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.
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
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.
Desperate times at NZTA running ads on East West link. Second picture is of a metro train…that won't be able to go south because of this. pic.twitter.com/v8BcEScnjP
— Conan Gorbey (@arnie03) March 31, 2017
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
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