Submissions for the East-West Link closed recently but that hasn’t stopped it being in the news. Here are couple of things we’ve seen popping up recently.

Submission Analysis

Yesterday it was revealed that there were 685 submissions on the project. Below is a break down of those numbers with massive numbers opposing the project but of course that is no indication as to whether it will get consent or not.

  • 582 submitters (85%) oppose the proposal in full, or in part
  • 94 submitters (13.7%) support the proposal in full, or in part
  • nine submitters (1.3%) indicated they were neutral
  • 356 submitters (52%) Wish to be heard and Have their Say

I had a very brief look at the submitters and quickly noticed a few things, unsurprisingly a decent chunk of those whose position is listed as “Approve the proposal” are trucking companies, Auckland Transport is also on that list. Auckland Council wanted it granted with conditions – some of which I’ll go through below. The Port of Tauranga want consent granted with conditions but the Port of Auckland want it declined

Project Promo

On the weekend, the NZTA bizarrely ran a half page ad in the Herald promoting the project. This is particularly odd given submissions on the project have closed and there’s a chance it might not even get consent. It also contains a nice dose of PT wash by including an image of a passenger train (an old diesel one at that), to give the impression the project is about improving PT too.

New Images

In a newsletter about the project, they also highlighted some new concept images, which to me only serve to reinforce this project is poor quality.

The first image shows the proposed new road dipping into a trench around where the Onehunga port is with the current Onehunga Harbour Rd going over the top, and a walking and cycling bridge above that. The NZTA talk about this not being a motorway but it sure looks close to being one in this.

While the second image is from around the corner showing the proposed shared path along Orpheus Dr. It frankly looks horrid with more attention paid to the design on concrete barriers than the narrow shared path

Council Submission

One of the documents from the recent Planning Committee meeting contained the council’s submission on the project. I skimmed through it to find a few interesting parts. This is not an exhaustive list and is not in any particular order.

  • The council wants the transmission lines around the Neilson St interchange either undergrounded or removed altogether but if that’s not possible, at least designing the project in a way that doesn’t make it more difficult to do at a later stage.
  • They want more information on the traffic modelling in a few areas. One of those is Hugo Johnston Dr which is meant to be one of the few roads that connect to the project but which the council says is unsuitable for high volumes – which would be expected if this project is built.
  • The council is particularly concerned about the walking and cycling facilities in the proposal, which consists of a meandering recreational path and boardwalk along with a cycle route next to the road. They note that the in places they “appear convoluted and do not consider pedestrian/ active user desire lines. This is not conducive to encourage users to use the facilities.“. They want to see the amenity for those walking and cycling improved.
  • At the eastern end, they say the design of the project will preclude plans to extends a walking and cycling path along the coastal side of the rail corridor. They want the design to ensure this future cycleway can be built.
  • They want to public transport options to the airport preserved and later in the submission they state they want the NZTA to prove that the elevated route proposed for rail could be built and while “achieving positive urban Design outcomes
  • The council don’t like the plan for Galway St, saying it has “curvilinear ‘motorway on-ramp’ style geometry and want it instead to come off Onehunga Harbour Rd. They’re concerned the roundabout planned will not be a very friendly environment for people which will make it less likely they’ll use the planned new walking and cycling bridge over the harbour. They also want pedestrian crossings from Galway across the East-West Link to access the walking and cycling paths.
  • One big, expensive aspect of the proposal is a long elevated structure over Ann’s Creek. The council want this section re-aligned or evidence as to why it can’t be can’t be done.
  • The council says they support the economic benefits of the project but they also ask for the details, noting that the costs have gone up considerably since the business case was completed.
  • They want the NZTA to pay for a share of the stormwater maintenance costs for 100 years, which is the predicted asset life. They also want compensation from the NZTA
  • The NZTA plan to use both Gloucester Park and Waikaraka Park at during construction for works yards. The council want only one used at a time and multiple sports fields built afterwards including lighting and other amenities.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on how it progresses

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51 comments

  1. That walkway/cycleway is even more narrow than the abysmal footpaths of Tamaki Drive. What is it, a metre and a half at best per lane? The old guy is going to lose his walking stick, being sideswiped by the cyclists coming from behind who cannot maintain their ribbon of a lane. Not that NZTA give a shit about anything but trucks and cars.

