For a few years now, Waka Kotahi and Auckland Transport have been undertaking work to plan and protect key new transport corridors in the major planned greenfield development areas in Warkworth, the North, Northwest and South. They’ve called this programme ‘Supporting Growth‘. Combined these areas are expected to see more than 130,000 new homes and 76,000 new jobs – basically adding about two and a half Hamilton’s. Although they’ve also previously said the early estimates for the cost of these new and upgraded corridors is in excess of $10 billion, and I’ve heard suggestions they will cost more than $100,000 for each new home built.

Multiple rounds of consultation have resulted in indicative transport networks for each of the areas and showing at a high level where the key new arterial roads, rapid transit and walking and cycling corridors will be located.

In January the government announced their NZ Upgrade Programme and included in that was funding for a number of the core projects on the list for the growth in South Auckland. These are

Now they’re consulting on the South again to further refine where this infrastructure will go and that also means the decisions are starting to have greater consequence as it’s clearer where things like homes will be ‘in the way’.


Rail

As noted above, the NZUP provides funding for electrification and two new stations. The electrification probably doesn’t need too much explanation but they do say the project, which is due to start later this year, “includes electrification of 19km of track, an additional two platforms at Pukekohe station and futureproofing for additional lines“. It’s unclear if that future proofing for additional tracks extends to actually purchasing the land needed for them of if it is just allowing for them in their designs.

New Stations

The more important issue with rail is where the new stations will go. This is an issue that has had quite a bit of discussion here before as the council have toyed with the idea of placing them in sub-optimal locations.

I still don’t get why two stations are costing $247 million when the massive Puhinui Station upgrade is only $60 million. They say the stations will include

park-and-ride facilities as well as a bus and rail interchange to make it easier for residents in the south to travel by public transport.

They also say:

We want as many people as possible to be able to access the stations by all types of transport – bus, foot, bike, scooter, and car, with park-and-ride and kiss-and-ride drop offs.

I’m concerned that they’re saying they want lots of people accessing these stations by park and ride as that is likely to create localised congestion and I wonder if a large portion of the costs is for parking buildings and associated road infrastructure.

While the NZUP is funding two new stations, there are actually three proposed in the area long term. For each of the stations the ‘sausage’, the area within which the station will sit, has shrunk

Drury Central

Drury West 

I’m glad they’ve pulled away from the idea of putting stations in poor locations to suit one developer. This station location looks better and presumably would eventually tie in to the SH22 connection.

Paerata


Roads

When looking at all the new roads being proposed, I can’t help but be reminded that roads beget roads. The graphic below shows a cross-section of what the light rail in a car options could look like.

Mill Rd

The NZUP funding will see the entire Mill Rd corridor completed from Redoubt Rd at Manukau through to an interchange with SH1 south of Drury, which in total would be a 21.5km corridor. The corridor has been split into four sections.

The northern end runs from Redoubt Rd to Alfriston Rd and is already designated by Auckland Transport – although as it will now be delivered by the NZTA so I wonder if AT are just expected to hand over the property they’ve already purchased of if the agency will buy them. The consultation is on the Takaanini, Papakura and Drury sections.

Takaanini

The preferred option is Option A with them saying they prefer it because it:

  • makes good use of the existing road
  • aligns with Auckland Council’s land use plan separating Future Urban Zoned land from rural land.

Papakura Section

This section is where the impacts of the project are likely to be felt the most because the preferred option ploughs through existing communities. As you can see on the map below, it would plough through Dominion Rd, turning it from a quiet two-lane road into a four-lane high-traffic arterial.

Insert four-lane high-traffic arterial here

They say this option is preferred because it:

  • is a direct connection from the Takaanini to the Drury Section
  • has fewer environmental and cultural impacts compared with going around the urban edge
  • makes good use of existing roads

Drury Section

The reason given for option A being preferred is “because it will create a safer road, allow access for properties and avoids ecological areas east of Drury Hills Road“.


Pukekohe Expressway

Once Mill Rd gets to the motorway, it won’t stop there and they’re also consulting on plans for the road to eventually get it to Pukekohe as an expressway, saying:

As the area becomes more urban with population growth, the new Pukekohe Expressway will improve access to Paerata, Pukekohe, the future township of Drury West and other future urban growth areas. This will create a more pedestrian-friendly environment along SH22 with connections to public transport and walking and cycling pathways, helping to reduce traffic

The preferred option is about keeping the expressway away from any potential future houses. They also don’t say if this will be a large four-lane road, like the Waikato Expressway or a two-lane version like the Hawkes Bay expressway. This project isn’t included in NZUP.

