This post was first published by Patrick in January 2016.

There are many reasons to be concerned about the plan to add more road lanes across Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour: from the extreme cost of building such big tunnels and interchanges [$5-$6 billion and four times as much as just building rail tunnels], to the undesirable flooding of city streets and North Shore local roads with even more cars, to the increase in air pollution and carbon emission this will create, the loss of valuable city land to expanded on and off ramps and parking structures, to the impact on the harbour of exhaust stacks and a supersized motorway on the Shore, to the pressure this will put on the rest of the motorway system particularly through the narrow throat of Spaghetti Junction. It is both the most expensive and least efficient way to add capacity across this route, and if resilience is the aim then the double-down on reliance the motorway system rather works against this. This one project will simply crowd out any other changes we could make of scale in Auckland or the country for years; yet it changes almost nothing; it simply enables more vehicles to travel across a short point in the middle of the city, yet this is by no means an obviously good thing: The list of unwanted outcomes from the current proposal is so extensive that the benefits had better be so extraordinary and so absolutely certain in order to balance them all.

But perhaps there is no greater reason to not do it than that it simply won’t improve things for drivers.

Really? How can this be? As well the obvious problem with this project that it will add super capacity for a short stretch of the motorway network and therefore just shifts any bottleneck to the next constriction, particularly the extremely difficult to expand CMJ or Spaghetti Junction, there’s also a bigger structural problem with building more roads to fight traffic congestion. It can’t work. We all have experienced being stuck in traffic on a motorway and sat there wishing if only the authorities had just built an extra lane all would be sweet, well it would, wouldn’t it? However the evidence from all round the world shows that while that may help for a little while it never lasts, especially in a thriving city and especially if these extension starve the alternatives of funding, condemning ever more people to vehicle trips on our roads. Soon we’re stuck again wishing for another few billions worth of extra lanes all over again.

I-10 Katy Freeway

Here’s how it works; each new lane or route simply incentivises new vehicle journeys that weren’t made before; a well known phenomenon called induced demand. Road building is also traffic building, the more we invest in roads the more traffic and driving we get, and not just on the new road; everywhere. Traffic congestion is, of course, simply too much traffic, too much driving. Take for example the I-10 in Houston, the Katy Freeway. In that famously auto-dependent city they freely spent Federal money and local taxes disproportionately on just one way to try to beat traffic congestion, the supply side: ever more tarmac [Houstonians can boast the greatest spend per capita on freeways in the US]. The I-10 which began at six to eight lanes has just had its latest ‘upgrade’ to no fewer than 26 lanes! That ought to be more than enough in a flat city with multiple routes and only half the population Los Angeles. So what happened? According to recent analysis it has made driving this route significantly worse.

Traveling out I-10 is now 33% worse – almost 18 more minutes of your time – than it was before we spent $2.8 billion to subsidize land speculation and encourage more driving.

But hang on, those trips must need to be made, right, or people wouldn’t make them. Well in the absence of direct pricing it is hard to know exactly how valuable these new trips are. So first they really ought to price routes like the I-10 properly to reduce unnecessary journeys clogging up the valuable ones, like the truckies and trades [it is partially tolled now]. But the real problem in cities like Houston is the absence of any useful alternatives to driving [an earlier extension of I-10 took out an existing rail line!]. Providing those alternatives is how congestion is best dealt with. Not completely solved of course, that can only happen by collapse of the city economy like in Detroit, and no-one wants that solution. But traffic congestion can be made both manageable and, for many, no longer an issue, by providing them with attractive alternative options. And in turn this frees up the roads sufficiently for those who have to or prefer to drive. Especially when this is done in conjunction with direct price signals- road pricing; tolls or network or cordon charges.

Houston may be forever too far gone down this hopeless road but that doesn’t mean we have to follow it. Here is a description of the same problem in Sydney, with the solution:

Most people will take whichever transport option is fastest. They don’t care about the mode. If public transport is quicker they’ll catch a train or a bus, freeing up road space. If driving is quicker, they’ll jump in their car, adding to road congestion. In this way, public transport speeds determine road speeds. The upshot is that increasing public transport speeds is one of the best options available to governments and communities wanting to reduce road traffic congestion.

This is called the Nash Equilibrium [I would rather say better than faster; there are a number of variables including speed that inform our choices];

This relationship is one of the key mechanisms that make city systems tick. It is basic microeconomics, people shifting between two different options until there is no advantage in shifting and equilibrium is found. We can see this relationship in data sets that make comparisons between international cities. Cities with faster public transport speeds generally have faster road speeds.

