In Auckland Transport’s letter to the NZTA about the disarray the latter is in, one of the projects mentioned is one I haven’t been paying much attention to, Huapai Road Improvements. As a reminder, ATs letter stated:

Huapai Road Upgrade; this project was included as a priority project in the RLTP at a cost of circa $36 million. Additional design requirements from NZTA escalated the cost to circa $70 million. AT has undertaken a value engineering exercise to reduce the projected cost to within the original cost estimate however this has resulted in an additional nine months to the project design time.

So I thought I should check out what was proposed.

Huapai-Kumeu is one of Auckland’s fastest growing areas with a number of significant housing developments currently underway. The image below helps highlight the scale of this which is between just 2013 and 2017 (unfortunately the cloud gets in the way a bit).

As the area becomes more urban the nature of the town is bound to change and Auckland Transport and the NZTA have a responsibility to ensure that the projects they undertake to support this growth actually does make a material improvement to the area. They can’t just treat it as a rural town anymore and design projects accordingly but it doesn’t appear the designers got the memo.

AT show two projects that comprise this overall piece of work and both involve upgrading intersections to improve access to a 1,200 dwelling development on the south side of the town centre that was one of  the first Special Housing Areas announced in 2013. AT say the primary purpose of the upgrades is to cater for:

  • Increased volumes of traffic on SH16.
  • Improved safety and better management of traffic between SH16 and the three side roads (Station, Tapu and Access Roads).
  • Improved walking and cycling facilities and safety.

The Gyratory

The first and biggest of these projects has been dubbed The Gyratory by AT. This would be at the western edge of Huapai and connects together a couple of local roads that have T-intersections with State Highway 16. Here’s what AT say about it.

The gyratory (large traffic roundabout) to connect Station Road, Tapu Road and SH16 is at concept stage and has been agreed in principle by Auckland Transport, New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), KiwiRail and Auckland Council.

The state highway will be retained in its existing position and will be used for east-bound traffic only. Tapu Road will continue to connect this section of the state highway. A new two-lane road will be built on a new alignment to take westbound traffic. The new west bound lanes will curve away from the eastbound lanes just before the Tapu Road connection and cross a new bridge over the railway then curve back to join the eastbound lanes where Station Road currently intersects with State Highway 16. Station Road will connect to the new westbound lanes midway between the two ends of the deviation.

This layout allows SH16 traffic to flow between east and west and for traffic to flow between Station Road and Tapu Road. New off-road walking and cycling facilities will be built around the new structure.

The gyratory has signalised intersections at its entrances and exits and also where Station Road and Tapu Road connect. These signals will better manage the flow of SH16 traffic between east and west and the flow of traffic joining or leaving the state highway from Station Road and Tapu Road. They will also provide controlled crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists.

Here’s what is planned:

Here are a few quick thoughts on it

  1. The design doesn’t appear to contribute much to any of the stated goals. It doesn’t really seem to add all that much capacity, especially given how much bigger it all is. As for safety and especially improving walking and cycling, can you imagine any parent letting their child walk or cycling to school anywhere near this monstrosity – there is a primary school on Station Rd just to the southwest of the image. Would anyone even bother trying to walk around the footpath in the middle of the whole thing?
  2. This seems an incredibly excessive and land hungry design that is completely inappropriate to what will eventually be a medium density residential suburb. Have the engineers not even thought about the opportunity cost of all the land this consumes – you could easily fit 10 (or more) dwellings on the land this design swallows up.
  3. If they’re going to the extent of building a new bridge across the rail line and given this will become an urban area, why not just create a single normal signalised intersection. In other words, have Tapu Rd (in the north) link directly to Station Rd (to the south). This would actually have fewer signals as if you look closely at the image above, every movement appears to have at least two signals people could potentially stop at. This is shown, at a high level, in the image below with Station Rd/Tapu Rd in yellow and the state highway in blue. The red areas are land potentially saved that could be put to other uses. One is just over 7,000m² and the other 1,200m².

  1. One potential argument I could see being made against this is the gyratory provides more lanes across the tracks for east-west movement, even though currently some of those lanes are for turning movements. I’ll address the wider issue about this later in the post.
  2. Given what we’ve seen recently with the huge interchange planned at Warkworth, is this another example of a lazy design culture that has formed from previous transport policy pouring huge amounts of money into roads?

Access Rd

The second project is the intersection of SH16 and Access Rd at the eastern end of Kumeu and would see the state highway enlarged to add left turning lanes on to Access Rd. There would also be slip lane added for those coming out of Access Rd. It would also add a shared walking and cycling path on the southern side of the road – there is currently nothing here for those not in a vehicle.

But here’s what AT say about the state highway part.

The space for widening SH16 was obtained by reducing the width of the walking/cycle facilities on the southern side of SH16 and by shifting the roadway northwards to occupy the planted median on the northern side of SH16, which forms the boundary between SH16 and a service road to its immediate north. This has been achieved without reducing parking in the service road but by rearranging parking and traffic flows.

So walking and cycling are being compromised simply because AT/NZTA are trying to maintain a median through a what should be a lower speed town centre – the speed limit is still 60km/h through here. You’ll notice there’s a missing pedestrian leg from the traffic lights, most likely a victim of “The Model”

In both cases it would be interesting to here what the NZTA were being nit-picky about. If it was about how bad these designs were then perhaps they were doing a good thing.

One aspect that also needs to be considered in this debate is that of the future plans. In particular how much this design needs to cater for traffic growth on the state highway. The future plans would see Kumeu-Huapai bypassed completely – although this is not in the current decade’s programme. This would remove a lot of state highway traffic from the town and that’s particularly important for the Gyratory proposal

In our view, Auckland Transport need to rethink these deigns and do so quickly. They’re simply not appropriate in an urbanising area.

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155 comments

  1. As a resident of Huapai I completely agree with and support this roading proposal, bring it on and as quickly as possible.
    This is necessary simply because this area is growing fast and we are ignored when it comes to decent PT. There is no credible PT alternative and the options look bleak. Some paint on NW motorway for bus lanes and a vague suggestion of light rail in my grandson’s lifetime.
    Most disheartening of all wrt to PT there, in all the diagrams and maps illustrating this post, is an almost completely unused but maintained railway line.
    So before all you roading naysayers and car haters start pontificating on yet another evil road scheme ask yourselves why the NW has third rate almost useless PT and this rail line should continue to be ignored in preference to a mythical future light rail line.

    1. Otherwise known as shooting oneself in the foot.

      You’re not going to get better PT if NZTA work so convincingly to promote car dependency like this. You’re only going to get it if the locals choose to walk to things. Like the bus stop.

      1. There are no alternatives to cars, nil, zero. To commute which I am picking 90% of employed people do there, you have to drive.

        Bogle is right, West but worse North West simply have an impractical useless PT option and apart from the brief period in 2010 of rail connection it’s been the car or nothing.

        You cannot cycle or walk along SH16 unless you have a death wish and even were that a safe option it is so far from most people’s employment that you would have to be Lance Armstrong to consider it.

        And again a largely disused rail line connecting straight to Britomart sits empty.

          1. The western line would need improvement such as signalling upgrades from track warrant to what the rest of 5ge metro system uses from Huapai to Waitakere and the ability to bypass and this service would work if it was limited stops, but in any case its about 15 minutes north of Swanson (used to be 7 to Waitakere), so it’s a realistic option to gridlock that is worsening by the week!

          2. There’s no chance of a limited stops service from Kumeu without a third main along parts of the Western line.

            If everyone in Kumeu worked in the CBD or elsewhere along the Western line this might almost be viable, but I very much doubt that is the case.

        1. The basic problem even with a rail shuttle is that you’re just too far from the rest of the city.

          Go to any city with meaningful public transport and you’ll find another “level” of regional public transport. Our current western line would correspond to a “local” train, while that kind of distance is usually covered on a regional service. Just like you don’t normally drive 30 km on local streets, you’d usually cover part of that distance on a motorway.

          First observation: we invest in motorways but not in regional PT. No surprises here, really. I’d love to see the day when that transit is already in place when the first development gets built.

