Councillors were given a fresh burst of freedom last week, allowing them to finally enact their plans for a sustainable future.

For some years now, Auckland Council’s aim has been to reduce transport emissions – yet the business-as-usual transport plans the Councillors are regularly asked to approve do the exact opposite. 

On Thursday, the Planning Committee heard from All Aboard, an alliance of advocacy groups (including Greater Auckland) concerned about transport’s contribution to climate change. The alliance made many supportive suggestions about bringing its transport investment into line with its Climate Plan. A key message from Jenny Cooper of Lawyers for Climate Action was that Council has multiple legal obligations to reduce transport emissions. 

This got the attention of Council, and in a good way: it provides a vital and overdue counterbalance to the definition of “legal risk” that’s been coming from Council and Auckland Transport’s legal teams.

It’s expensive to bring a legal challenge, and people with the money to challenge Council generally have that money because they’ve benefited from the current system – so, for the most part, they don’t want it to change. By contrast, those who will suffer the most under climate change and who have the greatest investment in Council taking swift action on climate –  including future generations and Auckland’s poorer communities  – rarely have the resources to make a legal challenge. 

This means the “legal risk” that Councillors and Council officers are warned about by in-house legal teams has been highly skewed towards

stick with business as usual, or you’ll face challenges

instead of

care for people and plan for the future, or you’ll face challenges

Thankfully, Lawyers for Climate Action have rebalanced the scales of this discussion, so Councillors can now concentrate on making quality decisions based on their responsibilities to our residents and to future generations.

One of those imminent decisions is around the Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) which goes out to consultation soon.

If you’re new to this, the RLTP is a 10-year investment programme for transport in Auckland, developed by Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail, to respond to the challenges facing Auckland over the next decade. The RLTP gets reviewed every 3 years, and locks in the direction of transport. So it’s very important. The public gets exactly one chance to have a say before it’s adopted. And, to reiterate All Aboard’s point: transport is Auckland’s biggest source of emissions, at 44%, it’s the fastest rising source of emissions, and it also has an outsize effect on our daily lives. We’re at the point now where “Auckland” has become synonymous with “sitting in traffic or being scared of it, or both.” So you can see why there’s a lot resting on this particular plan! 

The plan must reduce emissions, and Councillors will need to ensure this can be achieved equitably, without (for example) needing everyone to buy EVs by 2030. Otherwise Councillors will be knowingly leaving poorer people to struggle with a shrinking number of petrol stations and rising petrol prices. Nor can they attempt to avoid this inequity by requiring an exceptional level of public subsidy for EV’s – that too would be incredibly inequitable. It would be a level of “investment” that should be made available to improve the more inherently sustainable, safe and healthy modes of travel instead. And, notably, money that wasn’t made available to resolve our safety crisis.

To avoid both severe reputational and legal risk, the Councillors cannot bring a draft RLTP to the public that doesn’t meet their own Climate Plan’s emissions reduction target and wider goals for society. So, this RLTP must aim to reduce transport emissions by at least 64% by the end of the decade, in a healthy and equitable way.

If the transport experts at Council, Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi have produced a draft RLTP that doesn’t meet the target, Councillors will need to halt the process and delve more deeply into solutions using land use and transport planning. 

And that’s going to be interesting. Council’s own plans for development aren’t climate-suitable, and this will have limited the options available to the transport planners. Indeed, the Auckland Climate Plan calls for a review of the Auckland Development Strategy, which needs an immediate overhaul to remove all plans for greenfields sprawl development. Council also needs to stop some of its workstreams that are focused on reducing intensification. Both need to be done urgently for the sake of this RLTP.

This post offers ways the Councillors can find their way to a climate-ready, reduced-risk RLTP.

First, here’s a draft video about how to approach decarbonising transport. (We’re planning a cartoon version but you get to see the draft, as time is of the essence).

The remainder of the post is a list of what the Regional Land Transport Plan should, and shouldn’t, have in it.

Here’s hoping the RLTP is on track to meet our climate challenge!

——– The Details ——–

Here’s the inspiring stuff, some of which has been started, some of which hasn’t, and all of which needs to be cracked on with, ASAP:

  • Rail network improvements. Auckland’s rail network needs significantly more investment.
  • A complete low traffic neighbourhood plan. This is needed throughout the entire city, including industrial areas, within the decade.
  • The safety programme. This should no longer be a “programme” but instead the overarching principle that shapes strategy and decides whether projects and programmes are even included. Safety is the backbone of both modeshift, and of creating liveable places to complement intensification.
  • A safe cycling network. This is needed throughout the entire city, including industrial areas, within the decade. Tactical methods, in the style of Seville, should be used to enable quick progress.
  • Parking strategy. Parking is undoubtedly a headache for Councillors, but the issue needs tackling head on, with consistent, evidence-backed action and communications. Council land vested in parking is a significant public asset, and there’s too much of it. To achieve Council’s goals of modeshift, equity and a liveable city, parking needs to be reduced and the land put to better uses. All remaining parking needs to be properly priced (public) or levied (private) to encourage modeshift and provide an equitable revenue stream. Much of the good stuff in the existing Parking Strategy has been ignored – by both Council and Auckland Transport.

Less Parking, Please.
  • Major road reallocation. The arterial roads need lane reallocation (rather than expensive property purchase) to create space for safe cycling, buses, wider footpaths and trees.
  • A world class public transport network. Within the decade. This means both the Congestion Free Network and improvements to every bus route, by making best use of the infrastructure we already have. This does not mean more traffic lane -saturated projects like Ameti, but it does mean bus priority, reducing traffic volumes and a rapid increase in frequent services throughout the day, across the whole urban area. No more spreadsheet-driven decisions about minor changes.
  • Rolling stock and electric buses.
  • Removal of “level crossings” – where roads cross railways at the same level.
  • Healing severance programme. To provide cycling and walking bridges over rail lines and motorways, to restore access wherever needed.
  • Facilities programme. Drinking fountains, toilet facilities, bike storage, seating, HOP vending and top up machines and other facilities along all arterial roads, bus routes and at train stations.
  • Intersection repair programme. To remove slip lanes and retrofit intersections with safe cycling infrastructure, easily accessed bus stops, wider footpaths and better crossings.
  • Default Safer Speeds. Auckland needs 30 km/hr speed limits or lower by default, except where evidence exists that higher speed limits are safe – such as on motorways. The government has signed an international commitment to do this. Instead of continuing to dismiss this concept, it is time for the Councillors to get their heads around the rapid and wonderful modeshift, freedom and liveability this default speed change will bring. And around the economic stimulus it will give to businesses with sustainable business models – instead of to those who expect us to sacrifice safety for their profits.
  • Access for Everyone. And all of the City Centre Master Plan.
from Auckland’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood Plan.

Here are the items that need to be nipped in the bud immediately:

  • Mill Rd and Penlink. Their business cases are based on flawed planning, modelling and evaluation methods.
  • Unsafe practices. These include intersection widening. Building intersections with missing pedestrian legs or with slip lanes. Any arterial road streetscape designs without safe cycling and good walking infrastructure.
  • Drury West, Drury Central, Paerata train stations. With the sprawl halted, if one of these rail stations is required for the smaller existing population, it needn’t be as elaborate.
  • New Park and Ride Facilities. The evidence shows these offer poor value for money, confirm and encourage car-dependent mindsets, and waste prime land at transport hubs that should be used for high density mixed-used development.
  • An Additional Waitemata Harbour Bridge (or tunnel). Any project that means the city has more traffic lanes across the harbour than we do currently should be dropped. Demand for traffic lanes across the harbour will drop remarkably if radical modeshift and the halt of sprawl are both achieved. Any modelling should wait until we’ve progressed these concepts.
There’s a western ‘ring’ road around Auckland now, freeing up lanes on the Harbour Bridge for the sustainable modes.

