Auckland is growing rapidly and that’s placing huge pressure on our transport networks. It’s also now widely agreed that there simply isn’t the space to cheaply or easily widen roads. That means that if we want to move more people around this city, we need to make more efficient use of those transport networks, especially our roads. This has been increasingly recognised across all strategic documents. Let’s start with what the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) says:

Clear direction about the need to make tough calls to get more out of the transport network, including things like removing on-street parking and extending bus lane operating hours.

A very similar message comes through in the draft Auckland Plan:

Last year in the Council’s letter of expectation to Auckland Transport council asked for this

Auckland’s growth means the efficiency of our existing transport network needs to be constantly improved. The bus network is the backbone of public transport, and this needs to be recognised in your priority setting. We invite you to consider expanding bus lane networks, extending bus lane operating hours and removing or modifying on-street parking. We recognise that while it is important that Auckland Transport makes evidence based decisions, these can be challenging as conflicts arise between perceived local needs and network priority. A stronger focus on effective communication, consultation, and problem solving is needed. We would welcome a discussion on how we could support you in this.

This has been strengthened in the most recent Letter of Expectation for Auckland Transport:

With this strong strategic guidance behind them, Auckland Transport have been planning to roll out new bus/transit lanes and extend the operating hours of many existing ones. One of those they planned to extend operating hours on is the Onewa Rd T3 lane. This makes a lot of sense as it carries one of Auckland’s busiest, and fastest growing bus routes.

The T3 lane has always had its opponents, with numerous attempts over the years to downgrade it to a T2 lane. This is despite detailed analysis showing the T3 lane carries around 70% of peak time passengers travelling along this corridor. This from 2010:

Since 2011 public transport use has increased enormously and I recall one of ATs reports some months ago talking about this route as having an annual growth rate of over 20%, similar in size to the Busway and the rail network. This means the analysis above would tilt even more towards the need for improving bus priority. And this has been the plan with signs, and electronic message boards informing locals the hours would be extended from next Monday.

Despite all of this strong, at the merest sign of push-back Auckland Transport have been completely spineless and buckled. As I understand it, the North Shore Councillors and some of the Local Board members were not asked or told about this proposal or change and had assumed it was going ahead next week until this sudden announcement.

This smacks of predatory delay by people within AT. They surely know that ideas like dynamic lanes won’t actually achieve anything given there’s still only one lane onto the motorway. Even if they did decide to make changes in the future, that doesn’t mean that things can’t go and be changed again when required.

This case highlights another major issue with our overall governance. AT was set up the way they are to be about getting the best, informed and consistent outcome for transport in Auckland. There has been a lot of talk about devolving more powers and decision making to local boards. If that were to happen I expect we’d see more of this kind of behaviour as well as compromising the safety of cyclists/pedestrians in favour of parking and car movement. I wonder how this affects their bus priority roll out, which is already behind from previous years

Auckland Transport need to stop being so spineless in their bid to be liked by local boards. They’ve previously asked Councillors to be bold and support them in re-allocating road space but won’t do that themselves. They need to follow their strategic guidance and do their job by making the tough, but correct, decisions. If they actually did this properly I imagine Onewa Road would pretty quickly become a full bus lane.

Note: If you’re a bus user on Onewa Rd, you may wish to email the local board, especially the chair and deputy chair, before their meeting this afternoon.

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  1. Those local board turkeys are excruciating and completely out of their depth. Prescribing technical solutions, huh? Your role is governance. So focus on outcomes.

    1. I think the real problem stems from the supposed need for consultation and local community input. If instead AT had strict policies (e.g. it will be bus lane if…, it will be a cycle lane if…) then AT could actually get on with implementation. The local community is not as important as the city as a whole, and the city as a whole needs better PT and better cycling infrastructure.

      1. Certainly if the car dependents of each community in turn hijack progress towards a more accessible and less polluting transport infrastructure, the whole city – rate-payers included – will lose.

        There were supposed to be advantages behind AT’s independence, with less political seesawing. This sort of decision makes a mockery of that.

