The government’s announcement last week that they have launched a procurement process for light-rail suggests that things are going to move pretty fast over the coming months. One of the interesting parts of this process will be so see exactly what route the two proposed light-rail lines (City-Airport and Northwest) take. All the maps released in the past few weeks have been at a very conceptual level:

Looking at the ATAP document in a bit more detail, we get some clues about route alignment – but also a suggestion that further work will be done before some sections (particularly between Mt Roskill and the Airport) are locked in:

Auckland Transport and NZ Transport Agency board decisions in early 2017 confirmed the long-term mode for the Airport to City Corridor as light rail. Finalisation of exact timing, alignment and technical specifications will occur as design work progresses.

Investigation and design work on the Mt Roskill to City section of the route is the most advanced. Ongoing growth in public transport demand means this section of light rail should be progressed as quickly as possible.

Investigation and design for the Mt Roskill to Airport section is less advanced. The route is currently planned to follow State Highway 20 and State Highway 20A but is yet to be confirmed. It will be important for the next stages of investigation and planning to find the best balance between travel times, support for growth and urban development opportunities, and cost. Some sections of this route overlap with an existing rail designation, requiring careful design to ensure both forms of rail can be accommodated.

For the northwest there’s no particular discussion about the route, other than a mention that its delivery could be staged over time.

Of course, these projects have not emerged from nowhere and Auckland Transport has done a lot of detailed investigation into both corridors over the past few years. For the City to Airport corridor alone there has been a Strategic Assessment, a Programme Business Case (which was peer reviewed), a Bus Reference Case (informed by a Stage Timing Model), an Indicative Business Case and an Advanced Bus Study. All this work means that we have a reasonable idea of what the route between the city and the Airport might be:

ATAP suggests that the section between Wynyard Quarter and Mt Roskill is pretty locked in, but south of Mt Roskill there are a lot of options. These were considered as part of earlier business case work, although I wonder whether some elements of particular routes may have been hastily discarded in choosing Option 2 as the preferred route. For example, the section of the yellow route between Mangere Bridge and State Highway 20 in the map below may have merit, even if the alignment south of there would obviously be far too slow:

Within the Airport itself, the proposed alignment dips under the proposed northern runway (in the same tunnel as the road) before travelling along John Goulter Drive and Manu Tapu Drive before it ends literally right at the  terminal (remembering that the Airport’s master plan proposes to integrate the international and domestic terminals into one).

Shifting to the northwest, we know a bit less about alignment details as obviously until recently most of the planning of this route was based on the assumption it would be a busway rather than light-rail. This change probably makes the most difference at the city end, with the light-rail corridor presumably going to link into the City-Airport route around Upper Queen Street. For the rest of the route, I imagine the there won’t be massive change, which generally means it will probably look similar to what was proposed for the busway:

Between Westgate and the City Centre there are really three main sections, and the proposal was quite different for each:

  • A busway on the southern side of the motorway between Westgate and Te Atatu
  • Bus shoulder lanes (which already exist, although with significant issues) between Te Atatu and Pt Chevalier
  • A busway on the northern side of the motorway between Te Atatu and Newton Road

Bizarrely, Auckland Transport’s analysis effectively ended at Newton Road (which probably explains why they thought a busway would be OK) so it’s not clear at all what route buses would have taken from there into the city.

The move to light-rail will probably mean the most change for the causeway section, although in theory the space currently occupied by the bus shoulder lanes could be used by light rail (which may require all the motorway lanes to be jiggled around a bit, but no great drama). If the next steps of the project’s design keep the Westgate-Te Atatu section on a different side of the motorway to the City-Pt Chevalier section then the transition points will be an interesting engineering and design challenge.

Finally, I wonder whether the next phase of design will take another look at whether there are enough stations along the route, only having one station between Lincoln and Westgate seems a bit lean. Otherwise the stations look like they’re in fairly logical locations and could enable some great development opportunities along the route, particularly around Pt Chevalier/Unitec, Te Atatu, Lincoln Road and Western Springs (where the Council owned Chamberlain Park golf course sits right next to the planned station).

It will be fascinating to see more information emerge on this over the coming months.