As well as the expressway, they want a series of roads linking it to the existing SH22 and the new housing areas. Three connections are planned and for each connection there are two or three options.


Pukekohe Urban Arterial

Once the expressway gets to Pukekohe they need that traffic to go somewhere so they’re also proposing a new urban arterial to distribute the traffic to SH22 and Pukekohe East Rd – although they indicate eventually it will extend further around Pukekohe.


The consultation is open till 12 June.

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101 comments

  1. I feel like we really need to set strict urban boundaries and ban the subdivision of productive farmland because we don’t have as much of it as people like to think we do and low density housing is completely unsustainable. We have been sold this bullshit suburban lifestyle for decades but personally I think it sucks – it creates disconnected, inaccessible communities where the only way to get around is to burn imported oil from war torn countries. It sucks especially for old folks.

    If subdivision was banned, existing residential land prices would shoot up and people might be more inclined to build something more productive (multistory) on their land. Maybe a land tax instead of a property tax would help. Will we ever be able to move away from suburban development in this country?

    1. We’ve just recorded the largest trade surplus for April since records began, $1.3 billion. The main reason being a huge reduction in imports especially petroleum and vehicles. This is just another indication from the lockdown of the huge cost of running a transport system totally dominated by imported road vehicles burning imported petroleum products. Of course the lockdown also highlighted the immense pollution resulting from this transport system. Massive sprawl with all the associated road developments just continues the same pattern.

    2. I guess at the end of the day no one is forcing people to live there. I’m all for letting people have a choice; some people prefer suburbia, some prefer medium density, some prefer apartments.
      The issue I have is if they subsidise suburbia by building lots of subsidised roads. However a lot of that subsidy is clawed back through fuel tax. And higher densities are also subsidised through PT subsidies etc. So I imagine it probably works out about right at the moment.

      1. I agree regarding allowing people to make their own choices as long as they pay the true costs.

        However, I don’t agree people living in new sprawl suburbs are paying their true costs. Petrol tax is generally a subsidy from those driving on existing roads to those driving on new roads, Matt did some work around this a few years ago. Also busy bus routes in higher density central suburbs generally require less subsidy than those in the outer suburbs.

      2. Often quality PT in high or medium density areas have very little operating subsidies.

        And that’s not counting the other effective subsidies we grant suburbia for loss of biodiversity, safety, emissions.

        1. What about the $6 billion for light rail for example. Some of that is to create an airport connection but a large part of the benefit (and hence the cost) is to provide decent PT to a part of the central isthmus. The subsidy per household must be huge. And even higher would be the subsidy per new household; there would need to be 60,000 new households using it for it to ‘only’ be $100k per household.
          (by the way I am not anti light rail or anything, just pointing out that there are also significant costs to the type of living we prefer (density and PT))

        2. “The issue I have is if they subsidise suburbia by building lots of subsidised roads. However a lot of that subsidy is clawed back through fuel tax. And higher densities are also subsidised through PT subsidies etc. So I imagine it probably works out about right at the moment.”

          A lot of that subsidy is not clawed back; not even close. It doesn’t work out ‘about right’. Look at the cost of all this and at the deficient transport network and wastewater system Auckland has, at the lack of public amenities like drinking fountains, public toilets, street trees.

          Auckland is bankrupting itself because it’s choosing to keep building new sprawl suburbs instead of maintain what we have and regenerate the city with better proximity and places.

          A compact city is cheaper; it has lower maintenance and operational costs, lower carbon emissions, it has lower public health costs.

          We can achieve a vastly more compact, liveable and low carbon city by 2030 if we halt the sprawl and concentrate on regeneration, than if we continue with this expensive business as usual rot.

          Trouble is, we’re rudderless, with visionless leaders.

        3. Roughly speaking Dominion Road is about 5 km long, and you could assume a 1 km catchment on either side, so that gives 10 km². If you look at cities overseas where PT makes sense, adding 6,000 extra people per km² would not be much of a stretch.

        4. Lets not also forget some live in rural blocks (not farming/farmers etc as such) & coastal areas. I’m sure even more subsidised. If they don’t have the three waters or rubbish collection, perhaps not so much.

        5. Jimbo – the $6b is for Airport and NW light rail of which a significant amount of the coverage of these lines, especially the NW is sprawl.