Here is the opportunity to overhaul some out-of-date programmes and practices:

  • The road network optimisation programme. Despite its modeshift-friendly narrative, this programme pushes more vehicles through the corridors, worsening congestion, safety and emissions outcomes throughout the network. The programme needs to shift focus so it optimises Council’s various goals, including modeshift and healthy streets indicators. If led well technically, this is something the engineers can succeed at.
  • The “Connected Communities” programme. This programme, which ostensibly aims to enhance key arterials for active and public transport, should be combined with a Low Traffic Neighbourhood Programme. To achieve value-for-money, it needs a tactical approach across the whole city first, with road reallocation to cycling and buses between existing kerblines. Property purchase is too expensive to be part of the initial tranche of arterial roads. Later, after the entire network has been improved tactically, and the city-wide Low Traffic Neighbourhood Plan and Cycling Network have been implemented, traffic volumes may have been reduced to the point that corridor widening may not be required at all.
  • Maintenance and Renewals. All road renewals should be focused on adding  safe space for cycling, on making walking safer and easier, and on giving buses priority over general traffic. The citywide and ongoing maintenance and renewals plans offer a massive untapped opportunity for radical modeshift through bold and steady change. Specifically, the ”Level Of Service” concept needs to be replaced with clear goals for traffic reduction and improved Healthy Streets indicators.
  • Major and Minor Capex and Local Board Initiatives. Again, the focus should be on radical modeshift through bold change. Many Local Boards are sitting on overdue and well-informed plans that will help decrease emissions by improving active and public transport locally (including greenways plans). It’s mad these are awaiting funding.
  • The operations centre. Currently focused on minimising impacts on the traffic network, the centre needs a Vision Zero overhaul. For example, the operations centre is currently:
    • failing to audit temporary traffic management plans, putting people on foot or on bike in danger. 
    • prioritising vehicle flow on the motorways by putting broken vehicles (that are part and parcel of the modes that causes emissions and congestion) onto the bus shoulders, interfering with what should be a congestion free bus network. 
    • leaving people on foot stranded, including children and elderly people, at malfunctioning traffic signals. The evidence suggests that malfunctions that present a safety concern for vehicle occupants receive officers to direct traffic until the system is fixed, but when only people on foot are affected, they are left to fend for themselves, even if the dangerous situation remains for weeks or months. 
  • Customer Experience. There needs to be a better culture of listening to the public. Of harnessing the feedback from Aucklanders who are walking, biking and using buses and trains, to help with making the detailed changes needed to encourage modeshift. This will involve physical wayfinding, a facilities programme (see above), safety fixes, universal accessibility, and a focus on children’s safety as they display normal, playful behaviour in the public realm. The customer experience team needs to depart from their focus on digital technology. People often don’t have working phones with them – for many reasons – so it’s wrong to assume everyone uses online navigation and feedback tools on the go.

  • Consultation and Engagement. The current system seems set up to seek opposition to progress, and has been allowing that opposition to shape our city counter to the official plans and targets. Democracy is better served by discussing the issues and harnessing people’s support for solutions at a city level. Local consultation should be used to find local improvements to the plans without overruling the city level decisions. This is possible even within our consultation legislation, but requires tackling the big issues – like intensification, parking, the requirement for safe bike journeys  – head on, and in advance.
  • Parking Enforcement. The city needs Auckland Transport to use proactive enforcement, in which all vehicles in an area are ticketed at once. This would tackle the explosion of illegal parking in a way that provides far better value for money, allowing far more enforcement and public safety to be provided per dollar.
  • Other staff costs within the Operations Budget. Senior managers seem to be focused on avoiding “legal risk” and on “minimising impacts on the network”. Within this poor and narrow emphasis:
    • Design teams are frequently thwarted in their attempts to provide good designs.
    • Legal staff too often waste effort finding legal reasons a change in direction would be a risk, instead of using the law to enable progressive change and to achieve the outcomes that are mandated by updated legal obligations and design standards.
    • Engagement teams are even directed to waste money and risk poor outcomes by engaging with the public for projects that run counter to the city’s goals, to prevent management needing to simply say “no” to Local Boards.
    • Lack of a consistent approach to safety and modeshift, and a lack of leadership when faced with vocal minority opposition, has resulted in an enormous waste of budget as projects are halted and redesigned over and over, resulting in what increasingly looks and feels like predatory delay. 
  • Route Protection. With new road building and widening brought to a halt, and public transport improvements concentrating on road reallocation instead of corridor widening, route protection work should be minimal.
  • Cycling on the Harbour Bridge. Cycling should be provided immediately on the existing bridge through lane reallocation. To ensure buses aren’t held up in congestion, this will probably require lane reallocation for buses too, and quality protected space on key bicycle feeder routes at each end. Examples readily exist from Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge (North America’s busiest bike route since protected lanes were created) and New York City’s Bridges for People plan 
  • Spatial Priorities. There are many areas within the existing urban area that need concentrated planning attention, but the transport plans for Dairy Flat, Silverdale, Warkworth, Drury, Paerata and the other sprawl areas need to be shifted away from transport plans that “support growth”, towards developing a functioning public transport network and walk-bike routes for the existing population.
Council’s job involves Taking Sprawl out of the Transport Plans

And here are a few things of a type that should never be included again: 

  • The Matakana Link Rd. This road will induce a lot of traffic and emissions, and should be canned mid construction. If that’s impossible, it should be reduced down to two lanes, retaining full cycling and walking provision, and accompanied by safety work at the Hill St intersection including a closure of the old road to Matakana and some of the turning directions.
  • Motorway widening, such as the Northern and Southern Corridor “Improvements”. The extra capacity these projects provide will induce traffic and emissions. If possible the new lanes would be converted to bus priority lanes, but lane alignments might make that tricky. A complete ban on future motorway widening is required.

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116 comments

  1. I would love a deeper dive into the cost of AMETI to split out how much has actually been spent on the Busway (the new bridge, construction of the centre running lanes) versus generating even more road capacity for SOV (Flyover, property purchases for further widening) and how much extra SOV capacity has actually been added under the guise of a public transport project

    1. Perhaps not providing for extra capacity, but 100% the project(s) have had to maintain existing capacity, and an aerial view of most of the route has traffic lanes for every movement possible. Supersized intersections everywhere out East. So the bus project has had to buy property in order to fit the buses in. Rather than sacrificing some traffic lanes.

  2. Brilliant work Heidi. So many great points.

    Re speed: “…30 km/hr speed limits or lower by default… it is time for the Councillors to get their heads around the rapid and wonderful modeshift, freedom and liveability this default speed change will bring. And around the economic stimulus it will give to businesses with sustainable business models – instead of to those who expect us to sacrifice safety for their profits.”

    Well put. And blanket zone-wide speed limits make more sense than individual streets. Simple and legible.

    1. Just on the 30km/h thing, I am getting used to it around the city now, so feels a bit weird coming back to Takapuna, and having traffic moving 50km/h or faster with lots of pedestrians around.

      Waiheke in the weekend was the same.. really could be 30km/h for much of the island you would think. I just about got taken out by a young guy punting a black Audi wagon at high speed just out of Oneroa .. didn’t catch plate, but insane in an island that should have significant low speed zones.

      Oh, and those electric buses are fantastic – we were mainly walking around the island, but the near silent whine of those buses was quite pleasant in comparison to the loud smelly diesel buses also grinding their way around the hills.