        Of course we need consultation, but not of the kind that interferes with reducing our carbon emissions and with increasing true accessibility.

        Shame on AT.

        1. What about all the locals who use the bus lanes in question. Surely they outnumber the vocal minority of those in single occupant cars. why isn’t the local board taking their needs into consideration? I thought the purpose of local boards is to improve democracy not hinder it.

        2. I wrote to AT this morning. One thing I said was – nobody asked me whether I was in favour of the changes. And given they were simply going to happen why would I tell anyone I was in favour? So of course they only heard from complainers.

      2. Then again, when AT consult with communities and grass roots organisations it’s not to expect that process to deliver better outcomes than what you might get dreamed up in splendid isolation or in an ivory tower in the Wynyard Quarter. In any event, both the local community and the city are being let down here.. by AT and the LB.

        Is AT spineless here? Or is it just some old-school traffic engineers hiding behind the LB’s wrong-headed thinking? No doubt there’s a fair amount of white-anting going on in AT.

        As for the LB, they’re part of Auckland Council, whose mandate and direction could not be clearer in their letters of explanation. Get with the programme, luddites. If you don’t agree with it, go and find some something else useful to get stuck into. What you’re doing is dumb and how you’re going about it is dumber.

  2. I really wish AT would do what is right for the majority of transport users and not just the loudest complainers. I also wish they would enforce the T3 lane, and whilst on that note I wish they’d stop people parking all day on the new cycle-lanes down Queen Street in Northcote Point.

    1. That’s a ridiculous comment. AT are still digging up the pavement, verge and road all around the concrete and paving – the cycle route is cordoned off. It’s not completed by a long way, is not sanctioned for use and even when it might be, recycling bins will regularly block cyclists because the refuse trucks can’t reach across to the verge to pickup the wheelie bins. It’s just about the daftest bit of design I’ve ever seen.

  3. Win for the community? More cars, less mass transit, more road rage, less reading time? A win for the oil companies perhaps, but hopefully community is not defined by these wowsers. Who are these people that can’t move to buses? Can they move to carpooling? I grew up on the south side of the bridge and have never held a high opinion of the northerners, but this type of dork move seems to justify my prejudice. I feel sorry for the people that are represented by these visionless bores.

  4. The LB should stick to its knitting, which is decision making and taking advice from experts, not providing ‘solutions’ which they’ve found in 5 minutes on Google. The T3 lane continues to move the majority of users, and it should be allowed to be extended. AT should focus its energy on extending the hours and enforcing the lanes properly.

    Calling it a ‘win for the community’ is BS – its a win for the usual complainants, rather than those who just get on with it,

  5. Given the choice between some very average local councilors and the experts of AT I will vote councilor every time. If they make mistakes (and the certainly do) then I can do something about it either by meeting them or at the next election whereas AT is an overpaid autocratic bureaucracy that doesn’t care about the transporting of people and goods but does care about its empire.

    Maybe rather strongly expressed but after once corresponding with AT it is the only rational conclusion. [I wasn’t even writing about anything of great importance – just asking why they were forcing Birkenhead Buses to change from a heritage livery that have clearly identified them for 80 years to a rather drab alternative that prevents me identifying my local bus].

    On the issue raised by Matt: Onewa road I was in a jam on it only yesterday just before 5pm (travelling from Island Bay to Takapuna I had assumed Onewa would be fairly empty). At that time of day the T3 is not in operation but the road was jammed by vehicles which I eventually discovered were going to the city. The problem was mainly parked cars and to a lesser extent vehicles turning right. I have written before of my sympathy with small shopkeepers whose entire livelihood can be jeopardised by arbitrary changes to parking rules. I didn’t get a warm response from other contributors but there are no shops on Onewa rd going East so we can agree there is no need for any parking. I have had the misfortune to travel on Onewa rd in the morning many times and agree with Matt that T3 makes sense and more sense than T2 and that given the increasing congestion extending the times makes sense too. However please allow local decisions to be made locally as far as possible.

    PS. Why the ghastly ‘Metro’ sign on our buses? It is bad enough that the AT imperialists demand subservience from private Bus companies but a small “AT” roundel is quite sufficient.

