Here’s our wrap up for the week.


Puhinui

Auckland Transport have released some awesome shots of the upgrade to Puhinui Station and it looks stunning. It’s also great to see the entire platform will have shelter – something missing from most of our other stations.

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The station is now due to open in July I believe.

Next we need an extra platform and track added so Te Huia, the Hamilton train, can stop there.


Queen St

The Queen Street Pilot drama continues.

The good news is pavers have started to be laid in some loading zones between Customs Street and Shortland Street to fill them in and should be much more hard-wearing than boardwalks originally discussed and used on High St.

The not so good news is it appears that despite winning the court case, the council have secretly folded to the limousine litigants and have now put forward design iterations for consultation. The changes seem focused around removing the planned new pedestrian spaces to add more loading zones and providing an indented bus stop, which removes an existing wide bus platform. All this seems aimed at keeping more vehicles on Queen St and it remains unclear what the extra ‘loading zones’ are for and to what degree general traffic will be using this section. Without cars the extent of loading zones wouldn’t be necessary, and buses rarely need to pass each at this end of the trip. Also, if things are still up in the air, we would like to see some options that provide space for cycling-scootering. Maybe they should have tested some of this stuff over that last 9 months?

In all of this it’s worth noting their own design principles are about making it easier for buses and active modes, not about cars which these changes seem to be focused on.

There are also some changes proposed to the pocket park at the end of Fort St

The consultation for this went up yesterday and closes tomorrow at 5pm


Car Free Wellington City

Wellington is looking to go car free in the city centre and interesting to see it’s inspired by Auckland’s City Centre Master Plan

Wellington City Council has voted to pursue a plan to remove vehicle traffic from the inner city by 2025.

Councillors voted 11-2, with Mayor Andy Foster absent, to direct council staff to prepare a report investigating a Wellington Fossil-Fuel Free Central City by 2025, which will be brought back to council for consideration in September.

Councillor Tamatha Paul​, who introduced the original notice of motion, said the central city was in desperate need of transformation.

“It’s cool to hate Wellington at the moment,” she said. “It’s scuzzy, unsafe, and it’s in need of change. Urgent urban design improvements are needed to keep people safe at night.”

Despite the name ‘’Fossil-Fuel Free Central City’’, the proposal is not intended to favour electric vehicles, but will be largely built around pedestrianisation.

Auckland’s Access For Everyone Centre City Masterplan should serve as inspiration for Wellington, Paul​ said.

There are no specific proposals for what the changes could look like yet, as these will be prepared by council officers.

Given the way AT drags their heels on things like this, it could be a race to see who can implement it first.


Whanganui Bridge

An article from Whanganui caught my attention this week about people wanting a new bridge over the river to help address traffic congestion.

After the indignity of being labelled a ‘zombie town’ Whanganui is now experiencing a growth spurt that has seen it fall victim to that most metropolitan of scourges – traffic congestion.

And one pinch-point raises the hackles more than most – the more than 100-year-old Dublin Street Bridge.

Opened to trams, vehicles and pedestrians in 1914 the historic two-lane steel bridge connects State Highways 3 and 4 via central Whanganui.

….

But controlled via roundabouts at each end, the Dublin Street bridge is struggling with the 5000 new residents Whanganui has attracted over the past few years.

The impact of the congestion quickly escalated.

“We used to say that you could take five minutes to get anywhere in Whanganui and I think people are now saying you’d better allow 10 minutes instead.”

….

“I used to work at another business over Whanganui East and come home at three o’clock everyday. I needed half an hour at least, 20 minutes to half an hour to get across the bridge.”

….

“It’s terrible. Any time from a quarter to eight you’re stuck there for about 45 minutes.”

The first thing that caught my attention was the presence of bike lanes separated from traffic, something missing on so many bridges old and new.

But what really got me interested was when I looked at some figures from Stats NZ.

First, population has increased in Whanganui by 4,600 since 2013 – it had been falling until that time. However, most of that growth has been in the west and in Whanganui East the population  has only increased by 490 people. Moreover it remains lower now than it was in 1996.

