The current tranche of Innovating Streets tactical urbanism projects are in various stages of progress. It’s pretty cool when they turn up on Google Earth images, as with this project in Nelson South:

Aerial view of the Nelson St South project, featuring the intermediate school at top left, and painted bump-outs and tactical raised crossings on two intersections nearby.

The key thing about this year-long Innovating Streets programme is that Waka Kotahi funds projects to the tune of 90%. This makes them an irresistible opportunity for towns and cities to test and tweak small-scale interventions.

The pilot projects are designed to last anywhere up to three years, allowing plenty of time to shape them in response to feedback and data. The only proviso is that beyond 30 June 2021, councils will need to find ways to continue to deliver the projects themselves (which can include tapping into their long-term plans and creating a “path to permanence”).

The Innovating Streets projects I’m most interested in are the low traffic neighbourhoods, LTN’s for short. They’re going to be a key tool for decarbonising our transport system in the next few years, so implementing them should be straightforward.

But in the midst of the political economy of car dependence, change is hard. Our Local Boards need to feel empowered to keep gathering data, even if some people complain about having to change.

What is an LTN?

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (also known as mini-Hollands) – are emerging as one of the fastest and most appealing ways to improve our transport network. They help decarbonise transport, reducing the social burden of the motorcar by… you guessed it, lowering traffic volumes, delivering real safety and improving access to transport choices.

Low traffic neighbourhoods keep through-traffic on the main roads, using a variety of filters, diversions, and parklets that are closed to traffic but open to walking and active modes. If several low traffic neighbourhoods are clustered together, they even reduce traffic on the arterial roads. And, by returning peace and quiet to local streets, they answer public demand for safe ways to walk, cycle, scoot, skateboard and even rollerblade. The data shows LTN’s reduce residents’ reliance on driving for local trips, improve public transport ridership, deliver more connected neighbourhoods where children can play and adults can socialise, and improve public health. The results from cities in the UK also show improved air quality, lower emissions, lower crime rates and, contrary to much of the social media, research shows they have benefited the most-deprived Londoners.

Despite some early concerns about how emergency vehicles would cope, the results are promising there too. Whereas speed humps present issues for fire engines, low-traffic neighbourhoods make little difference to emergency response times in the short term. In the longer term, the lower car ownership rates and lower levels of traffic can be expected to reduce emergency response times further.

Enter: Arthur-Grey LTA

One of Auckland’s Innovating Streets pilots is a LTN: the Arthur-Grey Low Traffic Area, led by the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board. It adds temporary traffic filtering and interim pocket parks to a residential area of Onehunga, in order to redirect traffic to the arterials, and create quieter local streets.

An overview of the area of the project. Grey Street runs west-east through the middle of the area, and Arthur Street is parallel. (That’s Dressmart in the bottom left foreground, for those familiar with Onehunga landmarks).
A detail from the detailed design, showing a traffic diverter and pocket park at the intersection of Arthur Street and Grey Street.
Aerial view of the project being installed. (Via Twitter)

Ideally, we’d have had several LTNs (or LTAs) on the go, and they would have been arranged in clusters, as recommended by the experts overseas, to achieve the best outcomes. But one is better than none. Because it’s just the one, we’ve got a lot to learn from it.

Tonight’s meeting

This evening (Tuesday 11 May, 6pm at the Onehunga Community Centre), a meeting of the Maugakiekie-Tamaki Local Board will decide the next step. You can see the agenda for that meeting here, which also contains reports on the initial data.

The agenda lays out three options:

  1. Stop the Innovating Streets project altogether, removing it completely. This would also mean forfeiting funding for the Eastview LTA, a related project in Glen Innes.
  2. Stop Arthur-Grey, but proceed with Eastview, at the Local Board’s expense.
  3. Modify Arthur-Grey and keep going, allowing the Local Board to request support for Eastview as well.

Option Three is the most logical, and comes with three sub-options:

a) move the modal filters (but still keep through-traffic off Grey and Arthur Streets)
b) re-open Grey Street
c) re-open Grey and Arthur Streets

Option Three (B) is what’s been recommended to the Local Board. Effectively, this would create two smaller LTAs divided by Grey Street, and reintroduce a rush-hour river of traffic through the area – which would necessitate new raised crossings to slow the traffic and let people cross Grey Street safely. It’s a compromise option.

The most responsible choice for the Local Board is to keep going, which means adopting some version of Option Three – because alongside noisy debate, the project has been quietly delivering results since day one.

Looking at (and listening to) all the data

The data is valuable. There’s initial data on the project page, and more in the meeting agenda for the quantitative data. For example, traffic volume data is starting to come in:

Locations T1 to T9 on this map show where two sets of volumes have been counted already.

The traffic volumes dropped in each location except the three that I’ve coloured in yellow. These are:

T6: Mt Smart Rd – an arterial road, which is designed to carry through-traffic. (A cluster of low traffic neighbourhoods can deliver reductions even on the arterials)

T3 and T4: Colonel Nixon St and Jordan Ave. These small local streets saw a rise, too, from a very small base. This seems to be working to direct some traffic away from problematic intersections – though the long term goal would be to improve those intersections themselves. But I haven’t looked at the rest of the data – you’d seek to understand the whole picture, as I’m sure AT and the project team are doing.

And then there’s the qualitative data. As traffic noise drops, community noise rises. Cities that have been doing this for a while know that the grumbles drop again as people see the benefits of a better transport system and realise their friends are happy with it. The discussion in Onehunga has been regrettably intense, personal and toxic in places. Yet the most common grumbles about the changes help underline what it is that really needs to change:

Yes, public transport needs to be even better. Yes, when streets jam up, it’s true that we might as well walk for local trips. Yes, if this project works – by directing traffic to the arterials rather than through residential areas – then we are going to need to expand LTNs and do proper circulation plans. Yes, Onehunga’s not going to cope if everyone in the new housing drives cars at the current rate. 

In the end, these are all reasons for LTNs, rather than arguments against them.

The place surveys are worth reading; they offered people a chance to share their thoughts on-site (and away from the highly-charged atmosphere of local social media pages).

These are just a sample of the wide spectrum of opinion gathered on-site:

Why Auckland as a whole needs Arthur-Grey LTA to keep going

With its mandates for road safety and carbon reduction, and plans for streamlining arterials for active and public transport, Auckland Transport should be piloting heaps of LTNs right now, to give people a glimpse of what’s possible. Among the reasons and the payoffs:

  • Auckland needs to decarbonise transport by 2030 and it needs to use every tool it has.
  • LTNs will redress decades of broken promises to Aucklanders that they’ll be able to bike and walk safely around their city, especially for the short local trips that make up some 60% of all journeys.
  • LTNs will be an essential complement to the Connected Communities programme (the plan to optimise arterials for buses and cycling/ scooting) as they’re the most effective way to prevent that programme from embedding rat-running. Especially when satnav apps aggressively funnel traffic down quiet streets.
  • LTNs will also be key to rolling out AT’s Safety programme, which is making change on the ground before they swap 50km/h speed signs for 30 km/h ones. Up till now, these have been things like raised crossings, and area-wide speed bump treatments.