Which brings us to the Waitemata Harbour. It currently has 13 general traffic lanes across two bridges, one walking and cycling lane on the upper harbour bridge, and some ferry services generally not competing with these crossings. The Harbour Bridge carries increasing numbers of buses from the hugely successful Northern Busway, the very success of which exactly proves the theory of the equilibrium described by Dr Ziebots above. In the morning peak the buses carry around 40% of the people without even a single dedicated lane on the bridge itself. And it is all the people using the busway that allow the traffic lanes to move at all. In fact NZTA argue that one of the main reasons for building a new crossing is the numbers and the size of the buses now using the current one.

The Upper Harbour Bridge is about become significantly busier because of the multiple billions being spent on the Waterview connection between SH20 and SH16, the widening of SH16, and the bigger interchange between SH81 and SH1 on the Shore. These huge motorway expansions will generate more traffic of course, but also will provide an alternative to driving across the lower Harbour Bridge.

What is missing anywhere between the North Shore and the city is a Rapid Transit alternative to these road lanes. Like Sydney always has had.

Sydney Harbour am peak

It is its [Sydney Harbour Bridge] multi-modality that makes it truly impressive, some 73% of the people entering Sydney on the Bridge from the Shore at this time are doing so on just one of the train lines and one bus lane; a fraction of the width of the whole structure. So not only does it shame our Harbour bridge aesthetically it completely kills it for efficiency too.

Auckland’s bridge was always only ever designed for road traffic, and should be left that way, the clear way forward is to add the missing Rapid Transit route as the next major additional crossing [after adding the SkyPath to the existing bridge].

In 1992 it  [Sydney Harbour Bridge] was supplemented by a pair of two lane road tunnels that up the cross harbour tally for this mode to match the number coming over by train [bridge plus tunnels = 12 traffic lanes], but that wasn’t done until the population of the city had hit 3.7 million. The high capacity systems on the bridge saved the people of Sydney and Australia from spending huge sums on additional crossings and delayed the date they were deemed necessary by many decades. But anyway, because the additional crossing is just road lanes it only adds around 10% extra capacity to the bridge. To think that the government here and NZTA are seriously proposing to spend multiple billions in building a third Harbour Crossing in Auckland with the population only at 1.5m, but not only that but they are planning to build more capacity for the least efficient mode; more traffic lanes.

The good people at NZTA of course know this, but we just seem stuck in a bad habit of road building in a similar way as Houston is, because the money for motorway building comes from central government some people believe this makes it free, in a similar way that the highways in the US are largely funded by the Federal government, unlike public transport, which is more locally funded [Known as ‘path dependency’ and is well covered in the academic literature: Imran, Pearce 2014]. This means the pressure to evaluate the effectiveness of motorways over the alternatives is much weaker. Here is a slide from an NZTA presentation proudly proclaiming how much more traffic this massive project will generate:

AWHC - Induced Demand

Of course this growth can be met by a parallel Rapid Transit system instead. The success of the Busway here and the enormous uptake of the recently improved Rail Network show that Aucklanders are the same as city dwellers everywhere and will use good Transit systems when they get the chance. And two much smaller and therefore cheaper train tunnels have much greater capacity than the proposed six traffic tunnels. Twice as much in fact: the equivalent of twelve lanes and without adding a single car to city streets. Furthermore converting the Busway to a rail system, which is entirely possible, and depending on the system may even be quick and easy, means that buses can be completely removed from bridge freeing up more capacity there for general traffic; cars and trucks:

  • Removing buses from the existing bridge would free up some capacity. 200 buses per peak hour ~= 1,000 cars ~= 60% capacity of a traffic lane. So a dedicated PT crossing provides car users with an extra lane (once you account for reverse direction). Not huge, but not negligible either.
  • Mode shift: by providing a fast and more direct alternative route you will get mode shift, providing more space to the cars that remain. So you have more vehicle capacity and less demand = a real congestion benefit.

So compared to a new road tunnel where both crossings would need to be tolled, and simply generate more competing traffic for drivers through the whole city, the dedicated PT option would seem to be better even for motorists. The better, faster, and more attractive the Rapid Transit route the freer the driving route will remain; with more people choosing the car-free option: The higher the Transit utility; the higher the driving utility.