That got me thinking about what’s really causing the congestion. So I had a quick look at the census travel to work data and it seems to show a clear trend, more people are driving and fewer are walking or cycling.

Looks to me like it’s the increased car use that’s the issue.

You could give everyone in Whanganui East a brand new e-bike and it would still be multiple times cheaper than building a new 300m+ bridge.


Rodney Buses

Some good news yesterday from Auckland Transport that two of the three bus services introduced by the Rodney Local Board with money from a targeted rate have been successful enough that AT will take them over.

Two Rodney Local Board trial bus services are meeting patronage targets, so today Auckland Transport (AT) confirms it will fund these from May next year.

Rodney Local Board introduced the new bus services in February and May 2019 on a three-year trial basis.

At the time of the trial’s launch, AT agreed it would take over funding of these services and bring them into the AT network, if they met patronage targets.

Route 126 (between Westgate and Coatesville) and Route 998 (Wellsford to Warkworth) have both seen steady growth since their inception and are on track to meet patronage targets.

Route 128 (Helensville to Hibiscus Coast Station) has seen more modest growth and, based on public requests, the local board recently resolved to increase the frequency of the service.

These services are part of a programme of transport improvements funded by the Rodney Local Board Transport Targeted Rate. The programme features over $40M of improvements for the Rodney area – including new footpaths, new bus stops and additional buses for the area.

Rodney Local Board chair Phelan Pirrie says the Rodney Local Board is glad to be able to keep investing in transport during a difficult time.

“It was a tough call for the local board to set up this targeted rate and to focus on new bus services. But the community consistently told us that local transport infrastructure and services are important to them – so we’re glad to be able to deliver on our promises.”

Pete Moth, AT’s Service Network Development Manager, says Auckland Transport is pleased to be able to support the local board to deliver these projects.

“We would like to acknowledge Rodney Local Board for trialling this initiative. It has led to the running of bus routes that simply would not exist otherwise. Rodney is experiencing the challenge of providing transport choice for a growing community and the team at Auckland Transport is pleased to support the local board and the requests from the community for more public transport.”


Project Wave

Project Wave, the cycleway linking the Nelson St and Quay St cycleways is nearly finished and showing that AT are capable of installing cycleways quickly and cheaply.

https://twitter.com/AklTransport/status/1392311641086341128

Of course that hasn’t stopped traditional media from running the typical stories moaning about a new cycleway. This one from Stuff was particularly funny with one complainant saying how it’s made deliveries so hard but then was photographed in front of a truck easily unloading in the new loading bays that have been provided.


Reducing Transport Emissions

Later today the Ministry of Transport are due to release a report on how we can reduce our transport emissions by 2050. This is likely to be quite an important document and appears likely to take a stronger stance on mode shift than the Climate Change Commission. We’ll likely cover this in more detail next week.


Congestion Pricing Inquiry

Parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee are holding an inquiry into congestion pricing and the work done to date on it. We’ll try and get something more detailed up about it next week but at a high-level we think it’s a good idea and officials have come up with a decent scheme.

Submissions for it close on Thursday 20 May.


Have a good weekend.

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107 comments

    1. Its like watching someone pouring money down a drain. Surely it will be dug up for light rail in like 2 years time won’t it? The council says we have a climate emergency but is pouring tons of concrete and pavers for a temporary fix to Queen Street that the businesses don’t even want. Yet most the other city streets have awful footpaths and are a mess. It just makes no sense at all.

      1. It would be ideal to dig the street up once and do it right. However light rail is still trapped in a bureaucratic merry-go-round before they realise that the best solution is actually the original AT concept from several years ago.

        It’s important to point out that building light rail down Queen St will need a full road closure. So minimising vehicle travel on the street in advance will make light rail construction less disruptive when it does eventually come. This is a step in the right direction, even if it isn’t as large a step as we want.

