Over the past 15-20 years Auckland has seen a pretty amazing transport revolution. We no longer have one of the worst public transport systems in the world and we have some of the most exciting and aggressive transport plans – in terms of where investment will go – in the world over the next decade.

The idea that Auckland needs public transport, walking and cycling to shoulder a much larger part of the transport task is near universally accepted now. This is a far cry from where things were even a decade ago, when much of the debate was instead around whether public transport could ever work in a city like Auckland.

It’s often difficult to get a real picture of what ‘the public’ thinks about transport issues, given that usually it’s only the most passionate who turn up to public meetings, but a few large pieces of public consultation undertaken by Auckland Council last year can give us some clues. Consultation on the Auckland Plan got nearly 16,000 responses – with most responses saying that the Plan got it about right in pushing for more people to use public transport, walking and cycling – or saying that the Plan didn’t go far enough (the consultation report noted that most of the respondents saying “partial” expressed a desire for a more significant shift).

Consultation on the Regional Land Transport Plan also highlighted major support for investing in public transport projects:

Most recently, a survey asked Aucklanders what they want more of in their community, with better public transport, safer streets, and better walking and cycling facilities coming out first, second and third:

Politicians have generally caught on, with every Auckland Council mayoral election to date having a strong transport flavour to it, and the stronger supporter of public transport, walking and cycling of the two main competitors remains undefeated after three elections. Furthermore, after Jacinda Ardern became leader of the Labour Party in 2017, the very first policy announcement was for a new light-rail system in Auckland.

I’m sure there are still battles to come regarding the proportion of total transport investment that should go into public transport, walking and cycling compared to roads (it’s important to remember that walking and cycling makes up barely 2% of transport budgets at both a regional and national level) – but I don’t think it will ever be politically viable again for someone to run on an anti-public transport platform in Auckland and win. After all, only three councillors (Greg Sayers, Christine Fletcher and Mike Lee) voted against providing City Rail Link with an additional $500 million of funding (kind of odd that two of those councillors have played such a big role in getting Auckland’s rail system to where it is today and yet voted against CRL funding). So I think the “Auckland needs to continue to invest heavily in public transport, walking and cycling” argument has largely now been won.

The battle now is a different one, but in many respects an equally important one. The big political battle for transport over the next decade in Auckland will be about how we change our streets.

Auckland’s streets need to change. They’re horrifically unsafe, they waste enormous amounts of space on incredibly inefficient uses, they destroy – rather than support – the quality of our neighbourhoods, they actively discourage people from using them in anything other than a car, and they don’t even do a particularly good job at keeping traffic moving.

But while I think the “we need to spend money on more than just roads” battle is largely won in Auckland, I’m not sure we are yet close to winning the battle over convincing Aucklanders that their streets need to change – or at least not when it comes to the details of it all. Consultation on the regional fuel tax last year highlighted that – at least conceptually – Aucklanders strongly support measures that improve road safety and give buses more priority. They came out as the first and third most supported initiatives  – based on nearly 15,000 responses:

Improving safety, providing buses with priority, making our streets nicer places to be in, and making walking, cycling and e-scootering safer and better for everyone, requires fundamental changes to our streets. There’s simply no room in most places to widen streets further to fit these extra uses in, meaning that tough trade-offs are needed. Improving safety means slower speed limits, bus lanes will typically need to come at the cost of general traffic or on-street parking, the same with cycle lanes. Even amenity improvements will often mean lengthy disruption as pavements are ripped up and replaced.

It is these changes to our streets that often create the biggest public and political backlash – even often coming from the same people who say that it’s so important to improve safety or make public transport better. A recent example of this is what’s happened in St Heliers, where a fairly innocuous set of changes to make the area safer have got the locals up in arms:

The Auckland seaside village of St Heliers is up in arms over safety improvements it fears will hit business hard.

“It will kill the village,” says Sue Clark, who runs a property management and rental company in St Heliers, the last village along the city’s famous Tamaki Drive.

She is referring to a plan by Auckland Transport for 13 raised zebra crossings, a new traffic island, widening part of Tamaki Drive and removing 40 car parks – all aimed to improve safety for people walking, riding bikes and driving.

The proposals sit alongside a separate proposal by AT for a 30km/h speed limit on Tamaki Drive outside St Heliers village.

“I have been here since 2000 and I have never seen any danger around here with pedestrian crossings. It’s a village. People look after each other,” Clark said.

Her colleague Annette Woodyear-Smith said AT’s plans were ludicrous, totally unnecessary and being railroaded through.

Ayush Madeshia, who runs a small fruit and vegetable shop, said it is already hard enough finding a car park in St Heliers.

The loss of 40 car parks, he said, will mean fewer people shopping in the village and could lead to his business closing.

Two elderly shoppers who wanted to go by their first names were aghast at the proposed changes and the effect on businesses.

