originally). Extending electrification to Pukekohe may be part of the mix.

  10. There is no incentive for locals to up zone, and there are benefits to not to upzone to keep their house value high by restricting supply.

    There should be development incentives between local council and AT, where investment in infrastructure only occurs if the council can show committment to support growth in their local board.

    For example, Their train station will be upgraded with higher frequency, and have better bus network and service, if the surrounding zoning supports it.

    In that case the local board can present the incentive to their residence, and the residence will make a better choice and reflected from their vote.

    1. I don’t understand this.

      So if someone with a $1500000 house thinks, I don’t need such a large house, maybe I can renovate it to a duplex and sell/rent one half. That of course requires upzoning. Where’s the catch?

      1. If that suburb ban anything other than large family house on large section, the supply will be low.

        Since the location is good, land is huge and house are large, it will attract wealthy people and price out the poor.

        As a result, people who moving in will be progressively wealthy, and the area gets more and more desirable for the wealthy, and gentrification will happen (renovate old villas, rebuild house, but NOT subdivide)

        So people who owns a home there will get huge capital growth without needing to do much.

        So they will cast the vote to politicians who will protect their interests – who stops intensification.

        1. But basic game theory dictates that people will not make a choice to maximise whatever common goal. If someone wants to downsize without moving out (and / or make a load of cash), then he should subdivide, and hope the others don’t subdivide.

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