So the Auckland Plan has been adopted and Albany has been confirmed as a “node“, alongside Manukau and Westgate. This begs the question of what we might need to do to Albany, for it to actually fulfil its potential? This job is not made easy by the worst street layout of any major centre in Auckland:

Let’s run through the problems we are trying to fix here:

  • We have a university campus but it’s on the complete opposite side of the centre to our rapid transit station.
  • The centre is separated from the surrounding areas on all three sides by large, high-speed roads, the motorway, Albany Expressway and Oteha Valley Rd. It’s similar how the central motorway junction creates a noose around the city centre.
  • There’s a disconnected street network which concentrates traffic onto a few roads prioritised for vehicle flow, which inevitably are horrible walking environments.
  • The loopy street network layout makes running efficient bus services through the area extremely difficult.
  • The Westfield mall creates a huge barrier in the middle of the whole area, acting as a huge superblock that’s at least half asphalt

I could go on for a while… but let’s look at what the key components of “success” might look like.

  • A high density mixed-use urban form with intense residential, commercial, retail and other activities
  • A high quality, legible and convenient pedestrian environment
  • Easy to access rapid transit for the whole centre
  • Properly integrating the university into the rest of the centre – it should be one of Albany’s greatest strengths
  • A much more fine-grained street network so that traffic isn’t concentrated on a few massive roads and to make it much more direct for people who are walking, cycling or using PT to get around Albany

As you can guess, this is not going to be achieved through a bit of tinkering here and there. We are going to need to think about Albany in a fundamentally different way. We are going to need radical change.

Let’s start with how you might better serve it with rapid transit. Firstly though, the NZTA have already started on the Northern Corridor Improvements Project which includes an extension of the Northern Busway. The busway will travel just past the Albany Busway station before pulling a 180 on a bridge over the motorway and back into the busway station. ATAP also says that bus shoulder lanes will be added to SH1 north of Albany as a 1st decade project.

Longer term, ATAP confirms the plan is to upgrade the busway to Light Rail.

The busway extension (shown in Blue below) will largely lock in place the current situation for rapid transit but that wasn’t an issue, I think broadly you have three options:

  1. Create a branch at the Greville Road interchange, with one branch following the planned Northern Busway extension’s route next to the motorway and the other branch following Albany Expressway and potentially up into the future development around Dairy Flat (Green). This would allow it to serve some of the southern areas of Albany along with the original Albany village.
  2. Redirect the entire corridor through the heart of Albany, possibly underground in parts depending on the route (Red). It could also skirt around the mall. This would have the advantage of allowing a station to serve the southern half of the centre.
  3. Albany is a natural place to terminate some services and we see that already with not all NEX buses travelling on to Silverdale. We could extend the route of those terminating buses slightly and hook them back through the heart of the centre to the University (Purple).

None of these are particularly great options (what did I say about it being hard to fix Albany?) but out of them all, purple is probably the easiest and provides the best links within Albany. As long as the trip is quick and efficient between the University and the busway station, the whole “going north to go south” might not be a huge problem.

Our next problem is fixing the street network. At the northern end of Albany you can see a finer-grained street network is starting to emerge which is positive, but further south the disconnected network is a disaster that will be really really hard to fix. The number of extra connections that would be required is tremendous:

The green connection is a bridge currently under construction by the NZTA. There’s probably some that I’ve missed to the south and also to improve permeability through Massey University’s site. But the general picture is that basically we need to demolish most of Albany and rebuild much of the street network from scratch. Comparing Albany with Parramatta at the same scale really highlights the desperate need for a finer-grained street network:

Ultimately I’m not really sure it would be worth it to go to such extreme lengths to fix Albany. We are looking at massive investment to properly serve it with rapid transit and huge property purchase costs and disruption to build a proper street network. Even then you’re ultimately focusing on a place that still sits at the edge of the Auckland urban area. If Dairy Flat fully builds out, then maybe Albany could start to be something like Parramatta. But the screwed up layout of the whole area makes me sceptical that most of the area will ever be much more than a car dependent sea of carparks. Perhaps at its northern end where there’s more of a street grid and where you’re much closer to the busway station we might get something that properly resembles a high intensity mixed use centre.

But will Albany ever be one of the four most important growth nodes for the entire Auckland region? I won’t hold my breath.

