The largest of the three new greenfield growth areas on the edge of Auckland is to the south and most of that will occur around Drury – both to the east and the west of the Southern Motorway. This has long been signalled in key planning documents, right back to the 2012 Auckland Plan.

We have long argued that planning documents have recently placed too much emphasis on greenfield growth, especially given data in more recent times that clearly shows the public want to live in areas close to employment and rapid transit. However, at least with growth in the south there’s a railway line running right through the heart of the area that, unlike the Western Line, is a direct link to the north and the rest of the Auckland urban area. With electrification to Pukekohe, new stations south of Papakura and extra tracks on the Southern Line to support express trains, it’s easy to see how the broader Drury area is a great opportunity for Auckland to finally deliver a best-practice transit-oriented development.

This is recognised in the subsequent planning that has occurred in the Drury area. The 2016 “Supporting Growth” transport network in the south highlights the opportunity for two well-placed train stations to serve the urban areas to the east and west of the Southern Motorway:

With strong supporting bus services, these two stations can form the heart of how this area grows – and hopefully mean it avoids the car dependency that generally occurs in parts of Auckland a long way from the city centre. Given how congested the Southern Motorway already is, getting as much future travel growth as possible onto the rail system will be essential.

The next step in the planning process for Drury took place late last year, through consultation on a proposed structure plan for the area. The Plan generally seems to make sense, although (and you’ll start to see some of the implications of this soon), it seems to “hedge its bets” on what happens in the Drury west area – both in terms of the rail station location and also in terms of locating the main centre for this area.

You’ll notice there are two potential new centres identified (D and E) and a correspondingly a range along the rail corridor in which the train station could be located.

Looking through some of the feedback on the structure plan, you can start to see why the document might have hedged its bets on these two key issues. In particular, there’s a series of lengthy and near identical submissions from a group of landowners who want the station pushed much further east – so that it’s close to the motorway interchange and also to their land.

Here’s a relevant excerpt from these submissions:

With a further new station proposed to be located at Paerata (further towards Pukekohe) and another on the eastern side of the Southern Motorway (to serve the largest centre for the area), ultimately a choice needs to be made around whether the Drury West train station will be located in the middle of the wider future urban area (location E) or on the eastern edge of this area (location D).

At both a high-level and detailed level, the answer seems to be a no-brainer. Locating the station at point E means that it sits at the heart of the wider Drury West area – and is likely to generate much more ridership over time and do a far better job at serving the travel needs of this part of Auckland. Furthermore, when you zoom right into this area, it becomes increasingly obviously that location D will struggle to deliver the best practice transit-oriented development long-planned for this part of Auckland for a couple of reasons:

  1. Notice all of the green lines and surrounding blue to the south of the rail line, that’s a number of waterways and floodplains that can’t be developed and will likely become part of the public space network. This significantly eats into the walkable catchment of location D
  2. Option D is also on the other side of SH22 and the long term plan is to 4-lane the road. Having your train station disconnected from your centre by a busy state highway that feeds directly into a motorway interchange is a surefire way to help reduce the walkability and therefore use of the station.
  3. With the Drury East station location likely to be just east of the motorway, a station serving option D would be very close and not ideal for providing a rapid transit service. Auckland already has far too many closely spaced stations which help to slow services down
  4. More recent “Supporting Growth” consultation clearly identified location E as preferred with the debate focused around whether to provide one or two major North/South corridors to support it.

Strangely though, we have heard that Auckland Council has started leaning towards preferring “location D” for the Drury West train station. Council staff seem to have been persuaded by the various landowners in this area that I feel is a poor outcome. They seem to believe it is more important to achieve a quick result to serve the first stages of the development than what is best for the long term growth of the area.

If this is true, then it is pretty worrying. Not only from an outcomes perspective – as clearly locating the station in the middle of the urban area away from a major flood plain is such a no brainer – but also in terms of process. Years and year of work, through all the Supporting Growth transport planning, has been based on locating a train station in the heart of the broader Drury West area. As per business case requirements, this has been challenged and tested a number of times. To dramatically change the approach at the last minute – to something clearly worse  – is very worrying.

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  1. My suggestion if the landowners who will benefit by Option D, get their way, then they are made to pay as part of their consent conditions, for a temporary, simple, but functional station to be built there [e.g. two side platforms either side of the lines. To service the initial growth for say the next 5-10 years or so. Thats of course if AC is determined to allow their land to be developed first.

    But its allowed only on the understanding that the final location of the station will be near or at location E and so location D is a stop gap option to prime the pump to ensure it all starts off as a TOD and keeps on that way. And every resident who buys property/houses there needs to understand that eventually their local train station will move west.

    Because if we don’t do anything to cater for this initial rush, then the result will be a PT disaster and yet more lanes of road needed to shuttle the residents to/from the motorways – while the rail lines basically sit idle as far as new residents are concerned.

    1. Pukekohe electrification will probably take a few years to build anyway. So in the short term just run good feeder buses to Papakura station.

      In the long run centre D and its surrounding area will probably be best served by feeder bus to Drury East station anyway.

