We’re now less than one month away from having a new mayor and later this week voting papers go out. Our friends at Generation Zero have once again been creating score cards for the mayoral and council candidates and they’ll be released later this week but in the meantime, I’ve taken a quick look through the transport policies of the main contenders and picked out what I think are the key points.

Phil Goff

Goff’s policy definitely reads better than he’s presented it (from what I’ve seen so far). He makes many points not dissimilar to what we would say, such as “Given the population growth, trying to build our way out of congestion with roads alone will not work.”

His policy seems to show good nuance about transport issues and plans, or at least he’s had good advice on them. The plans contained are nothing revolutionary, if anything they largely mirror what is in current plans from Auckland Transport. Some key examples include:

  • Battery powered trains to Pukekohe
  • Improving Park & Ride but he specifies on outer parts of the network
  • Extending the Northern Busway
  • Building a North-western Busway on SH16
  • Building AMETI to Pakuranga as soon as possible and extending that to ultimately East Tamaki and Manukau.

The biggest part of his policy though is Light Rail – initially mirroring AT’s plan of Wynyard and down Dominion Rd – and he wants to see a business case completed so that the project can be added to the 2018 Long Term Plan. He talks of future projects potentially including converting the AMETI busway, to the North Shore and the Airport.

Outside of the big PT stuff he also mentions a few other areas:

  • Walking and cycling which includes encouraging the government to extend the Urban Cycleway Fund, talks about making it easier for kids to ride to school and says he wants a bike share scheme piloted through the private sector.
  • For ferries he is calling for them to be integrated, by this I assume he means the routes of Devonport, Stanley Bay and Waiheke are contracted and controlled by AT rather than being commercial routes (the other routes are already contracted).
  • He also talks about wanting more electric vehicles and car sharing.

The last and a big plank of Goff’s transport policy surrounds the need to find alternative sources of funding to pay for more transport projects, much like Len Brown has. He wants the government issue infrastructure bonds which would be paid back first by a regional fuel tax introduced quickly and later replaced by GPS based road pricing.

Goff’s transport policy is essentially to continue in the general direction the city is already heading – which is to say generally on the right track.

Victoria Crone

Crone says we need to get more people using public transport and she names a few PT projects she thinks are needed, such as the North-western Busway, AMETI and electrification to Pukekohe but also says the biggest issue is that people can’t get to PT because there are not enough Park & Rides. As we know, increasing Park & Ride isn’t going to have any so appreciable effect on patronage but if she can get private companies to pay for it like she claims, that would help offset some of the issue of them. I do agree with the need to improve feeder services though and a lot of improvement will come via the New Bus Network.

A lot of her policy centers around what she calls Smart Transport. This includes:

  • real time tweaking of traffic lights
  • more variable lane arterials – like AT is trialling on Whangaparaoa Rd.
  • more sensors to track travel patterns

One of the more concerning comments relating to sensors is below and suggests bus and cycle lanes could be under threat if she was elected.

We will use this information to assess the efficacy of bus and cycle lanes throughout Auckland, ensuring we are not turning our roads into unproductive assets.

As well as the three big PT projects mentioned earlier, Crone also wants to focus on four expensive and low value roading projects

  • Penlink
  • Lake Rd
  • Mill Rd
  • Another Harbour Crossing (note to Crone, it’ll be the third crossing, not the second). For the AWHC she’s also pledged to try and convince the government to bring it forward by promising an initial contribution of $150 million, small change on a $5 billion+ project. She has also now said she wants to include some form of rapid transit connection as part of the project and would contribute an additional $600 million for that.

The last of Crones ideas on her website is to get AT to think about the future of transport including looking at autonomous vehicles, on demand PT services etc. This is odd giving the Ministry of Transport are already doing exactly this and this is already being considered as part of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project. In fact, many of the things she talks about are things already happening or are being assessed by ATAP.

Just yesterday she released this post suggesting she wants the price of parking in the city reduced until such time as PT is good enough – no definition of what that is.

Mark Thomas

Thomas’ biggest idea is to push transport decisions for ‘sub-regional and local transport’ projects to a more local level by splitting up the decision making at Auckland Transport into six regional transport boards. The boards would cover the north, west, central, east, south and rural/islands areas. I can’t see how this would be either effective or save money like he claims.

On PT he says he wants a ‘New Hybrid Mass Transport Plan’ but it is not clear how this is actually any different from what AT have been proposing. He does talk about the need to extend the Northern Busway, North-western Busway and extending rail to the South – by which I assume he means electrification.

Thomas says his focus is on getting more money out of the council from re-prioritising first but also doesn’t rule out congestion charging in the future.