The AT’s Safer Speeds team has expressed confidence that future work in the safety programme would be informed by LTN work underway at the moment. I’ve also been told by AT:

AT intend to use the learnings from these schemes for future projects, however as they are yet to be implemented they are not yet at a stage for inclusion into projects which are close to delivery. We will also use the learnings from these LTN trials to understand how effective they are in meeting the ambitious Vision Zero road safety outcomes for Auckland.

The outcomes and learnings of the innovating streets programme will not only influence project teams but the wider industry including potential changes to regulatory controls from Waka Kotahi. At this stage, we are also anticipating that the path to permanence for these projects may still require infrastructure to reduce speed and traffic volumes to meet a mix of outcomes.

This does sound like AT values the pilot programme in Onehunga and will learn a lot from it. But so far they’ve had Waka Kotahi paying 90% of their costs. Will they fund the project’s continuation? The amount required to support this trial will be far smaller than the amounts AT regularly shifts around between various work programmes.

But for AT to use ideas like LTN’s, they are going to need a clearer communications framework around change. Instead of getting tripped up on the niceties of “easing the transition” for people averse to change, it’s important for AT to stand by its duty of delivering safety.

The Onehunga LTN is a perfect opportunity for AT to explore this. They already have a rich data set of majority support and vocal minority resistance – including vandalism, claims of bullying and dollops of misinformation. Continuing the trial will show how people adapt over time, despite this initial noisy opposition. As well as the communications and engagement aspects of bringing change, we’ll also gain longer-term data about the technical aspects of traffic evaporation and modeshift.

We can all take courage from the recent local elections in the UK. We’d already watched the UK media change its tune on LTN’s from scathing to effervescent, as the research emerged, and the popularity became obvious. The local elections wound up being something of a referendum on the topic of safer streets and LTNs. Opponents were soundly defeated, and proponents and champions re-elected with a strong mandate to deliver more.

Can Auckland quietly side-step the pitfalls faced in the UK, and provide far better funding and practical support for the people pioneering the much-needed change?

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  1. Colonel nixon probably had seen an increase because locals within the LTN in the Western part find it extremely difficult to get out onto onehunga mall if heading north. Needs a roundabout there.
    Colonel nixon to cardwell is the only other exit and safer. They won’t be rat runners, but locals.

  2. I have been disappointed by the fellow board members,basically throwing Peter McLachan under the bus,change requires courage.AT,s response to public backlash, has been encouraging,given they usually run for cover at the slightest community upset,(no carparks removed with this trial,though,maybe the difference).The rhetoric seems to have softened,in the last two weeks, maybe because people have adapted .My personal experience has been entirely positive, changing my commute to take in roads on the LTN,with much reduced vehicle traffic,feel safer and enjoying the freedom, less traffic provides.
    With the “upgrade” to Royal Oak roundabout and more traffic lights being added to Mt Smart Rd,SOV commuting is not going to get any faster,so vehicle reduction has to be the way forward.If LTN,s facilitate this,data suggests,this is so,l,m hopeful AT will continue ,rather than reduce LTN area,and recommend adjacent area’s for conversion as well, for the full effect,to serve the community

  3. The usual plan is to divert traffic off the streets where the wealthier people live onto streets where the poorer people live. But to disguise the plan they call the poor people’s streets ‘arterials’.

    1. If our traffic engineers don’t think there should be a hierarchy of streets, this does explain some the problems we face.

      1. Oh I do think there should be a hierarchy at the time the streets were designed. But when someone did a neat grid of equal streets then imposing a hierarchy ex post tends to be an exercise in inequality. In the late 1980’s the Auckland City Council reduced traffic in streets where noisy wealthy people lived and increased it where the poorer people still remained. If you watch long enough you get to see history repeat.

        1. Would you have an example or two in mind, Miffy? Might be useful for understanding more clearly what you’re describing here. And could help engineer some more democratic LTNs this time round (especially if the ones you describe have been successful in keeping wealthy streets quiet).

        2. I agree with you that our solutions need to be equity-focused, and as I linked, the “inequity” of LTN’s in the UK turned out to be change-averse bunk.

          The inequity of our current system is enormous, miffy. Children should be able to safely walk, scoot, cycle, play in their neighbourhoods, and they can’t do so because of traffic swamping the local streets – thanks to sprawl, highway building, intersection widening, excessive parking supply, subsidised driving etc. Plus the rapid rise of satnav-directed traffic through local streets.

          A design that worked when it was first put in no longer works under today’s conditions. Times change, engineering changes too…

        3. I don’t think you can blame sprawl for traffic using streets in Onehunga. I blame people who would have been happier in a cul-de-sac buying on street in a grid. They then demand that ratepayers money be spent so they can privatise some amenity benefits. Same thing occurred in Epsom, Ponsonby and One Tree Hill, now it is well off people in Onehunga doing the same. They figure the point of public money is to improve their land values.

        4. As someone who lives in a cul-de-sac, I can tell you that uneducated drivers gonna drive to how the roads are engineered.

          The entrance to my street was reengineered in the early 90s to be much wider and allow far higher entry speeds. Guess what? People enter the street at much higher speeds.

          In my opinion the street should have a raised table entry and a 30kmph speed limit. It’s narrow and winding and strongly supports this speed.

          There are simple engineering solutions to lots of problems that simply aren’t being rolled out, because well, AT (see also protected bike lanes on arterial roads).

    2. Yes Miffy I am a resident on Church St and you are definitely correct. LTNs have made my immediate neighbourhood more dangerous and unpleasant.

      1. Church Street has always been dangerous and unpleasant. LTN didn’t make it that way. It’s added more cars true, but these single occupant peak hour drivers need to be dissuaded from using back residential streets.

        1. And there’s the real objective right there. This was never about safer streets. That’s just a Trojan horse for making driving so inconvenient and unpalatable so as to force people out of their cars. For many, driving is a necessity more than a luxury. The sad outcome now is that Grey St will be left dangerous and congested due to a minorities blind ideology.

        2. Driving is only a necessity due to bad transport planning. We can’t continue with this level of car dependence because it’s unsustainable – environmentally and socially. We have a responsibility to change.

          Making streets safer involves reducing traffic. We own more cars and drive more than almost anywhere in the world, due to bad planning and investment decisions. The danger from the cars have reduced the options open to people, and is restricting people’s lives. It prevents people from walking and biking.

          There are many benefits of reducing this traffic. Would you like to read

        3. Sadly Heidi, rather than responsible traffic management that better allows cars, bikes and pedestrians to co exist on our residential streets, you support the nuclear option in the hope that it gets people out of their cars. Ironically better traffic management was off the table as it couldn’t be afforded, and yet this LTN has blown WAY beyond it’s budgetted costs. We could almost have had another “crash corner” roundabout (permanent infrastructure) for what this “trial” will ultimately cost. What has been executed in Onehunga’s LTN does nothing to advance bad transport planning – it exacerbates it. And where is the objective measurement of all the benefits you purport? Please share the number of increases in walking trips and cycle trips alongside car trips reduced. Or should we all just take your word on the successes on those fronts? I think you’ll find there would be a surprising volume of people that are actually sympathetic to the idea of safer neighbourhoods. I think the passion in the local community sits with the clumsy execution. Going nuclear is a really community damaging approach.

