Here’s our wrap up for the week – although to be fair some of these are from previous weeks.


Electric Buses on Waiheke

Waiheke buses have gone electric.

Auckland Transport and Fullers360 officially welcomed the first of Waiheke Island’s new, fully electric bus fleet, with nearly a third of the buses taking to the Island’s streets.

Six of the eight electric buses purchased by Fullers360 went into service by Waiheke Bus Company late October, making Waiheke Island the first area in Auckland to operate an electric bus fleet. The other two electric buses will join the fleet in December and the remaining nine buses in the 17-strong fleet will be replaced for electric as they reach their end of life.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who attended the launch event at Wild Estate on Waiheke Island, says it was great to see the first zero-emission electric buses on Waiheke enter service.

“This is a real milestone for Waiheke, and a big step forward in Auckland’s plan to create a greener and more sustainable city,” he says.

….

“With the first six electric buses coming to Waiheke, we will see a reduction of approximately 538 tCO²e of Green House Gas emissions per year on Waiheke, which is equivalent to 718 typical New Zealand homes’ electricity use for one year,” says Mr Horne.

The electric buses each carry 37 passengers and service the existing Auckland Transport Waiheke Island route. The buses produce zero emissions and can travel up to 400km on a single charge. The buses will be charged and stored at the Waiheke bus depot.

Waiheke makes sense a lot of sense to to be the first place to go fully electric with buses given it’s small size and that it tends to have higher fuel prices that on the mainland.

Next year we should see the City Link and new Airport link buses go electric.


Birkenhead Ave Transit Lane

Way back in March 2019 Auckland Transport consulted on adding a new 400m am-peak T3 lane to Birkenhead Ave to improve the movement of buses along the corridor. For some unknown reason it’s taken them 18 months to finally confirm the outcome but the good news is the lane is going in – minus the last 40m which has been cut back to make it easier for car drivers to get in front and block buses at the intersection.

The new shorter transit lane.

AT need to rapidly roll out bus and transit lanes all across the city where they don’t already exist but certainly need to do it faster than taking 18 months for each one.


Mission Bay

Following on from their consultation in St Heliers, AT are also consulting on changes to Mission Bay. The plans here are a lot better and include the potential for a dedicated bike lane, albeit one with a gap in the middle.

The improvements proposed include:

  • Three new raised pedestrian crossings to make it easier and safer for people to cross the road. One new crossing is proposed for Tamaki Drive near the fitness park, one on Atkin Avenue by Tamaki Drive and another on Patteson Avenue near Marau Crescent.
  • Two new speed tables and upgrading the existing crossing on Tamaki Drive by Atkin Avenue to a raised platform to encourage safe vehicle speeds on Tamaki Drive. These will be gentle bumps, much like the ones by Kelly Tarlton’s, so that vehicles travelling at the 30km/h limit (confirmed to be in place in June 2021) will have no problems.
  • A new cycleway on the beach side of Tamaki Drive so that people walking and biking will have their own dedicated space. We would like feedback on two different options:
    • Option A) Widen the existing shared path from 3 metres to 6 metres with a delineation between walking and cycling
    • Option B) A new 3 metre on-road cycleway beside the shared path, protected from traffic using separators
  • An option to move the bus layover stop for service #781 from Patteson Avenue in the town centre to Selwyn Avenue by extending the existing layover space. The Patteson Avenue layover would then become a loading zone instead. This could be an improvement for visitors with fewer buses waiting outside local businesses.
  • If the bus layover change goes ahead, then a roundabout would need to be built at the Tamaki Drive / Atkin Avenue intersection. This would enable buses to more easily travel to the new layover in-between each service (2 per hour) through Tagalad Road, Atkin Avenue, and Tamaki Drive to the Selwyn Avenue layover, then back along Tamaki Drive to Patteson Avenue to start the service again.
  • Remove the painted flush median and remark the road to make space for the widened shared path or on-road cycleway. This ensures carparking can be retained along both sides of Tamaki Drive.
  • Change a short section of the footpath on the shops side of Tamaki Drive to shared use from Marau Crescent (eastern end) to connect people on bikes with the new pedestrian/bike crossing proposed outside the park.
  • A new car parking area on Marau Crescent and amending parallel parking on Selwyn Avenue to angled.

