Here’s our weekly roundup
New Electric Buses
Auckland Transport has launched its newest electric bus and it’s unique because it’s also the biggest one we’ve had so far.
Auckland Transport (AT) has launched its latest electric bus, as the next step towards reducing the city’s carbon emissions.
The Yutong E13 is Auckland’s first electric ‘extra-large’ bus, which can carry 78 passengers and is designed specifically to meet New Zealand standards.
AT’s Manager of Bus Services, Darek Koper, says AT is very excited to have the Yutong E13 in its fleet.
“Trialling this bus on longer distance routes from East Auckland into the city centre will help us compare operational performance, power demand and costs alongside equivalent existing diesel buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses being manufactured for AT. This validates our case studies showing much lower impact from three-axle electric buses on road pavements, compared to standard e-buses.”
Wei Zhou, Director of JW Group says Yutong and JW Group are pleased to continue working closely with Auckland Transport to introduce an extra-large, fully electric bus.
“During 2018 and 2019, a large two axle EV bus was trialled by AT in partnership with Yutong. During this testing, operators in Auckland have shown real world range exceeding 400km a day on a single charge. This builds operational confidence in electric bus fleets to manage the rigorous demands of public transport right now.”
The bus is going to be used on the 70 route from Botany to the city.
Also in just over a week the new electric buses to be used on Waiheke will be officially launched and they’ve started arriving on the island
Beautiful electric buses arriving on Waiheke!
Auckland should have 30+ electric buses by mid 2021 with Airport Link & City Link routes going electric.
(It’s a start)
PHOTO CREDIT: DILLON NUTTALL-MAHONEY IN KIWI BUS ENTHUSIASTS FB GROUP.
— Richard Hills (@richardhills777) October 29, 2020
All of this is good news but is of course just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed. We have over 1,300 buses in Auckland so are going to be needing a lot more for the whole fleet to be electric.
Albert St Complete
Albert St north of Wyndham St is now complete.
The re-opening of the Albert Street/Wolfe Street intersection marks the end of City Rail Link’s work at the lower end of Albert Street and after five years the project is saying “farewell” to this section of central Auckland.
City Rail Link Ltd’s Chief Executive, Dr Sean Sweeney, acknowledges digging up the busy city street for rail tunnels took longer than expected and caused hardship for businesses in the area.
“It is never easy building a huge project like CRL in the middle of a city – disruption is inevitable. There have been robust discussions over the years, but we have worked hard with local businesses to find suitable solutions to offset impacts when work fell behind schedule including the introduction of rent assistances scheme for those who qualified,” Dr Sweeney says. “We hope we are leaving behind a rejuvenated and transformed street.”
It’s great that this has been completed and with the wider and higher quality footpaths it sure is a big improvement on what was there before. However, it still feels like it could have been a lot better, especially as Albert St has one of the best graded of all streets in the city ride up if you’re heading out of it.
Given that there’s not much use for those bus lanes until the rest of the CRL opens, why not keep the road as just two lanes and use the extra space for some temporary events to help encourage people to the city and support local businesses.
This tweet apparently comes from the councils opposition to the Drury plan changes I wrote about yesterday. It suggests the council’s implementation of the new Urban Development rules could be significant with up to 22-23 storeys allowed, apparently within 400m of stations and 7-8 storeys allowed at up to 800m. This would be good so let’s hope it happens.
— Cam W (@BigSDW) October 28, 2020
Radical is not so Radical
Wellington recently consulted on plans to improve their ‘Golden Mile’ and the results are in.
Wellingtonians have overwhelmingly backed a radical plan to remove cars from the city’s Golden Mile, to significantly widen footpaths and to turn several side streets in Wellington’s inner city into pedestrian-only zones.
Almost 2000 people gave feedback on three options for proposed changes to Wellington’s Golden Mile, which runs 1.5 miles from the Beehive to the end of Courtenay Place.
The vast majority supported the “transform” option, the most radical of the three options to reform Wellington’s main shopping and entertainment area. The plan would cost up to $80 million and remove up to 200 car parks between Wellington Railway Station and Kent/Cambridge Terrace.
The “transform” option would remove all public traffic from the Golden Mile, create bus-only lanes along the entire stretch, and widen footpaths by as much as 75 per cent.
The plan proposes pedestrianising the end of almost every side street which connects on to the Golden Mile, including Tory St, Lower Cuba St, and areas surrounding Midland Park on Lambton Quay. Service vehicles would still be able to access the streets when required.
It would also create a shared zone beside the footpath for cycling and electric scooters along Lambton Quay.
Some bus stops along the route would be closed or moved to reduce bus congestion in the streets. New, larger bus stops would be built, separated from the main footpath area.
The other two concepts proposed were titled “streamline” which would take some general traffic off the Golden Mile while making buses more reliable; and “prioritise” which would create two bus priority lanes along much of the road but allowed less room for walking and cycling.
A fantastic result for Wellington but can a plan really be radical if it is overwhelmingly supported?
What it does highlight is why it’s important that our public agencies be bold when consulting on ideas. Far too often schemes are watered down in the hope of appeasing the naysayers and anti-change types only for them to opposed and result in even more dull outcomes.
St Heliers Consultation
Speaking of consultation, feedback on ATs dull and dangerous plans for St Heliers close on Monday. Here’s a quick message from our friends at Generation Zero.
Taking Safety Seriously
The Dutch are turning how they set speed limits on their head, passing a law requiring all streets to be 30km/h unless they can argue why it should be higher. How about it AT?
Mangere Bridge replacement open day
Waka Kotahi are currently replacing the Old Mangere Bridge and are holding an open day tomorrow for those interested in looking at the progress and speaking to some of the team.
With the easing of COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions on crowd gatherings, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is delighted to invite people to an information day for the Old Māngere Bridge Replacement project.
The information day will be a chance for people to come and meet the team behind the bridge build and learn more about the new walking, cycling and fishing bridge over the Manukau Harbour. It will be held on Saturday, 31 October 2020 from 9:30am – 1:00pm at the Waterfront Reserve in Māngere Bridge.
“This will be a great opportunity to see close up what the team is doing. Over the winter months, the team has continued to work safely and productively. They are very proud of the progress they are making and will be on site to explain what they’re doing and answer any questions,” says Waka Kotahi Senior Manager Project Delivery Andrew Thackwray.
There will also be a sausage sizzle and activities to entertain children.
There’s details about it here.
An E-Bike Convert
Finally today a fantastic story on The Project the other day about e-bikes and their power to change people’s thinking. Welcome Murray
— The Project NZ (@TheProject_NZ) October 28, 2020
Have a good weekend.