Header image: Discourses of Climate Delay, by Leonard Chemineau

Welcome to the middle of Hereturikōkā (August), and here’s our weekly roundup.

This week’s roundup has been written in the shadow of the IPCC report that came out on Monday night, and the ways in which we are and are not responding to its challenge. Do add your thoughts in the comments.

You’ve probably read heaps about the IPCC report already this week – but in case you’re looking for a good summary, Bronwyn Hayward, who’s one of the report’s many contributing authors, gave a good interview on RNZ on Tuesday.

The Emissions Trading Scheme alone is not enough

And to add to the theme of ‘act now’, have a read of this piece by Climate Comissioner Catherin Leining, explaining why the emissions trading scheme alone won’t be enough to take us into a low-emissions future. She highlights the limits of the ETS:

The ETS is a blunt instrument. It incentivises emission reductions when doing so is profitable – regardless of other consequences to society, the economy and the environment.

Those who can afford rising emission prices will force change on others who are less able to pay, potentially to the point where well-being is threatened.

And points out that without being nested within a wider, more complex set of regulations, the ETS would put us at risk of creating or inheriting other environmental problems:

It leaves us vulnerable to becoming the dumping ground for the world’s remaining petrol cars and to increasing traffic congestion.

It rewards the fastest and cheapest forestry removals regardless of impacts on biodiversity, landscapes and communities.

Local Government unprepared for impacts of climate change

Over at Newsroom (paywalled) Mark Daalder reports on a study that found that local government entities are woefully under-prepared for the effects of climate change.

…more than half of government departments, councils, state services (including state-owned enterprises, Crown entities and public finance companies) and council-controlled organisations reported they had “limited or no understanding of \[their\] vulnerability to climate change impacts”.

The article notes that climate change was first raised in the New Zealand parliament 35 years ago.

It’s pretty obvious that climate change is not being included as a serious consideration in local government decisions about planning and infrastructure. This is perhaps not surprising when we consider that, as described in yesterday’s post, a collection of small-yet-important  tactical safety projects in Auckland are ‘funded only by taking budget from an existing emissions reductions project with a long term commitment.’

And how will Auckland  meet these  challenges?

But perhaps some encouraging work is starting? Members of the AT Board Wayne Donnelly and Abbie Reynolds, along with Council and Auckland Transport officers presented the draft approach and governance structure for the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP – great acronym) and the Councillors discussed different options, including how many members should be on the committee.
Videos of the item at the meeting are here and here.

The general tone of the meeting was that a drastic scale of change was required in Auckland’s transport sector over the next decade. This follows the recently-released Regional Land Transport Plan, which failed to reduce emissions because it simply assumed people will be driving in 2031 as much as they are now, per person, and failed to harness many modeshift and travel reduction techniques.

As Todd Niall reported on Stuff:

The committee on Thursday was told Auckland’s emissions profile is very different to the rest of Aotearoa, with road transport, not agriculture, the biggest contributor – accounting for 38.5 per cent.

Donnelly said not everything would require high cost: “We already have a lot of infrastructure for storing and driving cars, so there is an opportunity for conversion.”

Auckland Council plans to release the draft TERP in mid-2022 but there’ll probably be plenty of engagement with stakeholders before then.

Bigger cars, higher emissions

It’s striking how much coverage there has been about private vehicles recently. This story at RNZ underscores the growing narrative about our new-found love of big vehicles. The rapid increase in size and weight of the cars on our roads has led to an inevitable growth in emissions from private transport.

In the last five years, private transport emissions have grown much faster than dairy and manufacturing sector emissions.

Mt Messenger – a Very Big Road for very few cars

Here’s a video of the new Mt Messenger highway. You might have read about Waka Kōtahi attempting fill in native bats’ roosts to force them to relocate out of the way of the works site.

The expected cost of this project has increased to $280m for an average vehicle count of 2500 per day.

Transmission gully’s race to the finish line

And while we’re on the topic of Very Big Roads, parties involved in the beleagured Transmission Gully project (built at a cost of $1.25 billion) are already lining up to figure out who’s to blame if the road doesn’t open as planned at the end of September.