Of course while a rail crossing will be considerably cheaper to build than a road crossing it still needs a network either side of the harbour to make it useful. Are there good options for this? In fact there are a number of very good options, all with varying advantages and disadvantages that need serious investigation. And it is important to remember by the time this project is being built the public transit networks in Auckland will be considerably more mature. The City Rail Link will have transformed the newly electrified rail network to a central role in the city, it will quickly have doubled from 2015’s 15 million annual trips to 30 million and more. The New Bus Network will be functioning and with the new integrated zonal fare system meaning people will be used to transferring across routes and modes to speed through the city. The increase in bus numbers and population will make driving in the city less functional. There will certainly many tens of thousands more people in the city without their car, many with business or other reasons to travel across to the Shore.  And importantly there will almost certainly be a new Light Rail system running from the central isthmus down Queen St and terminating downtown.

The quickest and cheapest to build will probably be to take the city Light Rail system through Wynyard Quarter and across the harbour, as outlined by Matt here. The busway can be most easily converted for this technology, as it is already designed for it. Furthermore being the only rail system that can run on streets it can also most easily include branches to Takapuna and even Milford to the east, and from Onewa up to Glenfield. This also has the advantage of balancing the existing city-side routes, unlocking a downtown terminus, not unlike the CRL does for the rail network.

What a North Shore light metro network map might look like.
What a North Shore light metro network map might look like.

Higher capacity and with the great advantage of cheaper to run driverless systems are is Light Metro like the massively successful SkyTrain in Vancouver. As described for Auckland here. However like extending our current rail system to the harbour it would require a more expensive city-side tunnel to Aotea Station for connection to city network. We know work has been done to prepare Aotea station for this possibility. Matt has also explored other variations here.

Light Metro North & Northwest

Perhaps the best answer for both the near term and the long term is to build tunnels that can take our new Light Rail vehicles for the years ahead but are also capable of being converted to the higher capacity Light Metro when the demand builds so much to justify the further investment of the city tunnel between Wynyard and Aotea Station. Bearing in mind the LR vehicles AT are planning for are high capacity [450pax ] and they can run in the cross harbour tunnels and the busway at very high frequencies. And that Light Metro systems can use track geometries much closer to LR than can conventional rail systems.

So in summary, the bane of the motorist and the commercial driver, traffic congestion, is best dealt with on the demand-side as well as the supply-side. We have spent 60 years just supplying more tarmac, and now it is time to get on with addressing the demand side: Building quality alternatives and providing clear incentives to fine-tune peoples choices.

And, just like road building, investing in quality Rapid Transit will grow the demand for more of it. It will also shift land use, incentivising agglomeration economies and greater intensification around transport nodes, as well as individual habits to suit this option more. What we feed, with infrastructure investment, grows. And vitally, inducing this sort of movement instead of driving is entirely consistent with other the demands of this century; especially our country’s new commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, and the use of our own abundant and renewably generated energy.

This project is both so expensive and potentially so valuable or so damaging that it needs a fully informed public debate about the possibilities. Gone are the days that NZTA can just keep building what its used to without real analysis of all alternatives, or that a politically expedient option sails by without serious evaluation. Because it can be transformed into a truly great asset for the city and the nation on this important route from the eye-wateringly expensive and clearly dubious idea from last century that it is now.

What’s clearly missing from this picture, especially once Light Rail fills ‘The Void’, and some form of rail goes to the airport?:

CRL Outline-Train-Plan-31July2014
Body without a head: Official post CRL rail running pattern
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36 comments

  1. I’m pretty sure that the Auckland harbour bridge’s additional “clip-on” lanes have a finite life. So there will need to be a second crossing and the studies have long concluded that that would be best provided by two tunnels under the harbour. Whatever happens: This will need to be built.

    The last I heard is that the plans were to completely replace the Auckland Harbour Bridge, although I think keeping the original bridge (without clip-ons) would be a better idea, even if it was only to deal with traffic to Northcote & other immediately Northern suburbs only.

    1. So why not just replace the existing bridge on the existing route? Why generate a new crossing alignment, requiring a new set of road approaches and a whole new set of traffic impacts? It would be far cheaper to build a replacement road bridge parallel to the existing harbour bridge.

  2. Some good thinking. The planned exit for a tunnel from the North Shore is always stated to be in the Viaduct Basin area, with a turn to the east to Britomart, but this has always seemed problematical to me.

