Here’s our weekly roundup


Otahuhu Platform 3 opens

Monday saw the officially opening of the new platform at Otahuhu which along with 1.3km of new track and four new crossovers has been built as part of the City Rail Link works to enable trains to turn back.

Auckland Transport say the new platform will go into operation tomorrow with southbound trains making use of it, thereby avoiding the need for passengers to use the overbridge when connecting to buses in that direction.


Mt Eden Boring Day Out

Just a reminder if you have tickets, CRL’s open day is this Sunday.

For those with tickets, here is what you need to know:

  • Entry to the Mt Eden site will be via Ngahura Street near New North Road. Parking on site is limited to people with mobility parking permits.
  • People are encouraged to use public transport to travel to the event. They can plan their trip online using Auckland Transport’s Journey Planner at www.at.govt.nz. Bikes, scooters, skateboards, and other wheel-operated transport with the exception of mobility scooters, will not be allowed inside the event.
  • Although bikes and wheel operated transport equipment isn’t allowed in the event site, we also encourage people to ride your wheels! Our friends at Bike Auckland are providing their Bike Valet Service for the day.
  • Closed toe and flat shoes must be worn, and people should be prepared for dust and loud noises.
  • No food or drink is allowed but people are encouraged to support local businesses before and after the event.
  • People with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams/pushchairs and walking sticks are welcome.
  • The event is weather dependent and may be cancelled if Covid-19 alert levels change. Everyone must sign-in to the event using the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 tracer app or by physically signing in.

This footage shot last week shows the scale of the site.


Road Deaths in November

After consecutive five months of road deaths being higher than the same month the year before, November saw a slight improvement. Though we’re still some way off the best we’ve seen for a November.

On a 12-month rolling basis we’re 335 deaths, only slightly behind the 342 at this point last year which is both disappointing and frustrating given the major reduction in driving and deaths during the first lockdown.


Lake and Glenvar Roads

Auckland Transport announced this week that were moving ahead with the Lake Rd and Glenvar Rd projects.

Auckland Transport (AT) has announced significant milestones on two major projects taking them a step closer to potentially gaining funding.

The Lake Road and Glenvar Road transport improvement projects will both deliver improved safety, increased transport choices through public transport and walking and cycling, increase the capacity to move people and goods along the roads more efficiently and support the response to climate change.

The board of AT has approved the recently completed detailed business case for improvements to the transport network in the Devonport peninsula.

The board has also approved the business case for the Glenvar Road-East Coast Road project in Long Bay. Both projects are funded by the regional fuel tax and although there is currently insufficient funding to commence construction, there is an allocation of $500,000 to start the detailed design phase of the Glenvar Road project.

The Lake Rd decision is interesting because the local board had opposed the changes, which are mostly improvements to the bike lanes. It is meant to cost around $47 million but it’s not clear when it will start.

Meanwhile the Glenvar Rd project is expected to cost $52.2 million with first section starting in 2022/23 if funding is available. AT say there was 90% support for the proposal during the consultation last year.


Building Consents

Building consents continue to surge with figures released yesterday showing just under 1,600 were issued in October. That’s up nearly 200 on the same month last year and brings the total consents issued over the 12-months to the end of October to a new record of nearly 15.7k.

Townhouses continue to be a huge driver of that growth and over that 12-month period, now account for 40% of the consents while single house consents remain stable with overall share dropping to 42%. If current trends continue it won’t be long before townhouses are the biggest single category.


Vending Machines selling masks

Masks were made mandatory on PT a few weeks ago. Compliance generally seems pretty good but for those that do forget, Auckland Transport have now made masks available in vending machines at train stations and ferry terminals. This is a good idea although $9 is a bit steep with them saying it is “based on the cost of the stock, a contribution towards reconfiguring the vending machines and ongoing servicing by Sanitarium“. As of yesterday morning they said they’d already sold 45 packs.

It does highlight that AT can have other things put in there other than just drinks which is good and we believe AT should look to add HOP cards to these vending machines too.


