Here’s our round up for the week of smaller stories.
Next Tuesday night the Normanby Rd rail crossing will close to traffic as part of the City Rail Link works so they can build a trench for the tracks to go in. Pedestrians can keep using the crossing till mid-July at which time foot access will change to the temporary services bridge that they’ve built. The crossing will be replaced by a new over-bridge and the roundabout will be raised
The good news is that it means there’ll be one less level crossing on the rail network. The not so good news is it seems it was designed by someone stuck in the past with the bridge containing only narrow footpaths and no safe cycle infrastructure.
Normanby/Boston Rd Roundabout is being rebuilt as part of the CRL works, and it's not looking promising. pic.twitter.com/5Z4tC8KEia
— Timmy (@gallicist) May 17, 2021
It’s astounding that in 2021 we’re still building infrastructure like this.
Speaking of Auckland Transport and cycling.
Hahahaa these guys are pranksters pic.twitter.com/sK6nbgvEbi
— Ruatara (@ruatara) May 26, 2021
You know what would really improve the experience of cycling, not fearing for your life on a bike because AT actually built some safe bike infrastructure.
Sleepyhead’s plan to build a company town at Ohinewai, about 6km north of Huntly, was given the green light by independent commissioners this week. The plan is sold as potentially bringing 2600 jobs and 1100 homes for 3000 people to the area.
The main problem I have with the development is appears to be being designed with auto-dependancy baked in. For example, the site is next to the Waikato expressway and rail line and houses will almost certainly be sold as being close to Auckland and Hamilton but is at the far end of the development so even if a rail station was eventually built it won’t be within easy walking distance. In another example, there is already local primary school in Ohinewai but it’s on the other side of the rail/expressway but even putting aside the distance issue, there isn’t even footpaths on the bridges.
As proposed, the *closest* house in the development would be a 21 minute walk (at adult-speed) to the local primary school. Here's what that walk looks like today. Yep, there's proposed "walking network and possible connections"… I guess the question is, who'd pay for that? pic.twitter.com/33S4kjuRR4
— Jolisa Gracewood (@nzdodo) December 7, 2020
One thing I do find funny is Waka Kotahi opposed the development because they’re worried about the impact it will have on the expressway, for which they say they want the capacity left free for trucks. This must be the first time they’ve had a motorway/expressway and not wanted more people to use it. It’s also at odds with their positions in Auckland where they’re keen to use the slightest hint of more housing to build a heap more motorway projects.
Sylvia Park and New Lynn apartments
Some interesting news this week that the owner of Sylvia Park and Lynmall plan to convert some of their existing carparking space into apartments that they’ll rent out
The company also revealed today it has applied to develop many apartments at Mt Wellington and in New Lynn, in a scheme Mackenzie said some years ago he wanted to implement: high-rise residential apartments specifically built to rent out long-term, to be developed in what is now asphalted flat ground-level car parking areas around two malls.
“Build to rent accommodation remains a potentially exciting opportunity for Kiwi Property. The asset class has a low correlation to office and retail with lower volatility, helping to further diversify the company’s earnings. Development schemes are being prepared for build to rent at Sylvia Park and LynnMall, with the consenting process underway for both projects” the company’s result said.
Mackenzie said around 500 apartments are planned in four blocks: 300 units in three blocks at Sylvia Park and 200 units in one block at LynnMall. Consenting applications have been made for Sylvia Park and are about to be lodged for LynnMall.
The apartment build to rent model is much more common overseas but we’ve started to see it appear here with the likes of Ockham’s Modal apartments in Mt Albert and is hopefully something we’ll see more of.
Earlier this week saw pop-up bike lanes appear in Wellington, which we covered here. After they were removed by the council they were reinstalled again the next morning prompting some interesting comments from the council spokesman.
MacLean said the council had safety concerns with the unsecured plant boxes and potential conflict with other road users.
“Even though we do understand the frustration of the people who are putting in the unofficial bike lane, we’re not happy about the safety aspect of what’s going on,
“Our stance is the plant boxes are creating a hazard for all traffic. They are blocking a whole lot of carparks that are popular with people playing football at Wakefield park. They’re not going to be happy about the situation,” MacLean said.
and in a separate piece, this
Council spokesperson Richard Maclean said putting the boxes onto the road was especially dangerous in areas with heavy traffic.
“We just want to have an adult conversation and say ‘look, we know what you’re frustrations are all about’, but as an organisation that’s in charge of keeping the roads safe, we can’t let this keep going on.”
Do those “adult conversations” including that he’s suggesting that parking for people driving to play football once a week are more important than people’s safety every day – perhaps they would cycle to football if it was safer to do so.
Do those conversations also include that Wellington’s parking policy, adopted just last year, puts cycleways as one of their highest priority uses of streetspace with parking as low to lowest priority?
— Leigh Hunt (@leighghunt) May 24, 2021
On the good Wellington good news front, yesterday Wellington Councillors voted to spend $106 million more on cycling that was in their original plans.
Yet again Tamatha Paul is ignoring the need to not actually do things in local government, appears to be set on undermining the entire system https://t.co/JsbifflwTy
— Hayden Donnell (@HaydenDonnell) May 27, 2021
It’s great they’re funding more cycling and hopefully they can actually deliver on that, unlikely Auckland Transport seems capable of.
Last Friday the new 4.5km long cycleway alongside the Southern Motorway between Takanini and Papakura finally opened, over a year and a half after the additional motorway lanes were opened.
It’s certainly a useful new link and will be extended another 4km further south as part of the project to widen the motorway to Drury. Hopefully it can also be extended north, including upgrading the existing bike lanes on Gt South Rd.
We could do with some of these traffic lights
How about this for the city centre and Dominion Rd.
If you really want streetcars/trams to drastically transform transport in your city, you need to do what they did in the centre of #Strasbourg: drastically limit cars. #France pic.twitter.com/okQBVgMxmZ
— Taras Grescoe (@grescoe) May 26, 2021
Have a good weekend.