    2. You’ll never move a station like that. Not only does that require paying out of someone’s budget to build a new station, and paying again to remove the old one… you’ll also be up against the encumbrance of all the existing users screaming in your face at every consultation meeting to not take their station away. It’s all well and good to say that every resident who buys needs to understand it will move… but that never happens. (I’ve been at public consultation meetings where people have yelled in my face that we weren’t consulting the public). Unless you put a lein against every title sold, and even then it would be paper thin and challenged immediately.

      At best you would end up with both stations.

      Put the station in the right place to start with for the long term. If some people are a bit put out in the short term then so be it, that’s better than the majority of residents being eternally put out for ever.

      1. Well the developers of the adjacent land pay for the temporary one.

        It needn’t be a gold plated platform either. As long as its got shelter, platforms to the required standard, tag on/off readers, disabled access etc. In the bigger scheme of things for the developers, thats actually chicken feed and likely going be less than their RMA lawyers bills will be if they want to argue it through the legal system.

        They don’t agree to pay? Well simple – there is no station then.

        The permanent station is planned for like any other station will be, paid for out of rates and developer contributions. Built to a high standard and as a result of this, in a location that suits the future residents not the developers.

        Its not a binary “one or the other”, it *can* be both. If we choose to do it that way. We make the future, not a bunch of developers.

        But its built only if the first mover developers want to pay for it, to have the obvious benefit of having the ability to market their sites as having good transport options at the door.

        If they do not want to pay for it, then no bother, why cater for their needs over others if they won’t contribute? It can be done via a targeted rate for 10 years paid for by the residents.
        Knowing that when the station goes away for good the special rate they’re paying stops,

        As for the public demanding the location D station remain if built?

        Well its easy to deal with. Simply have clear signage at the station from the day it opens saying this station will close for good on 31/12/2028 or whatever date is determined. That way everyone who uses the station will see in their face everyday and know that the clock is ticking down on this. Better yet, have a count down clock on the platforms showing the days left until closure and trains stop calling.

        No one can then argue that “they didn’t know” – that is unless they never use the station. In which case then what are they losing by it moving to its final home – nothing except the notion they might use it one day – having never used before then?

        And once the trains stop calling, they can then easily re-purpose the facility into a bus terminal. So that those who are used to going there still have transit options, even if not their preferred trains.

        1. Haven’t we seen that patronage is much lower when there’s lower security that the service will continue? I imagine the temporary nature of a station would be one major factor against people making a lifestyle switch to PT on moving to a new house.

        2. Just had a thought… do a bus shuttle specifically. Start it in Paerata and time it so that it connects with the Pukekohe shuttle trains at Papakura. That way people will get used to not just the PT option but also the timing of it (making it a shuttle would also mean that the bus could go along Sutton Road on those… hopefully still rare… days where the cars are backed up along the Great South Road from Drury to Papakura).

  2. ‘However, at least with growth in the south there’s a railway line running right through the heart of the area that, unlike the Western Line, is a direct link to the north and the rest of the Auckland urban area’
    Are you saying here that a parallel cannot be drawn here with the greenfield development around Kumeu Haupai Riverhead? The Western line is somehow sub par when it comes to connectivity with the rest of Auckland? Therefore, those pushing to have rail PT out there are not deserving GA support because it’s largely a greenfield development.
    Despite there being a rail line right through the development area?

    1. I think the point is that the railway line in the Northwest has a very slow and indirect route to much of the urban area whereas the southern line goes straight there and is therefore pretty time competitive with the motorway.

      1. That becomes less and less of an issue as SH16 gets more and more congested – that’s already happening, before you dump another few thousand houses in at Westgate and then even more beyond that.

        The fact the Northern Line is currently neglected should not be reason to continue neglecting it, even at today’s level of development.

        1. Any investment in the rail line between Swanson and Kumeu for passenger reasons will likely go to waste.

          Even if LR doesn’t reach Kumeu for decades, a NW rapid transit line that reaches Westgate (or even quality bus priority) will likely undercut demand for the heavy rail option. A bus connection to Westgate LR would likely give a quick trip for many commuters.

          I’m not sure the future population of Kumeu will justify investment in two rapid transit corridors.

        2. LR out west is never going to happen and I really doubt it will happen in Auckland anyway. It’s one of Phil Twyfords throw away lines. And Kumeu area is growing fast slowly making its way toward Westgate or vice versa.

          There is NO funding, no planning to speak of zero direction or leadership and no will thanks the faded neo lib business as usual GDP, inflation, growth targets, reduction in government debt we are seeing from this government.

          Sorting out the North Auckland Line to Waimauku at least is realistic and do-able and can be done very quickly if anyone cared. As said the traffic out that way sucks now, hate to see it in 5 years.

        3. If there is no rapid transit line built to Westgate then traffic will be bad either way, people living in the area between Kumeu and Westgate are not going to back track to Kumeu to catch a slow train to the CBD.