        4. I’m not sure what I’ve suggested is the nuclear option? I’m not proposing anything that threatens the globe; everything I suggest contributes to health and improved liveability. As an analogy it’s a bit strange – our transport emissions are contributing to the existential threat of climate change. Retaining driving at the current rate is surely the nuclear option?

          We have low traffic neighbourhood road layouts in a number of places around the city from previous periods of time and they are being planned for new developments, too. They work fine here.

          In terms of what’s been monitored, the Inhabit Place report informed my post, which showed majority support and a clear increase in people using the streets actively. There was more information provided last night, I understand, which I didn’t have access to when I wrote the post. Similarly I’ve been told there is more data that isn’t yet available – some of which needs further monitoring to make sense of.

          Gaining the longer term information is important to help us discuss this in a more informed way.

  4. “meeting the ambitious Vision Zero road safety outcomes”

    There is one word in the quote that seems to characterise the hesitancy of a range of public bodies and transport agencies to be bold in making changes.

    The newsflash for these people is that the change is coming and they need to be part of the solution or they will be judged as the problem.

  5. Well, I guess I know what I’m doing tonight. Really annoyed that I’m hearing about this meeting here despite submitting the LTN feedback forms and emailing the local board in support.

    The LTN has been great for the neighborhood. Most of the people complaining I’ve talked to are commuters. 🙁

    1. Look after yourself. From facebook it looks like people are being nasty.

      You have to laugh though. So many examples of people complaining about finding it quicker to walk, *having to walk with their children* instead of driving, etc… I hope some of these people have some lightbulb moments and connect this change up to our health and obesity problems.

      1. OK, here is how it works in general in Auckland:

        Anyone who is even remotely worthy drives a car. Walking or taking the bus is frowned upon. You don’t do it. People around you will get awkward. And of course in your car you are supposed to be faster than those ‘pedestrians’. If you’re not new to Auckland that comment will be not surprising at all.

        And now a project like this happens. Things will get interesting. Excuses will come in. Like downtown where they‘re opposing that new bike lane. Customer parking something something. Yeah, right. Nobody is that stupid (if they are, then good riddance when they go out of business). They’re just wagging their finger at the council. “That bike lane—tsk, tsk. That is inappropriate.”

        Maybe it will work. Maybe it is too early and we have to try again 1 or 2 generations later.

        1. My friend who worked at the council said that the rumour, that was apparently reliable, was that Phil Goff takes the train when he’s at the downtown office.

          I think the tides are generally changing, wasn’t long ago that people had a similar view of PT in general. Now that has a much larger public mandate. Cycling hasn’t had the same unfortunately yet.

        2. Yes. Things are moving in various directions.

          10 years ago you would regularly have an article in NZ Herald telling another cyclist died, and how he should have been wearing a helmet, or a hi viz vest, or some other stupid thing. I don’t think that happens anymore.

          On the other hand the bike network got de facto cancelled a few years ago when the cycling and walking team was disbanded. AT also legitimised berm parking which is becoming really noticeable.

  6. Really interesting piece Heidi. thanks for sharing!:).

    One of the saddest things about all of this is that it often highlights human nature whereby if something p1sses you off you’re 10 times as likely to say something/tell people whereas if you like something and/or are ambivalent you don’t get involved.

    This plays out in the feedback often received and then the likes of AT/Panuku get gun shy and run a mile.

    I live 10 minute walk from Pukekohe Town Centre. There is a innovating streets trial going on there, being run by Panuku. I think it’s an awesome first step and Pukekohe Town Centre could be mazing if a ‘people first approach’ was taken.

    Pukekohe is a lovely place, but it is a car-orientated mess. The changes made to our mainstreet are incredibly minor and has resulted in the loss of 2 car parks and the one way-ing of the street, to provide a wider footpath.

    It’s the kind of change Hidalgo would get done before breakfast. Anyway it is such a small step to making our community much more healthy, vibrant and safe and the naysayers are shooting it down and demanding that it be reversed. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that Panuku will bow to the ‘I reckon’ brigade’ and take the advice of arm chair, urbanists/traffic engineers and pull it all out.

    Such a shame. You can’t even walk from the Main Street to the Train Station. Kids are dodgeing traffic also local rednecks who’ve never gone 3kms from the cow shed can park outside their favourite shop. Would be keen to hear any advice you may have on how to flush this thinking out and get the empathetic masses to get involved.

    As a Mum with a toddler, i know that a lot of Mum’s would love to walk but we have so few pedestrian crossings that it is traffic island hopping, and literally relying on the good will of drivers approaching roundabouts to let you cross. Really not good enough!

    1. Maybe all of the GA readers can come down to Pukekohe for the ‘Veggie Basket’ festival (on this weekend, 15 May) and then provide some constructive feedback on changes made.

      Once the line is fully electrified i’d like to think this would be a nice thing for people to do in terms of connecting with where their kai comes from.

      Come on down. I for one would be most grateful:). our naysaying local businesses would be as well!

      1. Hey KQ – im local adjacent. Puke Facebook is crying its eyes out. Its endless and depressing. The changes have become a whipping boy for every failure of govt – both local and national. Why fix what wasnt broken is a common refrain, and council wanting to get us out of our cars… Regardless – if you do come to the veggie basket this weekend by train, you’ll have to negotiate this pedestrian mangler – go WK!,174.9079626,3a,75y,332.45h,74.75t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sAn9RsqjXGi-zH_SiPGSmFw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

        1. It is beyond depressing. In amongst all of the hundreds of messages I havent seen the words ‘carbon’ or ‘climate change’ mentioned once. It’s a sh1t show. I really think that these sorts of decisions need to be left up to policy experts.

          Back in 1991 you wouldnt have got support for no smoking in bars… but here we are now… In Puke’s case start charging for parking to try cover some of these negative externalities.

          Major failure of democracy when we let the I reckon brigade decide things…. Look what happened with Weed referendum and CGT. The worst part is that most people simply state they hate it ‘aint broke’ etc and then don’t offer any alternative.
          Humanity is screwed! Even the Climate Warrior kids aren’
          t putting 2 and 2 together on this!

        2. Hi KlangerQueen, yip it’s depressing, and yip, there’s got to be a better way.

          The legislated requirements to provide safety and to act on climate are being ignored. Yesterday someone on the Regional Transport Committee actually tried to claim that “in the public interest” was too subjective a thing to be able to direct the RLTP (and was firmly corrected, because there are several statutory documents that lay out what it means).

          Do keep your eye out for a decarbonising transport event in your neck of the woods, probably next month. Maybe watch this twitter account:

  7. What I find funny is how LTNs are essentially converting existing grid style road networks into a cul-de-sac road network. Brings back memories of when people would harass me saying grid layouts were the best when I advocated for well-designed cul-de-sac neighbourhoods.