          Second observation: most of that town must be “close enough” to where that regional service stops. Cars give you an uniform level of access to a large area near your offramp. PT doesn’t. If towns are built the wrong way that will permanently rule out working PT.

          From what Millwater (and now Milldale on the other side of SH1) look like, I would guess we can forget about it. Even if we build regional PT, so what? You can still only reach at most a few 100s of houses via your station. Businesses and shops tend to be spread out in light industrial areas which would be equally unreachable. That subdivision in Kumeu? Game over.

      2. You can see Bogle’s point though with the NZTA in disarray & with LRT already dragging it’s heals with realities & complications. Traffic really compounding out that way.
        I pretty much wouldn’t build more roads but it is a possible a diesel shuttle may work because the roads will be “so bad”, not because the shuttle will be that great. My view is it should only go to Swanson though & you would only pretty much run it in peak until you got proper 15min frequent 7am-7pm, 7days a week electric train network going so transfers are decent.
        It also now seems the battery EMU looks a better after all, even taking into consideration that the batteries would need replacement. It was a lot more flexible option & allowed for this sort of delay in electrification.

    2. Bogle, why don’t you start a design for Hupai by considering walking, cycling and feeder bus access to the best position for a modern train station? Then look to see if this design supports that, or cuts right through that access?

      1. yes the existence of a freight route doesn’t mean its a viable PT route…. Kumeu Huapai is such a terribly long string (classic highway ribbon development) its going to be very hard to serve… then of course there is the problem of the Western Line being so long and indirect compared with SH16…. needs a good look at from the ground up.

      1. Someone on twitter was saying they have to allow for a three track rail corridor, which is apparently the reason they went with the gyratory: only one new bridge over three track width, instead of two.

        So it sounds like light rail has the option of running next to the freight line, or running up the middle of the highway.

        1. From the AT Project page itself, under Huapai Heading:
          https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/huapai-triangle-special-housing-area/#history
          “The original intention to re-align Station Road to form a cross roads with Tapu Road and SH16 (and widen the adjacent SH bridge over the railway) proved impractical to design due to the proximity of the railway line to the intersection.
          After extensive consultation with NZTA an agreed design was produced in 2018. However, shortly afterwards, KiwiRail exercised a right (provided for in the original multi party agreement), that if the rail bridge was to be upgraded, KiwiRail required it to be future proofed for triple tracking and electrification. Among other consequences this would have required raising the bridge deck by 1.8 metres severely compromising the Tapu Road/Station Road/SH16 intersection design. The cost of accommodating this in terms of property purchases, construction cost and community disruption was too high.
          AT then abandoned the original concept design for the intersection in favour of the gyratory. The gyratory layout can be delivered within budget and the majority of the layout can be built “off-line”, thereby minimising traffic impacts during construction.”

          1. I’m sorry, why not simply limit Station Rd to left in left out and provide signalised junctions at Tapu Rd & Trig Rd ???

          2. Good question. Perhaps because a whole of traffic would then go around past the school to try and get to SH16 and go east?

            NB I suspect this detail (I linked to above) was added to the project page after this post was done? Only looked at it properly yesterday.

    3. You lost me at “car haters”. Anyone who uses such emotive, meaningless drivel does not deserve to be listened to.

    4. Bogle if we were just to make a comparison with the Pukekohe shuttle. So use HOP ticket data to see where passengers from Pukekohe are going too. I expect that over 50 % are not going to the CDB and that potential passengers for a Kumeu shuttle will be the same. I believe there is data on boarding’s and destinations somewhere on Greater Auckland maybe someone can find it. It might clarify the viability if we knew the destinations of potential passengers.

      1. Thats an interesting approach to estimate, even very roughly, possible Huapai rail patronage.
        Personally I think the times for more studies, research, evaluations and potential business cases are long past.
        The continued worsening of sh16 congestion has reached a point where a rail PT from Huapai would become a serious alternate to car commuting. It may be a circuitous route via Inner NAL but timewise close to car commute time. The rail advantages of less stress, restful trip, using devices to entertain, do work such as email etc or just sleep would IMO induce patronage away from car commuting.

      2. Happened to have a calc setup for 2015-16 Pukekohe to other stations I did a while back on that data (pre new southern network, newer Otahuhu etc stations of course)
        Rounded:
        Papakura 13%
        Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Penrose, Ellerslie all ~3% each
        Manukau 4%
        Middlemore 9%
        Newmarket 10%
        Britomart 38%
        Everything else less than 3%

  2. I like the bypass idea as it will give Huapai and Kumeu a nice quiet functioning town center instead of one with a very busy highway running through the middle of it. To achieve these aims (as well as help develop the satellite towns of Waiamauku and Helensville) I think it be best if the bypass is done as a 4 land motorway by extending the current Northwest motorway. I think options 1a and 2b are best, 1a as it links in to the existing motorway and 2b as it completely bypasses the future urban growth area. We also need to extend rail electrification from Swanson to Kumeu as soon as possible too so that the new developments have good access to public transport.

    1. How do you get from, say, SW of this gyratory, to NE? You don’t attempt to walk it – it’s the sort of road environment that is not interesting or enriching. So you drive it. And then, lo and behold, NZTA need more road capacity to cater for all the people driving “because people love their cars”.

      Meanwhile, in the world of good transport and land-use planning, all that land used for the gyratory would be being used for local development and amenities that would support a better local economy and lifestyle.

      1. Bypasses seem good until you look at how much traffic they would induce. Perhaps the question we should be looking at is: how do we reduce the amount of traffic through here? Instead of putting the money into any bypass, how about putting it into public transport and traffic reduction measures?

  3. You can see why the gyratory was chosen” they want four lanes across the rail line and the existing bridge only has two.

    To do it as matt suggests and get four lanes would mean two new bridges, one to duplicate the highway and the other for the side road.

  4. Do NZTA actually have the budget to contribute? I thought they were fully allocated and this wasn’t in their list. Could be a reason for stalling?

  5. Building this weird intersection which uses traffic lights at this location will just cause more congestion, such as already happens with the traffic lights at the intersection of SH16 and Access Road in Kumeu.

    As a priority in the interim AT, NZTA, KiwiRail and Auckland Council should instead just build a new roundabout at the intersection of SH16 and Tapu Road and realign Station Road to connect directly with it via a new bridge over the railway line.

    Beneath the new aptly-named Station Road bridge, a new Huapai rail station should be built to serve a new Huapai-Henderson DMU rail shuttle using ADL units which could be refurbished, which would put the station in a more visible location in central walking distance of most the new subdivisions around Huapai.

    A new station and large park and ride should also be built on the former Kumeu station site next to Access Road in Kumeu.

    Doing the above would result in far better transport outcomes for the money spent in this area.

  6. Rail – yes!! Bypass – yes!!! The gyratory – maybe when alternative traffic solutions are put in place. Do not underestimate what a mess our town will be while these works are dragged out for a very long time. Look at the Waimauku Roadabout, old Albany Highway and Takanini as examples roading projects undertaken in conjunction with existing traffic. AT do not have the capability or track record for efficient execution in these sorts of projects. Go build a bypass AT and get rail working. Then come back to revisit Kumeu when there are ways for people to avoid the inevitable and perpetual mudpits and lengthy delays.

    1. And meanwhile, 17 people have died so far this week. Needlessly. And why? Because of poor land use and transport planning. And projects like this: a complete focus on moving cars instead of supporting people.

        1. I would say the biggest problem is that while the review of the Ministry of Transport, the safety review for AT, the review of Austroads are all saying the same thing – that the problem runs deep into the very way decisions are made about funding and design, legislation and regulation, and the basic set up of the sector – that the people trying to bring change are just working within the same legislative, regulatory and professional framework.

          Professionals, given a road safety crisis like this, are expected to think laterally and if necessary – as it is here – to step beyond the conventional, and outside the usual processes.

          AT, for example, have known that many bus drivers are running red lights, speeding and taking risks, and that the contracts with the bus companies are a contributor to this. Yet where’s the action to change the contracts? It is negligent to wait for the contracts to end before taking action, if that’s what AT are doing.