    I wonder if a better route might be to continue further south and travel under Victoria Park, with an easterly turn under Cook Street so as to join the CRL south of Aotea Station. This would mean that North Shore commuters could choose a Britomart service that would allow them to alight at Aotea or Britomart, or a Mount Eden service that would take them directly south to Karangahape Station instead of deviating via Aotea and Britomart.

    I don’t know much about the lie of the land and its levels, but if you look at certain maps of the CRL route, you’ll see that there’s to be a slight dog leg just south of Aotea and another one just a bit further south of that. These could be turned into junctions for the North Shore line approaching from the west.

    1. If we’re talking about a future railway connection to the North shore; then I frankly see no reason for the line to join what will be a CRL with congestion issues from the ~4 lines feeding it. Surely it would be better to merely have a future North shore railway line merely interchange with the existing lines with intersecting underground stations. There’s no reason for the future North shore line to even connect to the mainline network and have to conform to the far-from-ideal same mainline standards that the rest of the Auckland network conforms to. This is an opportunity for the future line to be built with standards, signals, traction, loading gauges, etc that are best opitimised for moving passengers down the North shore and into the Auckland CBD rather than what’s best for moving freight around NZ. It could have third rail traction, standard gauge, be a premetro/light metro with LRVs or an outright metro, etc.
      In my opinion attemptng to connect lines via tunnels is in comparison necessarily complicated and expensive.

      And I would pick the future Aotea station for the interchange rather than Britomart. For one: as the Aotea station will be some distance under the surface (and above sea level); it provides a great opportunity for intersecting & interchanging with other railway tunnels above or below it. And the Aotea location would be closer to where more passengers would want to go. Furthermore it would provide better opportunities for extending the line further eastwards at some stage; especially to the University campuses.

      1. That’s a really confusing reply. First, you say that the North Shore line should adhere to standards that are different from the rest of the network and you therefore imply that it would have to terminate at Britomart, defeating the concept of through connections that are the whole point of the CRL Then you seem to agree with my suggestion to make the North Shore line “connect” at Aotea, but you don’t state how or whether you agreed with me.

        My suggestion was to make the connection just south of Aotea Station, underground in the vicinity of Cook Street, so that trains could turn either north toward Aotea and Britomart, or south toward Karangahape and Mount Eden.

        Would the North Shore line need to be heavy rail? I presume so, because no matter where the connection is made, it’s hard to see a light rail system continuing onto the rest of the network. North Shore trains could run all the way from the North Shore to Papakura (via Britomart or Mount Eden) or to Swanson (via Mount Eden), and they would need to be heavy rail for that.

        1. Okay I’ll try and spell it out more clearly.

          What I’m advocating for is:
          1) Not making the future north sure line connect to the rest of the network. At all. Make it completely isolated.
          2) INTERCHANGING with the CRL at Aotea station. As in: With entirely different platforms either above or below the Aotea CRL station and with not even any need for the same orientation. Passengers an interchange between the two lines via escalators& lifts.

          Here’s a picture of the sort of thing I’m talking about:
          http://transitmap.net/post/55707996580/bank-monument-cutaway

          Because the fact is that the CRL will only be two tunnels. That could get very congested with 4 feeding lines, which would also make joining tracks under the tunnels prone to failures.

          For anyone wanting to get from the north shore to Papakura by train: Take the North shore line to Aotea station and then change platforms to the southern line for one of the frequent services.

  3. No additional Waitemata Crossing gets my support at this stage. Motorways through CBDs ruin the CBD. With the “completion” of the WRR, it’s time to remove the motorways from the CBD and to repurpose the existing bridge for PT and active modes.

    The one beauty of induced demand is that it works in reverse, too. Remove road capacity and the traffic evaporates.

      1. Too steep for heavy rail yes, but it’s ok grade for light rail. However to put light rail on the existing bridge it would need to run in the centre span (not the clip ons) and would require basically all four lanes for the tracks and emergency exit paths.

        1. The harbour bridge design was originally considered suitable for light rail tracks. For heavy rail freight trains its too steep but the AM class emus would have no problems considering they are designed with over 1600Kw electric motors to easily handle the CRL gradients

  4. Even a PT-only crossing probably wont be due for another 30yrs, surely. If this was a dedicated busway 100% of the way – and that means changes on the CBD-side – it would provide most of the benefits.

    The exception is the extra lane on the bridge for cars at peak-time, but as that is the minor mode at that time, its hardly needed.

