On Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff, along with Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter and a host of local Councillors and local board members, joined Auckland Transport to announce plans for a new Northern Busway station at Rosedale. This will be built as part of the NZTAs recently approved Northern Corridor project, which will see the busway extended to Albany. The Northern Corridor project also includes a shared walking and cycling path from Albany to Constellation station and this passes to the side of the station.

I really like the design for the station and how it straddles Rosedale Rd with access from either side. That’s going to make it so much easier and more useful for local access. Let’s hope the entrances on side don’t get value engineered out, like AT did with the Karangahape Rd station. One aspect I’m not clear on though is the point of the overbridge between the platforms. Surely people wanting to access the motorway side platforms (northbound) would just go down to the plaza below.

AT say the station is going to cost approximately $70 million, although that includes property purchase and local road improvements. It would be interesting to see a more detailed breakdown of that cost as it seems quite high. By comparison, the recently completed Otahuhu station cost $28 million and the nearly complete Manukau Bus Station is $35 million. Construction is due to start in 2019 with the station, and presumably the busway extension, opening in 2021. I also understand the busway extension has been future proofed for a future potential conversion to light rail. The existing busway was geometrically but this extension will also include additional future proofing, such as moving services out of the way. The level of future proofing that can be achieved with this extension could play a key role in the discussions around what and when things are built alongside SH16.

The location of the new station

It is expected to be used by around 4,000 passengers a day, although it’s not clear what year that will be in or if it’s actual passengers rather than trips beginning or ending at the station. Either way, that’s not too bad likely more than most stations are today. Here is what AT say will drive that usage

Approximately 5,200 jobs will be located within an 800m walk of the new station. An additional 14,000 residents and 12,000 jobs will be located within a 10-minute feeder bus trip and another 10,000 residents and 3,000 jobs will be within a 15 to 20-minute trip.

While the images show lots of buses, it’s not clear if AT have any plans to improve connecting buses here. The new network, due to roll out next year has only one service passing through and it’s not even at connector level (every 30 minutes).

One thing that is positive is that AT are being clear that the station won’t include park and ride, saying:

Auckland Transport’s Chief Infrastructure Officer Greg Edmonds says plans for a park and ride were included in the initial investigation but Auckland Transport has decided against that.

“There is a need for additional park and ride facilities, they generally help with congestion but one at Rosedale would actually increase congestion on local roads and would be less cost-effective than sites like Albany or Silverdale.”

They do say however that they are looking at a 500 space multi-storey carpark at Albany. The main issue I have with this is that parking is generally a very expensive way to add ridership. We can likely expect those 500 carparks to cost in excess of $12 million and even if every single space was used by someone not currently using public transport, would likely only add around 250k trips annually. To put that in context, the busway is now carrying more than 5 million trips annually and grew by over 600 thousand trips last year alone. In reality it is likely to draw some usage from people already accessing the busway by other means. It wouldn’t be so bad if AT were to charge a fee for the use of park & ride. Of course this seemed to be the key aspect the Herald focused on – they didn’t even turn up to the announcement.

The busway extension is really the first and only major PT project initiated by the previous government – they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the CRL. But for some time it looked like the motorway works would happen without the busway being built too. Councillor Chris Darby posted this on Facebook noting that including the busway helped with the motorway construction too.

Perseverance furthers they say.

When the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project was announced three years ago it lacked the obvious need to extend the hugely successful separated Northern Busway through to Albany Station, with a new station at Rosedale Rd. The project primarily connects SH18 (Upper Harbour Motorway) to SH1 (Northern Motorway) at Constellation interchange and the Busway no-show was a glaring omission.

I got on the blower to then Minister of Transport Simon Bridges and NZTA’s Regional Director and told them politely they were a couple of laggards. After a bit of of toing and froing the Busway extension was in the options mix but not confirmed. Then the dear old engineers discovered that if you built the foundations for the Busway it could be used for a more efficient and less costly build of the motorway connections themselves, i.e. it could be used as a construction staging area.

Back to the Rosedale Station, at the launch Phil’s Twyford and Goff both spoke well about the value of projects like this. Goff talked about how the busway had saved us from needing another harbour crossing, which can be translated as saying the busway saved us from billions in cost. Twyford talked also talked about the busway and how important it was in changing the conversation about transport in Auckland. Again, it was positive about how clear of a direction he’s giving on the future of transport in Auckland. You can see the speeches here. You can also see the joint statement from Twyford and Genter here.

Overall this is a good project and will be a welcome addition to the network, along with the busway extension itself.

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104 comments

    1. That’s not part of the bus station cost though. The bridge has to be rebuilt to fit that many lanes. It’s a motoring subsidy, not a PT one.

      1. When will NZTA work out that but the time you get to 8 lanes on your motorway, the returns have diminished to negligible. They are spending billions on taking properties all over Auckland and further carving up our communities, just to add acouple extra lanes of stationary traffic

        1. Desperate to make a big bottleneck at the harbour’s edge… frantically peddling to try to save their beached whale of a road harbour crossing…

        2. I attended their open day on Saturday and asked Simon ? who I think is the engineer in charge of the particular project “What assurance he could give me that the busway would be the first priority construction before any motorway widening”
          It seems that in order to add lanes to the motorway and then to secure land for the busway, additional properties need to be bought on the eastern side.