He says is top 10 regional projects to focus on are below. Some are okay but others are odd, for example since when is a train station at Selwyn a regional priority.

  1. The Penlink investigation ($200m – PPP candidate)
  2. Supporting extension of the Northern bus way (NZTA principal funder)
  3. A specific option to improve Lake Road (cost not yet clear but Indicative Business Case underway)
  4. A North-western bus way to Westgate (NZTA principal funding)
  5. A new Selwyn rail station (likely cost $25m)
  6. Dominion Road upgrade ($45m)
  7. Stage 2 of AMETI (the Pakuranga to Panmure bus way – $550 in current LTP from 2021)
  8. Rapid transit to the airport (cost not clear, although light rail/heaving rails options currently $2billion – potential PPP candidate)
  9. The Mill Road extension ($400m – potential PPP candidate)
  10. Future rail planning to the south (cost not yet clear)

Chlöe Swarbrick

In my view Chloe has one of the better transport policies and talks about how giving people a choice in how they get around by focusing investment in PT and active modes will also help those who are driving to also get around.

For PT she specifically mentions our Congestion Free Network as something that inspired her thinking and notes it is essentially what is on AT’s plans but she wants to bring the timing of projects forward so we aren’t still waiting for 30 years for it to be completed.

She says on PT she will prioritise:

  • Increasing frequency and continuity of public transport on our current networks
  • Rail to Auckland Airport (light or heavy)
  • Growth of feeder services
  • Rail on Auckland’s second harbour crossing
  • Trialling routes destined for rail with uncongested busways
  • Working with central government to ensure public transport infrastructure is given proper priority – over and above new roads

It’s good to see someone suggesting trialling routes with buses first before jumping to rail, much as Patrick suggested last week.

Chloe says walking and cycling needs to be taken seriously and she “will work to see that all new (inevitable) roading developments are accompanied by safe cycling areas, demarcated from the road, alongside”. Given her comments, while I’m sure it’s implied, I thought she might have also mentioned making existing roads safe too.

John Palino

Palino’s transport policy is contained within his 97 page book on his plans for Auckland. Unfortunately, I think his views are a rambling pile of rubbish and are based on fundamental errors, misunderstandings and a general case of avoiding reality. Ever since I first saw it I’ve had to resist an almost line by line take-down of it. It is clear he is opposed to the very idea of the city and his key policy is to create a new ‘Satellite City’ somewhere between Drury and Pukekohe where all future growth can happen because we shouldn’t change any existing suburbs. It’s not clear how this new city is any different to the previous attempts at the same thing (e.g. Albany, Botany, Manukau, Westgate/Massey North).

Along with hating the CBD, he also hates projects associated with it such as the City Rail Link which is clear he would cancel if at all possible. His transport pledges are:

  1. Free Auckland of a CBD focus and stop attempting to only move people to and from the CBD.
  2. No congestion charges on existing roads.
  3. Toll Roads to be built where there is a sound business case for building them.
  4. Review expenditure on cycleways.
  5. Review parking at Park & Ride stations within the first three months of being elected, and provide a plan for increasing parking within twelve months.
  6. Move forward on roading projects with good cost benefit ratios and need to begin, such as the East West link and the second harbour crossing.
  7. Integrate Transport in a growth plan that eliminates future congestion by allowing the development of new intensive suburbs along the transport spine, providing Aucklanders the opportunity to live close to where they work, or have affordable housing close to existing transport infrastructure.

Are there any key parts to their policies I missed or any other candidates with notable policy?

Also note, the Campaign for Better Transport are holding a mayoral candidate transport debate on tomorrow night.

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  1. Battery powered trains sound fairly speculative to be campaigning on.
    Chloe’s policy for under uncontested bus ways is great, that should be being rolled out across the isthmus and cbd now.

    1. The technology is already there, it’s not “speculative”. Battery EMUs are in revenue service on multiple lines in Japan, with orders for more trains at the moment. It’s been trialled with passengers in the UK.

      They wouldn’t even be the first battery-powered trains in New Zealand – we had one running for several years nearly a century ago, with a 160km range.

        1. Sure but it is a tricky issue for candidates; they can say something vague like sort out the trains to Pukekohe, or actually commit to a solution. Both are problematic. Though of course in reality any proposed solution will go through a process to refine it, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on details…

      1. The recent battery bimode operation in the UK was a short term trial. Since then the operator (Abellio) has made a decision to replace all its DMUs with bimodes (a UK first), and it has chosen European diesel ones (which it had not trialled) not Japanese battery ones (which it had trialled). Draw your own conclusions…

    2. I also like Chloe’s policy on uncontested bus lanes as a pathway to LRT, but we can and should do better than just the isthmus – looking at the unitary plan you could really only prioritise Sandringham, Royal Oak and Hillsborough on the isthmus (outside of the CBD).