          Even if LR doesn’t go ahead, I simply can’t believe you that there will not be some form of rapid transit on this corridor even if it is a busway instead of LR. My understanding is NZTA and AT are planning an interim North-West express in the next few years similar to the interim Northern Express that was bought in before the full Northern Busway opened. This alone would probably offer a quicker trip from Kumeu to the CBD than HR could ever offer.

        4. ‘not gonna happen anyway’ this is the laziest and stupidest argument against a thing ever. CRL was never gonna happen either, nothing ever happens till it does, what an amazing insight.

          The inability to imagine the future being different from the present is widespread i agree, despite being entirely daft, as looking back we know there is almost nothing but change. So how can we tell if proposals are likely to happen? Are they funded? Are they being planned? Do they have political support?

          There is a political risk to LR perhaps, but only if you really think there won’t be a labour led govt after next election, and to think that you have imagine MMP evaporates in the meantime somehow… ‘so not gonna happen’? Bollocks.

        5. Bus priority isn’t going to cut it, sorry. If you want the West quarter to absorb the planned level of development, some bus lanes and a vague commitment to Light Rail at some point maybe isn’t good enough, especially while the isthmus fights tooth and nail to avoid increasing density but still gets things like Link Buses and the Dominion Road LRT line.

        6. I agree bus lanes won’t cut it in the long run, but neither would an HR line that misses all of the development proposed in the vicinity of Westgate.

        7. The development is already happening one way or the other. The possibly maybe no actual announcements about NW LRT line is a question mark. Given what has happened in East Auckland with the busway-that-could-later-be-LRT-but-now-apparently-never-can, you can forgive Westies for being slightly cynical.

        8. Patrick, LR is a great idea, it should happen but talk is cheap and that call i’ve ever heard. It needs to happen right now because the traffic is dire, not in 10 years or 50.

          Musing about what should be is a lot different to what will be. Sir Dove Myer Robinson proposed Rapid Rail, a brilliant scheme that if it had eventuated would have seen a far superior, very different PT scenario today, not one still based on slow buses early 20th century style. Its 2018 and the rapid bus link to Howick is still to materialise, nearly 50 years later.

          You know National will NOT tolerate alternatives to cars apart the sops to the odd cycling lane. And the only reason they joined in with the CRL is they were backed into a corner on the CRL by Len Brown, before they could get rid of him and saw votes in it. They even thought their conditions attached were so unlikely they had an out anyway. And i do not see any leadership on progressing PT like Brown with the CRL.

          The less progress shown by this government on a raft of issues the more chance a well funded somewhat more politically savy National Party have of winning.

          Can’t all be clever geniuses like you Patrick, just dont get to caught up in Phils never never pretence!

        9. But what part of; it is funded and it is happening now, don’t you understand?

          Robbie’s Rail never got green lit, let alone funded by government, LR is and is, and there’s a whole team working on it. Sure the pace is frustrating but it’s a new thing for NZTA… and I can assure you there’s a lot going on right now.

          The Nats are in a shambles, have lost their experienced front bench, and the largely talent-free rump only seem interested in talking to their base, which does not a majority coalition make…

          I expect to see enabling works under way or at least contracted in 2020, and one more term of a pro-urban, pro-climate mitigation, pro-housing supply, pro-Transit govt will make it irreversible….

          Which, along with the rest of the ATAP and regional fuel tax enabled programme, will entirely transform Auckland in a spectacular and impressively unheard of way globally (plus KiwiBuild and Housing Corp work).

          Auckland will become the role model for how to fix new world auto-dependent cities.

          Mark my words.

        10. Waspman, I endeavour to retain optimism concerning the CRL and its completion. Since Len’s departure and the CRLL takeover I fear for this project and that ratepayers will have funded a tunnel up Albert to nowhere, that will be sitting empty for many years. My optimistic desire is that come April19 there will be a quick ramping up of physical works and we see station boxes and tunnels construction well underway.
          Yet that deeply supressed subconscious niggle that in reality no major PT scheme in NZ ever gets to timely completion tells me this CRL is going to stretch out its construction phase at a leasurely rate or perhaps in fits and starts well into the 2030s.
          I really hope I am wrong.

        11. MikeP: I am starting to wonder if we will end up with a highly scaled down version due to unexpectedly high tenders. Maybe it will terminate at Aotea for example, or maybe no K Road station.

        12. wtf? You’re shitting me. You really think the CRL is not going to happen? I know people lack imagination but you do realise the thing is actually under construction and is funded and tendering now?

          Do i think it will come in at $3.4b? No, especially as the scope has expanded to 9-car sets etc, my guess is it will be higher, given rising costs in the construction sector over the intervening years. But do i think it will be halted if the bids are higher? No, not for a millisecond.

          It has already proven its value in stimulating a huge private sector investment response. Auckland city is booming; there’s no turning back, the two consortia are spending around $20m each on their bids. This is big girls pants territory; neither the city nor the govt, are going to say; oh on second thoughts, that’s a little pricey, we’ve changed our minds now…

          It’s the spine that the whole future city is being hung from… it’s a dead cert.