          I suspect that if additional lanes were not being added the busway could be constructed on land that is already currently available. If this is the case we are still favouring the car.

          Simon also did not accept that more than 50% of people who cross the bridge each day now did so by bus, even though I indicated that Mayor Goff was on record as having stated this publicly.

          1. Keep asking the questions, though, Warren, as the corridors are widened for the peak hour flows, so it is the peak hour passenger numbers that count.

      2. Not quite correct. The original NZTA design required widening of Rosedale bridge (i.e. add on lanes on SH1). AT required widening of Rosedale ROAD, meaning bridge abutments need to be pushed back, i.e. brand new bridge – full replacement. Turns a simple job into a very difficult one. AT’s cost – not NZTA’s.

  1. Excellent station design, the split level with the connecting buses running through underneath the main line buses over the top will make this the most efficient transfer point in Auckland.

    Now they just need to get a good frequent route as a feeder, something like Browns Bay to Kristin or Schnapper Rock. This will make for very quick trips out of Browns Bay.

    Just wondering tho, what is the point of that roundabout up the top level and the big retaining wall holding it up? Are they driving buses up there to turn around or is that just for drop offs? I’d be interested to know more about what is planned because it doesn’t look like an effective use of space.

      1. +1, it’s nice to see AT keeping bus transfers on the main road and forcing cars off to an interchange for drop offs. Makes far more sense in terms of turning radius, and the rates at which you can unload passengers and it doesn’t force every through passenger to take a detour.

  2. Perhaps AT might finally fix the Tawa Drive roundabout. Rosedale Rd will remain at a standstill until the put in traffic signals or a bigger roundabout. Inept.

        1. Widening the road would ruin this design by creating that extra traffic you’re thinking of. “Approximately 5,200 jobs will be located within an 800m walk of the new station. An additional 14,000 residents and 12,000 jobs will be located within a 10-minute feeder bus trip and another 10,000 residents and 3,000 jobs will be within a 15 to 20-minute trip.” These users need the road not widened; it needs to be as people-friendly as possible, or they’ll feel they have to drive there to avoid the dangers.

  3. From the renders it does look like that it’s a long way down from the platforms to the plaza on the road below, so I think that might be the thinking behind having the extra overbridge, which looks like it has far fewer stairs and thus would be much quicker to use if coming from Arrenway Drive (assuming it has direct access) or merely switching platforms.

    1. I wonder whether it is also intended to act as an advertisement for the busway. As an example, it’s easy to sail (or crawl) past Sunnynook on the motorway, without realizing there is a bus station there. This is much harder at Akoranga or Sunnynook. Letting people know the bus station is there might just get them out of their cars.

    2. In that case building an elevated concourse/walkway underneath the bus way but about half way down to the road below would make more sense.
      I’m thinking the overhead crossing is only because of wheelchair access.. in which case that could still be achieved below for less cost than above (lifts could serve double purpose of accessing Rosedale Rd as well).

      1. If there are lifts/escalators on both sides of Rosedale Rd to the motorway level, then that overbridge is a huge waste of money that would be better spent on building a lane divider on the road below to stop jaywalkers.

  4. No park and ride, but any word on cycle parking? With “An additional 14,000 residents and 12,000 jobs will be located within a 10-minute feeder bus trip” cycling to this station would seem a good match

  5. How about a BIG secure bike park/storage area with (bit)coin operated showers under the motorway. Supported by safe cycle routes to that point from all around the Albany Basin? A 21st century ride’npark’nride!

    1. +1 for bike storage, the lack of it is quite baffling. Especially since at the same time we’re spending millions on a handful of car parks.

      Off-topic — cycling and then using bitcoin, you don’t have to do that to save energy.

      Bitcoin energy usage [1]:
      Electricity consumed per transaction (KWh) ……. 240.00

      You can drive your car over 1000 km with that amount of energy.

      [1] random link from Google: https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption

      1. I have to be an off topic pedantic on this… The article made poor assumptions regarding the cost of electricity and the amount of energy consumed per bitcoin mined. Different mining engines use more or less electricity (GPU vs custom silicon, etc).

        They say that the per transaction cost is 240KW/h – That’s effectively 100A continuous draw which isn’t impossible, but is not trivial. Certainly not what your average home user could manage.

        Regarding petrol range… Not quite 🙂

        If we convert 240 kilowatts to joules (1KW = 3.6 x 106 joules), we get 864MJ. Google tells me that petrol contains 46.4MJ/Kg and it’s density is 0.745Kg/l. Doing the maths (not my strong suit) we need 13.8l to provide 240KW. 13.8 litres should get you between 100-200 KM only.

        Pedantry aside, the whole cryptographic currency game is not at all energy efficient. Not only that, the power consumption required to produce a single bitcoin (or any other currency) will always increase as more and more tokens are mined.

        1. Yeah I got that from a random link from Google. But it’s far from the only article on that, and the consensus seems to be that if this cryptocurrency catches on big time, the resulting energy usage for ‘mining’ may rise to some non-trivial percentage of total power usage. And I think even if the assumption is that everyone uses the latest and most efficient specialized silicon, it’s still a huge power draw.