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121 comments

  1. Light rail along the NWM must involve reallocating traffic lanes, or the traffic that has been induced by the motorway throughout the isthmus won’t drop, long term. Shoulders are shoulders, should never have been used for bus lanes, and shouldn’t be used for LR.

    1. I agree. Perhaps from before Lincoln Rd onwards, where the lanes are already widened I think, run elevated if necessary & I would mean less property purchase so I presume would be cheaper to build. This leaves money for something else or better connections to the stations. It would also give better catchment to both sides along the way.

      1. I doubt you’d save any money, probably quite the opposite. Building elevated transit is usually still a lot more expensive than purchasing properties to build at ground level, and building elevated stations can be extremely expensive.

        It will cost about $50m a km to buy a row of houses down one side. Elevated running way would be closer to $500m a km.

        1. OK thanks for that, I guess ground level in the middle could still work but perhaps the stations would either be a dog or expensive above etc.

        2. But Nick, the light rail will provide a route for people currently in cars on the motorway. And in an enormously more space-efficient way. So why wouldn’t they reallocate a lane of traffic for it, as is happening on Dominion Rd? We don’t need elevation, and we don’t need to tithe even more of our city to the transport system by widening the road corridor.

          Failing to do so will keep the parts of the isthmus that have recently become congested due to recent motorway building, permanently so.

  2. Royal Road would be a candidate for a station; It would basically lock in the ‘up the middle’ approach but that’s no bad thing for my mind.

    I’m more concerned about the City end. If it is as direct as the busway, so be it. We have to remember that this has to be faster than sitting in traffic from Westgate to the CBD, so a meandering womble through the inner Western Suburbs will compromise that.

  3. There haws been a lot of comment that these areas could be served more cheaply by upgrading heavy rail for PT to Helensville. Was that looked at at any stage?

    1. Upgrading the existing rail line has been looked at but the problem remains that to get from Kumeu to town is about 11km (almost 50%) longer on the existing rail network than via the SH16 route, on which something is needed anyway to serve communities like Westgate, Massey and Te Atatu.
      Also, the information available suggests most people from the northwest who leave the area are going to the city or North Shore, very few go to places along the Western line

      1. Obviously there’s no forward planning going on here, as the SH16 commuter belt is to have a standard gauge tram line over the first half of the route (Auckland-Kumeu) and narrow gauge heavy rail over the second half (Kumeu-Helensville). If a new rail route is to be built along this corridor, it should be heavy rail so as to be compatible with the soon-to-be-upgraded existing mass transit line from Kumeu to Helensville. At the city end you join into the network around Morningside and capitalise on the CRL. Instead future generations will be changing rail vehicles at Kumeu where the track gauge changes. It almost reads as a bad joke.

        1. There are no current plans to upgrade the line for passenger services. There is also little growth planned for Helensville to support a train service.
          Yes the NW could be heavy rail but it would be much more expensive. It’s also not going to be able to run through the CRL as we’ll need all the CRLs capacity to increase frequencies in the existing lines so you’re talking about needing another route through the city. Would be an exciting prospect but not something we’re likely to be able to afford anytime soon

          1. I would be very happy just to have existing HR to Kumeu with a passenger service. With CRL then journey time should be about the same as it is now Swanson to Britomart – and there appears to be no shortage of pax prepared to do that commute. Just perfect for a few of those IPEMU or interim a few of the DMUs shuttling to Swanson or Henderson
            Anything has to be way way better than existing sh16 morning crawl that buses also get mired in.
            I can see the LRT out to mt Roskill getting sorted in the next few years but feel somewhat sceptical that there will be airport or NW LRT within 10 years.
            Perhaps with the new private funding possibities AC and govt could take more interest in the PT they will actually own, such as HR. Its also interesting to read that LRT routes should not use up to existing KR Avondale-southdown route. Perhaps that HR route will be linked to the Northport development.

          2. Follow NW motorway into town, transfer at K’Rd CRL station, then follow SH1 to Wynyard and North shore.

          3. Bogle – I don’t see why you are doubtful that the LR project will be complete in 10 years. The National government stated they would build the Waikato Expressway by 2020 and it is rapidly closing in on completion. If a government is committed to a project there is no reason it can’t be delivered.

