We’re at the end of the week again. Here’s our roundup.
Fare Free Day
Auckland Transport are hailing their Fare Free day last Saturday as a success.
A combination of free public transport and a sunny day saw Aucklanders take to public transport on Saturday in numbers not seen since before COVID.
Public transport patronage was up 21 per cent on the previous Saturday with 119,518 people taking trips using their AT HOP card. That’s 94 per cent of the number who were travelling on a Saturday before COVID.
Bus trips were up 14 per cent on the previous Saturday, ferry patronage was up 32 per cent and trains a whopping 55 per cent.
Auckland Transport chief Executive Shane Ellison says he is thrilled with the response, “Saturday was a great success and we’re pleased Aucklanders got on board and took advantage.
“The biggest winner on the day was the Hobsonville/Beach Haven ferry services. We saw a jump of more than 600 per cent in passenger numbers compared to recent Saturdays, that’s fantastic.”
It’s always hard getting exact numbers on these days as I’ve heard some bus drivers didn’t even turn the HOP machines on, so the actual number of users may have been higher. Even so, and with a slight grinchy angle, it’s a little disappointing we couldn’t even surpass pre-COVID levels.
Meadowbank to Kohimarama Connections
Construction of the Eastern Path is currently well underway and due for completion in the middle of next year.
The NW cycleway has shown the importance of improving connections to paths like this and Auckland Transport are now consulting on two new connections to it.
The connection from John Rymer Place is more advanced in design and uses a Watercare property at the end of the street to access the valley. They’re still working on the designs for the Gowing Dr connection and it will require a bridge or underpass to cross the tracks.
These connections will certainly help improve connection to the path and across the valley but they don’t come cheap. Auckland Transports new RLTP includes $22.1 million in funding for them.
There’s a bit more information about the projects and the consultation on AT’s website and that includes dates for a couple of public feedback events if you’re interested.
Last week Stats NZ released the building consent numbers for May and once again we’re seeing new records set. In total 1,708 dwellings were consented, making May the fourth highest month recorded. This also meant now nine of the top twelve months have occurred in the last 12 months with total consents reaching 18,565.
Of those more than 18k consents, 45% are now townhouses, 36% are single houses and 15% are apartments.
Rail Network Improvement Plan
Yesterday the government and Kiwirail released the Rail Network Improvement Plan.
The Government is fulfilling its commitment to bring New Zealand’s rail network back up to scratch and support the economic recovery, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.
KiwiRail’s inaugural Rail Network Investment Programme (RNIP) was released today which details renewals and upgrades on the rail network over the next three years.
The Programme includes:
- Fully replacing 20 bridges around the country and improving around 25 more
- Replacing more than 200km of rail sleepers
- Replacing more than 130km of tracks
- Adding active controls (barrier arms, lights/bells) to 3 level crossings and making improvements to 25 more through renewals
- Upgrading signals on the Auckland metro network, a new Auckland train control centre and an additional power supply into the network, to support increased train frequency to come with the
- City Rail Link
- Investing in a business case for further network improvements across Wellington, including looking at potentially extending electrification north of Waikanae to Levin and beyond.
The plan can be found here.
As a summary of what it means for Auckland
- Signals upgrades on the Auckland metro network, a new Auckland rail management centre (train control) and an additional traction feed (power supply) to support City Rail Link
- Resilience works on two bridges (104 and 102, both north of Helensville)
- 6km of re-railing, 2km of re-sleepering and 5 turnout replacements across the regional and metro lines
- More than 2km of re-railing and re-sleepering work, and 12 turnout replacements within KiwiRail freight yards
- Track renewals on the Mission Bush spur line (south of Paerata) – the rail line to Glenbrook steel mill
- The Government has already made significant investment in the Auckland network with NZUP rail projects (3rd Main, P2P electrification, 3 new Southern Stations), and other major work across the network to support the City Rail Link
Meanwhile for Wellington among other things it includes investigating extending commuter services to Levin.
June was a bad month for deaths on our roads, with 38 people tragically losing their lives. The last time (equal) it was this high was 2007.
The cost of road deaths and injuries
The Ministry of Transport has updated its calculations of what a road crash (whether minor, serious, or fatal) costs us as a society. Of course, life and wellbeing is priceless, and every death causes incalculable trauma. But it’s powerful to know what this unsafe system is costing us, which is of course just one part of the picture (add in climate and health costs), and is compounded by every day of delay.
Some highlights, or lowlights really:
Social costs measures the total cost of road crashes to the nation, including loss of life and life quality, loss of productivity, medical, legal, court and vehicle damage costs.
The total social cost of motor vehicle fatal and injury crashes in 2019 is estimated at approximately $4.6 billion.
Allowing for non-reported cases of injuries from road crashes, the updated average social cost is estimated at $839,000 per reported serious injury and $79,000 per reported minor injury. These estimates are useful for assessing interventions (e.g. seat belt wearing initiatives) that aim to reduce the number of injuries but not crashes. They are also useful for establishing the social cost of a specific crash considering the number of injuries sustained in that crash.
In per-crash terms, the updated average social cost is estimated at $5.30 million per fatal crash, $987,000 per reported serious crash and $100,000 per reported minor crash. These estimates are useful for assessing interventions (e.g. speed management interventions) that aim to reduce the number of crashes and the associated injuries.
Another way to use this data is to look at what a city pays (or loses) every time there’s a crash. Someone did the maths on what Auckland’s crashes last year alone amounted to. It’s uncannily close to the cost of a certain piece of infrastructure that some people seemed to think was a “waste” of public money. Join the dots, folks.
Based on those figures, transport related DSI in Auckland for 2020 cost us collectively $678,743,000.
Not including minor injuries. Absolute madness. @TaxpayersUnion when will you be outraged by this?
— CriticalMassAKL (@CriticalMassAKL) July 5, 2021
Galway St short-term parking consultation
Feedback closes today, Friday 9 July on a plan for some short-term (P15) parking on Galway Street, to allow for pick-up and drop off of hotel guests at Hotel Britomart. AT plans to:
Implement P15 (maximum 15 minutes) parking restrictions on a 12-metre stretch of Galway Street directly in front of The Hotel Britomart. This would improve access for hotel guests by providing a location where they can park short-term whilst checking in or out of the hotel.
Will this be an improvement on the current situation, which is nominally a shared space with No Stopping/ 5min Loading Zone Only between 11am and 6pm… but appears to function a 24/7 parking free-for-all, going by regular social media comments.
Depends on enforcement, really.
— Chris DARBY (@DarbyatCouncil) June 26, 2021
Finally, a look at Christchurch 60 years ago.
Wow! ChCh 1952. 'Second only to Copenhagen' they reckon. 'Cause NZer's don't ride bikes'. Look at them taking that lane, too. Mike Hosking would have a stroke. Lets reclaim our heritage and be biking world leaders again. Bring back the bike! Thanks @ScottMainlander pic.twitter.com/0RxSFluPx1
— Dr Kirsty Wild (@KirstyWildNZ) July 8, 2021
Have a good weekend.