        13. Yep, I can’t see the developers of Commercial Bay being happy if it is canned. The real reason the Key government supported it was they were being leaned on by big business who with their much more international view of things could see the enormous benefits of the CRL.

        14. All depends on if NZF and Greens get back in. If either of them don’t make it then it’ll be a Nats win. Which of course means it’s not particularly helpful that this blog in general trashes NZF despite them being pro PT, and pro rail.

        15. I don’t think the CRL will depend on the next election, the main contract will be locked in by then.

          It really only depends on the Greens getting in as the left block has consistently been polling higher than the right all year, if NZF dropped out it would just make it a bit simpler for Labour and the Greens.

          I can’t see the Greens missing out, even if they get close to the threshold I think Labour will come to an arrangement so they can win an electorate.

      2. Remember with Kumeu it is proposed that the western light rail line will service that area.
        Any extension of the Western Line service past Swanson requires wither the Swanson tunnel to be upgraded to allow the EMUs to use it or a temporary shuttle service using the old ADLs because the emergency exits on the EMUs are out the sides and there isn’t the room to evacuate them in the tunnel where the ADLs emergency exits are through the driver cabs.

    2. A quick look at a map will show you why that is. The Western line makes a great metro line as it runs through numerous town centres, however it doesn’t make a great commuter line areas further out due to its circuitous and meandering nature.

      1. You are correct, it’s a big circuit and is ideal for an express or limited stops service although travel time will significantly reduce with the CRL.
        Likely Huapai to Aotea will be less time than current Swanson to Britomart which will also likely be quicker than SH16.

        1. You’re right the CRL will cut 10 mins off the trip, however it will also see services on the Western line increase to 12 trips per hour, which would rule out express services with the existing tracks.

          Quad tracking to allow express services in both directions would have to compete with funding for NW LR and I’m not sure it would be that competitive given it does nothing for the area around Westgate.

        2. Yes, those ten minutes would just allow the Huapai to Swanson gap to be time filled. Maybe someone at AT can sort out the batteries to fit in several of this soon-to-arrive tranche of emus.
          Thats got to be cheaper than refurbishing those dmus

        3. Buttwizard – you’re right. However, any service to Kumeu would likely be the same service that ran to Swanson (there isn’t the CRL capacity to have both), it wouldn’t skip Swanson, Ranui or Sturges Rd anyway.

  3. This is very concerning. Location D is clearly inferior however you look at it, the claim that the station ‘should be as close as possible to State Highway 1’ is especially baffling. Why? Motorway adjacent stations are terrible, their catchments severed, opportunity for local buses to the station made much more difficult, always have much lower walkup numbers than stations in the midst of denser habitation, or better still at the heart of town centres.

    D is also clearly bounded by wetlands, this is another permanent, or even increasing, constraint on its catchment.

    And the station spacing with D is poor, at this distance from the big employment and education attractors, Rapid Transit should be served by well spaced stations with the best opportunity for clustering. Line speed matters.

    The developer and fellow submitters appear to be arguing that they will be first to build so should have station sited to focus on their site. But this would be terrible thinking for a public body to give in to, once a station is built, that’s it, very unlikely to re-sited, it’s vital Council take a very long term view of this decision. Site the stations station in the best possible locations for the next 100 years of growth. Fixed route rapid transport is a near-permanent city shaping commitment. Requires vision beyond specific interests and short term contingencies.

    1. Yes, and Matt’s point about SH22 creating more severance at the D location is huge. That’ll cut off walkable catchment at both locations, but much, much more at the location D.

      I’m really concerned about process here.

    2. Didn’t I read previously that a train station at Drury would be sited close to motorway so that it could become a major mode change where private vehicles and buses could come off the motorway to a P&R. This would or should help reduce motorway congestion north of Drury and eventually if this train was very popular then express train, limited stops to CBD.
      Is this no longer a factor in siting the station?

      1. I certainly hope not – That could have been 10 years ago thinking, with no future development around the area being planned for.

      2. Once on the m’way, drivers will keep driving… no, park n ride and bus up users won’t come to the station on the m’way, but from the hinterlands perpendicular to the line. That’s how it works. M’way traffic is rivalous, not complimentary, to rapid transit services

      3. Would totally waste the prime land around a station. Useful only if there’s going to be no housing development there.

  4. On the bright side, at least we have landowners in greenfields areas arguing in favour of having a train station nearby.

    As logical as that sounds to us now, I don’t think it could be assumed, even just a few years ago. With Auckland’s rail network now much more useful, awareness of it’s potential benefits to development will hopefully only increase over time.

    1. However, the masterplans seem to frequently do daft things like place the town centres on the opposite side of the site from the station, be full of sweeping curving deadend streets that will never suit a good bus/train network…

      And the developers still make delusional claims about how everyone living in their new burb will also work there. A dream that has never happened anywhere ever with new edge city developments, no matter how mixed use. Sadly this delusion enables them to think following basic station oriented planning patterns is not necessary.