          4. Maybe I’m too pessimistic but I would really like to see the six year LRT build AND HR passenger services to Kumeu.

          5. “There are no current plans to upgrade the line for passenger services. There is also little growth planned for Helensville to support a train service”

            Within a period of four years you yourself have gone from expressing that very same view about Kumeu, to supporting a multi-billion dollar LR line to Kumeu. Change can come swiftly, and it would be silly to claim that there will be no demand for rail beyond Kumeu at any future point. This is about forward planning, and to construct an incompatible rail line at a cost of $3b is frankly, stupid. GA already wants LR alongside HR from Kumeu to Waimauku does it not? Triple track in an area you just said has little demand!

            The line is to be upgraded for passenger service in the near future. The current ban on passenger trains on the NAL is set to end within the next 12 months or so.

            A second CRL is not needed. The CRL being built now will have ample capacity for new lines. Read the business case, it was approved with the addition of Airport and North Shore trains in mind.

            HR or LR would be similar cost-wise. It’s not a hilly route with the exception of Royal Rd, but that’s a minor thing when we are talking about a $3b project.

    2. No, the existing rail line is far too indirect and slow. Build a new, direct rail link to modern standards of alignment and speed.

  4. I would love to see the City-Airport line going through Mt Albert Road as it has much bigger catchment than the motorway. Also, I am not sure whether the number of stations between the City and Pt Chev is sufficient. Perhaps there should be one more right next to Ponsonby and another one between Bond St and Western Springs? It will add some time to the total travelling time but would again increase the catchment area.

  5. The Northwest route should link to the Whenuapai Plan Change area and on to Hobsonville. Whenuapai will have 14000 households by 2046 and Hobsonville (+south and point areas) around 12000 households.

    1. Yes, and those developments should be being designed now for good cycling and walking routes to it, with circuitous slower car routes.

          1. I havent seen that feeder network? And I go there everyday.
            The main road serving the area, Hobsonville road, is definitely not a road suitable for cycling in present state. To the contrary, its a road where there is every obstabcle in the way incl. sliplanes.

            Only thing that has been added are buses going to a deserted small busstop west of the old Westgate centre. Great thinking. Lets bus people of Northwest to a deserted double busstop 300 metre west of old Westgate shopping centre (a truly horrific car-Armageddon here about 50% of the shops are now closed). We are West Auckland and our network is for West Auckland. Not for the people of the new supercity Auckland and we can only think of whats best for our old silo. AT in Henderson have really thought long and hard here.

            Most normal managers calls this siloism.
            Whats sad, there were two alternatives for the main transport node, Constellation or Westgate. Presently going to the CBD through Constellation is about ten minutes quicker in rushhour. Thats despite the route being far from ideal and adding a nice little turnaround in Greenhithe on the way there.
            Arriving at Constellation has added benefits, the Northern Busway consistently see express-buses. You will never wait for more than 3 minutes. Whats not to like (keeping in mind that most people go either to the shore or the CBD).

            However, the brains at Auckland Transport was stuck in West Auckland thinking and came to the conclusion that it would be beneficial to bus people to Westgate. Westgate sees no dedicated buslanes to the CBD (time spent in traffic on the NW depends on how bold the driver is with the shoulder buslanes). Add on that buses dont feed expressbuses at Westgate, instead the 112 arrive 3 minutes after the expressbus is due to leave for the city. Awesome just relax and wait 12 minutes. Great service, high frequency…

            So just no. There are no bicycle lanes. The feeder network (112 and 114) was theoretically thought up by people that havent set foot in the area or looked at the traffic patterns. result is public transport desert.

        1. We (Bike AKL) are already working with NZTA and AT on the cycling feeder networks, and I believe NZTA will go out for some early public consultation in a few months. Overall, we are pretty confident riding to PT stations – and even riding long-distance, if you are a roadie, or e-biker – will be catered for pretty well.

          The key will be to make sure that local roads around the arterial bikeways like this get consistent bikeways, not just piecemeal / on one side etc…

          https://twitter.com/MaxRobitzsch/status/991863063497199616

          1. Actually, the key messages from the various articles posted here about places that work for cycling in northern european places are:

            -for any cycling network to work, you have to have a low enough traffic volume.
            -a new suburb should be designed so that it is more convenient and at least as safe to travel by public or active transport modes as it is by car.

            Is the permeability by foot twice as good as it is by bike, and is that twice as good as it is by bus, and is that twice as good as by car?