      From the unitary plan maps, equal priority areas would be: to the West, Massey and Te Atatu (south and north); to the North, Birkenhead, Northcote, Glenfield. and Takapuna; to the East, Pakuranga, Highland Park, Howick, and Botany; and to the South, Ormiston, Otara and maybe Favona and Mangere Bridge. These areas are all destined for high population density and all of them share the fact that they have generous roading but no busway or LRT available.

      In my view the unitary plan informs us that frequent rapid transit to all of these locations is a priority, and certainly higher priority than along Dominion Road. If we don’t match our transport plan to our unitary plan there’s a high risk that we’ll only be setting ourselves up for decades of traffic chaos along with the expense and health risks that comes with it, I think it’s interesting that the mayoral candidates are not linking the two.

          1. Agreed. It was so disappointing to see Goff pushing the old Dominion Road LRT plan when the requirement for it is elsewhere where Auckland’s growth is actually going to happen. With low density zoning and nearby rail stations it’s hard to justify Dominion Road LRT, especially when Northcote/Birkenhead and the whole Te Atatu peninsula are bracing themselves for high density zoning no rapid transit infrastructure.

          2. Eh? Northcote and Te Atatu have far, far lower density that the Dominion Rd corridor, and places that a far less walkable and have a far less direct PT corridor? Why would you prioritise places that might, in twenty years with strong growth, achieve half the density of Dominion Rd… When Domininon Rd already has that density and near-perfect urban form for transit. I mean seriously, those two examples don’t even have a basic frequent bus service yet.

            That’s a bit arse about face in my humble opinion! Show me another six kilometres of corridor where there could be such huge gains from such a short development.

          3. Eh? Onewa Road has virtually the same patronage right now as Dominion Road. It is one of the busiest corridors in the city.

          4. Actually Onewa Rd generates pretty minimal patronage itself. The buses running down it from Beach Haven, Birkdale, Glenfield etc are where the patronage comes from, it’s a confluence of routes rather than a corridor. That’s an important distinction for LRT.

            Run 7km of LRT up Queen St and Dominion Rd and you’ll have about 75k residents within walking distance. Run 7km of LRT over towards Birkenhead and you’ll get about as far at the intersection with Lake Rd in Nortcote Point and have about 5k residents within walking distance…. (And you need to spend an extra billion to tunnel under the harbour).

            To get close to the same amount of people moved you’d need to spend three times as much on a good 20km of LRT network to get out to Beach Haven and Glenfield.

            Likewise with Te Atatu, Te Atatu shops is literally twice the distance away as Mt Roskill shops, so it would be literally twice the construction cost, twice the fleet size and twice the operating cost to run, and would still service fewer residents and generate less patronage and less fare revenue.

          5. Northcote also has a lot of planned growth — unlike the area around Dominion Road.

            (and Northcote isn’t even served by a frequent route at all. Nor is there anything planned in the new network. I can think of a few explanations, with varying degrees of cynicism)

          6. Why are we talking about LRT specifically? I am talking about continuous PT corridors. Build a continuous PT corridor up Onewa Road and out toward Glenfield and Birkdale. The whole point is getting decent PT corridors over a wider area than just having a narrow focus on expensive LRT on just one or two corridors in the forseeable future.

          7. I was replying to David who specifically mentioned LRT for Northcote or Te Atatu instead of Dominion Rd.

            Agree on continuous PT corridors, not hard to deliver contiguous bus lanes across the whole Onewa Rd catchment up to Glenfield *and* BeachHaven, and arguably a better solution given the urban form, road topography and travel patterns.

          8. Sorry, yes agreed LRT to Northcote is obviously not immediately practical.

            Apart from Chloe, are any other candidates championing bus priority? Crone seems to be the opposite.

          9. Thanks and agreed with you both on the idea of dedicated contiguous bus lanes first, with a plan to upgrade to LRT at the point where passenger volume demands it (which is a staged approach and not straight away). I’m liking Chloe’s thinking on this.

      1. Agreed with that. Uncontested bus lanes have to be very good value for money, and there are a lot of routes that should get such treatment.

    1. I am surprised that this is the first I’ve heard that any of the mayoral candidates are proposing STV. It is a fantastic idea. It should absolutely be STV, especially with 19 candidates.

      1. STV is on offer in only six of the territorial authorities, including Wellington City.

        It should be the voting system for every one.