Have we had enough of Very Big Roads yet?

As mentioned above, during the draft TERP presentation it was noted that – We already have a lot of infrastructure for storing and driving cars, so there is an opportunity for conversion.”

The big challenge seems to be one of courage – courage to transform the disproportionate amount of square metres in our roads and streets that is used for the storage and movement of cars into something better for us and better for the planet.

Public transport is king at the ‘greatest place on earth’

Interesting to note that public transport is an integral part of this holiday destination: check out the transit map for Disneyworld. Downthread, the tweet author asks: ‘What makes people prefer taking the bus on vacation versus in their day-to-day lives?’ Good question.

New York Open Streets

With the potential of further lockdowns still very real as we wobble our way into a post-Covid-19 world, there’s still time to use Covid-19 as a way of experimenting with open streets, play streets, car-free streets, and low-traffic neighbourhoods.

Many cities around the world responded to Covid-19 by rapidly and efficiently transforming their streets so that people had more safe space  outsidte. The New York Times has a story about an Open Street in Queens, New York City which is the city’s most celebrated example of the  strategy, although it’s not without negative effects on the surrounding neighbourhood.

A Parisian summer on two wheels

Paris definitely didn’t have this many people on bikes when I was there in 2019, during a public transport workers’ strike. Change – it can happen fast.

Solved: the Capital Gains mystery

It turns out that Capital Gains is actually a physical particle  that grows without warning over unsuspecting houses. No cure is as yet known. Read more about the research being done on this pervasive phenomena over at The Civilian.

CRL Breakthrough

Workers on the City Rail Link had a breakthrough last week connecting the station excavation being dug down from the surface to the mined platform tunnels at the Mercury Lane end of the station.

Meanwhile the TBM is now about 200m in and expected to arrive at the Karangahape Rd station in about a month.

Discourses of climate delay

To round out by returning to the theme of the week, here’s a helpful illustration of the kinds of arguments for inaction that you might be hearing at the moment. Keep an eye out for these nefarious figures in your organisations, local and central government groups, agencies, and communities. Challenge them at every turn.

Discourses of Climate Delay, by Leonard Chemineau

Have a good weekend, and see you next week.

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    1. Yes! And perhaps the foot draggers at AT will read that important statement from their Deputy Chair here?

      Roadspace repurposing is your job now traffic engineers, not expansion.

      “We already have a lot of infrastructure for storing and driving cars, so there is an opportunity for conversion.”

  1. How does the ETS leave us vulnerable to being a dumping ground for petrol cars? Or how does leave us more vulnerable than not having it?

    1. It doesn’t. The Climate Commission is part of the new gravy train where people get well paid appointments. They then need to try and justify why everything they did before was crap and what they are doing now is necessary. If the Commission doesn’t get to make rules outside of the ETS then they would have no purpose. We can pretty much ignore them.

      1. Many people said at the time that our old climate strategy was crap, but they were overruled by Joyce and others. It’s true that the Commission doesn’t get to decide anything, but most people think that is sound and that the detailed advice and commentary that they provide improves the quality of public debate and of government decision making.

    2. Because the impact of the ETS is relatively small on cars compared to other sectors. ($50/t CO2 = 10c/litre on petrol). Transitioning to a lower-emission fleet using only the ETS would need a very, very high carbon price which would be damaging to other sectors. In fact this is still a risk in the present model: if we bump up against the falling cap, prices will rise, which could damage industry while still not providing enough incentive to cut transport emissions.

      The hope is that the clean car standard + feebate will avoid this but that remains to be seen. There is an article in Stuff on how industry + ministry tried to delay these but were essentially overruled by Cabinet.

      1. Aren’t we meant to be damaging sectors, or sector players that insist on using excessive amounts of carbon? Isn’t that the whole goal? As to the carbon price cap, I feel like that is a fairly easily remedied design flaw.