Council votes on congestion pricing

Yesterday the Council’s Planning Committee unanimously voted to progress to the next stage with congestion pricing. The minutes of the item are below

That the Planning Committee:

  1. note that phase two of The Congestion Question project is complete
  2. receive the findings from phase two of The Congestion Question project
  3. approve officers scoping the next phase of the project alongside officers from participating agencies, including Auckland Transport.
  4. note that officers will seek the committee’s approval of the scope before proceeding with the third phase of The Congestion Question project
  5. require that the scope provides a timeline and process for comprehensive public engagement, including targeted engagement with Māori, due to the critical importance of hearing from Aucklanders about the implications and options of congestion pricing before any decisions are finalised
  6. require that the potential social inequity impacts and the mitigation of any such impacts be fundamental to further considerations and the scope of the next phase of work
  7. requests quarterly progress reporting on the next phase of congestion pricing in Auckland
  8. urge the government to fully commit its agencies to progress the next phase of congestion pricing in Auckland, including provisional scheme design, for a final decision by Quarter Three 2021.

The paper to the committee notes this could potentially include:

  • the establishment of a new terms of reference and working arrangements/budgets
  • public dialogue on a potential congestion charging scheme for Auckland
  • more detailed scheme design
  • the initiation of legislative change/refinement processes (post final decision to proceed)
  • decisions on the proposed ownership and operating model.

Finally

An upgrade for our HOP readers?

Now that’s a Linear Park

Have a good weekend

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56 comments

  1. I am looking at the print version of todays herald apparently one large container ship is being diverted from Auckland to Marsden Point which will put 2000 containers on road next week. Presumably export containers or empty containers will be back loaded as well. Might be a good week to avoid unnecessary travel on road to the north. Also the cost of Ports of Auckland’s failing automation project for container handling has being rumored to be $400 million. I would assume they are loosing money hand over fist. Obviously this will have implications for Auckland Council. It might be a good time to put a little bit of thought into the proposed Marsden Point railway branch.

    1. Why isn’t the POAL using those 3 new container cranes that they purchased a couple of years back . As myself and others that travel down the harbour have never seen them doing anything besides the cables waving in the wind .

      And if they are sending a ship to Northport then it now showsthey do need a spur to move all those containers to Auckland and further South .

      1. Probably seen those new cranes working four or five times. Probably see those cranes once a fortnight. Northport doesn’t have a proper container terminal so not sure how well they’ll handle a big influx of containers.

        1. I finally saw those new Cranes in action today , and there was 1 ship at the terminal and another had just departed .

        1. I’m sure there are issues, I work in software and understand, but also the warfie who will be getting replaced (or thir colleagues) by the same automation may not be the most fair source.

    2. It looks like the POAL managers have made the closure of the place all but certain. If it was running well there would be a case for keeping it open.

  2. The upgrade of Otahuhu is great. Puhinui is well underway too. What are the next stations in line for upgrades? Among other things they’ll all eventually need to be able to handle 9 car trains. A lot of the Western Line would benefit from level crossing removals. Would be good if AT came up with a plan for such improvements (even if unfunded initially).

      1. I have heard that one of the constraints on expanding infrastructure design & build in NZ is lack of a qualified workforce. Listening to all the speakers on the Otahuhu launch video only one sounded like they had an original New Zild accent. Seems to support the argument.

  3. The road deaths are tragic and the lack of progress must be noted. These deaths are a direct result of the system we’ve created. They are also just the (most horrific) tip of the iceberg of all the ways our transport system is affecting our wellbeing.

    No paradigm shift in transport planning has occurred. And our deaths are not trending to zero. So who’s going to step up our adoption of Vision Zero? Who’s going to get our planning focused on people, not traffic flow. On safety, health and access, not speed and distance?

    Who, essentially is going to lead, and allow the wholescale systems changes required to take precedence in decision-making?

    1. I share your concern about road deaths and mostly the harm that can be caused to others by impaired drivers.
      I was gob smacked to read that the Green Party thought that they had achieved a huge success because they might save a few lives by testing drugs for people who want to get stoned at concerts.
      There is a huge irony that no one wants to test those who do get stoned, leave the concert and are a menace to many. Or to test for drug impairment generally? Wouldn’t it make sense to test for drug impairment on our roads and save the 60 odd people who kill themselves each year, and more importantly the others they maim or kill?

