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Rosedale Busway Station

Good news on Monday with Waka Kotahi NZTA announcing that resource consent had been granted for the new Rosedale Busway station which will be on the busway extension from Constellation to Albany and is currently under construction.

The $70M project includes a new station and split level plaza at Arrenway Drive with a drop off area and a small number of mobility parking spaces. This is similar to Smales Farm and Akoranga stations but does not include a park and ride facility.

Rosedale Road will be widened to four lanes between Triton and Tawa Drives to include bus lanes. Bus stops will be installed on Rosedale Road for new feeder buses and routes planned from the East Coast Bays area. Extensive walking and cycling paths and lifts will also feature so people can safely enter the station.

Auckland Transport Portfolio Delivery Director David Nelson, says the station had always been planned to help address congestion in the busy industrial area.

“This opens up options for more people to use public transport to travel around the North Shore and into the city centre. It will also service around 5,500 people who work within walking distance of the station.”

The station will add to an upgrade at Hibiscus Coast Station and recently completed extension of the Albany Station park and ride. This is aimed at boosting capacity for the hugely popular bus routes on the North Shore and Hibiscus Coast.

The consent application was lodged with Auckland Council in September 2019. Construction of the station and local road work is expected to begin in 2022 as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.

I really like this station and how it spans Rosedale Rd providing access from either side to make transfers easy. It’s also going to have great bike connectivity with the Northern Pathway passing right through the station.

As noted, it will require some new or changed bus routes to serve it. Currently only the 884/885 buses pass through the station on a loop from Constellation Station.


Transport Debate

On Wednesday Transport Minister Phil Twyford and National Party Transport spokesman Chris Bishop faced off to talk transport in a discussion hosted by Warren and Mahoney.

Only it wasn’t that much of a debate. Perhaps the most striking thing about it was the amount of furious agreement between the two. There was strong agreement on the need for rapid transit, increased density, road pricing and much more. That perhaps doesn’t make for the most interesting debate at times but it is positive for the city.

That wasn’t to say there was complete agreement. Bishop’s main argument was not that he was radically different but that he’d deliver what he’s promised, something easier said than done. There was also a discussion on modes, which frankly is probably the most boring part of it. Perhaps the most intense disagreement was right at the end with Twyford trying to explain that there’s a there’s a difference between financing and funding – that if you take on more debt to pay for projects you have to funding available to cover the repayments and that the existing funding from National Land Transport Fund is already needed just to keep our existing systems operating.


Changing the signs but not the street doesn’t work

It has long been understood that drivers respond to the design road environment and not the speed limit. When Auckland Transport changed speed limits in the city centre back in June they were also meant change the streets to help encourage drivers to slow down. Only they didn’t do it and surprise, drivers haven’t slowed down.

Auckland drivers are flouting speed limits on a city centre road but one expert says the road layout is to blame.

Transport Engineer Tamara Bozovic found 95 per cent of vehicles on Symonds St broke the 30kmh limit imposed as part of a major speed reduction campaign to cut death and injury.

She believed the problem was not signage, but the unchanged streetscape with a wide uncrowded carriageway, inviting motorists to stick to their old 50kmh ways.

Auckland Transport, which cut speed limits on more than 600 roads in a bid to cut deaths and major injuries, acknowledged Bozovic’s view, but said budget limitations meant changes to streetscapes were some way off.

Bozovic took the measurements as part of work on a doctorate looking at how street environments discourage walking, leading to more short trips in cars.

Only 5 of 104 measured in a half hour period were on or under the 30kmh limit brought in at the end of June, with some still exceeding 50kmh.

The final version of the council’s emergency budget restored most of the safety funding so It sounds like these changes have disappeared into the same blackhole as cycleways


NZTA saying the quiet part out loud

Bed maker Sleepyhead want to build an industrial estate and company town at Ohinewai – about 6km north of Huntly. The project is currently plan change hearings and the NZTA have said the quiet part out loud in opposing the project by admitting that motorways are great as long as not too many people use them.

If Sleepyhead get the green light for their billion dollar industrial community in Ōhinewai, the Waikato Expressway could become “a mirror image of the Southern motorway to Auckland”.

That’s according to the New Zealand Transport Agency principal planner Sarah Loynes, who was giving evidence at the Zoom rezoning hearing that will decide the future of the proposal.

Loynes said the NZTA’s objection to the scheme was centred on two main issues; the additional cars that would come with the planned industrial/residential development, and their effect on the $4bn Expressway.

Loynes said the NZTA viewed the Expressway as a crucial freight link for “New Zealand Inc”.

”One of only four classed as national high volume routes, protecting that freight function is extremely important.”