    John Roughan of the Herald is going to be oh so aroused by his party’s vision and love of its people, swooping bridges, flyovers, using public parks to store diggers and trucks, noise, carbon emissions, concrete, 1950’s! Heaven has descended on little ol’ Auckland for John. I predict a biography on Stephen Joyce to celebrate.

    1. Certainly will, but I suspect the corporate and business interests lobbying for this road regard Onehunga as a lower socio-economic district and therefore of no importance.

      1. Though to be fair, we can’t rule out incompetence being behind such lobbying.

        As the old saying goes, don’t blame malice for what stupidity does adequately explain.

        🙂

  2. That picture of the Orpheus Drive shared path is a stunner. They’ve photoshopped in more pedestrians and cyclists than cars. Based on my experience running and cycling around the area, that’s extremely unlikely with a design like that. People tend to be very reluctant to walk or bike in environments like that, whether or not there’s green paint laid out. You can see that pretty clearly on the existing cycle path that runs immediately along SH20.

    There’s an intrinsic tradeoff here. You can have a waterfront with a major motorway on it, or you can have a waterfront that people will spend time on. It might be valid to prefer one or the other, depending upon your values, but pretending that you can have both is a bit insulting.

    I’d prefer it if NZTA would just front up and say that they intend to permanently sever the waterfront with a major highway, because they don’t think recreational use and utilitarian cycling and walking trips matter. That at least would be honest.

    1. Is it not astounding that in 2017 these dinosaurs are hell bent on building motorways, (bad enough), on harbour edges?

    2. This point where the Manukau harbour connects to the urban environment is in this context a single option resource.

      Either we have this concrete junction or we have a point where the city can create a real urban connection with a major aspect of our environment.

      1. Yes, Panuku have already shown that the Onehunga Port area can and should be regenerated similarly to Wynyard Quarter. This obliterates any potential for that.

        We need to make this an election issue: How long can National ignore Auckland’s aspirations and vision for our city with impunity…?

        1. Denice Lee has said that she doesn’t support the EWL. I haven’t had a chance to talk to the Labour candidate about it yet.

          It maybe come an issue that affects Maungakiekie, but I’m not sure how much of swing there is in the electorate and what impact that would have on the election.

          It’s certainly a dimension that needs to be followed.

          1. Clearly this proposal affects locals most, but the business case is very poor to say the least, which should be a concern to all.

            And while Denise Lee has made her concerns known, I personally feel needs to be more forceful and start taking the fight directly to Simon Bridges.

            May not an easy position for her, but that’s politics – she represents the area, so she needs to start showing it.

            Remember, she got the cherry-picker out to scaremonger prior to the Unitary Plan. Her position on planning issues is far from clear-cut.

          2. Sounds like her position on planning issues are quite clear cut – Not in my backyard.

            Sometimes NIMBYs can be quite handy when it comes to stopping absurd roading projects. They basically stopped the Eastern motorway project.

          3. My focus is not Denise personally – I just feel strongly this is will be devastating for #ourOnehunga and I’m just concerned that she will make the right noises, but not fight too much, in order to not upset the party line.

          4. She would likely raise it with Bridges/Joyce once she becomes an MP, however she may well find out exactly who runs the show!

            I doubt she will make it a public issue during the campaign as she has been selected as the National candidate so would have to tow the party line. Will be interesting to see her response if she is questioned on it during the campaign.

          5. My point exactly! We need to make it an issue that she can’t easily evade or equivocate on.
            That National can’t sit back and let NZTA get away with doing all the dirty work.