  2. Glad that was only an opinion piece. If you bothered to actually talk to Palino, you would find he may well be the smartest of the bunch as regards the future of Auckland. He’s not obsessed with the CBD like all others and advocates satellite cities where the people live. Sounds like commonsense to me.

    1. Auckland’s planning framework *already* allows the development of large satellite centres. Henderson, New Lynn, Manukau, and Albany allow (from memory) 18-storey buildings, they’ve got vacant land for development, and there are decent road and public transport links. If they’re not happening, it’s due to market factors (ie not enough businesses want to locate there!) rather than bad planning on the Council’s part.

      Or, to put it another way, if Palino wants a satellite city to develop, he’s going to have to directly subsidise businesses to relocate there. There *may* be a case to do this, if the cost of adding transport capacity to enable more businesses to locate in their preferred location is excessively high. But in order for that case to be convincing, it has to be backed by robust costings, including the cost of the subsidies for business relocation.

      A further point that I would make, on the question of costs, is that while many PT projects that are proposed or currently going ahead connect directly to the city centre, they do so in order to facilitate *region-wide* access. This is because the city centre, being geographically central, is the logical point for connections between services. For instance, if you want to grow Manukau centre, the CRL will be necessary in order to increase train frequencies on the Manukau spur.

    2. Lol. He’s from New Jersey; his only model for a built place is to be somewhere near to, but not in, a real city. NJ is a sprawling sub-economy of NY; a badly run commuter-ville. His aim is to focus the worst part of cities; the inefficient, disconnected, low productivity, country-side ruining edge economy, a realm that only performs well in proportion to a successful centre. And anyway, something we’ve been trying to make work for decades, at great cost, Manukau City has just got going now after about 50 years of subsidy and struggle.

      As if we need another Hamilton on the way to Hamilton, though this one without a region and its rural economy for it to service. Beyond daft; unnecessary and unfundable.

    3. If he was so smart, he wouldn’t have put such stupid policies in his book.
      Regardless of your thoughts on satellite cities (IMO we already have many unsuccessful ones), there are no road projects in Auckland with a good BCR (unless the BCR involves dodgy calculations). There are no road projects that will make a single dent in Auckland’s congestion problems. Can you honestly name one decent road project? Maybe the east west link at a stretch, but that is a government project now anyway.

  3. Chloe’s the best, but in a FPP race I’d vote for Goff (NB: Not that I can, given that my voting papers haven’t turned up).

    One question: Is Chloe standing in a ward as well? If not then please consider Waitemata next time around!

    1. Despite only announcing her candidacy in July she’s already got more likes on facebook than Vic Crone. I believe she’s a very good candidate (and for only 22 years of age) but the mayoral job is perhaps too big of shoes to fill. She would make an excellent councillor in the interim (despite not contesting any wards) – I shudder to think about the possibility of Bill Ralston winning the only council position for Waitemata.

      1. But then the incumbent is hardly likely to be better, unless you define ‘better’ as a desire to have the city revert to how it was in 1915.

  4. Crone mentions Lake Road and it is a problem. Thing is Lake Road needs real vision, not widening. That entire area is served well by ferries albeit only good if you are headed towards the city direction. A decent PT only link to the Esmonde bus station and Takapuna, ideal in fact for light rail, is the way to go. There are simply too many cars at the moment and short of turning it into an expressway which will be horrifically expensive and a logistical nightmare, vastly improved PT must be the solution.

    Otherwise Goffs vision is luke warm to tame, Swarbrick is great but little hope of winning and after the dirty politics crap from last time I don’t want Palino anywhere near anything, or any similarly blue aligned candidates who drink from the same contaminated National Party well.

    1. The last thing Lake Road needs is more traffic. There has been theories of removing bike lanes and bus priority so that Lake Road can have an extra lane in each direction – which even though Vic Crone hasn’t mentioned any specifics all suggestion point to this. Trouble is this will all come to nothing as the bottleneck is not Lake Road itself, it’s the Esmonde Road intersection.

  5. It’s frightening to think Palino got 30% of the vote last time around. How many dumb people are there in Auckland? The mind boggles.

    I find all the main candidates disappointing. Crone the biggest disappointment.

  6. Good post! I discovered something new about each of them. Phil wants to look like he supports electric trains to Pukekohe but is too smart to spend the money so he says he supports battery trains knowing they will never happen. Vic Crone wants to use data to see if bus lanes and cycle lane make sense. Someone called Mark Thomas is standing. Chloe has an umlaut. Palino thinks he has a shot despite that debacle last time.

