Nearly the end of January but it’s definitely still summer. We hope our readers have slipped in a few cheeky middle-of-the-work-day swims this week.

*** Disclaimer in case an announcement about a certain rapid transit project happens to come out on Friday: this post was written Thursday evening and is therefore unable to comment!

Cover image – a cycle lane in Manila, Philippines. Source: Inquirer.

The week in Greater Auckland

  • Monday’s post was a guest post by David Slack, republished with permission from his newsletter, about why cars are not our future.
  • On Tuesday, Heidi followed up last week’s post (Turning the Waka Around) with a dive into safety rhetoric and action at Waka Kotahi.
  • In Wednesday’s post, Matt outlined what he and Greater Auckland will be looking out for in any forthcoming light rail announcements.
  • Yesterday, the office of the Minister for Transport kindly gave us permission to republish an op-ed by the minister about road safety, which was originally published behind a paywall on The Herald.

The lane is liberated again (briefly)

Did any GA readers take part in the Auckland Marathon in the weekend? Incredible timing, by the way. Social media was alive with top-of-the bridge photos and videos on a truly spectacular Tāmaki day.

The Auckland Marathon is good evidence that actually there are ways to open a portion of the bridge for walkers, runners, cyclists, scooters and other non-car wheel-ers.

Twitter user Nicholas Lee connected the dots between the announcement of the Omicron community outbreak and the marathon (as well as the ongoing ferry staffing issues).

Given the shift to Red and likely impact on ferries and public transport. I think it is a good case for an emergency allocation of a lane to active modes.

Efeso Collins is running for Mayor of Auckland

The Manukau Ward Councillor used The Spinoff to announce his intention to run for Mayor of Auckland in this year’s local body elections. We’ve highlighted Collins’ focus on transport and urban issues here in the past, and are looking forward to hearing more about his aspirations for the city. He points directly to these questions in the article:

Public transport, urban spaces, housing – all are priorities Collins points to, with climate change arching across all of it. Collins questions whether Auckland Transport bosses fully grasp commuters’ realities. He says he’d like to see a bigger focus on decentralised hubs. And he’d like public transport to be fare-free.

Progress on the Karangahape Road station

Here’s some really incredible footage of the Karangahape Road Station build, from 25+ metres under Mercury Lane. I was kind of blown away by the plastic tube conveyor belt thingy that carries all the excavated material out of the station, (minute 1:28). Hang in there until 2:20 and you’ll see a render of what will be the longest escalator in New Zealand!

Good ideas corner: solving potential truck driver shortages

We’ve all heard the stories of Omicron-induced absenteeism and subsequent breakdown of public services from overseas. Could rail freight be stepped up to make the domestic shipping supply chain more resilient?

‘The Week in Flooding’ is here to stay. How will infrastructure planning respond?

It’s probably been kinda nice to have a break from the semi-regular and rather depressing roundup feature ‘The Week in Flooding’. We’ll make up for that this week by sharing this essay, published on Medium, about how dramatically the incidence of extreme weather events, particularly flooding, is increasing, and what that means for the planning and design of big infrastructure projects.

Underground rail systems — whether light, heavy, urban, high-speed, or conventional — are particularly vulnerable to flooding. I’ve seen them flooded or near-flooded in the US, China, and Europe. This is an area where we need much better mitigation going forward, or the costs and disruptions will be prohibitive, with people being unable to get around in some of the most densely populated and economically most important areas of the planet, as happened when Hurricane Sandy struck New York City in 2012 and corrosive salt water flooded subway stations and tunnels from floor to ceiling, literally halting the city in its tracks and causing damages of billions of dollars.

Sydney’s (pandemic) summer streets

Sydney has a ‘community recovery plan’ all about giving streets back to people. A series of one-day Summer Streets events are being held across the city in which different neighbourhood high streets are closed to cars, to create little local street festivals.

Our aim is to celebrate local neighbourhoods and come together. For local businesses, it’s an opportunity to deliver in-store activations to help drive customers and patrons into their venues, and potentially extend trading onto footpaths and outdoor settings, subject to outdoor space approval by the City of Sydney.