          Petrol range — I approximated that with electric car range. Your estimate for petrol seems about right, given the limited thermal efficiency of combustion engines. For that 1000 km I’d be measuring the mechanical power delivered by the engine.

          1. I think that with a lot of technologies, power consumption is something that is swept under the carpet. Cryptocurrency is something that has a lot of allure, with people often not aware how energy inefficient their mining endeavours are. Whilst there was some inaccuracy with the article you linked, the message is valid – Mining uses a _lot_ of power and is only going to get worse.

            Just wait until everybody embraces smart speaker technologies like Alexa, etc.

  6. As one who submitted on the first NCI proposal and included the idea of the importance of having the Rosedale Station I am delighted with the announcement on Friday that it will go ahead. The design looks great and the commitment to re-route feeder buses along Rosedale Road after the completion of the busway extension is excellent. The overbridge may be seen as an expensive extra but a close look at the terrain will show that Rosedale Road is a long way below the station which will be on the motorway level. There will likely be significant passengers wanting to go to the commercial/light industrial area of Arrenway Road, Triton Drive and Apollo Drive which is uphill from the proposed station and the overbridge will reduce the need to go down in order to go up when alightling from the northern direction platform. The circular concourse is where the connection to Arrenway Drive will be built and will likely to serve as a dropoff point for people not wanting to drive on Rosedale Road.
    Overall an excellent proposal. As a frequent user of Sunnynook Station I am jealous – we have no lift, no cover on the ramps up to Sunnynook Road, stupid steps designed for giants and platforms which are too short. Despite this we are grateful for having the station and it has done wonders for our suburb. And it has worked well without a park and ride!

    1. I still don’t think it’s necessary. In the south bound direction it isn’t needed and there are alternatives in the North Bound direction (like having an elevated concourse above Rosedale Road underneath the motorway – would save on duplicating the elevators and the expensive overhead bridge).

  7. It’s silly that people in the Herald video are against charging for carparks because it’d add to high costs for commuters. You are already paying for petrol and car maintenance when you could walk to your local bus stop and catch a free transfer!

    1. Indeed. Or we could charge for the carpark and make the bus free, if we’re throwing more subsidy around. Parking should at least cost no less than two local bus trips, or whatever the local parking rate is. After all we know that people are parking in pnrs to access local destinations…

    2. Yes people gotta learn to use the feeder bus (if there is one). Seems like P&R’s apart from just been used by close locals are the baby step 1 for some people transitioning to using PT instead of their car. I think that is perhaps their greatest attribute – attracting new patronage that you wouldn’t otherwise. If that was the case then charging for P&R should pretty much do the same thing but work a lot better as they would transition from using the car, P&Riding, then finally using the feeder bus.

      1. Well at the moment there are none. After trying a couple of times I can assure you that transferring to half-hourly or hourly buses is a PITA. “Hey, let’s add the occasional half an hour wait at the station to my commute…”. What about “no”. We’ll talk again after the new network comes live.

        Not charging for the park’n’ride is quite silly indeed, especially if it’s overflowing in the mornings. That subsidy is probably better spent on making the station better accessible on bicycles.

        1. Yes but if redirect money/effort into a 15 min one should be fine. Central NN we will get one to either Sylvia Park or Penrose which will be fantastic improvement to sort of sometimes 1/2 hourly, hourly on weekends/night, long way around or bigger walk if to Penrose one. Also will get a 1/2 hr one on our road, pretty lucky positioning though we are.

        2. I’m a bit confused. According to the AT website, “The roll out of the North Shore’s New Network next year will provide more local bus feeder services and improved routes to make it easier for customers to access Rosedale.” Yet their map of the streets with services added or removed show no change for Rosedale https://at.govt.nz/media/1778541/north-shore-streets-service-added-or-removed.pdf And the Final New Network map shows one service, the N66. https://at.govt.nz/media/1973658/final-ns-nn-map-with-explanations-29-may-2017.pdf

          So what’s actually going on? It looks like no change is proposed for the NN – do they actually mean something will happen later on?

          Edit: I found “When Rosedale Busway Station is completed there will be further service changes which will re-route and improve public transport services to the new station.” So perhaps AT should just remove the statement I quoted first above, as it appears to be incorrect.

        3. I agree that the car parks should be charged, however the question is always “how do you know the park is being used by a PT user?”

          The most obvious suggestion is that people tag their registered Hop card. This is assuming that the tag points can be connected to the same system as the AT Park app, as that knows your license plate – With AT, that’d be a dangerous assumption 😉

          If the connection between AT’s systems was made, the inspectors could simply see who hadn’t tagged onto PT in that area. Warning on first offence, fine on second, heaps of warning signs and a big PR campaign first…

          We have the tech, why not use it?

          1. I dunno… borrow a car when your own is getting serviced, system no longer works? Or forget your HOP card and have to pay cash on the bus, so you get a fine for parking without tagging on…

          2. @Heidi – True, but we need to do something. Whilst there’s no fix to forgetting you Hop card, using a loan vehicle shouldn’t be an issue if you’ve got a smartphone – Just update the plate in the AT Park app.

