Yesterday’s Waitemata Local Board meeting included an interesting update on how the City Centre Master Plan refresh is coming along. The paper itself starts at page 31 of this link, while page 83 onwards of this link has detail of the content.

The CCMP refresh has been going a while now, as nearly three years ago the council’s Planning Committee endorsed a refresh of the existing Plan’s implementation strategy. Work has stepped up more recently, with substantial engagement on some key updates of the plan guiding the work that’s been done over the past year. I discussed the details of the CCMP refresh late last year when the public consultation was underway, but in essence the big change is a fundamental review of how transport works in the city centre through the introduction of the ‘Access for Everyone’ concept. There’s also some overdue focus on fixing up Grafton Gully and a much stronger emphasis on Maori outcomes.

Access for Everyone is a pretty radical (but clearly necessary) proposed change to how the city centre’s transport system works – essentially making it possible to still drive to but not through the city centre and reallocating substantial streetspace away from cars and towards open space. It’s also an idea we’re seeing emerging in many cities around the world.

As we reported in December, the CCMP had strong support and within that Access for Everyone actually had some of the highest levels of support.

All ten Outcomes were supported by at least two thirds of the participants. The highest support was for Accessible City Centre (90 per cent), Green City Centre (88 per cent) and Liveable City Centre (87 per cent).

While people talked in detail about various additions and requirements for the CCMP, the main general theme about the outcomes was that they covered the important aspirations for the city centre and were important goals to focus on.

Some felt that the plans sounded good but wanted to see progress on actual tangible outcomes and improvement to the city centre. Others asked what, specifically, the outcomes meant and what actions and proposals they would trigger. They felt the outcomes were too vague / open to interpretation and possibly overlapped.

Some felt the CCMP could have more focus on creating a city that values people and the public, with amenities and facilities for public, cultural and recreational use (as well as commercial). This related to a theme of inclusivity: to make the city centre welcoming and accessible for people on lower incomes and from all Auckland suburbs.

A small proportion of participants felt the CCMP proposals went too far in prioritising pedestrian access over vehicle / driver access. They felt that prioritisation of car access was critical for the city centre.

Time and again, public consultation on big plans like the Auckland Plan and the Council’s budgets shows that the public – with a few vocal voices of opposition – on the whole supports progress towards making Auckland a more multi-modal and less car dependent city.

In fact it seems like the biggest barrier to swiftly implementing the City Centre Master Plan comes from Auckland Council’s very own transport CCO – Auckland Transport. AT’s submission nominally supports the concept but puts so many barriers in the path of its implementation that it will be hard to see it implemented. Here’s a very diplomatically worded snippet from the paper to the Waitemata Local Board:

AT’s submission on the CCMP identified a series of workstreams necessary to deliver the transport outcomes of the new city centre vision. In particular, AT identified that the full implementation of the Access for Everyone concept would likely require a 30 per cent reduction in general traffic during the two-hour morning peak and an increase in peak public transport capacity of 11,000 over that which is already planned for. It also identified the need for:

  1. a well-resourced and clear communications around the city centre transition to a new transport system
  2. significant ongoing stakeholder engagement (led by council) on the changes
  3. LTP and RLTP bids for new projects and initiatives to support the necessary mode shift
  4. significant ongoing work on developing, assessing and implementing the new projects and initiatives
  5. a range of travel behaviour change efforts to support and enable the mode shift.

Delivery of the CCMP vision will entail close working with AT. A staff working group with cross-AT disciplines relevant to city centre matters was established in October 2019. It includes representatives from across council and several teams from the NZTA. This group, led by AT’s Planning and Investment team, will report through established city centre governance mechanisms and progress will also be reported to the Planning Committee. The group will provide input into established budgeting processes, business case development and ongoing operational programmes.

This group is now commencing a comprehensive investigation into the implementation of the A4E concept, including the opportunity to develop pilot projects as part of a transition plan. AT has noted that substantial future funding for A4E initiatives and projects will be required (e.g. additional public transport capacity, modifications to the strategic network, etc.) and this upcoming work will identify this in more detail.