          The bus that critically injured a pedestrian at the corner of K Rd and Symonds St yesterday afternoon was to be expected – that danger had been reported to AT. Symonds St fails the safety test on so many levels – the Dutch would’ve closed it by now.

          The research into slip lanes in Auckland shows how their contribution to DSI has been massive – yet where’s the appropriate response to this? Damien has pointed out the “uncontrolled crossing” in this awful design. AT should be directing funds away from intersection widening and road building towards removing all the slip lanes, not building more.

          Don’t blame it on teenagers – they learn what we value. There were plenty of parent drivers in those crashes. The system has not been designed to cope when someone makes a mistake. And the culture of speed and carelessness could have been nipped in the bud, with enforcement of good rules on streets and roads with appropriate speed limits, speed cameras and red light cameras.

          1. +1

            The “motoring lobby” (i.e. most people) is like the gun lobby. It doesn’t want to change. It doesn’t want safer roads if this means lower speed limits or less motoring amenity. It is largely disinterested in the road toll and would prefer that everything carry on just the way it is, rather than accept meaningful restrictions that would seriously bring this toll down.
            And given that nigh-on everybody is complicit in this including most politicians, judiciary, policy-makers and policy-influencers, no real circuit-breaker exists to stop us blindly continuing in the same groove.
            All power to Julie Anne Genter in her attempts to face down the motoring lobby. Likewise to the Prime Minister in her attempts to face down the gun lobby.

          2. I think, though, that the majority of people also like nice places. Would even pay big money to go on holidays to nice places. And I think they don’t have an awful lot of time for thinking about planning and the various options we have. But if there were more articles and information about how we could actually have nice places than inflammatory change-averse “that’s just car-hating” comments… it wouldn’t take much to convince the majority of people. And that’s why the change-averse media commentators are doing such an important job for the automotive and road construction industry.

          3. I think you are right Heidi. In generalizing that “Most people don’t want to change”, I accept that this will cover a big range of views from those who are sympathetic to the call for better transport-planning but have not stopped to think about causes and effects, to those who are completely unsympathetic and who brazenly elevate “motorists’ rights” above all else.

            However my own experience in trying gently and politely for some 45 years to persuade others that a shift away from car-dependency would bring huge benefits, has been that very few are even interested to listen. Far from society heeding this call, we are even more car-dependent now than when I was a teenager! Only in recent years has the view that “moar cars” is not the way to go, become even vaguely authoritative.

      1. 17 people died through some unbelievably bad driving, most on rural roads, but in any case that has nothing to do with Huapai.

        And people must get to work, at least, so arguments over the motor vehicle are pointless unless every single crash could have been avoided by a like or superior mode of transport, that largely does not exist in NZ.

        1. Waspman, unbelievably bad driving leading to death happens in a badly planned system. There are many facets to improving it, and we need to act on them all. The good news is, that in places where they take this seriously, the number of lives lost is dropping.

          1. Short of median barriers side and centre on every road and every intersection built as a flyover with on and off ramps you cannot possibly plan for what caused some of these crashes.

            Some people just do not care whatsoever when they take control of car, its that’s simple in its coldest sense.

          2. I believe we could have saved many of these lives. Places with far lower fatalities per unit travelled have achieved it by putting in place whole systems.

            We could have
            -invested in on-going education about driving in the context of transport safety,
            -funded proper enforcement of road rules,
            -ensured our road rules were fit for purpose,
            -developed urban and rural rail and bus services to reduce car travel need,
            -modified intersections to prevent the possibility of 90 degree crashes,
            -influenced the type of vehicles imported to enable more compatibility between vehicles,
            -made our roads more self-explaining,
            -tackled our driving-after-drinks-after-work culture,
            -reduced speed limits throughout the country in line with Sustainable Safety or Vision Zero.

            Don’t underestimate the learning that happens informally from the experience of what others are doing. If a safe system is happening around you, that’s what you learn. In our system, you learn to driver faster than is safe, to take risks, to game the system, and that enforcement is almost non existent.

            Every one of those accidents was avoidable – even if because in a good system, that driver might have not been driving at all, but taking another mode, or not having to drive in that place due to better land use planning.

          3. +1 , Now 27 in just eight days! truck & car in Warkworth this morning.

            Also news article now about 24hrs old: “Cyclist’s death in crash near Nelson takes national road toll to 26 in just seven days”
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/111819052/cyclist-killed-in-accident-near-nelson
            “A cyclist was killed in a crash with a car in north Nelson at a “bad corner” renewing calls for the speed limit to be lowered on that stretch of the highway.”

            “Atawhai Safety Group chair John Moore said he had spent the last 13 years campaigning for the speed limit along State Highway 6 to be reduced to 80 kilometres an hour.”

            and this story:
            https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/111847180/uncle-dies-in-crash-alongside-nephew-after-truck-driver-allegedly-runs-red-light

          4. You can have all the rules and education you like, but some don’t abide by rules. You don’t seem to realise that this is the reason we end up with some of these crashes.

            Better enforcement definitely, but we’ve come off a near decade of cut backs in that very area that will take several years to fix. Most urban areas in Auckland have an almost non existent specialist traffic safety service. Vote for tax cuts but never ask where are those cuts are funded from!

            Yes we could have a far superior public transport system but we’ve got the shitter we have because no one holds anyone to account for the system we have, in fact criticizing our bus based PT system on this forum is so not the done thing and yet it celebrates the fact ridership hits 5% of the travelling public on our supremely unattractive PT system. So guess what, the car is king!

            As per this subject Huapai has virtually no PT and none worth using and it is a satellite town of many we are now building using access roads never intended for the volume of traffic we see today.

          5. @ Waspman. Getting a proper passenger service going on the NAL would be a good start for Huapai. The alternative of no PT-improvement-any-time-soon simply sends the message that encouraging people to use PT is mere lip-service.

  7. The gyratory is an appalling waste of space and money. Matt’s simple cross roads and new bridge is simple and could be mostly built without disrupting existing traffic. Well done for calling this out.

  8. Build the bypass first (limited access). Could be 2 lane road. Include a bypass of Waimauku while you’re at it. Then come back and look at ‘old’ SH16 once traffic volumes have dropped and make it a more people focussed place. Stop with the band aid ideas.

    1. I agree, a 2 lane bypass with limited access/intersections (motorway like) then drop the speed limit on the existing road. Subdivisions connected to the existing road network only.
      That gyratory is terrible, understandable why NZTA kicked it to touch.
      The rail is a useful connection, not everyone wants to access the CBD, Henderson would be a short trip.

  9. The bypass fails to adequately address the traffic flowing down from the North through Riverhead Forest using Old North Road. This is not coming from Helensville and trying to avoid the Waimauku roundabout but further east over Peak Rd from Kaukapakapa and environs. Currently all this North Wets traffic bunches up at the Riverhead turnoff with is a c-f from well before 6am any weekday.

  10. The Austroads Review said that design for the vulnerable road user needs to be at the starting point of each design.

    AT say that Safety is their Top Priority. And Mode Shift is supposed to be important too.

    Yet they still produce designs that have the vulnerable road user as an afterthought. This is a great example of the new priorities being utterly ignored.

  11. I dunno about all this. Yes, it may be a fairly dis-used railway at present, but at least the current road goes over the top. Introducing any kind of new, street-level pedestrian and road crossings of the rail tracks seems a very limiting move to me. I’d advocate working with the contours that exist to make sure that grade separation continues…

    Matt’s comments about no thought for pedestrians trying to cross the nightmare roundabout are bang on. Huapei used to be a lovely small village, very pedestrian friendly. Risks being riven into 4 impassable quarters with this scheme. Needs to retain its ped-friendly atmosphere by designing for people walking as the primary objective. 4WD traffic and cricket (thanks Miffy!) come second.

  12. The feedback I got at the community consultation day, about the Access Rd intersection, was that the complex signalling required to get, for example, a long B-train truck across the tracks and through the intersection without being trapped on the line. Personally I can’t see why the Access Rd lights can’t be shifted back over the tracks and adjust the phasing to achieve the outcome.