The removal of the median for either the cycleway or shared path highlights that we actually do tend to have a lot of space on our roads hidden in plain sight. As for what we should do, Option B with a dedicated cycleway would be a better outcome here than a wider shared path as it will create a dedicated space and reduce the potential for conflicts. Something does need to be done about the gap in it though.

Consultation closes Thursday 3 December.


Summerset Parnell

Parnell station was put in the wrong place and has been a bit isolated but hopefully that will change soon. The land next to it was sold to Summerset for a retirement village a few years ago and we had been seeing mention of discussions with them in previous board reports. Last September they said

A new mandate for a mobility compliant pedestrian walkway from Parnell Road to the station has been received. Additional funding is being sought to commence preliminary design and firm up overall costs.

Summerset Homes have confirmed that their masterplan has been approved by their own steering group and they are proceeding to concept design. They are also drafting an MOU to cover the proposed changes at site.

And in December

Review of scope to jointly fund a new underpass with Summerset Homes is underway

A new document now gives us an indication of what we can expect from the development. As always there are some good things and some not so good things.

A new underpass will certainly help improve access to the station from the western side making it much more viable for access. A potential link up to Heather St and Bedford St would also be very useful. However, it appears the existing path alongside the tracks will be removed so they can have a ‘gated community‘ and provide a driveway to one of their buildings. This is also likely to seriously impact the plans to reopen the old parnell tunnels for a cycleway from Newmarket to the city.

  1. Recently constructed walkway
  2. Proposed accessible walkway (by AT)
  3. Future pedestrian underpass (by AT)
  4. Existing Pedestrian Underpass
  5. Central Courtyard
  6. Formalised Public Access
  7. Carlaw Student Village

Back to the positives, it will add quite a bit of density to the area with the development due to have 216 apartments, including 56 3-bedroom ones, as well as 100 care suites and apartments. Having more people next door will certainly help improve usage of the station, though you might think Summerset have forgotten the station exists as they’re also including 249 carparks. There will also be some limited parking for mobility scooters and only a few spaces for bikes – have they not seen how much older people love e-bikes?

Here’s the full document

Click to access SummersetDrawings_Parnell.pdf

As we’ve said before, the station should have been about 250m further north making use of the old satellite site (now a carpark) and would have served the area much better instead of half of it’s catchment being trees.


And finally a few smaller bits.

In Northland alone Waka Kotahi is having to spend $500,000 annually to clean up rubbish from state highways and crews are picking up 3 tonnes of rubbish a week.

https://twitter.com/alechat1/status/1329153157524578304?s=19

A couple of car ads

Have a good weekend

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51 comments

    1. Literally filled with the same thing. Please build safe cycling infrastructure, gets loads of likes, one person writes ‘ what about me, what about my parking’ gets downliked. AT’s response will be to do absolutely nothing! Pointless exercise!

  1. A new underpass at Parnell so changing platforms doesn’t take so long would be great. But it still wouldn’t solve the problem of needing a Hop card to traverse the citybound platform (traveling from 1 to 4 on that map).

    It’s really important that the catchment of Auckland’s rapid transit stations is maximised by improving walking and cycling links. However to get the most out of this infrastructure the walking and cycling links need to be useful for people who aren’t using the station too. Otherwise the station itself creates severance.

      1. It’s a high quality, relatively direct route from Grafton Gully to the Domain or Parnell (and vise versa) that is only accessible to those with a Hop card. Also there’s no way of knowing about this restriction until you get there. I’ve seen people get caught out by this before and have to backtrack.

