For the second year in a row, there is a rush on to get a heap of consultations completed right before everyone heads off for summer holidays – some of which were likely delayed from earlier in the year due to the elections. The consultations range from city-shaping projects down to minor changes such as adding broken yellow lines to a street and most close over the next few days.
One of the things this once again highlights is that our agencies need to find a better way of engaging. Having so many important consultations all due at about the same busy time of the year makes it incredibly difficult for those who want to be engaged in civic process to do so effectively.
With this post I’ll take a brief look at the key ones that that people should consider submitting on.
The Southwest Gateway Programme – closes 8 December
The Southwest Gateway Programme, which is aiming to improve transport to and around the airport. A big part of this programme is Airport to Botany Rapid Transit which will eventually create a busway between those two locations via Manukau. We wrote about it here.
The first stage of the programme is to create bus improvements between airport and Manukau via an improved Puhinui Station. That significant station upgrade got underway at the end of September and works to create bus priority on SH20B are due to start soon.
Following the initial consultation a year ago, the NZTA and Auckland Transport have now come up with a preferred set of improvements and the agencies are now consulting on those. This consultation also specifically asks about their plans to add bus priority to Puhinui Rd and Lambie Dr so that buses can reliably get from Puhuinui Station to Manukau. There are also changes to walking and cycling included.
Fixing the Outer Link – closes 13 December
The Outer Link is one of the most recognisable routes but it is also one of the most unreliable due to it being a loop. This often results in long frustrating pauses in places like Victoria Park. Auckland Transport are looking at fixing the route by breaking it up. The busiest section, the parts through inner west, would be retained as is and the crosstown function handled by a more frequent 650 service, to be renamed the 65.
In addition there is a new 640 service that will be created which is in large part to help deal with some of the disruption that will be caused by the Mt Eden Station being closed for CRL works.
As with any change to bus routes there will be some people who benefit and some who are impacted by the changes. Overall many more people will see benefits from the changes, which are well overdue so we support them.
Bus Priority to support CRL works – closes 10 December
The main works for the City Rail Link are just getting underway. These will see the tunnel and stations built from Mt Eden to Wyndham St, where the initial works have ended. From March the most disruptive phase of the works kicks off and will see the Wellesley St / Albert St intersection will close to all vehicles for 9-months. Once that reopens, the Victoria St intersection will close for 18 months.
Wellesley St is one of the busiest bus corridors in the city and so to help keep buses moving during this time Auckland Transport are looking a adding a number of bus priority lanes, primarily to Queen St, Mayoral Dr and Victoria St.
Point Chevalier Improvements – 20 December
Auckland Transport are consulting on their plans to improve the Pt Chev streetscape, including building a protected cycleway from Gt North Rd to Meola Rd and then up to Westmere. Our good friends over at Bike Auckland have put together some excellent information on the project and some feedback suggestions.
Sale / Wellesley St Intersection – 8 December
Auckland Transport are looking at signalising the Sale St and Wellesley St intersection. This will make it much easier to cross, both Wellesley St and the gaping maw that was the Sale St intersection – until the council’s design office put some temporary fixes in place.
These changes are need but the biggest issue with this is that AT aren’t putting bus lanes on what is one of the busiest corridors which can result in buses taking a long time to travel through this section and on Halsey St. Something to mention in the feedback.
today it took the NX2 20mins to travel 2kms along Wellesley and Halsey St. I should have walked and caught NX at Vic Park.
— Tim Sin (@realtimsin) December 3, 2019
Glenvar Rd and East Coast Rd improvements – Closes 8 December
AT want to make walking, cycling and safety improvements to parts of Glenvar and East Coast Road, including some protected cycleways through intersections. Overall the improvements look good and you can read Bike Auckland’s take on it here too.
Te Whau Pathway – closes 12 December
Te Whau Pathway is 15km walking and cycling link between the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours mostly following the Whau river. Once fully completed the pathway is expected to connect 33 reserves, esplanade strips, sports parks, and roads along its route. About 2.9km has already be built in some reserves but much remains to be done, including about 7km of boardwalk.
A resource consent for the rest of the project is currently out for submission and should be supported. Again, our friends over at Bike Auckland have more details about the project.
Cavendish Dr and Norman Spencer Dr Intersection – closes 17 December
AT are proposing to signalise this intersection
That should keep you all busy for a while.