“Many people are elderly and need a park outside a shop,” said Liz.

If lower speed limits in a village centre and a few raised pedestrian crossings will supposedly be the end of the world, then it feels like a long, hard road towards making the large-scale changes to Auckland’s streets that will be necessary to achieve the very improvements that Aucklanders have repeatedly said they support – safer and nicer streets, and better public transport, walking and cycling.

Mayoral candidate John Tamihere seems to have jumped on this bandwagon, slamming Auckland Transport for the tentative steps they’ve been taking towards improving the safety of our streets and making them more than just for moving cars:

Under Mayor Phil Goff’s “weak leadership”, Tamihere said, AT had been able to implement strategies designed to “harass people out of their cars”.

“Under Goff’s mayoralty, ideologues within the council have deliberately set out to narrow roads, reduce speed limits, take away parking spaces, take away free left hand turns, change traffic light patterns to favour ‘people not the car’, and destroy communities like St Heliers.”

Tamihere pledged to put a stop to what he described as AT’s “anti-car strategy”.

So while I think there will still be some debate over the balance of transport funding across different modes, I see that over the next decade the main battleground for the transport debate in Auckland will be over changing our streets. For Auckland to continue its progress towards being a much more liveable city where you don’t need to drive everywhere, where you have genuine travel choices and where you can move about the city in safe and healthy ways, this is a battle we must fight and a battle we must win.

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  1. Those who insist on being able to park on the road outside their destination (or their home) need to understand that a road is a public thoroughfare, not a private car park, as do those business people who think their businesses will collapse if their customers cannot park on the road in front of their premises. If any of these need car parking anywhere, for any purpose, the onus must be on them to provide such parking off-street and to stop expecting – demanding – that rate- and taxpayers subsidize them. We must ban all on-street parking. Everywhere. All the time. This is a no cost (to rate- and taxpayers) way of increasing road capacity, which can – and must – be implemented quickly and cheaply.

    1. +1

      The public objections to street improvement projects just about always boil down to “don’t take ‘our’ carparks.” It’s not going to be easy to change people’s minds but it is necessary if we’re to get progress.

      1. It shouldn’t be about changing peoples mindsets, just because there is an onstreet park outside their house it’s nothing to do with them.

        I wish AT would grow a pair and go full steam ahead lowering the speed limit and putting in bus and cycle lanes city wide. Cars be damned.

        When it comes to removing on street parking for the greater good it’s not a democratic process.

        1. It amazes me how we ever got into this “mentality of entitlement” over on-street car-parking. There is nothing equivalent in any other are of society that I can think of, where for the small cost of a rego and a warrant you can legally occupy several square metres of often-prime public land indefinitely if you so choose. It galls to hear people then bitch and moan when this subsidized concession is even faintly proposed for restriction, and this usually happens because its continuance is causing problems and costs for others.
          Wake up, you presumptuous parkers! It is not a God-given entitlement and never has been.

        2. How do you think we can engage the local residents, particularly the more elderly residents about changing how they look at things or showing them the good aspects of removing on street parking rather than just an us versus them war.

        3. Why should we engage local residents though? Serious question.

          The car parks out the front of my house are nothing to do with me and I have no right to complain if they get made into a bike lane, loading bay or something else.

          My boundary stops at my front fence and anything the other side of that is AT. End of story.

          The consultation process for on street parking has proven itself to be futile for decades, it’s time to just get on and push through taking the streets away from being so darned car-centric.

          Removing on street car parks in widespread streets to make way for other modes seems highly unlikely to happen but if it did we’d look at it like banning smoking in bars and wonder why we didn’t do it years ago.

    2. I agree in constrained spaces like town centres and arterial roads. However, there are a number of smaller roads and streets (often rat-runs) where parked cars perform a valuable role of narrowing the road and forcing cars to slow down.

      1. Did. Don’t any more. Drivers no longer follow the road code’s requirement to expect that people could step out at any moment, and therefore match their speed to the situation. They’ve learnt to ignore what’s in their peripheral vision. And in my experience, the police do nothing after an accident if the driver “didn’t see” the person as long as they weren’t going over the “speed limit”.

        Parked cars are a bad way to calm traffic. Plants would be far better. I’m happy for some parking to remain where it’s suitable, but I think we need to stop using parked cars as if they’re a positive design element.

        1. That’s a good point. The roads I’m thinking of really should have a 30kmh speed limit anyway.

          I think there is value in street parking as a form of shared visitor parking. I might have three people over one evening and the neighbour might have 10 people over another evening. There is no point us each providing that car parking individually.

          The reality of course is it becomes extra residents parking, which should be provided off-street. Maybe we need a lot more time limited parking in suburbia.

