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.
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.
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.
- Recently constructed walkway
- Proposed accessible walkway (by AT)
- Future pedestrian underpass (by AT)
- Existing Pedestrian Underpass
- Central Courtyard
- Formalised Public Access
- 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
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.
Join a free webinar on low-traffic neighbourhoods next Thursday at noon. Celebrate the launch of 'The Shared Path' by @HelenClarkFound Very good speakers and report.
— George Weeks (@GeorgeWeeks2014) November 18, 2020
The missing link on the Westhaven promenade is now officially open following a dawn blessing led by @NWOrakei
I'd like to claim I was the 1st to ride the full length but I think @TheKnitographer beat me to it! pic.twitter.com/Ybq1Yqrxdd
— Pippa Coom (@pippacoom) November 15, 2020
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.
A question: which way of managing your public places do you think is associated statistically with a) more local activity b) cleaner air c) higher retail sales & d) higher property values ?
Clue: it’s not the one on the left
— createstreets (@createstreets) November 19, 2020
A couple of car ads
Serious Man Car: 4×4 Edition pic.twitter.com/XA5mV33SWh
— Damien Slash (@damienslash) November 17, 2020
Serious Man Car: Electric Edition pic.twitter.com/jqvbbTQkJw
— Damien Slash (@damienslash) November 12, 2020
Have a good weekend