    1. “Just asking why they were forcing Birkenhead Buses to change from a heritage livery”

      Because it creates the perception of an integrated bus network and reduces the psychological penalty of transfers by users.

      Things like this, the journey planner app, real time boards, and integrated smart ticketing with simpler fares all make a massive difference in increasing PT attractiveness to new users whether new to PT or just new to the specific journey.

      1. On the other hand not being able to quickly tell by colour which bus to get on when you can’t see the number is a real penalty to transfers and is a magnitude greater than some psychological penalty which may or may not exist. Especially when bus stops keep moving all the damn time in the CBD.

        1. That might make sense if colors were done per route rather than operator which isn’t the case at the moment last week you could have got on a Go West branded bus heading to Howick.

          Bus Stops in CBD are going to be a problem for a while CRL works affecting them wont finish until 2019 after which we can start working on the midtown and downtown bus corridor capital works as well as of course future Light Rail works on Customs/Queen/Fanshawe. Also of course also K’Rd upgrade coming up.

          After that though shouldn’t be anything to disruptive haha unless they decide to put NW Light Rail down Albert instead of leveraging infrastructure built on Queen.

        2. I’d say it is more an artefact of NZ Bus and Howick and Eastern trying to wring as much life out of some old dungers before the routes become covered by PTOM contracts.

          There are a couple of old Go West articulated buses around my area doing their bit to warm the planet.

        3. In the case of H&E i think they lost some contracts so require less buses under PTOM, so why would you buy a new bus only to use it for 6months. I think that part of the reason for the old dungers hanging around. Also with AT requirement ave age of 10 years bus fleet, must make operators want to buy buses at the start of contract.

          I suspect that why NZ bus havn’t got any new ones, you wouldn’t want have to buy a ton of new buses just as your contract about to expire and you got no guarantee it will be renewed

      2. The question didn’t matter (merely who wins Auckland Transport or Auckland Heritage) – my point is a simple question is not answered by somone who is responsible for the decision but a team of uniquely incompetent public relation ‘experts’.

        If AT have an idea “lets change Onewa T3” then they have a moral obligation to convince the people affected and that in practice means their representatives – our local councilors.

        1. They did convince the Councillors. Chris Darby and Richard Hill are fully on board,

          These are the local board members. In my experience with the Devonport Takapuna board they are voted by the 20% of retired people who can be bothered to vote and want nothing to change ever. Because of course it is perfect and always has been.

        2. I remember the last time the local boards were elected.

          John Smith
          John Smith has two lovely kids, and a lovely dog. Isn’t that just lovely. Surely people with lovely pets make for excellent local board members. John Smith likes a [buzzword] council which gets things done [buzzword] [buzzword] [buzzword] [buzzword] [buzzword].

          Ummm thank you, that was very informative.

        3. Of course Bob, it is absolutely the core role of government to represent the needs and wishes of all people.

      3. Might want to mention this to the genius from, AT who covered up one side of the real time boards at Panmure station with a poster showing new eastern route numbers so you cant see which stop the new routes are leaving from unless you walk all the way to the other end. The drivers also used these so it caused massive confusion on day one with passengers and buses at the wrong stop and local buses leaving empty. Transfers are working very well so far.

    2. In fairness the newer Birkenhead buses have electronic displays which can actually be read at night so the issue of knowing you have the right bus isn’t as bad as it sounds.

      I’m no fan of the new bus colours but the idea of the buses being painted to represent the organisation they are providing a service for, rather than the company that owns them has a lot of merit and is unsurprisingly quite common around the world.

      Imagine a visitor wanting to get to Northcote and after finding the correct AT bus number discovering a Birkenhead Transport bus turns up. They would understandably wonder if it was the correct bus.

      1. I often catch buses in Northcote and have made the mistake of catching a Richie’s bus rather than the real deal – took me a hour to get home after it did a tour of North Shore before depositing me in Glenfield where with a sense of great relief I could catch a lovely cream Birkenhead Bus.
        Your point about other people’s buses being painted in imperial AT colours might just apply if all buses were equal (an assumption made by AT’s tendering system) whereas some are just better – Birkenhead Buses are premier division with more considerate drivers, better punctuality, etc and every other bus is an ‘also ran’.

