Here’s the roundup of some of the things we didn’t yet cover this week.
More Auckland Transport Consultation
After months of silence in the lead up to the local body elections, AT are clearly now playing catch up and trying to squeeze in all of their consultations before Christmas. This week we’ve had another few important ones.
City Centre Bus Lanes for CRL
As discussed a few weeks ago, the city centre is in for considerable disruption over the coming weeks and one of the big changes will be the closure from March of the Albert St / Wellesley St intersection for City Rail Link construction. With Wellesley such an important bus corridor, AT are looking to put in bus lanes to ensure buses can still get around the city and not be stuck in congestion.
Auckland Transport is proposing to introduce a range of city centre road changes for new 24/7 bus lanes and other bus priority measures to accommodate new City Rail Link (CRL) works commencing in early 2020.
From 1 March 2020, the CRL project will close the intersection of Wellesley Street, Albert Street and Mayoral Drive for at least 9 months. As works progress, the Victoria Street/Albert Street intersection will then close for at least 12 months from early 2021.
To ensure people can continue to travel in and around the city centre during these works, bus lanes are being proposed on additional roads to ensure buses are given priority.
Like others that already exist in the city centre, the proposed bus lanes on Queen Street, Victoria Street and Mayoral Drive will operate 24/7.
Consultation is open till 10 December
Point Chevalier improvements
Consultation closed 20 December
St Lukes Cycle Safety improvements
The NZTA are to make safety improvements to the cycleway on St Lukes Rd
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is delighted to confirm that construction of safety improvements on part of the St Lukes cycleway near the north-western cycleway crossing on St Lukes Road will start early next year.
A contract to build these safety improvements, which includes four raised crossings, has been awarded to CLL with work beginning in January and expected to take around two months.
The NZ Transport Agency has worked with Auckland Transport and Bike Auckland to develop a design that improves safety for people on foot and on bikes connecting between the local cycle network, schools and community facilities such as the local parks and reserves.
Raised crossings are a Safe System* improvement that make it safer for people on foot and on bikes. The Transport Agency is committed to the Safe System approach.
NZ Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton, says these upgrades form a missing link in the cycle network, safely connecting St Lukes Road to the north-western cycleway and Great North Road, and to places like the Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Western Springs Park and Western Springs College. They also deliver a safer west-east crossing for north-western cycleway users.
“Safety for all road users, including people on foot on and bikes, is a priority for the Transport Agency. These upgrades will significantly improve safety at this busy intersection, as well as the Duncan MacLean intersection, by slowing traffic down.”
Improvements also include a Copenhagen-style raised bike lane southbound from the overbridge to Duncan MacLean Link, cycle phasing at the controlled crossings, extending the traffic island by the westbound motorway off-ramp, and improved lighting. These safety improvements will allow the eastern lane of the St Lukes overbridge, closed two years ago due to safety concerns, to be reopened to cars.
Safer Speeds around Schools
Yesterday the government announced a number of changes aimed at improving safety. These include mandatory speed limit reductions around schools
The Government is delivering on its commitment to make streets safer for kids to walk and cycle to school, by reducing speed limits to a maximum of 40 km/h around urban schools and 60 km/h around rural schools.
“Our kids should have the freedom to walk and cycle to school and feel safe doing so,” said Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter.
“Many parents would like their kids to get to school independently, but are understandably concerned about fast moving traffic near their school.
“Safer speeds around schools is proven to make streets safer, more attractive and more accessible for children to walk and cycle.
Here are some of the other changes coming
The safer improvements around schools is part of a broader programme to tackle unsafe speeds across the country. These changes include:
- a new ‘no surprises’ approach to safety cameras that will introduce warning signs so drivers know to go slow through high-risk, safety camera areas;
- transferring the ownership and operation of safety cameras from NZ Police to the NZ Transport Agency;
- rolling out additional cameras on high-risk roads;
- streamlining the process for communities and local authorities to determine the appropriate speed limits for their regions.
The NZTA taking over the ownership and operation of safety cameras is quite interesting given the issues AT had with getting the police to manage them. And just the other day I was thinking, as a truck barreled through a red light with a pedestrian about to cross, “imagine if we had red light cameras on every single intersection”.