  5. You guys who doubt what is happening in the Kumeu/Huapai area need to hop in your car for a weekday afternoon drive out here, along the north-western motorway. There is probably far more already happening out here, along both sides of the railway line ,than what is proposed at Drury. Throw in the potential to develop marginal farmland from Waitakere to Kumeu via Taupaki, and you can expand the city without chewing into the country’s breadbasket. Let’s not forget that Kumeu is the same distance from Auckland as Manukau City, and going via Swanson is not the roundabout route that some like to portray it as – some of us locals even use it as a “shortcut” to avoid the rush hour traffic.

    1. The train trip from Manukau to Britomart is currently 37 mins, the trip from Kumeu to Britomart would be 54 mins + whatever time it takes a train between Swanson and Kumeu. If that isn’t a roundabout route then I don’t know what is.

      Seems like the logical solution is a bus from Kumeu to Swanson than connects with the train, if this is sufficiently well patronised then put some money into improving the rail line.

      1. Whaaatt? So your logical bus from Kumeu to Swanson would travel along Whitakere road throughTaupaki and parallel within a few metres of the rail line to Waitakere township, bridge over the rail line then again parallel it to Swanson station where passengers swap over to the train.?
        Logic would clearly dictate that this palaver is lunacy and passengers should just board a train at Kumeu

        1. Yes, that’s the one. The benefits of the bus would be threefold:

          1. It would be smaller than a train and only require one staff member so would be cheaper to run.

          2. It could have multiple stops in Kumeu increasing the catchment.

          3. Its not limited in frequency by the dearth of passing loops between Swanson and Kumeu.

        2. 4. It could be done now.

          5. It’s cheap enough to be able to subsidise for a long time if necessary, while patronage grows, so no need for a 1-year trial silliness. Patronage can therefore grow naturally as people can trust it will remain.

          6. Patronage figures for a reliable bus can help inform a business case for the train. Rail patronage would of course be higher, but a reliable frequent bus to the train could bring more passengers than AT expects.

          7. Bus and Rail have a far safer record than private car. Given our road safety situation, people concerned about the danger could have a safer transport available now. This removes the need for widening SH16 on safety grounds (which is only safety wash anyway), allowing it to be humanised through the town centres along its route instead of designed for traffic flow.

        3. Heidi and Jezza, I think you are both mistaken in somehow thinking that a bus from Kumeu to Swanson could somehow be used to gauge possible patronage for a proper rail service.
          1. The bus route along Waitakere road would be slow because it’s getting busier during peaks as drivers seek alternate to sh16
          2. it’s a country road often used by trucking and farming vehicles
          3. School traffic in morning can cause delays west of Taupaki at the dog leg junctions
          4. Getting into Waitakere railway station car park bus stop is 10+ minutes wasted involving busy junction negotiation then a 200m loop back from main road and bus turnaround.
          5. The main roads around Swanson get congested in morning peak and would delay bus trip time.
          6. Those that can willprobably just drive to Swanson as could be happening now since Swanson P&R is filled by 7.30am

          A train from Kumeu to Swanson has distinct advantages
          1. Faster journey time, no delays due to traffic congestion
          2. More direct shorter route hence more comfortable seated journey
          3. Transfer at Swanson or Henderson is simple walk along platform

          A trial bus service would IMO be completely useless and it’s failure used to falsely assess the likely popularity of a proper rail service.

          Using your logic perhaps we should assess the need for LR to the NW based on how successful a bus service along sh16 is.

        4. Bogle, I think it would be fun to nut out some solutions … and I can think of some which would help. BUT the topic of this post is too important. Let’s get back on task, boys and girls!

        5. Heidi, perhaps a GA post supporting a Swanson or Henderson shuttle to Huapai would be nice since it’s obviously a topic of interest to many readers.

        6. Bogle – I agree a train would be more popular, however I don’t think it would be popular enough to justify the extra costs.

          The reality is there will be PT improvements on the NW corridor in the next ten years, whether it’s an interim bus service or LR and this will divert patronage from any train service.

        7. Jezza, I believe those ‘extra’ costs would be pretty minimal since rail line in great condition exists, it’s well signalled, nice long overtaking sidings at Waitakere station which btw is in excellent condition complete with well laid out P&R car park, the platform and furniture are all there at .Huapai and the DMUs are there parked up in Henderson. Ok they need fixed up, refurbed and serviced but that’s got to be cost effective compared to buying a couple of buses. The Waitakere tunnel sorting out or modifying ADLs to permit end emergency egress may take a little time but massive costs I think not.
          Go rail, forget bus.

    2. And with the car event at [18-01-2019] Kumeu showgrounds AT could have run DMU’s to the event and then ones that didn’t want to drive could have had a great day out without the hassel of the traffic

      1. AT really should set up a group who are responsible for finding out what events are being held around the region and then consult with the organisers to see if they would need extra public transport arrange to help them cope.

  6. A rough measure with Google Maps suggests that the distance from station A to station E is only about 3.5km… The people living in area D could still have station access as good as living in many isthmus suburbs if the station catchments were maximised by building road networks with active modes and PT given priority. The backbone of such a network would be an off road shared path running parallel to the railway, joining the two town centres and accessible from every nearby local road.