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88 comments

  1. There’s another way to improve connectivity – leave the original roads in place but have a strategy to add a network of pedestrian and cycle lanes where there are not currently roads as development is added. If those lanes can be planned to create the finer network and allow more direct travel for people walking and on bikes then parts of it might be saved. Obviously this would involve council working closely with land owners and developers to get them in the right places and presumably purchasing them for the public good as they are created. I’m thinking the Dutch ring roads around the outside with permeability for people within concept.

    1. My vote is to create an urban spine comprised of a bus only street with cycleways and walkways. This would run on a more or less straight line from Albany station to Massey University. It would skirt the lake, slice across the mall carpark and give access to its.west side, and the cut through the big box strip mall (taking out one of the boxes and regigging the parking in the process).

      NEX buses that currently stop at Albany Station could then run down this urban busway, stopping two or three times before terminating at the university.

      Small lanes and pedestrian paths could then hang laterally off this new spine, creating a fine grained grid within the ring road.

      1. LIke the purple line above, but more direct on a new roadway. Let the cars use the ring road around the outside, and the buses and people cut through the middle.

      2. I think you need to have the ‘ring road’ concept outside at least some existing (newly) walkable residential catchment, such as that surrounding the Bushlands Park Reserve. Hence why I think the Albany Expressway needs to be removed from the arterial road network, and reallocated to other modes. 🙂

      3. I like the idea of a transit corridor from the Albany busway station to the university. Perhaps shared spaces on the Fort street model if any form of cars or delivery vehicles are to be allowed. Pubs, cafes, and university townhouse accommodation. If the the area gets some vibrancy you may entice some of the retail outlets from the mall. Will need covered (basic main street type veranda/awning) walkways back to the mall.

        It is a very long time since I visited Albany, and had forgotten just how bad it is. I am struggling to remember any Australian examples as bad, in its total devotion to automotive sprawl, a couple of US examples come to mind from my experiences.

        1. Irvine, Orange County CA? Especially around UC Irvine.
          Driving through that was a real eye opener.
          How can your 14 lane freeway be congested at 11 am on Sunday?!

          1. Yes Heidi Not only take up less space but if you replaced half of the parking with natural vegetation you would reduce the overal temperature too. The paving would absorb the heat during the day and release it once the sun goes down.

          2. Yes, and of course the road runoff! I wonder who’s downstream of their stormwater network. Imagine the one day of rain in October that they have, on average, after 5 full months of no rain. Would anything survive in the waterways with all those chemicals?

  2. The extraordinary thing about Albany, especially considering it was designed from a blank start, is how it fails in every single way; it’s completely appalling to try to access by driving too! Those circular roads set up such a terrible and inflexible pattern. Someone was trying to plan a mini Canberra, as far as I can tell, complete with a blocking lake, and as matt observes, very hard to fix… so rigid, it does the reverse of what makes for thriving new urban places; enabling incremental organic growth at a variety of scales, natural and intuitive connectivity, ands great access. And some surprise, delight, irrationality…

    Such a clumsy and bullying pattern. And it hasn’t attracted development at anything like the rate it should have… Of course neither did Manukau City for decades either, and will Westgate?

    We just have to accept our current processes for city making on greenfields peri-urban sites, both public and private, are really poor.

    I suspect that this has to do with suburban habits and regulations built into our systems, because mostly what has been developed since the middle of last century has been monotonal dormitory single house sprawl. These centres are i guess what you get when sprawlistas try to build something urban….?

    To retro-fix connectivity to the Rapid Transit Station, especially the Uni? Probably a high frequency shuttle, perhaps arcing round to also connect to the coming Rosedale station too, so people can jump on it in either direction to connect to either station as suits, depending on their direction of travel or whichever is closest…?

    1. Yes, the PT access issue is a major one, and the idea of a shuttle connecting Albany and Rosedale via the town centre (if that’s what you can call it) and University is a good one. Interesting to note that Matt’s other suggestion, extending the NEX to the University, was the original operating pattern IIRC for every second service terminating at Albany. Back to the future?

      1. Ask Lee Beattie from the Planning Dept at University of Auckland, I know from studying there that he worked on it. He admitted at the time that they got things wrong, at least in respect of allowing big box in what was supposed to be a more fine grained urban centre

        1. They should have made it fine grained, urban, and central then.

          Albany is edge sprawl, the very opposite of those things.

    1. Just change “Memory” to “Albany”. Most of the lyrics are just fine as they are. I particularly like:

      Midnight not a sound from the pavement… Every streetlamp seems to beat A fatalistic warning… I must wait for the sunrise, I must think of a new life, And I mustn’t give in.

