Today the Auckland Transport board meet again and as usual, here are the highlights from the papers.

Closed Agenda

Like last month, there is little of interest on the closed agenda. The only thing worth noting is it appears we’re soon to hear more about the plans for the transport networks in the greenfield growth areas that were consulted on last year. This from the items for noting

  • Supporting Growth Alliance: Public Launch of Board approved Network

Business Report

Here are the most interesting updates from the main business report. These are in the order they appear in the report.

Procurement

AT always list in the report any procurement being undertaken or contracts issued for greater than $2 million. This time they note the project below. I’ve since learnt it relates to the new bridges over the motorway at Northcote Rd as for some reason they weren’t able widen the existing road bridge to accommodate the cycle lanes. It would be nice if it meant cyclists and pedestrians could avoid the motorway interchange completely and not have to cross all the on and off ramps but I can’t see how that would happen without detours.

Northcote Safe Cycle Route Stage 2 (Bridge Construction) – This procurement is for the physical works of the required bridges and includes, but is not limited to: utility services work and relocations, construction of two bridges, cycle and pedestrian signalisation, construction of the connecting paths, modifications to the Smales Farm entranceway and landscaping works.

Road Safety

Analytics

The analytics report is one of the most interesting parts of the board report – although it can sometimes be hard to tell how much of it is effectively a tech demo and how much is going to become part of ATs regular tools. This month they say

The implementation of red light running analytics utilising existing camera infrastructure is complete, and eleven sites are in operation. Twentyfive further sites are planned for a progressive roll out of new cameras and analytics between May and November 2019. To provide the highest possible accuracy of detection of red light runners, AT Business Technology have deployed an improved solution that uses an input direct from the traffic controller, which is implemented at the new Morningside Drive / St Lukes Road site. Three further sites will have cameras installed in June with analytics built by the end of June. The analytics will detect both vehicles and buses.

AT has also built and refined speed detection analytics using a single CCTV camera on Grafton Bridge. The refinements have improved accuracy dramatically from 65% to 95%. The use of a single camera in the Auckland Transport speed detection system is different to the conventional way of using radars to detect speed. Single camera CCTV analytics is significantly cheaper and quick to deploy. This means the solution could be rolled out across wider Auckland and would collect enriched data. Grafton Bridge is the first trial site.

Having Auckland-wide information on speeding would be invaluable in helping to understand the scale of the problem and the effectiveness of interventions.

MAPI

If you’ve been noticing a lot of raised tables being installed recently, this is part of a project called Mass Action Pedestrian Improvements. AT describe it as:

MAPI is a component of the high risk urban programme which improves safety by focusing on constructing raised tables at existing pedestrian crossings.

Projects

Cycleways

One of the concerns we’ve had for some time is that some of the most delayed projects are the cycleway ones. Notably, It’s been more than six months since the last cycleway project was completed (Ian McKinnon Dr) and nothing has started in that time. Thankfully it appears things might finally be starting to move in the right direction again with a number of projects at or close to the construction phase. As well as the Northcote bridges mentioned above we have

K Rd – contract has been awarded and construction starts late June/Early July

New Lynn to Avondale – the main works tender is in the market and construction on the new bridge over the Whau start in October.

Takami Drive to Ngapipi – About to go to tender for construction

On Street LPR

AT are looking to use licence plate recognition on a car to help improve parking enforcement. They say it’s still going through a testing and pilot phase but assuming that goes well, they will start to trial it with the first phase of that being to monitor residential parking zones and phase two being on street paid parking.

AT Metro

Bus services

In the list of items relating to bus services, these ones stand out. The service rationalisation could be interesting and we’ll be watching to ensure it doesn’t mean cutting any frequent routes back.

  • A strategic review of bus routing in the city centre is nearing completion, targeting solutions that remove the number of buses terminating in the city centre, to reduce pressure for on-street bus stops and layovers.
  • A number of service changes are being made in August and September 2019. These focus on:
    • service rationalisation on poor performing routes to improve on-going operational expenditure
    • some capacity improvements to address known issues on routes 755, 70, 75, 105, 101, 27 and Onewa Rd services
    • diversion of 134 services to serve Williamson Avenue

On-Demand

ATs rideshare trial continues to underwhelm with just over 90 trips a day in April and a total since launch of almost 10,400 till the end of April.

Integrating Ferry Fares

With the council approving funding to provide integrated fares for ferries, AT say:

Work is commencing on the development of ferry fare integration into the broader PT fare structure based on Council preliminary development funding approval. This would see single zone land-side bus/train travel incorporated into the existing ferry fare price. Council has also approved preliminary funding for free PT for 5 – 15 year olds on weekends and public holidays from September 2019.