    1. The only difference here, is culdesacs are normally still hard to navigate on foot, even with good walkways for cyclists and pedestrians. Because they don’t follow a easy to use grid layout.
      I think this is a relatively minor point though. Well designed cul-de-sacs would be great. I think the hate they get is because of poor design back in the day. Some people refuse(d) to see the difference.

      1. Agree
        Many of the poor examples provide little to no pedestrian shortcuts, or the ones that do make are only about 1.5m wide that are both hard to find and unpleasant to use.

      2. Yes around me there are a lot of these shortcuts but they’re not easy to find. The large areas of purely residential only means you have nothing within walking distance anyway.

  8. It is an interesting project. I cycled through there and thought it was great. So much quieter than it used to be and so much safer as a cyclist.

    I wonder what the impact to the wider road network has been.

  9. My family have been in Onehunga since the 1970’s & so have some friends & neighbours & I live just outside the blocks. How many people commenting or reading online have lived or even been around pre-Dressmart days? Or even know the history of Onehunga? Back in the late 80’s the council wanted to make Onehunga Mall more pedestrian friendly with a market/mall sort of vibe. Church St was blocked. Flash pavements, planters and seating – even a block fountain to play on – in the middle of the mall. Sound familiar? Time passed, mall looked old, neglected and dingey, businesses in the middle and southern end suffered and some of those kids that played in the mall grew up and vandalised the area and locals felt unsafe.

    However everything changed for the better when Dressmart and the council opened up Church St and the mall again. Onehunga got it’s vibe back and now has got some cool shops & cafes.

    My point is that blocking streets isn’t the answer. I still find Arthur/Galway dangerous with the cars parked on the hill. Maybe put residents carpark or no parking at certain/shopping hours. Going from Spring St to Arthur is not one way but council has narrowed corner and just waiting for a crash. During off peak though I don’t mind a bit of a tiki tour. But if the Tamaki board members don’t listen to the majority of the Onehunga residents, miffy will be right, history will repeat. Ok that’s my 2 cents 🙂

    1. Firstly you are collating two totally different things, low traffic neighbourhoods, and pedestrian high streets / malls. I presume this is because you see “blocking streets” as the same thing when they’re really not.

      I’ll address both. The situation today, and in the future is totally different regarding pedestrianised high streets.

      Back in the day they threw in pedestrian malls here and overseas. All the rage. But you were supposed to drive there. PT was still in its downturn and not really being improved. That is not the case any more in Auckland, and there are always improvements happening, and talk of significantly more. We see areas overseas where this pedestrianised approach works great in town and city centres, and has so for many many decades now, and we are changing / have changed the downfall of that approach here. Onehunga has a heavy rail station, and a frequent bus route which it did not back in the day, and hopefully more capacity and modes in the future.

      If everyone arrives by x mode of transport and you remove it, and provide no alternative then what did they think was going to happen.

      Next low traffic neighbourhoods, this hasn’t really be done fully in Auckland before, and the areas where it has been done to some extent have been extremely successful in their stated goal of improving the streets and property values of the residents. Do you fear the neighbourhood will be run down because you remove through traffic? We have direct evidence of that not happening here in Auckland. And any intuition would lead you to the conclusion that removing through traffic would improve amenity and property values for the residents. All of the concern that miffy brought up was in the areas not covered by the LTN and adding more traffic to arterials. The opposite of blocked roads.

      1. Ok you sound like a post-Dressmart person and possibly a recent resident. I was only stating my opinion through my experience. I know pedestrian malls and ltns are different but my point is there are similarities with blocked/obstructed roads, traffic congestion, people feeling unsafe walking at night and businesses losing money are happening now as it was back then. Yes they that may change when developments are up and running but these are happening now.

        If the ltns overseas are a success then that could be because they have good alternative and flat roads, better public transport and is not in a sprawling isthmus like Auckland. Yes buses run frequently but that came at the expense of AT getting rid of the 312, flyer, 392 routes and altered others a few years ago that serviced the Onehunga/Oranga/One Tree Hill community (which btw was frequent at peak times just late at times). And with submissions and a petition from locals backed by our councillor and MP, AT never listened to the people (only providing a shuttle for Oranga), and said they’ll trial for 6mths. A long 6 months. Some people relied on that service to do their shopping, doc visits, etc in Onehunga and Royal Oak (and not everyone wants to shop online or has internet access) and kids to get to school. We’re still waiting for a better bus service.

        And yes the trains have been a welcome addition in the last 10 yrs but the 312/392 & train complimented each other for some residents such as myself. For others the train station was too far away so the 312 was their only transport. Also our public transport hub doesn’t service all areas of Auckland and public transport is not an option for many.

        Arthur & Grey Sts are supposed to take the pressure off Church & Mt Smart. There’s a reason why they run parallel. Now I’ve got increased traffic/rat runners on my street when this used to be a low traffic st. Am I not entitled to have a safe and quiet street as well?

        Also, I do not “fear the neighbourhood will be run down because you remove through traffic”. What I meant was the pocket parks, seating, planters etc will be neglected by the council in years to come just like the old mall was. They’ve already stopped cutting berms, street sweeper doesn’t clean as often as it used to, residents are expected to keep council drains clear of leaves from council trees, etc. Where’s the extra $ for maintenance going to come from? Other parks? Ok the community were excited painting the boxes but how long is that going to last? Yes I know the boxes are temporary.

        Finally, why didn’t the council put a roundabout or lights at Grey/Mall like they said they would instead of the raised table? Why didn’t they try chicanes like Mangere or Inkerman St or speed cameras? Yes that makes the area slow not low. To me the council are just trying to push the gov emission policy and trying to take advantage of the how clear the streets were doing lockdown, which isn’t a bad thing. Except they seem to have gone too hard too fast; the trial hasn’t been thoroughly thought through hence anger/frustration from locals as well as going over budget; and the only ones who actually listen to their constituents are the Maungakiekie board members (THANK YOU). This may have worked better had we had a better public transport system – having the CRL up and running will help – and possibly the east/west link. It doesn’t seem fair how people who do not live in this area and not elected by it’s residents should have a huge say in how to run it. Data is one thing, living it is another. And why was Onehunga chosen anyway? Why not Mt Albert Rd or Gillies Ave? Ok that’s 4 cents now.

    1. He’s been impressive. I hope he isn’t too disappointed in Auckland politics. It’d be good if he stood for Councillor next year.

  10. “They already have a rich data set of majority support and vocal minority resistance” – then why were the survey responses 75% to 80% unfavorable and a petition of over 1,000 calling for cessation? Please back your statements up with proof of majority support…..

    1. 1000 people who could all be living overseas. No way to know who they are or if they live in the area or if they are rat-running through the residential streets when they should be staying on the main roads. A meaningless petition sharing anecdotes and opinions with little basis in facts. That the petition claims the roads are more dangerous now is laughable.