            Same old plus other modes added in will still add traffic to the city, reducing safety and degrading the environment. GA is rightly concerned about increasing travel choice. But the GPS asks for more than that. It asks for a step change. And these greenfields developments, unless they are actually making the car inconvenient, aren’t doing that.

  6. The two options that make use of the existing Mangere Bridge would surely save a few million instead of constructing a new harbour crossing?

    1. Yes, you’d think that the memory of the saga of the building of the current Mangere Bridge might stir them along to re-use rather than build anew.

      1. average…. The Mangere motorway bridge is two separate bridges side by side which differ in construction by 40 yrs. Very different methods used as well for the structure, the latest was mostly precast

        1. Thanks Duker – yes, I know. We used to travel along the “old” (flat) bridge with a Bailey bridge in the middle, looking up at the “new” bridge getting built next door – and it took years and years, due to the industrial action taken in the middle of the build. Then, as you say, the new new bridge was built next to it. My point is, that any politician would be very cautious about basing a new public transit system on the provision of any new bridge. From past experience, it would seem highly likely that it would end in disaster.

          1. There is also no alternative. A new crossing is needed for any train over the harbour.

    2. Thats a bit moot because the exiting mangere bridge can’t even carry cars let alone anything else. Unless you mean the motorway bridge, that is unsuitable for light rail due to grades and curves.

      It’s a new bridge designed for rail regardless, just a question of the best alignment.

      1. The structure of the SH20 bridge can be used. I’ve been told a specific variation was issued to the contract by NZTA when it was built specifically to allow two rail lines under the bridge.

        The New Old Mangere Bridge is still the best alignment for light rail as it brings the route right into the middle of both the port and Mangere Bridge township.

        Another aspect is also to keep the height under this new bridge sufficient to allow boating activity to access the upper harbour. The NOMB alignment is probably best for this.

          1. You are correct to say that was a disastrously poor provision on the Mangere Bridge. A single track rail line 700+ metres long would only allow about 5 or 6 trains per hour. Plus the reverse curves ar epoor for rail operations. And the higher the speed, the lower the frequency. This was a waste of money. It would have been better to turn the extra space on the bridge into a protected cycleway.

          2. Sock puppet . 1983 Motorway bridge has existing cycleway under the lanes on port side. No one used it as the cyclists preferred low level bridge

  7. Surely the NW light rail will travel along the motorway alignment and join the Dominion Road Line at Newton, rather than meander through the inner western suburbs? This would avoid the need for a very complex and expensive underground junction at K Road, which seems impractical. If the preference is to use Great North Road to Pt Chev then this may lead to LR using Pitt St, Greys Ave and Mayoral Drive and effectively joining the Dom Rd line at Aotea. Much easier and faster surely to branch at Newton and use the motorway alignment on the southern side for the entire route.

    1. Perhaps the Light Rail could come up Queen St, enter into an underpass below Karangahape Road, and then proceed to Dominion Road on a bridge over the Motorway? That way every single person stuck in traffic on the Spaghetti Junction Clusterfuck could look up and see Light Rail vehicles gaily sailing overhead with no congestion.

  8. Not much point in a station at Bond Street. Eden Park has a major event once in a while but other than that it will just add delay to every service for very little gain.

    1. Yeah probably won’t be particularly busy, but I think still worthwhile. Plenty of people live in Arch Hill, including a lot of new apartments, plus quite a few workplaces. There was also plans for a crosstown frequent bus there once upon a time, linking to Ponsonby and Three lamps.

      1. The cross town bus could link the LR to the HR, too. Meaning if you come from Westgate, you could go to Newmarket or Papakura, etc.

        1. Yes, although for those examples you’d be more likely to change at K Road directly to the HR lines.

          But to get to Kingsland, Mt Eden or perhaps a little further to Epsom, the crosstown bus link at Bond Street would be the best way.

          1. Having me understand the network around here has been a slow and probably frustrating process. Nick, thanks for your patience. Yes, of course the LR will connect to the HR at K Rd faster than a connector bus between Bond St LR and Morningside HR. I got there! 🙂

  9. I see merit in the NW line using Albert St rather than Queen St. This would allow both routes to run at higher frequencies without greatly over loading either street

    1. For resiliency, we probably need a light rail circuit that enables either route to use either Queen St or another street such as Albert St. We could call it the LRC. 🙂

      For future-proofing, the LRC could consider reallocating some of the SH1, in anticipation of going over the harbour bridge.