Forward Planner

This gives an indication of what we can expect in the future. One item we’re likely to hear about in coming months is something called “Park and Ride Integrated Development“. This is likely related to a story we saw late last year suggesting AT were looking at developing P&R sites, including potentially awful options like this at Constellation station.

Statement of Intent

The board are due to sign off their next Statement of Intent – which is essentially that they plan to do over the next year or so. I haven’t gone through it but I did notice this in the letter from the Mayor/Council.

Managing the impacts of the transport system on the environment

The new emphasis on emissions reductions is positive and council supports the inclusion of the new measures. It is positive how Auckland Transport is working with other members of the council family to help develop and implement the Auckland Climate Action Plan and supporting water quality and environmental outcomes (both in renewals and new builds).

The transport system is also a major contributor to water quality issues. Acknowledging that there are only certain aspects Auckland Transport can directly control, the statement of intent should include a commitment to work with council on measuring the impact of the transport network on water quality.

Longer term, the council is interested in how to decouple vehicle kilometres travelled from population growth (as noted in the draft SOI) and how to continue the mode share shift regionwide, but especially in the city centre and city fringe areas, to reduce vehicle numbers allowing developing of the Access for Everyone programme.

This is notable as it’s the council pushing for these changes, not “an ideologically driven group of anti-car bureaucrats” like a certain mayoral candidate has suggested.

Let me know if the comments if there’s anything important you’ve seen that I’ve missed.

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64 comments

  1. I really appreciate the work you do to demystify the inner workings of AT. It’s clear there is some good things happening. Please keep up your advocacy.

  2. Thanks for the update and it’s great to hear works will soon be starting on K Rd and Avondale/New Lynn. Really pleasing to see that AT have also identified issues with 105 route – cutting the numbers of cars around the departure point would be an obvious solution as half the time the bus can’t actually get to the stop because there’s a huge number of cars/taxis blocking the way. AT needs to be brave.

    1. Yes this would of hopefully be when they were sorting that, also nothing happened with train timetable improvement that was possibly going to be in Feb this year?

      With the bus congestion, I guess they are going to run some buses further out of the city centre to layover etc?

    2. Related to that, anyone use or see how much the 321 Hospital bus is used? I don’t see it much around peak or can’t see in it so wonder how well it is doing.
      As discussed before, would be really good to improve Greenlane Hospital walking access from the main road & avoid having it go right in & around the parking lot. Depending on what else they change. Surely it needs better frequency, earlie, later & weekend coverage I would of thought being a hospital bus?? They put in two brand new bus stops corner Penrose & Gt South Rd for it (only service along here now), and I’ve seen them used about twice, yet the 66 (partly 298 too) along Penrose Rd end has virtually no shelters or seats. Nothing makes sense about all that.

      1. I use that bus quite a few times every year for appointments at Greenlane and often there are buses that when they come into the grounds instead of going up and around the top of the hill they turn left and go around the main carpark . in the days before the update of the routes they use to stop just before the carpark entrance but now you have to walk across 2 roads and through the carpark , and it can be a death trap sometimes .

        Why they never put the stop outside the main entrance I don’t know ? . As it would help all and sundry to get to their appointments a lot easier

  3. You missed the big two
    In Procurement Auckland Transport have started the tender processes for the new 38 bus that will replace the 380 between the Airport and Manukau once Stage 1 Airport to Botany in 2021. The 38 will run 10mins all day every day unlike the 380.

    And of A2B the other one was the consents are granted and enabling works are underway for Puhinui. Bus lanes for Puhinui Road and Lambie Drive are in final design and consultation due most likely after the Board meets.

      1. Thanks Ben! Please keep an eye on this project, it will be great for people in the south and a valuable addition to the RTN.
        Hopefully more of the electric buses will be in service by then, rode the electric 380 the other week and it was gloriously smooth and quiet 🙂

  4. Raised tables are a great idea, but I can’t feel somewhat punished for driving a smaller, city-friendly car at some crossings. Meanwhile, those with massive SUVs and Utes that are far bigger than any urban environment justify get to glide over them in relative comfort.

    1. They’ve put one of these in Manurewa on Great South Road near Myers Road.

      Problem is that this area is the designated over dimension load route so the NZTA is now involved

        1. What do you suggest we do instead to enable people to cross safely? There are other solutions, but hard to know what would be more acceptable.