        1. “still trapped in a bureaucratic merry-go-round”: only for another 5 months, then there is meant to be a definite route selected. It really shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 years after that the diggers are in.
          I agree they should get rid of the cars (which should cost almost nothing), can’t we then just allow bikes and scooters to use that space without changing it much at all? Maybe a few planters (plenty of space for them) and no purple paint.

        2. The planters could have some nice trees and be moved elsewhere afterwards.

      2. Makes you wonder if the council know something we don’t. Maybe they are now getting behind tunnelling under queen street or more sensibly starting the new light metro from Aeotea station.

        1. You might be onto something, maybe they’ve just got word from central government that they’re going to get $10b to piss into the wind for an massive overspecced light metro project

      3. And yesterday outside the CPO they were digging up some of the new paving stones already , and that was beyond the fence surrounding the upgrade works .

        1. Huh, brand new infrastructure has some teething issues that need to be sorted out? how unusual /s

          In all seriousness, when anyone builds anything there are always some minor issues. Some family friends recently built a new house, you have to make a list of things to fix and get builders to do it right all the time. Ahh this wood has shrunk so now theres a gap here, this is wavy / rough, etc etc. Still some teething issues. Same with large civil projects, there will always be some oversights in design and incorrect decisions by those on the ground, but this is baked into the budget and contracts. They have to go back and fix it. If they had to repave the whole thing or do another 12 months of work digging back down a few meters, that would be concerning. But a few lines / isolated areas, meh.

          The Tamaki drive cycleway is another recent example, the contractor did a shoddy job initially, but had to fix it under contract. People were up in arms but in reality these things happen all the time. Normally its just not so visible. https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/letter-to-the-editor-the-implications-of-soft-openings/

          Luckily they are paving stones so its easy to put back and never know better.

  1. Whanganui is developing a good network of cycleways, including along the riverbank to Castlecliff. But they are mainly up and down the river. It could be even bolder and set up good cross town protected cycle tracks. Instead, it is working towards a new four lane bridge which will induce even more traffic. Whanganui is a lovely small town of a size where walking and biking could be the norm. But it seems to want to move further to car dependency.

    1. Whanganui is mostly flat? Also it is easily bikeable? People need to wake up and look there is an healthy alternative. Unbelievable.

    2. This is really interesting, I lived in Whanganui almost 20 year ago and was impressed by how many people biked, particularly kids biking to school. It made sense, the city is flat, the roads are wide and it has a great climate. I imagine they are now in a self-perpetuating cycle of more people driving, making cycling less safe and encouraging more people to drive and less to cycle.

    3. Hefty national funding skewed towards infrastructure for car-drivers rather than cyclists and walkers can distort what towns and cities would build for themselves, given the choice.

  2. The Fort St changes just smell of re-designing it so that cars can fit down there if they change their mind later on, especially the removal of the bike parking which was a convenient blocker

  3. In Whanganui the bottleneck is almost certainly the roundabouts at either end of the bridge rather than the bridge itself. Roundabouts are particularly bad at handling unbalanced flows from different directions. For example Eastbound traffic may not be able to get off the bridge because they have to constantly give way to Northbound traffic on SH4 that isn’t even using the bridge.

    The best solution is likely to be replacing the roundabouts with traffic lights. This would also be a lot friendlier for cyclists and pedestrians than roundabouts, which would result in more of them using the bridge.

    1. I haven’t been there unfortunately but yes roundabouts just don’t work in busy traffic. They stupidly installed them at the Auckland Airport and now they seem to have come to their senses and replaced them with lights (after wasting god knows how much money). Traffic lights can be tuned to give everyone a fair go, roundabouts can be completely dominated by one direction of traffic.

      1. I went there after Christmas. Ride on the river steamer powered by Greymouth coal. Also the lift in the hill. That’s really cool for $2 then climb the tower for the view. And yes plenty of cycleways along the river. Actually there was a lot of industry there some of which still survives plus the Port which still services one coastal vessel. And the new road rail container transfer site and log loading at Eastown. Lots to see well worth a visit.