  7. Cr Mike Lee is my choice for Waitemata this year. He’s done a lot for public transport, very under rated in certain “cliques” but well known to the “man/woman on the street” for his transport, parks and stopping the sell off of council assets. The Neoliberals and blue/greens naturally want him out.
    Ralston, shudder, has done nothing for the community or Auckland as a whole.
    2019 – Chloe would be good to step into a leading role. Gives her 3 more years experience in local body issues, if not actively involved in politics.

    For Mayor, much as an unexciting race as it is, yes Goff will win. Will need to talk with him about the flawed AT study on rapid transit to the Airport and Huapai rail.

    Amazing that dispite 3 months notice, Vic Crone has DECLINED to speak at the Mayoral Candidates Transport Debate tomorrow night (Tuesday 13th) in Parnell. If any of you have connections to her, perhaps send her to http://www.BetterTransport.org.nz so she can see the list of speakers. But my bet is she’ll be a no show.

    1. I can understand why Mike Lee is popular among property owners and the wealthy. He has worked hard to maintain high property prices and to keep poorer people out of posh suburbs.

        1. If opening railway lines, securing regional parks and stopping the sale of ratepayer owned assets is something you have issues with, vote the complete opposite then…rusty Ralston for you it is.

          1. I think he has done an excellent job laying the foundations for rail and his work on regional parks, I’m ambivalent on sales of publicly owned assets though, as it’s hard to argue the port has been acting in the public interest recently.

            However, since he has become a local ward representative he has become unexpectedly parochial and appears to have transferred his preservationist instincts from regional parks into his ward, the ward the needs the freedom to progress more than any other ward in Auckland. I’m not in Waitemata so I don’t have a say anyway.

          2. Poor quality “slum” type hovels are not good in any city. I am pleased Mike Lee opposed that. The ” Laissez Faire “market forces attitude is not good planning. Having minimum sizes in the first world country can never be argued as a bad thing. Seems like a very much ACT/NAT behaviour “trust the scrupulous developer in it for profit”. Yes right, just like leaky homes, we can all trust the developers. Any mature city also appreciates and protects heritage buildings and heritage suburbs. I like to think that we are mature in that aspect, even though there have been many demonstrating attitudes lesser than that.

            I would love to live in Ponsonby, but being a realist not a dreamer, I bought a house close to a train station in South Auckland. Not the choicest of suburbs, but it’s changing and it’s a solid house with good neighbours. I do note that many who want to live in Ponsonby seem to be of younger disposition, wanting it all without putting anything in. They seem to fantasize about shoe box apartments in the choicest of suburbs. The “want now, have now” type.

            Controlling record “open door” immigration is a good way to ease pressure. Only 25% of all immigrants were Kiwi’s returning home in the year to July 2016 according to Statistics NZ. Though immigration is a Central Govt issue the housing problem is directly affected by it.

            Selling off assets (like Ports of Auckland which made $80 million profit this year) is a short sighted affair. Neoliberals types usually support asset sales as they forget the revenue or public service aspects to owning assets or that selling the port simply means a foreign corporation will both suck out profits but also give a massive two finger salute to Aucklanders will do more damage to the city than good. I fully support Mike Lee opposing sale of our port.

          3. 2/3 Story Townhouses are poor quality slums, because that’s basically what he fought against???

            Why can’t I have my shoebox, I hate looking after gardens + cleaning large spaces, want to be close to the places, and have smaller commutes. I can’t have children so can’t use the muh children need small yard to against me. Why should I be forced to pay more rent/interest for a bigger property I don’t want because your subjective values say I should.

            Heritage is important, but huge difference between protecting Heritage and the pre 1944 blanket protection which was way to far. Not every place built before 1944 is heritage.

          4. Jon your comment shows your contempt towards young people.

            Settling for a smaller home instead of moving further out is also a legit option for “realists”. Think about it the other way, why should it be mandatory for singles or couples without kids to occupy an entire house?

          5. “Having minimum sizes in the first world country can never be argued as a bad thing.”

            It is pretty obviously bad if the minimums are set at an unnecessarily high level. For instance, I think anyone would agree that a minimum dwelling size of 100m2 would be deleterious to people’s wellbeing.

            So the question becomes: What is an appropriate minimum? Frankly, this is hard to define or provide evidence for. I looked – hard! – for any good ergonomic evidence to support a minimum of 35m2 (the current rule that’s in force). I couldn’t find much robust evidence. 35m2 apartments don’t seem to be any more harmful than 30m2 apartments, or 25m2 apartments for that matter. But they probably cost an extra $50-100k to buy, or around $50-100 more in weekly rent. That’s a big difference, and one that doesn’t seem to be justified by any obvious difference in health outcomes for inhabitants.

            Remember, in the absence of evidence, regulations are just ideological paternalism!