        2. Yes, there’s a few things you can observe. First of all, how much more money does it cost to maintain an 8 or 11 or even 13m roadways compared to 6.5m (which is wide enough for anything which is not a big arterial)

          Observe the clipped mirrors. My street is 8.5m, just wide enough for 4 cars side by side — 2 parked, 2 driving in opposing directions. Occasionally those 2 driving will both be going at around the speed limit, 50 km/h. Little room for mistakes if that happens.

          Observe that more and more people use large SUVs or pick-up trucks which are high enough so even adults cannot look over the roof. Kids can’t even look over the bonnet.

          My commute brings me over one of those rat-runs, and cars will speed up to 50 just the same (even though it is under 300 m and full of parked cars).

    3. Correct me if I’m wrong but from my experience of living in Perth, Australia. Removing onstreet parking only results in more people illegally parking on berms, empty lots and private front lawns. To a scale where its a huge cat & mouse game of people parking literally anywhere they can and busineses/council desperately to enforce these rules. People will drive at the expense of everything else. I have reason to believe many street front businesses that arent immediately adjacent to very high pedestrian thoroughfare also suffer. Somewhere like Newmarket would be fine due to the density but smaller communities and urban villages surrounded by suburban density housing might be more troubled as most people are simply passing through them on a bus. Theres no incentive to catch 2 buses across town to that specialist bookstore/hobby shop. The business catchment is reduced to only those in the local vicinity rather than the wider city at large.

      1. The scale of illegal parking in Auckland is due to AT not proactively enforcing it, and to the parking team’s belief that they are immune from having to work on the organisation’s modeshift goals. I don’t know what the situation in Perth is.

        Research shows that if you add parking to meet demand, demand for parking is not satisfied, it simply goes up. In fact, the best way to increase demand for parking is to add parking. Adding parking increases driving, making active modes less pleasant, leading to more driving in a vicious circle.

        Great case studies in parking management text books often compare similar town centres which have taken different approaches, and show the outcomes. Reducing on street carparking, dynamically pricing what remains, and encouraging businesses to share their carparking has the best results for the whole town centre, including both vulnerable road users and business.

  2. The proposal to ban all on-street parking need not deprive people of carparks; it merely requires them to stop being subsidized by tax- and ratepayers and to provide and pay for their own. Carparks are a private good which should not be paid for out of the public purse.

    1. Ratepayers pay for roads and drivers via fuel taxes. You want to go the whole hog ban non ratepayers and non drivers from our roads!

      You make it sound like AT are some magnanimous organisation who gift us these streets. They do not they never have. They are supposed to be the above payers servant, something AT have forgotten. They can’t even light the paths within Victoria Park.

      And if you think our supremely half arsed bus services cuts the mustard and is an attractive realistic alternative, think again.

  3. What a surprise, P&Rs considered twice as desirable as AMETI. Does this show a lot more people want to get on rapid PT, there is potential growth for a wider catchment area around stations or people living closer don’t want to get there using active modes or feeder buses (if they exist).

    1. I think what it shows is that the public discussion has been ruined by lack of correct information. The public have been fed a line that park and ride gets people onto public transport. Council needs to get the evidence out there that active modes and feeder buses will be far more effective at giving people the public transport choice, and are undermined by park and ride. Instead, politically, it seems that park and ride is seen as a winnable compromise between car culture and public transport culture. It may be winnable, but it’s not a good outcome.

      I think there’s an “independent mobility” test that Councillors need to run by each proposal. Does it support children’s independent mobility? Active modes and feeder buses do. Park and ride does not. End of story.

      1. Convincing SOV drivers to move to active modes or feeder busses to get to a rapid transport station my be too big an ask. The P&Rs are a useful step in getting more commuters out of cars and congestion into rapid PT. Just the popularity of P&Rs show’s they are successful.
        Build more and multi level if need be. They can always be reassigned to different uses if a move to active modes and feeder services reduces car dependancy.

        1. Evidence, please.

          I’d like to see your analysis of the money and resources per park provided, and who benefits. Then an analysis of how that money and resource could have been spent on feeder buses and active mode provision, and who benefits.

        2. p&r is a cancer eating away at walkup catchment and further entrenching car dependant sprawl.

        3. Yes, and imagine if the main consultation done was by going into the schools and getting the children to show how they would use the spaces to walk, cycle and scooter. It would be valid, because it would be consultation with the users who have systematically been designed out from our road corridors, systematically excluded from consideration, and who are paying the price with their health and development. It would be the more effective way to consult to achieve the high-level plans for safety, modeshift and sustainability.

          “Convincing SOV drivers” is no longer a valid reason for continuing with methods and systems that don’t meet our safety, equity and climate change goals.

          A consultation method that produces an outcome that’s poor for the children is a consultation method that needs scrutiny; if that is ‘democracy’, democracy is a failure. But I don’t believe it is; it’s simply failing to use evidence in designing the decision-making processes.