        1. ‘Birkenhead Buses are premier division’ – they are certainly league leaders for having the oldest bus fleet of all the PT operators.

        2. Of course they have the oldest fleet. Despite having crappy roads with hills and sharp turns and a populace of demented car drivers they have the best drivers and probably the best engineers and support staff in their Bus garage.
          I prefer the older buses with the chord pull to request the driver stops – they knew how to build a reliable bus in those days.

    3. If private bus companies got no subsidies and ran a service free from tax/rate payers money then i would be happy they keep their livery

        1. As a tax-payer / rate-payer, I decide what colour to paint the bike I subsidise. By your logic, car colour should be decided by the central committee also, because local roads are not wholly paid for by motorists, about half of it is rates.

        2. I don’t remember ever receiving a direct payment from AT to run my car or ride my bike. Birkenhead Transport receive a direct subsidy from AT and NZTA to make their business viable, that is why these organisations dictate the paint scheme.

        3. No, because i’ve pay tax so should be able to choose the colour of the car that i have paid for. I am aware business also pay tax, But at the end of the day, if someone was going to pay me 50% of my transport cost (petrol, car, my time), i would be more than happy to paint my car the colour they choose. We all pay for the “free roads”

          I have no objection to the local board pressured AT to create a similar route as per Tamaki Drive, creating a light blue link route. This would have been the more proactive why of dealing the problem.

        4. Andy/Jezza/Richard: it seems that you are happy to use the road that I pay for (I pay taxes and rates but have no car and my bike is getting rusty – unused for 18 months) because you don’t receive cash from AT. Presumably you will support my suggestion that all roading is paid for by congestion charges (= user pays).

          I have no problem with AT insisting on safety and punctuality and prices but they should only have the right to suggest livery. If they want all buses to look the same (they quoted London red buses to me) then they should buy the buses themselves.

        5. So you never leave your house? Never walk on a road or catch a bus that uses the road.

          Yes i am happy for congestion charge, Actually if there was a way to charge an individual, per min they spend on a public road or path, either walking/bus/bike/car, that would be perfect. That would be a total fair system pay exactly what you use

          Birkenhead transport get full benefit of the “free roads” too, just like every other company and person. But on top of that, they also getting paid by AT to run service.

          I agree, AT should be able to own buses, cut out all the shareholders and bus operators.

        6. Yes, I fully support congestion charges and AT owning and running the buses, legislation does not allow them to at the moment.

          Birkenhead Transport were of course welcome to refuse to paint their buses and continue as a private charter operator, however they knew their business was completely dependent on handouts from AT and NZTA so wisely chose to agree with AT.

        7. To be pedantic our road has a pavement on one side and the other side is not sealed and adjacent to a domain, pony club and cemetery – that is the side I prefer. But yes I do use buses and even sometimes borrow a car from a relative.

          I will concur with your idea of a single provider of buses. Obviously not AT who seem to hate the public. Judging by performance I recommend Birkenhead Transport to administer your universal Auckland Bus company however I am only familiar with a small area of Auckland – others may make better informed proposals.

        8. I imagine Birkenhead would want to make a profit, better to bring it in house to remove the need for profit and thus keep costs down.

          I would think BT’s drivers and engineers would be in high demand to work for AT’s bus operation, possibly not so much their graphic designers (if they have any), although AT are not exactly setting the bar high in that department at the moment.

        9. Regarding graphics design, you can see both the old BT livery and the new AT Livery on buses now. The BT livery is definitely more visible, especially in areas with a lot of tall trees. The blue and grey of AT tends to blend in with the background. BT wins this one IMO.

        10. James: from the internet “”London’s red buses are among the most iconic symbols of the capital. The reason behind their colour dates to the early 1900s, when the transport system was operated by different rival companies. London General Omnibus Company (or L.G.O.C.) owned most of the buses and in 1907 painted its entire fleet red to stand out from competitors.””
          So London wants to protect its 110 year old heritage. Why not the 80 year old BT livery?