  13. If they do the SH16 bypass none of these will even be required. (Even the 70 million improvements scheduled now)They have allowed shop construction (10 extra pizza restaurants etc) on the existing SH16 areas that were designated previously for road widening as they backed the bypass. Now bypass is 10 years away. Learn from Penlink just get some Chinese in and do it as a toll road or whatever.

  14. Oh, don’t I love it. Look at the top right of the first plan for the gyratory! There’s a note saying “Uncontrolled crossing point” (over two slip lanes with 2 lanes each).

    ZeroVision

  15. The gyratory also has some really, really basic design issues – such as, despite the fact that they are using oodles of land, they are mashing the footpaths / shared paths (sigh) right hard against the kerb of a multi-lane road. For gods sake, if you are using so much space already, why not have 1-2m grass between the footpath and the road to make it somewhat less unpleasant to walk there?

    1. It’s not Vision Zero. It’s not Sustainable Safety. It doesn’t meet the goals of the Governmental Policy Statement, the Auckland Plan, or follow the RASF.

      Why are we having to fight so hard?

      1. ‘Why are we having to fight so hard?’

        Are we? And I mean that with the upmost respect for you guys, I have no idea what is going on in the background in terms of protestation, appealing or submitting feedback etc. This wonderful blog is sometimes a case of ‘preaching to the converted’ whilst the likes of Dan Bidios, an elected MP, stands out with his megaphone on the streets of Northcote giving out bad advice and people listen as they voted him in.

        My point is, responses like Bogles around ‘please build it’ come from locals that aren’t piecing together the puzzle. How do ‘we’ get the right people to listen etc.

        Just an observation not to be taken the wrong way, I know you all do amazing work here and out in the community, I was simply wondering what is/can be done? 🙂

        1. It’s not just GA who are working hard. There are many advocacy groups. There are also many good staff in each organisation – NZTA, AT, MoT, the freight companies, the AA – working hard to shift things.

          I see people giving up weekends and evenings, on submissions, analysis, redesign suggestions, reference groups and liaison groups, community networking and advocacy, presenting at boards and industry meetings.

          You’ve hit the nail on the head with what the big next step must be: a campaign to the public to encourage them to see that the problems we all face – whether danger as a pedestrian or cyclist, congestion as a driver, lack of job options within cooey of home, or exhaustion as a taxi driver parent, or restriction as a child – stem from the same cause.

          We’re in this together – and I do wish Bogle would get that.

          1. @Joe, I think I have pieced together the puzzle. I do support and when possible use PT in Auckland and strive to not use my car unless absolutely necessary. I have even upgraded to an electric vehicle. I support this bypass scheme because it’s pointless to consider non existent PT as an alternative for commuting from NW Auckland. So I support this nzta road upgrade as it may at least divert some traffic from Kumeu.
            @Heidi, GA may be working hard elsewhere but from what I have read they oppose use of the HR line in Kumeu. As for all those other agencies you list, they do nothing to support better PT to Kumeu/Huapai. This nzta Road scheme is the first to support NW road commuters. We will take this as it’s all we are likely to get for the next 20 years.
            Nzta, AT, AC have no PT to offer.

          2. Bogle your response (on this blog) is rational. If there simply is no plan to provide PT in anything but the indeterminate long-term, and the one thing that could be done in the short term (utilizing the unused HR line) is eschewed by most including many on this blog, why not do the unthinkable (on this blog) and voice support for highway improvements! I doubt this is your real preference but you effectively throw down the gauntlet to the eschewers to come up with some other quickly-implementable PT plan that could perhaps avert the perceived need for all this roading. Every time I read your words in apparent support of improving the roads, I hear your real voice behind them that says No Way Hosé, and Wake-Up NZTA, AT and GA to what we should be doing with that railway now!

          3. I must be more transparent than I realised
            Still, my optimism is not yet completely blunted, I still aspire to be a PT and active modes rightfighter (like Heidi) so I will attend this afternoon’s transport public meeting in the fond hope that our esteemed Transport minister will see his way to make about 0.03% of the $28billion earmarked for Auckland transport, to enable a rail shuttle to Huapai within this term of his government.

          4. Bogle, you need to read that whole article. Orsman is the only one saying that NW LRT will be postponed/cancelled.

          5. You are right, it doesn’t take away the fact that I heard the Transport minister say the NW LR may not be funded and a final decision on this would be made in near future. He qualified this by stating there was limited funding available.
            I made mpeg of his talk at Labour meeting Saturday, I just need to figure getting it from format on my Nikon d610 camera to a file on my laptop. The laptop doesn’t seem to recognise or play the sd card file.

          6. I’m really happy to have a minister who respects the business case process and isn’t just ramming RoNS through for the sake of it.

  16. Why can’t Auckland Council properly provide transport to new areas? There’s a rail line that goes right through Huapai – why not just put in a proper transit station? Yesterday I happened to be in Millwater, another large new housing area to the north, and there was no transit station to be seen.

    I think it’s time that Auckland Council thought about coordinating public transport infrastructure with urban development, rather than just planning more and more traffic volumes and carbon emissions.

    1. You’re looking at the legacy of the last government’s big roads no PT approach to development. They coordinated all this land use with transport, just only road transport.

      Auckland Council/AT have extensive plans for transit to the likes of Millwater, the busway extension has been planned over ten years ago. The problem is that AT don’t and can’t fund these things, that money comes from the government.

      Let’s hope the new government starts delivering soon, but it takes longer than 18 months to fix up a decade of bad transport policy.

  17. I had some concerns about the convoluted design of the gyratory. AT’s reply –

    “Thank you for contacting us regarding the concept drawings for the new road layout and gyratory for the Station Road, Tapu Road and SH16 intersection in Huapai.

    You suggest a standard cross roads to link Tapu and Station Roads and SH16. This was, in fact, the original option but for a variety of reasons it was not possible.

    There is a railway bridge on the main highway between Tapu and Station Roads and we would have had to widen this. If we had done so, KiwiRail we would have required us to raise the bridge by nearly two metres (to allow for electrification sometime in the future). The eastern approach ramp would then have been higher than the existing level of SH16 and Tapu Road. The greater height therefore, would have also required raising Tapu Road at its southern end and also raising the new alignment proposed for Station Road (so that it could meet SH16 opposite Tapu Road to form the cross roads).

    The impact on properties and all the extra costs that this would entail, were unacceptable when the gyratory could be built for the existing budgeted costs.

    So, although it doesn’t seem at first appearance to be the most straightforward solution, we exhausted every possibility for building a cross roads before turning to the gyratory solution.

    We understand you feel this will be inconvenient, however we believe this will be no more inconvenient than is the case with any other roundabout. Certainly it will be better than the current situation where at times, it is almost impossible for traffic in both Tapu and Station Roads to join SH16 let alone do it safely.

    We appreciate you taking the time to review the concept designs and provide feedback on this project.”

    1. Did anyone examine lowering the rail line instead? Especially if there is to be multi-tracking and electrification work there? I am not familiar with grades… and appreciate 2m is significant, but I assume AT asked KR that question… maybe cheaper to offer to help fund that in the future…?

  18. The conclusions the author has drawn are understandable without understanding the background – which I see has been provided to someone else above and AT could have provided if asked.

    The history of this project dates back to the rushed Special Housing Area policy of the previous government which wished to be seen to be doing something about the ‘housing crisis’. Despite the objections of Auckland Transport at the time, mainly around the poor connectivity and complete detachment from the existing structure plan, this was rushed through because the minister needed to be able to stand on a hillside and be seen to be taking action. Fast forward to today and barely 160 of the planned 1200 houses has actually been built and Council is left trying to shoehorn infrastructure into a space that it wasn’t planned for. ‘Marry in haste, repent at Leisure’ they say, so it is with this.