      🙂

  3. There needs to be more public transport along the Albany highway route with the four schools (and uni). Also more options for getting to the industrial areas by PT. It’s so car centric. Horrible place to get to.

  4. Except Patrick Manukau is built to the traditional street grid with large grass medians making eventual retrofitting extremely easy to do. A Light Rail Line here, a pedestrian mall here, a cycle boulevard here and a pile of hotels over here and seems we are on our way after 30 years of dormancy.

      1. Didn’t the former Manukau council keep throwing money at it to try and turn it into something it will never be? The real question is when will they give up on it!

      2. Already have since the Panuku Transform Manukau or rather now Our Manukau Framework Plan went live in 2016/7.

        Some improvements:
        1) Manukau Bus Station and Putney Way
        2 Barrowcliffe Place
        3) Lakewood Plaza with Lakewood Court under consenting
        4) TSI Social Initiatives including a Co Design like Lab to be established
        5) The Southern Airport Line – Manukau to Airport section is due for shovels in the ground end of the year
        6) New civic building next to the existing one while Kotoku House might end up as a hotel
        7) Manukau Plaza Saturday Markets and activation
        8) Another hotel being built next to the Vodafone Events Centre

        8 improvements for the Manukau area with plenty more to come

  5. Good luck rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s a fools errand. Demolish it all and start again. And do it right this time. ie, the opposite of everything that was done there originally.

  6. That green alignment wouldn’t be much longer than the motorway alignment to get to Silverdale and would cross over the CENTRE of Dairy Flat.

    I think it would be a more useful alignment for the light rail upgrade. It would be more expensive, though. South-of-the-bridge types could actually walk right into a North-Shore town centre… (petty crime!)

    Perhaps the eastern half should be left to the motorway that provides its most convenient access? And buses, of course.

    1. A ring road of roundabouts?
      Perhaps the road designer derives an unwholesome enjoyment from roundabouts and lives nearby.
      Millwater has a ring road of roundabouts too.

          1. Make the central loop a big roundabout too and try and take the biggest roundabout title from the basin.

  7. Each road-circled “block” of land north of the lake seem purpose designed for one or two big box retailers with an associated sea of carparks. An almost dystopian urban landscape built purely for ugly, souless, US style big box commercial activity only accessible via car.

    An ocean of Mtire 10s, Bunnings, Pak ‘n’ Saves, Noel Lemmings, K Marts, and Rebel Sports selling to aspirational suburban middle New Zealand. Sounds like an alternative ideological vision for the future completely at odds with the purpose of this site, and hence why the whole place is regarded as a complete disaster from a more enlightened perspective

  8. Having lived in Bushland Park Drive shortly after arriving in Auckland, I can say from personal experience that the Albany Expressway creates an incredible severance.

    If we can underground 100m of the expressway (probably not), we should create underpasses aplenty. Northern Rata Place, Bush Rd and several by the uni would be a good start. Your next challenge would be to integrate the village with the development, underpasses for Oteha Valley Rd?

    Fixing Don McKinnon would be an interesting challenge.

    I personally don’t like underpasses very much. They tend to be small and claustrophobic and make great places for criminals to hang out. None of those issues are unresolvable, but all resolutions carry cost. The question is do we want to have big, open and well lit underpasses or cheaper ugly bridges? Neither addresses the issue of the above-ground road destroying the livability of the area…

  9. The Albany Heights area is a disaster as well. There is not even a pedestrian connection with the Dairy Flat Highway, people walk on the narrow shoulder to get down to the shopping area. Thre is a bus connection, but it is not frequent. It is totally car dependent and is stuffed full of people whose measure of success seems to be the largeness and shinyness of their black SUV.

  10. Good post Matt. Albany is the absolute pits with the University and four separate shopping nodes which are not easily accessible other than driving between them. Its a nightmare for walkers. The mind boggles as to how this comparatively recent design could be so bad.
    But teenage girls (and sometimes boys) like parading in the Mall oblivious to the planning nightmare the whole Albany area is……………………not sure what the answer is.

  11. I spent time here growing up, and too much time working in it in the last 18 months on a contract. It has barely changed in the last ~17 years I’ve been around the area beyond the mall and a strip mall opening and the poorly placed bus station. To be honest I don’t know why we even talk about Albany – it’s a dead lemon, no one wants anything to do with it. Compare the amount of business here vs between rosedale and constellation (on both sides of the motorway) and I wonder what the thinking is – the market has kind of spoken on this front.