It looks like plenty of people have been out enjoying the opportunity to enjoy summer in their community, locally, and safely outdoors. Here’s a  buzzing Darlinghurst Road, in Kings Cross:

Darlinghurst Road, Sydney Summer Streets event. Via Twitter

England’s first walking and cycling commissioner

Forbes reports that Chris Boardman will be England’s new walking and cycling commissioner, an exciting – and powerful – new role. The position will help to revive a national government agency focused on active travel, that apportions a 2.7b pound cycling budget. Boardman is a former Olympic cycling champion, and his previous position was as Greater Manchester’s first transport commissioner.

In a statement, Boardman said: “The positive effects of high levels of cycling and walking are clearly visible in pockets around the country where people have been given easy and safe alternatives to driving.”

He added: “The time has come to enable the whole nation to travel easily and safely around their neighbourhoods without feeling compelled to rely on cars.

The Philippines knows how to build cycling infrastructure fast and at scale

We were thrilled to stumble across this cool little story this week. The Philippines has build over 500km of bike lanes in a year, using simple, quick techniques to reallocate existing road space. The proliferation of bike lanes was a direct reponse to the covid-19 pandemic, which forced the shutdown of public transport systems. Commuters turned instead to their bicycles to get around.

[…] scores of commuters who used to rely mostly on public transport turned to cycling as a result of the pandemic. And many stuck to their bike even after mass services resumed. With more and more cyclists converging on main roads, it was necessary for the national government to think about solutions for accommodating the growing number of bikes and ensuring all road users can get around safely.

The cycling network construction was backed by philanthropic funding, and pulled in technical expertise from all over the world to ensure that designs followed best practice safety guidelines.

Within 9 months, the Philippines was able to create almost 500 kilometers of bike lanes along national roads. This multi-sectoral effort went a long way in raising the profile of cycling as a reliable and sustainable form of transport. Importantly, it also empowered and inspired local governments and communities to add on to the new network by building their own bike lanes.

A protected bike lane in Manila is simple, cheap and cheerful.

Barcelona’s Bicibus makes it to San Francisco

Everyone’s talking about the Bicibus, a Barcelona concept that’s made its way to San Francisco. A Bicibus, or bike bus, is a bit like a school bus – but everyone’s on bikes. Taking a safe route through town, the bicibus picks up school students along the way, and the group rides to school in a multi-wheeled convoy, together.

in the context of the pandemic, the Bicibus embodies our desire to come together, to feed off one another, to enjoy one another’s company, to revel in the energy of our collective power. Anyone who has participated in a group bike ride or Critical Mass event knows that when people on bicycles get together we become something greater than the sum of our parts.

A Bicibus underway in Barcelona. Source: Patricia Alvarez @patalgar via Citilab Barcelona

The Barcelona version started with five families, and grew to hundreds of kids on bikes. The San Francisco bike bus used a road opened to people during the pandemic as its safe route to school.

“There were almost 30 people in the bus, and I think the next one will be double or triple,” said Belden, whose 13-year-old son joined the bus. “It’s so positive and fun for everyone. There were two kids who joined the ride, friends of my son, whose parents had meetings, and they were allowed to ride along. They hadn’t ridden their bike to school before, but because it was a bus, they felt safe doing it.”

Meanwhile, our local version, the Pt Chev Bike Train, will soon be rolling into its fourth year trundling kids to school and training them up in confidence and capability, and we hear Bayswater Primary has a bike train chugging along too. Both burbs – like many others – are still waiting on a single properly bike-friendly street, while parents and kids are out there proving the demand. Wouldn’t it be great if this was the year Auckland started to see ‘kidical mass’ for active travel to school?

The Pt Chev bike train making the best of existing infrastructure.

Gentle density for Seattle

Many American cities are seeing the same housing supply and affordabilty problems we are here in Tāmaki Makaurau. This article published at the Sightline Institute details architect Matt Hutchins’ design for a simple, adaptable apartment block that could be applied in Seattle’s suburbs to gently densify the city.

Key moves in the design of ‘The Seattle Six’ are the sacrificing side and front yard setback depth to provide an efficient apartment building footprint with generous backyard space. Suddenly, six families have a home where just one or two did before.