        4. How is consulting children in schools ever going to help reduce congestion air pollution, reduce car dependancy and encourage PT commuting?
          I agree there needs to be something better than our current SOV mode preference. It is these drivers that need convincing because it is their free choice now as to whether they use PT or join in the congestion to commute. Talk all you want about forcing changes, adding taxes, limiting road bandwidth, giving road priority to children, restricting on road parking, closing P&Rs etc., but you will need a courageous local politician who will enforce these. Certainly no govt Polly would risk such measures.
          At least by providing P&Rs we are encouraging SOV drivers to exchange a major part of their commute for Rapid PT. Reducing pollution, taking traffic off roads closer to city, perhaps less rat running.
          I’d prefer K&Rs at stations and effective feeder bus services. In meantime P&Rs are what people want, not re-education on someone else’s preferred modes.

        5. I agree. Let’s provide regular feeder buses first, then see what happens with demand for park-and-ride.

          I would say that where there is no regular feeder bus then the park-and-ride is still way better than a long vehicle commute into the city, but proper provision of buses should make the need for this quite rare.

        6. You’re doing it again: assuming you know what the effect of providing Park and Ride is. Please provide evidence about what the effect of using that land, money and resource is compared to using it for other uses.

          We cannot limit our children’s lives and futures by what SOV drivers want, and there is no law that says we must. The law is simply that Council and its CCO’s must consult. How they consult should be following best practice, not old techniques proven to preserve the status quo.

          Change the way we consult and we make it easier for the politicians to do the right thing.

          The question is, given the speed at which we must make change for biodiversity and climate reasons, do residents have to start suing Council and Government for failing to provide for future generations, or will we see responsible action without that step? It’s not like we have much time.

        7. Heidi, why would I do research for anyone else on costs of P&R? Costing with cost benefits analysis is largely pointless concerning P&Rs simply because placing monetary values,or other comparison criteria units, is either near impossible or so full of guessing to be laughable. So pulling out the evidence demand is futile when there is no contrary measurable evidence either.
          But, yes, I want feeder buses, prefer them. Once they are in place and popular then people may have different priorities than P&Rs.

        8. As Nick wrote the other day: “Over 90% of park and ride users live within 4km of the lot. Around two-thirds of park and ride users previously or would otherwise just use PT for their whole trip. For the most part, park and ride reduces PT use and increase driving, they take people off feeder buses and express routes more than they take people off the road.”

          Arguing for PnR when the evidence is against them on the basis of reckons and “what people want” is no different to demanding improved bus services before road space is reallocated to bus priority.

          Let’s not resist any of the needed changes by insisting on this before that. We need to do it all, and some things will be held up by politics, yes, but they shouldn’t be held up by progressive people otherwise holding onto myths. 🙂

        9. Well… the ideal case is living within walking distance from the station. Which implies not building that P+R right next to the station, and if you do, charging plenty of dollars.

          Next solution is the bicycle. Many people can cover 4 km in less than 15 minutes. For a couple of km cycling is unbeatable. But now why bother risking life and limb if you can get your subsidized car park right next to the station (noting that currently it is often a lot easier to park a car than to park a bicycle).

          Compared to cycling, feeder buses are pretty crappy. You still have to walk to the bus stop, and then wait for a bus. Could be 20 minutes before you even catch that first bus. Up to 40 minutes if you have a ‘feeder’ on both ends.

          Driving a car? No. It is very unlikely to be much faster than cycling (rush hour traffic and all that) and much more expensive.

        10. I’m not sure convincing SOV drivers is that important. Every year the population evolves, a new group start school, uni or work, or change jobs, move to Auckland etc.

          Building houses near train stations will attract a lot more users in the long run even if it is a different group to existing SOV drivers.

    2. I think asking the region whether an eastern bus way gets funding was a bit of a silly question, and perhaps one that many wouldn’t have understood.
      Surveys of the public will often just show results for wanting everything and wanting it now.
      As we all the know the devil or saviour is in the details, and that’s when some people in the public get all up in arms over projects, when they’ve actually seen drawings.
      I bet many in St Heliers want safer streets, they just didn’t know that there’s compromise in order to do that.
      Or maybe if the safety project was combined with cycling / bus improvements also it wouldn’t be seen as an isolated project that appears to only want to slow vehicles down and remove car parks.

      1. I don’t think cycling improvements are the way to win over St Heliers residents.

        Agree regarding AMETI, a lot of people won’t even know what that acronym means.

        1. Perhaps not, but if a project is seen as a package of works, deliverying bus and cycling and safety improvements, rather than purely a safety project (I’m personally not against safety projects) – it may gain more credibility? maybe? maybe not …

        2. If it involves change it won’t go down well in St Heliers. The best approach there really is shoot first and ask questions later.