      1. Well it is an interesting suggestion, given there were accusations of exactly that kind of behaviour from those in favour of this scheme – so the same argument can be leveled at any of the “pro” responses in same surveys. In the various survey results I saw, the “pro” responses were at best 25% and below (some were neutral). 75% of those surveyed were against. The scheme that was approved this week (3B) – want to guess how many actual people were energised to vote for it? Just 18 of 240 respondents – 6%. And the total number of people in favour of continuing any form of LTN? Just 41 people – 15%. So in an open survey, that’s how many people in a community felt as passionately and energized to vote in favour of it. Irrespective of who you think voted against the scheme, just 18 people felt so compelled to go online in support of it. The reason you want to dismiss all these results is because they are so overwhelmingly against. Instead you’ll celebrate a board majority ramming through a continuation of a scheme that had a tiny amount of support, and therefore in direct conflict with the people that elected them. Look past you ideology to consider the dangers in that kind of behaviour. Let me tell you – had the vote gone the other way and was 85% pro, I’d suck up my own views and accept the will of the overwhelming community majority.

        1. Only angry moaners who want to vent take the time to answer those things. They’re basically useless as information. People don’t speak up when they like something or are indifferent, only when their entitlements are threatened.

          You could ask for people to submit on puppy cuddles and you’d have 85% of responses from dog phobics and allergy sufferers.

        2. Yes, I can understand your point of view in terms of varying degrees for/against a project. We don’t really know the true numbers (angry people speak out, content people don’t.) We also don’t know how those views might change over time.

          Setting aside strong emotions and opinions, I think the question is what does the evidence say. Does this change result in fewer crashes, increased safety, more people walking/cycling around their neighbourhood, more children cycling to school etc. Only time will tell. And it will be easy enough to remove in future.

        3. I think even “angry moaners” give useful feedback.

          Firstly because what they’re moaning about is often the very same set of problems that led to the project in the first place.

          Secondly because the patterns of reaction are well known and part of the point of the trial was to see how much NZers would follow the same path. Unfortunately, it was quite a lot, despite all the information available, but we know this now, and can try to design a process that is less threatening and less toxic.

          One of the most important things to be monitoring is how the feedback changes over time. Yesterday someone told me that they weren’t able to put in a second piece of feedback on the Have Your Say form, so they couldn’t report how their thoughts had changed. Is that true? That would, firstly, be skewing the received feedback – through capturing people at their most reactive and least receptive.

          The best set up to make the interpretation the easiest would probably be being able to go back in and add more to your personal feedback over time.

          Pilot trials like this one can highlight these sorts of details for all sorts of future trials.

        4. That is a ridiculous assertion and characterisation Riccardo. Whilst I agree you are less likely to engage many of the apathetic, you will typically get engagement at both ends of the spectrum of people that are more actively engaged – both those that feel more strongly for something and also those that feel more strongly against. But like many, you characterise genuine community concern as a bunch of “angry moaners”.

          Ari – you make a fair point on the objective measurement of success. So, you’d like to think they are measuring things like increases in public transport usage, numbers of people walking / cycling, changes in numbers of people walking to and from school. The trial has run for a number of weeks, and yet the only data we’ve seen shared to date is number of car trips, and average speeds. So if those other measures are being collected, we should all get to see the results. And I believe if there were compelling evidence these trials were genuinely delivering against those wider measures, people may find themselves more supportive going forwards. Strikes me as bizarre there has been no reporting of public transport usage changes for example – surely that would be a real feather in the cap for AT had that been an outcome….

        5. Local, that’s a good point about public transport usage. When I was involved in preparation for a trial a few years ago that didn’t go ahead (something I pulled the plug on because another project in the area was announced that I could see had the potential for enormous traffic disruption and community division, so I felt the monitoring data wouldn’t be clean and it would be more toxic than it needed to be), WK were able to overturn AT’s initial reluctance to give out the bus stop data without too much difficulty.

          This is presumably something that’s available in hindsight even if the team hadn’t thought of monitoring it.

          The other data that’s available already is the qualitative data. It’s useful, too.

        6. There are a few enthusiastic types that will engage to support something, but they’ll be shouted down by the angry antis ten to one. The only thing that motivates normal people to give feedback is the expectation that they’ll have to change their behavior in favor of others or give up some entitlement they enjoy at the expense of their neighbours.

          Just compare how often people will complain about poor service, and incorrect order, a late delivery etc, vs. write in about good service, a correct order or a timely delivery. As a general rule people only speak up when they feel they are negatively affected.

          The market research industry knows this, which is why ‘write in if you want to complain’ surveys are considered invalid and unscientific. The fact that a group of drivers who felt their right to drive everywhere and anywhere they like was impinged got angry enough to organise a forum to complain together doesn’t mean they accurately represent the local or wider community.

          If you want a proper result, engage a market research company to do a proper randomised representative survey of residents. That would probably show you that 80% of people in the area don’t know or don’t care about the trial.

        7. I have to presume you are uninformed on the actual situation.

          1. The survey that garnered over 1,500 responses is neither organised nor run by a group of angry or impinged drivers – I’m not 100% certain who owns or organises it, but it sits on the Auckland Council site. And the community sentiment is far more complex than your lazy characterisation of “their right to drive everywhere and anywhere”.

          2. If you canvassed the affected residents, your assumption that 80% wouldn’t know anything about it would be wildly inaccurate. That would be as good as saying 80% of people hadn’t left their homes in 6wks or so. The trial is unmissable.

          3. Regards your recommendation on a credible market research agency – now that could have been a great idea. Sadly the budget was wildly overspent, so what exists is as good as it can be. And ofcourse we should therefore dismiss the outcomes based on your assertions, which by the way I disagree with. Per my original point, they will not only attract strongly negative – they will attract strength of view both positive and negative (which are both a bias), and largely miss the middle ground. The survey may not meet your standard, but they have been included as a key feedback loop for the trial assessment, and therefore should not be discounted as unrepresentative. They are the quantitative measure we have from individuals presumably were agreed to by the trial project group. But sure, let’s chuck them out when we don’t like what they say hey. Caveat emptor!

        8. I am informed of the situation. The council puts up a ‘tell us what you think’ page. The angry antis send it around on facebook or neighbourly or over their back fence and tells everyone to submit against it. Its the same thing that happens with every consultation of this type. The antis make sure to comment, the pros usually don’t. Sometimes you get a group like Generation Zero that will organise a campaign in favour, but its usually just the antis that make sure they are heard. The pros and the indifferents just carry on with their lives.

          If you think that this self-initiated feedback (its not technically a survey if people self-select to respond) will have equal measures of pro and anti responses, it will be the first one in the history of Auckland to do so.

        9. Care to back you generalizations up by some facts? Or just continue to make stereotyped assumptions in some loose way of proving a hypothetical point….

        10. Just google “self selection bias” and “validity of internet polls”, you’ll get plenty.

        11. These surveys are intended to get people’s ideas, which can contribute to a better understanding of the effects felt. This can then lead to modifications or removal of the trial, or to better communications.

          Asking for overall support or opposition in the survey should be avoided, because then it must be reported, and support or opposition should only be determined in a scientific way, for the reasons outlined by Riccardo.