    I guess getting dedicated RTN in and out of Takapuna is the sticking point.

    1. KLK this PT crossing was needed 30 years ago, and we would be using it today were it not for the gross incompetence of the Muldoon government back in the 80s.

      Heaven knows how many tonnes of CO2 we have needlessly pumped into the atmosphere as a result of this idiocy. The need to fix this is more urgent than ever.

  5. Patrick, always good to see your well constructed posts.

    There is one single figure in your post that says that a second harbour road crossing will simply not be possible, regardless of what NZTA says is desirable. If AT are to achieve targets that they have set for themselves, a 65% induced demand for all cross harbour trips make it inconceivable that this can sit alongside the AT target of 40% less carbon emissions by 2040.

    In addition such extra demand will also likely push AT beyond their ability to fund the extra road projects required..

    Let us hope that the government immediately pulls the pin on this ill conceived idea of a second road crossing.

  6. I was really against light rail for our main transit lines in Auckland, I always did see LR being great for central Auckland bus replacement especially on dominion Rd.
    But it comes across as another poor excuse for rapid transit.
    I know GA blog has been for it.
    But after doing a bit of research I think light rail could provide a better service then our heavy rail system.
    Something that was not pointed out is that any LR system will be on standard guage. GA should point this out in defence of LR.
    Standard guage allows for a much smoother stable high speed ride.
    The difference between standard guage 1435mm and our HR 1067mm is mind blowing.
    We just need to make sure our future rail is built for the future. Ie Iong distance travel to places like Orewa Riverhead and beyond.
    Roadway travel and long distance travel are hard to combine.
    We are already looking at super low floor cars with smaller wheels which cannot do higher speeds
    We need to make a compromise. If we want LR doing long distance and roadway transit.
    Many medium Hight LR cars can do 150km/h
    So we will need raised platforms on streets also have wheel arches inside the cars, which may affect capacity.
    Alternatively we could go full high floor metro style LR with high platforms on the streets and flat floors in rail cars.
    Our current plan is european style low floor with small wheels and arches inside the car.
    The plus side is no platforms, just step on at normal kurb hight like a bus.
    The down side is seating layout due to wheel arches, extra noise due to smaller wheels, and lower speed, about a max of 90km/h.

    1. There isn’t a specific vehicle specification, so you can’t say they are specifically looking at ‘super low floor cars’. The reference designs have 300mm platform height, not ‘no platforms’. That’s not super low floor, and it’s about double a standard bus kerb. It’s also just the entry height, there are many systems that have level boarding at the doors but higher internal floors over bogies. I’m in favour of that system as they run better at speed and corner better, but still have 100% level entry from the platform. For example these CAF Urbos light rail vehicles have articulated bogies and actually have two different door heights. http://www.caf.net/img/all/productos_servicios/familia/urbos3/01imagen.jpg.

      Long story short, there is still opportunities to procure a vehicle design that is well designed for full speed on long interurban sections.

    2. I agree these are valid concerns but it all depends on the choice of vehicles. The technology is advancing rapidly. In Karlsruhe and Saarbrucken there are low floor LRVs that can do 130 km/hr on a separate corridor and still use city streets. See
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saarbahn

      In Ottawa now a new LRT is being built that will have 100% low floor LRVs (300-350mm floor) and have a service speed of 100 km/hr. See
      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederation_Line

      Neither of these are cheap, but they are both excellent high capacity vehicles, and of course still cheaper than a freeway tunnel. Incidentally the Auckland electric heavy rail vehicles can do 110 km/hr, so the LRVs can be as quick as suburban heavy rail.

  7. Two years down the road this post looks quite prescient. The cost compared to rail alternatives was more than enough reason to abandone the harbour tunnel daydream.

    But after Waterview opening we now have a clear local example of how quickly induced demand can fill in the imagined benefits of new freeways. Looking at the traffic congestion on the north shore approaches to the harbour bridge there must a considerable amount of suppressed demand. As soon as a new crossing went in it would fill up very rapidly.

        1. Yes sorry I was referring to a motorway crossing. A walk/cycle/transit bridge would be great, and would not induce any traffic 🙂

          1. The NEX3 will run via karangahape and Ponsonby Road. You could connect with trains and buses at K Rd too.

            There’s no feasible way we can provide good service levels on direct services between dispersed suburbs. That’s what a network is for.