  3. Is it possible to find out how my councillor voted on a transport issue?
    Sometimes I wonder if he really supports public transport and bikeways.
    Same with local board members. Is it possible to discover their support or not for a local bikeway or road widening etc

    1. Who is your councilor? Weirdly, the council makes remarkably few meaningful votes on transport issues so it might be hard to know for sure.

      1. That’s because Councillors are only supposed to set the transport strategy and funding envelope (as per the way Council and AT are set up – not saying that in itself is right or wrong).

  4. One thing I’ve heard a lot from the boffins doing climate policy for council/AT is that projected emissions barely change even with what they think are quite radical mode shift programmers.

    This post is useful in highlighting that what these boffins think is a radical programme is probably barely scratching the surface im terms of what’s required.

    I bet the programme outlined in this post has never been assessed in terms of the emissions reductions it could create. Councilors should require this analysis before signing off the RLTP.

    1. Remember per an AT Board report late last year Auckland achieved ZERO percent Mode Shift towards cycling and transit between 2013-2018

      If that is not indicative of the failures at AT and Council then I dont know what is.

  5. The video’s good because EV’s and pricing are both in there. They’re just not relied on in such an unhinged way.

    So, basically, we reduce emissions by making all the overdue changes. I love it. It makes total sense.

  6. 3 carriages on the western line this morning, many cant get on, stalled for 10 minutes half way into town, standing room only, utter bedlam.

    Reprioritise all you like.

    What we actually need is a functioning service right now.

    I’ll give this a week, then its back to driving.

    1. Weird, running 6 car trains shouldn’t be a problem, sure they’re limited by headway at the moment, but train length doesn’t effect that.

      1. We still don’t have enough trains to run 6-car trains on all services at the moment, that should have changed by the end of the year if the delivery schedule hasn’t changed due to Covid.

  7. One of my conspiracy theories on the partial reason why there’s no cycling on arterial roads yet is that cycling will be faster than the bus. Even on relatively high service routes like the 30 on manakau road. it’ll really make AT look bad and slash their ridership when there’s a faster cheaper way of getting around.

    1. Cycling is already faster on many journeys. Unfortunately it’s also unsafe. I’m a confident rider, but wow Auckland drivers are aggressive, I just smile when I catch up and pass then at junctions.

  8. Comprehensive and clear.
    Although it would be unusual for the RLTP be written without the Supporting Growth transport items, leaving the Auckland Development Strategy to catch up afterwards, this is of course what is required during an emergency.

  9. The Councillors don’t approve the RLTP, that’s the AT board.
    Also the projects you say should be removed from the RLTP are being delivered by NZTA so there’s no decision making from AT on these.

    1. The organisations respond to each other. It’s a joint endeavour to change the direction of the sector. Council can speak out about the implications of climate change on their own decision-making; WK and AT must listen and engage. They too have legal obligations and are being reminded of them.

      Mill Rd, Penlink, and the Drury stations have been heavily promoted by Council. Mill Rd and Drury are the poor transport modelling’s answer to the Council’s development strategy, so clearly the Council needs to change its decision making to get them stopped (we also need the modelling fixed and the investment evaluation processes fixed, but Council can short circuit the decision by fixing their own planning).

      New park and ride facilities are being built due to business-as-usual thinking at both Council and AT. Other items I list as needing to be nipped in the bud end up manifested as “projects” as well and they are all the responsibility of Auckland Transport: intersection widening, building intersections with missing pedestrian legs or with slip lanes, streetscape designs without safe cycling and good walking infrastructure.

      The AWHC though – yeah, maybe that’s being pushed most by the highway engineers at WK, to safeguard ongoing work for themselves, the big civil construction sector and consultants. Again, Council could lead that discussion.

  10. Does anyone know why Auckland’s draft plan isn’t available on-line, as Waikato’s is? (https://waikatorc.sharepoint.com/sites/DSDocumentBank/Shared%20Documents/3%20Regional%20Transport%20Committee/2021%20Regional%20Transport%20Committees/Agenda%20Regional%20Transport%20Committee%20-%2015%20February%202021.pdf).

    Otherwise, the Waikato plan has little to commend it. It proposes 19% on new roads, but only 5% on new bus, walking and cycling infrastructure.

  11. Huge post Heidi hard to take it all in. Doesn’t leave much material for next week.
    There is no signs of a shrinking number of petrol station as yet though. In fact two new Gull stations one already built in Salesyard Otahuhu and one in Station road Papatoetoe next to the Park and Ride under construction are appearing. I note that Brent Crude is in the process of breaking through the $60 dollars a barrel mark so your prediction of rising fuel prices may be right.
    The other issue raised is level crossings. While I am not too worried if cars will need to take a more circular route to get to their destination it would be unfortunate if pedestrian and the occasional cyclist has too as well. In fact closing level crossings can be counter productive as the longer the journey the more likely you are too take the car. The other aspect is buses needing to negotiate the inevitable bottle necks that will occur at the remaining road railway crossings. We see that in Papatoetoe with long ques of cars and the 31 and 380 buses waiting to cross the railway at St George Street. My observation of the Onehunga line with its 5 level crossings is that its not a problem whereas the crossings around Takanini on the main line are. Might be single track versus double track thing speed of trains and cars will be another. Anyway the more pedestrian and bike crossings the better. I am not in favour of redesigning the bus network though people need certainty. But if it has to be done so that bus routes avoid the bottle necks then I suppose that what’s got to happen.

    1. Yes, it’s long unfortunately. The information needed to be in one place for the councillors and transport sector readers who are involved with the RLTP.

      I would hope most people would read the introduction, watch the video, and then dip into the details over time.

      One of the items you might have missed was the “Healing Severance Programme” – I agree completely with you about the level crossings, which can often be resolved more cheaply than full grade separation for cars. Some can be closed to cars if part of a LTN design, and they definitely need to provide walking and pedestrian access. The severance programme should be going beyond this, and providing access in other places.

      Bottlenecks at the other crossings won’t necessarily result if all the measures proceed together. The idea is to get so much modeshift early that driving, too, improves, for those who need to.

      The bus network is great. It needs frequent all day service now, and priority for the buses. I’m not suggesting changing those routes. In time, there’ll be the opportunity for more routes in the areas that have missed out, too.

      1. I know we don’t want to get too bogged down in the details but most people do especially if the details directly effect them. Some of those rail overbridges on the Southern line are diabolical in heavy traffic. Very hard to know how bus priority would work unless the council was prepared to build bus only bridges. Of course the buses are virtually empty at peak time. Strangely enough patronage around lunch time is not too bad probably because you are not sitting on a bus stuck in traffic. Afternoon peaks are the worst especially for cars from West to East side of rail line being at near stand still.
        So heavy cross town traffic completely disrupting bus services. More people on bikes during the day than at peaks. Another aspect of this is it makes the rail service less effective.

    2. Funny you mention petrol stations, would be interesting to see some thoughts, maybe an article on how we use land petrol stations currently sit on as we move to EV’s. How we can tie in EV service / charging stations under new apartments. The amount of land it might free up in the City etc..always wondered what would happen to them.

      1. It gets tricky with old fuel stations.

        Ones that have been going for years with old single walled tanks tend to have some long term leaks making the surrounding ground quite toxic and needing remediation before the fuel site can be re-used for residential.

        Reusing the land from the tank farm near the bridge will run into the same issue.

        Given that small old sites are often not making huge amounts from fuel sales, you get some owners will just keep the site going even if they only sell decreasing amounts of petroleum products in the future just because they are trying to avoid the expensive of digging up and removing tanks and polluted soil. They will be hoping somebody else will pick up the cost in the future.