          1. Raised pedestrian crossings are safer. They slow down the traffic. Auckland’s traffic environment is very unsafe for people walking. If you don’t think it should be a raised crossing, and there is obviously a need to make it safer than it was, do you have any other ideas?

    2. The new one on at the Burnley Terrace shops on Sandringham Road just about launches my car into orbit no matter how slow I go.

      1. Really? I haven’t noticed an issue driving over that one.

        Great to hear it’s part of an organised programme. Raised tables are really useful accessible pedestrian infrastructure. Long may they reproduce!

    3. +1

      They need to add other traffic calming features like lane narrowing, kerb build-outs, side friction features etc.

  5. Hold on, weren’t we expecting details of what’s happening to the delayed remainder of the Urban Cycleways Program.

    In particular, shouldn’t there be an update on GI to Tamaki Phase 2 ?

  6. LPR for monitoring NSAAT zones that get smashed by people stopping to pickup their takeways. Yes I’m talking to you Sandringham!!

    They just dont get how dangerous it is to park and block any drivers visability of someone about to step out on the crossing.

    But its alright if your hazards are on I guess and its just a takeaway pickup and you’ll only be a few minutes so by all means put yourself before your fellow citizens.

    Its all about you…

    Rant over.

    Stocked to see such technology being tested and trialed!!

    1. Yes. That these zones adjacent to the pretend crossings near schools are being used by parents dropping their kids off is mindblowing.

      Mind you, some good old in-person enforcement across the city would’ve gone a long way.

    2. How hard would it be to install durable poles in those kerbside spaces before and after crossings? About half a parking space width along and out from the kerb should do it.

  7. Thanks Matt. I’m just starting to look at the SOI. Vision Zero – you know that old chestnut. It’s on the work programme for 2019/2020 to 2020/21 as:

    “Develop, obtain approval and begin implementing a Vision Zero Strategy for Auckland”

    Obtain approval and begin implementing? Even though Levy committed “in full and without question” to doing the following in 2018:

    “Safe system with Vision Zero goal adopted and supported”

    If they’d adopted it and supported as soon as they got the safety review, we’d be streets ahead now. Yet Levy has the gall to mention in the SOI that Auckland is, amongst 31 OECD countries:

    “the worst for motorcycle deaths by distance travelled and the second worst for pedestrian deaths by distance travelled. Vulnerable road users are clearly at particular risk in Auckland.”

    Do we have a crisis of inertia?

    1. “Vulnerable road users”? A great deal of motorcyclists ride recklessly and put themselves deliberately in harms way. They aren’t always at fault but certainly are a lot of the time and of course pretty much always are when no other vehicle is involved (which happens far too often).

      1. How does any of that stop them being vulnerable road users? They aren’t surround by 2 tons of armour, therefore they are vulnerable.

        1. Because calling them vulnerable road users makes it sound as if they are cyclists rather than thrill seekers riding around on a piece of machinery often as powerful as a car and causing their own accidents most of the time. Quite frankly I’m surprised their accident rate isn’t 300% higher with the way you see many (most) riding.

          1. There are definitely those for whom the experience of almost dying but not quite is an integral part of the experience. “Look at me. I’m lane splitting between my lane and the oncoming lane at 70 km/h!” They may be a minority but they’re supremely annoying.

            Another integral part I guess is the sensation of the noise pounding on your body. Whenever I’m in the CBD I’m bound to encounter at least one of them. To small kids the noise is terrifying. I wonder if some of them ever manage to crack windows.

            Hint: if people can hear your bike from 3km away it is probably too loud.

            I don’t understand what the benefit of tolerating such motorbikes is. We don’t tolerate other similar things, like setting off fireworks every day of the year. I guess enforcing some basic laws (like noise level) is too complicated.

    2. “”Develop, obtain approval and begin implementing..”

      – How can they possibly not have even started developing the policy, let alone doing anything with it?

      If Council do not push back on basics like that during the SOI process then AT will continue to take the piss.

      1. Particularly when there are staff in AT who are pushing hard to bring better safety, it feels to me that the AT board were responsible in this situation. They simply should’ve adopted Vision Zero straight away. There are times when crossing t’s and dotting i’s about risk avoidance introduces other risks.

        In this case, it’s clear that the programme has had a slow start because VZ wasn’t introduced earlier. Thus, the benefits haven’t come yet. So people are actually dying due to their having to check out the legal risks. I think the reputational risk here is massive.

  8. Anything about the constant power failures/overhead issues on the Southern line which cascade into a system wide meltdown. Another one today, must be up to number 5 in just the last two months.