          In terms of the costs for inner city suburbs the $1b initally quoted for Dominion Rd light rail might be more relevant.

    3. I can assure you high land prices also especially suck for young people trying to buy houses in the city they were born.

    4. “Land prices would shoot up” — you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade or what?

      Land prices have properly shot up. Now we have to wonder why the “build something more productive” part is not happening.

  2. Expect a big push for roads. From the current Minister of Infrastructure Shane Jones today. “This notion that we’re somehow going to issue a green edict and all of a sudden that we’ll be driving hydrogen cars and legally smoking dope in the new economic nirvana is just never ever going to work.” And roading enthusiast Chris Bishop has been elevated to spokesperson for infrastructure while retaining transport for National. Meanwhile the Greens push Julie-Anne Genter further down their list.

    1. A bit disingenuous. Genter has retained the same position, she just didn’t move up the ranks from number 4.

  3. “Future proofing for additional lines”. Probably just means provision for a third track at some unspecified time in the future. Even though it is needed now.

  4. The roads that plough through existing communities get justified on the basis they use existing roads. The roads that don’t go through existing communities get justified on the grounds that they don’t use existing roads. Hmmm. There always seems to be work available for bullshitters.

  5. Covid-19 has given us a bit of breathing room on housing. We should seize it by rethinking where and in what form it is built.

    Housing prices are going to fall over the next couple of years. A whole lot of demand has disappeared overnight (no international students renting, AirBnB wiped out etc.) and won’t be coming back for years. A lot of people are losing their jobs (particularly in tourism, aviation, hospitality and retail) due to Covid-19 restrictions and more will lose their jobs in the coming worldwide recession. Many of those who lose their job will have to reduce their accommodation costs, say by living with flatmates rather than alone, this will further reduce housing demand. There is nothing any government can do to reverse these trends.

    A lot of people involved in the house selling industry are in denial about the coming crash. This is currently helped by sales drying up so there isn’t a lot of data about pricing yet. The banks are openly talking about 10-15% price drops, which is a national average. In parts of the country where the causes of downward pressure on prices are particularly acute (Queenstown, Auckland, Tauranga etc.) the price drops will be much bigger. We just don’t know quite how much or how fast.

    In Auckland new housing developments will go on hold because the developers won’t be able to get finance. We saw that during/after the Global Financial Crisis and that wasn’t as severe a downturn as we’re headed for now. No new housing developments means no demand for new infrastructure in the medium term.

    Actually needing new arterial roads could be a decade away, if all other factors remain the same. But will they? A congestion charging regime in Auckland would reduce demand for driving into the isthmus (and probably reduce demand for housing on the suburban fringe). Congestion charging is now supported by Act, National, Labour and the Greens (this is possibly a full list of the parties in parliament after this election). With support across the political spectrum, surely congestion charging can be implemented sooner than demand reappears for big housing developments in Drury.

    Pre-Covid-19 there was already an incredibly compelling argument that all new housing in Auckland should be in the form of densification in the inner suburbs and around rapid transit corridors. GA has discussed this many times so I won’t reiterate it here other than to say: This argument is now overwhelming. Why waste a good crisis? Why go back to doing the same things we already knew didn’t work?

    1. There is no reason tho think people won’t be able to get finance. This recession is different to the others we have known because it doesn’t have a monetary cause. All the recent recessions have been financial crises. This one is a demand shock. It could end just as quick as it started or it could last years- nobody knows. Probably people will adjust quickly. Migrants might want to flood in to a country that has no SARS-CoV-2.
      My pick is that smart people will be getting ready to buy land from people who have no cash flow left and who are forced to sell. Most people will just hold and wait. It mean there should be a short term opportunity but also means a long run decline is unlikely as assets still hold value for those with liquidity. Students could be allowed back anytime subject to quarantine and those from China won’t even need that.
      I think you are right about the AirBnBs. It turns out tourism had a lot of negative impacts on our country and a housing crises was one of them. The underlying shortage will disappear but that doesn’t mean prices have to fall, it means they won’t rocket up as quick.
      The interesting part is what might happen to savings which could increase as people are unable to spend as much travelling overseas. Increased savings means increased investment so higher national income. There are actually a lot of positives going to happen, we just haven’t noticed them all yet.

      1. Job losses and income uncertainty will be a big reason it will be harder to get finance. I agree there are a lot of cogs in the wheel but unemployment is pretty reliable when it comes to depressing house prices.