        1. The ETS and freebate / “ute tax” are great examples of crap neoliberal solutions that do very little to drive change.

          If you want people to buy electric vehicles, ban petrol and diesel vehicles from a certain date or at least place limits on how many can be imported. If you want particular types of industry to emit less CO2, place maximum thresholds on what they can emit and prosecute them for breaches.

          Just grow a pair and make hard rules. Setting up financial incentives / disincentives and hoping the market will magically do your job for you is gutless, weak and ineffective.

      2. Robert
        If we look at international figures we see that feebate schemes make only a small change to car purchases.
        Even Norway with huge taxes on ICE cars, plus a range of other incentives to EV drivers, have only recently been able to achieve EV purchases at a level between 60 and 70% of total sales.
        It is questionable whether feebates are the best way to achieve car emissions reductions. They certainly don’t eliminate the huge carbon cost of building the vehicle.

        1. That’s a good point. On the other hand, efficiency standards AND feebates are now working well in many European countries. I think once the government decided to go along with industry wishes to reduce the fines for not complying with efficiency standards, it is likely that the standards would not have worked by themselves. Adding the feebate is a bit like increasing the cost of non-compliance. Plus, getting either of the schemes through in the face of powerful industry opposition was no mean feat. The MIA (but not the VIA, used importers) now supports both schemes.

          The fines don’t kick in until 2023 so at least we will have 12-18 months of the feebate to get things started.

  2. That Paris video was amazing! Huuuuge uptake in cycling and scootering. I wonder if the growth has come from people not using their cars so much, or is it more from people not using le Metro?

    And a prediction for the success of the Transmission Gully highway when it opens: it will whisk cars away from the capital in the afternoon quite successfully, but the morning traffic jams will get worse. Its just going to hit the existing pinch point at Johnsonville/Ngauranga and back up from there. More people will leave for work later as the road is ‘faster’ so they will all arrive at the existing traffic jam at the same time – bound to be a howling failure…. The question for the residents of Pukerua on the existing SH1 route though, is: will all the traffic fall away or will they be left just with the trucks? It’s rumoured that as the new Saddle Road on Transmission Gully is as steep as Ngauranga Gorge, but three times longer, that many truckers will chose not to take the new road, but stick with the old coastal route. Time will tell…

    1. Tangential to your comment about Paris. In my opinion good cycling infrastructure could save us a lot of money. Paris, london etc have built incredibly dense metro networks (at huge expense) so that the last mile and that 1-5km trip range is covered by the metro + walking. I think we could skip over this phase, save a lot of cost, and have a better system, by having great first and last mile cycling infrastructure, and building systems with longer station spacings and faster journey times.

      1. Where does the evidence for longer station spacings come from? I suggest that it is the contrary. New systems seem to be built to attract great walk up from closely spaced stations.
        While bikes might be a great option for first and last mile on a commute, at the start and on the return, they have no relevance when you disembark at any other place.
        The current AT plan to reduce just seems another part of ATs poor understanding of public transport.
        Buses run slowly mostly because they get stuck in traffic and not that they let 3 or 4 people off every 750m or so.

        1. You can read this if you’re interested.

          I agree mostly with having short station spacings on bus routes, and even surface level light rail. The impact of a stop when you’re going 30 or 50km/hr is pretty low, and the stations / stops are cheap. And in the city centre stops should be close because it shortens peoples trip times.

          But on any decent heavy rail routes, and especially if we built any new tunnelled or elevated routes (say light metro) in suburban areas then we could have big savings on travel time and especially construction costs by having less stations and great bike infrastructure.

          Good bike share models exist to partially fill the away from home trip market, but the more important solution is the privately owned bike you store at the destination station. Again this wouldn’t work great in the downtown areas, but say Manukau, you would have a huge catchment with a 10 or 15 minute bike, and it’s feasible to build enough storage for this kind of thing to work.

  3. Also, seems weird for the climate commission to be concerned about congestion given how heavily they were pushing EVs in their advice.

    1. Because emissions from congestion need to be reduced now, while a complete switch to EVs will take decades.
      The CCC did reduce reliance on EVs in response to submissions. But however many cars are left they still need to be electric.