  12. The larger issue in the relationship between AT and Councillors and Local Boards is the fundamental issue of “democracy”. To what extent should an unelected, technocratic organisation like AT be subject to the erratic whims of local government, which often (especially at the Local Board level) shows itself to be short-termist, ignorant and/or wilfully antagonistic to the kind of measures that most Greater Auckland readers would consider essential to meet the obligations and challenges of the future? When AT was established in 2010 it was in part precisely to avoid “politics” interfering in transport decision making.

    But AT is truly hamstrung by the need to maintain political support for what it does – realistically it cannot operate effectively if it’s at war with local politicians. I have personally witnessed relatively senior AT staff being excoriated in public by ignorant Local Board members on many occasions. The comments sections of Greater Auckland posts are also littered with similar trash-talking about AT staff by readers who may know a little about transport but who see most decisions as binary choices and ignore the complex inter-related rafts of consequences that may flow from them.

    The only way this will change is if there are many, many more civic leaders (and especially at Local Board level) who are prepared to stand up and publicly promote the necessary changes, giving AT the space to implement progressive policies without fear of being publicly denigrated (and even threatened), accused of being “out of control”, or threatened with being placed under direct political oversight. Those with slightly longer memories will remember that the lack of cohesion and political consistency on transport policies (across the region and across time) was one of the main drivers for AT’s establishment (and removal of transport decisions from direct political control except at the higher levels) back in 2010.

    And that also ignores the huge influence of Waka Kotahi on what gets funded in Auckland. Many of the most progressive initiatives that are needed would not get Waka Kotahi funding – which means that ratepayers would have to fund them in their entirety – another political minefield.

    Yes, AT gets lots of things wrong. Yes, some staff live in a blinkered 20th Century time warp. But there are also many, many staff across the organisation who are personally committed to the kind of future that GA readers would applaud.

    And there are a few Councillors (but regrettably a small percentage only of Local Board members) who do embrace the needed changes in practice (not just in theory) who are prepared to make themselves heard. And ultimately, Council DOES control Auckland Transport through its budget round. No money = no projects, after all.

    The biggest issue IMO is how AT can operate within an environment which is controlled by politicians (national and local) but operate with a mandate that is progressive without being trashed by all and ignorant sundry people, the media, unrepresentative local community organisations – and by many of the same politicians who ostensibly have voted for significant change? How do we square the principles of democracy with the ignorance (and sometimes self-interest) of the people we elect to make transport decisions?

    1. You’re not wrong, but you’ve left out one factor: AT isn’t helping itself by performing responsibly in its role as transport expert.

      Auckland Council don’t produce their development plans in isolation away from AT. AT have supported the sprawl approach when they should have fully explained to Council the induced traffic, emissions, transport choice and safety implications. Further, they shouldn’t use poor traffic modelling and investment evaluation tools to produce business cases that are biased towards road building. Feeding Councillors this bad misinformation has contributed to Councillors’ low level of understanding.

      The ELT and TCC’s focus on not impacting the network results in designs being compromised even when public support for better designs would be forthcoming and strong. It’s not public kickback that’s preventing better designs; it’s not the AT staff. It’s the AT management.

      The Safety Team have produced wonderful material to support the Safety Programme, and the Councillors really let them down on that. However, the programme needed to be supported by further information about transport transformation, parking and road reallocation. And the designs needed to be best practice, not pre-compromised.

      1. I think that the problem lies deeper than this. I believe that staff and management would be much happier to rock the boat if they felt that people higher up really had their backs. AT needs a champion at the highest level, who is prepared to go into bat seriously and frequently on the critical changes needed to meet the challenges of today and the future. However, there appears to be an unwritten understanding that, despite having its own governance structure, AT should not publicly challenge or criticise political decisions that have a negative impact on a sustainable future, and by inference, impact on its ability to “do the right thing”.

        IMO this champion should come from the AT Board, specifically it should be the Board Chair, Adrienne Young-Cooper. If management and staff felt that the Board was leading from the front and taking on the political battles, defending them when they had to undertake unpopular moves (and taking the flak from the public) then it would lead to a whole different culture at AT, of that I’m sure. And if the present Board Chair is unwilling or unable to take on that role, then the Board should be chaired by someone else who is prepared to make things really happen. So how about it, Adrienne?

        1. Boards (Governance) can not change organisational culture. They can only change the leadership. Any culture change needs to come from the ELT.

    2. Much of AT process is is focused in protecting AT. Organisations themselves are not bias free. It’s an important point to consider when designing these systems.

  13. (Honest question not trolling). Does the RLTP matter? I remember the launch of every RLTP. They summarise the current plans but if Councils or Road controlling authorities come up with another idea then they just shove it in regardless. The RLTP gets ‘updated’. So seriously does the RLTP matter or is it a mask for everything they will do anyway?

    1. What you spend your money on, is what you value.

      This RLTP is the most important spending plan for climate. It’s time frame is the next 10 years.

  14. A lot of good ideas but they fall over as soon as a few car parks are threatened. Climate emergency to a lot of people seems to mean electric cars and everything else stays as it is now after decades of ignoring the externalities of burning vast amounts of fossil fuels.

    1. So instead of putting parking in the too-hard basket, the reminder of their legal obligations means Council will now need to tackle it. Engage, educate (themselves first in some cases), change the plans, and hold firm.

      We have many examples from overseas of leaders doing exactly this, despite their own vocal minority critics. Hidalgo is removing 70,000 on-street carparks, because she has accepted the climate responsibility.

  15. Another thing never to be done again “Hatched Median” with tidal flow, eg Whangaparaoa.
    No consideration for other road users, eg cyclists.

    1. Given the number of four-lane kerb-to-kerb “traffic sewers” around Auckland, where the central lanes often just end up getting blocked by stopped traffic waiting to turn in somewhere, an obvious solution for these is a ‘road diet’ where you replace those four lanes with two traffic lanes, a central painted median, and now room for two bike lanes. The median space also provides a perfect location for occasional refuge islands to help pedestrians cross one traffic lane at a time too.

      1. The painted median is simply space stolen from cyclists in the 1980s for the convenience of cars. I’m convinced the introduction of the “flush median” was a major factor in the decline of cycling from the mid 80s.

  16. From what I read of this, the primary aim is to reduce car usage with reduced emissions being used more as the justification than the goal.

    Currently zero emission vehicles are surging in their share of new car sales, and there is talk of banning ICEs in the not too distant future. So really, the emissions caused by cars are going to pretty much vanish all by themselves without money needing to be spent, or continued costs incurred through preventing homes and jobs being created in places like south Auckland or letting those people move freely around through projects like Mill Rd.

    Lets also not forget than many for the current anti-car practices such as the proliferation of speed bumps or the creation of congestion actually increase emissions in the short term.

    1. It will take some years before EVs are roughly the same price as petrol cars. And even after that it will take many more years before people buy their new car which will be electric.

      If our current fleet age is an indication, most cars that will be on our roads 15 years from now are already built, and most of them are petrol cars.

      And even if you succeed at getting everyone on electric cars, you still have the emissions from production and scrapping them.

      The question is whether or not the alternatives are cheaper or more effective or faster. For example electric bikes are cheaper than cars, and bike lanes are cheaper than car lanes.

      1. My point is that in 20 years time private car emissions will be much less than they are today. Looking at NZs CO2 emissions private car emissions have been pretty steady for the past 20 years and I’d say its around now that they will start heading down on their own.

        So taking into account that emissions will start going down on their own, why is it such a bad thing that someone wants to buy a house in South Auckland where they can afford to have a backyard for <$1million? And why is it so bad that they can have a job in South Auckland that they can bike to? And why is it so bad that this person my want to visit their friend on the Northshore and for it to take less than 4 hours for them to get there?