            It’s too important.

          6. I think the point is that we need to make it an election issue for our area.

            And yes I don’t ignore the business case.

            This battle needs to be done on multiple levels. Hopefully the BOI will listen to the community and see that NZTA’s plan is crazy and stupid.

            Alternative if the politicians also feel the pressure. Simple done by tell them that you will vote against the EWL with your electoral vote.

    3. Not only are there more pedestrians than cars but they have as many trucks as there are cars, 5 of each. Clearly proof that this really is needed for freight. At least they got the pedestrians’ feet on the ground and not floating just above like most of these daft images.

  3. I find it funny that out of the 6 pedestrians in the graphic, 4 are walking on the wrong side (the seaside lane is supposed to be heading towards the observer yet they are walking away). Similarly of the 3 cyclists, 2 are in the wrong lane. If this whole thing is going to be new then really there should be separate cycle and pedestrian lanes – shared paths on the other hand slow cyclists down (making it less appealing) and pose a hazard to pedestrians being hit by cyclists.

    1. Actually, the cyclist in jeans is about to have a head-on collision with the two coming straight towards him!! It’s either that or swerve and take out the old men, or veer onto the road and be taken out by a truck…

    2. It’s hysterical that someone even thought you should have directional lanes for pedestrians. I suppose NZTA just see everything as a vehicle.

  4. Los ghastly. These consultations are generally a farce. They go with who ever wields the more sway like the High Street consultancy.

  5. At this stage our hope is a change of government. They will come in and urgently reset the activities and priorities of this agency, if elected.

  6. East West Link Oh No,No,No, No!!! For God’s sake NZTA scrub the whole outrageous thing!!!

    NZTA you have to do much better than this……………………

  7. I think we should Merchant of Venice this

    Approval is granted on the proviso that not one tree or other plant is destroyed during construction.

  8. One of my biggest issues with this design is that it doesn’t increase the capacity of the bridge.

    So we’ll have several high capacity links from East, North (*) and South into Onehunga. Without any increase to the capacity of the bridge.

    (*) and even more traffic given the Waterview connection.

    Drivers will look to optimise their routes. So we’ll see even more traffic flood though the street roads in Onehunga. Counter-productive.

  9. In big overseas airports it can take 20 min under normal conditions for a long haul flight to be able to takeoff after push back from the terminal.
    Sounds like the trucking companies arent happy with that sort of time for their trucks to reach the motorway after leaving the depot.

  10. I like the bit about sharing the stormwater maintenance costs for the next 100 years. On current trends the tunnel will be flooding during every king tide much sooner than 100 years from now.

    1. It was funny talking to the water guys when they were digging their pipe up Victoria St. One of the main reasons why it went so slowly at the bottom is was the lack of a tidal flap on the storm water. That combined with the two springs in Onehunga.

    2. I’m surprised more attention hasn’t been paid to the entire reclamation and the reason for the stormwater treatment devices. The concept drawings had them at sitting below 0m RL or something ridiculous. No wonder AC stormwater is seeking compensation.

  11. Imagine if this was the Waitemata. No way in hell it would be considered. How long does the Manukau have to be the poor cousin? It could be an absolutely amazing Barbour if we looked after it.

      1. Quay Street, St. Mary’s Bay ***cough, cough*** Plenty of crap has been inflicted on the Waitemata, and if you’ve somehow been out of the loop, a certain port company has been trying to extend a wharf or two further into the Waitemata in recent times. Let’s not play favourites here mate. Both harbours equally need to be protected from future degradation, and have past mistakes rolled back (e.g. Quay Street)

  12. Presumably NZTA graphics are intended to realistically show the completed project? A speedy journey for a small number of light trucks. Nationally significant infrastructure? Certainly not to the Nation so the word National must only refer to the political party of that name rewarding it’s donors.