AT: Fix the Gt North Rd / Carrington Rd / Pt Chev Rd lights
For I believe the fourth time over the last week or so, and third time within as many days, we’ve seen reports that the pedestrian crossing signals at the above intersection have not been working and despite being reported to AT each time, they don’t seem to be doing anything about it with the signals often out for much of the day, including when school children are trying to cross the road.
AT this is unacceptable and it needs to be fixed properly as it’s creating major safety issues.
@AklTransport Urgent issue: pedestrian signals are out at the corner of Gt Nth/ Carrington/ Pt Chev Rd. Have redirected school children to nearest working crossing. This is reportedly the third day they’re broken, all day (??). Please fix! pic.twitter.com/Uo4rI64Lnt
— Jolisa Gracewood (@nzdodo) November 27, 2019
National Ticketing system two years behind schedule
One of the reasons for the NZTA investing in the system that became HOP was that they wanted to use the back end functionality for a national system. But that goal fell apart a few years ago after Wellington refused to use it and so bizarrely the NZTA decided to they would start from scratch and build a new national ticketing system. AT will eventually need to adopt the system and as such put on hold plans improve the functionality of HOP.
But things haven’t been going so well and yesterday it was revealed it the new national system is at least two years behind schedule.
A national system of paying for public transport tickets virtually anywhere – using cellphones, credit card or paywave – is beset by delays and uncertainty.
The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) says the rollout of the Next project will start on Wellington’s trains in 2022, two years behind schedule.
It has blamed delays on changes in the available technology options.
But a consultant’s report to NZTA found a lot of problems at the agency itself, including how it put the project into the hands of its dysfunctional Connected Journeys unit (CJS) for two years.
“We were advised the head of CJS [director Martin McMullan] adopted a relatively hands-off approach,” consultant company Deloitte’s report stated.
Why do ticketing projects always seem to end up such a saga?
The article also includes this worrying comment
More fundamentally, it said NZTA lacked an “active vehicle” to implement the government’s public transport priorities, and had let its focus on a national ticketing plan lapse.
City Centre Progress
On Albert and Wyndham streets the first sections of new footpath have opened outside the Shakespeare Hotel and it’s so much nicer than what it ever used to be. Already the Shakespeare and its patrons have started spreading out onto the street. I can’t wait for more to be finished and for the trees to start going in.
Quay St has been subject to a lot of disruption over the last few months as works to upgrade it have been underway but the first sign of light at the end of the tunnel has started emerging with the first of the permanent paving starting to go down. You can now get a feel for how much substantially wider the footpath on the Southern side will be., which is will be fantastic.
A few tweets that caught my attention
The Princes / Shortland intersection is minor, it’s hard to see why AT would object to this change
The Princes/ Shortland Street Intersection:
ped safety works delayed (again) till (maybe) Jan20
Strong opposition from 'Road Corridor Access team' maybe time for this Team to learn about VisionZ, Safer Speeds, & #A4E to understand broader meaning of 'Access' & where CC is heading pic.twitter.com/sg2RvvZjFM
— AK CC ResidentsGroup (@CityAklccrg) November 25, 2019
We shouldn’t have ads on buses given it makes the experience worse for users, but that is even more so when those ads are encouraging people to drive. Do AT even think about this stuff?
Sometimes I wonder whether @AklTransport you have some deliberate agenda to undermine your own strategic objectives – I'm working hard not to invoke conspiracy where incompetence will suffice. Photo thx: Robin Kearns pic.twitter.com/tJdxqzCwTA
— Alex Macmillan (@alexkmacmillan) November 26, 2019
“If there was just one more lane it would fix it”
WATCH: Brake lights in both directions on 405 Freeway in West LA as Thanksgiving travel rush gets underway
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) November 27, 2019
One from me (because it’s faster than uploading the image directly), we don’t build squigly roads so why do we do so with cycleways/shared paths? From this video
Taipa Bridge replacement, looks like someone let the landscape designers at the shared path pic.twitter.com/WjBWjEQoqJ
— Greater Auckland (@GreaterAKL) November 26, 2019