        1. The total sales of EVs in NZ in 2020 was around 1500, in January 2021 alone, there were 948 Ford Rangers and 750 Toyota Hiluxes sold. The market share of EVs is miniscule.

        2. The solution to people driving from South Auckland to the North Shore to visit a friend isn’t to waste large sums of money on roads like Mill Rd. It’s to put the infrastructure in place so that all the short journeys that are clogging up the road are done with other modes.

          This applies whether the cars are electric or petrol.

        3. And you know its all these short journeys clogging up the roads how?
          Getting on the motorway is pretty out of the way if you’re making a “short journey” suggesting its not full of people making 500m long trips to the dairy.

        4. The average car trip in Auckland is 5.5km, so half of all trips are less than this.

          Capture a decent chunk of these with alternative modes, especially cycling and there are suddenly a lot less cars on the road.

    2. ZEVs have barely made a dent in new vehicle sales. The top ten sellers in NZ are still dominated by petrol and diesel utes and SUVs.

      Compare the sales trend of ZEVs vs e-bikes and you can see how much potential there is for city cycling to be the way forward.

      I agree that *eventually* EVs will dominate the light vehicle fleet, but that could take 30 years. We don’t have the luxury of waiting. To accelerate their takeup through subsidies (rather than an equitable fee-bate) would be terrible value for money.

      Beating the EV drum is the “do little and do it late” option.

      1. The recent e-bike sales have been impressive, driven by a range of factors such as the technology improving, people being in lock-down, people having more free cash and it getting progressively harder to drive.

        EVs have generally been at the premium price range and they have had a range of issues, however they are now becoming affordable and for the masses both brand new and as used imports.

        The love affair with SUV’s is an issue, and it seems many of our new road designs seemed to be encouraging people to drive off-road vehicles. However we should start to see EV versions of those driving round in 5 years time.

        My main concern is that that we spend 20 years trying to change the city into something that people can barely drive around just so that in 20 years time we discourage those who still own an ICEs don’t drive around as much. We are already seeing the impacts of these changes now with cars parked all over the footpaths as developers no longer need to provide sufficient parking.

        1. “My main concern is that that we spend 20 years trying to change the city into something that people can barely drive around”

          Like the last 20 years. Let’s not do that.

      2. Chris W, I’m not sure that either the feebate or another form of subsidies for EVs would be terrible. According to figures put out by the Ministry for the Environment, the abatement cost for many EVs is already zero or negative because people would actually be better off with electric cars – because the running costs are so low. So you wouldn’t need much of a subsidy to tip the scales and it wouldn’t necessarily cost that much.

        But it’s rather a moot point if the Climate Commission has their way. The import of ICE vehicles will get banned so most people won’t have any choice but to buy EVs.

        E-bikes have got their place but as far as I know people who use them currently only cut their emissions by 20% on average, and presumably those people are the ones who can easily adapt their travel to suit an e-bike in the first place. So they aren’t a substitute for EVs for most people. Still some sort of e-bike subsidy could maybe be worthwhile.

        1. This is a wild interpretation of the data. Research so far shows that 20% is a starting point. It is premature to assume such recent research would set some kind of limit on what is possible.

        2. “So you wouldn’t need much of a subsidy to tip the scales and it wouldn’t necessarily cost that much.”

          This is simply not true. Have a look at the sales figures in Europe and you will see that to really make a difference the price differential has to be small. Norway has achieved that by adding significant taxes to the price of ICE cars. But still, even with price equality EVs represent 60-70% of total sales.

          And see below what kiwis think.
          https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/what-kiwis-really-think-about-evs/ar-BB1dtfPW?ocid=msedgntp

        3. True, but Norway hasn’t banned ICE cars like we are proposing. And the economics are shifting all the time.

    3. “From what I read of this, the primary aim is to reduce car usage with reduced emissions being used more as the justification than the goal.”
      It is both a justification and a goal.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DNNIB_PdaA&t=303s
      This is an entertaining video that can pretty much be applied here like for like.
      Long story short even if you presume cars will be zero carbon, they’re still not as good as biking for the city for other reasons, like space efficiency.
      You whiz though a lot of points.

      “Currently zero emission vehicles are surging in their share of new car sales, and there is talk of banning ICEs in the not too distant future”
      Eh, labour thinking about it by 2035 is a long way away. There is talk of banning imports by that date, not banning people using their existing ICE cars. Given a lot of people use a car that is over 20 years old easily then thats leaving a huge percentage of the fleet as ICE for at least 30 years.
      Thats just not fast enough.
      “So really, the emissions caused by cars are going to pretty much vanish all by themselves without money needing to be spent”.
      Money spent on what? Adding bike infrastructure? Per trip its vastly cheaper for the end user and the govt for people to ride a bike. Vastly cheaper infra maintenance, much cheaper to build for a much higher max throughput. You cant loose with providing it.
      Money spent on PT? I cant seem to find much data weather this is cheaper for society than providing car infra and people driving, But I suspect it works to cost less per trip than driving. (dont quote me on that though).

      “or continued costs incurred through preventing homes and jobs”
      There are other ways to do this that people are advocating hard for.

      “people move freely around through projects like Mill Rd” not building car infrastructure does not proclude people from moving freely around at all. Alternatives will be provided in the form that is cheaper overall, and better for the environment and the city.

      “Lets also not forget than many for the current anti-car practices such as the proliferation of speed bumps or the creation of congestion actually increase emissions in the short term.”
      Is there any data that suggests this? I’d be interested to see. I could see that while people adjust there may be a small uptick, followed by a net reduction in emissions as people realize that walking is nicer and safer now.

      If the goal of the city is to provide happy sustainable (monetarily and every other way) living to its residents, then following a model of a transportation system like a city in the Netherlands is a no brainer. It would provide much better outcomes.

      1. ….”Given a lot of people use a car that is over 20 years old easily then thats leaving a huge percentage of the fleet as ICE for at least 30 years.
        Thats just not fast enough.”

        I will clarify further this point. If we change our transport network partially to be more cycling and PT based then we will see a drop in emissions much sooner, and we would retain other benefits in cost and city building, and the elephant in the room, people would be able to opt out of congestion.

        1. The average car age in NZ is 14 years, can’t find Auckland however it is less and by memory it could be around 11 years. So based on that we could be seeing 50% of the commuting vehicles in Auckland in 2035 to be electric.

          For arguments sake lets take me as an example. Currently I can take the train to work that takes 1.5hrs, 2 hrs once we move office. I can drive to work in about 40-50mins (20-30mins off-peak). If were to walk to work it would take 7hrs each way and riding an-e-bike about 2 hours each way (same as the train).

          Because of the cities goal to make it ‘livable’ by removing cars, car parking has been a growing issue and so I now ride a motorbike which is much more dangerous. However in the inner city even motorbike parking is frowned on and so that will no longer be an option.

          Walking or cycling to work isn’t an option to me as I don’t have a spare 5-15hrs each day, so really the only option I have is to leave the city which in my view is quite a failure of its transport system.

        2. Short walking trips replace long car trips to work once people get sick of the long commute, Richard. Short walking trips replace medium length shopping trips once people start shopping locally. Short walking trips replace being chauffeured. Short walking trips replace short driving trips.

          These shifts happen when Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are provided. Or when walkability is improved. It requires safety, which is a fundamental right. And something we’re not currently providing.

        3. Heidi, what are you actually proposing for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods? I don’t see too many people getting bothered about a few modal filters to section off a few through roads, but I also don’t see that would achieve much in terms of emissions. It might even increase them slightly if people just drive longer.

