It’s always fascinating looking back at old some of the old videos of Auckland. Thanks to Shard in the comments the other day for highlighting this video which I hadn’t seen before.

REPORT ON AUCKLAND: A report on the attractions and developments in Auckland. Includes the Anniversary Day Yachting regatta, productivity in textile and washing machine factories, the replacement of sub-standard city housing with government apartments, the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and upgrading of roads. Finishes with footage of children marching into school.

It looks at how Auckland is developing in 1956 and includes quite a bit on transport (from about 5 minutes in). What was particularly interesting was seeing just how eerily similar the discussion on transport was with much of the language almost identical to what we still hear today.

Then of course there are all the shots of models of the to be build Central Motorway Junction, complete with sweeping viaducts

In the video you can still see trams running in Auckland, 1956 was the last year they did so before being ripped out and replaced with trolley buses. Ridership on PT in that year was 87.8 million, a level we’re only likely to pass in a few months if current trends continue, but of course Auckland had a lot less people back then.

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11 comments

  1. If only they had reserved land corridors back then when land was virtually worthless we could have all sorts of PT in dedicated RoW now.

    1. Land was reserved but has just been used for roading instead such as the Onehunga to Waterview freeway along a rail RoW or Te Irirangi Road with a wide median for light rail which has instead been used for turning bays and more lanes. You could also argue that the entire central isthmus has been laid out around streets designed for trams, however, the road space has since just been allocated to more car lanes. A supposed lack of RoWs isn’t the impediment that has lead to to our lack of functioning transit, it’s the complete lack of funding (and overfunding of roading) from central and local government for over a generation that is.

      1. Some valid points however Auckland does lack large arterial roads that most other similar youngish cities have (we also mostly lack grid patterns which are more efficient in terms of PT, cars, and also in land usage). They allow for 2 or more lanes each way as well as PT lane. And those that don’t have separate RoW as I mentioned previously.

  2. Check out the very recognisable Symonds St, Grafton Bridge intersection at 9:05 min in, where no motorway on ramp is yet (I think). Think I recognise a lot of the other bits, looks like Newmarket/Khyber Pass where we get a real bottleneck. Pity can’t quite read the road names on those models, must of kept someone employed to make those, no/not much computer modelling going on then.
    NB: The link on the video thumbnail above doesn’t work, but the first one (“highlighting this video”) does.

  3. Back to the Future indeed.
    Lets see what we have here then.

    “walls of buses”
    no bus priority at all [the trams did]
    workers find it easier to take the bus than drive the car
    roads choked to death with SOVs
    being guilty of “leaving things to future generations”
    “creating a costly legacy of municipal disorder”

    Sounds too familiar indeed, almost 100% like today – except its 60 years and spelt out in black and white images, not colour like we have now.

    Yet just like now, the problems are obvious, and the solutions weren’t rocket science either.
    The local planners had solutions ready to go in the wings – but it seems not the funding from central Government to actually do them well.

    So, some 60 years of “progress” – and what do we have to show for it?
    A single council, and a sewerage scheme of sorts?
    So we’re not just shitting into big tins, and living in slum quality, shitty, leak prone shacks like the old days?
    Well, maybe the leak-prone shitty, leak-prone slum buildings still exist.

    So its just the sewerage scheme. Even it some of it flows into the harbours untreated when it rains a lot.

    Transport and growth management wise?

    Well not a lot really different today, we’re still doing hand to mouth, minimal “stop gap” solutions for the things that matter and yet more gold plated road schemes like then and still believing they’ll solve all the problems in one fell swoop.

    Wonder what future Aucklanders will think of our recent efforts 60 years from now.
    Especially when considered in the light of the squandered opportunity of the 60 years up til now.
    Will it be yet another D minus report card?

    1. That video is fantastic! Thank you so much Nga Taonga Sound & Vision – it had me amazed and delighted to see. Great phrases such as “the transition from trams to buses has only brought more congestion” as well as the classic “many a local businessman has resorted to using the bus instead of having to walk miles from where he can park his car”.

      Despite all the growth in Auckland over the past 60 years, nothing changes really….

        1. Absolutely, yes. But also: the reason that Auckland is so much in the shit right now is because we didn’t carry out the plans that we did do – i.e. in terms of the De Leuw Cather report, building the motorways without building the railway was, in retrospect, as I am sure you will agree, a catastrophic mistake.

          Robbie was right after all….

          1. +1. So what is wrong with the present Government, that they just cannot see, that we need to urgently redress the balance between expenditure almost exclusively favouring roads in Auckland, to supporting major development of public transport, particularly when the rudimentary rapid transport system we already have, i.e.trains and busway, have been so incredibly successful.

            Joyce needs to do some homework and have a big rethink!

          2. It seems that Steven Joyce is blinded by ideology. A view of New Zealand straight from the 1950’s, in which the main guiding principles are:
            i) Kiwis love their cars so we need more roads, and,
            ii) Railways are outmoded and a bottomless pit for money so the last thing we want is more of them.

            It would be laughable were he not in charge of things!

            Oh, and iii) Transport policy can be influenced by appropriate donations . . .

            I wish things were otherwise.

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