Improving access to the wider airport area has quickly become one of the most important pieces of work in Auckland for the coming decade. But there is not just one project to improve access but a number of overlapping and interlocking projects that have been pulled into what is called the Southwest Gateway Programme
Yesterday Auckland Transport and the NZTA launched the first, of what is bound to be many rounds, of public feedback about some of the elements that make up the Programme and there are three separate and overlapping projects within it.
- Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (A2B) – will see a rapid transit route built between those two locations via Manukau.
- 20Connect – is about improving the state highways in the area, but that includes providing PT facilities
- Auckland Airport Precinct Improvements – will make the changes needed within the airport area to support improved transport.
These are shown below.
The programme also highlights how much we’ll need these projects thanks to all the growth that’s coming.
The first stage of the A2B project, due by 2020/21, will see a new bus/rail interchange built at Puhinui along with new frequent services to connect to it and bus priority measures on SH20B, Puhinui and Lambie Dr.. We highlighted the concept for the new Puhinui Station a few weeks ago but this new artistic impression has now been added to ATs website.
A second stage, for delivery after 2021, would see those airport services given a dedicated corridor. AT are already confirming that between Botany and Manukau that rapid transit will use the most logical route by going down Te Irirangi Dr. What they’re asking for feedback on are the sections from Manukau to Puhinui and from Puhinui to the Airport.
Manukau to Puhinui
From Puhinui to the route would use Puhinui Rd and then Lambie Dr at which point it would either they are suggesting two possibly routes.
- Ronwood Ave – This would go across the top of the city centre and therefore be shorter (cheaper) and faster for those coming from east of Manukau. It wouldn’t even miss all that many bus connections from those that use the Manukau Station as most travel north of the station to Ronwood anyway.
- Manukau Station Rd – this would enable services to stop in at the Manukau Train and bus stations but would be longer and therefore slower for those coming from east of Manukau, making it harder to effect significant mode shift.
This one is quite tricky as there are strong pro’s and con’s for either option
Puhinui to Airport
Again there are two options for this but the most desired outcome is much more clear-cut. The routes suggested are
- SH20B – Straight along SH20b to the airport
- SH20/20A – That the rapid transit would follow SH20 up to Mangere and then turn down SH20A to the airport. This idea is absurd, especially as Light Rail is already intended to serve Mangere Town Centre. The vast majority of potential users aren’t going to want take a 5km to detour for no apparent reason.
The various options are shown in this map.
I think it’s also good that AT show the line potentially extending past Botany as that would allow for more people to access the services.
AT’s website even includes a basic artist impression showing a centre running busway with double articulated buses – which would be much better for those coming from the airport with luggage, as opposed to double deckers.
As part of changes to the state highway network, the NZTA are asking about their long term proposals and the proposals. The NZTA say they’re considering:
- extra lanes on SH20 to support rapid transit to the airport and demand from the Western Ring Route
- new ramp connecting SH20A to SH20 (southbound) to free up local roads and improve freight efficiency (potential effect on Bader Drive)
- new ramps between SH20B and SH20 to provide a direct connection
- SH20B widening – motorway or urban expressway with high occupancy or dynamic lanes to support Puhinui growth.
I guess at least they show the busway alongside the state highway, and it’s cool that they’re using Streetmix for it.
The busway additions are good but the ramps would effectively create two new major interchanges, mini versions of the Waterview ramps.
Along with the data online, AT and the NZTA are organising eight public events. Check out the pages for more detail