    The inner loopy loops need to be straightened, the roundabouts removed, the density needs to explode and proper rapid bus links to all of it (including the business area in Corinthian drive).

    The park and ride needs to be rebuilt as intensive living and working.

    The suburbs around it need to be intensified also.

    But none of these things are going to happen – the whole node concept is bullshit, it’s at best going to be another low rise business park/warehouse area, as seen around constellation.

  12. “the screwed up layout of the whole area makes me sceptical that most of the area will ever be much more than a car dependent sea of carparks”
    You won’t remove car dependence by adding more roads.
    I agree with Simon, make most if not all of your wanted links pedestrian / cycle plazas. Start with connecting the rapid transit station with the mall as that seems to be something bugging people, and then onto the university campus.
    Yes the shopping strip between Pak’n’Save and Massey’s Albany campus is a major block but if you are looking for a pedestrian/cycle access way rather than a road connection a much easier fix. With the loss at most of one store or a few metres off two adjoining stores while leaving the roof line intact.
    Add in safe points to cross in and out of the triangle and a shared cycle scheme for those arriving in the area by public transport.
    If the area is to become anything like Parramatta then mixed used must be encouraged. Having large areas dedicated to only one use, whether that be homes or shops, is not how towns have developed over the centuries. Why do we not have more mixed use developments? Retail, office and residental in our town centres.

  13. All those red arrows you’ve drawn only need to be cycling and walking connections. Property purchase for cycling and walking alleys wouldn’t be that expensive. If you look at AT’s desired permeability for each mode:

    https://i.imgur.com/6JRBkP1.png

    there’s no problem with lack of permeability for the cars. In fact, Albany needs less permeability for the cars. Rather than bowl the place as some are suggesting, I think it can be resurrected.

    The big radical change required is the removal of the Albany Expressway from the arterial road network. What you need to do to make the area work is have massive mode shift away from cars. Cars on this road need to be local, only, and have no connection to the motorway. So the Albany Expressway needs to be converted into suitable infrastructure for an urban area, with bus lanes, cycle lanes and footpaths, and frequent pedestrian crossings.

    If further development is happening along the Dairy Flat Highway, that needs to be connected through the Albany Expressway to town only with public transport. If you allow those extra cars through here, yes, you might as well bowl the place.

    1. +1.

      My Auckland office is along Oteha Valley Rd. That whole walk down (the back street) from the terminus is easy even in peak times because traffic is currently so light, but the area is bleak, the pedestrian facilities de minimus, and the whole area fallow ground and clearly transitional. Oddly/naturally (pick one), Shore locals in our office all drive to work, and it is the tiny number of us who commute from over the bridge that use PT.

      The whole area is pretty walkable, really, except there are few direct routes and, as the area intensifies, the empty streets back towards the Westfield will no doubt fill up enough to become meaningful barriers (at which point people will drive from work to the mall instead of walking).

      The lake is nice but an un-intuitive navigational feature (walking to the Westfield from the North for the first time, I aimed for the middle and hoped for a crossing, since the gradient meant you couldn’t actually see what was there).

      Given the plan of having a Skybus run from the Westfield you’d hope for some integration of the route/termini arrangements, especially for services running anywhere but south. It feels disjointed, even though Westfield would be no less convenient for me that the Albany terminus, as I am unlikely to join my two trips in any single sortie…

  14. The purpose of these ‘nodes’ is to promote sprawl. Sprawl people love these awful places with wide roads and zero possibility of walking anywhere – hence the design in the first place. So leave it as is and spend the money elsewhere where it will create something worthwhile.

    1. Well, I think there’s an advantage to keeping one example in existence for students to study how not to develop an area, and this is a good one for that. As long as we can repair all the others… 🙂

  15. My wife and I are in and out of Albany all the time. So we see the stuff up that it is from the comfort of our car. It’ll be way too expensive to reroute roads, and move the park n ride. Needs lots of dual purpose footpaths/cycleways,(red arrows) and over bridges to link the University. God knows what they can do with the expressway.

  16. Ok, so let’s say we can change it by pouring a lot of money into it. But to what end? Why not invest in places that actually have a hope of urban revival? There’s a lot of other centres that would work much better. Manukau, Takapuna, New Lynn, even Henderson. All those places already have some city fabric, much better than this monster set firmly around retail.