        There’s nothing on that platform to vandalise and there’s security there all the time anyway. So your concerns are unwarranted.

  2. So if you are south of that station and you want to go to the southbound platform (nr 6 on that plan), can you still walk straight to the platform, or do you have to detour via the other underpass?

    1. You will have to detour back up to Cheshire Street and then back down to the station. The current walkway alongside the platform, which used to be railway land, was sold off and is now being turned into a closed road. The entire re-development here is a example of complete disarray and incompetence by KiwiRail and AT.

      Let’s also be realistic, a new underpass will not be built in the foreseeable future at position 3, meaning anyone coming from the student village (7) who wants to catch a train towards Britomart will have to enter the station, exit at 4, use the existing underpass (to 6), walj up to Cheshire Street and then walk back down to get back to the correct platform.
      Further, there’s now no space for the greenway up to the old rail tunnels and through to Newmarket.

      1. Given the implications for walkability, and for access to public transport, decisions like ensuring public access is retained when a piece of public land is sold have a material impact on our emissions.

        As this and other examples show, we can’t rely on quality decision-making on a case by case basis. So access retention needs to become standard practice, be enshrined in law, and evidence provided for why *not* retaining access would be acceptable.

        Clearly, we don’t have a system in which we could suggest this to the government, and could reasonably expect them to consider it soon, with a high likelihood of passing, as an appropriate, urgent response to the climate emergency.

        So what are our options? Should a case should be taken in this case, as the scale of the walkability and access implication is so substantial. Of course, the sale of the land was a while ago, but our international commitments to reducing emissions are longstanding.

      2. What.

        I was thinking I was stating the stupidly obvious, on the other hand surely nobody in charge of actual planning could possibly be this stupid?

        That second detour is more than half a kilometre. Looks like they may just as well leave the station behind and build a new one a bit further north.

    2. I don’t’ read the map that way, surely you can go under the existing underpass go along the northbound platform and take the new #3 platform to get to the other southbound platform. Not ideal but not that ridiculous.

  3. I would like to nominate Kiwi rail to get the contract for building any new light rail.
    They have replaced/renewed 50 -100 km of rail in Auckland over a few months in difficult circumstances. Overnight, in weekends and with only a few weeks shut down of a line.
    They are also in the process of building 5 new rail bridges on the line north to Whangarei, increasing the height of 13 tunnels and repairing many km of the track.
    A mainly straight line to Mangere and beyond would be easy and not $2 billion, $3 billion or $5 billion as some are suggesting.

    1. Easy to replace or relay track in situ, compared with the extensive civil infrastructure we’ll need to move along bits of the LRT routes. But yes, a good reminder the initial cost of the LRT policy from Labour was about $6b for two lines for Dominion Road & The NW – some 42km of it.

      1. Based on the AT costings for Dominion Rd ($700 million), Onehunga-Airport ($1 billion), and Northwestern light rail ($2.2 billion) I’d assume it would be possible to get both Airport and NW lines built for around $4 billion (still under $5 billion even accounting for CRL-scale blowouts & cost increases) – unless I’m missing any info?

        1. You’ve missed the section from Mt Roskill to Onehunga.

          Also it’s worth remembering AT’s initial costs for the CRL were around $2 billion.

  4. We could have bells and barrier arms at every intersection all the way up Dominion Road.
    But I agree they do seem to be able to get things done when they have being given the money. I wonder how long the Marsden Point branch would take if they were given the go ahhead. While we are at it bring back the Ministry Of Works. A ministry of magic might be useful to work with the housing Minister as well.

    1. Yes, let’s bring back the MOW so they could destroy large areas of central Auckland with motorways just like they did the first time around.

      1. They were just following orders. They could have being told to build the CRL. It might not have being a twenty year wait if they were still around.