            No system is ever going to be perfect and somebody will always find a way to exploit the system. From an engineering viewpoint, that’s a given and you design pragmatically. 🙂

          3. I think that the fact that park and ride is being used means that in all likelihood that this is not a PT user. If someone has access to integrated and frequent public transport, which everybody in urban Auckland should have by virtue of paying rates, then a convenient bus connection at no extra cost is surely better than driving.

            Park and ride is essential for those without access to frequent public transport, such as shift-workers or folks living in rural areas. Charging for it adds delay and expense and is just a pain. Instead of the usual approach of adding more taxes, why not complete the new network properly so that everybody within urban boundaries has connections that are frequent and convenient.

  8. Am I recalling correctly but didn’t the upgrade of SH18 to full motorway standard include the possibility of a multi-level interchange through there as one of the options?

    If so that would have a rather poor outcome for the design as currently shown.

  9. On Friday about midday driving from Millennium to Wenderholm we drove along Rosedale rd and it was solid congestion (slower than an elderly walking pace). I’ve heard the same from inhabitants at a retirement village on Rosedale that the road is so congested they have difficulties getting on and out. If congestion occurs about 1pm with no vehicle broken down nor police road block nor road works then they have a problem. Would it be a problem affecting the users of a Rosedale busway station?

      1. +1 suburban bus lanes (or at least intersection priority) will be required, and are hopefully on AT’s project radar, if the local bus service to rapid transit transfers are to be fully utilised

        1. There is space for them to widen the road and add in buslanes/t3 lanes but the road as it currently exists doesn’t have any room for buslanes.

          I can verify the above comment about Rosedale Road. It is a parking lot most of the day along with Apollo Drive. AT have recently installed traffic lights at the Rosedale-Apollo intersection (to meter cars approaching the roundabout) at great expense and all it has done is complete f**k the road up for everyone (has made it harder for pedestrians to cross the road, has made it so bad that traffic on and around Apollo drive typically takes 20 minutes to move 200 metres! Have seen people jumping off buses and walking since the buses are also stuck). They should have ripped the roundabout out and just installed traffic lights (since they spent most of the cost of doing that installing some half arsed traffic lights anyway!) – traffic lights would of course be safer for cyclists and pedestrians while improving traffic flow through that choke point.

          In the morning the main problem on Rosedale Road is parents in big SUVs dropping their little emperors off at Rangitoto College (when it is only a 5 minute walk vs a 20 minute drive in the traffic).

          I would love to see Rosedale Rd widened to 2 lanes+2 buslanes (and larger footpaths/cycle lanes).

          1. ‘They should have ripped the roundabout out and just installed traffic lights (since they spent most of the cost of doing that installing some half arsed traffic lights anyway!)’

            +1, you know you are doing it wrong when your roundabout needs traffic lights to manage the flow!

    1. Hit the nail on the head, there, Bob. These things are not standalone problems. We need to reallocate road to more efficient modes in order to reduce the congestion everywhere. But every road widening sets us back further.

    2. I can’t help myself, Bob. Please forgive. 🙂 “But while a trip to Wenderholm leaves me frustrated that I’m not a poet able to capture in words the joy of paradise. A trip to CBD just leaves me frustrated that I’m not elsewhere.” What of your trip to Wenderholm via Rosedale Rd?

      Now let us all imagine Bob’s trip to Wenderholm on Friday, but in an Auckland retrofitted to public transport and active modes. As an aside, I cycled to Pt Chev beach for a swim on Friday, and I thought that was pretty wonderful 🙂

  10. Why is there a pedestrian over bridge when pedestrians wanting to cross the bus way could be fed under the bus corridor, seems like an unnecessary expense.

  11. I really like the scope of the project – including good interchange and walk access facilities. As for the cost, I think this highlights what Brisbane found about busways. By the time you build the to a good standard with good urban design and access, they are no cheaper than rail solutions. I think this is quite relevant to the NW corridor decision.

    One other thing this will do is add pressure to the city drop off points and need for the Fanshawe Street busway.

    1. Where is your evidence of that? Busways are cheaper than LRT generally, and I think the experience in Auckland demonstrates that fairly conclusively. Northern Busway total cost = $350 million plus a wee bit of annual opex (not much mind you as fares cover a lot of operating costs). Remind me how much LRT to Westgate will cost again? CAPEX plus OPEX. Hmmm?

      1. Thats not quite true Stu, or at least it’s a more complex comparison than that. The 5.5km of northern busway from Consteallation to Akoranga cost $350m… ten years ago. Doing it today would be something like $100m a kilometre. The busway overall is cheap because the bus mode lets you easily skip all the hard bits (like Akoranga to the city) and not need to build it all.

        However on a like for like basis there is little difference, LRT or busway to Westgate would cost about the same to build and run if you are talking about the whole corridor as a grade separate rapid transit line. All the structures and land and corridor is the same, and there is only a small difference between a engineered roadbed or sleepers and rails in terms of cost per metre.

        But obviously you can take the busway approach and build a few stations and a few km of busway in the easy bits along the 20km route to get a reasonable BRT system between Westgate and the city. With LRT you have much less ability to economise.