    1. Due to the increasing number of OLE faults Auckland Transport has decided to remove the wires and install 3rd rail conductors.

      This will require the closure of all at grade crossings.

      The good thing is that Papakura-Pukekohe will be on the electric network a hell of a lot quicker than waiting for 25kV

      Forgot to say that the value of the OLE will pay for the conductor rails

  9. The park and ride development may need some landscaping and place making. It is currently surrounded by big roads and doesn’t feel very pedestrian friendly. There should be some bike path/walkway connected with ample greening

    The first floor should have retail/hospitality as facade, and outdoor dining to add some vibrancy.

    A supermarket, and childcare center would be popular for the busy parents.

  10. Hmmm wonder what bus routes they will be trimming back, probably later at night ones etc like in south Auckland a while back.

    Regarding the 755 – Portland Rd bus, yes caught this one day after 5pm leaving the city and it was chocka, bus a bit small didn’t help either. Also before the new network the equivalent was was as well.

    Good looks like more services for 75 (didn’t think they that full? now double deckers? but not that frequent considering route), I haven’t caught it at proper peak though.

    70 I think was a problem in the morning peak mainly from Ellerslie on?

    As for Mt Eden Rd, # 27, well it’s always needing more.

    Interesting the 134 redirection.

    Heidi could shed light on the 101 route I guess?

    1. The 27 is the only route that runs double deckers and XLBs during peak despite being the first route with double deckers on it. Maybe AT will actually realise that it’s not a good idea and actually make it a double decker only route (as the 25 and 30 routes are). This would allow the XLBs to be distributed elsewhere such as on the 101, 755 etc. As far as I know, the 105 and 101 was tendered for LB only…and yet before the new network was run, they often were run with XLBs…

    2. 134 redirection seems sensible. Williamson Avenue used to be served by one bus route (030) before the new network came into effect.

      134 is one of two bus services from Henderson to the city, the other being 133. They take different routes through Te Atatu South and the 133 has slightly better frequency.

      The section of Great North Road between Grey Lynn and Newton Road is served already by 18, 110, 132, 133 and 195 as well as the peak only 129 and it’s a very easy change to any of these services from the 134.

      1. Thanks Alex for the info. I ended up looking up an old 2014 timetable I had filed away out of curiosity. Yes that 30 used to come from Pt Chev. It’s interesting, even with the old networks multitude of numbers, how simple all the Western buses especially & others worked in the city centre before the CRL & Britomart disruptions.

        Once it’s all done, we should have most of this simplicity back again.

    1. David, it is the station building they want to move, not the railway station
      itself. While the building is of historical value, I understand parts of it are
      rotten as, and nobody seems to be able to decide what the final outcome
      will be.

      No work was done on the building in the recent rebuild of the station.

      1. They need to spend a few $thousand on and lease it out to a cafe/bar like they have done at Glen Eden and Waitakere that way the tenants will look after properly instead of it just letting it sit there decaying away to nothing .

  11. It’s a shame that GA don’t look into the dealings of the CCO Panuku with their corrupt dealings in selling council property after this item that was in the news last week :-

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/113216338/auckland-councils-former-hq-sold-for-3m-set-to-be-turned-into-homes

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/06/auckland-council-in-turmoil-over-discounted-property-sale.html

    and the developers have an apartment on the top floor going for $15million so what sort of backhander’s did the officers of Panuku get with this cheap sale ? . And how much more have they sold on the cheap and screwed the council of good deals

    1. Do you have any basis for alleging corruption? Or is it just the price that makes you think there are illegal dealings at foot?

      That building is a liability, and offloading it from the council for $0 would have been a good move.

      Consider two things, firstly it’s a heritage protected structure so you can’t demolish it and can’t substantially modify it. So in effect the land it sits on has no separate market value from the building, i.e. you can’t use the land for something else, yo can only retain the building.

      Secondly, the old building is condemned, it’s not fit for habitation. So it must have asbestos removal, strengthening, new fire systems and a complete refit of the interior, but those things must be done according to the requirements of heritage protection. Turning that building into apartments that can be sold will cost far more than building a new apartment tower elsewhere.

      So that $3m is almost a token sum, the cost to bring those apartments to market will be far far greater than that.

      1. Nick it’s just the price they paid sort of like a divorce price so the other half doesn’t make anything through the sale . If you or I were selling it we would want the best price possible . That could be the reason why a number of councilors are taking it to court because or the cheap price that was paid .

        The land it’s sitting on is worth a heck of a lot more so why couldn’t they get more $’s ?