Some of that ‘significant and ongoing work’ includes AT wanting additional traffic capacity on The Strand and new motorway connections in the CMJ. They also say that they don’t think the full A4E network can be delivered until both the City Rail Link and Light Rail are operational to increase PT capacity, which now means maybe not till the the latter part of the decade.

While it’s good that more detailed planning work will now get underway, Council really need to pull AT into line and make it clear that their job is to make Council’s plans and strategies happen – rather than put every barrier in the way of progress. Auckland Transport also seem to miss the point that it is the very reallocation of streetspace away from cars and towards more efficient modes would allow for more capacity for buses and the expansion of open space in the city centre.

On a more positive note, through the CCMP refresh there is a clear high level strategy for transport in the city centre. As articulated in the pages below:

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

The refreshed CCMP will be presented to the council’s at a workshop today and at a Planning Committee on March 5 where it is hopefully finally endorsement. Then the pressure really will go onto Auckland Transport to make it happen.

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86 comments

  1. I’d be wary of relying on ATAP for anything now, given that we’ve already seen it’s a rough guide at best and at worst an opportunity for cynical and reckless political statements rather than indications of any real intent.

    I suspect that Light Rail as outlined in ATAP will end up being totally revised once we actually get a decision about what it looks like, and will then slip again in timeline if it happens at all. This was meant to be a decade one priority and at this rate they are unlikely to have finished one of the two branches. They’re going to miss a decade one ATAP project by over 50%. If ATAP is critical for A4E then relying on it is either foolish or designed to give the Council excuses to not do anything. How’s that car free Queen St trial coming along?

    1. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all the big things are required before we are allowed any of the good things. That appears to be AT’s argument too. Is nonsense.

      The city centre will thrive on less traffic (30% or indeed much more), the alternative modes we have now bus, train, ferry, bike, walk, will more than cope, as the big new things are delivered over time. AT will need to get serious about bus priority all over, which they must anyhow, and the CRL is only four years away.

      So LR will be what it is, when it is. But as far as the city centre refresh is concerned it’s a big fat red herring and nothing but a lazy an excuse to do nothing by officials, if they try to point to it as vital…

  2. I’m glad this is progressing within the Auckland Council domain. But I do wonder if there’s anything AC can do to actually get AT to implemented it? Clearly writing ‘stern letters’ is not working.

    1. AT has a new board and a brand new (and promising) Chair of said board. It will be up to them (and her) to make it more into an agency for change, rather than an anchor.

  3. Have they ever done anything as a result of the old city Centre Master Plan? And I don’t mean things that were already proposed but then got shoved into the CCMP, but anything that the CCMP proposed as new? If not then I guess we can safely ignore this version too.

    1. The light path cycleway, Upper Queen st bridge and federal st shared space are done, the Britomart Square and Quay St upgrade are well under way. High st is well behind the 8 ball but they’ve finally started the first interventions.

      I figure without councils CCMP direction they’d be building a six lane highway back on Quay St as we speak.

      1. “I figure without councils CCMP direction they’d be building a six lane highway back on Quay St as we speak.”

        Yes, there was a good chance this would of been the case.

      1. That seems like a fairly honest appraisal of the 2012 plan. The Central Motorway Junction Walking and Cycling Masterplan was already underway and the use of the old ramp predated CCMP. The CRL route had already been selected and shared spaces were already being rolled out.
        Practically none of the ‘new big ideas’ of the CCMP have got anywhere.

  4. “The number of people arriving in the city centre at peak times by private vehicle has remained nearly constant for the last 15 years. Over the same period, the number of people arriving in the city centre by public transport has almost doubled…this … has followed Auckland’s investments in high-quality public transport to the city centre.”