Having a small apartment building that can plug in anywhere, starting in areas the city characterizes as having “low displacement risk” (i.e., most residents have the means to stay in their homes or find other housing nearby), would reduce the pressure on housing in other, less expensive areas. In a city like Seattle that’s adding lots of jobs, building lots of homes is essential—and the Six is a template for every neighborhood to do its part.

Street design and why American roads are so lethal

This is a an excellent and concise explainer relevant to the emphasis we’ve had on safety this week. America has one of the worst road-fatality rates in the world, but there are lots of practical design changes that can make dangerous roads safer.

Kids designing streets in Calgary

This project has echoes of some of the Innovating Streets projects here that got kids involved in reimagining the streets outside their schools. Schoolchildren in Calgary, Canada, came up with playful transformations to make their streets safer and more fun.

Displaying some initiative

This is so nifty: a clever Redditor has built a DIY live display of where AT’s trains are at.

Hey all, Just wanted to share my latest project. It’s a map of the AT Auckland train network with LEDs that show the position of all trains on the network in real time. It is driven by raspberrypi zero and neopixel leds. I’ve completed the main “guts” of it and coding. Now just to create a metal frame and mount it to a wall.

Life hack: a live display of AT train locations. Image via Reddit.

Can we have one of these at every station and/or by our front door, please? (Although, as one wag in the comments notes: “Must’ve been easy to make accurate over Christmas/New Year – just unplug it.”)

A good point…

Hard to argue with this. Image via Twitter.

Travelling vertically in San Sebastian

Let’s finish with a break from the bikes, the trains, the unsafe roads, and the density. In some places, maybe it just makes sense to stick escalators everywhere.

Kia pai tōu wikini roa – have a great long weekend (if you’re in Auckland or Northland), and see you next week.

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      1. Which is funny because despite him trying to claim some credit for national on the busway, really they had zilch to do with it.

    1. I choked a bit as had the misfortune to read that article.

      Some member of the poorly informed public raving about needing more choice by building more of the same (and getting the same result – congestion).

      But Simeon is an MP, shadow minister of transport so must have heard the words ‘induced demand’. Or looked at BCR of somewhere like Mills road at $3.5b and climbing which would make gold plated cycle bridges look like great value.

      It’s just embarrassing for the Herald to publish this unchallenged. Would like to see Simeon called to provide the evidence for ‘Mor Roads’ and asked how helps global climate change (if this individual even understands or believes in AGW).

      It’s a regular reminder that if Labour doesn’t get light rail underway now it could get cancelled for another generation while we spend the money maintaining vast motorway networks.

      I suspect there will be people embedded at WK who are quietly hoping to stall progress on any PT/active mode projects until National are back in and they can resume building bigger roads in their version of the status quo

      1. This is the real danger here Grant B.

        The question isn’t whether this project is perfect, its not. The question is do you think national will deliver better transport outcomes than this? Election cycles are a thing. I would have money on labour being ousted in either the coming election (unlikely) or the one after that.

        Now that Simeon has unequivocally stated they wont spend that money on PT at all…. In my mind this incarnation of the LR project is the only option, and we should pivot to support with amendments.

  1. So good to see this: “Within 9 months, the Philippines was able to create almost 500 kilometers of bike lanes along national roads.”

    Pity about Auckland.

    1. But that image of the Philippines cycle lane with its poles sticking out of concrete blocks is called “simple, cheap and cheerful”. Do not not remember how much we all hated the use of the white poles and then concrete blocks on Queen St.

      And since those blocks with poles don’t look they are necessarily even attached to the road surface how long do you think they would last in NZ before the innovating streets hate mob roll along and rip them all out.

      Better to go a little bit slower and put in a better quality construction for the long term.

      1. Do you have evidence that going more slowly is more robust? That doesn’t match what I’ve seen.

        “We” didn’t mind the white poles and concrete blocks for a temporary installation. That was a small group with vested interests, using the project as an opportunity for disrupting a progressive agenda. And AT and Council’s response as if the group represented the public was distasteful to many people.

        As for the innovating streets hate mob, had AT and Council responded properly in the first instance, there would be little risk now. Those trials pulled out due to aggression could right now be providing safe travel for people avoiding public transport due to the omicron risk.

        AT should have had a finger on the pulse of international transitions in transport, so they would’ve known what to expect, and how to best respond to this minority aggression. Best evidence involves allowing trials to run their course, enforcing as required, and using modern engagement methods including extensive education and deliberative democracy.