        1. I walked through on the TA after canoeing down the river. Whanganui is a really unusual town compared to the rest of NZ. Has fantastic potential as a great urbanism example.

          Really cool place. I had no idea we had a city like that in the country.

      2. One solution to increase efficiency at roundabouts is to put traffic lights at the entrances. This can overcome the situation where one flow dominates. Used commonly in Britain but very seldom in NZ.

        1. When I lived in the UK I was amused by the signs “Part-time Signals” on traffic lights at roundabouts on motorway entrances that only operated in busy periods. Couldn’t help thinking “ and what do you do for the rest of the time?” !

  4. This basically strips out any future vehicle impediments in Fort Street despite it being one of the must successful examples of place-changing in the entire city.

    Am I reading this right that there is less than two days consultation on something that fundamentally deviates from core council policies and what was originally consulted on? I am unsure how that can possibly be considered legal.

    1. My interpretation of these drawings is that vehicles still won’t be able to drive from Fort St to Queen St or vise versa. So the real problem is actually that vehicles can access Jean Batten Pl and Fort Ln. Block those two and that end of Fort St will become a pedestrianised cul-de-sac that only delivery drivers bother venturing into.

      However I agree with you that these changes represent a watering down of the original proposal, and aren’t aligned with the goals of A4E.

      1. The new Fort Street proposal looks like it’s gotten rid of anything that would make it hard to reinstate traffic to Queen St, the removal of the bike parking is very telling

  5. I wonder if the Herald photo is deliberately ironic where the Illustrations Sub-Editor got to influence (or even mock) the content in the story?

    1. They appear to be unloading a television, to the woman with eyes of blue, for the man who wants to rule the world?

      I’ll just shut my mouth…

        1. That’s the replacement loading zone for delivery parking in Hobson st, 100 m away, that’s probably what caused the “folded arms”.

        2. It definitely isn’t a television he is unloading. I think he is one of those young dudes who carries the news.

  6. Submitted strongly against the nonsense alternative designs proposed for Queen Street.

    On another note, the Project Wave changes look great, but we really could do without the garish yellow collision sticks. I don’t think we should use collision sticks at all really. They are hideous, cheap and really undermine the meaningful gains that can be made by putting up planters and bike Tim Tams. I wish Council would stop using them.

    1. Agreed. I remember going to Aussie cities and thinking why do they put those hideous plastic things everywhere. Now we do.

        1. …because they also get hit quite regularly – and they’re a bit costlier to replace…

      1. It is to make up for lack of enforcement — if you don’t put these sticks everywhere people will just drive and park in the bike lane.

        1. Exactly. People were continually parking in the northbound Upper Queen St cycle way simply by straddling the tim tams. It stopped once the traffic wands were put in at the ends of cycleway. They’re ugly but they’re cheap and they work.

    2. The funny thing is, if they were white, green or something else not yellow/orange I suspect that many people wouldn’t mind them so much…

  7. Loading zones are important and needed in the central city, I think people here don’t understand how much stock goes into shops and restaurants/cafes from roadside deliveries. However they must be properly enforced so that only delivery vehicles use them otherwise they just become de facto general parking. The cycleway in Lower Hobson St is going to be a problem area with all those bars and no loading zones apart from the ones opposite the Tepid baths.

    1. Loading zones don’t have to be right outside the business that is being delivered to. If a delivery driver has to park 100m away and push a barrow load of stock to the shop and return then this is actually little different to them delivering to shops in malls (which often have their loading zones in hard to reach locations). It’s inconvenient for the delivery driver but does not impact the business at all. However the business will often try and use that as an excuse to preserve on street parking near them as they mistakenly believe that customers won’t come otherwise.