  6. AT. No vision and no strategy other than to maintain status quo. No surprise here.
    On the flipside, they are the local board, elected to represent the people who voted for them. It is a win for at least some portion of the community.

    1. Ari, you are absolutely right about AT’s lack of strategy to grow public transport usage. The current poor growth rates show this, with overall trips up by less than 7%. If every new migrant to Auckland, who of course arrived without a car, used public transport to get to work that would account for that growth; and then of course there is the tens of thousands more visitors; and increased short term arrivals and population growth. I am enormously skeptical that AT is changing mode of transport usage to any degree at all.

  7. Onewa road is one of my most hated peak hour driving roads on the odd occasion I decide to ‘reward’ myself by driving to uni instead of taking the bus. The problem is that people don’t respect it anymore, so I get the privilege of not moving very fast at all whilst the single occupant vehicles break the conditions of the T3 lane then merge back in further up and slowing everyone else down. At this point they should make it a bus only lane because it seems people just don’t respect it anymore.

    1. Whether it’s a bus lane (which I agree it should be) or a T3, the crucial point is that AT needs to have enforcement officers, otherwise it is completely ignored and the buses get stuck in traffic. There has been many requests to AT but they say they do not have the resources to have two officers there every day, possibly twice a day.

      1. Ah, that old chestnut. We can’t afford to enforce the system we’ve chosen. One team chooses the system, another team chooses not to support it.

        Maybe the only way around this is to install systems with lower operating expenses. Pity, because providing jobs has a whole lot of social benefits, and the alternatives are usually more energy and resource intensive. However, it looks like we need to move towards:

        1/ Bus lanes completely separated, with bus-operated barriers.
        2/ Measures with known traffic evaporation effects, such as making PT and active mode routes direct and uncongested, but blocking roads to the car so that they must take circuitous routes.

        1. It’s even worse with speed limits — AT doesn’t even bother with limits below 50 because they know the police doesn’t want to enforce those.

  8. In defence of (some of) the local board, there are some very good people on that but that are as dismayed by this as I am. The balance of power was tipped at the last local election, mainly because the highest placed candidate, Richard Hills, also won a seat on the council.

    Even so, the Kaipātiki local board is still at least active and communicative, so seems to be ahead of some of the other boards in that respect. I just wish they acted like leaders instead of treating at as a social media popularity contest (not all of their electorate whinge and moan on the Facebook page, so appeasing the vocal minority may not equate directly to re-election).

    1. I’m reminded of a time in a former life when I had to brief a senior (parliamentary) politician about a proposal to construct a T3 lane in his electorate. That politician had previous railed in his blog against the evils of the proposal, so it was with some trepidation that I went to see him to advise that despite some local unrest and his own express opposition, the T3 lane was going ahead anyway. I came armed with the full range of arguments as to the benefits of the proposal in terms of overall people movement. The conversation went something like this:

      Me: Minister, I have to communicate to you the outcome of the review of the opposition to the T3 lane, but I doubt that you’ll be pleased with the final decision.

      Minister: Oh, yes, why is that?

      Me: Well, you wrote extensively in your blog a couple of months ago about how bad the T3 lane would be for the electorate.

      Minister: Did I? Well, I’m over that now.

      I can neither confirm nor deny whether this conversation had anything to do with the Onewa Road T3 lane.

  9. I commute down Onewa Road every morning (in a single occupant car) and have done so for 25 years. I have on several occasions offered to take over the enforcement of T3 (& red lights) for 10% of the fines collected. I reckon is they’d agreed I would have retired a long time ago.

    The Shore has a pretty comprehensive Transit Lane network – why won’t they enforce it. Entitled assholes not only slow down public transport they impede other traffic by (often dangerously) pushing into the general lane to avoid being picked up by the camera of the sole lonely enforcement officer.