    The project started out as a simple $6-8 million intersection realignment, much like the drawing the author has done, and rapidly ballooned out to $40 million as design work progressed. NZTA and Kiwi Rail added in a number of requirements around future proofing and the killer was Kiwi Rail’s requirement provision for three tracks and electrification, which required the bridge to be raised considerably and would have seen huge ramps on either side and a whole bunch of obvious issues with the entrance to the park, building access etc. The costs continued to rise far outstripping any contribution from the developer that was locked in during the SHA process.

    In the end it was back to the drawing board and a work around the Kiwi Rail requirements which gives us what we now have. Something that doesn’t trigger the bridge changes and can be built without major disruption to SH16 traffic, remembering that NZTA’s Safe Road program kicks off this year and will see disruption to traffic from 2019-2021.

    All of this could have been avoided if Government didn’t feel the need to override local council planning. Not only did SHA’s not solve the ‘housing crisis’ but it created the sort of infrastructure mess we now see and a huge bill for ratepayers. I doubt any lessons will be learned because successive governments have been tempted to rush things through for the sake of political expediency, this government’s attempts have been no better.

    1. Yes, if there’s anything worse than greenfields development, it’s terribly poorly planned greenfields development.

      So throughout Auckland we will pay – with increased deaths and serious injury from the increased travel, with increased costs of safety projects throughout the city due to that increased travel making them all so much harder, and with the costs of hideous projects like this.

      We need a moratorium on greenfields development so all the focus and infrastructure spend goes on developing the existing urban area, which in so many ways, is failing to provide the safe, sustainable, healthy environment we should be able to expect.

      1. Heidi, this is not the first time you have posted about stopping greenfield development. Have you come up with a safety valve to take pressure off already stupid land prices, or do increased housing costs throughout the region not count for some reason?

        1. I’d turn that question around, Buttwizard. Have you come up with a way to stop the huge increase in cost of dwellings and cost of living that results from this obsession with sprawl and the roads that it requires?

          We know roads are costing much more than any other land transport mode (in contrast, cycling, walking and public transport all give a return on investment).

          We know that people are wanting to live more centrally, and that people-friendly developments that don’t waste money and space on car infrastructure can be delivered at a considerably lower price per dwelling than developments that are based around the car.

          We know that Council is spending enormous amounts of money on infrastructure for these greenfields areas that should be being used in the isthmus to enable brownfields development.

          Mainstream economists are ignoring the costs of the environmental catastrophe and the costs of the social and psychological problems that greenfields development is causing. They are ignoring the climate change costs.

          Why would you think these costs don’t end up on the householder?

          1. The main problem you have Heidi is the people living centrally don’t want any one else living centrally once they’ve moved in. Ergo the greenfield developments become literally the only options for people. It’s either that or pay massively higher rents, house prices, put off having families, spend hours longer in traffic, etc, but we’ve somehow managed to get both! Lucky us. Meanwhile, the inner city bits with multiple bus routes don’t intensify at all, or even worse, get protected as if they are some sort of ideal, and places 20km out like Hobsonville go in at a model level of density but with minimal transport connections at all.

            And to be honest, after paying the real world costs imposed on me in today’s dollars by all this, I don’t take too kindly to people with much higher disposable incomes who have pulled the ladder up behind them in terms of lifestyle telling me that I’m not considering climate change or what have you. What about the costs of leaving it later to have families because you couldn’t make ends meet today, as opposed to the cost of a 50cm sea level rise over the next 80 years? It’s not to say we can’t do both, but the concerns of young people don’t start and end with lofty environmental aspirations.

          2. I understand that, Buttwizard. But these concerns are not lofty, and they are grounded in the concern that I have for my nearly-adult kids too.

            What do you reckon about this one: https://twitter.com/tina_plunkett/status/1112559040582705152?s=19

            I think there are some serious problems to overcome, and many stem from people in council and government not having a clue, and people in the road construction lobby feeding them with dodgy Neolib economics about land supply.

          3. I’m more concerned about costs of living being so high that I’m yet to start a family past the age that my parents had my youngest sibling.

            Tangible, actual consequences of housing supply issues today. Potentially pushing housing even further out reach just to make a point about sprawl does not sit well with me, but I don’t have a campaign behind me like climate activists or environmental groups 😉

          4. Heidi, I live on a quarter acre section in a 3-bedroom house. It’s QV is $79,000.

            Every other house in my street is under $100,000.

            That’s the result of land and housing supply exceeding demand.

            Auckland’s days of affordable housing are finished. Permanently. Arguments between building up or building out are pointless now, they merely push the high prices around a bit, but don’t result in affordability.

            Auckland’s housing crisis will never be solved because nobody wants to talk about its cause which is quite simply that external immigration into Auckland exceeds infrastructure and housing capacity and supply, and will do so until external immigration is capped to current capacity and supply, whatever that may be.

          5. Given our hospitals are heavily dependent on external immigration I’m not sure capping immigration is really a wise idea with our ageing population.

            How easy did you find getting a job in Taumarunui?

          6. All that tells you is there is no demand to live in taumaranui.

            If Auckland was a falling economy with a declining population it would have very cheap housing too.

  19. ‘The main problem you have Heidi is the people living centrally don’t want any one else living centrally once they’ve moved in. Ergo the greenfield developments become literally the only options for people.’

    Nonsense.

    The main problem is regulation that prevents or limits building up (not the wishes of the people), and subsidies for sprawl that tilt the playing field to make it look like it is the people’s choice… The single most destructive human activity; sprawl.

    1. I can’t think of many other places in the world where a 1 storey, single dwelling limit sits on multiple inner city Suburbs. Of course there will be people that do not want others living centrally with them, NIMBYs exist all across the globe, but should we really bow to them so much that it’s their voice or no voice? If SOME of those limits on those suburbs (a suburb I live in btw) to allow an increase in Brownfield development we could then say to NIMBYs if you want the quarter acre and the tramp in the backyard, then like anyone else living in a Major City that is trying to compete internationally, you’re going to have to move outwards.

      I see 100s of articles or policies on removing Urban Boundary to free up land and remove land value pressure, I never see the same for the Brownfield constraints we have (along with viewshaft protection).

      We need to free up both.

      1. Sprawl is climate change denial and as to stop.
        Sprawl is unaffordable crippling and has to stop.

        Land speculation has many powerful friends. And they love to conflate dwelling supply with land supply. This is a false conflation. Yes what’s we’ve always done, but now is the time it needs to stop.

        How to do it? Simply stop subsidising it. Fully stop subsidising it.

        1. Again, given we can’t supply enough houses to people with the money who are desperate to buy them at the moment, what is going to suddenly change if you just “stop subsiding sprawl”?

          Limiting sprawl is one thing, but the market is going to put house prices and rents up faster than new housing can be built. It’s exactly how we got into this mess in the first place. I mean it’s all well and good to make a stand about something, but people’s lives and standards of living aren’t acceptable collateral damage.

          1. Stop subsidising sprawl, stop excessive restriction of building in existing urban areas; they are two sides of the same coin.

          2. Hmm. I can remember that exact conversation about the Unitary Plan.

            — We have to lift those restrictions, we have a housing crisis.
            — No.
            — But thousands more people will go homeless! Many more are living in mouldy sheds!
            — We don’t care. (or to paraphrase the exact words used: “oh, boo hoo”)

            Judging from how the Unitary Plan turned out that is a majority view.

            “stop excessive restriction of building in existing urban areas” → in theory, good, in practice we do not have that option.

          3. It’s also not helpful when the Council goes to war with, say, Glendowie over density when there are almost literally no bus services on weekends/off peak but ignores the suburbs with Link buses running through them that get a free pass on intensification because ‘character’ or ‘aesthetic’.

            It’s great for being able to say “but the public doesn’t want density!” when it was never even on the cards for the places that actually have the transport links to support it.

          4. Bus services can be changed pretty quickly if density starts springing up around Glendowie. Also I’d say density around the Link route is considerably higher already than Glendowie.

            Agree though, density should be allowed across the board, we’re a growing city not a living museum.

          5. They did change the bus services in Glendowie – there’s less of them under the New Network than there was under the old one. Meanwhile, Dominion Road is getting Light Rail but developments on Dominion Road can’t get planning permission.