        There are some sections where LRT would probably be a lot cheaper too. Consider Brisbanes City Centre, where you have the Queen St bus tunnel linked to the King George station and tunnel, and the inner northern busway. That complex basically links two busway corridors through the city and delivers about the capacity and performance of a rail line. But add up the costs of that infrastructure, it would be into the billions, for what is effectively 2km of alignment with two stations. Sydney’s George Street light rail, which can handle a 60m train every two minutes each way, is a ‘mere’ $400m. A relative bargain for a City Centre solution. Although obviously that’s just the City Centre bit, and you have to build all the rest of the line to actually use the thing.

    2. And then you have to pay to upgrade them to rail solutions – making them a big waste of money compared to rail.

      One of these day’s I’m going to do a petition to upgrade to Busway to rail. I’m pretty confident everyone that uses the busway will sign it.

  12. “We can likely expect those 500 carparks to cost in excess of $12 million” – it’d be a fair whack more than that, probably at least 50% more. Need to allow for land costs or (more likely) adjust the number of carparks for the existing open-air ones you’re losing when building the new structure.

  13. That cross-section is foul. So much land paved over. And a wasted opportunity to cut down on congestion by reallocating roadway to buslanes – not adding them. We’re only going to solve the problems if we tackle them honestly.

    1. yes NZTA can still only conceive of transit as an addition once roading has first been supersized and of course is failing; ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. They will only be a real urban transport agency when they actually start proposing it first, and instead of further loosening of the obesity belt. 8 lanes is crazy here. Inducing traffic.

    1. That tip site is basically stuffed for eternity. To unstable to build on, to polluted for anything for people, animals or crops. About the best you could hope for is some sort of reserve.

      1. The plan last I heard was for sports fields (like how the old Devonport dump is now soccer fields).
        Otherwise could just be an urban park.

        1. You’ve really got to watch out for that. The Western Springs soccer ground is built on an old dump and people who fall over and cut themselves are in danger of infection.

  14. Regarding Albany new parking building. Are they trying to use the ground floor as retail, and top floors as office and retail? It would be dumb to build a single use building that devalues the surrounding environment.

  15. The cost to build a car park is $24000, and AT want to make it free.

    One way is to sell a portion (say 80%) of those carparks to general public.

    Since the capark can be reselled with possibility of capital gain. It will be classifed as investment grade asset and bank will borrow money to mortgage it.

    The desposit for $24k loan is nothing since people can draw capitial from their house to finance it. The mortgage for 24k loan plus body corp would be insignificant, compare with an appreciating investment asset and convenience provided.

    This will be popular and a win win solution for both users and council.

    The advantages is council can recycle all capital cost so they can build more and more carparks with the same money.

    User also benefits as they don’t need to wake up at 5am to get a carpark.

    1. Yes the cost per car park is $24k. So let’s assume that there is no opex costs to maintain them. If this was a private operator they would want at least a return of 15% on capital, but let’s take a lower return of 10% So the carpark has to return $2400 per year. These car parks will mostly be used on business days because AT is not designing networks to serve other than workplace commutes – so 50 weeks x 5 days per week = 250 days. Therefore the daily return is 2400/250 = $9.60. And what is the adult Hop card return fare? $9.70. It’s just economic madness. People are being completely subsidised to take the bus.

      I have postulated elsewhere that Auckland should have a yearly bus/train public transport pass at an equivalent of $2 per day. Let users of the park n ride pay the same that they do now. I’d stake my life that the park n rides become would be deserted; that AT would be able to run more feeder services because they would seem more worthwhile (due to more patronage); there would be more who bike, walk and car pool; and that public transport usage would absolutely surge. Suddenly there would be people who for a variety of reasons could not use public transport would mysteriously be seen on buses and trains. Auckland would also see well patronised evening and weekend services.

      I suspect much of the Albany park n ride could be sold and developed like Smales Farm where businesses have seen the merit of being very accessible to employees and customers alike.

      Judging by much of what is happening in Europe this seems a more likely blueprint for our future than thinking electric cars are the answer.

      1. And of course in addition to the opex which you’ve noted that you’re not including, there are also the externalities of a carpark to consider (reduced water quality, induced traffic, reduced rates of walking and cycling, air pollution, carbon emissions, car dependency…)

  16. “It is expected to be used by around 4,000 passengers a day, although it’s not clear what year that will be in or if it’s actual passengers rather than trips beginning or ending at the station. Either way, that’s not too bad likely more than most stations are today. Here is what AT say will drive that usage

    Approximately 5,200 jobs will be located within an 800m walk of the new station. An additional 14,000 residents and 12,000 jobs will be located within a 10-minute feeder bus trip and another 10,000 residents and 3,000 jobs will be within a 15 to 20-minute trip.”

    These two paragraphs completely encapsulate AT’s almost complete lack of aspiration to encourage people to using public transport. (The target in Vienna for people commuting to these jobs is 13,760, 80% ). If AT achieves the targets they are seeking there will likely be increases in congestion. With the new ceo’s deep understanding of transformational change, Auckland has yet to see any example of this.

    AT needs a major shake-up.

  17. Thats not quite true Stu, or at least it’s a more complex comparison than that. The 5.5km of northern busway from Consteallation to Akoranga cost $350m… ten years ago. Doing it today would be something like $100m a kilometre. The busway overall is cheap because the bus mode lets you easily skip all the hard bits (like Akoranga to the city) and not need to build it all.