      1. It’s always worth remembering that there are many cities around the world – highly successful cities – where door to door vehicle unloading is not possible. Venice is one such – yes, of course they deliver by boat/barge instead, but you cannot argue that a truck is necessary. Another example – perhaps less extreme – is Dubrovnik – where the walls round the city are still extant and there are zero ICE vehicles inside the city walls (although I did see a Fiat 500 up on the top by the city walls once) – instead, small electric delivery carts make deliveries in the early morning (I think, from memory, the delivery guy walks alongside or behind). Retailers will make efforts to get their products to places where they are sold. Don’t let anyone say that only a big truck will work. Break down the supply chain into usable, pedestrian friendly options.

        1. +1, if your business actually needs regular access from full size trucks then it doesn’t belong in the city centre.

    2. This feels like what every car owner seems to be entitled to, parking right out front of where they want to go. Surely these drivers have trolleys and other devices to move these goods a bit of distance? Perhaps some of these companies need to change practices and have small electric vehicles, bike messengers, etc for doing the last bit of delivery. Maybe take away private vehicle parking and add another loading zone if people are so worried.

      1. Fedex have cycle couriers with trailers in Akl. Why can’t others think outside the box?

        Oh, that’s right… Not invented here, so “it won’t work in New Zealand”!

        1. They can never deliver booze by the pallet load in central city Zippo – it is only ever delivered by trollies – because there aren’t forklifts on Queen street.

        2. @Zippo – Congrats on finding an edge case and then positioning it as the primary case.

        3. What do you need a forklift for. A trolly jack can actually lift one tonne. Tail lift can get them onto the ground. A pallet can be unstacked. Back in the days the pubs used to have ramps to roll the kegs down to the cellar. Of course people used to drink more then.

        4. If they want a valid excuse they can always say Auckland city footpaths are too bumpy to use any sort of trolley.

        5. Yeah, I’ve seen so many pallet loads of booze on trollies that I assumed your comment was sarcastic.

        6. Yes there is a loading space on Lower Hobson, not because AT wanted to provide it but because local owners managed to push them into providing it.

        7. Hasn’t that Hobson loading zone for the Viaduct hospo places been there for many many years?

          Nothing to do with this process – except something to ignore when complaining to media about the ones around the corner.

    3. I think the trial is good regarding the loading zone issue if there is any. The last thing we want is not enough or whatever so we end up with delivery vehicles parking over the path and cycleways. Ironically if business picks up they may need more of them or longer hours…

  8. Someone at Auckland Council has a grudge against the Mayor. Or is willing to risk their job for the benefit of SQS.

    That survey is an abomination. The Mayor needs to seek out whoever did it. It’s overturned not just what he has publicly supported and argued for. It’s overturned what the court case determined was possible.

    This undermining from within Council has gone on too long for there not to be some clearing of the ranks.

    1. What is the point in a survey like that? They will get a whole lot of responses from businesses, GA, bike Auckland, old people with nothing better to do, and hardly any from everyday Aucklanders.

  9. I have being enjoying riding on the Airport link electric buses but when they are diverted away from Papatoetoe to Puhinui station I won’t get to ride them so often.
    However there will still be the 313 which is only every 30 minutes only thing is no one except me where’s a mask. The sooner Mangere get vaccinated the better. Passenger numbers are not too bad around midday counted 12 on my trip to Manukau recently. My ride home on the Airport link only me on board but picked up a couple on Carruth road however after the switch it won’t be running on Carruth road. Nothing definitive has emerged yet if a new bus route will be added. On a more positive note the Puhinui station shuttle bus 349 will be able to break out of endless loop without having to control c.

  10. Congratulations to the Rodney Local Board for doing the brave thing and making things better for public transport in their part of the world. Listening, considering and acting for the benefit of those they serve.

    That the routes are being picked up as part of the funded network says lots about how the democratic process can work if it’s done properly.

    1. Yes, I agree Nik. And what they achieved is important. Ridership is not something that can be predicted with models based on a car dependent past. If people are driving the route, travel demand is there and the incentives for choosing public transport over driving aren’t set right yet.