        12. I’m not contesting the capacity for biases in these surveys. Much like the key Project Sponsor holding a voting position in a 7 person board who has displayed clear bias throughout the “trial”. I’m not arguing the best methodology has been used, but these surveys were allowed to be run, and they have received an overwhelming majority of response. And regards the ability for either side to influence (through Facebook promotion etc) – the fact remains all people had an equal capacity to do so. My issue with Riccardo’s position is that he believes we should just ignore it in entirety because a bunch of angry moaners were the only people engaged enough to actually have their say. If we throw out all the qualitative and quantitative data collected from people, all we are left with is a bunch of tube counters and some TomTom data, which may also be indicators of an outcome, but are far from proof of cause and effect.

  11. The nuclear option is to simply close a bunch of roads rather than putting in responsible traffic management measures that would create a more holistic solution – and may still deliver the right outcomes for all. I keep hearing climate change as a key supporting factor – where in the stated objectives of LTN’s is climate change and vehicle emission reduction? I thought this was about safer neighbourhoods, and specifically road safety. But it seems you are more interested in getting people out of cars for the benefit of the climate – which I’m not fundamentally against by the way. But that’s a different conversation, and if they are to be a key objective of LTN’s, then there should be some objective measurement to prove their efficacy. Sadly I think so much of the value of what could have been derived from this kind of project has been lost because it has lacked any flexibility, agility and, to me, seems more driven by the ideology of a few than for the benefit of all. Look forward to seeing the release of all the data if we haven’t seen it already. But it does beg the question why, if there is more, it hasn’t been shared transparently before having to back cap in hand to Waka Kotahi for a further $300k in funding. Shouldn’t that decision be made in full transparency?

    1. I guess it’s simply that a set of data recording the “before” state is meaningless unless there’s also a set of data recording the “after” state. In applying to run the pilot trial, the local board committed to using WK funds to obtain this data and had they changed their mind mid-trial they would’ve wasted those first sets of monitoring data. Indeed, they’d better not modify the trial until they have matching sets or we should definitely complain about wasting money.

      Safety and climate are not different conversations. Improving safety is a key transport decarbonisation tool. We have a deficient and unsafe transport system, which means Auckland has one of the highest rates of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries per km walked in the OECD. This is a key reason for our high emissions; people don’t feel it’s safe enough for them, or their family members, to walk places.

      Both addressing safety and addressing climate change are key strategic priorities in the government policy statement on transport. That and the Auckland Climate Plan were consulted upon widely. Aucklanders should now expect every transport project to address safety AND either mitigation, adaptation or the equity implications of climate change.

      Resisting low traffic neighbourhoods on the basis of their “key objective” is futile: they provide multiple co-benefits. You might be interested in reading the Helen Clark Foundation’s report, called “The Shared Path”:

  12. While I agree with the broad goals, I do wonder if this is the right priority right now. Car infrastructure currently dominates around the LTN area which is mainly detached homes with big gardens. The net result is few of the local residents will feel any incentive to use the newly quiet streets as they continue to stay in their back yards and drive everywhere else they want to go. The only change in activity might be a few brave cyclists and scooterers who use it as a brief respite from the otherwise unfriendly local roads.

    At this point in time I think creating a safer route network across Auckland for non-car traffic should be a priority, and any LTNs should be in higher density areas with proximity to at least one rapid transport route.

    1. My theory is that because cycleways have been so hard to get done on the arterials that LTNs have been seen as an alterative way to deliver a connected cycleway network that would hopefully be easier to get delivered politically.

      Reugardless, its very difficult to shift infrastructure and build cycle lanes in New Zealand because our current mode share is so low. Even if cycle lanes and PT have all the theory and evidence on their side, and people would use it once its there.

    2. This is part of a safer network and improving areas for cyclists and walkers is absolutely a priority. LTNs in London help provide a safe cycling route across decent parts of the city, I used to ride through De beauvoir, hackney and parts of islington through one and the difference was amazing. The issue here is that LTNs should be rolled out in about 20 areas at the same time, not this slow, ponderous and piecemeal approach to everything we seem to do in Auckland, except where it comes to widening roads. Needs to be a massive mindset change from people and doing these things at scale will help – i live in birkenhead and see people drive 500 m to the ferry. That is absurd and is just classic about the kinds of car journeys NZers seem to love taking.
      And we need to be using multiple levers at the same time. Increase parking costs, congestion charges introduced, reallocate road space to cycle lanes, build them quickly and everywhere. Get on with the bigger transit projects – just do them. In six months time no one will even care and the whingers will be onto complaining about something else.

    3. I think it is the right priority right now. Focusing on short local journeys and local places is a powerful tool for changing the networks.

      1/ LTN’s do create modeshift. In this case, it has been noticeable that families have been able to stop driving to school and walk, cycle or scoot to get there instead. This then affects the parents’ choice of mode for going on to work. Even if they can’t travel actively all the way to work, they’re more likely to walk, cycle or scoot to public transport. As are other people. When it’s quiet and pleasant even if it takes 20 or 30 minutes to walk to the bus, people start to see it as an important, positive part of their day. When it’s noisy and fumey and involves frequent, long waits for cars before you can cross roads, it’s something people would avoid and the time it takes is a negative.

      2/ Reallocating road space to cycle lanes on the arterials could have the negative effect of pushing traffic to ratrun even more through the local backstreets. These LTN’s are needed to complement the arterial work

      3/ Cycleways on arterial road can, and must, be rolled out at pace. But AT’s generally progressive staff are being hijacked by just a couple of what I call “barons” – powerful people who are opposed to investing in cycling infrastructure. They are finding all sorts of excuses and creating barriers to do so. They need to be replaced, of course, and slowly more and more of the decision-makers will understand that people won’t look back kindly on AT for this period of cycling delay, and will try to put themselves on the right side of AT’s history. But until we’re through these dark days, LTN’s do still, at least, provide backstreet ways for moving around Auckland.

      4/ LTN’s do create nicer, more social places so people get together more on the streets – which has definitely happened here, too. Improving places like this reduces travel demand as people don’t feel they have to drive somewhere just to get together with friends or to relax. And it means they start to live more locally, choosing to shop at local shops – even if they thought they weren’t “the best” shop of its kind.

  13. If the council & AT really want to get people out of their cars – in the Maungakiekie area anyway – they should REINSTATE 312/FLYER BUS ROUTES. They stopped it because they said they wanted more frequent buses. Ok that’s fine. But stopping a BUS SERVICE PEOPLE USED FOR DECADES to do short trips (reason for ltn) or travel to work or the city just created a whole heap more traffic. Now that more people are using hop cards & the addition of the bus lane on Manukau Rd, these would have improved travel times compared to say 10yrs ago.

    I am not a social media person but I am getting tired and frankly pissed off with people who do not live Maungakiekie and those that live within or just outside the LTN chastising people in cars. Not everyone has/can ride/afford a bike or scooter. Not everyone is able to walk for 20mins+ to catch a bus or train or to even just get to the mall. And many more people have their own reasons.