She said NZTA was concerned that “the use of the Expressway for short, local trips” would hamper freight travel.

She was also dismissive of developers claims’ cycle lanes and public transport options would lessen the amount of cars on the road, noting the residential proposals would create demand for access to amenities in Huntly.

Public transport options would be “considerably less convenient than a 10 minute drive down the Expressway”.

”The way this site is located points to this [cars] being the problem.”

…..

Loynes also said that while the Expressway did have capacity for additional vehicles “is that a good use of that capacity to put small distance trips on there”.

“The Expressway was built for a certain function.”

Objections to the plans were also raised by Gerald Lanning​, lawyer acting for Waikato Regional Council.

He described the proposed development as “car dependent and reliant on infrastructure and services that are speculative at best”.

I looked up the redevelopment application. This seems to be the best image I can find for what’s planned and it’s not hard to see why they’re concerned this will be auto-dependant. The expressway is shown as the dark arrow and has the rail line alongside it while the light beige to the east is the proposed housing. The development seems too small to run any real public transport and even if a rail station was built, from what I can tell houses would be about 1.5-2.5km away.

Of course, if the NZTA think the Southern motorway is bad (it is), then why are they so supportive of the plans for so much more housing between Papakura and Pukekohe which even with good PT, will see thousands more cars trying to use that motorway.


Overnight Bus Lane

It turns out that Auckland Transport can move really quickly when there are dedicated people who want to make the city better.

Now we need one eastbound on Sturdee St and on Customs St.


Kiwirail works video

I mentioned the other day about how it was notable the difference in the level of communication between Waka Kotahi over the Harbour Bridge and Kiwirail over the rail network issues. They’ve now published a video about the works they’re doing on the rail network and explaining some of it.


Finally, here’s Puketapapa Local Board Chair Julie Fairey with a great thread on twitter yesterday about the fascination and domination of large projects in the transport discussion.

Whereas smaller projects, like say a pedestrian crossing for a school on a busy road, only get contracted a short time out, have relatively low cost in terms of design, consultation etc. Much more vulnerable to delay that becomes deferral that becomes never.

These smaller projects also generally have much much lower profiles in the community – pissing off a school with 200 kids is lower risk than pissing off a whole suburb or town or region, who have been expecting delivery. This applies to both the politicians and the staff

And with NZ being a quite small country some of the Enormous Roading Projects might be the only chance you think you are going to get to work on An Exciting Thing! So people get v attached to them. There’s always another pedestrian crossing to do.

When there is an inevitable budget crunch (currently acute due to Covid but ongoing at a less severe level because of fundamental flaws w current local govt funding model) uncontracted projects go first. Contractor & fixed term workers go first too.

Enormous Roading Project staff will be more likely to be permanent or contractors signed up in a big bundle over years, so more likely to not get cut (contractually committed times two!).

I’ve been raising with AT, including through the CCO Review, the idea that they must be able to work out they are going to deliver at least X pedestrian crossings a year, so why don’t they contract this kind of essential safety work in bundles, so it is less vulnerable.

Response so far is “we’ll think about it”.

As one of the replies to it I saw noted

I was told so many times by very senior people to “come back when you have a $100m project”.

Some key decision makers don’t appreciate the benefits of small, quick, tactical projects.

Seem to appreciate the status that comes with a massive programme.

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49 comments

  1. Perhaps we just need some enforcement of the new speed limits.

    I would love to see a situation where speed, parking enforcement and red light running was outsourced to private individuals. Imagine a gig economy app where instead of delivering food to make a bit more money or being a taxi driver, enterprising kiwis could use the special app to report dangerous vehicles and get a cut of the fine. Revenue collection would be the goal, instead of something people say like it is a bad thing.

    1. Yes, Brendan. Of course we need better streetscapes, and AT should’ve provided some, but this current article misses the enforcement aspect.

      New Zealanders are driving faster for the same streetscape cues than Germans or Dutch or Swedes would. That’s because of two things – the speed limits have been too high and there’s been minimal enforcement of what limits we do have. So even if we could never afford streetscape changes, we should lower the limits, and enforce the changes

      Lobbying for streetscape improvements in a vacuum of discussion about enforcement is counterproductive and disappointing. It plays to AT’s preference for not reducing speed limits ‘until we can provide streetscape changes at the same time’. We all know how loathe they are to find funding for good streetscape changes – yet will sign up to finding money for the likes of Matakana Link Rd in the blink of an eye. It also plays to the AA’s argument that the speed limits shouldn’t be reduced without streetscape changes because it’s somehow unfair on drivers.

      Fact is we have a driving culture crisis, created in big part by the police’s reluctance to enforce the road rules.