    So all the investment in PT over the last 15 years has grown PT use but not reduced private vehicle use. Why would they expect that more PT capacity is going to reduce private vehicle use by 20%? Sounds to me like they either don’t understand laws of supply and demand, or they just don’t want to do it. If you want to reduce private vehicle use by 20% then limit access for private vehicles… (less parking, less lanes, congestion pricing etc)

    1. AT have this backwards. You don’t have to reduce peak traffic by 30% to free up the streets for people, you have to free up the streets for people to reduce traffic by 30%!

    2. Joe, you’ve hit the nail on the head there.

      AT is refusing to acknowledge induced traffic and traffic evaporation. That’s bad enough. In the process they’re looking more and more ignorant, because the stories of city after city around the world are emerging, where they are creating traffic evaporation through measures like road reallocation, street layout changes to prevent through traffic, and parking reductions.

      What you’ve pointed out is that AT’s solution – improve PT alone – only works to increase ridership, not to bring the needed reduction in vehicle travel. And that Auckland’s own story, and AT’s own figures, demonstrate this well.

      1. It would be up to council not AT to put in congestion charges but hard to do this until some of the jobs are completed. A tool in their box though

        1. Joe suggested “less parking, less lanes, congestion pricing etc”

          AT could certainly:
          – use its existing parking strategy more;
          – ditch its legal team who are off in la-la land about the laws on parking enforcement,
          – keep streets closed if they were closed for the CRL and keeping them closed serves the CCMP.

          There are many levers AT should be able to proceed with.

    3. ‘Access for Everyone’ (A4E) introduces a new traffic circulation system where private vehicles would access city centre zones from the city’s edge, and cannot pass through the city centre.

      This sounds very similar to when Groningen (Dutch City) introduced the traffic circulation plan, dividing the center of the city in four sections. For motorists, it would become impossible to go from one section to the other and had to take the ring-road around the inner city, whereas pedestrians, cyclists and PT could move freely across the sections. Driving became more time-consuming than the other modes.

      Isn’t that what they are planning with A4E?

      1. More recently, Barcelona’s Superblocks, Ghent’s Circulation Plan and London’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have used the same concepts.

        The air quality, modeshift and traffic reduction measures are significant.

        Barcelona: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/4/9/18300797/barcelona-spain-superblocks-urban-plan
        Ghent: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2020/01/21/modeshift-targets-critical-lessons-from-ghent/
        London: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2019/07/26/mini-hollands-in-nieuw-zeeland-a-global-template/

        Paris is going to implement a Barcelona-style plan too.

        Driving routes can be restricted so through-traffic is prevented, but driving is generally less stressful in these plans because of the far lower traffic volumes.

  5. The only way to pull AT into line is to set them measurable objectives. If AT say A4E requires 30% reduction in traffic, then the AT Statement of Intent should set them that target, 10% reduction over 3 years.

    1. This gives them political cover for the changes required and also allows them to work out the best way to achieve it.
      A reduction in traffic is consistent with a whole lot of other council strategies and objectives relating to public health, road safety, climate change, economic development, transport system resilience and efficiency so it’s not like it’s at odds with the overall council strategies.

      1. A4E will impact different parts of the city differently. Reducing E-W through traffic will impact the Tamaki Drive corridor – which is a very noisy community. This is the sort of political support that AT will need if it is to effect changes in this space prior to investment to direct car traffic around the CBD via The Strand. Recent statements from elected members about now impacting traffic flow during the construction of the next section of the cycleway along Tamaki Dr does not engender confidence in this space.

  6. Just because the majority of the 542 respondents who bothered to provide feedback to some obsure plan supported the A4E part of it does not reflect real support for it or opposition to it. I am sure if AC ran a scientific poll the results would be drastically different as wouldn’t be skewed by a highly motivated minority.

    1. Should they bother then, Stu? Or should they run a Citizen’s Assembly that properly educates a good cross-section of the community so they can make the decision based on:

      carbon emissions
      equity
      safety
      modeshift
      economy
      health
      environment
      access

      Which all support this sort of change.

      1. Of course they should get feedback, but also should not overstate the extrapolate the results to cover the wider communities views.
        A Citizen’s Assembly is a great idea. It would need to include a real cross-section of the community and users which would be unlikely to happen. While all those items are factors that should be considered in decision making, they are of course are not the only ones and their weighting and meaning would be debated.