      2. “Migrants might want to flood in to a country that has no SARS-CoV-2.”

        The no Covid 19 status is entirely dependent on disease tight borders. One infected person getting through could easily take us back to square one. We need to develop a massive, government run, secure quarantine facility at Auckland airport before all these ideas of migrants and students flooding back in are even considered.

        1. Agree. TBH I can’t see our borders being closed beyond next year, the economic impact will be too severe if we become isolated while the rest of the world gets slowly gets immunity or adjusts to the new normal.

          I think one of two things will happen, either there will be a vaccine or we will have to open our borders and take a similar approach to Sweeden and manage the spread through the population.

          We’re in a good position being able to watch what happens around the world but I don’t think our position is that advantageous in the long run.

        2. I think vaccines and herd immunity are probably a pipe-dream. Something like a quarter of common colds are caused by corona viruses and when volunteers are infected they show no immunity at all after 12 months. Many people who have had COVID19 have shown only low levels of antibodies. Treatments to reduce the death rate look more likely. We need to get used to this and look to new industries to replace tourism. I agree with the formal quarantine like an internment camp but I would make it user pays. A tent at Featherston or Somes Island or a luxury suite in the Waitakeres but all with proper fences.

          As for getting money, plenty won’t be able to borrow but that will make finance even cheaper for those who can. The economy will be awash with spare money for anyone with a good idea and a good chance of paying it back.

        3. Miffy – I can’t see any scenario where we close our borders for a number of years and it works out well for us. For us to find new industries it will likely require regular travel from NZ business people overseas and probably overseas business people to NZ. If this can’t happen easily then we will be at a competitive disadvantage.

          Also young talented people will likely get restless and knowing the risks are relatively low for young people will move overseas looking for better travel opportunities.

          Yes we will be free from the disease but so were the Pacific Islands free of many diseases when the Europeans arrived. You may well be right that we will not be fully immune to Covid but populations that have already been exposed to disease generally fare better than those that haven’t in the long run.

        4. It’s probably worth noting that tourism is less than 6% of our GDP and some of that is internal tourism anyway. We could absolutley close our borders to tourists indefinitely if we needed to. Keeping the border closed would also lead to massively increased domestic tourism, which will help to reduce any economic loss in the sector.

          The factors that lead to high house prices in New Zealand are cheap credit (now even cheaper), insufficient housing (still insufficent) for growing population (unlikely to grow more slowly as inward migration is still high and many New Zealanders are likely to return). The ‘drop’ in house prices from higher unemployment generally occur because buyers are slightly more scarce and the sales are more often pressured (death, divorce, delinquency). However, sales with an unpressured vendr usually don’t drop anywhere near as much.

        5. Inward migration will definitely drop if our borders remain closed. Very few people are going to migrate here if they have to sit out a two week quarantine every time they want to go and visit their family.

          I can’t see a closed border retaining political support for a long period of time. Businesses are going to want to start travelling again before they start to loose contracts to firms from countries where their staff can travel. Young people will get itchy feet and are already becoming aware they are relatively low risk.

          New Zealand is a very trade dependent country, being isolated from the world and covid free is not going to protect us from a global recession/depression with or without tourism.

        6. The pressure to admit students, film crews, and eventually lots of other people is immense. The signals from Chris Hipkins have been “we’re looking at it”, not “no way”. I guess it’s going to happen, and maybe soon since the universities will want students for the spring semester.

          Risky, yes, but it seems like it could be managed. I hope we tighten the border quarantine significantly whether or not we start admitting students, but especially if we do. We have lots of nearly empty hotels where students could be quarantined.

          > One infected person getting through could easily take us back to square one.

          It’s not quite that bad. We have much more and better testing and tracing now than we had in March. But yes, the stakes are high.

      3. I didn’t say house buyers won’t be able to get finance, I said housing developers won’t be able to get finance. This is already happening so it’s not a prediction.

        I agree that the recession is a demand shock. However it won’t be over quickly (absent some miracle cure where it turns out aspirin cures Covid-19 or something) because the virus will continue to impact parts of the world. The USA is being absolutely ravaged by the pandemic and the effect on consumer demand there will have ripple effects throughout the world.

        It’s not like the world economy is a car that’s been switched off: It drove headfirst into a wall and will need serious repair to get running again.