    If LTN is working in London it’s because they have a superior public transport system. Onehunga has had very good pt compared to some other suburbs for a long time. It – and Mangere, and possibly other areas – had very good bus routes. Sure it took a while to get to town but AT didn’t give the service time to get used to the bus lanes. Then AT cut routes, altered others and focused on frequency and didn’t listen to its patrons. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    If this trial becomes permanent in Maungakiekie then AT better get its A into G & REINSTATE THE 312. With a whole heap of new housing – some recently completed – around the old route, now is the time to bring it back!

    1. Correct you if you are wrong, well you are wrong.
      The buses in Onehunga are now carrying 60% more people each day than when the 312 ran. It works way better for way more Onehunga residents.

    2. Agree to what you said. I’m all for the reduction of carbon emissions. But blocking streets only is not the way to do it. We copied that idea from London but didn’t get the fact that, London has way better public transport service than us. Before blocking the streets there, there are already large number of people taking public transport. Here, public transport is way lagging behind, yet closing road does not only reducing carbon emission but actually increase it as more cars staying longer on the road.

      1. If there was anything about the UK experience that isn’t transferrable to Auckland, it’s important to discover it. That’s why continuing the trial was important.

        In any case, it is not the job of local residential streets to take the through-traffic just because Auckland Transport are resisting best practice about how to reduce traffic volumes.

        1. Plus, the PT argument is a bit of a nonsense. The PT in Onehunga is far better than some of the spots up in Waltham Forest.

        2. Judging from the sheer amount of parking chaos people are willing to endure to visit Dress Smart it can’t be that good.

        3. Imo one of the big issues PT faces is as soon as Saturday hits, a vast amount of the cities bus lanes get pulled out from under our feet. To the point where I’m actually pretty sure that weekend traffic is worse than rush hour in a lot of places. The PT is decent on weekdays in peak hour peak direction. Dress smart is in particular a weekend shopping destination (its busy at other times, but its not at its peak)

        4. Yes, Jack. As you know, this is AT’s bias towards investing only in PT that serves commuting drivers well – by getting cars off the road at the most congested times. Off peak, cross town and outer area PT isn’t prioritised because the key investment planners don’t value the PT network for its wider social benefits.

        5. The trial had more than enough time to allow more than enough data capture from an Onehunga perspective. The key problem seems to be that it was poorly implemented with none of the promised “agility” – no amount of additional time was going to fix that fundamental flaw. That trial ran 10wks – how long was required to gain sufficient learning? And where are the hugely compelling results from the data that was captured over those 10wks of the trial period? Let’s stop hiding behind this idea that you couldn’t capture the learnings because it was ended. It could have run another 6mths (at ridiculous tax payer cost) and we’d be no further ahead in our learning.

  14. Ok cool you’ve got stats (yeah I walked right into that didn’t I). Are you talking about an increase on the 30 route? The new Point Chev bus? Both? All services? Does the increase of patrons include all the users of the old 312? Which residents is it working way more better for? Not all bus users have been happy with the changes. That’s why there was a petition and support from our councillor and mp. And of course there are more people using the bus, Onehunga’s population has been going up.

    My point is the 312 served the wider Onehunga area incl Oranga, Te Papapa & One Tree Hill. It was a DIRECT LINK to Onehunga Mall and Royal Oak shops & services. And yes I know Point Chev bus goes through Royal Oak but that still doesn’t take in the wider area. The article says overseas data shows “LTN’s reduce residents’ reliance on driving for local trips, improve public transport ridership…“. There’s a whole heap of housing going up in the area – Brookfield St, Mt Smart, Roosevelt plus in Oranga just to name a few, on top of the more well known Jordan Ave & OMC, and as well as the one already completed on Mt Smart/Curzon corner. How many more cars are they going to bring?

    There’s a reason it’s called a bus service. It’s paid for by the people to serve the community – not half of it. And there’s a reason why the youth hub is called the 312 Hub. The even the youth of this area recognise how iconic this bus was. So if the council/AT & the government want the ltns to work and want less cars on the road to reduce carbon emissions then bringing the 312 back would be a bloody good start in this area.

    1. Oh I forgot to put cyclists, scooter riders, etc. with council and govt for wanting less cars on the road.

    2. I’m talking about an increase on all buses leaving the wider Onehunga area.

      It’s working way better for the 60% extra residents that have started catching the bus since it was changed. Of course I don’t know who they are personally. And naturally not everyone is happen when something changes, but on the whole there are many more Onehunga residents who are happy enough to use the buses now than there was before.

      Onehunga’s population has not gone up anything close to 60% in five years, the lions share of that huge growth on the buses is because the buses are now much more useful to more residents.

      1. It’s a real catch 22 changing transport. There is almost always an immediate knock, as old users get displaced, and then over time significant uptick in travel. All the people that were displaced are really loud and in the following weeks the media declares the change a failure. The near silent party throughout the process is the people that benefit. They didn’t use to care because it didn’t serve them, but now they’ve found it does and it serves significantly more of the community now. Objectively better transport. The new network has overall been a resounding success. But obviously there will always be people who it’s worse for.

        Do we serve the people who were already there, or do we do what’s best for the community overall?

        Very interesting to see the new network results for the area. I’d love to see how and where you pulled that data from.

    3. Yes., buses are important for reducing emissions – giving more people the option to leave the car at home more often. The New Network was a good piece of work. The increase in ridership throughout the city doesn’t mean every existing bus user received a better service but it indicates many more Aucklanders did.

      However, we’re always advocating for improvements. It looks to me like the improvements that would be important for Onehunga and Oranga residents might be:

      1/ The 30, 66, 70 and other core bus routes need to be very frequent (eg 5 minutes at peak times, 10 minutes at other times) and to receive better bus priority at every place they are currently held up.
      2/ The needs of users must be the focus anywhere transfers are needed. Best practice is to put bus stops far closer to intersections than AT does. Better pedestrian crossings, closer to the intersections, (and in some of the areas, like in the Penrose Station area, far far safer footpaths and crossings). They all need to be accessible for people with different mobility needs too. Plus more public toilets and water fountains, etc – Auckland has a citywide deficit.
      3/ I imagine the 295 and 298 buses serving the area between One Tree Hill and the Penrose Station, including Oranga, need to be frequent bus services so that those transferring to them don’t have to wait long.

      1. Yes exactly, some people may have been put out by the changes but there was an even greater number of residents that got much better buses. It makes no sense to claim the changes ‘created a heap more traffic’ when far more people now use the bus. If anything the traffic is better than I would have been if they didn’t change it.

        By all means keep making it better, but demand improvements, don’t just demand winding back to the old 312!

        1. Like the harbour bridge, people do not have a real sense of how bad the (increasing) car traffic would be without the bus improvements.

        2. Mate, chill. Relax. Don’t get your undies in a twist over one persons’ opinion. Just enjoy the sun and the weekend.

    4. “There’s a reason it’s called a bus service. It’s paid for by the people to serve the community – not half of it”

      well it seems that new the services serve more people in the community than before. How could that not be a win for the community? The more people who paid for it use it the better right?

      The 312 was certainly an icon, again that doesn’t mean the replacement is not better for the community. I hope they reinstate the number on a bus route one day.