          I think more extensive measures are being implemented in places in the UK, but there is a lot of push back along with questions about what they are achieving: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/11/low-traffic-neighbourhoods-LTNs-London-car-street-cycling-walking-culture-war-pollution-gentrification. Even the Guardian is undecided about them: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/20/the-new-road-rage-bitter-rows-break-out-over-uks-low-traffic-neighbourhoods

        4. Heidi
          How does a short 7 hour walk replace my long 40min car commute? Or is that after I remove my dog so I can live in a small inner city apartment with zero land, is half the size of my house but actually costs about 20% more?

          Also, I live in a modern ‘low traffic neighborhood’, however thanks to its design and the simple facts of life much of it has cars parked all over the footpaths as there is inadequate parking. The older part that I’m in that was pre unitary plan is rather nice, but the post unitary plan has real sections have real issues.

        5. “Currently I can take the train to work that takes 1.5hrs, 2 hrs once we move office”

          Where do you live and work? That’s an extraordinarily long trip by train. Even with a transfer.

          PT can’t cater for everyone, but there is a large % of the population who could travel work-home within an hour if it was set up right.

        6. KLK.
          I live in Papakura about 2km from the train station. I work in Newmarket about 500m from the train station. The main issue for the long trip is that the trains are just so incredibly slow, its almost faster to ride a bicycle than to take a train in Auckland.

          New office is the CBD 1.5km from the train station.

        7. Richard – are you thinking of the current running times for the trains or what they will return to once the track work is complete?

        8. 41 mins from Papakura to Newmarket, which means it’s taking you 49 mins to walk 2.5km. I can see why you want to take the car!

        9. Jezza.
          Believe it or not the train doesn’t sit at the train station waiting for me to arrive. The 1.5hr door to door time is typical when you take into account getting to and from the station at both ends, waiting for the train, the train trip and the various other disruptions along the way.

          The 1.5hrs I experience also seems to align with what google maps thinks it takes.

        10. I agree 50 minutes to travel 30km is abysmal. In all of these plans obviously one of the huge areas of improvement is in PT.
          Your current woes are a sad reality of a small minority but encouraging this even further by having even more people live that far out is not the way to solve any problem whatsoever. I do however disagree that your driving is being “attacked”. Motorway space south being taken isn’t even on the radar. If your drive to and from the motorway is becoming slightly less convenient then meh, and if your main complaint is parking space being taken in Newmarket / the CBD then this is usually for good other reason, street space is at a premium and if it will benefit more people by doing that then I don’t think you have a leg to stand on.

          I do have some sympathy for you however. And I do agree (despite some others who seem to not) that we shouldn’t make others lives worse if there will be no benefit to the majority.

        11. Heidi, I suspect the level of acceptance for LTNs may vary with the type and level of interventions. I think people will generally like a few modal filters stopping rat runners but as the articles I linked to suggest you get a mix of winners and losers with stronger interventions.

          If you read the links I posted I think you will see that the jury is out on whether it is “traffic evaporation” or traffic diversion. And even if it is “evaporation”, you lose the benefits of the lost trips and it won’t be clear if it is overall a good thing.

        12. Jack
          I think the solution for the train journey times is that we need to look a regional and express trains, meaning we really need to be 4 tracking our rail lines.

          Unfortunately little to no effort is being done to allow for or future proof for this, we keep selling land and allowing large developments to be built right next to our existing tracks in an apparent effort to make it impossible to upgrade in the future.

          Strangely I’ve even seen people here complaining about the provision for future tracks and proper station in South Auckland. I’ll also note that a transport network is meant to be a network, we shouldn’t expect every car trip to be taken on the motorway as that’s very inefficient and ignores most trips.

        13. @richard
          I’m currently of the opinion that triple tracking will be sufficient. Express trains and regional express trains in peak direction only, there isn’t near enough demand to run express services counter peak at the moment and if we build out density like people on here intend (in the correct strategic areas), then hopefully there will never be a need for quad tracking. Or at least not for many decades to come.

          As far as networking the network, the majority of the transit projects are focused on this. Not actually that much as far as main line stuff, but plenty of lines / projects that would benefit the majority of the city in a big way.

        14. Sherwood, the jury is certainly not out on whether it is traffic evaporation or diversion. We’ve written multiple posts, with links to the solid research. Read it. These LTN’s reduce traffic, improve air quality, drastically cut injury crashes, and they are “the single most effective method of increasing active travel”.

          This is a system that can deliver on our safety, health and climate goals and you are choosing to amplify the minority opposition view instead of look at the hard research.

          New Zealand has failed so remarkably at reducing emissions. We must launch boldly forward with low traffic neighbourhoods, cycling superhighways, road reallocation. We must innovate. We must turn our statistics around.

          Casting doubt on proven, effective measures is simply predatory delay to feed the change-averse discussion. I find that very distasteful given what the future will offer our children otherwise.

        15. Even the Guardian, usually an enthusiastic supporter of all things cycling and the like, disagrees with you: “it is far too early to tell if the new emergency schemes have encouraged active travel or just displaced traffic elsewhere.” I don’t know if you are aware but a whole lot of low traffic neighbourhoods have been implemented there this past year. I think you should read the links I gave.

        16. It seems the nuance in the articles you’ve linked have gone right over your head, Sherwood.

          If The Guardian is your preferred source of information, then you should look at the more recent articles. such as this one, which cites the actual research:
          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/16/claim-low-traffic-schemes-only-benefit-better-off-debunked-in-new-study

          “The authors also reject another common objection to LTNs and similar schemes that try to nudge people away from short car journeys to other transport means – that all they do is move congestion to neighbouring streets.
          Walthamstow, in north London, introduced an early incarnation of LTNs in 2014, and while vehicle traffic reduced on streets within the scheme, it rose on boundary roads. However, the new study compared this growth to more general traffic variations, finding it did not seem beyond normal patterns.”

          Or maybe the Guardian’s How-To:  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/20/so-you-want-to-set-up-a-low-traffic-neighbourhood-heres-where-to-start?CMP=share_btn_tw

          Given the reduction in traffic injuries from LTN’s :  https://twitter.com/willnorman/status/1355812410398027776?s=09 we have reached the stage where not putting them in will need to be justified. And could be a subject of legal challenge. AT have actively resisted them in the past because they comprise a shift from business as usual, but one of the key decision-makers in the organisation asked me to fill him in on them, just late last year. We could be about to see a change.

        17. No nuances missed. It will be interesting to see if the Walthamstow result is reproduced across all the many new schemes that have recently been introduced.

          That’s interesting about AT. I imagine they would be following developments in the UK closely.

        18. Did you identify what they did to implement the low traffic neighbourhood there? Hackney covers quite a large area so there may be more than one there.

          I think I read that hundreds of them have recently been implemented in the UK, with about half in London, so there is a lot of data coming once the lockdown there is stopped.

        19. What I find interesting about LTN, is that they are essentially retro fitting a well designed cul-de-sac layout onto an existing grid. Somewhat funny from my perspective as I used to be attacked over the propostion of a well designed cul-de-sacs that discourage through traffic but allowed pedestrians and cyclists to take numerous shotcuts that general vehicle traffic couldn’t.

          I can’t help but relate it to the LTN that I live in however. It has many good meausres but ultimatly generates just as much traffic as any other neighboorhood due to the distances people choose to travel.

        20. If the traffic count data on the main roads is stable after the implementation of an LTN like it was at Walthamstow you may both be getting some traffic evaporation and some extension in trip lengths for remaining cars that go the long way round. Traffic count data may not be able to differentiate between the two effects.