      To meet all the priorities of the GPS, motorway reallocation is required. This is a value-for-money approach that creates traffic evaporation, with associated benefits for access, safety and environment. In other words, it meets all the priorities of the GPS, and not doing so will cost us more at every step of the way.

      1. It’s also the kind of political suicide that would see us lumped with a National government for another nine years.

        1. Yes, it’s ok to depress kids at school about climate change, loss of biodiversity and plastic oceans. And how much did we spend on propaganda about travel time savings for big roading projects? But a proper public education campaign about why we can’t build ourselves out of congestion – and why the best thing for Aucklanders’ safety and lifestyle is now road contraction – that’s never considered. And we wonder why the public vote why they do.

        2. The important message to consistently and constantly repeat is that roads DO NOT reduce traffic.

          Society in NZ has that bias. We can not fix transport in Auckland by more roads.

          Traffic is ONLY reduce by increasing it’s efficiency. ie buses and trains.

          Buses and trains are only effectively built as public transport.

          Very simple logic.

    2. re NW to Albert – Yes I’ve gone on about this a few times, but think it could be both.

      One route up onto Ian McKinnon (faster & more connected line) & another could leave it’s fast motorway corridor section & link at Newton St or something to K’Rd, Pitt St, Vincent & onto Albert terminate bottom Albert.

      If that is too hard and mucks up cycleway/buses through K’rd & on Pitts St then via Ponsonby Rd & Hopetoun St

  10. Because it has until recently been seen as a future project (next decade or later) the NW route has so far only been discussed at a very high level. My understanding based on briefings over the last few years is that the NW route would be on the northern side of SH16 as far as Point Chevalier (that town centre is on the North side as is the bulk of its walk-up catchment) then transition somehow (probably through the middle of the Waterview interchange where it would be easiest to pass under the motorway) to the South side. However, there has been no detail at all around the CBD end (where would it start and how would it join the motorway corridor?). Truly astonishing that although numerous options were considered, the recently completed widening of SH16 from Saint Lukes to Te Atatu made zero provision for any kind of PT.

    1. Yes, it is truly astonishing. Note the engineer in charge of traffic modelling argued against the need for a buslane in the BOI, on the grounds that it only needed to meet the requirements of a QTN, Due to the induced traffic that his modelling doesn’t properly include, the traffic flow along there means the bus route does not meet the requirements of a QTN. He was wrong on both counts.

    2. I’d like to see it tie into K’Road station somehow to give connectivity to southern line, western line and CBD

      1. Assume it’ll use common stop with Dom Rd / Airport line under K Rd, with connectivity to K Rd (CRL) Station provided by walking the length of Cross St (fairly level)…

        1. Sounds logical. I would also like to see the LRT works somehow resolve the North-western cycleway debacle at Carrington Road but that might be a stretch

          1. I think we should expect that to be fixed. If not through the LR, then for the Unitec development.

  11. Successful urban villages & dense mixed-use centers cannot be co-located with a motorway.
    Therefore I believe a Light Rail line along the NW motorway would do very little to create new development opportunities along that route.

    The benefit is in connecting Whenuapai, Kumeu/Huapai, Redhills and Hobsonville/Scott Poin together with a great local transit system (LR)..it could be amazing and really help to intensify those emerging centres. Then, a connection could be made via westgate to the CBD/CRL, though probably an express bus would be OK for that?.

    1. I think you make a good point that it may be harder to build density around some of the stations on the northwestern eg Lincoln Road and Western Springs come to mind. Hopefully there will be some rezoning around the stations and some density can be built at other stations with some creativity and the feeder bus services can be super efficient.

    2. I disagree. It might not be ideal but it is possible. Newmarket, Ellerslie, Pt Chevalier are examples that show decent centres aren’t automatically disasters due to being next to the motorway.

      1. Ah, but what these places could be if it weren’t for the motorways! Pt Chevalier has a 71% wealth leakage, for example (or at least it did at the figures I was given) because the town centre lost its connectivity to the south. Where they work, it’s because of their proximity to town. I suspect AK Sam is right and the NW villages will never quite work because of the motorways. They’ll be dormitory suburbs.