        Covid has provided extensive international examples, analysis, reports, conclusions about tactical solutions leading to permanent change. Making change quickly has been shown to be a strength in transition planning. It allows the public to understand benefits quickly so that the next steps can happen and a network effect starts to occur.

        AT and Council’s poor response has meant Aucklanders, current and future, got screwed.

  2. Oh look, the North Shore is now a prime consideration for the Light Rail network, with the North West now an ‘eventually’.

    1. Aside from that,
      Fuck it, Im keen on this solution. I think we should all jump on board supporting it and encourage advocate for some (smaller) changes.
      Dogleg at airport looks like crap.

      Im exceptionally keen for the university station, huge driver of ridership.

      And the tunnel offers more capacity so we can truely build up the isthmus.

      1. We could have done these things with the Auckland Council $5b plan for three routes, or the 2017 proposal which would have bought us two branches and also served the North West.

        Instead we’re spending twice as much, basically leaving the North West to fend for itself with no rapid transit (probably ever) and pushing another part of Auckland that already has a separate, dedicated busway to the front of the queue.

        Can’t back it anymore, sorry. This didn’t get any less Twyford-ish, if anything it’s just gotten stupider. Needs to be called out for what its.

        1. Think in terms of value rather than cost. A $10 billion scheme is far better value than the cheaper AT scheme that didn’t work at all.

        2. No but it is probably better to spend a fortune on something that works rather than half a fortune on something that doesn’t. The AT project was a Dominion Rd distributor system that was then falsely claimed to be a trunk system when they added on the Mangere bit. This one looks like it could be a really good scheme provided you don’t look at the price for too long.

        3. We could have done these things with the Auckland Council $5b plan for three routes, or the 2017 proposal which would have bought us two branches and also served the North West.

          Could we have? Still haven’t seen how realistic that all was. Not that much has been released in terms of plans, engineering reports etc.

          The northwest will get rapid transit, the situation will reach boiling point soonish, and something decent PT based will happen. It’s inevitable in my mind. Whether they plan for it or not, there is no alternative.

          And the north shore crossing will end up as it always does. Loud talk in buildup to an election, a study gets done, a 0.1 – 0.2 BCR project that noone in their right mind would build gets proposed and it gets pushed out. It’s a political football, I would eat my hat if any major rail project goes ahead in there next 20 years.

        4. “The northwest will get rapid transit, the situation will reach boiling point soonish, and something decent PT based will happen. It’s inevitable in my mind. Whether they plan for it or not, there is no alternative.”

          I tend to agree. I think the pop up busway (cough) will be bursting at the seams in no time. Conversion to a full RTN will be forced on WK.

    2. dangling the carrot for the North Shore is smart politics, bringing onboard a large number of National voters who will make National think twice about cancelling it

  3. The video was very interesting. It would be better if Aotea was pronounced correctly – Ah-oh-te-ah. Not Ay-oh-tee-ah.

  4. I will predict now – the light rail line will never be built, at least not in the form announced today. We all know the play book. This plan is a cynically designed gold plated piece of infrastructure whose opponents will now sit back and let be destroyed in the media until the government decided the political heat isn’t worth it and ditches it.

  5. I wonder how much capacity Kiwirail will have to carry extra freight if we have a driver shortage during the omicron wave. Also will the trucking companies get on board and convince their customers to use rail and provide bridging from rail to suppliers and customers. Certainly there are enough empty containers lying around the country but not to sure about wagons.

    1. KiwiRail used to have a hard time finding enough train engineers/drivers at the best of times.

      It didn’t help that some routes meant (literally) taxiing drivers >100km from where they had to park up due to hours worked being at the limit.

      I don’t know why they had trouble getting enough loco engineers. Perhaps the money didn’t cover the 24/7 roster, perhaps being shot at in Huntly was too unappealing…

      1. Takes basically a year to train a train driver from scratch. Capacity to train them within the system is limited too. Have too many trainees at same time and start running out of trains for them to all drive. Then throw in covid

      2. Problem solved, just press a few buttons, padlock the front door and send the train amd send the train on its way sans driver.