        1. Citizens’ Assemblies always aim to match the population. That’s part of the point of them. Factors like unfair access to influence will be diluted.

        2. Agree, the ideal is to be representative but reality is these groups get weighting to those with time on their hands or highly motivated groups – e.g. people affiliated with AA, GA, BA, HOTC etc.
          I bet if a representative survey was done of all users of the city (dwellers, bike, walkers, PT, user, private vehicle users, businesses etc) most would not have heard of A4E and would be surprised by the proposal.

        3. Can you give a link to a Citizens’ Assembly that is weighted like this? What I’ve learned about them suggests they’re less weighted than a jury, and not even comparable to a consultation done archaic NZ-style.

        4. Citizens Assemblies are not made up of representatives of groups.

          They are also briefed by subject experts as part of the process so it does not rely on what little they may have picked up from that smooth guy on the radio or the politician being angry about something on the telly.

  7. Why is Fanshawe St considered part of the motorway? Its a horrible overkill bit of road a the moment and aught to be made more friendly to other road users. Same with Stanley Street/The Strand in Parnell.

    1. Because NZTA hates Auckland city centre and wants to keep the city full of giant onramps to preserve their KPI metrics for motorway flow.

      1. If you wanted to improve motorway flow, you would reduce on-ramps. About 15 years ago, NZTA wanted Wellington st and symonds street onramps closed…

    2. Interesting point. I see it more as a drawing error for Fanshaw. But yes, The Strand is a state highway all the way to the port, so while not a motorway after about Alten Road, it’s definitely NZTA.

  8. A good way to reduce congestion would be for AC to sell off Downtown, Victoria and Fanshawe.

    Close to 4000 spaces across the 3 of them. That’s a 10% reduction in possible parking spaces which ergo would mean a 10% reduction in cars*. Everybody driving into the city is ultimately driving to a car park after all.

    They can then be repurposed for better uses such as apartments with roof top gardens and potentially space in basements for critical civic services such as inner city waste collection points and loading bays for goods and services. This would encourage more compact inner city living.

    This would also align with the brain fade of consenting car parks for private operators; whilst asking AT to both turn a profit on publicly owned assets and also reduce traffic at the same time! AC pick one… You cant ask AT to be both a parking supplier that returns a commercial profit and an optimiser of people movement into the city.

    AT can then start congestion charging and leave Council to hit privately owned spaces with parking levies**.

    *This will not happen as private operators will pick up the slack and privately owned spaces in apartments will be leased out more prolifically via platforms such as Parkable.

    ** Litigation from the likes of Care Park – Operator of Sky City parking here we come!

    Despite the above *’s … AC should still sell the big car parks; it is the responsible and logical thing to do.

    1. Yes.

      “space in basements for critical civic services such as inner city waste collection points and loading bays for goods and services.”

      Also storage units for residents and businesses.

      1. I think that as well as it being a sound practical move for the efficient running of the city I also think it would be add some weight politically to the case for not selling off the asset “in it’s entirety”.

        Bonus woke points for AC – if they could also work with an agency like Kainga Ora to make some of the said apartments open for social housing rather than just for Billionaires in town for the AM Cup.

        No idea how that would work, but i’m sure someone like John Polkinghorne would have some ideas… John?

        1. Ooh, just saw this. I’d be very keen to see these parking buildings become *not* parking buildings. I’d like to see this progressively happen (one, then two, then three; although the one by Commercial Bay might never go, Precinct would be more likely to buy it) over the next decade as A4E happens and redevelopment opportunities emerge. Realistically, demolishing large, income-generating buildings won’t happen overnight, and development is a long and complex process too. The council, or AT, or Panuku will need a good idea of what they want to achieve next on those sites.

          I’d love to see more state and social housing in town; hopefully a school too. A4E and the CRL will be the catalysts to get a lot of new, exciting stuff happening.