      1. I disagree about needing better streetscapes. In parts of Southern California that I visited recently, some of the streets are really wide and straight, much straighter than any streets in Auckland, but the local police were very strict on speeding enforcement, so everyone drove at the speed limit.

        Apparently, the city police budget was partially funded by the speeding fines, so the more the police collected, the nicer facilities they had and better maintenance of their vehicles.

        Not sure if this is the way to go, but it did anecdotally show that enforcement worked.

        1. The point is that enforcement is an ongoing need – continual OPEX, and dependent on policymakers not suddenly caving in to articles in the Herald complaining about speeding fines.

          Good infrastructure design reduces speeds permanently, with a CAPEX expenditure. Then you get a lasting effect – which is also more socially acceptable as the street FEELS like it should be driven at a slower speed.

          In reality, we need both, but enforcement in my view should be an add-on, rather than a primary method.

          Right now, we have neither – not enough funding for safer, slower streets. And a cultural unwilligness to go hard on enforcement, because car culture, and the – explicit or implicit perception that fining drivers is harassing people just going about their day.

          Both need to change.

  2. Julie Fairey is dead right.

    NZTA have been able to bundle sets of smaller works together for quite a while. They’re called NOCs. And they are multi-year commitments that are very closely integrated into NZTA.

    That enables the contractors to commit to a really strong level of service across a whole network in both repairs, renewals, and minor capital works, with dedicated teams who must respond at the drop of a hat.

    AT do that to a lesser degree, but there’s a huge a mount of potential in precisely what Julie Fairey is saying. Great to see her raising it in the CCO review.

    1. All bundling does is reduce the number of companies involved in supplying the goods or services. They do it as it reduces the amount of effort the agency staff have to put in. Someone else does their job for them so they can go back to facebook or ebay.

      1. I’ve been wondering about that, miffy. Bundling things together is often suggested as a way to get funding for smaller projects. But actually it might be better to just fix other aspects so smaller projects don’t have to be bundled.

        1. Heidi it almost always costs more in the end. Bureaucrats don’t care how much things cost as it isn’t their money. But they do care about reducing their own work load. Bundling and creating panel suppliers where they can flick everything to one or two companies means they can outsource responsibility and turn every little job into a part of a big one. The analogy floated years ago is that you can build one big pyramid at enormous cost or build many small ones side by side at a fraction of the cost. If it isn’t your own money and someone says they will do it all for you then you may as well opt for the big one. The only losers are the people who pay for it.

      2. That’s not all bundling does, there are a lot of efficiencies that can be gained by specialisation and economies of scale. Imagine I’m a civil construction contractor confronted with two scenarios.

        Scenario A: I win a contract to install traffic calming on a 100m long residential street, including building a pedestrian crossing and a couple of speed bumps. It’s a small project so I’ll just do it with whatever staff and equipment aren’t busy on other projects. There’s no point investing in new training or equipment because I don’t know when the next one of these jobs will come around.

        Scenario B: I win a contract to install traffic calming on 20km of streets over a 5 year period, including pedestrian crossings, speed bumps/tables, kerb buildouts etc. That project is going to be running for a while so I’ll establish a core team that will get very good at doing this kind of work. I’ll also invest in new equipment that’ll improve productivity.

        1. In scenario A you would offer a really good price as a quotation rather than a formal tendering process and if it was cheaper than the others you would have something for your existing staff to do, at cost, between other jobs using exactly the same equipment you already have.
          Scenario B requires that the Council stops doing work for five years to save up that many small jobs which you would then formally tender for at your full price. I mean who the hell has detailed plans of five years of work they haven’t bothered getting done yet?
          At North Shore City Council the small jobs were carried out by local contractors who employed local people.
          The other problem with bundling is the person with the most money at stake runs the whole thing. SH20 from Mangere Bridge was an extreme case where as a design and build, the construction contractor was in charge of the civil designers who were in charge of those specifying the outcomes.

        2. miffy these minor improvements are easy and don’t require much detailed design, they’re often just a copy paste job. An example is all the pedestrian crossings AT has recently been building around the city. These are all the same and have been effectively bundled by just being done by the road maintenance contractor.

          The concept of bundling a lot of small jobs together is no different to programs like the Ultra Fast Broadband rollout and the Christchurch horizontal infrastructure rebuild. These were actually a lot of small jobs bundled together into large enough packages to encourage the industry to up-resource itself to do the work. They also hastened the adoption of new technologies like horizontal direction drilling and pipe relining.

