Tomorrow is the first Auckland Transport board meeting for the year and so I’ve had a look through the reports to see what stands out.
The closed session is often where the most interesting items are discussed. Though while there are plenty of items on the agenda, most of them don’t look all that exciting. The ones that do are:
Items for Approval
- Final Joint Southwest Gateway Programme Single Stage Business Case
- Meadowbank – Kohimarama Connectivity Project
- Future Connect – Indicators of Success for the 2021-31 RLTP
Items for Noting
- Auckland Transport COVID-19 Response Review
- Parking Strategy Update
A few comments on each of these.
The Southwest Gateway programme is the name for the various improvements around the airport and includes the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit route and so I’m really interested to find out the outcome of that.
I’m going to assume the Meadowbank – Kohimarama Connectivity Project is about improving connections to the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path currently under construction.
Future Connect is supposedly meant to be a framework to link all of AT’s various plans together, though I don’t hold out a lot of hope that it’s not just another reshuffling of the deckchairs. What I am interested in is what AT see as their Indicators of Success.
For the COVID response review, there was certainly some good things they did around issues like enabling all door boarding etc. But I hope they’ve also benchmarked themselves against what agencies/cities overseas have been able to achieve – such as rolling out extensive and ongoing changes to streets to support more walking and cycling.
My understanding is Parking Strategy update is about looking at how AT respond to the removal of minimum parking requirements as part of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development. In particular this is going to see AT need to better manage how on-street parking is managed all over the city.
The business report is a summary of some of the things going on within AT and tends to have nuggets of interesting information sprinkled throughout it. Here are the things that caught my attention based on the order they appeared in the report.
Safe Speeds programme – AT held consultation recently on changes to the speed limits on 26 roads in rural parts of west and north Auckland that weren’t able to be completed as part of the previous consultation in 2019. They say they received 336 submissions but there’s no word on the outcome of that yet.
Footpath Injuries – AT say they’ve been doing some analytics on cases logged with them about footpath injuries.
The top issues were identified as:
- Footpath surface;
- Bee and/or wasp nest; and
- Surface cleaning.
A high number of the cases were related to ‘footpath surface’ and the Safety team wanted to examine this in more detail, using key phrase extraction. This showed the top themes for ‘footpath surface’ as:
- Trip hazard;
- Tree roots; and
- Uneven surface.
With so many more people out walking during lockdown I’d have thought March to June last year would have been much higher. Though perhaps with lower traffic volumes people felt more comfortable on the roads and avoiding the often cracked and uneven footpaths. Though I also imagine many people simply don’t report these incidents.
Aotea Bike Rack – We’ve asked before where the bike racks are, like those installed in Wellington and Nelson. It seems one is meant to be installed this month.
The 40-space double stack bike rack on Aotea Square/Queen Street was targeted for installation in February
Lantern Festival – this year it is being held on Captain Cook Wharf and was meant to be on this week but is now postponed to next week. It ends with fireworks display and it’s interesting to see they’re concerned about the impact it will have to the motorway network as it will be visible to drivers.
This year’s event will include the final night fireworks which will impact the Auckland motorway network more heavily than from previous venues due to the ease of viewing from the Northern motorway and Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Eastern Busway – It’s good to see the Eastern Busway from Panmure to Pakuranga is still on track to finish early. AT say the section from Panmure to Church Cresent will be completed by the end of this month and the section from Ti Rakau Dr to Kerswill Place will be completed by Easter. The remaining section, which is mostly the new bridge over the Tamaki River, is due to be completed in August, two months ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile the remaining sections, from Pakuranga to Botany, are planned for public consultation in May.
Gt North Rd – The Connected Communities team are currently consulting on New North Rd and the paper also notes they were due to start Gt North Rd earlier this month
The Great North Road project is looking to begin public consultation on designs in early February 2021, with construction potentially to be started this financial year.
AT publish a safety dashboard at every meeting looking at safety across a range of areas. A few things stood out to me.
PT Customer Injuries
The graphs below show how many customers per 1 million trips have been injured on public transport. What strikes me is how much higher the numbers are than previous years. Here’s most of 2018 and all of 2019 and 2020. Note the there are three sets of graphs and frustratingly they almost all have different scales. Also you’ll notice they’ve removed the SOI target line of 0.9 in the 2020 version.
What’s causing buses to be more dangerous recently? Is it related to seemingly increasing instances of things like red light running by drivers?
And speaking of dangerous buses, it also contains this:
In Mangere, a child ran across the road and was struck by a moving bus. The child ran out in front of another parked bus, affecting the visibility of the moving bus. The driver was able to brake and swerve, and avoided a fatal accident. The child sustained some scratches and scrapes and lost some teeth in the accident. Police attended the event.
Thankfully the driver was able to brake and swerve. There seem to be many drivers who wouldn’t have been able to.
Deaths and serious Injuries
As you can see below, deaths had been heading in the right direction but as you can see below, that’s changed over the last few months. There’s also a bit of spike in the number of deaths of people on foot.
Serious Injuries have been going down which is good but AT say they’re not reducing as quickly as deaths are – though deaths are off a much lower number so small changes can make a big difference.
If you’ve looked at the papers, was there anything else that I’ve missed.