        2. But one of my positive human rights is a right to park in the Downtown or Civic carpark. We know it is a right because I assert that it is one.

        3. A school, yeah. This is something I don’t understand about Wynyard Quarter. They’re probably building enough apartments over there to house a small town. Haven’t seen a plan for any school however. Maybe it is an adult only development and those playgrounds are only decorations. Maybe the plan is a parade of SUVs bringing all those kids to Freemans Bay.

        4. @ John, The one by Commercial Bay (Downtown) Should be the first to go. Absolute traffic sewer and is one of the main reasons for Fanshawe St being what it is.

          I’d be much happier if Precinct bought it and used it for retail down low and then sold off apartments above. As I said earlier CBD buisnesses should be looking at pedestrian friendly place making as being their point of difference to the concrete wastelands of Sylvia Park, Albany and any number of other retail sites…

          If AC sold Downtown C.P to Precinct and they kept it as is, then I might have to ‘do a Hosking ‘and leave. Most likely to Copenhagen rather than LA though!

        5. @ Heidi – Huge risk. But we don’t need more parking. We have a massive over supply in the city already. So one would hope such a move would be seriously opposed!

        6. Yes agree reduce parking is what they can do as the simple solution to reducing traffic.

          Just think how much better buses would move without the queues of cars and this is without any other interventions.

          Be interesting how we get on with Wellesley/Albert st intersection about to close for a good bit of time for Aotea station works with an increase of bus lanes ad simplified traffic routes.

    2. I’m curious about what would happen if we just required a 50% farebox recovery on those parking buildings.

      Anyone knows what it currently is?

      During weekends you can park for free (!) under the viaduct over Victoria Park. Not much farebox recovery going on there.

      As for evaporating traffic, off-peak that is not going to happen. There is so much excess capacity. There currently are private parking buildings where the owner doesn’t even bother opening them at all in the evenings, and others where it costs $15 for half an hour during weekends (which is almost as good as just shutting them, if it weren’t for monthly leases)

      Finally, if they can levy a targeted rate on apartments in the city centre they should certainly also have one for parking spaces. Or is there already one?

      1. A few questions/points there:

        Farebox recovery – I don’t think so. Probably just run as a basic P&L with no consideration of alternative uses/opportunity cost/negative externalizes of its current land use.

        Free Parking – Yes, a laughable position in any city that takes itself seriously.

        Heart of the City is a big lobby power on making parking cheap or free in city. CBD is trying to compete with the urban weekend offerings (Sylvia Park, Albany, Newmarket etc – which are all heavily car dependent. Really poor strategy when you consider AT at the same time is trying to increase families using P.T (under 15s free on weekends).

        Also would argue that CBD with less cars would be an infinitely better experience than driving to Albany or Sylvia Park. So if anything HoTC should be trying to promote the city as being pedestrian friendly. Albany on the weekends is a real ‘blow your brains out’ type experience!

        Excess Capacity – Totally! So much parking in CBD Auckland. AT specializes in short stay parking and quite perversely is cheaper than many of the private operators.

        The private operators specialise in all day parking and lease products. However if AT were to leave the market in off-street; the private operators would jump into the market for shorter stay if a buck can be made. Of that you can be sure!

    3. There’s also a significant amount of heavily used motobike/scooter parking in the Downtown car park building. Would that be retained free as it is now?

      1. Hmmm. I think all public land and has some value that needs to be recognized. Obviously from a footprint perspective motorbikes/mopeds are much smaller than cars.; so this is positive from a congestion and storage (parking) perspective. So I think at this stage it needs to be encouraged over cars. However a small charge should be implemented.

        Also worth considering many motorbikes and scooters are terrible polluters as they don’t have many of the catalytic converter tech found in cars. So petrol driven motorbikes/scooters aren’t necessarily great for air quality.

    4. Given that these buildings have a limited future; what if the Victoria St. carpark was reconfigured to have access only from Bowen and Kitchener? This would remove some cross city and Queen St. traffic, get rid of the stinkpot exit on High St. Motorway access from Grafton. Still not good but maybe less bad than the present situation.