    1. I think the council are wanting the satellite cities concept to appease the NIMBYs. Your examples are probably not satellite enough. Albany is quite a good choice as it is bound to fail.

      1. The key thing here is parking. You can’t have a successful satellite centre if you provide surface parking. City fabric is effectively (IMHO) incompatible with those large areas of parking. That parking makes it very unpleasant to walk (or cycle) around. Car-scale is not human-scale. Imagine trying to provide that sort of parking in the CBD or even Newmarket? That’s a suburban mall (or two in fact). Westgate will fail for exactly the same reason – single purpose, only can get there by car, huge areas of surface parking, not designed for humans to be around.

        1. Exactly. And while these places are the epitome of this parking-induced problem, there’s also a push to provide more parking in other less car-dependent locations. AT needs to tackle this one head-on, with a major education campaign. Same old thing.

          1. This is all sounding astonishingly like Porirua (except on our tiny scale) – check out the giant roofs (big box retail) and sea of parking right on our harbourfront, and you can zoom into the plethora of car-centric infra in our “city centre” that cuts us further away from the water, and makes it an horrible driving experience PLUS a truly hideous person experience.
            https://goo.gl/maps/vYKZbi9NBGu
            They’re doing their best in many ways, but @Ari ‘s comment “demolish it all and start again” would really help us here too. A little bijou tsunami-ette, which didn’t kill anyone but knocked out all the big box… Oh that’s right, whoops, we flogged off all the waterfront years ago…

            And we’re going to try to Do Nodes because Transmission Gully will Open Up our hinterlands… Yet the council has just decided not to do any strategic purchasing which might (?) help get better urban form around said greenfields nodes.

            And yet, we keep hearing so much about bloody Britomart and Wynyard and their general overachieving awesomeness as places that it’s actually nice to be reminded of AK’s own terrible suburbs. Ahhh, schadenfreude…

          2. We’re Doing Nodes. Chuckle. I hadn’t thought about why they are called nodes. But of course! We’re creating standing waves. The maximum amplitude of the waves happens at the anti-nodes, in this case, the greenfields developments, where the little metal boxes have maximum velocity in the lovely free-flow conditions. Where the waves stand still, at the nodes, congestion means the velocity drops all the way to zero.

            Obviously people who like the maximum velocity in their metal boxes realise, deep down, that they only achieve this out at the greenfields anti-nodes, thus in their minds Greenfields is good. Minimum velocity in all that bad congestion happens in the urban nodes, thus in their minds Urban is bad. Hence how they plan, and regulate, and campaign…

  17. A local LRT circuit would match the scattering of destinations that could be serviced – massey campus, albany high, village, stadium, mall, potential apartments, pinehill, busway.
    Given the terrain, roads and land use, a lot of it could be elevated, e.g. passing over Albany highway and back to access campus & Albany High, and over SH1 to access Pinehill.
    This has some similarities to Bukit Panjang, which has similar circuitous road layout, a lake and was severed by highways, railway line, canal and defence land.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukit_Panjang_LRT_line
    https://goo.gl/maps/ogpuUsLzy2x

    1. I always thought an extremely frequent LRT circuit would be a good idea for Auckland City. Loop it around Symonds street and Queen street, then have the various bus routes connect to it at various points instead of travelling into the city. Would eliminate all the diesel fumes etc from the city and make it much more obvious how to catch PT.

      1. AT seems to think transit is for getting ‘near enough’ to your job – terminals all over the city that don’t connect( and once you’re int he city then you can walk the 30 minutes from end to end). Peripheral termination and an internal city LRT circuit would allow much better connectivity from outside and within the city.

      2. Why would forcing every bus passenger to first catch a quick LRT trip make it ‘more obvious’ how to catch PT? Someone who has already needed two bus trips to get to the CBD would have an extra pointless transfer just before their destination. There would be a massive amount of unnecessary transferring going on?

        1. Because at the moment you need to know which of the hundreds of locations to catch the bus from. Instead just jump on the LRT and get off when it tells you to.

        2. Also it is only a pointless transfer if your current bus happens to go where you want (mine doesn’t) and happens to able to drive through the city at and kind of speed (mine doesn’t). If the LRT is say every one minute, I’d much prefer to transfer.