    However on a like for like basis there is little difference, LRT or busway to Westgate would cost about the same to build and run if you are talking about the whole corridor as a grade separate rapid transit line. All the structures and land and corridor is the same, and there is only a small difference between a engineered roadbed or sleepers and rails in terms of cost per metre.

    But obviously you can take the busway approach and build a few stations and a few km of busway in the easy bits along the 20km route to get a reasonable BRT system between Westgate and the city. With LRT you have much less ability to economise.

    There are some sections where LRT would probably be a lot cheaper too. Consider Brisbanes City Centre, where you have the Queen St bus tunnel linked to the King George station and tunnel, and the inner northern busway. That complex basically links two busway corridors through the city and delivers about the capacity and performance of a rail line. But add up the costs of that infrastructure, it would be into the billions, for what is effectively 2km of alignment with two stations. Sydney’s George Street light rail, which can handle a 60m train every two minutes each way, is a ‘mere’ $400m. A relative bargain for a City Centre solution. Although obviously that’s just the City Centre bit, and you have to build all the rest of the line to actually use the thing.

  18. Isn’t that money better spent on improving the parking capacity on the existing park and ride stations? also, Rosedale road is already heavily congested in he morning and evening rush hours. surely this station with increased bus and car (drop-offs and pick-ups) traffic will add to that congestion? there are two major stations (Albany and Constellation) a stone throw away. There is very few housing estates in the area which would benefit from having this station. Looking forward to hearing feedback on those assumptions.

    1. Increasing the parking capacity will not relieve congestion. To the contrary, it will induce more people to drive there and increase traffic. The effects of this can cover quite a large area, and include residential streets as well as arterials.

      Providing a good network of feeder buses to stations like this, however, can provide many people with fast, accessible transport. It is the space efficiency of buses that enable you to move many more people. If you look at the required numbers of people movements, the area should have many dedicated buslanes installed.

      The catchment is given in the article: “Approximately 5,200 jobs will be located within an 800m walk of the new station. An additional 14,000 residents and 12,000 jobs will be located within a 10-minute feeder bus trip and another 10,000 residents and 3,000 jobs will be within a 15 to 20-minute trip.”

    2. Rosedale Rd costs $70,000,000 with 4000 passengers per day so $17,500 per passenger.

      Albany Park and Ride expansion costs $12,000,000 for 500 parking spaces so $20,000 per passenger if you assume 1.2 passengers per vehicle.

      Even with this the numbers are in favour of Rosedale. However, when you consider that the Rosedale station cost includes other improvements and estimates of PT use tend to be below the actual amount it skews even further in favour of Rosedale.

    3. Hopefully having the Rosedale station will result in the removal of some of that traffic.
      If you want to get from one end of Rosedale to the other at present it is virtually impossible on PT. There is a reasonably large amount of housing (as well as Rangitoto College) at the upper part of Rosedale Road (as well as many businesses), while the lower part is close to more industrial type businesses as well as the Rosedale sports fields. There is virtually no access between Albany and Constellation stations except for the motorway or further up on Apollo Drive (which is always blocked up) so it is very hard to access Rosedale currently by PT. They really should look at widening Rosedale Rd entirely (like the Albany Highway) so that it has a general traffic lane in each direction and a T3 lane in each direction (as well as cycle lanes).

      1. +1. I’d go for a truck and bus lane instead of T3, but I really think that Rosedale Road and Tawa Drive should be widened. They are carnage and are key routes for industry. Free the trucks up, offer a congestion free option for commuters (good bike lanes and bus lanes) and anyone who wants to drive a car can sit in traffic.

        1. Good points Sailor Boy. Could still be T3 but include trucks like they do on some motorway onramps (T3 wouldn’t exactly flood the area with traffic but might just encourage a little bit of carpooling – I know it’s not as good as buses but it does still help and doesn’t hinder buses).
          Could have quite the nice little network of T3 lanes (Albany Highway, Rosedale Road, Tawa Drive) along with cycle lanes on the same roads (linking into the new cycleway alongside the NEX busway.

          1. +1, I think about this area a lot and have been thinking about writing something formal for a while. So many opportunities.

          2. Please do, SB. And please also consider not widening anything. We’ve given enough land to the transport corridors. I know each area in isolation looks like you need a bit more space for this or that, but the best solution actually lies in not doing so, and dealing with the car traffic differently.

  19. This station is far too close to the existing Constellation Station, which is already too close to Sunnynook Station. It makes the the busway more bus like (frequent stops) and less train like (infrequent stops). The busway’s “train like”ness is they key to its success.

    This station extremely expensive for very little benefit. The money would be much better invested in upgrading the busway to light rail – which would make public transport more appleaing to the people who would never catch a bus because of the low standard of buses on the busway.

    Being mindlessly pro every public transport spend is not conducive to good public transport. This sucks.

    1. Is 1.5km really too clos? That’s as far or further than all southern line stations north of the Westfield Junction.

      The station has benefit in that here are a lot of destinations nearby (ie a lot of people can get off here to get to work) and that it provides a really good acess point to the busway for some residential areas which currently have very poor access to the busway (Schnapper Rock, The Landing, and the Southern parts of Pinehill and Browns Bay).