  11. Now that AT have proven to themselves that they can roll out cycleways really quickly by just bolting down planters and removing traffic lanes, can they finally do Union St, Cook St, Mayoral Dr, Wellesley Street? Bidirectional on the southern side looks super easy.

      1. The introduction of the painted flush median was one of the main reasons for the decline in cycling from the late 80s imo. It transferred the road space used by cyclists into the centre of the road!

        1. True, and allowing extra space for turning traffic could have been reviewed when the give way rule was changed some years ago.

        2. Good point Sacha. I didn’t live in a city at the time. The old give way rule would have made those medians far more important.

    1. But the Ministry of Transport only wants feedback from community groups, business networks and iwi at the moment, not individuals…

  12. As an aside, here is a small safety improvement project proposed for my local area. Feedback closes today I think, it’s unclear as always. Seems the feedback form is still open. https://at.govt.nz/about-us/have-your-say/central-auckland-consultations/commissariat-road-mt-wellington-safety-improvements/
    I think we need another speed table at the eastern end of Commissariat Rd as well which is near the small group of shops. Another bus stop and shelter is also proposed.

  13. I am a Te Huia skeptic, but not necessarily a fatal one. There are glimmers of hope.
    One could indeed see a stop at Puhinui. Obviously linkage for Hamiltonians to Auckland airport. But it would need to be more than that.
    To be precise, it could be a link to a further rejuvenated Manukau centre. To that effect, we need the government to come through with its potential hub in Manukau. It needs to house at least 400-500 government workers, then the private sector leverages off that.
    Then we might be talking, in terms of Te Huia and a stop at Puhinui….

    1. The Te Huia website indicated they intended to have a stop at Puhinui. It simply has to be given its link to the airport and eventually, the eastern busway via Manukau. A stop at Papakura offers little, other than the ability to transfer to the southern line (which Puhinui does also) and perhaps stabling.

      I am not sure Manukau is so critical to Te Huia’s success and I am not so sure what role government workers have. We tried that before and it failed, didn’t it? The station there is now a hub for bus and rail and tertiary education, plus walking distance to a decent sized mall. What it needs is less surface carparks and more intensive residential development (apartments).

      Te Huia’s success (once it enters Auckland territory) more hinges on airport transfers at Puhinui, bringing in the Auckland bound travelers from the northern Waikato towns like Pokeno and, ultimately, express services on the southern line to get Puhinui-Britomart down to about 4 stops.

      1. And 4 stops to Britomart if it can get there at all, being diesel (which I believe it can’t). So eventually a stop at Puhinui and a termination/stabling at perhaps Otahuhu.

      2. As someone who takes the train everyday to and from Manukau, it’s ridership at the station is pretty low in general.
        Manukau should become Auckland’s second CBD, a growing centre of employment for the massive growth occurring in the south over the next 20 years. A government hub can help give it a push.
        I agree the airport connection is more important than connection to Manukau, though. However, we need to be leveraging multiple outcomes off an investment.

        1. If there is massive growth there, then we don’t need to be relocating the public service. And I don’t think Auckland really needs a second CDB.

          But again, wasn’t this tried previously and failed?

        2. Yeah Auckland CBD has plenty of room, it just needs transport links from everywhere to be built already

        3. Klk you do understand there is massive poverty in the south right? Maybe, just maybe, it would be good to have more government services and ministries that focus on the south actually based here? This website is full of chardonnay socialists

        4. Tell that to Wellington, they’ve been shifting jobs existing jobs to there at a significant rate. I heard anecdotally from multiple different people. Oh and shifting responsibility from councils to central government, with more jobs shifted to Wellington.

        5. ZenMan – you do understand this has been tried before? it didn’t work then, I doubt it would work now.

          We both agree there is massive residential growth already and with people should come businesses and employment opportunities. Shipping in 500 workers who train/drive in and out each day will do little except perhaps result in a few extra lunch bars.

          Planning and land use is Manukau’s problem. Not a lack of government workers.