          1. I’d say the majority of people on buses in the CBD don’t transfer, for those that need to there is still the option. For many people this would actually be an inferior journey as they would have to transfer and go part way around a loop rather than on a straight line bus route. They won’t be fast transfers either as it will be an entire bus emptying onto and LRV.

            I can’t think of any city that does what you propose with LR and buses, which is telling.

          2. Jimbo, I think you have a valid concern. Many people have to transfer. But it could be possibly solved if the network map was simpler than it is in the cbd. With just a few major routes, and any bus on that route being possible to take for the cbd transfer, I think the required transfers can happen without too much stress. Simplifications might include putting any Victoria St buses onto Wellesley St, removing Greys Ave as a route, etc.

            Your idea is also a possibility, and honestly, if they don’t replace the diesel buses with EVs as a matter of priority, I think it’s probably the better option.

      3. True. It is quite a walk from one end of the city to the other. Melbourne inner city tram routes are used for that purpose (intra-city) and they are very popular.

  18. You need to know some history to make sense of Albany. The centre for the North Shore was supposed to be by the Northcote interchange. That is one of the reasons the National Roads Board chose the current motorway alignment. But the Takapuna shopkeepers got freaked out about their property values so they got themselves elected to the Takapuna City Council with Fred Thomas as their leader. Their main goal was to stop the new centre and as an alternative they zoned Albany on the basis it was so far away that probably nobody would ever build it. The loop formed part of the District Scheme as loops were the fashion way back then. (Beware of ever thinking you know all the answers, you only know what is fashionable right now.) The motorway was pushed through before any development occurred.
    The Council spend years trying to get anyone to take Albany seriously. Even a certain Mr Tindall was heard to say “who would build a store with only half a catchment” But after 20 years or so the mega centre opened complete with ‘Tindalls’ as its anchor. The loop was built and the roundabouts were put in on the basis that there were no pedestrians so signals could be put in later if there were ever pedestrians. (The dude who designed the roundabouts also designed signals for each intersection.) Then Northridge was build by Neils and the Westfield Mall (now Scentre) followed. The Council, bless them figured a dirty pond in the middle would ignite activity, they also figured a bus station made sense beside the motorway rather than by any activity.
    The issue now is because it is all trading really well, AT will never be able to build additional roads or links unless they are underground. They simply don’t have enough money to take land through the Public Works Act given how valuable this land now is. As for the idea that developers will allow the Council to dictate a pedestrian or cycle route through the middle of a high trading mall, well that is laughable.
    So this is why Albany truly is the last gasp of the 1970’s. It was the alternative nobody wanted and was zoned to stop a better centre ever being built. The only reason was to try and prop up the poorly located Takapuna centre for a few more years. The site that Fred Thomas stopped being a centre is now a golf course called AF Thomas Park.

    1. Ah good. That’s all ok then. 🙂 Certainly has me thinking that everyone’s efforts would be more usefully employed elsewhere. There’s enough push required in places like Takapuna, New Lynn, Pt Chev to improve the urban form. Trying to improve Albany against the usual sea of car dependency is a road to burnout.

      1. Yes they could spend a small fortune on Takapuna instead and implement a whole bunch of planning restrictions elsewhere to try and benefit Takapuna… oh hang they tried that and it was a failure.

      1. The short answer is because Auckland didn’t want to go there. Albany was meant to be a campus for the University of Auckland. When I was at Auckland in the 80’s the Calendar even mentioned the non-existent Albany campus in the University rules. They decided they didn’t want a second campus, and then when they decided they did after all, they had to use the Uni sports fields at Glen Innes. Massey wanted to bust out of just Palmerston North and now they have more students in Albany and Wellington than in Palmy.
        The Dairy Flat Highway is the mess that it is because it was owned by Transit NZ as SH1. They made sure there were no footpaths or crossings or frontage development. Once they handed it over to the local government it looked like it does.

      2. Perhaps another example of the north shore’s insistence on being separate but equal to ‘Auckland’. Like the stadium, theatre and various other white elephants that they decided they needed to have because there was already one on the other side of the harbour.

    2. By saying it has “only half a catchment” a you referring to the geological barriers that surround it on three sides?

      Examples:

      >1.5 km thick “Albany Heights” to the N and NW.

      Lucas Creek Estuary to W

      The escarpment behind the Uni campus and across Bush Rd to the SW.

      Then the human terrains of the Greville Rd Garbage Mountain and Rosedale Lakes to the South.