      1. Enabling the testing of drugs at concerts/festivals to improve safety is a very easy win: The government doesn’t do the testing itself, third parties do. So the government only has the one off cost of the legislation to enable years of benefits in lives saved.

        Testing for drug impairment of drivers is an entirely separate and unrelated issue. The reason it isn’t being routinely done is that there isn’t a good (easy and reliable) method for doing so yet. Once there is then I’m sure it’ll get wide political support and be quickly adopted.

        1. “The reason it isn’t being routinely done is that there isn’t a good (easy and reliable) method” – and which politician came up with that statement?

    2. Yes Heidi, you hate cars. We all know that.
      But I love cars. And the system we’ve created. This is our golden age. And I’m glad to have been a part of it.

      1. Bill, I think that you have hit on the golden words, “I have ..”, past tense. One way or another it will have to change. As humans decrease consumption to lessen our carbon emissions we may decide cars are less important. NZ may decide that it is more beneficial to produce carbon from cows than from cars. We may not be able to afford to build ever more roads with competing interest from our super scheme, rapidly escalating health costs, or the cost of ameliorating the impacts of climate change. We may find that if we turn to Europe for trade, because we tire of an eye becoming pussy and swollen due to constant poking from our asian “friend”, we need to adapt to their stricter carbon requirements.
        Parts of Europe are showing the way towards emission change. We won’t be able to sit forever in our denial phase. The days of driving wherever we like, whenever we like, without paying the cost of it are over.

    1. “which are mostly improvements to the bike lanes. It is meant to cost around $47 million”
      Seem like very expensive bike lanes to me. Would probably be cheaper to give every cyclist their own police escort.

      1. Funny how we are short of money so we stop work at the Ferry Terminal and environs but there is still money for bike lanes

    2. I struggle to see your view because the loss of the Takapuna bus lane is at stake.

      The whole thing in respect of the buslane just looks like lunacy – sorry, there’s not a more tempered way to say it. In the same week that a spur line is proposed for Takapuna; presumably because of growing PT demand; in the interim they scrap the only measure that will be available for a number of years to improve bus flow. They scrap it at a time when there is reasonable housing development along the bus corridor.

      It is also ironical at a time that AT want to reduce traffic by 12% using congestion charging they add another lane of general traffic to Esmonde. There is no coordinated approach, but rather it seems, we will do what we thought of last.

      The misfortune is that the proposed grandiose spur will be at the expense of lesser but significant progress elsewhere. Is it conceivable that this spur is a $20 to $30 million project? How many kilometres of bike lane does this buy?

      Despite the fact that we live very close to what is likely the terminal point for any spur line, for many other residents it will represent a much more significant walk than the current bus services through Anzac and Esmonde.

      When will we have a traffic approach that mirrors the time in which we live?

        1. Grant, essentially it was a dishonest consultation. Everyone was led to believe that it was about Lake Road, hence people in Takapuna and Milford ignored it. Suddenly no bus lane.

          It begs the question, why if a transit lane is so useful on the southern side that there wasn’t one proposed for the other side of the road?

  4. Hope AT get the Glenvar rd project right, the drawings in the picture above is the Glamorgan rd East Coast rd intersection 500m south of Glenvar rd North Shore City was going to fix Glenvar rd and had the cash set aside for it when we joined the super city the money’s disappeared
    AT don’t have any idea about the North Shore , there cycle map only goes as far north as Castor Bay

      1. Follow you own link and see the north shore coverage
        Devonport, Takapuna, Forrest Hill, Northcote what happened to the rest of the north shore? The old maps which I have cover all the shore and Orewa cycle trail

        1. Thank you sailor boy for putting the link to a decent on line map , but it’s not friendly for use on a mobile phone, and the paper maps that AT have at bike shops, information centres are the ones with most of the shore missing AT need to get there act together with there printed maps which a lots of people pick up

  5. On the Western Line I have seen mostly 6 car sets. One set of the original 57 and one set of the new 15 together.

  6. The interesting opportunity is in repurposing the Marsden Point refinery land after the age of the internal combustion engine. Imagine all that land currently occupied by fuel tanks then being used as temporary storage for imported electric vehicles. Somewhat ironic.