    3. Yes, it appears that AMETI is actually much more popular than Park and Ride given that AMETI is such a narrow and localised improvement that very few people in the region can visualise using while Park and Ride is broad and can be conceptualised by anyone anywhere and each person is going to visualise whatever outcome is the most useful to them, even if that outcome is utterly unlikely.

  4. This all comes down to HOW change is consulted and HOW we engage community.
    Its currently being done in a way that does not recognise innate human behaviour in a change paradigm.
    St Heliers is a great example of lazy, tick box consultation that is detrimental to change. There is work to be done with communities that takes time and effort – an engineering/PM approach to people (ie linear process) doesn’t recognise this.
    We must place human behavioural science and placemaking at the centre of change – or we’ll just end up with the same rubbish, and the same red faced screaming changees.

    1. This is a good point. What do you think needs to specifically change about consultation processes to better reflect human behaviour?

      1. We consult by giving people information – but 80% of factors influencing behaviour change do not stem from knowledge or awareness. (Fliegenschnee and Shelakovsky. 1998).

        *Neuroscience alert* – look away now if you’re easily bored or just don’t care about change.

        When people imagine change, it triggers ‘error detection’ – evolutionary response linked to survival. Change = fear. Error detection also setals energy away from rational areas of the brain – eg if you were running from a lion, would you use a decision matrix to inform which method you are going to use – your bow or your spear, or just run away.

        The majority of actual behaviour change comes from people physically building new neural connections in their brain – creating a habit. The only way this can be done is by embodying the change – demonstrating, trialing etc. Its why NIMBYs don’t vomit when they go to Europe and see everyone riding bikes and *walking*.

        Important to define between talking change and embodying change.

        The neural connections being strengthened when talking about change, are fear, conflict, and resistance to change. The neural connections being strengthened when we embody change is physical behaviour change – forming new habits. Bing!

        So don’t try to push information. Try to expand social proof (oh, look what that person’s doing, I might try that) and mass behaviour. We need to increase the sense that people are changing. This is the key to diffusing resistance to change.

        We’ve been consulting in the same way for many years, and getting the same results, for many years. We come up with a strategy, we set a target, we get the comms going, and then we sit back and wait. So, how’s that going for you, AT?

        1. Trials through Tactical Urbanism (done well – not just plastic boxes) is basically the unicorn in cities

        2. Excellent comment, Cam. Auckland should have used the level of construction going on in the Auckland city centre to implement a temporary speed limit change, then consulted on making it permanent. This is what Tauranga has done. It’s more respectful of the public – it allows them to experience first what they are being asked to consider.

        3. ‘The only way this can be done is by embodying the change’

          this to me translates to – shoot first, ask questions later, exactly as jezza mentions above.

          Esp when we’re talking about a few car parks disappearing.

          Car parks are a classic case of a privilege becoming a right. Consultation is not required.

        4. Pretty much, but let’s not use the word “shoot” – use the term “demonstrate” and “trial” – reduces the need for people to spend effort on thinking about something. Connected to how we process information…long story…

          We need to understand that people have physical limits to cognition. We have limits to how fast we can run, how much we can eat, and how much we can lift, and there’s limits to how much you can think.

          So – reduce the effort of thinking eg eliminate need for effort. When you drink beer on tap, you are saving bottles. You are literally saving humanity by drinking beer on tap. Easy!

          Soz for blocking up the comments with neurobabble.

    2. Agree, however the residents of St Helliers have proven time and time again if you literally try to change anything there, they will come out in force to try and stop it. I recall them trying to stop the building of the St Helliers Beach Cafe..now one of the most popular Cafes in Auckland and one I’m sure the same residents who cried about it use day to day. It was called a skyscraper, monstrosity, eye sore and how it didn’t fit in with the ‘sleepy fishing village’…you can only engage with rational people and hearing some of the comments that AT received at the recent meeting their, it doesn’t sound like it matters how you engage with those folk out that way.

    3. 100% agree. AT just “consulted” on 30kph + street redesign in Glen Eden town centre.

      – 30kph is dropped (!!!);
      – 50% less raised tables;
      – redesign to cater for more vehicles queueing to turn at intersection;
      – no cycle provision despite multiple submissions.

      If this is where “consultation” leads then we need to ditch it. It’s currently a farce playing into the hands of intransigent old skool engineers. It’s also making a mockery of AT’s Vision Zero policy. I’m all for consultation, genuine and intentional. This is not it.

      Shane Ellison – where are you? The buck stops with you. The sooner you bang heads together the better. Cut the dead wood.

      1. The dropping of the 30 kph speeds in the Glen Eden project left me incredulous. It was the only reason I felt the project should go ahead when it was otherwise a failure to update the area for mixed modes.

        AT say their consultation is about learning local details… and not about something as fundamental as bringing our speed limits in line with international guidelines. It bodes ill.