        2. Genuine question to the folks who have done the research on this.

          Add Skypath, add a second one on the other side (to seperate bikes and pedestrians), put permanant bus lanes on the bridge, as cars can use WRR. Make it easier for bikes on ferries and perhaps enhance frequencies to places like Honsonville Pt.

          Would the additional bridge still be needed, and by when?

          1. Early 2030s according to the business case. There is a limit to how many buses you can run across the bridge and into town, even with bus lanes. It’s not that much more than we run already.

          2. Nick, has anyone looked at a bus route from the NS over the bridge, off at Shelley Beach Rd and turning west to end up in Glen Eden or Titirangi? Not as an A to B type route but a genuine crosstown network line. It has a number of benefits and wouldn’t add to the Fanshawe St congestion.

          3. No, that would be a very long, very expensive route with pretty small demand. The network serves those trips by the upper harbour bus, or by connecting between north shore and west routes in the City Centre.

          4. What if the service only goes to, say, Kingsland where you can connect to a train?

            Perhaps that can replace the current services to Newmarket via Ponsonby, which are mostly duplicated by the Inner Link.

          5. People in the inner west will rarely take PT to get to the NS because having to go into town to connect to the NEX adds so much time on. And so many people drive from west to north – is there not some pocket of higher demand that could be catered to without going through the Victoria Quadrant with its congestion of buses, that adds to the network?

          6. The NEX3 will run via karangahape and Ponsonby Road. You could connect with trains and buses at K Rd too.

            There’s no feasible way we can provide good service levels on direct services between dispersed suburbs. That’s what a network is for.

          7. Yes, I do get the network concept. And swapping between buses is no problem. The problem is having to enter to congestion to be able to swap. The NEX3 will probably be the solution.

            I just used the SNZ Commuter View which shows no-one commuting from inner west or even west over the bridge. Which makes me wonder where all the cars that snake in through Meola Rd, Jervois Rd go… There are 78000 cars using the Curran St onramp each day; I’m just wondering how best to replace these cars with PT. It doesn’t seem right to overload Fanshawe St, so I hope the NEX3 provides the alternative these 78000 vehicles need.

          8. Correction. There aren’t that many. I misread the data table, using the first Curran St entry I found, but that must be all the onramps in that area. The correct figure is 8273; I agree – any more than the NEX3 would be too much provision compared to the rest of Auckland.

          9. There is no railway station near K road.

            After the CRL is built, the logical thing will be to catch the NEX2 and transfer at Aotea station.

            There has to be at least one such commuter — Matt L has written a few rants about the poor transfers between the west and buses from Takapuna.

  8. KLK
    That is a complex question. I would say that the north shore is too large an area for walking and cycling alone to cater for the current congestion and likely future growth. Only the keen would cycle from Orewa. There is a limit to how many more buses can be accomodated. It is not only the bridge. As many past posts on GA have discussed, the real constraint for more buses is the lack of space (road and kerb) in the city to stop them at. Also the bus services are already quite frequent, so it is hard to. See how you will attract a lot more people to them.

    Therefore at some point the city will either need higher traffic capacity or a mass transit link to the north shore. Since the higher traffic capacity would create many adverse amenity impacts in the city, I would far prefer the latter.

    If the north shore land use were changed radically (expanded centres for employment, education and entertainment) so that there was less need to cross from the north shore to the city, and local transport behaviour was less car centric, then it might be possible to avoid any new link. But that is a big change, and would take decades. And the cost of the buildings is actually higher than the cost of the transport.

    1. Some of those entertainment venues have already been built and have proved to be a waste of resources. Albany Stadium is vastly under utilised and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. I have seen a suggestion that this should be bowled for high rise housing given its proximity to the mall and transport links and this seems eminently sensible. Land near to the Albany Station is diminishing with AT’s obsession with building car parks.

      The Bruce Fowler Centre has also been a drain on ratepayers, so as Matt suggests it is better to have the transport links rather than the infrastructure.

      Smales Farm has been a spectacular success of development benefiting by its proximity to a transport hub.

      I wonder what the impact might be for Takapuna if this area had a very good PT connection. Yes the routes are many and the frequency is mostly good, but the lack of bus lanes makes them very susceptible to congestion. It seems that the only plan that AT has it to make this congestion worse.

      1. Yes Takapuna should be the first to get LRT from Wynyard. This would be after Southern Airport Line (Wynyard, Queen St, Dominion Rd LRT line) & NW light rail also.

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