        21. Sherwood:
          To know what is happening you really need to survey the people to see if they have changed their habits and if so why. If someone used to drive 20km to work, but then because someone put a traffic filter at the end of their street they suddenly decided to ride their bike to work then you can call it traffic evaporation because of these works.

          However; if someone used to drive 5km to the supermarket, and then a new supermarket opened up 1km so now they walk there, that is a car trip that has vanished yet it had nothing to do with the traffic filter.

      2. Reading it carbon emissions don’t seem to be the goal, its just being used as an excuse to attack car transport. This is similar to how safety is often used as an excuse to attack car transport. I have no doubt both can be benefits and often are, but when you really get down to pushing the buttons at what people are actually wanting they don’t seem to really care about emissions or safety and will often do the opposite if it helps the case of attacking cars.

        When it comes to spending money on walking and cycling infrastructure I have no concerns with that provided its justified and actually funded. The issue is more when it comes at the expense of everything else, just like providing for cars shouldn’t come at the expense of everything else.

        In terms of cost per trip its pretty obvious that if everyone walked or cycled it would be much cheaper, how that would affect the country as a whole is another question. COVID has sort of shown us what the impacts of reduced travel freedom have. We saw that when people weren’t allowed to travel very far and they had much more spare time that they started walking and cycling more. However as they were allowed to travel further and had less free time they went back to driving. Places like the CBD have been hit hard as they have been becoming increasingly hard to get to and now that people are allowed to work from home they’re happy not needing to do 4 hour return trips on the train.

        In terms of speed bumps, I’ve done some testing and found it can use about 3 times as much fuel but it really depends on the context. They also cause much more noise pollution. The areas I looked at were where they had been placed to stop rat running or speeding on local roads. It would of had zero likely impact on walking and cycling volumes but resulted in increased fuel consumption for everyone living on the road.

        1. Not sure how you conclude that speed humps cost so much in additional fuel use. The whole objective of speed humps is to slow traffic down. This should result in lower fuel use over the stretches where they are installed.
          I suspect additional fuel use arises from drivers who insist on accelerating and braking between successive humps rather than maintaining a steady (slow) speed between them as they are supposed to. Such drivers have only themselves to blame for increased fuel use, as well as causing the increased noise-pollution mentioned.
          In fact drivers who can’t keep their speed down are the sole reason for speed-humps in the first place. The ideal solution would be for speed-limited areas to be indicated by signs only, and responsible drivers who 100% abide by these signs without the need for slowing-devices. Unfortunately the real world contains a proportion of irresponsible morons who need these.

        2. So you’re saying that on a 2km long road that is posted at 50km/h and has speed bumps that require you to slow down to 5km/h every 100m you think people should stay driving 5km/h the entire way turning a 2min drive into a 20min drive, and that if weren’t for these people driving 50km/h on 50km/h road we wouldn’t need speed bumps?

        3. It is an absurdity that we currently install at great expense speed humps designed to regulate traffic speed to less then the sign posted legal speed.
          It would be much simpler and much more logical to instead reduce the signposted speed limit to the desired speed limit, then provide some self funding, and very educational enforcement with fines, and then only as a last resort install speed humps. Speed signs indicating a higher acceptable speed then that of deliberately installed hazards that can only be traversed safely at a lower speed defies logic.
          No wonder traffic engineers are suffering a competence image problem.

        4. What well-designed “speed bump” forces you to slow down to 5km/h? A judder bar maybe, but a typical speed hump/platform targets a 20-30km/h speed, i.e. the target speed you’re usually aiming for. Mind you, there are plenty of other tools in the calming toolbox (eg horizontal treatments) too that don’t require a constant series of humps.

        5. GlenK
          There is normally a sign that tells you what speed the speed bumps was designed for and in most cases it says 10 or 20. This of course is for a standard factory car, if you have a sports car you need to go slower and if you drive an SUV of off-road vehicle you can simply ignore it and go over it at any speed you like.

      3. Hackney has done dozens of these LTN projects over the last decade. We don’t need to wait for lockdown to be over to assess the effects as we already know that it hasn’t caused extra traffic.

  17. You have correctly identified that emissions are not the only reason to reduce car use. Of course you then totally go on to ignore all the other negatives of car *dominance* that we have. Severance, lack of physical activity, sprawl, road injuries, noise, inefficient use of space (especially in increasingly dense cities)…

    You sound a bit like the person who says that because there’s still snow in winter (sometimes even a LOT of snow), global warming is a conspiracy and a hoax.

    Yep, we want alternatives to cars. Yep, emissions is only one of the reasons. Which, EVs by the way will not fix in time either.

    1. Not too sure why you have taken some personal vendetta against me today. If you want to abuse random people for no reason and try to slander them can you leave me out of it please.

    2. People will claim the answer is EVs and then turn around and complain about congestion.

      Alternatives address more than one issue. EVs do not. Its just entrenching the status quo with all the extra negatives, only just in a nicer car.

      1. KLK, well said, EVs do not address all the problems and that is why many European cities are significantly reducing car mode share.
        When you take that to the degree that Vienna or Prague have, then you end up with far more equitable transport outcomes available to everyone. Heavily patronised PT enables lower cost fares and the cities can offer affordable transport options for everyone. Once they have seen the success of it even the right wing has seen merit in such outcomes.

  18. If NZ as a whole is to reach its 1.5 degree warming obligations Auckland might have to work even harder to reduce emissions if other parts of New Zealand do not pull their weight. Which looks likely when examining how many smaller regional authorities are planning for ‘sustainable transport’. If you think its hard to get people out of cars in Auckland try places like Palmerston North or Kapiti.

    1. And the soon-to-be-completed Transmission Folly along with other major SH1 “improvements” will ensure that those in the Palmerston North – Kapiti – Wellington corridor remain incentivized to use their cars.

  19. “Drury West, Drury Central, Paerata train stations”

    Paerata is miles and miles and miles from Drury. According to Google Maps, it’s 11km and it’s country roads all the way.

    Now, maybe the population at Paerata is insufficient (see below) to merit a train station in and of itself, but people /do/ live there already. And I don’t just mean the houses by Wesley College. Indeed, it always used to have a railway station (even if it functioned more like a bus stop).

    I am not sure what Paerata’s population is. Stats NZ do not consider it a statistical area and lump it into three distinct ones, Pukekohe North West, Anselmi Ridge and Ramarama. I guess this would be a reasonable sign that “it’s too small”. Apparently the backwards looking 394 bus serves it… by this I mean the bus loops around and travels further away from Auckland/Drury for anyone who does commute/wants to travel somewhere other than Pukekohe.

    Drury, of course, is also an existing community independent of the developments around Bremner Rd (Auranga) and by the Quarry (Drury South Crossing). While the Village itself doesn’t qualify as a statistical area “Drury” does. Its population according to the 2018 Census is 1,197. This is about half the size as the surrounding “Drury Rural” designation, but still seems rather small to be supporting a primary with a roll in excess of 400.

    Of course, Drury has the opposite problem to Paerata in that you have to go north before you can go south due to the New Network. Presumably they decided about 5kms of opposite travel was irrelevant when they created the New Network. I disagree. Firstly, it completely deprives the intervening area of any PT whatsoever (though, again, it’s 11km of rural road so, I suppose, no biggie but there are employment places on that route). Secondly, the psychological impact of travelling in the wrong direction for more than a fifth of the journey (18km + 5km = 23km) with a transfer is not conducive to PT use. And, yes, people in Drury want to go to Pukekohe. Quite possibly much more than they want to go to Britomart.

    So, I suppose, no train stations but connect the 394 and the 376 together. Or, maybe, just chuck a train station in behind the rugby club/the shops at Drury. Add in some good cycling connections or run the 376 into the Auranga area (the existing houses are already more than a 1.5km walk through a light industrial area from here) and voila. It’d be a bit of a dogleg with the psychologically helpful connection but it’d also reduce the duplication (of connecting the 376 and 394 and having the single train station).