    I only travel one block down Onewa – it can take over 30 minutes. If I could use PT I would but my job requires a car. I’ve now joined the legion who leave early to avoid the transit lane but I totally support the T3 and it’s extension. The Gillon political family have long been a blight on the north shore – I seriously considered standing for Kaipatiki LB but didn’t because the thought of dealing with their cabal sickens me.

    1. Thank you for adding sense to this post.
      I wonder what your opinion is of the new double-decker buses on Onewa rd. I think it was one of the Gillon’s who pushed for them to be used and I can see the sense from Highbury to the city but to the west into Birkdale & Beachhaven they look too large and out of place on the tight corners and I regret the 997 trees that required pruning or cutting down to permit their use.

      1. One of the double-decker services I regularly encounter has replaced a single-decker service that was regularly full before it got around the Beach Haven / Birkdale loop and back to Verrans Corner, and I’m sure that there’s others that were similarly over-subscribed.

        And it was Richard Hills who lobbied for BTL to run Double Deckers:

        1. Thanks for the info. Now I do remember Richard Hills was involved. I’ve met him and he is a very pleasant energetic young man but I’ve never forgiven him for spending over $60,000 replacing an acceptable but elderly post and rail fence around Eskdale Domain with someones phallic dream of wooden posts entombed in absolutely enormous concrete blocks.
          The same money would have provided a decent cycle path keeping cyclists at least 5 metres from the busy and polluted Glenfield rd. And then I would get my bike out of the garage.

        2. Then I would encourage you to email the board today. They are voting on whether to proceed with cycling improvements to Glenfield Road from the Mall to Eskdale Rd. It’s been consulted on, money spent on design and put out to consultation (Bike Kaipatiki were involved in riding the proposed route and providing feedback. The same members of the board who are trying to scupper the changes to Onewa Road T3 are also wanting to scrap the cycling improvements.

        1. Thanks for the info. I must admit to only ever catching a double-decker once or twice – I did regret the destruction of trees and bushes but in practice it has not been too noticeable. And I would prefer two single buses to one double-decker thus halving the time I wait – but I’m told that if I buy a fancy phone there is an app that is reliable for predicting the next bus.
          In North Shore there are many retirees and also pre-school children – the upper deck is not ideal for them nor quick loading but as far as I can judge they are not using the buses at the times they are full.
          Pleased to hear the BT buses are still heavily utilised – about 10 years ago my daughter used to walk west to catch the 974 (and its buddies) travelling east – the stop farther away but getting a seat more probable.

        2. Given that those buses run every ten minutes through the middle of the day, waiting for the next bus isn’t exactly an enormous issue….

  10. I reckon that even if AT were to offer Kaipatiki a light rail line down Onewa Road and across the harbour they’d turn it down. Weren’t their political predecessors many years ago responsible for scuttling ideas of an Onewa Station on the Northern Busway? Kaipatiki LB used to be close to dysfunctional a few years ago and Gillon senior was a significant factor. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose . . .

  11. The last thing Auckland needs is local boards and other elected officials reflecting the wants and needs of the people of Auckland. How will special interest groups ever control how people live in such a democratic environment?

    1. The local board have supported the extension of the T3 lane hours but these two have decided they didn’t like it and so complained to AT who quickly acquiesced to their desires. That’s hardly a democratic environment. In fact it sounds more like another form of government, coincidentally also starting with the letter D

      1. Matt, it’s hard to see how this situation (two people complaining unofficially as private citizens, i.e. not through their role on the Local Board) and Auckland Transport rapidly acquiescing to them against all policy directives and evidence, and in opposition to the official Local Board stance*, can be extrapolated to your belief that:

        “There has been a lot of talk about devolving more powers and decision making to local boards. If that were to happen I expect we’d see more of this kind of behaviour as well as compromising the safety of cyclists/pedestrians in favour of parking and car movement.”