  6. I’d like to think Labour are going to go all in on this Light Rail project now. It’s not a small announcement with no detail or support like the ill fated biking bridge, which had bugger all support from anyone of any political stripe. The way they’ve announced this with support from the Mayor seems legit. North Shore is pretty blue territory and I’m sure they will also not want to be left out of this. South Auckland is hugely supportive. Obviously I’m no expert on these things but I would like to see Aucklanders get behind this, perhaps with constructive criticism, not just pessimistic whining (here’s hoping :))

    1. “Yes, please take all of the available transport spend in our region and spend it locking in more transport options for those who already have transport options, and please leave my area a congested nightmare. We never really wanted alternatives to driving anyway. Thank you sir, may I have another?”

      Is that what you had in mind?

      1. The benefit along the proposed corridor is so much higher than the north west. There is the airport and airport industrial, Mangere, Sandringham and Mt Roskill where there is a lot of govt build underway, Onehunga with Panuku building, Mt Eden (incl Eden park), and a few others like Hillsborough and Mangere Bridge. The NW is just really Massey, Hobsonville and Grey Lynn isn’t it?

    2. So, for it to go all in, they need to start digging before the next elections. Which is… how long away? A year? So basically, get diggers opening up the ground within the next 3-6 months…
      Answer, clearly, is to hire the Phillipines to do it.

      1. We talking about the same rail line that they contracted to China to build? From Banlic in Calamba, Laguna, to Daraga in Legazpi City, in Albay province.

    3. spot on Andrew – Mr Wood did well – with Mayor and Treasury & Council all singing the right (and same) song – pitch perfect at least the bits i saw of the live feed.

      Givin the current state of the planet – what is transport going to look like in 2035? Free public jetpacks (or free VR headset implants – thanks facebook) will negate the need for sharing Covid-v99 on a public space??

      Yep – i like what i heard (per my comment below – time to execute !!)

  7. Not sure who you are quoting ‘Buttwizard’, if that is your real name 😉 Anywho, its so exhausting engaging on forums when you get tetchy responses. I take it you’re from the north west? Dude I dont know…..I’m just a concerned Aucklander, this is my home too, born and raised here. Auckland REALLY needs a project like this, nothing will ever be perfect. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of ‘good’….

  8. Hey – some connected thinking – with Central and Local Govt nailing their colours to it. This is what an infrastructure commitment looks like.
    Sounded a bit like they were solving the “moving people” problem – not the “we need a bridge” or xxx type incrementalism. Im seriously grumpy about our infrastructure deficit – this announcement is all the right noises.
    Now – time to Deliver.
    ps – Put the Onehunga station near the Port/Ferry terminal – its what grownup countries do… (and micromobility enable it for future mode shifts)

  9. Re ALR:

    Nah, im going to go against the Greater Auckland fuelled grain here.

    This is the most optimal project. We should all support, and squabble about the smaller implementation details, station location, interchange quality, station design and future expansion.

    The majority of the buildup of Auckland’s density will be along these rail lines. The bit thats grade separated (ie mangere bridge to city center) will receive the most and is where the most capacity will be needed long term, tunnels provide this where even the most generous light sequencing and dedicated lanes would never. Mangere gets a good local link to a massive employment center, and an express link to the city, and much better urbanism.

    Theres also the option of refurbishment in 20 or so years to disconnect the mangere + future crosstown sections into seperate parts. With the tunnelled section becoming light metro connecting to the other radial expansion lines. So the top end capacity of tunnelled light metro is not lost by going with trams in the short term.

    1. You simply don’t convert from LR to LM unless the line is a duplicate, or if you build it for LM somehow (in which case just go LM). Too disruptive and expensive to do. That is the reason why they also announced that a North Shore line wouldn’t run on the busway but it’s own new line.

        1. The NS LR will serve a different route than the busway. The busway will still be useful. If we had already built these last century, we’d probably be talking about the need for a 3rd rapid transit line by now (2 rail, 1 bus).
          It is simply too disruptive to convert the busway (and expensive) and then you only gain a smaller increase in capacity without servicing any new area.

        2. Much less disruptive to convert the busway than building a rail line in literally any other corridor.

        3. It might be less disruptive buts it’s also relatively pointless unless you have immediate capacity issues.

          You just spend money to replace the mode but don’t serve any new communities.

