Last week’s weekly roundup seemed popular so here it is again.
CRL Open Day
City Rail Link are giving 10,000 people the chance to walk through the CRL tunnels they’ve built to date.
Aucklanders will have the opportunity next month to walk a section of the 3.45-kilometre-long tunnels being built for the City Rail Link project.
The open day will be held on Sunday, 17 November, at the Britomart end of the project in lower Queen Street. Tickets will be available from Wednesday, 6 November.
“This will be a rare opportunity for people to enjoy a brief snapshot of New Zealand’s largest-ever infrastructure project being built right under the city – we have a lot to celebrate,” says City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney.
“It’s a great chance for us to say, ‘thank you’ to people for the support they are giving the project, and for us to show off some of the outstanding engineering behind a project that will re-shape the way Aucklanders travel.”
People will be able to walk under lower Queen Street, the Commercial Bay development and into lower Albert Street – a return distance of 600 metres that will take about half-an-hour.
Space in the tunnels is confined. Access for those who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters is limited. There will be no access for bikes, prams, pushchairs, scooters and skateboards.
- Numbers will be restricted to 10,000
- Entry will be by ticket, which will only be available on-line from 6 November
- Tickets will be free and restricted to six per person with a total of 10,000 issued.
- Walking the tunnels will run between from 8am until last entry at 5pm
- There will be 10 entry sessions during the day. To keep people safe underground, each session will be restricted to 1000 people
When tickets become available, people will need to nominate the time of their visit
- The tunnels are not suitable for people who have a fear of being in a confined space, and there are low levels of lighting underground
- People are encouraged to wear sensible, flat shoes
- Entry and exit from the tunnels will be through the Britomart station
Just wait to get your tickets after I’ve got mine.
AA on Rapid Transit
The AA have surveyed over 1,600 of their Auckland members on the topic of rapid transit and published the results in their latest Auckland Matters newsletter. The results are both fascinating and very positive, especially when you consider that AA members tend to have a different demographic profile to the wider Auckland population.
The past few years have seen a tectonic shift in the debate around rapid transit in Auckland. No longer is there any question – as there was with the City Rail Link, for instance – about whether Auckland is ready for public transport on this scale. It is now fairly and squarely a discussion about what, when, and how much.
This is a welcome change. It recognises the crucial role rapid transit has to play in the transport network – in particular, by enabling more efficient long-term land-use patterns, thereby easing congestion – and underlines Aucklanders’ readiness to consider other ways of getting around.
At the same time, though, there’s a tendency to see rapid transit as a silver bullet solution, which it clearly is not.
The AA is right behind efforts to expand Auckland’s rapid transit network, and deliver high-quality public transport. Our Members want it, the public wants it, our city needs it.
But it has to be done in a way that is affordable, that achieves value for money, and that is very clear about the benefits that are and are not going to be delivered.
The Government’s delivery of rapid transit so far – in the form of light rail to the Airport – has generated public confusion and alienated many industry players. It will need to significantly lift its game.
There are a number of key findings from their survey but some of the most interesting are:
- There is huge support for Rapid Transport
- They want high quality services that provide appealing alternatives to driving.
- There is good support for both of the proposed light rail lines which is impressive given the absence of any official information and plenty of misinformation being spread.
NZTA Regulatory Review
On Wednesday Transport Minister released the results of the review in to the NZTAs regulatory role after it was found they had neglected it.
An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous government.
“It found that previous transport ministers had directed NZTA to focus on ‘building roads’ at the expense of keeping people safe,” Phil Twyford said. “Safety is our Government’s top transport priority and we’re getting the Transport Agency back on track.”
The Government is adopting all the review’s recommendations and will implement them as soon as possible, including:
- Creating a statutory Director of Land Transport who is responsible for carrying out the NZTA’s regulatory functions and powers,
- Getting the NZTA Board to develop a new regulatory strategy,
- Instructing the Ministry of Transport to update the NZTA’s regulatory objectives, functions and powers, and
- Injecting up to $45 million into NZTA’s regulatory function.
“The Transport Agency has made good progress in the past year but these new changes, coupled with recent Board appointments, will make sure it will be a modern regulator, equipped for the massive changes the sector will undergo in coming years. The Board has been bolstered by new member Catherine Taylor who is an experienced regulator, brings risk management expertise and has worked for other Crown agencies and government departments.
“The review also found the Transport Ministry has now improved its monitoring approach after taking a light touch under the last government. I expect the Ministry to take a more active approach to overseeing all our transport agencies,” Phil Twyford said.
As part of the work to ensure the Agency is a modern regulator, the Government is also investigating designating NZTA as a health and safety regulator, and options to strengthen commercial vehicle enforcement. This work and the other recommendations will be completed by early next year.
The latest building consent numbers are out and have hit a record high of 14,345 for the year to the end of August. Of those, 53% were for denser typologies of Apartments, terraced houses or retirement units.
“In addition to the record numbers of dwelling consents, a total of 1244 dwellings were ‘completed’ during August, by having a Code Compliance Certificate issued.
“This takes the total number of dwellings completed this year to 10,979.
High St changes start next week
From Tuesday the council will start trials to make High St more pedestrian friendly. This is to tie in with Art Week and specifically Late Night Art.
Starting at the north end of High Street, on-street car parks will be progressively replaced with temporary place-kit, widening footpaths to make the street more attractive to shoppers and pedestrians while making it more accessible for service and emergency vehicles and people with disabilities. New street furniture, planter boxes and other elements will also be rolled out to improve the look and feel of the street.
Phil Goff says, “Lessons learned during each phase will inform how the next phase is configured and rolled out. By working with the community through the co-design process we will ensure that the best final design is in place to get on and fully upgrade High Street into a world-class pedestrian-friendly space by the end of 2022.”
Chris Darby says, “We are changing the way we think about our urban streets, fostering design that recognises the vitality of people as the anchor of city life.
“We are changing the way we think about our urban streets, fostering design that recognises the vitality of people as the anchor of city life.
“Where pedestrians outnumber cars by 1,400 per cent, like on High Street, personal mobility and enjoyment trumps parking and kerbs to bring life on the street.
And finally, if you haven’t already, local body voting closes midday tomorrow. As of yesterday, just 29.8% of eligible votes had been returned. Results should be out from 2pm tomorrow.