    5. Virtually the whole of the old 312 route is covered by current buses so the residents are not without a bus. ( I believe it is only a small section of Onehunga Mall not covered and Arthur Street at the other end). The only difference is that the route between Royal Oak and Onehunga was split at Oranga Ave between the current 295 and 298.

      The people on the 295 have lost a direct connection to Onehunga town centre I agree but there is frequent connections at Royal Oak (the 30 route).

      If I recall correctly the 312 was always less frequent than the 302/304/305 routes when they were travelling along Manukau road and it looks like the current routes are a similar frequency. It also went the long way round between Royal Oak and Onehunga so you could end up heading the wrong direction for half your trip. The current routes are more direct for one destination each (Royal Oak or Onehunga) per route and they add extra destinations (Ellerslie and Sylvia Park) with a frequent route connecting the two destinations (Royal Oak and Onehunga).

  15. Thanks Heidi for your help and detailed explanation. It’s really appreciated. I didn’t realise the Sylvia Park buses came up my way, I thought it was still on the old route. I’ll try it sometime. Also I do understand the need for frequency.

    On a personal note though, I do feel sorry for my older family members and older residents in a similar situation. They always took the 312 to Newmarket and town, especially for a show. They now have to walk an extra 10mins or so to get the city buses now. Day is not too bad but when the weather’s bad or at night after a show it’s a bit of a worry. We are lucky enough to live near a train station but hilly streets takes a bit of effort for some. And at times taking a taxi/uber is too expensive.

    Even though you have shown me new/alternative routes, I still stand by my earlier comments and do appreciate your time and reply (and some others below). Hey I’m old school and don’t like too much change. Like I said I don’t really do social media or leave posts so I wasn’t really expecting any replies but I do understand the changes made, I may not like them that’s my choice, but these are just my opinions from my experience. Thanks again and enjoy the rest of this sunny weekend.

    1. Thank you for participating in the conversation!

      Yes it is a shame, when things change inevitably some people will get burned which is a real shame. If the designers and politicians are right then the end result is more people will benefit more with the same limited resources available (space, money, etc). The shift to the new network is an example, and based on overseas experience, LTN’s have great potential too. Only time would tell.

      You enjoy your weekend too.

      1. Be careful what you say Heidi because I’m going to be a broken record here. I’ve been re-reading comments and bus timetables and just couldn’t let things slide without at least one more comment. I understand the need for frequent buses, especially during peak. I used to bus to town everyday for work and was frustrated it took forever (although having the flyer helped, and it was frequent enough on mornings when not caught in traffic). Part of that was time spent sitting waiting for passengers to board and pay and part of it sitting in traffic. Now Hop cards have sped up boarding and bus lanes cut through traffic. Also those waiting at or close to the mall had a choice of catching other buses like the Mangere buses – and still do – if not 312.

        Whilst I appreciate Darren’s explanation, he does mention not all of the old route is covered and Jack says it’s a shame some people will get burned. Why? There are still people in this area like me who liked using the bus or relied on it. Like I’ve said the 312 was accessible to the community, not just people wanting to get to work to cbd on time. There are some older people who feel disconnected from their community and other services, people with health issues, others who used to like going to Greenwoods Corner, Epsom, town, and the list goes on. Also the connecters may not be working for them. For example, if I take 298 from Victoria St and connectors to town for an evening out at an 8pm show, I would never have time to get the 298 back because it doesn’t run as late as the 30.

        You say you’re always advocating for improvements, well I do have a suggestion. If the 312 route is too much, why not use part it – Arthur-Victoria-Mt Smart-Onehunga Mall-Trafalgar…? Looking at the 30 timetable peak times run 7-8mins and 15mins off peak. Why not trial an altered route off peak? The council likes trials. Maybe every second bus like they used to do with the hospital bus? Maybe just add this route on top of the 30? Maybe AT ask the community – both bus and car users – their thoughts? Has there been a recent survey asking people in the area – regular and non-regular users – their thoughts of the new services? Is it available to view online?

        If the new network is working well that’s great. It’s also great that we have new areas to travel to. Why not get even more passengers? Frequent or not the 312 was a great service for my area. There are people who now have no alternative but to drive, get frustrated by congestion and get shouted down by others wanting greener/safer streets, or get a cab/uber which is expensive. The council at the moment has a “build it and they will come” sort of attitude so why not trial a new service? Even Phil Goff and cbd businesses want people back in the city. This whole ltn thing has opened my eyes more into what’s happening in the community I love and I hate how divisive it’s become.

        1. The answer is that we have very limited resources for running busses. By a directive / law from the government, put in place a while ago, AT has to try to reach 50% farebox recovery. Meaning they have to get at least half of the opex cost in farebox charges.
          So they have limited bus service hours they can run. The more money they make off those service hours, the more bus service hours overall they can run next year.
          So if they switch some bus service hours to run underperforming routes, not only does it take those service hours from somewhere else, it also means they get to run less service hours overall. Compounding the effect significantly.
          This is why we cant make everyone happy, limited resources, and compounding punishment for running routes that underperform (eg social service routes, like you suggest). Even though AT would be better subsidizing more opex and less capex they aren’t allowed to.

          Now I don’t have simulation tools, nor am I a transport planner. But there are disadvantages to your suggested solutions.
          Adding complexity is to transport routes is often underestimated in its ability to decrease ridership. It is a big barrier to entry. For example someone gets used to going and taking the bus from this spot for a week, and then one day the leave a little later and boom the bus doesn’t show up and they wait for an hour in the wrong place, because its now on its alternate route and they didn’t know.
          Having clear legible bus lines running frequently through the city is very important to decrease the punishment for people making mistakes or being late etc. Adding detours to routes that otherwise would be direct, is a great way to decrease ridership because people get frustrated with having 5 – 10 minutes added to every trip they make.
          The routes also need to be stable so that people can use them off peak the same way they use them on peak, if we wish to have people be able to live without cars altogether.

          Now for my personal views / rant, This kind of last mile transport direct between multiple neighboring areas is not something that is really provided by public transport very well at all. Its expensive, and slow, infrequent, and not very flexible
          Biking, scooting, mobility scooting etc for 1 – 2 – 3 km to the nearest rapid transport stop to whisk you away on lines connecting the metro centers of the city is a much more efficient system. Consolidated routes offer better frequencies, you don’t have to wait half an hour for feeder services, plans can change easily if you want to call in at the supermarket on the way home etc.
          That is one of the main reasons for LTN’s, people can use the existing infrastructure / roads to get around safely and quickly while not in cars. I’ll give an example. One of the big issues with the trains in Auckland is that hardly anyone lives within a 10-15 minute walk of the stops. And the only safe alternative to walking, is driving. Parking for which cannot be provided at the scale required for any reasonable price.
          Elderly people are much better connected and served with great bike infrastructure, and in neighborhoods that have less traffic than Auckland’s.

  16. Thanks Jack for enlightening on how it all works. One of my points is that not everyone can afford bikes/scooters/mobility scooters and don’t find it easy to get around, especially in hilly areas. I guess my ideology doesn’t equal reality in my area, so I’ll go with what the majority want and works for them. Thanks again.

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