About a month ago it was revealed that Auckland Transport had come up with three options with three very costs for Lake Rd between Takapuna and Devonport (not the be confused with the other Lake Rd just a few kilometres away). As they were about to go out to consultation on it we thought we’d hold off talking about it till that happened. And now the consultation is out to the public and follows on from an indicative business case (IBC) and prior to that other assessments including a corridor management plan we discussed here.
Lake Rd has long been a hot button issue for many locals and that’s reflected in the language AT use on their page for the project.
The local community has raised concerns about the unpredictability of travel conditions along Lake Road during weekday peak times and at the weekends.
The three AT have come up with are variations on the same basic theme which is to improve the corridor for walking, cycling, buses and high occupancy vehicles. The differences in them are in the scale of the changes undertaken, ranging from some minor tweaks up to major road widening, as depicted in this graphic below.
All three options do share some common projects, these include vague statements about improvements to travel planning, bus and ferries etc. but the one defined change on the list is to the current Esmonde Rd bus lanes. AT plan to downgrade those bus lanes to either T2 or T3. As I understand it, the lane will be changed to a Transit lane through to the point where the bus lane peels away from Esmonde Rd to allow buses to join the busway and so some changes will be required to merge those transit vehicles back in with general traffic (or create an additional lane through the onramp). Depending on how it’s implemented I do worry we could see cars using the lanes then holding up buses as they wait for space to merge into general traffic. At the same time, I continue to think it’s stupid that buses use those Esmonde Rd lanes, bypassing the Akoranga busway station and connections to other parts of the North Shore – something that impacts me daily on my commute. Where the bus lane separates from Esmonde Rd is shown below.
The three options are below.
Low investment – around $10 million – possible within 5 years
Re-marking the road within the existing kerbs to create new segments of transit lanes, whilst retaining the existing cycle lanes.
The bulk of the cost will be to change the existing westbound bus lane on Esmonde Road into a transit lane and provide safe walking and cycling facilities along Bayswater Avenue (between the ferry terminal and Lake Road).
Medium investment – around $30 to $40M – possible in 5 to 10 years
Shifting some kerb lines to create width for extended sections of transit lanes and cycle lanes along Lake Road.
As with the low-investment option, we will look to change the existing westbound bus lane on Esmonde Road into a transit lane and provide safe walking and cycling facilities along Bayswater Avenue (between the ferry terminal and Lake Road).
The changes would also enable improvements at a number of intersections along Lake Road to improve the traffic flow.
High investment – more than $70M – likely over 10 years away
Widening Lake Road beyond the current property boundaries to achieve room for all transport modes.
This option would achieve the best opportunity for a wider range of design improvements to Lake Road. However, the high cost and need for land acquisition from adjoining properties make it a more disruptive and complex option, which would take much longer to deliver.
Each increased level also comes with an increased cost and increased timeframe it could be completed within. AT also say each new level comes with increased levels of benefits. While this will be true, it is of course important to measure those increased benefits against the increase in costs. The IBC looked at a number of different options for the project but the ones below were shortlisted. I’m guessing the medium investment option is either one of, or a combination of the middle three options.
It seems from this that the high investment option should be ruled out leaving either the low or medium options, or perhaps somewhere in between. Also, hopefully the medium option doesn’t include package C which reduces the quality of existing cycle lanes.