        3. Exactly right LB.
          The aggregations of local authority contracts are not getting smaller; often they are crossing more territories, and for longer.
          This gives the head contractor – or often the Alliance – the faith to invest in its current and future staff, its plant and machinery, in its community engagement, and in its whole of organisation commitment.
          We are rarely in a world where any major contract for either maintenance or large capital works is carried out under a hard money contract. It is the long term collaborative models such as Alliancing that are increasing. This is critical for building partnerships that deliver sustained and improving results onto our networks. Probably Kiwirail should try it more as well.

        4. Jesus wept. Cut and paste for safety devices? They are letting a road maintenance contractor figure out the details? The future is looking bright for crash blackspot studies. And what sort of dumb-arse would commit five years of forward work to projects where the priorities can change rapidly. Most sensible Councils figure out an annual budget based on their priorities. I guess the whole arm’s length thing means what people actually want has little to do with what they are going to get.

      3. You have absolutely no idea what the work entails or how a NOC operates.
        Bundling the work enables a standard on the network that is specified to be sustained and where possible improved. It involves hundreds of people working together from both agency, head contractor, and subcontractors.
        But top work for the pointless PR sneer.

  3. That new busway station looks fantastic. Only thing I’d change is the bicycle parking, looks like low density loops. I think going forward bike parking at major stations will need to be much improved. Depending on hills it’s just so much more convenient to bike to and from the station than wait for a relatively infrequent feeder service. And to get the cars out everything needs to be as fast and convenient as possible. Apart from that it’s great, the bike lanes underneath and floating away behind the bus stop, fantastic. Whole thing looks like an actual metro train station.

    1. I’m hopeful that both Rosedale and the upgraded Constellation station will have decent all weather bike parking.
      For me, being roughly equidistant to Albany and Constellation, I ride to Albany because it has a roof over the bike parking.
      Simple things.

      1. Would be worth someone asking (eg admin) but I’m sure it is. The rest of the busway is I believe. Actually TBH the busses are probably heavier potentially. Those double deckers are really heavy, and if you fill up both directions, and have a few going through the middle as a worst case scenario, then I’m pretty sure they would be heavier than the light rail trains.

  4. So Labour and National agree on transport which is a good thing. I think GA and other like minded groups and individuals should be very happy. I am glad we have seen a shifting of minds that I think will lead to a greater Auckland ;-).

    The question for election then is who will actually deliver?

    1. I have long seen both parties as follows (with my active mode and road safety and PT-favouring glasses on, of course!):

      Labour promises more of the right things, but then doesn’t always deliver – stymied by bureaucracy in agencies and occasionally, their own lack of actual enthusiasm for their stated policies.

      National delivers more aggressively, but does more of the wrong things (i.e. you get new cycleways built – attached to a funding programme massively prioritising motorways).

      Neither statement is absolute of course.

      1. At the last election, both Labour and National agreed that the third
        rail project, and the electrification to Pukekohe project, should go ahead.

        Three years later, what have we got in the ground – nothing.

  5. If you look on Google maps there is a local road which will take you from Ohinewai to Huntly but you would have to drive past the expressways onramp to get to it. I know that I would drive on the local road but many people would choose the expressway just as many people will take the motorway in Auckland even though to my mind its easier and less stressful not too. I understand Skellerup is less keen on using Kiwirail for its freight after the discovered what the cost of the rail siding would be so maybe the whole shift wont happen.
    The Rosedale Bus Station looks stunning pity it is taking two years before work begins. But then the busway and the motorway travel over the local road whereas in most cases the local road is on the bridge. It would be good to see a concept Bus Station for the NW busway so the public could get their heads around it. WE need a bit of Wow factor for these projects.
    I am wondering when the work on the North Auckland line will be finished and it will be reopened. It would be good if it could be completed by Feb 2021 about the same time as the repairs on the Auckland Network are finished and the Hamilton train is started. We could really do with a well coordinated relaunch of rail services to bring a bit of creditability back to public transport and Kiwirail. It would be particularly good if we could say that we have put Covid behind us by then but maybe that is too much to ask.

    1. Royce the NAL is supposed to be finished by Christmas , And the H2A hopefully will start ? around Feb as right now the crews are undergoing training . The thing that gets me is that they are using a push / pull consist but what a KR big brass has said that they will turn the loco at the end of every trip and only use the push / pull in the yards . So why did they buy the SD’s if they aren’t going to use them properly ? . ;-

      1. I wish they called the service, “Hamiltrain”, or “the troin” or something similar. So many opportunities for greatness, and we get a bird. Admittedly a nice bird, but still.

        1. Jack , before the last Local Body Election Stuff ran a poll with around 3 different names for the new service and the Tron Express came out on top and then a new Mayor was put in to power and she decided it was going to be called Te Huia , I know it’s a nice title/name but why’o’why call it after an extinct bird , or is this going to be an Omen for it’s future ? .

