Today is the latest AT board meeting and here are the highlights (and lowlights) from their board papers.
After a few months with not much interesting standing out, there are a number of items on the closed report this meeting.
Items for Approval/Decision
- Eastern Busway Procurement Update
- Albany Transport Network
- Murphys Road Upgrade
- New Retail Leases – Britomart Station CPO Building
- $0 Child Weekend Fares
- Bus Services Procurement
Items for Noting
- Matakana Link Road Update
- Transport Design Manual
As always, these are the items that I found interesting in the report and generally in the order they appear in the report.
AT have apparently been working on a process to archive their old records though the Auckland Council Archives and includes scanning over 6.5GB of paper records. However what is concerning is they say they’re the first of the council’s CCOs to be compliant with the Public Records Act 2005, which means all the other CCOs aren’t.
Over the last 12 months AT, though the Harbourmaster, have had to spend about $135,000 to dispose of derelict, abandoned or wrecked vessels and have only been able to recover $7k of that so far from owners as there is no compulsory vessel registration in NZ making it almost impossible to work out who the owners are – and even if they do identify the owner, they often shirk responsibility for it. They say this is an increasing problem with most of the 3500 moored vessels being at least 40 years old with only a handful less than 10 years old. The Council agreed to increase mooring fees to help cover the costs so that this doesn’t have to be funded by rates.
Safe School Streets Trial Project
Everyone seems to acknowledge that getting more kids to walk and cycle to school would be good for both traffic and kids but it’s hard to get that to happen when some of the most dangerous driving occurs right outside schools as parents jostle for parking spots. Personally, I’ve had more close encounters with dangerous drivers riding my bike past a primary school than when I get merged into the middle of a 70km/h road.
AT recently trialled some tactical urbanism type measures outside Rutherford Primary School in Te Atatu to try and reduce congestion and improve safety. This included dedicated pick up/drop off areas, park and walk zones, new pedestrian crossing locations and restricted parking on Kotuku Street. It appears to have largely been a success and now some semi-permanent features are being worked on.
The purpose of this event was to demonstrate to the parents and local community how new parking strategies can provide a safer and happier experience for families at peak travelling times. This event proved that traffic flow can be managed, and safety is of paramount importance when designing traffic environments around schools.
Modifying parents’ attitudes and behaviour towards parking takes time and persistence. The next step for the Safe School Street Pilot at Rutherford Primary and College is to introduce semi-permanent fixtures to help manage the traffic flow around the schools. These are likely to be in place from July/August.
I understand AT are looking at trialling this with other schools too.
High Risk Road Interventions
As well as looking at speed limits, one of the pieces of work AT are doing to improve road safety is to improve the safety of high-risk sites on rural roads. They say:
Out of 173 projects planned for construction at the beginning of this year, 53 projects have been completed, 107 projects have commenced construction and the remaining 13 are in design or procurement. The delay in construction of the roundabout at Coatesville Riverhead / Dairy Flat highway and other parts of this corridor will result in an underspend.
In urban areas they “are focusing on three key areas physical interventions – a) mass action pedestrian improvements projects, b) improving safety in high risk intersections and c) improving safety at high risk corridors. There is a range of interventions that are implemented e.g. removing filtered right turns at unsafe intersections, upgrading zebra crossings, installing raised tables at intersections, installing high friction surfacing, focussing on motorbike safety and installing signage”. For this they say:
AT planned to complete 86 projects this year. There are 52 projects that have been constructed, 17 projects where construction has commenced and the remaining 17 are either in procurement or in the design phase. A further 28 projects have completed detailed design and will be constructed in 2019/2020. This programme is forecast to be less than 5% underspend.
It’s good to see these safety projects progressing.
In a separate paper, they say that after getting over 11,700 submissions they need more time to review them and now aren’t looking to make a decision until the end of September – they originally proposed having it come into effect on 20 August. They also say that the submissions included requests to reduce speed limits on 876km of roads not part of the original consultation.
The significantly enlarged Newmarket mall is due to open at the end of August.
A cross functional AT team is working to ensure an optimal customer experience through protection of public transport, network optimisation and mode shift activity; and have been focussing on delivering an operational plan for the roading network. The plan being developed in conjunction with NZTA and Scentre Group, is similar to that generated for the Waterview Tunnel and includes how the roading network will be managed.
A funding request will be made through the usual governance channels, which seeks to prioritise initiatives to improve accessibility for pedestrians, protect public transport customers, enhance safety particularly on Broadway, and manage the risk of congestion and queues.
If AT are serious about this they need to at least include the immediate installation of
- Bus lanes on Broadway
- Protected Bike Lanes on Broadway (remove the on street parking if needed)
- Pedestrian priority over Morrow St
Yesterday I covered the AA’s congestion report including their call for smarter traffic lights. Improving the optimisation of the network is something they’ve long called for even though it’s been happening. In this report it highlights that 270 intersections have been optimised over the past 11 months.
There is also quite a bit of information about work AT and the NZTA carried out to optimise ramp signals along SH20 between Waterview and Onehunga. They note this achieved improvements such congestion on the motorway in the AM peak starting 30 minutes later and clearing about 30 minutes earlier with delays reducing by about 12%.
Public Transport Services
A new timetable is expected to be signed off this month and will include some of the following changes.
The new timetable will see an additional earlier morning departure on the Southern, Eastern and Western Lines, providing further travel options for our customers working shifts. An additional, later night outbound service has been planned for the Southern and Eastern lines, with services expected to depart from Britomart after 11pm. This is the first change, in a series of proposed increases through to the opening of CRL. Western Line services are not included in this change to allow for increased CRL construction activity.
Still no word on actually making trains frequent, despite them meant to be being the backbone of the New Network
AT say the weekend Hobsonville ferries continue to be popular above expectations
I recall AT promising to have the links working properly for the launch of the new network. Perhaps this time it will work but why will it take till October?
The Outer link has been reviewed to eliminate the wait times currently experienced by customers at Victoria Park. Preferred options for change have now been agreed and will be operationalised in October 2019.
ATs on-demand trials continue to disappoint. The graphs below show the outcomes so far with the $1.3 million trial well below targets.
To make matters worse, Stuff reported earlier this month a survey by AT found most users were people previously getting to the ferry terminal by walking, cycling or by bus with only 43% of users having switched from driving or being driven. I’m amazed this trial has managed to carry on. It should be cut ASAP.
E- Bus Trial Update
A paper gives an update on how the e-buses that are being trialled are performing. Some highlights include.
The two ADL/BYD e-buses are performing well and “able to complete a day’s scheduled operations on a single charge“. On the CityLink route their operating costs were about 77% lower than the normal diesel buses used while on the Inner Link and 380 Airporter route they have up to 84% lower operating costs
The Yutong e-bus is being trialled on the 380 Airporter and the 309 route and uses “a different drive and charging technology and has higher capacity batteries to support the availability of air-conditioning”. So far it has 76 percent lower operating costs when compared to similar sized diesel buses.
AT are also looking to trial three hydrogen fuel cell buses and extra-large three-axle electric buses.
Let me know if the comments if there’s anything you’ve seen that I’ve missed.