          6. Jon you seem to have a prejudice against other peoples preferred lifestyle choices and in doing so are making huge value judgements based on your own preferences. Those thoughts are arbitrary and should not be the basis of policy.

      1. For those who oppose Mike Lee’s views on safe guarding the urban limits and shoddy construction, good on you, I’m personally pleased with his depth of experience and that unlike some he can see through the facades to the true effects of rushed planning. Your choice though, take neoliberal right wing “sell it all off” Ralston and enjoy his long time service record (not) for the community.

        1. Not sure how regulating things that have zero to do with quality only subjective value preference on what housing is has anything to do with it. Also Unitary Plan is an RMA based document not a Building Act one, the proper place to regulate quality is the Building Act not the RMA.

    2. Well Jon if you didn’t support politicians who force exclusionary zoning on places on Ponsonby you might be able to afford to live there. And it is entirely fraudulent for local body politicians to defend their anti-housing positions by claiming that something should be done at other levels of government to control population. That just isn’t in their purview; their job is to run the city as well as possible within whatever macro-economic and demographic context they find it to be in.

      Furthermore demonising property developers is unhelpful at the least, they do provide housing, which is a useful and now urgent service, along with, I hope, with making a profit.

      It is speculators who are in fact the type who benefit most from a political class who restrict dwelling supply. It is extremely naive to play at champion of heritage and warrior against the evils capitalism by so restricting dwelling supply that people are locked of shelter and forced into expensive long commutes and the economy is destabilised by the inevitable bidding war.

  8. “note to Crone, it’ll be the third crossing, not the second” ..Chloe made the same mistake. Otherwise there is no comparison between the two. That a 22 year old can articulate a policy set so comprehensively superior than a former CEO is frankly laughable.

        1. I am just saying it is not widely thought of as a harbour crossing, it is basically across one of the inlets of the upper habour just as the NW motorway crosses two inlets and the Henderson creek that could be classed as a habour inlet, Tamaki drive crosses one and both the Panmure bridge and Waipuna bridge cross another the bridge at Riverhead is across what is technically a river but could by some be seen as the upper most part of the harbour (making it the first harbour crossing).

          1. Hobsonville-Greenhithe is another major connection to the North, especially with the $4b of connecting motorway developments from Manukau. Other directions South and West need transport investment before adding yet more capacity for the small proportion of Aucklanders who live north of the harbour.

          2. None of those cross the harbour though, like the upper harbour bridge does. I mean it’s called the upper harbour bridge FFS!

            Nobody who lives in the north shore would agree with you, there are already two motorways to the north shore so a third is clearly a third.

          3. Nick they all cross inlets in the harbour, one just happens to cross the upper most inlet. There is only one crossing that actually crosses the harbour all the rest cross inlets. By the way there are more than two ways to get to the shore, you seem to forget the first crossing at Riverhead.

          4. This is getting ridiculously pedantic. The main point is that the multi-billion dollar Western Ring Route is largely justified by completing a second motorway connection between the Shore and the wider city. The Upper Harbour Bridge is key to this and it is clearly more than reasonable to call this a second harbour crossing:

            “The Western Ring Route will create a 48km alternative route around Auckland, reducing dependence on State Highway 1, particularly the Auckland Central Business District and Auckland Harbour Bridge.”


          5. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/auckland-places/page-9

            “The Greenhithe Bridge was built in 1975 as an alternative [Waitemata] harbour crossing, spanning the upper Waitematā from Hobsonville to Greenhithe on the North Shore.”

            The encyclopedia agrees that the Greenhithe Bridge is the second crossing, can we stop with the utter bollocks that a new crossing would only be the second now?

          6. I was just replying to a comment that was equally pedantic by getting upset that Mayoral candidates were referring to a new harbour crossing as a ‘second’ crossing by saying upper harbour is not seen by many (rightly or wrongly) as a habour crossing, I then pointed out all the other habour inlet crossings (something that the upper harbour bridge effectively is). If the only definition for a harbour crossing is as a connection between the Shore and the wider city then we should not be forgetting the original at Riverhead.

          7. “something that the upper harbour bridge effectively is”

            It isn’t. Except by using the most contrived of all possible definitions of estuary, river, bay, inlet, and harbour. The only way that statement is true is if you deliberately interpret the words within it in such a way as to make it true.

            It may well be that many people voluntarily undertake that exercise in mental gymnastics but LINZ disagrees with them https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsIIAdsUAAAs1jh.jpg

          8. That nice Sailor Boy but it still remains rightly of wrongly that many people don’t see it as a harbour crossing and if you were to count all the harbour crossings (or parts of the harbour like bays and inlets) there are far more than two. People need to get over themselves with technical definitions when getting upset at what politicians or potential politicians say.