  4. I never understand why most of the local authorities is not very proactive in alternative form of mobility transport ie e-scooters, e-bikes, bikes, trains and buses.

    If Paris, London, Barcelona and many other cities around the world can transform the city from a car dependent society into a mass mobility society in a few months to a few years. Why not us?

    1. Compared to Auckland those foreign cities have greater autonomy from central government (more freedom to impose taxes, regulation and deviate from national standards) and more accountability to the electorate for transport decision making (more decisions are made by those who are elected rather than faceless bureaucrats). Auckland is held back by most transport decisions (both regulation and funding) being made in Wellington by people who don’t understand Auckland’s needs.

      1. This answer is very appealing.
        We like to pretend that the councils have autonomy and are failing because they are inherently bad in NZ. But they have been set up to fail, acting as a dumping ground for issues that central government don’t want to deal with, with not enough resources. They also have very limited mechanisms to collect revenue, to the point where Auckland’s regional fuel tax was axed by the previous government. Instead raising nationwide fuel taxes, handled centrally, so they could divvy it out politically.

        Now AT is certainly no saint, but I do think we would have better outcomes if way more of the transport funding to be spent in the region was handled by AT. Instead of any project over a certain size getting whisked away by central government to make themselves look like Santa coming in bringing all the gifts while the local authorities would never be able to handle it. All while totally bungling it. Light rail is the most prominent example.

        I like to think AT wouldn’t be so committed to motorway projects that have extremely poor business cases. But maybe I’m mistaken

        1. I will add maybe it wouldn’t be such a great idea given the instability of local elections. While Goff has been stable all it would take is one crackpot saying the right things to the media, motivating a subset of the population, and the abysmal 35% turnout last time (trending down from 51% 9 years earlier) could really do some long term damage to the city.

        2. Do local government elections get poor turnout because few people have faith in the ability of local government to influence anything? If local government had more influence would it attract higher quality candidates? If local government had more influence and was better resourced, would it trend towards becoming more competent?

          It looks like a chicken and egg problem to me.

    2. I think it is probably because these cities are much more high-density, and less car reliant. Many of those active in local body affairs in NZ are older people who are used to driving everywhere, not keen on modern or Maori art on streets, and not keen on cultural change. There seems to have been greatest support for new cycle lanes in cities such as Palmerston North, where cycling was already reasonably strong. People in the inner city are not very politically moblised, especially for local government politics, but are potentially the people most in favour of a less car dependent society. Hence increasing the density of inner city suburbs, and of suburbs around railway stations, may be the best way of increasing support for these measures.

    1. I liked this bit “Everyone agrees with the tactical urbanists when they’re in their tight Twitter bubbles and on the Greater Auckland blog, but everyday ratepayers and voters are more focused on how long it takes to drive the kids to school and whether they can park in their driveway.”- Bernard Hickey

      1. Even so Miffy, I have been quite surprised at the naivity of some politicians who think the Twitter group think/blog echo chambers opinions represent most people when they don’t. The debacle blocking off Arthur St was proof of that.

        Michael Wood rushing out with the 3/4 billion dollar bike bridge announcement from nowhere in response to the bike invasion of the Harbour Bridge was also clear evidence of that. He got publicly burned and now looks like a goose but in this current feckless poll driven government, he’s not alone!

        Meanwhile more businesses fold in Albert St from the CRL and he and AC shrug their shoulders at something they could help with if they cared!

  5. In terms of the CRL project, I’m finding their comms effort rubbish:
    – The video of the breakthrough appeared on their YouTube channel with no explanation or the standard wrap around branding. Without the wrap around, it could be a breakthrough of something else entirely and without some onscreen comments as to what it is, I didn’t understand why it was so significant.
    – The Tunnel Boring progress page hasn’t updated the distance in about a week, so it’s broken, is it stopped or do they need to manually update the page when they remember. I was expecting a real time progress, so that I could check daily to see a number increasing, albeit slowly. Without a machine status, I have no idea of whether things are progressing. This is the page I would expect that project members would be looking at to gauge progress, but I’m guessing they use something else.