    1. And they brought out an Englishman to install a retractable device , when they could have gone to the local installer off Hills retractable clotheslines and it could have been cheaper and done just as good .

  7. Great news that AT is going ahead with the Lake Road improvements despite the morons on the local board rejecting it because they are waiting for……a tunnel or teleportation instead?

    1. Perhaps the local board had more information than appeared in the simplistic consultation document? Maybe they questioned why the words “public transport” didn’t even appear in the consultation? Certainly, steps to improve PT including greater frequency were absent. Perhaps they knew that AT was intending to preserve the status quo for parking in Devonport and they felt that overall that organisation had to do better with their planning to reduce emissions and congestion? Jan has been a long time advocate of retaining the bus lane and perhaps that decided her vote?

      Philosophically I don’t agree with many thoughts of members of the board, but as a PT supporter I am right behind them on this one.

      Esmonde Road is likely to turn into a hell hole for users of the 82 with transit lane drivers merging into other lanes. Perish the thought that someone in NZTA thinks that this problem can be fixed by allowing cars to travel on the NEX bus way and merge from there. Let’s face it, WK don’t have an outstanding record for providing bus amenity on, or adjacent to motorways.

      I am also concerned that the extra traffic on Esmonde will cause the plan for the flyover to be advanced and even more money will be spent on car infrastructure at the expense of climate friendly modes.

    1. And for those that didn’t get the tickets for the Boring Day Out , this is what I saw . And when I was waiting a Neighbour turned up without a ticket and left irate because she hadn’theard about how to obtain them ;-

  8. “only one sounded like they had an original New Zild accent. Seems to support the argument.”

    How do the accents of those speakers support the premise? Are you able to determine the immigration status and infrastructure-related skill level of those individuals based on their accents?

  9. An update on the Las Vegas Tesla tunnel that nobody here will be interested in.

    https://twitter.com/boringcompany/status/1334763332029464577

    As an advocacy site this blog is on a continual war footing and is determined to stick to a consistent, cautious message that can’t be attacked by conservatives as being woolly or unrealistic. This means turning the guns on potential allies on a regular basis.

    And anyway, the advocacy here is mostly about social change, not technological change. It doesn’t ultimately matter how effective or green any one transport system is if it doesn’t serve the goal of mode shifting people out of sealed private vehicles so they stop listening to talk radio and grow to tolerate a socially diverse environment.

    1. bjfoeh, give us just some back of the envelope calculations about how it might work economically and I will have a look.
      At the moment it feels as realistic as the suggestion that any more than a handful of people might ever live on the moon.

    2. All of Tesla’s tunnels are either:
      a) trains, except they use 4 seater vehicles instead of 400; or
      b) road tunnels.

      Tesla’s tunnels are the monorail from the Simpsons

  10. Monday to Sunday $1 per hour to a max of $8 per day

    Those are the parking charges for the new $30 million car park in Takapuna (PEE). Just how much money will this building lose annually with a cost of capital at about 5.5%. If you are wondering why you don’t have cycle ways, or good public amenity in your area this is part of the reason- its being squandered here. Those with longer memories should not be surprised, because the last parking building AT constructed was similarly a dog (Ronwood Avenue).

    As a footnote I was disappointed not to be invited to the opening given that I gave more constructive advice than almost anyone else associated with the project; and I was lucky to find all that information in the AT Parking Strategy (which as Miffy says has as much value attached to it as your average piece of used bog paper.

  11. Off key but on a similar item nobody has mentioned the 2nd TBM which will be tunnel a longer distance under Auckland also . ;-

    1. How can the Marsden Point Rail Link didn’t work as it hasn’t been constructed/built yet . If it was in place at this point in time and the NAL wasn’t up for refurbishment it would be a godsend for the roads to Auckland with all these containers being unloaded at Northport .

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