        1. Given funding has been the main delay with CRL, I can’t see how the MOW would have built it quicker.

          I’d be quite happy to never see their cock-ups and delays, such as Manapouri, Clyde and Maraetai hydro projects.

        2. Jesus Jezza you know nothing. Manapouri was built by Betchel Pacific who had a design and Supervision contract.
          The Clyde Dam was also built by private contractors.
          The Clyde Dam construction contract was awarded to a joint venture of W Williamson & Co of Christchurch and Ed Zublin AG of Stuttgart, West Germany. The Maraitai Dam was built by the Public Works Department. So zero out of three good one.
          https://mightyclutha.blogspot.com/2009/03/clyde-dam-shocking-facts.html
          Another cockup by a private contractor was the Roxbough Dam. You might want to look that one up as well.
          The Ministry of Works built the Waitaki System no problems and it is an asset to our nation.

    2. People may make fun of the MoW but the old CPO was one of the few buildings to survive the CHCH earthquake in good condition. I know a few Civil engineers says the MoW was a good training ground for graduate engineers and the post MoW engineers have missed out on valuable training/mentoring that they don’t get in commercial consulting firms

  5. “… humiliating to other fathers, totally unnecessary to my family’s requirements… my pile of sticks, my winkie…”

    Ah, needed that laugh. Brilliant.

    1. But the car companies cover all bases – not just insecure males. Hyundai’s Santa Fe latest ad says “Say hello to new parents, Alexia and Tyler. As Pam’s granddaughter, Alexia learned to drive in Pam’s Santa Fe. And, with the arrival of their new baby, Pam wouldn’t wrap her great granddaughter in anything less than the safest, most powerful Santa Fe yet.”

    1. They drive just under 400km a day of course!

      The route 50 buses average around 20 km per hour of service, and are in service for 19 hours a day.

    2. And also here on the Island we have a number of power cuts during the year that last longer than 5 mins , not long ago 1 was around 5hrs and it affected the whole Island plus the surrounding Islands and you don’t hear about that in Auckland cause the coffee lovers weren’t affected .

      And the day they had this unveiling the only ones I saw was a NIS and a 501 going to KP and the only buses that I travelled on were the old bone shakers that came from the Stagecoach stock .

        1. The remaining fleet ‘will be replaced for electric as they reach their end of life’ Given the age of some of the clunkers in the current Waiheke bus fleet that could be some time.
          Interesting how the Fullers CEO has changed his opinion on the adoption of electric buses. At the inauguration of Electric Island Waiheke he stated that electric buses were not an option as there wasn’t sufficient electricity capacity to charge them.

        2. DonM , So that means when they have them all on charge is the Island going to have more power failures ? .

      1. I’ve not experienced a single power cut since moving to Colorado and then on to the UK.

        I think a great infrastructure projust that would benefit ALL NEW ZEALANDERS would be putting our electric network underground just like it is across Western Europe. No power cuts, plenty of skilled jobs created and the upskilling of our generally unskilled workforce.

  6. Parnell Station reminds me of this wonderful gag from the Goon Show (colonial era terms retained for posterity):

    SEAGOON:
    Now, as a strolling Prime Minister of no fixed address, I must protest at this gross mis-spending of Public Funds. This-this-this building in Ceylon was supposed to cost twenty five thousand pounds! In fact it cost fifty-nine thousand!

    BLOODNOK:
    We mustn’t stand for this.

    SEAGOON:
    We’re not going to! We’re not going to indeed! To teach those concerned with this disgusting waste a severe lesson, I’ve ordered the building burned to the ground, and a new building put up at the proper price.

  7. “Waiheke buses have gone electric”

    Hang on. What the article says is that by year’s end they will have replaced just under half of their fleet, with the promise they’ll replace the rest at some point in the future. Please don’t announce a provider has – past tense – “gone electric” when a majority of their fleet still burns fossil fuels.