        I note from the March 2019 meeting minutes that the local board submitted to AT that they support safer speeds of 30 km/hr in the Glen Eden town centre, in town centres and around schools generally, as well as the Vision Zero approach and the Safer Speeds Bylaw.

        So AT had the support of the local board. What’s going on?

        1. Glad you found a supporting note from LB – I waded through but could not. Just makes the AT project leaders look even worse.

  5. I wish we would stop referring to St Helliers as a village, its a suburb in a City of 1.6m people..just like the rest of the Suburbs. It’s time that Council/AT/Panuku stopped pandering to the likes of the St Helliers and the Takapuna’s where their residents kick up a fuss any time positive changes need to be made. Pull their funding, let them fend for themselves and slowly die as fund places that are keen for improvement and transformation.

    As for Park and Rides, I once again can’t fathom that people are still talking about having to extend our Rural Boundaries of Auckland when you see huge swathes of concrete in the likes of Albany and Silverdale for these PnRs..IF they have to exist, develop over/round them.

    1. The problem with giving an area shit levels of services, apart from the mystery of why you have no buy-in from the locals when you need their support for something, is that you lose leverage. Maybe if the Council wants St Heliers/Glendowie to get on board, they could start by giving them back some of the off-peak services they took away when the new network came in?

      Save your scorn for the inner city suburbs with frequent link bus services who stamp their feet and demand character protection than a village 10km from the city centre with no bus lanes or priority access to the CBD.

      1. This attitude was around long before the new network, it has nothing to do with reduced bus services.

        Also there is a frequent link service that quite literally runs through St Heliers Bay village.

        1. The ‘frequent Link service’ that runs to the village is one thing. The early finish to off-peak services in Glendowie is another. No point in having a rapid service to St Heliers if you then have to walk another 3km to get to your house because the old buses don’t run anymore.

        2. Also there are precisely 0m of bus lanes for this ‘Link service’ to travel out of the City on. I don’t get why the lack of bus lanes everywhere else in the city is a disgrace to people here, but when it comes to East Auckland it’s something that people are 100% happy with. Perhaps if AT had come to St Heliers and said they were going to shave ten minutes off the journey time from the city and you’re getting bus lanes like every other part of Auckland then they might have been more receptive to losing car parks. Instead they’ve lowered speed limits, slowed the buses down and done nothing about priority.

        3. So parts of the St Heliers area got improved bus services and some got a reduction, sounds like the new network across the city, hardly a reason to protest a whole lot of new pedestrian crossings.

          Where is the evidence that people here are 100 % happy with no bus lanes for the Tamaki Link service?

        4. I’m going by the multiple comments insisting AT withdraw services until residents bend to their will and the precisely zero comments actually discussing the merits of reducing services in the area and how they could be improved so everyone didn’t drive so much (other than just removing car parks).

        5. Huh, what? Imagine AT would come with a proposal for transit lanes, what reaction would you expect? Just wait until you tell them you can’t park in the village on the way home from work. You’ll get your pack of angry residents just the same.

    2. It doesn’t help that St Helier’s is represented by a ward councilor and a local MP who have both used the word “anti-car” on social media.

      1. The present councillor is a vast improvement on the previous one.

        The LB is also strongly supportive of efforts around the ward to improve walking, cycling and public transport.

        1. Agree that Desley Simpson is definitely an improvement to Cameron Brewer. Now he’s the Rodney Local Board’s problem.

    3. Takapuna is not a good case study Joe. Locals wanted a redeveloped public space and a rapid transit station, but were overruled by a backward-thinking Auckland Council who plan on selling most of the public space to private developers and building a high-rise parking building instead of a transit station.

      We have to get local voices back into decision-making or this is the kind of result we can get. We have learned the hard way that local councillors are often unable to resist pressure from the Mayor and the private/political interests he supports.

      1. David B, one of our local councillors stood alongside the Mayor advocating the proposal so he wasn’t resisting very much.
        I believe that there is still some advocating for some car parking space to be retained at 40 Anzac. This whole project was a dishonest disgrace.

        1. Was that George, JW?

          I walked past the gasometer site the other day and explained to my primary aged kids what a disgrace it was.

          I actually still struggle to believe it’s getting built and not only that how quickly they got it underway. It seems multi-level carparking projects can get off the ground immediately yet the sky path gets stalled for decades.


        2. To be fair the have been trying to get a carpark on the Gasometer site for at least 20 years. A combined parking building with commercial development above was being planned when I was still at school.

          It’s a poor location for a rapid transit station IMHO, but should have just been another apartment or office tower entirely.

        3. That’s actually worse, even after 20 years they still haven’t come to their senses… And now it’s just a car park with no office/residential space?

          Wonder if it’s going to be called the George Wood parking center?