      1. Victoria St needs to be bowled. Full stop.
        Even if you’re a Mike Hosking/Chris Bishop love child with an extreme driving fetish you have to admit this carpark is the pits!

        Traffic already backs up terribly when traffic exits from High St onto Victoria St. If Linear Park goes in the traffic flow will be be a diabolical nightmare. With Light Rail… totally unworkable. At least Downtown has good traffic sewers…

        Getting rid of Vic Carpark could also take the future High street from good to great with a bit of good urban planning.

        1. + 1 Heidi. Would be quite the magical spot to live. With space in basement for critical civic services such as inner city waste collection points and loading bays for goods and services and of course storage units for residents and businesses.

          Getting rid of Downtown and Victoria would be one of the most transformational things AC could do for the city!
          Any Social Return on Investment appraisal would tell you that. I suspect even a purely financial one as well!

        2. If anything Aotea is the carpark to retain as it adjoins Mayoral Dr. The general traffic diverting road. Those needing to drive from the country side to attend something at the town hall or Aotea ctr have a good option still. Price it higher of course.

  9. How, in 2020, are there *still* cars on Queen Street. I really feel that council should say ‘if AT can’t get this done by the end of 2020 then the whole board will be sacked’.

    1. Isn’t a lot of pushback coming from the council in the first place? I noticed it is often councillors kicking up a shit storm any time this sort of stuff is proposed.

  10. “Some of that ‘significant and ongoing work’ includes AT wanting additional traffic capacity on The Strand and new motorway connections in the CMJ.”

    New CMJ connections? Everything is already connected to everything, so what does that mean?

    1. Yeah, Gee. what are you talking about, AT? Is this work for your mates in the industry? Do we have to have the most expensive way possible to a nice city centre?

      And ‘additional traffic capacity’ !! AT has no excuses like a councillor does, beholden to ignorant voters.

      AT, if you don’t get this, why are we letting you be involved in planning anything at all?

    2. Currently, not every A4E zone can easily join the motorway in every direction. Like for example the Victoria Quarter shown above can’t go onto SH1 southbound, only can use Union Street northbound on, and Cook Street southbound off. So the car engineers would say “That needs southbound ramps too!”. Of course that is a recipe for twenty new fly-overs, or lots and lots of exceptions of the “no through traffic between quarters” intent of A4E.

      Its basically, a “Keep the status quo or spend lots of money to retain a different version of all the diriving options you had before” stance.

      1. I think the best short-to-mid-term solution would be simply to treat Queen Street as a vehicle barrier – no cars are allowed to cross west-east. Full stop. That would reduce the complexity or retaining flexible access initially, still bring massive benefits to the city (to Queen St area but not just to them), and be easy to understand for punters. Create two zones at the start, west and east, and once that’s shown to work, we can look at carving up the others as shown in the plan later.

      2. One question I have is: Have AT actually looked at the types of trips that Ghent allowed between its zones, and how they used registration plate cameras to enforce the rules?

        The pragmatic way forward here is also the cheap way.

        Increasing road capacity is like using an Airbus A380 to deliver a message that a pigeon could do.

      3. Are you seeing a different access for everyone to what I am? Victoria Quarter would be connected to either Wellesley Street or Nelson Street, which would both be connected to the south and west facing ramps at the top of Hobson and Nelson.

        Access for everyone will make it harder to drive between each zone and harder to rat run through them, but these zones would still be connected to the city centre collector routes.

        1. What you are saying is not what the first diagram of this blog shows though. Sure, one could somehow dance around it, and make some routes torturous but not impossible – but that just invites long lines of traffic that you wanted to AVOID instead having to snake around LONGER.

          If I can go from a Nelson Street ramp and drive to a Wellesley Street West destination, but also can drive from a Wellesley Street West destination to say a Fanshaw Street ramp, then there’s no blockage to that traffic.

        2. Those circulation plans overseas never have a motorway as their ring road. You would not be able to build the on and off ramps for each section that close together. This makes the map above look a bit silly.