      While spending the money on LRT would be great, we could build this station 30-40 times with the funding needed for LRT to Albany, 50 times for LRT to Silverdale/Orewa.

      1. What is going on?? I find myself agreeing with Sailor Boy twice in one day!
        There is no way that these stations are too close to each other!
        Bus stops ideally are located about 600m apart in urban environments (meaning only 300m to walk max on the route) so on a high speed busway doubling this distance (nearly tripling it) is perfectly fine. Even if the motorway was widened to 4 lanes in each direction from Albany to the Harbour Bridge and the AWHC was built it would still be considerably faster during peak periods on the bus than driving on the motorway. So between time savings and cost savings the busway is a winner.

        1. Going by this logic all of Auckland needs to be within 750m of a mass transit station. Do you have a proposal for the city that achieves this? The CFN version 52456? How much would it cost?

          AWHC? Pumping more cars into the city? 4 lanes into the city? Nooo……..

      2. The main reason commuters use the Northern Busway is to avoid congestion on SH1. It’s great to be able to sit on the bus and breeze past traffic. With too many stops it ends up being the traffic that breezes past the buses and this reduces the appeal of the Busway to city commuters.

        The too-may-stops dynamic is exacerbated by the dwell time of a two storey bus. It has to stop before passengers can move (hunched backed) down the stairs and out the doors. It takes ages. It’s possible that this 70m spend could actually lower ridership on the Busway (though I admit that’s a stretch).

        The 50x multiple puts the cost of LRT at 3.5bn. I assume this includes a transit only bridge. Bargain! Imagine the benefit to our tourism industry if cruise ship passengers could take a day trip to Orewa Beach. Airport to Orewa – rail all the way. I say we put the 70m in a savings account earmarked for LRT.

  20. The future of public transport (next 50 years) is inexpensive autonomous electric shared taxis connecting commuters on demand to their local mass transit station.

    Building stations so close together (Sunnynook, Constellation, Rosedale) fails to take this probable development into account.

    1. The future of public transport might turn out to be a mix of feeder buses and cycling and walking to the local mass transit station. Then stations at this distance makes a lot of sense.

      1. If feeder buses worked they would have worked by now. PT advocates have to be realistic about buses or else they won’t achieve anything.

        A 20 year old diesel dinosaur that may or may not arrive as you stand in the rain and that emits more noise and air pollution than the cars it replaces appeals to no one.

        Cycling would be great – only all the cycle ways that have been built in that area are so fundamentally flawed (that’s another rant) that they will never be used by more than a handfull of lycra clad daredevils.

        1. “A 20 year old (procurement issue) diesel (procurement issue) dinosaur that may or may not arrive (procurement issue) as you stand in the rain (procurement issue) and that emits more noise (procurement issue) and air pollution (procurement issue) than the cars it replaces appeals to no one.”

          You have described a terribly procured bus service, so naturally it is bad. This is effectively a strawman fallacy

          1. What you describe as procurement issues have been a part of bus based public transport in Auckland for as long as it has existed.

            There are two ways you make money as a bus company a) spend as little as possible on providing the service b) lobby local Government to fund as many uneconomic routes as possible. These are systemic issues not procurement issues.

            You assume that local Government exists in a vacuum and can make good procurement decisions. The fact that they have been unable to do this decade after decade provides good evidence that this is a false assumption.

            Buses provide a transport system of last resort to the young, the old, and the poor. That’s all they will ever be.

          2. ‘Buses provide a transport system of last resort to the young, the old, and the poor. That’s all they will ever be.’

            At least you have finally clarified you don’t know what you are talking about. I’m 38, have two young children, probably in the top 20 % for household income and I use the bus as a connector to the train quite often. The buses I catch are definitely not 20 years old.

            Do you think people are seriously going to share a driverless car with someone they don’t know!?

          3. “What you describe as procurement issues have been a part of bus based public transport in Auckland for as long as it has existed.”

            No, it isn’t. Take the Northern Express as an example. This service consists of buses less than a decade old (newer than the average car and better maintained), that is incredibly reliable and frequent, with adequate shelter at bus stops, which emits about 85-90% of the emissions of all of the passengers if they drove, and appeals to 17,000 passengers each weekday, growing at double digit percentages.

            The NEX is procured properly because the council decided that buses were worth procuring properly. They could decide that about all buses.

            “You assume that local Government exists in a vacuum and can make good procurement decisions. The fact that they have been unable to do this decade after decade provides good evidence that this is a false assumption.”

            Actually you have to assume that local government exists in a vacuum to believe that they can’t procure buses well. If the public decides that they want council to procure buses well, they will procure buses well.

            “Buses provide a transport system of last resort to the young, the old, and the poor. That’s all they will ever be.”

            I’ll have to tell all of the engineers I know earning six figures that they are poor. Even though a six figure income is in the top 10% of all incomes.

          4. David, you’ve verbalised your prejudice; maybe now you can expand your horizons and see there’s a better way.

            I’m the luckiest woman in the world. I have alphabet soup after my name. I’ve worked in fantastic jobs in a number of countries doing really interesting stuff, have opportunities coming out my ears and am as comfortable as I’ll ever need to be when others are suffering, thank you.