    If I’m a transit enthusiast and I question these outputs, what are non-enthusiasts saying?

    1. They said in one of their announcements that that page will only be updated every few weeks (I think 2 weeks) I presume manually. It really gives the impression that its live, but its certainly not.

      I also read somewhere that they have to get all the footage they release approved, and it takes a week or 2. Pretty annoying.

        1. Thing is Nik, that when you’re building actual stuff, it’s the building of it that’s important.
          Not keeping people on the internet up to date.

    2. I inquired about updates to the distance traveled they say it gets updated every fortnight as to not interfere with the actual dig,

  6. “Mt Messenger – a Very Big Road for very few cars”

    lol, one lane each way is a “very big road”, does it need to be one lane in total with stop go control to be classed as a “normal” road. Or does a “normal” road have no traffic lanes these days?

    1. Its big. Big budget, its long, includes a tunnel, big cuts, big fills. It was only 13 years ago that: At the time, the Northern Gateway Toll Road project was the largest capital cost roading project ever undertaken in New Zealand and was valued at $350 million.

      The bypass is significantly wider than a standard NZ state highway alignment, even only being one lane each way. (Which is good, the room is needed for wire ropes etc.)
      But a tiny little BCR: 0.5 before its added another 100 million in cost. https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/projects/awakino-gorge-to-mt-messenger-programme/mt-messenger-bypass/rma-applications/technical-reports/tr-2-traffic-and-transport-assessment.pdf

      1. Although pest eradication for the greater good of bush is good, why should a roading project need to include payment in perpetuatity for almost 4000 hectares or this eradication as part of their budget.

        1. Because a roading project is a massive contribution to climate change and thus to biodiversity loss. It should also have to contribute to the health budget due to the negative impact it has on health.

    2. With regard to Mt Messenger, I wonder how many of those 2500 vehicles per day are trucks carrying freight that previously went via the Stratford – Okahukura rail line before, under Steven Joyce’s watch it was closed. The alternative rail route can never competitive timewise. Good money for the truckies closing the rail line and now a new bypass is “required”.

      1. I used to watch the nightly train to New Plymouth go through Papatoetoe about 8 pm with about 10 wagons carrying mainly freight from the likes of Mainfreight, Daily Freightways and the railways own small lots business in the 1990’s. Maybe there were more wagons picked up at Hamilton. Probably the wagons came back mostly empty. There was also a train to Rotorua probably a bit shorter. Even then containers from Taranaki to Tauranga was a thing. They probably go via the main trunk now but the time sensitive stuff travels on road. Still it probably could be done again when and if Kiwirail reopens the line and gets the rest of the network back up to speed. You would have to think there would be more freight available now.

        1. Will this line ever be reopened? The rail bridge over SH4 near Ongarue Back Rd. was demolished some years ago with little notification. I wonder if, like the washout on the old Gisborne line, it will just be used as an excuse to simply abandon the whole track to Stratford.

  7. Govt and councils need to move quickly to electrify public transport. Not only to reduce emissions but as an insurance against high fuel costs and lack of supply. There is a section of the public who never use public transport however they may change if they have no option also if it becomes increasingly obvious that climate change is real and it is causing havoc. Then we will be ready for them with a green solution. I would aim for all the trains, buses and ferries to be converted to electric propulsion by the end of the decade. Presumably electric will be cheaper to run and there is also foreign exchange savings through not having to purchase oil.

    1. It is frustrating indeed and the local and national authorities need a big reset button and get on with it. This is a pressing siutation and yet they have done nothing in the last 20 years.

    2. I attended a webinar this morning in which I learnt that Rotterdam gave itself 5 years for all the buses to be electric, but that cities in China have done it in 6 months.

      1. An article in the NZ Herald explaining how Auckland’s fleet of ferries are to be electrified. Also an interview with the Toyota New Zealand on where they are going with electrified cars and another on why we need to spend a billion dollars on Mill road. Paywalled of course but probably worth splashing out on a print version today. Fullers seem to be all in on electric and diesel hybrid ferries which will be able to be converted to hydrogen in the near future. Also the much quoted 4 out of 10 top brands for new cars are double cabbed utes is a bit misleading because of the lack of competition in the ute space. So other segments of the market may have 10 or 20 different brands while the utes have only 5.