        1. I guess we can always be hopeful- in Tat Pen there are plans for 55 and 90 apartments developments – would be great if these developers also considered how to make it more than just a dormitory but included other aspects of a village in their plans

          1. What’s been interesting is that the Cohaus development have a waiting list. The commercial developers need to get into better design for people with cohousing and so on, like they do in Northern Europe. In fact, when we hosted their designers at our meeting last week, we had the biggest turnout in 10 years by a long shot. There is a huge demand for better lifestyle options than what we’re being offered.

  12. The only problem I see with the airport line is that it goes across to Dominion Road. Manukau Road has more scope to connect with places people want to go to that are not already well served by buses.

    1. Dominion Road is needed for different reasons – if they ever expanded the network to Manukau Road it could be a good hook-up to the airport but there are a lot more people in the Mt Eden/Roskill catchment and will be growing much faster due to the AUP.

  13. I hope they consider future proofing the airport terminus for a possible future connection through to Puhinui. Whilst it’s probably outside the foreseeable future, there is still a possibility that the busway might need to be upgraded to light rail.

  14. Fascinating stuff. Yes will be interesting to see how this develops so the greatest efficiency for time are achieved but also to get as big a catchment as possible. Also where’s the best location for stations and what connections to leave in and leave out? Would be nice to have an easy way to get to the airport from out west, also to take in Pt Chev, Western Springs park/ stadium, Eden Park, Ponsonby.

  15. “great development opportunities along the route, particularly around Pt Chevalier/Unitec, Te Atatu, Lincoln Road and Western Springs (where the Council owned Chamberlain Park golf course sits right next to the planned station).”

    That would require climbing over a lot of dead bodies, using green space/golf course for development.
    Where is the increased development around existing train stations like Mt Albert, Morningside ,Kingsland etc.

    1. Pt Chev has 250 apartments in the planning stage, in 4 developments that I know of. This one is advertising already: http://themeraki.co.nz/ In addition to a big strip along GNR that will become medium rise apartments, there’s a good chunk of Pt Chev that will because super-sized sausages in the THAB zone.

  16. The article you guys linked to regarding the “significant issues” on bus lanes between Pt Chev and Te Atatu is no longer an issue. The alignment of the lanes was already reviewed by NZTA and changed accordingly, there is no longer any queuing in the bus lane there since mid-late last year.

    However the significant issues with the NW (especially on causeway) that still remain are:

    – Enforcement
    – Drivers swerving in to try and block the bus (on purpose) – seen this 3 or 4 times
    – Off-ramps/on-ramps bus lane cut-off is too soon, if bus drivers illegally continue down the red asphalt sections then it works well but… most of them don’t meaning the cars on the outside line that the bus just past, generally pass by again unless the motorway is completely stationary – giving only the impression of priority to passengers (I tested this in a car vs the 125X, I was behind the bus at Te Atatu, it proceeded to use the bus lanes (and got ahead quite a bit for a while), and then i passed it again around St Lukes – during heavy traffic at around 08:00 in the morning).

  17. Who’s going to use this wonderful new transport system if there’s going to be chaos like there is in Wellington this morning?

    1. Wellington has a “wonderful new transport system”? News to me …

      Assuming you’re referring to the Stuff article about canned buses: not a new issue, happens semi-regularly on my route (just doesn’t make the news).
      Combination of:
      – Old knackered rubbish that breaks down.
      – Drivers using up their holidays.
      – Company that doesn’t give a monkeys because they’ve got 2 months ’til they lose most of their routes.

      Fail to see why this has any relevance to proposed new light rail in Auckland.

    2. Who’s going to use this wonderful new motorway system if there’s going to be chaos like there is in Auckland every morning?

      1. There’s only so many strikes and breakdowns that commuters can suffer.
        Expect to see more strikes with the unions feeling empowered with a Labour (and their mates) government.

        1. “There’s only so many strikes and breakdowns that commuters can suffer.”

          If that happens, regular car commuters are going to be pissed off when all those displaced PT passengers try to drive, making the morning chaos even more chaotic.

