One interesting, and less controversial, aspect of the mid-town bus Indicative Business Case (IBC) was the discussion about terminal options in Grafton Gully.
Under all of the plans that AT consulted the public on, a number of buses from the North Shore, such as the proposed NEX 2, would enter the city then travel down Wellesley St, upon which time something would need to be done with them. They could either terminate at that point or be directed somewhere else.
Through routing gives a lot of advantages, such as opening up more travel opportunities, but that needs to be balanced as longer routes can be more susceptible to disruption and delay. And even if you do through route, there is still going to be a need to terminate some services, such as additional services that operate during the peak.
The IBC looked initially at potential locations from a high level, suggesting somewhere in the city centre, in Grafton Gully and the through routing options. AT ruled out the city centre and through routing leaving us with Grafton Gully. The report notes
The advantage of a Grafton Gully bus terminal location is that it could accommodate layover and vehicle storage during the day
But where in Grafton Gully?
They then investigated potential options for where a facility could be built to handle the buses. Eight potential locations for a bus turn around facility and bus layover were identified. These are shown below.
One of the more interesting was Site 3, capping part of the motorway. Capping the motorway between Wellesley St and Grafton Rd was one of the more aspirational projects mentioned in the City Centre Master Plan and so always felt a little less likely to happen. So there would be some sense of irony if had some or all of that happen on a project that was also making it harder to achieve the Victoria St Linear Park.
The sites were run through a multi-criteria analysis similar to what they did with the bus route options and that suggested the best two were sites 1 and 8, and the report also mentions they could be used together.
A description of each site and the findings are shown in the table below.
Before buses use this potential facility to turn around they need to drop their passengers off somewhere. This is intended to be on Wellesley St, under and a part of the underpass under Symonds St. The IBC suggests a design for what that could look like.
And here’s a plan view of it. As you can see it would have bus stops on either side of the over-bridge
In both the images you can also see a shared path along that section of Wellesley St. That is part of the East-West cycleway that is to be developed in the area. That link would ultimately correct the bizarre situation of there being no walking access alongside Wellsley St. With the shared path running through the underpass, that would give a much easier grade for connecting to The Domain.
While they’re not saying both projects would be tied together at this stage, getting both the underpass station and the path across the motorway would definitely improve the accessibly of this part of town.