          You’d rather have a route like Fanshawe Street — Nelson Street — Cook Street / Mayoral Drive / Wellesley Street East as ring route.

  11. I guess one would get SOME benefits if the main routes still allowed through traffic but the side streets don’t. But then you very quickly get back to the Status Quo, because what busy roads would be cut at all in that scenario? Pretty much all roads through the City Centre are chocker with traffic – if you make Nelson, Hobson, Symonds, Cook, Wellesley, Fanshaw, Mayoral Drive and maybe K Road and Victoria Street all exempt from the through traffic bans, what have you really achieved?

    1. Nope, you’d keep Nelson, Hobson, Wellesley/Mayoral, Fanshawe, and Symonds (and maybe Wakefield) as the main distributors, but significantly detune them. If you have 30% less traffic then you can remove a general traffic lane from the three+lane ones. Initially, Victoria, and Karangahape, and one of Customs and Quay (probably Quay) would serve an access role, which will require a single lane for general traffic in each direction.

      I would strongly encourage you to read the links that covers these details rather than extrapolating from a single image.

      By doing this, what you have achieved is removing through traffic on every other street in the city centre. All of the traffic in those areas is accessing those areas. By removing access at most intersections, you also reduce the number of roads that people on foot have to cross to make their journey and where pedestrians are now crossing an access road that was an arterial (Victoria Street, for example), the crossing is 2 or 3 lanes instead of 6 or 7. By removing private vehicles from public transport priority streets you also speed up public transport routes (before you say a speeding bus is bad, no one is proposing that, just pointing out that congestion caused by private vehicles slows buses far below 30km/h at present).

  12. One of the big issues with radical change is that it can backfire unless you have the ongoing support of the community that it’s designed to benefit. Much though I would love to see A4E implemented tomorrow the risk is that without careful preparation and the completion of projects like the CRL, the rabid pro-car lobby may mobilise sufficiently to have A4E radically neutered or even scrapped.

    If 11,000 extra PT peak hour Journeys are required to be catered for over and above what’s currently being planned for then that’s a really big deal that will need to be taken care of. With serious capital expenditure. Note that this isn’t an increase over the status quo, but an increase over what is already being planned which (see the RPTP) is already a significant increase over the status quo. And even the RPTP is not guaranteed unless the capital and operating budgets are provided

    AT in this regard is totally captive to AC and NZTA and the political and financial winds of the time. If Council supports A4E but doesn’t deliver the $$$ to adequately fund the consequences, then AT will be slagged for its failure, not Council. If NZTA nominally accepts A4E but doesn’t have the budget or the will to adequately subsidise it, then AT won’t be able to do its part., full stop. NZTA’s lukewarm approach to other PT initiatives and increasing competition for its finite subsidy basket don’t fill me with confidence.

    I know it’s traditional to slag and bag AT’s incompetence, lack of vision, and unwillingness to sign up to good initiatives but they don’t operate in a vacuum. And specifically, AT has ZERO BUDGET for any capital works whatsoever unless Council and NZTA give it to them. So let’s focus more on these structural obstacles to progress instead of focusing solely on the delivery agency.

    And let’s also be aware that unless car owners In particular are brought along with the plan, there’s a big risk that political change could result in it going out the window.

    1. It’s 11k over two hours, for ten years in the future.
      They’d need to go from the current 400 buses per hour to about 450 buses per hour over a decade.
      It’s hardly the trials of Hercules.

      Note that is to replace car trips above the already expected growth in transit. They could simply have fewer cars and the same growth in transit. The city will still grow by thousands of new commuters regardless.

      1. Notwithstanding, that’s a 12% increase in the peak hour bus fleet, and while technically probably feasible (Symonds St capacity notwithstanding) it still comes at a significant cost. And if AC or NZTA doesn’t put their hands in their pocket, it just can’t happen. Period.

        1. Good luck with that social engineering. I agree it would be much better to expand the peak than to intensity it, but I can’t see that being bought into by the public just so A4E can be implemented.