  7. I think NZ new transit oriented developments, such as discussed here, with its multimodal transport approach and all the major ‘circle of life’ needs being in walkable distance needs a name. Can I suggest ‘Tall Towns’.

    In Tall Towns plot sizes would be very small. Average of 200sqm or less. There would be minimal set back and shade-plane rules i.e it would be the norm build across the street front to the side boundary. High maximum site coverage allowances -50 or 60%. But a high public park % of the land area -in the form of multiple pocket parks, children’s playgrounds, sports fields, boulevard streets, squares…. . Street layout tending towards the highly connected grid rather than the disconnected culdesac. Minimum height of buildings within 800m of the train station being 3 stories high -no maximum heights. This would achieve a density that supports high frequency rapid transit services. It also means only 1/3 to 1/5 of the land is required compared to NZ’s traditional sprawling auto-centric suburbs.

    1. Why just new developments? Get this underway in the inner city suburbs first that already have the regular PT services there to be used. Cramming more density on the outskirts isn’t going to solve the problem.

      1. Yes. There’s an appeal to dense living when, in each direction, there is close walkable amenity. There’s no appeal to dense living when there’s only amenity at the other end of a line of rapid transit.

        1. Indeed. I saw apartment buildings in Albany a while ago. How weird. Let’s state politely that this is not exactly a pleasant area to walk around.

          For anyone wondering about the importance of developing central areas:

          Estimated walking mode share to work

          Estimated car mode share to work:

          Cycling predominantly happens centrally too:

        2. Why is it weird to have apartments in Albany? It’s close to the city centre, close to the North Shore beaches, close to the other amenities in Albany. It makes as much sense as apartments in New Lynn, Manukau, or Mt Wellington

        3. It is what Heidi says. Walkability. Albany is a mall with a sea of parking around everything. It is quite a stretch to call it a town centre. There are places, even on the Shore, which are not as radically hostile to pedestrians, and which are less than 35 minutes to the city centre by bus.

          Here are some street view images to enjoy:


          Street view nearby, the cranes are where the apartments are now.


          This is your walk to the mall. At least that’s kind of OK


          This is your walk to the busway station. If you were thinking about a short and convenient walk, you’d be wrong. At least you can catch a connecting bus closer to home if you’re willing to wait an extra 10 minutes.


          Or you’re thinking you can walk to the other shops?


          Even if you want to, the street grid and parking make it almost impossible.

          Maybe this will change, maybe it will not. The apartments on Hobson Street were built 20 years ago. And look at it now.

        4. Pull up cultural activities in Albany on google. There are some. Bands playing at a bar, and learn-to-code classes, both in William Pickering Drive. BTW there’s no pedestrian crossing on that road. There is an art exhibition on at the retreat, and some massage classes at Westpark, both on Mills Lane. To get there you need to cross over Oteha Valley Rd, no pedestrian crossings. Outdoor Games at the QBE Stadium carpark on Coliseum Drive. Did I mention pedestrian crossings? – None there either.

          It is a place designed for the car and doesn’t look like there’s any will to change it, even after people have been sacrificed at the altar to Goddess Flo.

        5. I don’t disagree that the walking environment is hostile. The ‘ring road’ desperately needs to have all of the roundabouts signalized and all of the superblocks need splitting up ASAP. The biggest walkability problem here is a lack of things in walking distance. So apartments are also a massive part of the solution to the walkability issues here.

          Seems like apartments here are basically an investment on what owners expect to see here in 10 years, rather than what is here now?

        6. Yes that would be my guess. I think it is telling so much of the land is still empty. The busway station has been there for a while now. We built Hobsonville Point and Millwater in the meantime.

          Perhaps the developers of those first apartment blocks on Hobson Street deserve credit for figuring out there was demand for central living. But even now, 20 years later, we can’t even bring ourselves to do basic things in the area like maintaining the footpaths. Oops.

          What if next year the council decides that the area between the lake reserve and the busway station is to be car free. I’d love to see the outcome. But I have little expectation of that actually happening.

        7. wrt Hobsonville and Millwater (and Long Bay too), I think they were a lot simpler as there was effectively a single landowner at each site. They could master plan the development and sell consented packages to builders. Ownership in Albany is fragmented, you’d be tentative to build an apartment block knowing a drive through KFC could pop up next door. I also understand that there is a lot of land banking going on at Albany, for example Foodstuffs owns the sister site to the Rose Garden apartments. Holding cost is very low, so there is no impetus to develop.

        8. Ah yes.

          I wonder if Peter ran a scenario “what if we didn’t have land banking” in his research.

          There is something fundamentally wrong if investing in rapid transit results in grassy areas served by rapid transit.

        9. Finishing the ‘rapid transit’ on the first day of the GFC didn’t help, and not actually extending the busway to Albany doesn’t make it rapid, but I completely agree regarding land banking. IMHO rates in the urban area should be based on land value only: Leave it as grass or build 1,200 apartments? It’s an easy choice when rates are $1m a year either way.