      Finally motorway severance to the East then ~1 km of upsloping ground to the East Coast Bays Rd ridge line.

      Can a certain golf course become a town centre development again?

      1. Yeah Miffy mentioned that golf course above.

        Now we have a quite baffling situation with that golf course taking up half the walk-up catchment of Smales Farm, blocking access to it from further away.

        The “North Shore events centre” is in an equally baffling position just behind the golf course, quite close to Smales Farm yet more than a 20 minute walk away. And unreachable via any public transport.

  19. A quick fix without doing a major spend up: Why not run every 2nd or 3rd NEX bus or something on a dog leg along a bus priority road & intersections around the west of the whole area from the Albany station along SH29/Oteha Valley Rd to Albany Expressway back onto the busway/motorway. Improve walk & cycle access inwards with some direct and straighter lines in some areas. If you look from this ring route just about every major destination is within about 400-500m including the University, the Albany Village itself, the stadium, the southern area. 400m is nothing if the walking is good.

    The new network N6 will run into the University every 15mins most of the time, this won’t be needed for example.

    The Albany busway bridge planned could probably slink a northern connection to SH29 seems to have room. A proper busway connection at the Albany Expressway would be need too I guess. It would come out pretty close to the newly planned Rosedale Rd Station. The thing is you could run this setup now before the Northern Corridor project is finished. Problem is the horse has already bolted with the design changes.

    1. Now I see this is a bit like several ideas combined. The purple line idea of Matt’s, Nick R’s more direct route & Patrick’s shuttle but go around the outer road. Agree take out one box shop for access in from a University bus stop. The advantage is you get quite near the Albany Village too.

      You could just terminate I guess at the University as a first cut. Proper upgrade to connect to busway & Rosedale Station from the expressway.

  20. Density – particularly the northern part – would make a big difference and drive some key changes. That’s the best chance.

    North of the reserve has what looks like the makings of an OK street pattern. Really go hard out on density here with terraced housing and 3-5 level apartments, with the streets and new laneways targeted at walking and cycling. Commercial and residential uses in a new mini compact suburb. All of that would be in a relatively short walk/cycle to the bus station but done right, would be self-sufficient for the residents.

    The spine running from the station through to the university would be a gamechanger. As proposed by Nick R, a transit corridor (no private cars) meaning the new residents would be linked up to the main attractions of the area, further reducing car dependency. Everyone would be within a relatively short walk/cycle of…everything.

    Finally, also as proposed, re-route/terminate some NEX buses through the new corridor, with stops at the University, Mall, reserve, the northern residents and the station. Would compliment walking and cycling (for those who cannot, when there is inclement weather, carrying packages from the mall, etc).

    On event nights at QBE, buses could be rerouted round the back on the Albany Highway.

  21. Who designed it and how did they envisage it working?
    Swindon and perhaps lose thee buildings?
    Another alternative is to have buses linking the NEX to the local area.
    Is it possible to turn it into a local bus service that could expand to service the area that will grow around it.

  22. Here’s recent figures from AT that graphically show perhaps how difficult it is to access Albany Station.

    These are figures for boardings and alightings:

    Akoranga 2200
    (remember it’s in the middle of nowhere and if a connector bus runs from here it does not show on the AT Trip Planner, but does the other way. Adjacent Rosmini

    Takapuna 5500
    (all Takapuna stops, many residential and business walk ups?)

    Smales Farm 6800
    (many bus connections, no park and ride, lots of commercial development, adjacent Westlake Boys and Girls

    Albany 7300
    Next door to the Shore’s biggest mall, Albany Stadium and a huge park and ride

  23. What you have all missed is there are cycle/shared paths all around Albany ,Albany Express way has one from the bottom of Greville rd to Colliseum Dr a crossing the takes you to the Uni or you can keep going north and join the Albany Bike Highway to Rosedale rd ,or from the corner of Mercair Way theres a shared path that take you to Corinthian Dr ,up behind Northridge and the Courts down to Don Mc Kinnon Dr ,at the moment they are building a bridge over the motorway for a new water main which is having a shared path on it which will join to Spencer rd .This bridge makes a short walking/ cycle connection from Pine Hill/Oteha to the Albany mall, Northridge ,Mega Centre,Uni. The Oteha/Pine Hill area is a very dense housing with apartments,terrece and stand alone homes it is the way all of Auckland needs to be .the only thing that is missing are signs to let people know that the cycleways/shared paths are there.Oteha Valley rd needs a cycle lane from East Coast rd to Albany Highway so people can use active transport to get to the bus station ,Mall ,Stadium,Uni or North Harbour Industral park .Albany is a large area which is growing fast with a mix of terraces, apartments and stand alone homes (good land use ) the area around the malls is not car only ,give it a little time and Albany will be a well connected liveable area, why try to fix something before its finished ?