        1. Good analogy. And given what we know about car dependency, it’ll take even more to convince people not to bother repairing it but to reuse or recycle its parts for something useful and to walk, instead. 🙂

        2. No there is nothing broken. People stopped spending because they couldn’t go out. People have to buy some stuff so they will start spending again. Yes it is ravaging the US, that is because the people there focus on themselves rather than the greater good and they prefer disease in their community to going without some simple freedoms. But when you look at our trade with them you will see we have a deficit with them so if our countries reduce trading we will actually be better off. We will still be sending them beef but we won’t be buying new aircraft.
          The people I work for are deferring spending in order to maximise their war chest for buying sites. These recessions don’t come often and are a great opportunity to collect assets from those who are over-extended. But the value is still there.
          I don’t recall ever having been through a demand shock before. There will be wholesale closures of tourism businesses and jobs will go until the capital is invested elsewhere. The worst thing we could do right now is prop up knackered tourism businesses or waste money on unnecessary infrastructure as both will delay productive investment. Provided we dont do too much of that then NZ has a really bright future, probably better than ever.

        3. In addition we are living in an era of very low interest rates. Those who have traditionally put their cash in term deposits and savings accounts are looking for a better yield ( myself included).
          This is the least cynical and most optimistic posting you have made…and I think you are on the money.

      4. “… as people are unable to spend as much travelling overseas. Increased savings means increased investment so higher national income. There are actually a lot of positives going to happen, we just haven’t noticed them all yet.”

        I agree there is a lot of positives. I suspect there will be a lot movement to be less dependent on overseas “things” (so we are not so exposed to similar future events) and that includes tourism. A lot more could be spent on locals seeing the country before looking overseas just as they are promoting buy & see local stuff to help us out of this crisis.

        1. In saying that obviously a big drop in tourists to our country will kill that sector off to a large degree. Perhaps we need more diversification in our economy than just dairy farming & tourism. I know this has already been happening in the tech and other such sectors. Queenstown property prices will drop, overused natural tourist spots we were worried about, won’t be such a problem to deal with anymore. The airport won’t expand so much lowering our emissions. Maybe we won’t need to shift the port after all?

        2. I heard a stat (I cannot remember where, but I think it might have been John Key?) that 60% of tourism revenue was from domestic tourists.

          Sound true? Yes, I am too lazy/busy to consult Google for more than 10 secs…

        3. But in certain places, the reliance on overseas tourists is much higher. Apparently 95% of the visitors to Waitomo Caves are foreign tourists. Actually after seeing how much they now charge for admission, I’m not surprised.

        4. Don’t forget the positive effect of closing the borders as well. New Zealanders spend a hell of a lot on travel overseas. I have been trying to find it in the National Accounts but it is buried somewhere in the detail. Anyway to get GDP they work out Gross National Income then the subtract of money sent to other countries so if we spend less travelling the world we will have more to spend at home. so closing the borders is about the net effect and not just about the loss of incoming tourists.

        5. “ Apparently 95% of the visitors to Waitomo Caves are foreign tourists.“

          Yes just saw that article on the TV news. Prior to lockdowns that percent remember. If they can hold on for a bit that would likely soon change to a big domestic swing. Hmmm but perhaps prices would need adjusting.
          I see the local Top 10 Holiday Park Is fully booked for this long weekend.

        6. Anecdote: I just tried to book a motel room in Northland for the weekend after next. The two most suitable motels say they’re completely booked out.

          Domestic tourism was already 60% of all tourist spending, and with overseas holidays mostly off the table, we should expect domestic tourism to rise sharply (modulo the overall economic downturn). Some of the really expensive stuff might not be in demand … but then again, some really rich NZers will also be going domestic. Overall it might not be that bad.

        7. Plus, it’s nearly certain we will have travel arrangements with at least some Australian states soon. Australia was a big chunk of our international tourists.

      5. Also a supply shock. Existing combinations of labour and capital are far less productive than they once were due to social distancing in NZ and across supply chains. And lack of intl movement means a well matched pool of labour has reduced in size.

  6. You can’t just say that these costs are for the new developments only. Even if magically there were no new developments, a significant portion of these projects would still need to be built to service previous growth and underinvestment in infrastructure. Even with the extra lane on the Southern Motorway, you can’t have an entire city of nearly 2 million people held to ransom by a single road to the rest of the country (the gateway to the golden triangle). Any serious accident and that road gets blocked (often in both directions) which backs up and disrupts the entire Auckland roading network (as well as cutting off the likes of Hamilton etc).