            By the way Sailor Boy, I am not disagreeing that the upper harbour bridge is an actual habour crossing but it is over looked by many as a river, inlet or bay crossing like we have so many of in Auckland.

          9. What a pedantic and circular argument. Yes, if, like many people, one did not understand or willfully ignored the definition of a harbour, then you could perceive eithe; that the Greenhithe Bridge is not a crossing, or that, if the Greenhithe Bridge is a crossing, then many other bridges or causeways are.

            In either case one would be wrong and should be corrected.

            Source https://data.linz.govt.nz/set/58-north-island-charts/

          10. Agreed. As most of the Mayoral candidates (their comments that started this) see Auckland as the CBD and the old ACC area they would not have even looked into the old Waitakere city and even seen an alternative route to the shore. What Mayoral candidates are even worrying about an NZTA (effectively central government) project when campaigning for the Auckland (all of Auckland not just the CBD) Mayoralty other than if there is going to be an AT addition to the project for rapid transport (an extension to the busway or for rail heavy or light).

    1. RE: Third crossing, yeah… There are many things that I can grin and bear, but calling the *additional* crossing the second isn’t one of them. With the exception of Chloe (who sounds very promising), I can’t help but become frustrated with, and lose faith in, any candidate who can’t count.

  9. Anyone notice that Goff is trying to get the right wing vote (knowing he already has the left in the bag).
    His signs have a blue background with the claim that he will cut council spending!

  10. Victoria Crone wants ‘real-time tweaking of traffic lights’ – um, we already have that, it’s called SCATS. The traffic flows would be a lot worse without it…

    1. Sadly many a motorist sits at the lights and wishfully imagines there just must be a way for them to always have a green without others having a red. This is, of course, entirely impossible within the known time-space continuum. It is fraudulent to sell the idea that this is possible in any substantial way beyond what is already done to manage traffic control.

      What is more worrying however is Crone’s even more poorly understood views on parking charges. Anyone parking a car wants two things; an available and convenient space and as low a cost as possible. However these two things are inversely correlated. The cheaper the cost the less likely there will be an available space. AT’s recent changes to centre city parking (where they aim to price it to maintain an 85% occupancy rate) are rational and effective precisely because they understand and reflect this reality. Rationing parking by price is the only way to ensure efficient supply; the alternative is the classic Soviet bread system; really cheap, but none there to buy.

    2. To be fair to Crone and I am certainly am no Crone supporter, our traffic lights might have SCATS but if they are controlled it’s by Spider Monkeys on Ritalin. There is no logic to our traffic light systems and they are a definite major contributor to traffic problems in Auckland. Crone is right on this and I hope whoever wins has a look at this seriously. How about the timer displays warning of each green phase as per South East Asian countries, they work brilliantly.

      1. “How about the timer displays warning of each green phase as per South East Asian countries”

        It would be interesting to see whether that increased red light running.

        1. I think a major contributor to red-light running is the kind of situations I described below – a relatively short queue which still takes ages because a traffic light only lets a couple of cars through in every cycle.

          It’s quite OK in the city but I’ve seen that happening so often on Birkenhead Avenue. I used to commute along that street on my bicycle (coming from the north), and quite often I could see how the queue to turn right towards Birkdale was blocking all other traffic because it stretched back so far.

    3. Yeah I can imagine. Belgium has a very bad reputation in that regard. To the point that some people believe cities are intentionally calibrating traffic lights to slow down traffic. A way to tell is observing how much time there’s queues waiting on all sides, but no cars crossing the intersection.

      There’s some situations here which I really don’t understand though.

      One goof happens most evenings at the Birkenhead on-ramp. You’re allowed to turn onto the Onewa Road on-ramp from Sylvan Avenue, but the traffic light only lets a couple of cars through every 5 minutes or so. So although the queue is not that long, it takes a loooong time, more than half an hour, to get to the on-ramp. Of course I can avoid that queue and just go via Onewa Road. But the 922 bus (that’s Takapuna → Northcote → city) has no such option. Makes me wonder why they don’t just close that turn for cars.

      A question, does this real-time tweaking make congestion more unpredictable? In Belgium it was was quite predictable, i.e. you knew how much delay you’d have at a given time of the day within quite a small margin, eg. 30 minutes +/– 5 minutes. Over here it can be free-flowing one day, while you get half an hour delay the next day.