    I definitely would try and get a station in by the rugby club since the existing community is centred there but moving further south makes it that much further away from the houses at the northern end of the village. As far as I know, the bridge might already be too low for electrification but I don’t know if they fixed that or not. There would be a need, mind, to have an underpass or pedestrian over bridge at the northern end of the station (the southern end can make do with the road bridge).

    1. Thanks. Yes. The problem with the stations is the high cost of them. Do they include a lot of park and ride? Are they more expensive due to triple tracking, perhaps? I don’t imagine triple tracking is really needed that far south – except because of the sprawl. A simple station shouldn’t cost that much.

      There’s also the problem that it seems so much easier to find money for capital improvements (if it supports sprawl) than to find money for operating expenses (such as for a better bus network to support the existing population.)

      1. Heidi, you raise an excellent point. There is often money for the grandiose capital project (we have such a car park in our area) at the expense of other things. For example, it is not possible to walk safely from that carpark in the most direct route to the town centre because: AT can’t afford a pedestrian crossing; and Panuku can’t afford the paint to re-paint the walkway through the service lane. This is about 60m of broken line with the odd walking man graphic.

      2. Well, there’s already a car park by the rugby club because that’s also where the community hall and the shops are. And, I suppose, the rugby club itself. There’s also the car park by the playground between it and what used to be the Jolly Farmer (Murphy’s Law or some other rubbish now), which is a short walk away. In terms of the bus connection, the 376 bus stops just before the roundabout, i.e. about 200m away.

        I don’t understand the price tags myself. But, then, I’m pretty sure the rugby club area isn’t exactly where they want to put the “Drury Central” station. A lot of the cost is probably the park and ride. Just plonk down some tarseal, stick in the tag on/off posts, the top up machines, a couple of signs and some shelters and voila! A station. Probably wouldn’t be convenient for mobility users, though… and imagine putting in lifts really ups the cost.

        AT Local’s also meant to be coming to Drury so there’s that too.

        1. One of the advantages of getting a simple station instead of relying on the buses completely is the train-bike journey whereas train-bus-bike doesn’t work.

          I imagine that Council never asked the transport experts about a low level transport investment, to serve the existing development and population.

          In the light of losing our C40 membership (with all the embarrassment that will bring), or getting to grips with their sprawl addiction, they might want to look at some solid options like this.

          https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/124184803/auckland-council-must-up-climate-change-game-or-leave-global-group-of-leaders

        2. C40 membership.

          We might just as well leave it now. And then apologize for being so stupidly dishonest.

          My impression is one of going backwards, actually. Remember back when we had a Design Champion, and a walking and cycling team?

        3. The absolutely worst outcome will be if they manage to negotiate continued membership on the basis of “other action” like Goff turning up to more events.

      3. The triple tracking is needed for freight trains, especially as a significant part of the climate change strategy involves much greater use of rail for freight movement. It’s a bottleneck already, doing it all now will save money in the long run. But probably it won’t happen, and millions will be blown buying very expensive land for the station park and rides.

        1. Is it not about getting the freight and expresses past the metro trains at stations and where the metro trains are slowing down and speeding up for stations?

          If that’s right, then it’s needed if a station is put in and it has many services. If they stop sprawl, could they save money on triple tracking by reducing the number of new stations (one of Drury, but not for Drury West, for example) and by ensuring the timing of any services is built around the needs of the other track users? Would that still be a big step up for the existing population?

        2. Eastern line from Britomart for freight & regional certainly, all the way to Puke. Western line is probably a lost cause due to the narrow corridor?

        3. Heidi, useful comments about Auckland’s membership of C4O.

          And Richard, before you start throwing stones at other councilors, it is your area that has a brand new 450 space car park building, and a soon to be disestablished bus lane. For clarity, that’s the bus lane that goes past: a 400 unit development, a 5 unit one, a four unit one, and another 12 unit one all under construction just at the moment. For further clarity, it services an area zoned “terrace and apartments.” Is it just conceivable that in as little as perhaps two years there might be, or should be, twice the number of buses that currently use that route? A route soon to be congested by cars just like most other bus routes.
          AT’s seemingly now defunct Parking Strategy document suggested that there were other options instead of the car park.
          It’s time for all councilors to step up.

  20. Dropping ‘an Additional Waitemata Harbour Bridge (or tunnel).’ ? I hope it’s a joke. Auckland NEEDS it desperately. Especially in some kind of rail form.

    In general it would be nice to see a LOT of focus on improving public transport and cycling over just ‘discouraging driving’. If people have no choice they’re gonna drive no matter how hard you make it for them.

        1. Next sentence: “Any project that means the city has more traffic lanes across the harbour than we do currently should be dropped.”

        2. Well still I think rail crossing is necessary and it doesn’t add any traffic lanes unless you count tracks as lanes

  21. I have prepared this as part of my submission for the Climate Panel.

    Electrification of rail
    Problem.
    Some clarity of which lines are suitable for electrification needs to be made as soon as possible. Also a time line should be prepared.
    This is important so that regional and urban passenger operators can make decisions on future rolling stock purchasing. For example diesel
    locomotive hauled passenger services are running under the wires in Auckland Wellington and on the main trunk between Palmerston North and
    Hamilton. Another example Auckland Transport were prepared to purchase additional EMU’s which would be fitted with batteries to run between
    Papakura and Pukekohe. Both Labour and National said no don’t do that we will electrify the line. Three years later new EMU’s without the
    batteries have arrived but the section is still being operated by the ancient DMU’s. Money has being allocated for electrification but the
    completion of the project is two or three years away. The cost of the electrification of that section is a very large sum of money.
    If the electrification is not continued to Hamilton and Mount Maunganui for freight and passengers trains the carbon emissions saved by
    electrifying the section from Papakura to Pukekohe for a limited suburban passenger service is too small to justify the electrification
    cost and the purchase of the battery EMU’s would have being a better decision.
    Solution
    The Government with input from Kiwi rail needs to prepare a plan for electrification. Hybrid passenger rolling stock which can either run off
    the overhead wire or from its own diesel or on board batteries should be ordered as soon as possible. This will either be a stop gap until
    electrification is rolled out or a permanent low emission solution to rail travel. Palmerston North is a major rail freight Hub. Many diesel
    trains are running under the wire between Hamilton and Palmerston north. Some trains to Palmerston North originate in Hamilton but most
    start their journey from Auckland or Tauranga. So electrification of the lines from Westfield to Mount Maunganui would enable a very large
    percentage of all rail freight to be carried by electric trains. A report on electrification south of Palmerston North should be prepared.
    Obviously this will need to take into account Wellingtons DC 1500 volt system which is incompatible with the main trunk AC 25,000 volt.
    However dual voltage locomotives are possible. I would suggest electrification solely for passenger trains between Palmerston North and the
    end of the Wellington suburban electrified section would not be worth it in terms of emission savings as these service’s could be run with
    some kind of hybrid rolling stock which would allow for operation off the wire on electrified sections and diesel or battery operation on
    un electrified sections. This also would apply for passenger trains to Masterton.

  22. Thanks Heidi. spot on as usual. I watched the video of the planning sessions last week at council. Brilliant! Much to consider. Councillors getting it in the neck for removing a carpark for a cycle lane. Council getting threatened with legal action for not enacting changes to meet 50%-65% reduction in carbon by 2030 for transport. So much opportunity – and so little delivery to date. How to empower our councillors is our challenge! Jenny Cooper and team – brilliant.

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