  13. I cannot believe that so far no one has mentioned that AT submitted in total support of this. What does it say about the attitudes and leadership prevalent at AT that they could support such a poor project? Did they suffer from a sudden case of blindness when the picture with the “shared path” (is it even worthy of that name it’s so disgustingly narrow?) passed their eyes? You would’ve thought at least they would make good walking and cycling infrastructure a non-negotiable condition of any support. But no, not even that. At least AC has raised questions.

    Yes, it sure does have to become an election issue. Hopefully the young Greens candidate Chloe Swarbrick will go after it and get some traction in the electorate. even if she’s not likely to win, she has already proved she knows how to get attention and that’s just what opposition to this East-West Link needs. It needs to be front and center for Aucklanders and be seen for what it is, a completely unnecessary, locally destructive project.

    1. It is not widely understood that as well as requiring the relocation of Transpower HV transmission lines, the proposed East West link goes straight through the KiwiRail substation at Southdown, one of two power feeds for the Auckland electric train network. Apparently no feasible supply points for the network ( to maintain two points of supply) have yet been identified that could be implemented within the proposed construction timeframes for the EWL project. This would potentially mean that the network was relying only on one supply point at Penrose until a replacement for Southdown can be provided. KiwiRail is understood to be very concerned but perhaps AT doesn’t understand the issue or risks..

  14. Any money spent on improving freight services in the area would be far better spent on the third rail line south of Otahuhu and on connecting Marsden Point to the rail network.

    What this stupidly designed road will do other than become an expensive car and truck park, no-one has yet explained to me as a ratepayer.

    1. > “become an expensive car and truck park” – Yes, it sure will, from Day-1.

      I envisage that from Day-2 trucks will avoid it and use Neilson Street instead.

      A complete disaster and waste of money/resources and time, space and place.

  15. Sheer weight of numbers isn’t really and shouldn’t really be a driving force in any decision – many submissions are pro-forma from different lobby groups and almost identical.

    Where this falls down is 1) The actual case for it is so bad and 2) the alternatives and issues raised are actually legit.

    1. This is simply a reflection of the abbreviated community consultation process; large amount of documentation provided at the last minute; lack of support for contra views; and general view that people don’t like what they have heard so far.

      Even if some of the submissions are pro-forma, this is still action and it essentially shows people are putting their hands up and say “don’t like it.”

  16. Do you know why the Southern Motorway gets congested at Mt Wellington creating a choke point? Because the motorway goes from 3 to two lanes across an outdated bridge. This won’t be improved or replaced without this project. You are also focusing on pedestrian access around the SH16 Onehunga off ramp. How many pedestrians currently use this area? How many people use the new $20m beach created at Onehunga? Not many if any. Or at least I haven’t seen anyone. Certainly never noticed anyone on the footbridge connecting the lagoon to the beach over SH16. How many people exit SH16 at Onehunga each day? Thousands. Mmmm a handful of pedestrians v thousands of commuters. I can see the sense in your argument. By building a motorway along an unused foreshore and behind a large industrial area who is disadvantaged? Just build it allready. I do agreesthat they should definitely protect a rail route though for 2050 or whenever the clowns at Auckland Transport decide a rail link should be built.

    1. City Nippers run a course on the beach [1]. The Onehunga festival was in the reserve. People often walk their dogs around the loop.

      I’m sure with more residential development it will occur.

      Part of the issue is that the Manukau harbour needs to be developed for these types of activity. Auckland city as a whole needs to consider how it can utilise this resource in such a way to benefit the whole city.

      I’ve been told that the Coast Guard would like to setup in the port. I’m sure it would be very interesting if there was a ferry service to Clarks beach (and area) or even the airport precinct. If the port was turned into some like the Wynyard with a playground, activity center and restaurants; then there would definitely more foot traffic though the areas you mentioned.

      This doesn’t exist now, but there is an option for it. If we get the EWL as it is currently designed, then there is no hope for these ideas.

      [1] http://northernregion.surflifesaving.org.nz/education/city-nippers/

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