        On Waiheke, Auckland Transport has been largely unresponsive to the Local Board and repeatedly starts projects without even raising them with the board for input or notifying them that the project is happening. They just turn up and start construction. I guess if they were achieving good outcomes you could say that they (experts) were finding ways to avoid meddling from the Board (non-experts), but actually, the results aren’t at all pretty in terms of outcomes for anything other than private motor vehicles (and not even for them really) and I’m sure there would be better outcomes for other modes (and for the ecosystem and for the private properties affected by the stormwater running off the roads) if the Board was able to have some meaningful input. Many Waiheke projects seem to be of the following nature: undesigned (no expert input to be seen), ad-hoc, piecemeal, sudden, spending the cash available at the time it becomes available and before it is lost to some other department, even slapdash. Actual experts within council are also kept at arms’ length and are not able to have input. Occasionally when the Local Board and residents have made a big enough stink, work has stopped and actual experts from council have said the whole thing needs a redesign, rare geckos can’t just be mulched, stormwater has to be considered in the design, etc. etc. And options are put out to the community and in the end better results are achieved. But that only happens with the most egregious examples. I think it could profitably happen a whole lot more often.

        I agree with the main body of your post, I just take issue with the idea that 1) somehow AT would get things right if only nobody bothered them with their opinions; and that 2) Local Boards are influencing AT towards worse outcomes. Really the Local Boards seem to be ignored/overruled by AT, who instead listen to the most strange and disparate voices at random (it seems). Possibly a voice is heard strongly if it aligns with something they would rather do themselves? If the Local Boards had a stronger, more defined role, they could be the point of community contact to whom AT could point complainants (and other people with constructive input). With a proper open process, there’s less chance of an individual or lobbyist having an undue amount of influence ‘behind closed doors’.

        * Regarding my phrase ‘official Local Board stance’…I inferred that from your post, which doesn’t explicitly say if they have been asked to provide an opinion/endorsement. Could it be that the Local Board were never invited to give an opinion? That would seem fairly standard practice. Can we infer that in this case, the Board would have provided an endorsement if asked? That would have meant that the two dissenting members would not really have had a mandate to approach AT, having been part of the vote which didn’t go their way, and AT could therefore have easily dismissed their approach? In short, perhaps MORE Local Board power and involvement could have averted this fiasco.

        1. The biggest obstacle to any sort of improvements are politicians and those who support them. The more local the politicians are, the worse the problem is. This is because local politicians are closer to the heart of political causes and often it will be a personal bias on the basis of friendship or favour.

          The problem with local boards or any kind of local representation is that they only see the perspective of their locality and not a regional or city wide perspective.

        2. Firstly, if you don’t want oversight, you need to show competence. Secondly, a relationship with a local board ought not to be that hard to manage. Of course AT needs to take a wider perspective, but AT should seek to educate/enlighten the boards and use them as a bridge to the local communities. The approach of trying to avoid dealing with them (boards and communities) is going to invite outrage and opposition. Again, this sort of thing is a competency…often called change management in occupational psychology…It is lacking at AT, so they are having trouble getting buy-in to the changes.

        3. KLB is dysfunctional. On one side you have a group who project a vision that AT can do no wrong and on the other, you have individuals who stand up to question the behemoth.When things go wrong, like the northcote cycle way and the many issues that are dogging the local area, the board members who support AT will not question AT process or design. They will not accept for one moment that just maybe AT got it wrong. And the reason for that is that they want to carry favour. They think they must acquiesce to extract every cent they can from AT and that is why they unquestionably support each and every AT initiative. On the other hand, when questions are asked of AT, they pass the problem to the board. So I think the actions of the board members who are now questioning AT are outstanding.

        4. What AT got wrong about the Northcote Safe Cycle Route and the cycle lanes on Queen St. in particular is listening to the Northcote Point NIMBYs and there NIMBY king, Jonathan Coleman.

          The traffic problems in Northcote Point are caused by rat runner, on-street parking, oh, and several hundred low-occupancy vehicles on Onewa Rd. All the cycleway was attempting to do was provide an alternative way out of the current car-centric disaster.

    2. The issue is really about whether local prejudice prevails against the provision of a proper, workable public transport network. Those with memories longer than five years will recall the awful schemozzle on transport issues where most decisions were politicised and where cohesion between adjacent areas was almost non-existent. This is precisely why AT was set up in the way that it was, at arm’s length from direct political control, but subject to overall direction on an annual basis through the Letter of Expectation and Statement of Intent. You can argue it’s non-democratic at the micro-level, and I fully acknowledge that AT has done some daft things in terms of consultation, but I for one do NOT want to go back to the days where transport decisions were fragmented across the region.