            I take the bus and I cycle. Yes, this is because I am lucky enough to live in an area where this is possible. But I want it to be possible for everyone, and are putting in both money and time to try to create such a city. This is important, because the alternative – cars – is inefficient of space, destructive of land and water ecology, polluting of air, inequitable, and socially destructive.

            Autonomous shared taxis don’t work for kids (or for many other people). Cities designed around the car also don’t work for kids. And as the best way to design a city is to design it for the kids, no city should go down such a route.

          5. I don’t have any letters after my name but my employment has me spending the majority of my day interacting with the Aucklanders least likely to use public transport. It is their prejudices I have verbalised, not mine.

            I would love it if everyone behaved as the virtuous few and used public transport despite its low quality, but recognise that in order advance the cause PT needs to be the better option, because sadly, many people have an anti-social instinct where the are quite happy impose a cost on the urban environment so long as it does not affect them immediately and directly. Yay road charging!

            To be the best option I think PT needs to be either frequent (at least every 10 mins) or on demand – and ride quality needs to be better than what you get on the vast majority of Auckland’s buses (including NEX buses). Noise levels matter. Exhaust emissions matter. Temperature matters. Strong odours matter. Service continuity matters. Travel times matter. Even vehicle looks matter.

            I am in total agreement that cars are not the answer. I think the true cost of car based transit can be quantified by projects like the Waterview Tunnel where we paid billions to put the cars “outside the environment”. How much would it cost to put the rest of Auckland’s motorways underground? I’d love to see this cost factored into BCR calculations for new roads.

            I really like reading this blog. It makes me feel positive about Auckland. Apologies if I have offended anyone.

          6. Thanks for the apology and I appreciate your input, as I’m sure many other readers do. I responded mainly because I see the demographics of PT users as panning out differently to how you expressed it.

            From a personal perspective, I enjoy using the buses whereas I dislike driving. Travelling with children I can be fully engaged with them in a bus, making use of every moment, whereas driving a car puts the barrier of my concentrating on driving between us. Travelling as a family on buses provides interest and “restraint” in the form of society, resulting in better sibling behaviour. 🙂 Also, I see people of all demographics using buses, including the well-paid and middle-aged and everything between this and “the old, the young and the poor”.

            The Aucklanders you mention who are least likely to use PT are probably using it when they fly overseas on the shared aeroplane… 🙂 I have had fun pointing out that this is public transport. Those in the gold card age range are also changing their views as more and more of their peers are using the buses. I’d say: watch this space.

            I also think it’s important to argue against your belief that “this is all they will ever be.” This doesn’t fit with the cities I know where buses are part of the functioning PT network, nor with the cities such as Vienna where policy has changed behaviour so that many, many people are using PT.

            The more radically we can change our transport planning, the more gains we can have. I strongly believe that the shared autonomous vehicle technology blinds us to the better alternatives by allowing a continuation of car dependent thinking.

    2. So we should do nothing for 50 years just in case your crystal ball is correct? If Rosedale becomes redundant in a few decades we can decommission it, just like we did with the old central railway station, the britomart carpark, etc etc.

      Infrastructure doesn’t last forever, in fact most of this will be depreciated completely before 50 years is up.

        1. ‘What has happened The Strand is a national tragedy’.

          I think you are getting a bit excited, I don’t think most people in Auckland care that much about The Strand, let alone the rest of the country.

          So we shouldn’t build Rosedale Station just incase we don’t need it in 50 years and someone comes and replaces it with leaky buildings!? There are long bows, but this takes the cake.

          1. Just to be clear: We shouldn’t build Rosedale station because 70m is a lot to provide access to transit to and area that already has much better access to transit than the rest of the North Shore. Maybe it would be better to put that money in the kitty for LTR to the NS. On the plus side I guess an additional stop will highlight just how bad the dwell times are on BRT – which will increase support for conversion to LRT.

          2. Spending too much money, energy and resources on huge transport infrastructure is definitely something to be aware of and debate. Generally small and slow solutions using renewable resources and solving multiple problems at once are the better way to go (and I could throw in a few more permaculture principles too).

            However, the bus interchanges are not the place to start with this criticism. Sure, we’d love to go straight to LRT in many places. Meanwhile, it’s the motorways, unnecessary bridges and tunnels that should be being debated. The Northern Corridor Improvements, the AWHC, Mill Rd… These road projects create traffic throughout the city, and undermine every other attempt to reduce our car dependency and to increase our active modes.

            If we stopped spending the billions and 100’s of millions of dollars on road projects, radically changed the flow of people around the city by reallocating traffic lanes (not parking) to buslanes and active modes, blocking roads to cars but not buses or bikes, and creating a direct, uncongested network for buses in this way (yet a circuitous and unappealing but still possible set of routes for cars) then we may find that the great big bus stations are not required. But they may still be, and their cost is nothing compared to the motorway behemoths, so I think your criticism is unfounded.

          3. @David N Dwell times could be significantly improved if they implement a station tagging system on the busway. Also the buses in the areas where the bus New Network have been implemented have to be a lot younger, not sure off top of my head what that age is. North Shore is last on the list but due Mid 2018.

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