            But sure, taking Council services away from people who pay absolutely massive rates AND THEN telling them they have to accommodate a bigger increase in density than inner city suburbs is a real great strategy to generate buy-in. I can’t imagine why that didn’t work.

    2. Well…

      We have a “heritage zone” right there in Grey Lynn, and rumour goes it is there for that exact reason — excluding as many people as possible.

      Maybe you remember reading on this very blog how easy it was for Cohaus had to get a few townhouses approved.

      So then where did you think those regulations come from? And why?

  20. Of course Huapai trains is the one and only component of the 10-point 2006-2016 Auckland Rail Development Plan not completed. We were told the New Network was better value for money. That was introduced and of course did nothing at all to make PT more attractive.

    It’s apt you point out the urban development. What you didn’t point out was that developers who wanted to build transit-orientated developments around the railway station at Huapai walked away after AT announced the ditching of the rail plan. 100% road-orientated development has occured as a result.

    You reap what you so, and anyone against Huapai rail, even as an interim solution before light rail is built, must accept responsibility for the roads-fest underway there.

    One bright spot on the horizon is NZ First’s plan for the railway upgrade. It includes putting in place the necessary infrastructure for suburban trains to Huapai, including daylighting the Waitakere tunnel and upgrading station facilities at Waitakere and Huapai. It can’t come soon enough.

    1. A once an hour shuttle from huapai to Swanson wouldn’t mean a tin of shit for traffic on state highway 16 or the clamor to build a big intersection in the middle of town. You guys are delusional.

      And as for the New Network doing “nothing at all to make PT more attractive”, it’s now carrying 30% more people each day. So obviously it’s considerably more attractive.

      1. Ok, so you oppose using the existing rail and support cars on roads commuting for the forseeable future for Huapai. Are you one of these delusional people that think the solution to today’s SH16 congestion is a 10-20 year in the future light rail?

        1. No light rail won’t fix congestion either. Public transport doesn’t do anything for congestion. This is the delusion: that somehow a train over there is going to reduce driving.

          Northern busway hasn’t taken a single car off the northern motorway, southern motorway is still just as contested despite record train use.

          If you want to avoid more traffic on SH16, start by not making it bigger. The gyratory will be congestion central.

          1. Nick I understand your point but you overstate it.

            I can support this:

            ‘southern motorway is still just as contested despite record train use’

            This is true; however the m’way is more functional than it would have been, and of course the whole system moves many more people and goods more efficiency than it would otherwise.

            But not this:

            ‘Northern busway hasn’t taken a single car off the northern motorway’

            This is simply not true. There are absolutely fewer drivers attempting to drive because they are on the bus.

            But your main point, that the success of the alternative route simply enables other driving is (in a thriving city) is well understood and described via the Nash Equilibrium.

          2. That’s not quite correct Patrick, there may be more people who have wanted to drive and now catch the bus because the road is full, but the simple fact is there are no fewer cars on the motorway today than there were ten years ago. Traffic has not been removed.

            It is an important but nuanced point. I’m not talking about what might have happened, I’m responding to Bogle expecting trains to be, and I quote directly, “solution to today’s SH16 congestion”

            People expecting traffic conditions to *get better than they are today* if we put in some PT system are deluded, it doesn’t happen. Of course with the PT the transport system is better overall, people can travel faster, have options. But traffic isn’t going to be less.

          3. Northern motorway has several factors at play. I lived at Constellation Drive in 1994. I don’t think congestion from there to the city is much worse today than it was back then. I might stretch over a longer period of time. The busway has been amazing. Of note, there is more traffic using the SH18 route now too so that will account for some of the lack of major increase.

          4. Has the Northern Busway reduced the amount of traffic that would of been “forced” to go earlier or later outside of the worst of the peak? I’m sure the Southern Motorway would be busier throughout the day anyway as people avoid the peaks when possible. It must get to the point where people only put up with so much “slowness”, toxic fumes & unreliability for that matter in a vehicle journey. I think that’s what we can think of as “congestion” in layman’s terms anyway, that peak & the length of time of it.

  21. For those of us who want trains to Huapai there is a public meeting Saturday 6th April commencing 2pm in the Waitakere Council Chambers. Topic Getting West Auckland Moving, a public workshop on 21st century transport system for the west.
    An opportunity to hear Phil Twyford, Minister of Transport

    1. Just left this Labour Party public meeting. Interesting to say the least but precious little concerning any short or medium term plans to significantly improve PT for NW Auckland.
      After the Transport minister opened with a short troop rallying speech and assuring us all he was well aware of transport problems with NW Auckland he handed over to GA’s Matt.
      Matt did ok presenting mostly boiler plate stuff, looked at Seattle transport and talked around various bar charts and graphs. He clearly stated his (GAs) opinion when questioned about the HR to Huapai answering with the same old and unproven “facts” that nobody would use it, it’s a sunk cost and takes too long to get to cbd, the route is circuitous and it would not deliver pax to where they want go.
      Next was an AT transport geek who lathered on about how great LR was a and on and on.
      This is where the meeting got interesting. Asked by a female councillor when this NW LR could be expected the geek fluffed about without answering. The minister jumped and again extolled how much work the govt was doing on LR without actually answering the question. The frustration level of the audience was growing. The minister stated that although the LR was being seriously worked on there may actually not be a NW LR due to lack of money since priority would be given to the SW to Airport LR. The audience gasped. Jesus wept.
      Then what for me the highlight. An Irish accented guy asked if he heard correctly when the geek said we could look at Auckland in 30 years and see the completed LR system. So Irish asked if this was really a Tomorrowland rail system and would most of the audience be long gone (dead) by the time NW LR was built. After much hoots of laughter the MP for New Lynn acting as minister’s bulldog shut down Irish before he could asked his proper question. His error was in stating the minister didn’t exactly inspire confidence there would be any timely PT for the NW.
      Even funnier a gent on other side of room jumped up with furledup plans for West Auckland rapid transport from over 40 years ago and told Irish not to be surprised at waiting on tomorrow land PT, successive govts had already been there.
      The minister was clearly unsettled and over shoulder assured various audience members that NW LR would be operational with 10 years. I heard someone mumble that the PM had promised 4 years… I look forward to Matt’s impending post

          1. Yes he said within 10 years, over his shoulder when many of the audience were a gasp at the nzta geeks non response to the 30 year comment.
            But, but but you didn’t miss theminister saying NW LR might not happen because of insufficient funds and that decision is still pending, did you?

          2. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12220122

            Someone should tell the Minister then.

            “”It’s only a contingency. If we weren’t able to fund and finance it, there are many, many calls on the transport purse, then with that corridor (to west Auckland) we would need to look at some other options. It could be bus rapid transit or other things,” he said.”

            Because to me it sure sounds like he’s preparing to back away from LRT to the North West. You know, the area accomodating thousands of new houses when it already takes over an hour to get from the CBD to Westgate.

            At what point do you start talking about stealing elections?

          3. The 2017 election had nothing to do with LR to the NW and the 2020 one probably won’t either, there was no election stealing going on.

            Agree though, I get sick of political parties of all colours promising things they don’t deliver.

        1. Yes Heidi, it was the most entertaining afternoon I have had for ages. I don’t think that meeting went the way the minister of Transport or any of his expert panelexpected it to go. Absolutely nothing was resolved or meaningful answers provided concerning any partial solution for NW rapid transit.
          Shame on the bloody lot of them, they should have had the gumption to front up honestly instead of faffing about, doing their best to obfuscate and pretend they were even slightly interested in doing more than nothing.
          I’m not sure if the Irish guy was one of the PTUA people but it was obvious he wasn’t fooled by the light rail bs.

      1. Should have read this before adding the Heralds article below.

        That’s is one of the best if not worst examples of a broken promise I ever did see. A pure lie. Who can trust them?

        Twyford deserves to lose his seat in Parliament and he now needs to consider he will likely take his government with him.

        The trouble is the alternative, Nationals motorways to the sky.