          Almost like you want PT to fail, thinking you’ll get your motoring paradise, but may be you haven’t thought it through …

        2. I’m hoping there’s only so much exposure of National’s atrocious record on road safety that National voters can handle before switching parties or demanding a wholesale change in policy.

  18. Based on my anecdotal experience whilst commuting in this area, I’d say that is correct. SH18 traffic has grown considerably.

  19. And, from an engineer mate that worked on that project, the only bit of future proofing for rail was upgraded foundations.(,to carry 1 track as per your notes).

  20. Yes the Pt Chev / Unitec area sure does look tricky combined with the Waterview Interchange engineering tangle, cycleways & natural water areas etc. Quite limited land on the Pt Chev side which would be an ideal bus interchange area but has school playing field there or limited shopping area with parking.

    Unitec side esp with it’s new development would perhaps be the better station & interchange area but makes it less ideal for Pt Chev.

    Perhaps swapping sides after Pt Chev at a Western Springs stop with bus interchange where the Caltex is would help somewhat.

    Would be tempting for the planner to end up with a slow putty line along Gt Nth Rd. In saying that maybe a solution is having a short section of it, about 2.5kms, along Gt Nth Rd from Pt Chev to Western Springs (stops at both) then back to a motorway corridor alignment.

    1. We’re going to end up with the Winston Peters Memorial Grey Lynn Tiki Tour Service (free for Gold Card Holders) instead of a functioning mass transit option, aren’t we.

      1. Hopefully not. Another option is one big stop/interchange between the two in the Chamberlain Park Golf Course combined with development & good cycling/walking & bus links to it from all around. Just makes cross routes a bit unlikely or too much of dog leg I would think.

    2. Believe it or not this has been assessed, evaluated and planned for the line. The plans cover station locations, walk and cycle catchments and bus network connectivity, and impacts on other routes and modes. It also covers regeneration and development potential.

          1. Nick, is it possible to invite one such excellent person to visit the Pt Chevalier Placemaking Group and advise on “station locations, walk and cycle catchments and bus network connectivity, and impacts on other routes and modes”?

          2. ahhhh of course, been waiting for that. It was specifically busway though isn’t it? Anyway I’m sure the people working on it know what they are doing 😉 Just like to throw ideas just in the chance they hadn’t been considered but could be good.

          3. That would be up to AT, not said person. Never fear, Auckland Transport/NZTA will do full consultation on this in due course. It’s a live project and while a lot of work has been done, it’s not completely finished.

          4. Thanks, Nick, you said all I thought you could say. The local board funds placemaking but AT/AC don’t provide the information we need to achieve it. We have pulled together research from the last couple of decades, and mapped current concerns and needs. I don’t believe AT has a handle on this information, but we can’t feed that in until it suits them. By which stage it’ll be too late to suggest anything really fundamental.

            I guess our hard work will just produce more paper to pile up on the already existing pile of ignored reports that document the continued trashing-by-traffic of Pt Chevalier.

    1. Brilliant. That looks too organised to be a April 1st joke. When we get too congested at the next level, I guess we can always go one higher again. 🙂 I like the “Low Fares for Passengers” feature. You should probably send it to Stephen Berry. Ha!

      1. The people that came up with this concept failed to consider the fact that you need a lift at every single stop for disabled passengers and that would make the land take requirements rather more onerous as well as the cost rather more expensive…
        There is a good reason nobody is interested in it but it is rather funny how serious the people behind it seem to be.

  21. I had heard recently that the RSA apartment development on GNR, which incorporates properties next to the motorway, is in limbo. Anyone know if this is because of property negotiations for LR?

  22. The only alternative to a bridge over the harbour is a tunnel under.
    PT could share the central interceptor sewer tunnel, similarly to what was done in KL.

  23. Why would you use light rail instead of normal rail? You could reuse the AT rail fleet, asset management processes and engineering are already in place. Even setting up the rail is a well known process. Seems like a lot of long term cost with no added value.

    1. Why would you use heavy rail instead of light rail on this route?

      HR would be massively more expensive – would need to be tunneled. Why have all the constraints of the legacy heavy rail network when there is going to be no CRL capacity for more lines? Would need a new depot etc anyway…

      In terms of heavy rail development, better to put effort into track amplification (triple/quad) for freight & regional passenger.