  8. For the 3,765th time… Why does AT not follow it’s own policy when it comes to Parking?
    The demand responsive parking model is sound. But Town centre after town centre doesnt have paid parking and they have crazy amounts of traffic and congestion. You can build all the shiny PT you want but until you start to remove the subsidy from the driver by charging for parking, you’ll only get so far.

    $1 minimum for all onstreet parking in all town centres.

    Council then needs to come to the party with a parking levy.

    Do it now… Parking is a climate/public health/equity issue, not a political one.

    1. I agree. Demand responsive pricing means there is always a space for me. I went into the AT parking building on Fanshawe St a few weeks ago for the first time ever. There were no spaces available just row upon row of empty reserved spaces. AT seems to have leased everything they can. AT doesn’t seem to understand their own purpose.

    2. Yep couldn’t agree more. Everyone is so fixated on the big PT/Active projects but they forget about the fact that driving is a competing mode.

      The resultant emissions of AT not implementing their Parking Policy would be several magnitudes greater than the Mill Road lawsuit…. Just saying…

      It’s al about people thinking twice before jumping in their car to make a 2km trip to get a bottle of milk and a packet of Tim Tams.

      1. Solomona, sounds like a good case for you to take. Have you approached Lawyers for Climate Action? Good if this important duty can be shared.

    3. All excellent points made about demand responsive parking. AT’s research has found that the greatest deterrent to driving is the cost of parking and yet they do nothing.
      I challenged AT to the Ombudsman that they had wrongly applied the policy and his conclusion was that they were not bound as it was only a policy.

      Clearly the AT leadership (and I use that word in its broadest sense) has no appetite to apply it. When I hear the Mayor say that there are no levers that Council can pull at a local level, it is just so ingenuous.

      Apply changes Auckland wide so there is equity and so that local board members can’t complain that their area is disadvantaged. $1 an hour seems a great starting point, but make it per hour or part thereof. This will discourage the drive to the dairy and it will make parking far more easy to enforce because if someone has parked they need to pay.

      Then, once AT have realised there is way too many parks repurpose them for trees, rain gardens and seating outside restaurants.

      This is a climate emergency and our leadership should behave accordingly.

  9. Apparently 4 million tonnes of wood waste is left on the forest floor each year after harvesting. Collect it all up rail it to Huntly to burn and produce electricity in winter or dry years. Better than importing Indonesian coal.

  10. So how about a circular economy. Instead of pumping nutrient rich water from the Mangere treatment plant into the harbour use it to irrigate Hemp crops. It could be done hydroponically if we are worried about polluting runoff even as a vertical farm although that may require artificial lighting. Hemp is meant to be the miracle crop with many uses and it could be turned into bio char or burnt as a fuel. And it is sucking co2 from the atmosphere.

  11. I know that NZ,s emissions are a drop in a bucket compared to the rest of the world,and “whataboutism” is probably rife here. Also hard to get change when coal is being burnt for electricity, “why should l stop driving when power generators do that”.
    But every journey starts with a step, and to do nothing,adds to the health/well being concerns of future generations . Don’t we owe them a future, the road/airport builders seem to think they are future proofing, l wish they would reconsider.

    1. Your comment is honest, nothing we do will make any difference, sadly but also realistically. It may also explain the minimal progress and the lack of alternatives in NZ and what seems like a vacuum of leadership is really just surrendering to the inevitable.

        1. China Cheats – that’s the point. We were supposed to be CFC free by now but then China still uses a lot and we still have a hole in the ozone layer.

          The CCP is committing genocide right now and you think they care about how much carbon we use?

  12. Catherine Leining’s piece is excellent. The ETS has certainly improved and it will be amended again this year, but it is also an emerging political football in that some claim that it “solves” emissions for us. I can imagine the National Party claiming that we don’t need any government action at all apart from the ETS (note – I haven’t seen them say this yet, it’s hard to tell what their actual climate policy is).