      2. I am all for “Tall Towns” inside of Auckland and have advocated for using different mechanisms to allow that to happen -which it will in a gradual evolutionary manner.

        The approach to achieving Tall Towns in new areas is different -it is more master planned than evolved.

        The streets and public places do not exist, they need to be laid out. Optimal sites for strategic transport hubs like train stations need to be carefully planned. There will be a sudden ‘hit’ of mass building as buildable property titles come onto the market, which will determine the towns character for decades to come. This all needs to be nudged in the right direction….

    2. Yes and Hobsonville is a good step along this path. It ticks most of your boxes.

      The problem with Hobsonville is that transport is crap. If it had a train station or busway sttaion it would be so much better.

      1. There is an article about how Hobsonville was state intervened housing 4.0 and Kiwibuild needs to state intervened housing 5.0.
        It would start over 100 years ago when the then Liberal govt (predating both the Labour and National parties) attempted to build worker dwellings in Petone (1.0). It was unsuccessful because it had no fast/affordable transport links.
        State Housing by the first Labour government was initially relatively successful (2.0). It gave affordable housing for workers around train stations -especially in the Wellington region. The problem was it lacked density to make the rapid transit a proper commercial proposition.
        Later State Housing (3.0) was built in car centric locations in Auckland, so it was density without amenities and it focused on a narrower band of low income groups -this all combined to cause slums, entrench poverty etc.
        Hobsonville (4.0) went too far the other way -density was good, amenities otherwise are reasonable but importantly missing rapid transit. And very very little social or affordable housing -because that would economic vandalism -John Key

        1. This sounds like a good historic summary of this relationship between state housing density & rapid transit.

          If Hobsonville could at least have a rapid all day & weekend ferry it would help!

        2. You also need frequent and reliable PT connections to and from any ferry landing – like a local shuttle (or a co-located bus or rail station such as Britomart).

        3. Good summary of where we are at.

          However, not sure I agree 100% about 2.0 and why it didn’t take off. From what I have read it was very successful as a development (especially as you say in Petone/Lower Hutt) and had proven its point.

          The problem was it didn’t match the political philosophy of the 1949 National governmnet (and still wouldn’t meet the political philosophy of the National party in 2019). It therefore was not supported as a TOD and any amnity that encouraged train/cycle use was sacrificed to make it easier for cars to get around.

        4. Yes State Housing as delivered by the first Labour government was pretty good. Being affordable rental housing for a wide range of working class people. Not the subsidised housing for the smaller group of socially vulnerable people it became. Its flaws were probably building stand alone housing around train stations and being very pakeha centric.

  8. Other than the Waitakere tunnel, the line doesn’t actually need improvement, only trains on it. From Waitakere to Kumeu/Huapai is a flat, straight run, and the line itself is in good nick. Even taking your map reading knowledge of the area into account, the trip into town from Kumeu/Huapai would probably be no slower than Drury to Auckland.

  9. I’m all for advocating for good infrastructure to support children and the schools. But I have a couple of queries about the submitter’s reference to these new schools:

    1/ Where are these new schools and surely – surely! they’re going to be central to the wider Drury West Growth Area to serve the whole community. If MoE has purchased land other than central to the area, why? What lack of communication was there to inform the purchasing of land in the wrong place.
    2/ What planning has been done for safe active transport around the schools. The walking and cycling network could be designed from scratch to enable all children from the whole of the Drury West Growth Area to actively travel to school. Has it?
    3/ Why does the submitter think that train station is important for the schools? The train is a mode for travelling long distances, not short distances. It’s important for access for all residents to the rest of the city, not for local kids to get to school.

    Could this be called schoolwash?

    1. I think it depends.

      At the moment, if you live in Drury you go to Rosehill College by zoning. This is not that far away (less than 3km from the Slippery Creek bridge) and therefore we have to wonder at what the zone situations would be. Placing a college roughly near the Red Shed is 3.6km away compared to Rosehill’s 2.5km (there’s no need to consider the primary school case because Drury proper has one already). Already there’s all sorts of daft things going on with Rosehill’s zone (for instance, Conifer Grove which is closer to two or three other colleges is zoned for Rosehill) but maybe it makes sense to include Drury Village within the catchment of a hypothetical Drury West College. Certainly it’d probably make sense to have most of Drury School’s year eights all be zoned for the same college, right? (Rather than having substantial portions each for Rosehill and Drury West.)

      Now assuming that they build a station roughly where the rugby club/shops are (there’s heaps of space), the bridge would be outside the usual 800m catchment based on Google Maps (it seems it’s a kilometre). However, a 1km walk to a station and a short hop skip and a jump between both Drury stations and this hypothetical college adds up. I mean, a bus would be better in some ways (less walking at the Slippery Creek end) but there’s definitely a logic there. That’s if there were to be a station also nearish the Red Shed.

      Furthermore, we do know rough locations for where a Drury West Primary School would go. (Unless I very much misunderstand this: And that’d probably be just inside a catchment near McPherson Road, i.e. a Runciman Station.