    3. If Geoff was really into democracy, he’d be demanding that the lanes be left to the people who utilize them most, and most efficiently. Those in a bus.

  12. I am not going to defend the Gillion family but I think in this case it is probably just them responding to the voices they hear. Therefore, I think it is important that people who live in the area and/or use Onewa Rd voice their concerns. A quick email will send them the message that I think a good number – perhaps a majority – support the T3 lanes and want them extended. For me I would add no parking during the day for the entire length and greater enforcement.

    1. This is why the main trust of this post is about AT’s response, rather than the LB members. This sort of pressure is to be expected, and should be managed. Changing a rollout by several months on the Chair and Deputy Chair’s say-so (without a formal resolution) is highly dubious.

      1. I’m glad I read to the end of the post to finally see some on-topic wisdom.

        P.s. yes I’m talking about all those who took this post on a bus livery tangent to mars and back.

  13. Today at 7.15 there was one camera operator at the top of Onewa, 50 metres past there single or dual occupant cars were diverging back into the T3 lane. It is so poorly policed it’s pointless.

    AT, shirt the basics out.

  14. Does the improvement (now delayed) change the hours of operation *and* make it a bus lane? If not, it really should. Justified by the numbers, and far, far easier to enforce.

  15. AT have done a pretty awful job of communicating the reasons behind the change.
    There is already a very ‘anti-AT’ feeling in parts of the Kaipatiki community, with opposition to the T3, anger related to the Queen Street upgrade, the Beach Haven Rd works and the management of the Rawene Rd carpark and its collapse.
    Extending the hours of the T3 in the afternoons seemed to get some support but many questioned the morning extension. AT should have been more proactive in explaining why extending the T3 to 10am was necessary. Instead there was silence from AT and a loud crowd haranged the local board to do something….

    1. You have just given us a case that a local interest is more important than a regional interest. Perhaps you need to reflect on the fact that you are not a small town, you are part of a big city and your suburb is subject to the needs of the big city in a collective sense.

      1. Patrick – of course the overall plan for the city should prevail. But if we fail to properly engage with a local community, then let’s not be surprised when the disgruntled in that community get very loud – and social media enables a few people to get very loud.

  16. Bob Atkinson: ‘So you would prefer the government to respond to the wishes of people who are too lazy to get up and vote?’
    Yes, if their numbers are sufficient and their preferences are reasonable..
    Representative democracy is a continuing activity, not just something that happens on one day each three or four years.
    The duty of a representative is to represent the whole community – including, if necessary, making compromises between competing interests. The community includes people who voted for their opponent and people who didn’t vote at all.

  17. As a frequent user of Onera road, the main issue is non-parking time ends too early.

    Even a single car parked on 9:01am and 6:01pm will significantly slows all traffic to crawl.

    Traffic will have to merge from left lane to right lane due to a single parked car, slowing traffic.

    Also a single car turning right will blocks the right lane. If the left lane also has a parked car, the whole road will be blocked until the right car can turn. Since the road is busy it could sometime take a long time for the car to turn to unblock the road.

    Therefore the non-parking hours need to extend.

  18. The problem is Auckland wide. Suburban shopping precincts were built along the through routes in and out of the city – Dominion Road, Sandringham Road, New North Road, etc, which was fine when people caught public transport to work, and then walked to the local shops for items which weren’t automatically delivered such as milk and bread. But times have changed. With the growth of mega centres, those shopping centres are now catering for niche markets and clients who travel from throughout the city to shop there. In the meantime those centres are now bottlenecks for the sheer volume of people commuting to and from the city, as the population soars. So now you have a conflict between traffic engineers and commuters who want those roads to replicate a blockage free sewage pipe, and locals, include the business owners, who want those shopping centres to continue in their traditional roles. It’s not going to be an easy fix.

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