        1. David , I found another video explaining what happened , the driver tried to take the bus through a low tunnel and the gas tanks on the roof hit the entrance causing them to go BOOM .

  8. Christ, those plans for Parnell are a mix of good ideas (if not even basic necessity) and complete insanity. If the development wants to be a gate community, surely it can just stick individual gates in along that path?

    What kind of idiots were responsible for this. You should not be required to tag on and then tag off just to get to the underpass to get to the other side of the station. It’s insane that they appear to think the problem with it is that you’re doing it if you approach from Carlaw and want to go south (instead if you approach from the Museum), rather than that you’re doing it at all.

    In other news, AT is consulting on a ride share in Takanini and Papakura with the removal of a bus at stake (or, at least, part of its route). It appears to take the form of a closed survey sent to people with registered HOP cards in the area. I can’t remember which bus, though, and aside from the survey link in the email I got, can’t find any information about it. (screenshot of email: https://imgur.com/AHZvVDt)

  9. Does anything sum up AT’s incompetence more than the pointless shortening of that Birkenhead bus lane which will massively reduce its effectiveness?

    1. Krauf, but unsurprising. 50m away from AT’s back windows is the problematic Madden St bus lane used by all the buses that come from midtown. The last 50m which turning motorists can use causes untold delays for buses. It can be as many as 5 light changes for a bus to turn left.

      Do they know about it? Yes. They have even said they are investigating it. It seems that it is such a major issue to resolve that they have had to engage a consultant. And still no resolution. And this is supposedly a RTN.

      However, I do want to give enormous credit to AT for improving the route. On the corner near Kathmandu parking spaces used to go right to the corner. Poorly parked cars often impeded the progress of buses. It appears that (after consultation) AT have found a fix – they changed the last car park to a loading zone. Outstanding; it will be blocked potentially for less time.

  10. As far as I’m concerned the Helen Clark Foundation’s name has been mud ever since she weighed in on limiting the number of events at Eden Park. This advocacy of low traffic neighbourhoods has nothing to do with higher density walkable built environments and everything to do with keeping rat runners out of the precious leafy streets of the forever-low-density villa belt.

    1. Doesn’t this advocacy go hand in hand with the legalise cannabis push? That you would want stoned drivers to drive more slowly?

  11. “This ensures carparking can be retained along both sides of Tamaki Drive.”

    How in a climate emergency can this be considered in any way important. While I can almost understand that non discretionary private vehicle journeys and endings (parking) need to be given some importance, why do we need to encourage leisure activities to be undertaken using private cars? Just where is any semblance of a plan by AT to reduce emissions? Which area, activity have they focused on to achieve savings; or probably, in reality, to try and prevent them from growing? If there is to be car parking then shouldn’t it be demand priced? To at least even the playing field to access the area by using PT.

    “A new car parking area on Marau Crescent and amending parallel parking on Selwyn Avenue to angled.

    And yet more car parks. I wonder what the Auckland Parking Strategy says about this? I know that it says, that demand pricing should be used first. Surely this worthless document needs to be enshrined as a by law, or something similar, so that there is a coherent enforceable approach, Auckland wide, to prevent the proliferation of cheap car parking (only for the user, it costs the rest of us dearly) that encourages vehicle trips increasing congestion and emissions?

  12. Slightly off key , I got my tickets for the Boring Day Out and on them it states Sat 5th Dec but an item on their FB Page it has the following ;-

    “We had to sneak a look this morning at how the shiny new #crl #cityraillink Tunnel Boring Machine is looking as it’s being assembled at the #linkalliance Mt Eden construction site.
    It will be ready for viewing on 6 December. There maybe a few free tickets left early this morning at https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2020/dec/boring-day-out

    So which date do you believe the 5tth or 6th .

  13. Honestly can’t believe no one else has commented on the number of car parks in the planned Sommerset Aged care facility. 249 carparks???! Honestly??! Is this plan being publicly notified or has the horse bolted on that?

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