    1. Have they done something to link these paths since this article, Marty? https://i.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-shore-times/95575965/lack-of-links-deter-cyclists-from-aucklands-albany-highway-cycleway

      What streetview shows is paths that have to cross over a slip lane, then a signal – probably phased for traffic flow – then another slip lane. Eg https://www.google.com/maps/@-36.7332637,174.7081554,3a,75y,198.5h,82.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sWuxIKlRY_4HpUBfA6pnxZw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

      That’s infrastructure that kills cyclists. And keeps others from using it, in their cars.

      1. Never had a problem with the slip lanes at Mercari way there are good sight lines, the island have plenty of room to wait for the crossing ,if there’s heavy traffic they can’t speed through the slip lanes .There has been changes,they have started to mark cycle lanes on Oteha Valley rd from the Bus station to Warnboet lane ,only 800m to mark to join it to the Albany highway cycle way heading west.They have remarked the cycle lane east from Mills lane to the motorway on ramp ,now that slip lane is a killer as cars heading to the motorway get up to 80ks+from the round about at Munroe lane, we’ll take what we can get, as theres no money in the pot at AT for cycling on the Shore north of Takapuna for the next 10 years .As I said if they put some signage up letting people know theres safe shared paths more would use them and maybe some Look for Bikes at ALL slip lanes would help.

  24. 15 min Link Bus-style connection to Northcross, Massey, Park n’ Ride, Mall, Big-Box retailers and the Stadium.

  25. I agree with others that there are many problems in Albany that will require many solutions. As first steps, replace empty bits of car park with town housing, in enough numbers to establish some local life.

    Also while this place needs to become walkable, it is still too big. Try using some new technology for a local shuttle bus to connect up bits of Albany. There is a reliable autonomous one now in service in Lyon (15 seater) and on trial in Adelaide (also in a spread out uni campus) as well. They are not that dear and work fine in a low speed environment on a fixed circuit.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/driverless-electric-shuttles-now-operating-in-lyon-france/

  26. I present to you the ideal solution:
    – do nothing
    – declare Albany and all points north independent of Auckland
    – elect Cameron Brewer, George Wood and Wayne Walker to run it
    – give them Seymour as their local MP
    – give Stephen Berry a job as their transport supremo
    – leave them to it

    1. No the ideal solution was North Shore City. We only got Wayne because the stupid super city lumped Albany with Orewa and the larger population in Orewa elect Wayne. FFS I live closer to the CBD than I do to Orewa.
      Also when you look at what is in Albany you very quickly see that for better or worse North shore achieved far more in their time than Auckland Council and their bastard spawn AT have ever managed.

        1. Three shopping centres and a university with adequate parking, some roads and footpaths, a bus station and a park and ride and a stadium. Under the ground they got sewers, stormwater and water supply. Auckland Council couldn’t have done any of that.

          1. Do they have separated sewers throughout the NS, miffy? That would have to be one of the biggest disappointments of Auckland for me. Growing up swimming in poo but knowing that they would separate all the sewers eventually, it was just taking time. And then they stopped because it’s too expensive. That’s what kills me when people ask for cost-cutting. There’s only so long we can put things off before it gets canned altogether and our expectations have to take a dive.

            But the NS if so car dependent, miffy. In terms of transport, you wouldn’t say it’s a success, would you?

          2. Separate sewers Heidi. They even sold our airport shares to upgrade the Rosedale plant and add capacity for years. Then those pricks took it over at amalgamation and now they are are building a major trunk sewer to bring West Auckland’s crap over to here while charging north shore people a 2nd time to connect if they subdivide.

  27. I live in Albany & I agree that it wasn’t well designed from the get-go. I think it will be too expensive & too politically controversial to fix up the road grid. Nonetheless I feel hopeful about Albany in the future. Good things are happening, and the gaps in the landscape are starting to be filled with business. The main thing I want to see addressed is to make Albany more walkable and bikeable. If me & my kids can get around without being squashed then we are doing alright.

    Another Parramatta though? I don’t think so.

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