    Great to see the rail improvements!

    1. Even if all of these roads were completed there will still be a single road connection between Auckland and Hamilton. I don’t think that argument for proceeding with any of them holds water.

      1. Jezza, between Manukau and Drury right now if anything happens on SH1 the rest of Auckland has a very bad day.
        Mill Road in particular will provide a large amount of capacity that is somewhat insulated from SH1 acting as a bypass of sorts. Going forward that will also extend further south.
        It really is a huge choke point to Auckland and just adding more lanes to the existing motorway doesn’t provide that redundancy capacity.

        1. Building Mill Road won’t provide that redundancy either, it is being built to carry it’s own traffic. If there is an accident on the Southern Motorway this will just snarl up Mill Rd making it worse for it’s regular users.

    2. “the gateway to the golden triangle”

      Ah…the golden triangle. Xanadu meets Shangri-la, where unicorns frolic in the sublime daffodil-strewn palatial grounds of the revered property speculators and Midas (with Olivia Newton John seated at his right-hand side) stands ready to dispense his auric largesse to those who venture forth.

      Who knew (until now) that the gateway to this most shining of topographical polygons lies on State Highway One, a smidgeon south of dreary Drury?

        1. I have no idea. Maybe it’s made from tall poppies.

          You have to wonder what the person that coined the cringe-worthy phrase “the Golden Triangle” in respect to NZ was thinking. What does it mean? For whom is it golden? Is it actually a triangle? Was the pharmacological allusion intentional? Perhaps AKLDUDE can solve the mystery for us.

        2. The ‘Golden’ bit is clearly aspirational – a rich place.
          But I think they need to localise the name a bit more:
          So I nominate the term ‘the Golden Kumara.’’
          It’s variable shape is much more inclusive, flexible and verdant.

        3. I saw it as descriptive rather than aspirational, Kevin. Your suggestion of a kumara addresses the obvious geometrical shortcomings of a triangle but I am thinking that a kumara just isn’t inclusive enough. I propose tuber as it is more culturally broad…and golden is just too extreme (excludes those who cannot afford a decent swag of the stuff) and somewhat of an oxymoron given your “verdant” imagery…maybe tan would be better.
          The tan tuber.

        4. I think that I spoke to soon, as a ‘golden triangle’ is a specific kind of isosceles triangle exhibiting a golden ratio.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_triangle_(mathematics)

          If you draw it correctly, with the Ports of Auckland and Tauranga at two of the vertices, the third point naturally ends up a few km’s east of Otorohanga.

          This includes most of the Waikato towns from Tirau to Te Awamutu and the entirety of Hamilton.

          The most easily recognisable golden triangles appear in the pentagram – a popular magical symbol:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagram

          So implicitly, the ‘golden triangle’ inscribes a pentagram on the upper North Island with its head in Auckland and it’s centre in East Atiamuri; between Rotorua and Taupo.

          This is right in the middle of the Taupo Volcanic Zone – A major eruption being the nemesis of the ‘Golden Triangle.’

          How apt.

          Is there a Masonic Lodge near East Atiamuri?

        5. Thanks for those links. Now I know what a golden gnomon is too.

          And I think that’s what we’ve got here. Hamilton, Tauranga and … well, the centre of Franklin electorate, form a golden gnomon. (Are there gnomes in Franklin? Who gnu?) At least it’s good to finally clear up why the train from Hamilton won’t come into the centre of Auckland…

        6. A golden gnomon is the lesser polygon. #jafa

          As for the Mill Rd corridor, it’s equivalent to three Ti Irirangi Drives! How could that not justify suburbanising the eastern side of the road as well?

          There will need to be a connector to Te Irirangi Dr thru existing suburbia too.

          The temptation to cut cost by having a rapid-transit-ready median to will be very high.

  7. This is heartbreaking. Same old same old mega roads-fest.

    These’s already a rail line, with funding for full electrified service on modern EMUs, etc etc… but still maximum motorisation is compulsory.

    We have to throw out these models and start again. Highways with parallel expressways with feeder arterials… stop feeding this destructive beast.

    What is the point of expanding AKL here, into this lovely countryside, if we don’t do it differently? And here’s the chance; compact country towns like pearls on a string down the rail line, FFS.

    And it’s unaffordable.

    1. What is more no longer fit for purpose?

      Transport Engineering (as opposed to planning) or Auckland University academic staff?