      I would, on reflection, characterise this as a balls in the air issue. The wider Drury West development hasn’t left the juggler’s hands yet, but Auranga or however it’s spelt is up in the air and chasing just behind we’ve got MoE. AT seems to want to get in the air too. The issue is that you’re quite right about the local nature of schools. Look at my attempted rationalisation of the schoolwashing… it’s about colleges and it’s the primary school that MoE appears to be moving on.

      And, of course, MoE can’t just abandon Auranga; Drury School has had some problems for probably more than ten years now with retaining years seven and eight pupils but at the same time they’ve plonked down at least three new classrooms since 2000, two of which since 2007. They’ve still got quite a decently sized field but this isn’t really sustainable (one of these classrooms, for instance, ate up the Tapuwai court). And in any case, you don’t want little kids walking along a state highway or through light industrial areas to get to school.

      1. Scouting around I found that Ma advertised Auranga as having a school back in November and December 2017:

        “Residential, commercial and retail uses were envisaged including a new village centre, school, retirement village and many hectares of public land, he said.”

        Primary School advertised here:
        Secondary School advertised here:

        Creative advertising if they’re not actually in Auranga, I guess.

  10. The debate of building around light rail or trainline to the northwest of Auckland, plus building around a train line to the south is the reverse of the situation in Greater Christchurch where the opportunity is to build TOD around the existing train track to the north and to construct a light rail line in the southwest.

    I write about it here.

    I advocate that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development use its Urban Development Authority powers to master plan, acquire land, consent, provide infrastructure etc these TODs
    Here is some information on UDAs

    1. Funding for the rapid transit infrastructure is possible using targeted rates. 10,000 houses which could fit around just a couple of train stations if they were built on ‘Tall Town’ principles could have a targeted rate and bond debt of $50,000 per house. That would generate a rapid transit capital fund of $0.5 billion.

      1. I suspect the problem will not be the infrastructure funding it will be the land acquisition.

        The Beehive document listed the following powers being used wrt Land Assembly
        – Crown-owned land can be repurposed for a development
        – The UDA can compulsorily acquire private land (except
        sensitive Māori land), including for transfer to a third party
        – Legislation will list works for which the UDA can acquire land
        – Land owners may be compensated with an equity share in the
        development project
        – Decisions on acquiring Crown agent land will be made by

        I would suggest that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development considers flexibly using a Land Readjustment approach for some of their land acquisition needs as detailed here.

        The quick summary of idea (which is practiced in Germany, Japan and Asia) is that greenfield and brownfield property owners are given the opportunity to voluntarily give up there land so it can be assembled, master planned with new street networks, public places and services, rapid transit and in exchange for all these value enhancing amenities they get a smaller percentage of their land back in the form of multiple buildable property titles. -maybe as small as 25% of the created property titles.

        The other 75% of property titles being split between affordable housing (KiwiBuild), subsidised rental housing (State Housing) and commercial/residential rentals that the rapid transit authority could use as another revenue source.

        There are several major advantages to this approach

        1. It gives landowners an incentive to cooperate
        2. Public authorities don’t need financing for the compensation, just grant of title back
        3. It leads to more orderly development of strategic sites subdivided into smaller ones, sites that are more accessible without ‘leapfrogging’ and easier to service.
        4. Landowners don’t need to forward fund the enabling infrastructure.
        5. It creates subdivided parcels with multiple landowners and potential developers, just what we want to see in oligopolistic markets

  11. “Years and year of work, through all the Supporting Growth transport planning, has been based on locating a train station in the heart of the broader Drury West area. As per business case requirements, this has been challenged and tested a number of times. To dramatically change the approach at the last minute – to something clearly worse – is very worrying.”

    This really f***s me off, actually. Those planners have used their education and application to come up with the best plans they could. How frustrating for them it must be. And we’re paying for all the good planning work. Council is just wasting our rates if it all be overturned because some developer says “I’m here first, I win.” Who would actually be responsible for trying to changed the decision – is it likely to be someone employed by Council or someone elected to Council? I think we need to find out, given that elections are this year.

    1. Just as a point of interest, I was in a DMU shuttle this morning, heading to Papakura.

      We went through Drury at 8.30 am, and I got a good long look at State Highway 1 .

      Normal business has resumed, the Northern lanes were at a complete standstill.

      We have a long way to go to get these sort of problems sorted out.

      1. That’s due to the roadworks between Drury and Takanini so it may be “sorted out” when they finish,supposedly by the end of 2019.

        1. Motorway widening Papakura to Manukau. Been going on for seemingly many years. Two lanes each way being increased to three.

  12. I think the problem is the Papakura interchange – it has four (?) lanes (two from Karaka and two from Papakura) trying to merge onto SH1, which has two lanes.

    Four into two won’t go. Completing the Takinini site will help, but I can’t see a third lane being completed
    to Drury by the end of 2019. Hope i’m wrong.

    Then of course the problem will shift from Drury to Bombay.

      1. And so it goes on. And the traffic modelling still assumes the same land use, and the same person trips, whether they complete the widening or not. Cuckooo….

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