        4. I wonder how that stacks up in comparison to using the same budget for PT improvement.

          But hey at least we get a complex mesh façade on both street front elevations [sic]. Yay. That will be so interesting to walk past.

          On the upside, it could open up the possibility to develop nearby apartments or townhouses without any parking at all.

        5. It’s still pretty much the same idea. The earlier concepts covered the whole site with a few levels of parking with buildings on top of that. This version puts the parking on half the site and leave the other half for a building.

          I just hope they gave it a 3m stud height to allow conversion to other uses in the future.

  6. If the reduced road speeds on Tamaki Drive had been implemented already.

    None of the outrage about 13 pedestrian crossings and such would be needed.
    It would be self-evident that:
    (a) safety was already vastly improved just with that measure
    and (b) the sky did not, as predicted, fall in.

    Leaving room for a discussion on what further improvements are needed, where they are needed, and when they are needed.

    1. Agree.

      As others have said, the form of consultation was really poor here, as if they expected a backlash, and that’s what they got. Also the design is terrible.

      Even people who are supportive of the 30 k speed limit, improving pedestrian amenity, and improving cycling safety were opposed to it.

  7. I see the Stamford Plaza are sick of having their street ‘improved’.
    The Herald article is behind their new pay wall. But essentially they have an agreement that the works will be finished after a certain time, the project will go past that and they want to be paid for their losses. The CRL people say they have no money for that and no remit to pay any. Looks like some big court cases looming.

    1. I guess it is not surprising that the Stamford doesn’t have a positive view of public transport given that they advertise free parking. When will businesses like this start to act as good corporate citizens and reward their guests who travel sustainably?

      1. The Stamford Plaza advertises free parking? Really? The Stamford Plaza in Auckland? It’s website is quite clear that parking will cost $45* regardless of whether you are staying there, eating there or just popping in for some other random reason.

        *We had High Tea there on Sunday for Mother’s Day. With an elderly mother we were keen to park on site but the $45 fee put us off. Luckily, Downtown Carpark was within tottering distance and only cost $4.

    2. I would be extremely surprised if CRLL has a contract with the Stamford specifying liquidated damages beyond a specific completion date.

      And if not, the rest is hot air.

      1. The Herald article says the Stamford Plaza believes it is entitled to compensation as work drags on well past an agreed completion date of March this year. They have written setting out the issues and how it affects them. So I guess the next part is quantifying there losses and make a formal claim. There will be even more hot air from both sides.

        But your claim that they can only get compensation if they have a contract is simply wrong. Damages can be awarded under tort or common law.
        We can expect to see some very big business disturbance claims. The fact AT hasn’t been proactive here will mean they will need to go back to the council for more money and you can expect that to galvanise opponents to light rail.

  8. I’m all for the improvements being pursued in the likes of St Heliers. But, what does frustrate me is that outlying suburbs like Papakura and Pukekohe are not viewed in this way. We are the hill billies from down south that don’t need nice public spaces and safe walking/cycling areas for our children

    Pukekohe for example is starting to experience some serious congestion as it becomes the town centre for the ever growing region. Why not look at pedestrianizing parts of the main street now, get the traffic flows right and re-direct traffic to the multiple At grade carparks around the town centre.

    Pukekohe’s main street is really well serviced by rear entry lanes and there is a plethora of underutilised off-street carparks. The congestion created by people cruising along King Street (Main Street) is becoming a joke. All because most people aren’t prepared to walk 200-300metres from an off street carpark to their desired destination.

    Pukekohe also has a really great ‘walk to school culture’ (purposely not mentioning bikes – as the streets aren’t safe enough) more pedestrianisation will only assist with this

    Why not look at this now rather than waiting until things are at crisis point and then having to do a much more expensive retro fit.

    Please don’t forget about us in the deep south!

    *Disclaimer – I live in Bombay so have a vested interest in making Puke all the more livable.

    1. Pukekohe has a very useful ring road around the inner CBD (Stadium, Tobin, Wesley, Massey).

      I’d be in favour of making parts of Queen, Seddon, Edinburgh and King Streets car free with the exception of getting into car parking lots.

      1. I agree. I would create a one way ring road around the CBD with a 30kph speed limit (this will still be faster than navigating the myriad of roundabouts). With traffic wanting to access the town being directed to the massively under utilised off street car parks.

        1. Fully agree about pedestrianising Pukekohe’s main street. It is quite hard to drive along this road with it being so narrow and pedestrians have to give way to motorists(!) at the many ‘approved crossing points’ which are not actual proper pedestrian crossings. It is difficult and risky for motorists trying to reverse out of car park spaces along the main street too as well with the volume of traffic.

          The ring road around the Pukekohe town centre would actually work very well as a one way system, and together with removing all the roundabouts and pedestrianising the main street, would work well. I wouldn’t close off any of the other streets in the town centre to vehicles though as this would remove too much parking from the town centre and then cause congestion on the ring route.