        2. Actually, one of the biggest obstacles to increasing the PT offering is the lack of drivers. Already services on one Waiheke route have been halved because the drivers just aren’t there. Big problems also for parts of the rest of the network. Pay higher wages to attract more drivers and either fares will have to go up or NZTA and AC will have to find more funds from somewhere to make up the difference. In the absence of higher rates or taxes (or cutting spending elsewhere) that’s not going to be easy.

        3. David have they tried? No. How about doubling the length of the am peak services window to match the length of the pm one. People will soon discover that a roomy seat is available to them a little earlier or later than they usually travel, would add way more than 12% capacity.

          Then if that doesn’t work try something else that’s foreign to them, marketing. Then if everyone is still trying to pile on between 7-9, discount the shoulder fares… instead we see all their creativity being poured into trying to avoid doing anything.

        4. I think calling it social engineering is being a bit dramatic. The airlines and power companies have been using pricing to move people away from peak periods for years. It’s a simple acknowledgement of how difficult it is to cater for peak demand.

          I’d say peak hour bus services have increased by at least 12 % in the last 10 years, without any funding issues from either AC or NZTA.

    2. “So let’s focus more on these structural obstacles to progress instead of focusing solely on the delivery agency.”

      Agree that AT’s not the only one at fault here. Travel demand management in the whole country hasn’t kept up with international best practice.

      But you’re not really saying you think that AT’s got this right, do you, and extra road capacity needs to be added? That’s the opposite to what other cities are doing, and it’s the opposite to what needs to happen.

      And this isn’t about money required for solutions, because the solutions can be very cheap. This is about having the competence to realise that street layouts impact traffic volumes; that traffic evaporation is real, and that the planning they’ve done all these years hasn’t served us well and won’t serve us well.

      AT needs to provide a safe, effective and efficient transport network. Currently it’s not safe. AT arguing that they can’t make it safe until they are sure the efficiency for driving won’t drop at all is just bollocks. Because this is about safety, remember. Health, yes. Amenity, yes. Climate, yes. But first and foremost, the city centre is not safe, and AT have to fix that. Here, they are walking away from their responsibility to do so, and they’re calling out for money for projects that will actually make it worse.

      It’s inexcusable, actually, Shane.

      1. No, absolutely I’m not saying that AT needs to build more roads – I’d be appalled if they did. But one thing that is constantly forgotten amongst the (sometimes justified but not always) slagging and bagging of AT is that they can only do what they are funded to do – and they are totally dependent on AC and NZTA for capital budgets (and also for opex other than fares).

        Another thing that is forgotten is that NZTA’s funding model divides the available funds into silos, of which PT is but one. AT has to compete with every other local transport agency for both PT capital and PT opex. Funds can’t be transferred by AT from (say) roading to PT – NZTA would demand it back and give it to some other local transport agency. If the funds are not there for PT from NZTA or AC then AT has but two choices: raise fares or cut services. Both of which it has been forced to do in the last couple of months, though mercifully only by small amounts in each case. If there was another way to proceed with expanding the PT offering that was within the gift of AT I’d love to hear about it.

        1. Yes. But…

          Prepare to be appalled :/ because adding road capacity on the Grafton Gully bit of SH16 roading is exactly what AT are proposing needs to happen.

          I think this is the more urgent point of discussion about AT’s push-back on CCMP and A4E than funding mechanisms. What they say they need before A4E can be implemented is a major project that – incidentally – undermines the Grafton Gully Boulevard in CCMP. It costs a lot. It adds road capacity, which adds traffic and worsens safety, severance, car dependency, emissions, etc…

          But the biggest problem here is that they’re slaves to an outdated model, and by following it, they are showing an outstanding level of incompetence.

        2. With a bit of luck NZTA (which has the legal and financial responsibility for SH16, including Grafton Gully) will find that they don’t have the funds to allocate for that project.

  13. Basically, regardless of all other processes, unless these processes have a direct linkage to the budget then provided these processes are worth nought. Control of the budget is paramount, every thing else is subservient.

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