    The falling cap on emissions is definitely a help, but it remains to be seen whether or how it will work in practice.

    The same day the IPCC report was announced, Auckland Airport announced a new $1 billion domestic terminal. Compare the existing domestic terminal to the existing intercity bus depot. AA should instead be working out how to progressively and substantially reduce aviation emissions.

    1. Perhaps now James Shaw has reduced his amount of air travel because of Covid.

      Having previously been the MP who has clocked up the highest amount of international air travel is not a good look for an MP of a so-called green party.

      More a case of: Do as I say, not as I do for him.

  13. Random light rail point.
    Why not Symonds street & Anzac ave instead of queen street. It would:
    Distribute rapid transit stations more evenly throughout the city centre & not essentially duplicate CRL in that area.
    Provide better access to the universities, they’re a huge destination.
    It seems like a waste to go down Queen street.

    You could add a solid interchange station between the western line and light rail, that would provide more direct access to Aotea. Britomart and K-road would both either be on this light rail route, or be very close.

    1. Queen St is better because it is more central to the CBD so has a better walking catchment, whereas Symonds St is on the edge of the CBD.

      Eventually there should be more than one light rail line running into the CBD and Queen St will run out of capacity, at that point Symonds St would be a good candidate for a parallel route.

        1. Cheers for that document.
          As Symonds Street is Auckland’s busiest bus
          corridor and congested in the peak, there are no practical options to redistribute buses and
          construct LRT on Symonds Street first. The Queen Street spine needs to be implemented before
          Symonds Street can go ahead.”

          That’s a reasonable explanation. Perhaps if busses could run mixed with light rail it would be possible, but if that’s a no go then it would be impossible.

    2. “Provide better access to the universities, they’re a huge destination.”

      The aim is to encourage people to switch from driving to PT to active modes. The universities already have a high PT modeshare, so modeshift results for Symonds St LR would be far less impressive than for Queen St LR. What the university students most need for modeshift is a safe connected city-wide cycling network, and for the transit mall plans for Symonds St to happen asap. What the university staff most need for modeshift is giving up their subsidised carparks.

      1. Fair point. Although I will make the point that modeshift isn’t the only goal, its also to improve peoples lives with better transit / mobility.

        The catchment here might be a bit less, but the catchment for queen street is well and truly covered by CRL. Plus depending on the route, the only catchment that the Symonds route would miss is Aotea. Surely a lot of the modeshift provided by light rail will be by improving the route & priority on the isthmus, rather than exactly where it goes in the CBD. Especially if good interchanges are given with heavy rail. Also walking down a bit from Symonds street is more attractive than walking a bit up from Queen.

        Symonds street would also probably be higher capacity and faster, there aren’t that many important intersections, at least compared to queen street

        I agree about the transit boulevard. Apart from the limited details on A4E do you know if any other work has been done studying this?

        1. I’d say there was probably a fair bit of work supporting those details given in A4E.

          The test is what comes out of the Connected Communities programme now. Will they pay attention to the already-widely-consulted upon CCMP, Auckland Plan, etc, or find some handy soundbite from a naysayer in the ConCom process which demands a different approach?

    1. So a few locals control WK’s road strategies? And part of the country’s response to climate change.
      It is indeed a disaster and a sad joke.

  14. “Govt will be equal to latest climate science
    A collective effort involving every sector of the economy, every community, and almost every government agency and their Minister will be needed to avert a climate crisis, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response
    to the release of the latest scientific evidence on global climate change, its impacts and future risks.”

    Well every community apart from Warworth and Minister Woods.

  15. Not sure if this is relevant but I have two big questions on the back of my mind, and I’m not sure this was ever discussed or suggested:
    1 – why the new announced bridge for cycle and walk, includes a upper level for trains or light rail (two ways)? Certainly will help with the climate change and a step close to future plans. 2 – why don’t extend right away the northern bus corridor to at least Silverdale or orewa as the area is experiencing a high growth

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