          The local board probably won’t support this though. I recall reading in the local newspaper a little while back someone else complaining about the lack of pedestrian crossings in the town centre and how difficult it is for pedestrians to cross the busy roads and to get to the railway station. There seemed little official appetite to make any changes.

          It is not just the town centre which needs to be made more pedestrian friendly in Pukekohe, but also out along the main arterial roads leading into the town centre. Much of Pukekohe is in easy walking distance of the town centre, but these busy main roads don’t have proper pedestrian crossings.

          The large new Belmont housing estate being built out to the west of the town with its many tiny houses all crammed in, has large wide footpaths all through it – but there are no plans to make any improvements for pedestrians or cyclists between this subdivision and the town centre. There is ample room along the eastern side of West Street for a large shared path to be built which would actually encourage people to walk and cycle from this large new subdivision into the town centre and railway station, rather than drive.

      1. Yeah I could be. I don’t know Papakura intimately but definitely Pukekohe. I also think that the Paerata development/Drury presents a golden opportunity for intensification along the southern rail corridor. Was looking at the plans for Paerata Rise and am disappointed to see very little in the way of town houses (let alone apartments). Early stages seem to be all about the Mc Mansion on a 500 metre section. Hopefully as more stages are released this is addressed (Especially those near the train stations). Would be such a shame to not get a greenfields development right from the start. The truth is Drury, Papakura, Pukekohe, Patumahoe, Pokeno, Bombay (even as far south as Te Kauwhata are exploding. But currently are all being viewed in isolation. Now is the time for some truly visionary leadership to implement all of the things that we are trying to retrofit in the inner city now. I fear it’s quietly being developed with no 30,000 foot thinking being given to it.

        Maybe we should sescede from Auckland and become Hamilton North! 🙂

        1. If you do send stuff in, maps are great at showing things clearly. And data, if you can get your hands on any, allows people to compare with figures they know.

          I’m really interested in this stuff; in how good planning may be hard to retrofit to existing areas, but that the poorly designed new areas highlight the fact that it’s not just a technical difficulty. It’s a process or mindset one.

  9. So what about the large-scale resistance to change and “anti-car”?
    Cam’s neurobabble is right on the mark and may account for the backing that can be expected for the kind of campaign announced by John Tamihere.
    Have we got examples of people who have embodied change and can comment from experience on the kinds of future streets that we are seeking to develop?
    I would sooner learn what people in Hobsonville Point think of ideas for St Heliers. If people don’t have first hand experience of living with the results of change, they won’t be easily convinced of the unknown.
    But there will be an election that will talk about resisting change at a city level, asking for votes from the whole electorate.

    1. That’s a really good idea. Show them what they are getting and why, instead of just telling them you’re taking things away.

  10. I would say the current PT is still far from perfect and for a majority of people, a car free living is still a long way ahead.

    For example, PT still suffers with issues like poor off peak frequency, poor train dwelling and journey speed, poor train off peak frequency.
    Light rail is stalled, and cycle-way network are incomplete and little progress are made recently.
    The planning rules still favors greenfield sprawl rather than TOD and intensification, kiwibuild has stalled.
    Footpaths on Victoria precinct is still horrible and CRL is delayed.

    The anger comes from not fixing the PT issues fast enough but applying the anti-car too fast.

  11. The only way to win this argument is temporary trials.

    I could design a temporary pedestrianisation of Queen Street using planter boxes over a weekend, but AT and even progressive councillors (Darby) want to do oodles of consultation first. We need to rise to the challenge and put the trial layouts in ASAP. First off the rank should be Queen Street and High Street, then a whole raft of suburban centres.

      1. They have done, Bogle. And as I understand it, the cost and level of traffic management required for temporary change to a residential cul-de-sac hasn’t been sufficiently scaled down from that required for temporary changes to a motorway.

        But I understand people are working on bringing a bit of realism to the situation.

  12. Legally, you only need to do consultation to get the temporary traffic orders/management and ‘I don’t like the idea’ isn’t a legally valid reason to oppose a temporary order. Of course, AT are so risk averse that they may insist on doing consultation for the trial layout.

    The trial itself is then the consultation for the project. I’m currently working (overseas) on a project that was very contentious. We did a trial layout for a month and a month of consultation which opened two weeks later. The lag meant that we avoided complaints about teething issues and that we got lots of positive feedback saying that we shouldn’t have removed the temporary works until we built the permanent ones.

    Someone mentioned the neural networks above, but a more powerful factor is that people will oppose anything that they can’t understand, and most people can’t understand engineering drawings. Once people understand they will mostly show support or apathy, rather than hostility.

  13. Fantastic! You spam this blog, I book a whole heap of false jobs on your website to really mess you up. Sound fair?

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