        1. What I want to know is how long this has been on the table. The business case from NZTA is months late. There has been almost zero comms. We have heard nothing about the NW line, just the SW. And now we are being soft-sold the idea of buses instead of what was promised.

          Was this ever really a serious proposal? Have AT/voters/Westies been sold a pup? I sure as hell feel like I’ve been taken for a ride, and not the type of ride I wanted!

  22. Looking at the big picture in hindsight, it’s basically like they shouldn’t of planned to build the Special Housing Area to start with at all, well certainly not on southern side of the tracks due to the cost of this for 1,200 houses. They didn’t think or investigate the details of this complication of the intersection back then.

    1. The Special Housing Areas policy has been terrible; it has delivered no serious additional quantity of dwellings, and has seriously messed with the ability to deiliver infrastructure in a rational sequenced way by focussing on leap-frog sprawl… previous govt’s irrational loathing of planning, and only considering dwelling supply through a land speculation lens. Two big mistakes.

      1. I wouldn’t blame National for it. All the SHA’s did was make the Unitary Plan rules apply and who came up with that?

    1. This is an absolute scandal. There should be no further development in the North West quarter until Twyford can confirm whether it ever will get rapid transit. If not, then they need to find some other place for the thousands of new homes going in Massey/Westgate, because there simply isn’t the transport network to support them.

      1. A standard Orsman beat-up, and as is usually the case he misidentifies the core issue. There’s was no hint of a policy change from the minister at the meeting (I was there, Bernard was not, so he’s working off second hand accounts), but as we have covered a great deal here, there is some profound difficulty in getting NZTA to get going on this policy…

        1. Assuming he did not make those quotes up, they are the sole actual indication we have of any progress on NW LRT; that is to say, there likely won’t be any.

          The developers out West aren’t downing tools while we find out what’s actually happening; those new houses are going in no matter what.

        2. Sorry Patrick you got that wrong. I was at the meeting and the minister stated very clearly that there was the possibility the NW light rail would not proceed as there may be insufficient funds to do so, priority would be given to the Mangere LR. The govt would soon be making a decision on this.
          This time Orsman got it right. The core issue is that NW rapid transit is a myth, Tomorrowland rail looks more future likely than LR.

          1. “Obviously money does not grow on trees,” Twyford told the Herald.

            Unless that is taken way out of context that is one hell of an arrogant dismissive comment to make for a man whose party promised voters in 2017 LRT to West Auckland only to double down on it even further by adding Huapai.

          2. I reckon the weekend’s meeting must surely be the overture to a whole lot of transparent communications from the Minister in which all the work to date is laid out and the decisions that have been made are explained – rationally, concisely, and accountably.

          3. All rapid transit is a myth, until it’s actually being built… and even then that doesn’t guarantee it’s finished.

            The CRL was exactly the same until they started, and it’s still not guaranteed it will be finished.

            What Twyford has said is that the Mangere line is first priority, which has clearly been signalled since ATAP was published. Both lines are still a myth, along with north shore rail, the botany to airport line, the third main, the regional rail, etc etc.

          4. There’s been some very contradictory commentary on this meeting. On the radio news yesterday I heard mention that the majority of the audience were in support of trams not trains to the NW.

          5. Bogle you are again conveniently leaving off ‘in this decade’ and ‘may not’ as i pointed out to you above was the context of the ministers words, which you acknowledged. At no point did he say ‘LR would not proceed’ you’re really making shit up now.

            I know it is an object of faith for NW rail obsessives that stopping LR light Rail somehow means you’ll get a passenger service past Swanson sooner. There is no evidence for that.

            Piling rocks in front of one RT line will not make another more likely. For the NW and that does mean an SH16 aligned route it is between LR and Rapid bus, or most likely a staged LR with Rapid bus preceding it. It is an additional route to the western Rail line, not instead of it.

            If or when the upgrade of the NAL occurs for freight biz, and especially if that includes multi-tracking and electrification, then I’m sure we’ll get Metro services extending beyond Swanson, and that will be great. But it is a mistake to think by attacking the NW RT route that that future will be in anyway sped up. They are different routes serving different purposes.

            It’s like the strategy here is to oppose the Southern Line in order to get the Eastern; it’s daft.

            You may be obsessed with one kind of service on one route, where as the actual task is to build an entire city wide Rapid Transit Network, and that includes understanding opportunity costs, priorities, balance, and timing. Not just focussing on a favourite type of vehicle.

          6. Buttiwiz: I entirely agree. The SHAs out there are a disaster of unplanned development. We are doing far too much sprawl in every direction and simply cannot provide the necessary infrastructure in every direction at once, especially as we are still playing catch up on the previous half century of failure to provide it across the whole city… and not just transport/

          7. I have a feeling that interim BRT will turn into permanent BRT like with AMETI – after all, “money doesn’t grow on trees” logic would surely still apply.

            As for the SHAs, I feel Hobsonville really achieved something that the rest of the City has tried to ignore, mostly because they could just push additional intensification out west. Of course, suddenly when it comes to servicing the area actually shouldering the bulk of new housing, we get this fiscal cheek-tightening that was nowhere to be seen when people were trying to get elected.

          8. BW – it would depend on ridership. The Northern busway won’t be a busway forever simply due to capacity constraints, I would expect the NW to go the same way eventually.

            The Eastern busway has a smaller catchment than either of these and doesn’t run into the CBD so won’t face the same capacity constraints.

          9. Patrick, You misunderstand me again. Let me state again that I fully support and want Light rail to Kumeu. I WANT LIGHT RAIL IN AUCKLAND AND I WANT LIGHT RAIL TO KUMEU.
            However, it now looks quite certain the Transport minister is posturing himself and preparing everyone else for the cancelling or forward planning into Tomorrowland timeframe the Kumeu Light rail.
            I want to be wrong, I hope I am wrong, please please use all the GA influence with govt and Transport minister to make me completely wrong.
            I want LR to Kumeu even if it takes 10 years.
            Having stated that there is this little niggling thought I have that 30years for LR to Kumeu might be somewhat optimistic.

          10. Why on Earth would we do an interim BRT if wanting to ‘save’ money, if we have learnt anything in PT in Auckland surely the takeaway is to do it right first time? Literally costs more to do BRT then LRT, especially if we have the skills and resources already in Country building an LRT line?

            With comments like ‘money doesn’t grow on tree’s’ is this more of a political statement? Putting pressure on others? Also, what are the Fuel Taxes for again????

          11. BW. No. The Eastern Busway is a Busway, and for good reason, it doesn’t have a city centre access issue; CRL does that via Panmure, it doesn’t have a RoW width issue as everything’s wider out there, or property has been acquired to accomodate it.

            The NW will be LR as this is the only way it can use Queen St to access the city: we can neither add another line into the CRL nor a new RT volume of buses on city streets, nor is building, somewhere, an underground bus station any cheaper nor certainly better. It is the only viable strategy, getting there is the problem.

            The speakers on the weekend were very gentle on nzta’s previous future squeezing behaviour on the NW corridor. We should, right now have stations at Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, (these were/are all designed and ready to go) better bus priority on the SH, and simply be discussing the upgrade to LR timing and process. The m’way maniacs of the previous govt and agency have set us back years here. Is disgraceful.

          12. Unless GA can shed any light on what is effectively the only update we’ve had on the NW LRT project, then I’m not really sure what the future holds for NW and whether life out there is sustainable. I only have so many hours in a day I can spend commuting, and my current situation was at least tempered by ‘at least there’ll be LRT soon enough’.

          13. That is most definitely the plan. The Northwestern should have a light rail system so they will get a bus way to make it hard to ever have light rail there in the future. Dominion Rd works well as bus lanes so they will knock down every heritage building and build a light rail system there.
            “And ‘buses on the sea you’ll meet,
            While pleasure boats are planned
            To travel up and down the streets
            Of Topsy-Turvy Land.”
            H.E Wilkinson

          14. There must be an interim solution- something as ‘easy” as taking a car lane off the motorway and calling it a bus lane ( a few signs etc). At the moment we are getting new residents into a habit of driving as there is no alternative- breaking the habit is hard. Google showed a trip on the weekend from Te Atatu to the NW Shopping mall as 11 mins by car, 40 mins by bicycle, 1 hr 22 by bus.

