Death and taxes are said to be the only certainties of life but when it comes to cities, especially growing ones, perhaps it’s that they’re never finished. There’s always more that could be done to improve our transport networks. If by magic our 30-year list of transport projects were suddenly completed tomorrow, we’d come up with another 30-years’ worth of projects by the following day.
Following Auckland Transport’s disastrous draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) earlier this year, AT have gone back to the drawing board and also taken into account ATAP and the draft Government Policy Statement. This is now being consulted on.
The RLTP lists all projects that are proposed to be funded by Auckland Transport, the NZTA and Kiwirail. It was this section in the earlier draft where we found the budget didn’t match text of the document. This version contains over $10 billion in capital spending for Auckland Transport related projects. There is more again for the NZTA and Kiwirail.
However, what you don’t build is often just as important as what you do build, and the document also contains more than $6 billion in projects that are currently unfunded. Many of the items on the list are quite interesting, giving an insight to some of the things Auckland Transport have been thinking about. Here are some of ones that stood out to me. Also note, all of the costs are indicative only and the accuracy would likely vary based on how advanced work on the various projects has been.
There is a huge list of unfunded PT projects totalling almost $2 billion across 40 projects. Many help address some of the issues that have niggled users for years, but being unfunded means they’ll continue to do so for many years to come.
Projects vary in size from very small at around 1 million, to quite large. The biggest comes in at $423 million for a second phase to the roll out of more bus priority – the funded programme includes $215 million for Phase 1. Other large projects include extending the planned Airport to Puhinui busway all the way to Botany, other bus infrastructure improvements, money for an as yet undefined ferry strategy and some improvements to the Northern Busway.
But it’s some of the smaller projects that are the most interesting. Some include
- $2m for northbound access to Akoranga busway station from Esmonde Rd – an issue I highlighted the other day.
- $39m for a bus only bridge over the Pakuranga Creek – perhaps this from La Trobe St to Hope Farm Ave like I suggested here.
- $31m for improved signalling on our trains
- $3m to open up access from the Newmarket Train station to Broadway and moving bus stops outside – this has been on the cards since the station opened again in 2010.
- $3m for an underpass at the borthern end of the Parnell Station.
The list of unfunded PT projects is below.
In addition to the dedicated PT section, there are a number PT related projects in some of the other categories. This includes
- $21m for a Browns Bay ferry terminal which is a local board priority
- $66m for investigation and route protection work for a number of RTN scale corridors – Described as Henderson to Albany/Constellation, Panmure to Ellerslie Mass Transit, New Lynn – Onehunga – Sylvia Park, Onewa/Glenfield Road and high priority projects planned for implementation beyond 2028.
- $66m to upgrade Quay Street to provide enhanced pedestrian environment and reliable bus infrastructure
- $23m for Victoria St linear park streetscapes, which they say is in support of bus improvements
While not strictly a PT project, there’s also another $424 million for rail level crossing safety improvements and grade separation. This is on top of $185 million for road crossings and $20 million for pedestrian crossings in the funded programme for it.
Outside of what’s be listed above, most of the remaining unfunded projects are road corridor projects and many of these are in greenfield areas to enable more housing in those areas – although they also contain some PT projects, such as new stations between Papakura and Pukekohe. I won’t show all projects on the list as it’s a long list and broken down by area but below are the ‘other’ projects which are more about supporting growth within the existing urban area.
There are a couple of interesting ones here.
- $175m for upgrades to Takapuna but lists as part of that is to implement new bus stations and an Upper Shoal Bay bridge – this is expected to be a new bridge from Barry’s Point Rd to either Northcroft St or Byron St and would likely be used by buses.
- $12m to upgrade intersections around the St Lukes Mall, how much is the mall’s owner paying towards this?
And these other corridor projects
- The Albany Highway section would include the intersection with Upper Harbour Dr which is in a desperate need of an upgrade (as someone who rides my bike through it)
- Why would we need to widen Whangaparaoa Rd if we’re building Penlink?
One final project in the unfunded list sits under local board projects and is $94m for the Te Whau Pathway.
I plan to cover the RLTP in more detail, including what is being funded, in a separate post later.