      Both seem stuck in last century via this report (keyword: ‘improvement’):

      Dr Douglas Wilson, senior lecturer in Transportation Engineering at Auckland University, said a new Pukekohe Expressway was the only practical option to accommodate future traffic growth due to the geometry of SH22.

      “The design standards of [SH22] when it was built is nowhere near what’s required today.

      “To meet the standards for a 100kmh four-lane expressway would require significant alignment improvement which would cause serious disruption to the adjacent houses.”

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/franklin-county-news/300018316/residents-sidelined-by-pukekohe-expressway-options

      1. Isn’t it incredible that there is an entire engineering discipline which has causation completely backwards? They believe building more road capacity is the solution to traffic growth, when in fact traffic growth is the result of building more road capacity.

        1. You could use the same logic to the rail line, “the design standards when it was built in 1875 are nowhere near what’s required today”. But this argument only ever seems to apply to roads in NZ.

        2. I don’t know why the engineering profession hasn’t disowned traffic engineering yet. The level of harm has been immense.

    1. Perhaps the number of people who currently live in Auckland proves your statement wrong Heidi. Had we had an Auckland with fixed boundaries and no outward growth permitted then maybe lots of people would have chosen to live in Tauranga instead and they would have a population of over 1 million.

      1. Ah, sweet Tauranga, that golden destination where Aucklanders suffering from the foul transport network and planning errors they supported all their adult lives can escape, and do it all over again…

        1. You are looking for right and wrong in this stuff. There just ‘is’.

          I don’t get how so many people say Land use and transport are linked then they assume you could have different rules and expect an equivalent outcome.

      2. Depends a bit on when the boundaries were fixed, if it were in the 1940s then I think you would be right.

        However, the boundaries were practically fixed between 1990 and 2008 and the population continued to grow steadily.

        1. Yes the boundaries were fixed as a result of the Auckland Growth Strategy. But they were fixed to allow greenfields development in Hingaia, Takanini, Albany, Long Bay and Greenhithe plus a few other areas and the population continued to grow particularly in those growth areas. Oh and it also grew in areas outside the boundaries like Pokeno.

  8. This looks like it would take up a lot of physical space. For sections where more than 1 lane of dedicated automobile traffic is needed; it would be very dangerous to cross. Are there also provisions for pedestrian over-bridges or underpasses (And separating barriers)?
    And I assume that this allocated space for a bus stop is only at certain strategic places??

  9. Regarding Mill Road, I really strongly feel that if we are building a new corridor or massively expanding existing ones including property purchase then we should be building a proper busway, AMETI style. This is a once in a lifetime chance to get that corridor right and we’re going to miss it.

    1. I really strongly feel we should not be duplicating the ever expanding SH1 with a parallel mini-me, but rather connecting the communities, existing and future, to the east and west with the already existing RTN rail line.

      So not another North-South road, but a series of improved East-West bus and bike prioritised routes focused on rail stations. This probably includes rationalising some station locations, grade separating them, with connecting bus interchange stations above.

      Mill Rd will never work even on its own (backwards) terms, it looks to be perfectly designed to be neither one thing nor the other, anti-human multilane roundabouts near schools, too many property access points to be an expressway, bus lanes heading alongside the RTN, in competition to it. Is the bastard child of yesterday’s planners and engineers trying to get a bit hip and progressive, without giving up on a single one of out of date assumptions that made the current sprawl burbs so dysfunctional.

      Double-dumb.

      1. The reason for a separate road rather than widening the existing road is to provide a level of redundancy to the network. If there is a serious crash it doesn’t matter if the road is 1 lane, 5, or 10 lanes wide they still close it for long periods of time (which f#^ks up the rest of the network). By having an alternative at least reduces the damage an incident causes.

        1. Am fully aware of all the justifications for endless road building, no need to trot one out like they make sense, there’s a bigger here that renders them all redundant.

        2. I had no idea that there was only one road that went from Manakau city area to Drury/Pukekohe area. I wonder what all the other roads are doing then?

          The only thing that is restricted by only one corridor is the Rail Line. The Road based transport network has multiple options ranging from the State Highway 1 motorway through to one lane roads which can all be used at times. Sure the one lane roads wouldn’t cope with the Motorway traffic trying to go down it all at once but the traffic will still get through even if it is slower than the motorway speeds. If the Railway line is blocked then that’s it.