    4. Its not as great as you would think. It’s been a few years since I was last involved with SCATS but I would always come across intersections that didn’t co-ordinate well with neighbouring intersections (it still relies on a lot of manual inputs by operators – rubbish in/rubbish out and all that). And SCATS will never resolve intersecting arterial roads – it just shares the pain. What I think does have some promise is integration of PTIPS or similar that gives PT priority at signals (even though the website says its a ‘future development’, it exists now) http://www.scats.com.au/packages-additional-products.html

      1. It looks like SCATS is reasonably widely used, which suggests it is a pretty decent system. Do you know whether there are different ‘levels’ of SCATS and if so whether Auckland is ahead of or behind the pack in this regard? I often hear suggestions of improving traffic light phasing, but few solutions in terms of what systems should be used.

        1. Smallpox used to be widespread as well. Doesn’t mean it was desirable. SCATS was first chosen for NZ because at the time it was free. It works quite well on single corridors but isn’t much use for a whole network. It does well at cycle times and ok at splits but it is next to hopeless at coordination.
          Next time you are sitting at red lights and there is no traffic going across just understand you are wasting your day because of SCATS and how it is operated. The need for common cycle times at adjacent signals means they dump any extra time into a stretch phase on what some operator decided was the ‘main’ road. It gets extra green even if nobody is there.
          When I worked with it it didn’t even have an online model to deal with traffic joining the system. It was all fixed link plans.
          The shame is that the controllers already installed at each intersection can do a better job at allocating phases and green times and a far better job at dealing with short lanes where if they get overloaded they block the through lanes.

          1. Do you know if they run SCATS down here in Hamilton? We have a few really closely spaced signals on Mill Street that are clearly coordinated, but very poorly; the extra green time description you gave is an almost uncanny match to the operation.

  11. So Vic Crone…

    “will use this information to assess the efficacy of bus and cycle lanes throughout Auckland, ensuring we are not turning our roads into unproductive assets.”

    but …

    “wants the price of parking in the city reduced until such time as PT is good enough”

    Spoken like a true asphalt socialist.

    All road users are equal, but some road users are more equal than others.

  12. the only thing wrong with any of the policies on public transport is that they all include Auckland Transport, they are the biggest stumbling block to development in the city, as they seem predisposed to having no original ideas, or focus on fixing the problem of today, rather than the future. How anyone can imaging reducing half of Dominion Rd with a tram will help traffic and people flow is beyond my understanding

    1. I can imagine it, in fact it has been done successfully in many other cities.
      I think Dominion road already carries more people in buses than in cars at peak, and trams will be able to carry significantly more than buses (about 5x more passengers per vehicle). It would probably make sense to close Dominion road to cars altogether if you want to increase people flow!
      And Dominion road light rail is about fixing a problem of today and the future – replacing over crowded slow buses with quicker, bigger, better light rail, and reducing the amount of buses in overcrowded city streets.

    2. Well Roger that is because your understanding of how transport in cities works needs to increase. The short answer is that getting the ‘traffic to flow’ [if that just means car traffic] isn’t the main aim; the main aim is to move more people more efficiently, especially at the peaks, particularly on the more spatially efficient PT. But, having said that it will also smooth the way for those who still choose to drive by getting more people onto the middle two lanes on big Light Rail vehicles reducing the numbers of people driving on the remaining two lanes. And, designed right, that will happen, as has happened with the new trains [run by Auckland Transport]. Additionally removing off-street parking and buses from the general lans will actually increase vehicle traffic ‘flow’. And you do realise that there are two traffic lanes now, and there will be two traffic lanes with LR too?

      Congestion is too many people driving at once, significantly improving all alternatives to driving is the only way to improve the functionality of driving as a system. More better PT is the only possible physical alternative [All road pricing fans can pile in now].

    3. Roads exist to move people not machines. The vehicles are the medium not the objective.

      Bear in mind that traffic is people too, only it is usually just 1.3 people per unit of traffic as opposed to 50 or 100 people per bus or tram.

    4. ‘AT have no original ideas’
      So perhaps if the main congestion issue is caused by socs then make the motorways T2+ for 10ks from CBD between 7:30am and 9:30am Mon to Fri
      Would that help?

    5. “How anyone can imaging reducing half of Dominion Rd with a tram will help …… people flow is beyond my understanding”. Let me help Roger, I know it’s tricky but here goes. It will help because it will give them trams.

    6. Imagine two of the four lanes being dedicated to PT, oh the horror. Oh wait, that’s the same as what exists now. Light rail replaces the bus lanes on Dominion Rd

    1. I doubt it. Palino and Thomas are enjoying the attention while it lasts and aren’t within any Party structures that can whip them. Crone is the official unofficial Nat candidate, and presumably has other aims, ie a soft Nat seat somewhere. Bright isn’t very. And Swarbrick has her own agenda and arguably has already succeeded in drawing attention to the problem of excluded younger voters. So who might bale?

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