        3. Boggle I can only comment on what you write here. And it lines up with the strategy of small band of frantic foamers who have set themselves the task of trying to discredit LR, disingenuously, for reasons that only they can explain.

          That this behaviour aligns them with the motorway-only traditionalists is bewildering to me, as they claim to support PT. And even have some vision of what AKL needs in 2050 (though any actual thorough description of that vision is vanishingly absent).

          The last position of opposition to change is always to claim ‘it won’t happen’ this is used once all other arguments have failed. Is tremendously daft, and unhelpful, as all these things are so hard to get funded and built…

          1. I am not a frantic foamier. I am an Huapai resident who has had enough of the abysmal lack of decent PT and the SH16 congestion. I did take some comfort in this new govt and the prime minister,no less, promising LR on Queen toDominion in 4 years and the NW LR to Kumeu in 10 years. It still completely dumbfounds me that for the sake of a few $mn the existing heavy rail line from Huapai toSwanson cannot be brought into use. A 20 minute DMU schedule shuttle could potentially move 400 commuters per hour between Huapai and Swanson. It wouldn’t cure SH16 congestion but could ease it for over 1000 commuters every morning rush hour.
            It further disappoints me that GA appear to support an LR-only-in-distant-future for NW when the HR could be done in a year or so. .
            And BTW if the DMUs ain’t available or it’s too expensive to refurb those in Henderson yard then spending $400k per traction battery for a couple of those new and spare EMUs is looking good – spare because they are not going to be used on the Pukekohe line until the wires are up.

          2. Lol – 400 per hour. That would be a staggering proportion of Kumeu’s population using the train each hour. Pukekohe has a much bigger population and a fraction of that amount use the train each hour.

            The new EMU’s are not spare, they are for increasing the fleet so all trains (except Onehunga) can run with 6 carriages.

          3. The issue here is that running a rail service is not of insignificant cost just cos some track exists. Rail is very expensive to simply operate, quite apart from building any amenity to allow it.

            So much is against such a service being a good use of funds; the disbursed landuse, low population, orientation of the route (ie away from demand), and the location and state of the stations.

            Our agencies have to add up the costs, balance them against the benefits and make decisions about where to target scare funds.

            Any analysis would conclude, as they have, spending that money on a really frequent and direct bus service is way better than an occasional and empty diesel shuttler to Swanson. And that’s what there should be while we wait for that bus to become LR.

            It is appalling that more and more (auto-dependent) homes are being built on this rural fringe without a decent RT service existing. Todd Niall’s descriptions of his commute are shocking.

            But, by jumping straight to insistence that the answer must be a train doesn’t actually help.

            Eventually I’m sure there will be passenger services here but only once the area is much more urbanised and the line is massively upgraded by other funds, but even then the frequencies will likely disappoint and the ridership too…

            There is a possibility of the southern diesels coming up north once the line to Puke is electrified, but still what is really needed is a way better bus service on the NW.

          4. Jezza, ‘potential’ 400 an hour. Take a look sometime at the SH16 traffic in and around Kumeu
            I doubt all of it is just from Huapai/Kumeu residents. Get that P&R and K&R sorted at Huapai and again at Waitakere station then with inducing patronage from the much wider area of each station especially sh16 commuters fed up with the congestion then I could see this number of pax increasing reasonably quickly.
            With an almost minuscule investment to get this going it’s just silly not to do it.
            As for the new tranche of EMUs. They are NOT all needed to have 6 car trains everywhere, look back at the GA posts and you will see they were also intended for use on the Pak to Puke line ergo those spare emus could become bemus and used on line to Huapai.

          5. Bogle – the same arguments apply for Pukekohe, it has a surrounding catchment also and traffic is just as bad to the south of Auckland, yet Pukekohe has nowhere near 400 passengers per hour.

            15 new EMUs were needed to increase all trains to 6-car, with two more needed to run to Pukekohe. My understanding is that they only ordered 15 more in the end but even if I’m wrong a couple of BEMU’s are of no use for Kumeu.

            They would likely need to sit at Swanson for around an hour while charging to then do a 30-40 min return trip to Kumeu. At very best you would be able to offer a train every 45-mins, that’s going to do bugger all for congestion if people’s travel times don’t suit one of those services.

          6. Jezza, a little thought on bemu and Huapai. Just two bemu in peak would make a significant commuter service. Have them stabled at Henderson overnight then run one right out to Huapai parked there 10 minutes for 7am start then run to Swanson, stopping at Waitakere, at Swanson join on rear of normal emu already parked there and set off as normal train to Britomart. 2nd bemu to Huapai for 7.30am, repeat to Britomarton back of normal emu. Batteries fully charged as bemu still has pantograph of overhead power.
            Those 2 trains, 3 cars each has potential to take several hundred commuters away from sh16 ang greater Kumeu + Waitakere surrounds.
            If needed then outward bemus could run to Huapai for daytime service.
            I bet Transdev could easily manage this.
            Are you saying none of the new tranche of emus is earmarked for the Pak-Puke run?

          7. ‘Are you saying none of the new tranche of emus is earmarked for the Pak-Puke run?’ – That’s my understanding, I assume they will purchase the extras required for this run as part of the next tranche, which will be needed for the CRL opening.

            I’m guessing that BEMU’s would be an issue in the Waitakere tunnel, both with the fire risk associated with the battery and also the space it takes on the roof. If the tunnel requires daylighting then this is no longer a simple operation that could be up and running tomorrow. A BRT solution using NW Motorway shoulders could probably be up and running in a similar timeframe.

          8. Jezza, you could be correct but I understood the order for new EMUs was between 13bemu and 15emu.
            As for traction battery pack, these were intended to be under frame of AMA or AMP with control electronics etc in roofspace, AMT is too low.
            The design of the AM emu is already fire rated for tunnel running, they go through the eastern line tunnels, Parnell tunnels and tunnel into Britomart.
            The battery pack would be over a tonne weight so overhead is unlikely. But I could,as usual, be wrong.

          9. Perhaps the short-term answer for AM-unit emergency egress in Waitakere Tunnel is some form of removable windscreen. Just like the removable windows on buses – necessary for when they roll over and the doors become unusable. Not ideal for a train-load of people but maybe sufficient risk-mitigation in the light of the very small likelihood that it should ever be needed.

            Otherwise – specify Matangi-type end-doors for any future EMUs ordered. Means staff can routinely access between units which is also useful.

      2. For all the commotion, Bogle, ButtWizard and Waspman between them haven’t shown us a single quote from the minister showing that LRT to the NW is delayed.

  23. Joe there is an urgent need for better PT NW, and all RT development is staged. The NB is a constantly evolving route. The Metro rail system likewise is an ongoing evolution from a busted freight system to a crowded mixed use one.

    I’m as impatient as you, but have learnt to not die on the hill of perfect or nothing. Cos we’ll get nothing in that case. We are talking about billions and billions of public money, everywhere needs it. And so do schools and hospitals… and all capex generates consequential opex… it’s a never ending battle. And the best way to secure more is to do enough to earn the public’s approval shown by fast growing uptake …

    better Busway NW will build the case for LR, our models are lousy are predicting ridership, need to actually have it. The lack of an existing RT route sadly is the excuse used for not building one! It ought to be the other way around I know….

    1. Why then Patrick, do they trot out the big LR promise to voters? They even added in Kumeu Huapai. If they had no idea on costings then reckless promising politicians deserve to be booted out.

      People voted on this, it was for an absolute change, visionary without being daring and exactly what is needed.

      It is absolute horseshit that Twyford is back peddling on this very basic promise as fast as he can. I do not believe we should accept the usual old second best of a busway maybe. The savings always cost us more, always.

      Perhaps if money is tight, the Finance Minister can take the neolib fiscal straight jacket off for the betterment of Auckland and the overall economy instead of doing his best Bill English/National Party Impressions!

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