    2. It would be a big step improvement stopping at Puhihui as it suddenly opens up to easily using the Eastern line as well. Papakura is Southern only. Suddenly we have a more realistic link for Sylvia Park shoppers and workers, same with Panmure & Glen Innes town centres for starters.

        1. Puhinui will also allow – eventually – an interchange with the eastern busway going to Botany, via Manukau.

          I am not sure how many Hamilton-bound/sourced travelers on Te Huia would be taking that route, but its all about the little decisions that piece by piece, link the network together for greater connectivity.

      1. yeah there’s stuff to be excited about:
        2021: Puhinui/Airporter, Eastern Busway, Downtown/Brito/Ferry/Te Komititanga/Te Wanaga, K Rd, New Lynn2Avondale, Wellesley St Transit Mall, Queen St Transit Mall? LR decision?
        2022: Northern Busway/GI2Tamaki section 2
        2023: ?
        2024: CRL!, 3rd Main
        Unknown: P2P electrification, LR, NW Busway, GNR, Vic St Linear Park, level crossing + other rail network fixes, SkyPath.

        This year is pretty good, then a bit of a lull till the really big rail reboot of late 2024.
        My view is the upcoming Bus stuff will also boost Rail a lot, esp Puhinui and EB, and NB ext will supercharge NXs: we’re getting a real network! Questions over NW, which at least will get a start-up busway and proper connected pattern. City Centre place quality work is key too, but in a leadership vacuum, as is the bike network; only getting some nice greenways, but no network.

        Pls correct or add to this list…

  14. Anecdotally does it feel like Traffic seems to be getting worse. North bound evening buses held up through st Mary’s and over bridge. Onewa road is terrible now needs a bus lane the entire length both sides.

    1. Yes, absolutely. I usually catch the train, but also have to drive on the Southern Motorway a fair bit because of my daughter’s sporting commitments. I try to avoid it though, it’s a clusterf$%k. The ‘kind of’ good news is it will get worse with the growth in the south, that can only help support the train service…

  15. All that roof space at Puhinui, this should be covered in solar PV. I don’t get why so little solar PV gets installed on roofs here, a station like this looks like a prime candidate.

    1. What’s the return on solar at the moment in Auckland? I was under the impression that the sunshine hours aren’t that good, and there is really poor rates for power buyback. I guess because AT will be the consumer, if you could hook it up to the train feed they would cut out the middle man. But that would also probably be a huge expense, and puhunui isn’t near any of the feeds

      1. I am guessing at the scale it wouldn’t be the same as domestic buy back rates, but I have no idea.
        The price of solar panels has come down so much that they can operate at a profit, else we wouldn’t see plans like this: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/125090584/300m-plan-for-five-solar-energy-farms-providing-1pc-of-countrys-supply

        I am from Germany, with a few exceptions all of which has less sunshine hours than Auckland. About 20 years the government subsidised solar with guaranteed buy back rates for 10 years from installation, there are now more than 2 million systems installed. There are solar farms in Germany operating without subsidies. If it works there, surely it should here too.

        Economies aside, it’s a big untapped opportunity here to produce the electricity closer to where it’s consumed.

    2. The station roof slopes to the south so I don’t know whether it would get enough to sun to be worthwhile.

      1. Good point about sloping south, but you could just exclude the slope or angle the panels. Still plenty of flat space

        1. I understand there are solar panels on the level roof section that extends along the platform.

        2. Oh there are? That’s excellent. Couldn’t see that on the photo, maybe they haven’t/hadn’t gone in yet.

  16. Re: Rodney buses, I do wish that the 995 and 998 were combined into a single bus route. In fact – the one time I did catch it with my mum – on the way back we had to get off the 998 bus as it terminated at Warkworth and then it promptly turned into a 995 so we had to get back on it lol

  17. Is it just me, or does the revised Fort Street plan look like it’s future-proofed for Council caving to vehicle through-traffic at some point?

    All it’ll take is for the “public artwork opportunity” to fall through and a few tree planters to be moved and we’ll once again have a pedestrian bowling alley down the middle.

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