  10. OMG. This is depressing. ‘Insert four-lane high-traffic arterial here’ – Papakura is going to be ruined.

  11. It will be fascinating to see which projects are listed in the Govt’s imminent ‘Fast Tracking’ consenting bill. I’m sure there will be at least 1 or 2 from this southern Growth project.
    and there will be light rail (and no I don’t work for govt nor have I heard anything from anyone…this is just a logical deduction)

  12. Since external immigration is now down to 0 and unlikely to return to previous levels for many years, if ever, why not just put the whole lot on hold, and get the existing urban and suburban areas sorted instead?

    1. Good call, Geoff. So much sorting out to do in the existing areas. Even with immigration, which could turn out to be quite high, it’s the right thing to do.

      1. May not be as quite a lot is from natural growth. Also with our lock down I wonder if there will be a bit of mini baby boom in about 9 months? 😉

        1. And also, New Zealand will continue to appeal as a safe haven after all this. We could see increased immigration. However, we need to fix the existing areas first.

        2. Only to a point. Immigration has been a major factor in population growth.
          Not convinced we will get that much from our ‘safe haven’ status Heidi unless the economy rebounds surprisingly well – hard to see much more than sickly growth over coming years.

        3. @Heidi. Yes agreed fix the existing areas first. We need to really look after or clean & green image (and reality) both for immigration & tourism sake if we want this. ie Improve our “greenness” in every area. Even the food side alone is where a lot of knowledge and tech could help with.

        4. Hard to see immigration growing. For me this has a parallel to the 90s where there was huge Kiwi unemployment and the last thing the government needed was recent immigrants keeping them unemployed. Suddenly those who had had multiple extensions for work visas found that the answer was “no” to another one.

  13. Auckland has had a congestion problem for a long time.
    To me the reason is obvious.
    New developments at distant suburbs and tightly packed 2 story homes with 4 to 6 bedrooms and with 4, more or less, cars cause congestion.
    It’s near impossible and too expensive to build enough roads to take all that traffic.
    A high density city will have less congestion

  14. Went into the office last week (Queen Street) . Absolute ghost town in the office.

    Most professional colleagues I know enjoy working from home. Further most say their employer is looking to downsize their office space footprint. For obvious reasons, reduced employee demand, reduced costs.

    Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there will be a lot of office space coming on to the market. Ancillary businesses like cafes, restaurants will suffer terribly as the paper pushers stay at home.

    This presents and amazing opportunity to encourage more people than ever to live, work (including remotely) and play in the CBD by retro-fittitng office towers to apartments.

    in the current Covid world, increasing intensified living is obviously not on the face of it going to be appealing… However looking forward once Covid has been reigned in or is simply affected as part of everyday life the benefits /savings (energy,time,cost,carbon,environmental) of an intensified city outweigh greenfields massively.

    1. I have wondered about the retro-fitting potential, too. Might be a while before it takes off though, even taking into account construction time.

      So no quick fix for all those cafes.

    2. Retrofitting – not cheap or easy.
      There will be a large surplus of CBD apartments soon with the decline of foreign students and Air B and B.
      If you are interested in buying in the CBD you should be looking for some good bargains in the near future.

    3. With the increased space requirements associated with social distancing, I’m expecting that office footprints will probably be about the same, although density will reduce.

      This is until the infection risk is eliminated and I doubt that will be anytime soon.

      1. No i think the $$ will talk. If you can get as much productivity out of your workforce and save on rent/overheads then offices will reduce in size. Will be fascinating to see how this all unfolds.

        1. Brilliant bonus for business, shift office costs on to employees. Wonder how long until work-from-home employees realise what it costs them to buy a house with one or two extra rooms for offices, buy office furniture and computer gear, pay for the power and internet costs?

        2. Bryan – agree, we haven’t really hit winter yet. I knew a few people who worked from home after the Christchurch earthquake, the shock came once winter arrived and they had to either heat their house every day or be confined to a single room.

        3. “Brilliant bonus for business, shift office costs on to employees”

          Yes, this is a thing that needs to be taken into account with your pay, contract rates or some other compensation. Power, water, computer expenses/replacement, housing maintenance costs…every little thing wearing out that bit quicker for example.

    4. “once Covid has been reigned in”

      At last! A use for HRH! Time for Liz to issue a “cease and desist” proclamation to the dastardly virus. The Crown v Corona.

    1. They’re planning to start spelling it correctly using macrons or a double a. The cost is about $7 to stick macrons on all of the road signs the next time they are being repaired, replaced, or inspected.

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