        1. Of course we would want more for it, but it doesn’t mean we would get more for it.

          Incidentally there is quite a bit of this going on in the Auckland housing market, vendors believing there property is worth $x and buyers saying hell no. The result is a lot on unsold properties.

        2. Well like I just wrote, the land it’s sitting on is effectively worthless if all you can use the land for is to hold up the same heritage protected but otherwise condemned building.

          Note: we live in a capitalist economy where the only thing that determines the price is what someone is willing to pay for it. The land is only worth what someone will pay for it, and they’ll only pay what makes economic sense.

          You might have noticed this building was on the market for the last six years with little interest.

          1. I guess ratepayers could have stumped up the money to remove the asbestos and fix the other issues with the building and then have sold it to developers but once you net it all out, it’ll probably end up about the same as we got.

            Also from what I saw the deal including price was agreed 3 years ago. If true it wouldn’t set a strong precedent if council ripped it up to try and sell it again for more money, who would trust them not to do it again. Of note, it appears Tamihere was one of IMSB members on the committee that approved the sale and it’s only now he appears to be complaining about it.

          2. Who made it a heritage building? At a guess ratepayers just lost 20mil or so to keep that building. What a waste of money. Makes you wonder how much all this heritage crap has cost in total, must be billions. If a building is old and useless rip it down and build something better.

      2. The Heritage protection need a balance between opportunity value and emotional/historic value.

        If the building is demolished and replaced, the end value worth lot more.

        If the building cannot be demolished but require an expensive fix, it will be a negative asset.

        If a few people has emotional attachment to that building, it need to justify whether that emotion worth tens of millions.

        1. +1, the real issue here is why heritage protection of a Soviet era building is resulting in us loosing so much potential council income.

          1. Exactly, a paltry $3m sale price is the cost of putting a heritage protection order on the building. The council has effectively spent money buying the heritage protection.

          2. This is absolutely crazy. I haven’t been following it. Who on earth wanted that building protected?

            We have polluted harbours, schools waiting forever for some sort of traffic calming, kids being moved from house to house and school to school because of the housing crisis, and some out-of-touch nostalgic looking backwards instead of forwards wants to keep that ugly building? Fine if it makes sense from a resource and cost point of view, but under these conditions?

            Unreasonable and unethical.

          3. “Park and Ride Integrated Development“
            When I read this I wonder whether AT is simply bereft of other ideas. Yes absolutely Auckland needs more people on PT, but at what expense and whose expense?
            I am struggling to see any logical reason why those who use park and rides should not pay the cost of parking there. Effectively those who do make the effort to walk, bike, or take a feeder bus are subsidising those who don’t. Surely this is a perverse outcome that those who are most environmentally conscious are penalised for their actions.
            Arguably Auckland needs more cheap housing more than it needs more people on buses and to add tens of thousands of dollars to the sale price of apartments in the place that they should be i.e. by PT routes, just seems non sensical. Why should a property owner pay for someone elses parking?
            Yes it will be unpopular for AT to charge for parking, but surely the reduction in carbon emissions is going to be caused partly by people facing the cost of their carbon emitting activities and in some cases adjusting their behaviour.

    2. The alternative: ratepayers stumping up ~$80m to fix all the issues with the building would have been equally criticised. This is mostly just Tamihere trying to whip up votes.

      1. I’m sorry, but $3 million for half a hectare plus a well built high rise of prime real estate. Come on! This is outrageous.

        It’s also very debatable how problematic the asbestos is. And if it was such a logical deal why the hell all the secrecy?

        Still when it ain’t your money, and they’ve poured ludicrous amounts into the leaking seive that is the old ASB building, and that deal was a real shitter, who really cares! Eh Phil Goff.

        1. I don’t why but anything with a URL .govt.nz seems to be an easy mark to be ripped of by any private company i.e Kiwi rail , Air New Zealand and any other thing that was sold off , but when it comes to repurchasing the items back again the .govt seems to be over charged i.e KR Air New Zealand . Don’t they have people in their organisations that can make a decent buck for them or do they just throw it in the to hard basket ? .

          1. Negotiating means more work.

            It’s not their money.
            It’s not their boss money.
            It’s not their boss’s boss money.

            Why should they care?

  12. There is a documentary on threelife [freeview ch11 , sky ch29] today at 4am about the Moscow underground . I hope AT watch it to show how to run a service will 90seconds between trains and with a 30second max dwell time

    1. Yes, it can be done.

      AT need to stop accepting those CANT DO excuses from the rail team. Retire those people and replace them with people with CAN DO attitude.

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