    2. You can’t reuse the AT rail fleet, because that fleet is busy running the existing lines. Two new lines means new fleet, new stabling etc regardless. Given there is no really opportunity to run anything new into the CRL or elswhere on the network, the new lines will also be new and separate lines regardless. You might as well use the cheaper, purpose designed urban rapid transit rail systems that are custom designed for the task.

      You call it normal rail, but is it normal for suburban passenger transit? It’s a system set up for freight primarily, which has vastly different characteristics. Freight specifications isn’t normal for moving people around suburbs and cities.

      The main problem is heavy rail has much more limited grade and curvature, which makes it much more expensive to retrofit to a city. LRT can go up grades three times as steep, which is very important in our corridors. It means the LRT can be at ground level with a few short underpasses or overbridges, while HR needs to be mostly in tunnel.

      At the end of the day it’s up to ten times cheaper to do this with LRT (about $100m a km at ground level vs. $1b a km for tunnels and underground stations).

      A case in point. THe CRL is costing about $3b for 3km tunneled downtown. The Wynyard to airport line is costing about the same for 28km, *including* practically the same route through downtown with practically the same capacity and speed.

  24. I think that from Pt Chev westbound the line (assuming a station at the back of the shops) could go down along Great North, under the motorway and than right, where current cycleway is. The few issues here would be – a lot of lights to cross (Carrington Rd, motorway on-off ramps) and the relatively narrow width under the motorway overbridge.
    There are multiple other pinch points – between Rosebank and Patiki and between Whau river and Te Atatu Rd. I’ll be interesting to see which option is chosen.
    I wonder if any though was given to running the LR in the middle of the motorway, with 2 level interchanges (similar to proposed Rosedale Rd bus station).

  25. If I am reading the NW light rail map right, it appears there is no concept of a station to serve the Rosebank Road peninsula. What, are we too smelly for public transport?

    1. Bearing in mind the distance of the top of the Rosebank peninsula from Te Atatu Rd I would expect the interchange there to serve Rosebank environs. Most likely via feeder buses.

      1. I hope you’re right about that Pshem. It would seem crazy to have such a service so nearby and not be able to access it.

      2. Yes that’s it, a station out at the tip of the peninsula by the motorway would have a tiny walkinging catchment of a handful of industrial facilities, so it would be a bus interchange station regardless… but Te Atatu interchange station would be only 1500m away (a minute or two by bus), and will provide better connection options to other places too.

        Look at the new network route 138, that bus runs the length of the peninsula to Te Atatu, the trick would be to simply make that frequent.

  26. I am disappointed that once again the proponents of these options are inaccurately representing the existing infrastructure. The heavy rail does not stop at Swanson. It goes right through both Huapai and Kumeu and on to Helensville and then the far north.

    That does not mean that there are not issues like a small tunnel and stations to deal with.
    But like the last time this was looked at and the cost of rolling stock was a major impediment, While there was rolling stock sitting in plastic bags in Taumaranui that had had about 92 Million spent on it before mothballing.

    Why would you build a light rail to Kumeu when it already has a heavy rail.

  27. A few reasons:
    1. The HR route from Kumeu, even after the CRL is long and relatively slow. Proposed route is much faster and more direct.
    2. The Waitakere tunnel would have to be day-lighted in order to allow passenger services through (due H&S reason – there’s no way to evacuate the train if it stopped in the tunnel).
    3. Now with electrification to Pukekohe the diesels (including workshop, maintenance crews etc) will be gone, keeping them only for the shuttle would be expensive (currently it’s expensive for the Pukekohe shuttle).

    1. 4. Just like the SW light rail is mostly not about the airport, the NW light rail is mostly not about Kumeu …

  28. Mike Lee gains his own lobby group to push heavy rail for the airport (with other causes promised): https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/104412552/Auckland-light-rail-would-be-one-of-the-slowest-public-transport-airport-links-in-the-world

    “Paul Miller, of the Auckland Airport Smart Transport Group, said our biggest city has a “horrendous history” of short sighted transport projects, and light rail was not a “rapid” solution.

    The Auckland Airport Smart Transport Group was a group of concerned citizens, local politicians and transport experts, from across the political spectrum, Miller said. Auckland councillor Mike Lee helped the group come together, he said.”

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