      2. The SD cars have a diesel generator that provides power for train lighting and heating, so it was probably easier for Kiwirail just to use them than have to design something new.

  6. A couple of years back I spoke to a senior police road safety officer during the tea break at AT’s launch of their speed reduction strategy. I asked him if they had the resources to enforce reduced speed limits in hundreds (if not thousands) of affected streets. The answer was a very clear no – if AT needed expanded enforcement then they would have to fund it. So now we see that the reality is that without an improvement to the road environment the new speed limits are in effect just a Dulux solution (lots of well intentioned signs but limited change in actual driver behaviour).

    1. I still see a lot of benefits to changing the speed limits first, rather than dithering another year or 10. For example, whenever we now redesign any part of a street or intersection, we can correctly claim it should be designed for the slower speeds already legally required. This is a huge shift in the starting design defaults (but the actual effect will be slow to come through, as with any CAPEX work).

    2. Reducing speed limits, even with no design changes reduces speeds. The reality of the solution (reducing speed limits now instead of 20 years time when we can fund streetscape changes) is that hundreds of people who would otherwise be killed or seriously injured won’t be.

  7. “The development seems too small to run any real public transport”.

    I’m not sure that’s true. The simple answer would be to extend the existing 21 service between Hamilton and Huntly East. That has limited frequency at the moment, but with higher demand that could be fixed.

    (The longer term answer would be a redesign moving the rail line a few hundred metres to the left to create a site for a passenger station. But that’s crazy talk.)

    1. Maybe if they don’t get resource consent for a bed factory and Port Sunlight town then they can mine the coal underneath instead. The Australians would.

      1. Could the mine also extinguish a native species or destroy a 40k y.o. archeological site? Does the Waikato river NEED to reach the sea?

  8. Rosedale. All that design and construction effort into a. . . diesel busway. Lipstick on a pig. It should be electrified rail.
    But. . . it is what it is, and it is certainly better than no rapid transit at all.

    1. That station will well outlive diesel buses. It will probably end up with electric buses and eventually electric trains of some description.

      I’m glad they’ve built it now rather than waited at least 10 – 15 years for electric rail.

    2. Rosedal station is being built for an electric railway. We are just going to run diesel buses on it until we can afford to build the really expensive bit of the electric railway.

    3. meh, I think that the busway is pretty much the ideal scenario. Cheap enough to get over the line and build, good enough to grow massive ridership. Realistically I think its pretty much the best sequence of events to happen. Only glaring omissions at this point is the lack of an Onewa interchange and lanes all the way to / from the bridge. It will get fixed in the future to be nice trains. Just have to wait a little (decade) longer.

      1. I believe you can thank the enlightened local residents who fought hard against local public transport infrastructure, because….ermmm……?? Idiots

        1. These residents near the bridge are a bit of a pain. Based on the feedback I read from some cycle path through the area, they really really hate any sort of change. I really cant see the issue with the bus station / interchange though, not even near any houses. People just dont like PT out of principle I suppose.

  9. Re speed limits, a couple of points that I’d argue, Matt:

    “It has long been understood that drivers respond to the design road environment and not the speed limit” – actually they respond to both. The research evidence is pretty consistent: For every 10km/h you change the posted speed limit, even if nothing else changes in regards to engineering/enforcement/etc you will typically see mean speeds change by about 2-3km/h.

    “…and surprise, drivers haven’t slowed down” – you don’t actually know that, because a ‘before’ survey wasn’t undertaken. Given that the current survey reported that only “some” were still exceeding the speed limit, I’d put good money on the fact that average speeds had come down. No doubt they will come down even more when engineering changes are done to the streets in question too. But a blind focus on whether people are complying with a speed limit ignores the more important question of whether people have slowed down – that’s the thing that will get you the safety benefits.

  10. While I agree that kiwirails comms are bad, I also think the situation has a bit to do with it. Kiwirail look completely incompetent and unable to run a fairly bog standard metro rail service, despite a decade of continuous work, so naturally they would try to sweep a bit under the carpet quietly. While NZTA looks good-ish because it wasn’t their fault, and they have done a decent job responding to it.

  11. Regarding the Debate Video I think my opinion of Chris Bishop is a lot better after watching it perhaps he’s getting more informed. In saying that I think his subtle vibe especially earlier on in the discussion was a bigger emphasis on building out than up & everything that would then relate to that is then affected.

    1. I think Chris Bishop would have been good in a progressive party.

      Unfortunately neither of them understand the critical need to stop sprawl.

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