        4. I disagree that it would be less disruptive to shut the busway for years.

          Imagine shutting down the way that half the people in the morning peak cross the harbour bridge. Tunnelling and station building at a new sites across the north shore would be vastly less disruptive than that.

        5. Which is why you build the first line first. It allows people to access that rapid route while the busway is shut down.

        6. Jack, you’re assuming it means shutting down the entire busway, for years, and without any mitigation.

          Look at the north western where they raised the causeway four metres in the air, or the southern motorway widening, sea wall at quay street, or building Mt Eden junction and the new station.

          All of this has been managed without shutting down for years.

          KLK, it’s not just replacing the mode, it’s still adding all the capacity of the rail line across the harbour and through takapuna, and keeping the busway capacity from Smales Farm onwards. The difference is north of there you have rail on the central rapid transit corridor and buses on the main roads, rather than the huge cost of building a rail tunnel more or less underneath the existing rapid transit corridor.

          It makes no sense to have a busway and a railway doing exactly the same thing in the same corridor with two trunks and feeder buses. If you need them both for capacity, the rail should be the spine with feeders and the bus can branch out across the suburbs after crossing the harbour.

        7. “it makes no sense to have a busway and a railway doing exactly the same thing in the same corridor with two trunks and feeder buses”

          They wouldn’t do the same thing in the same corridor. I see two distinct lines:
          – one is part of the CC2M line, the other is not
          – One goes via Takapuna and skips the lower north shore stations, the other vice-versa, and
          – one is a more direct line to the CBD

          While there is some duplication from Smales Farm to Albany, that just offers choice to a fairly populated area and spreads capacity. From there they would differ again:

          – one goes straight up SH1, with stops at a new (better?) Silverdale West, Millwater and perhaps northern Orewa at Grand Drive
          – The other line would terminate at Orewa via Hibiscus Coast, perhaps with some spur services to Whangaparaoa.

          The Orewa/Whangaparoa service could probably be a busway service for another decade or more with the new line taking up a lot of capacity at those Albany-Smales farm stations. Once the upgrade happens, you have the new line via Takapuna for people use to use and transfer at various points, where necessary.

        8. Surely you either replace the Busway or just tunnel a new line further to the west under Birkenhead/Northcore/Glenfield/Rosesdale and then meet the Busway at Albany rather than largely duplicating the Busway without extending the geographic reach of rapid transit on the Shot

        9. I think one of the issues with just converting the busway to LRT is that you only just cover patronage requirements out to 2048. I think this is the reason that the three options put forward by WK all have the busway being retained, with the ability to convert to LRT later, but a new line taking in the lower east (Takapuna generating a lot of North-south shore travel, apparently) as well as some patronage off the current busway.

          But the West needs some love too.

        10. Well KLK, not exactly the same thing the rail diverts to Takapuna instead of Akoranga and has a longer run into town, but apart from that it’s the same thing.

          I don’t understand the problem with “only just cover patronage requirements out to 2048”. If it meets all the patronage requirements on the busway corridor, plus you have all the capacity of the buses over the bridge you have today, that’s close to double what you need. Isn’t that an argument for not doing billions of extra cost on something that you don’t need?

      1. Grade seperated LR to LM conversion. Why not? Not much of the system has to change? Power systems, track, ventelation / fire, alignment, storage / maintenance facilities….. all can remain the same and in place. Different signalling and maybe rolling stock. They’re essentially doing it in London in every way except to have an operator do the doors. Presumably because they cant have platform screen doors easily, which we probably will be able to with larger, new build platforms.

        The busway to LR is a far larger task requiring buildout of track and power systems, the digging up and removal of an extremely expensive high voltage transpower cable.

        1. If it was that easy to do then what is the major difference in price between this and LM?
          Personally I think they should find a way of making LM cheaper (change the Mangere plans) and just bite the bullet and build the LM system. It’ll be faster, more reliable, more frequent, no driver disruptions, lower Opex, greater capacity, nicer.

  10. Why oh why, cannot the combination of politicians, planning and civil engineering consultants, only come up with gold plated solutions, thereby limiting the number of kilometres and places improved.
    We continue to get limited gold plated footpath reconstructions, instead of lots and lots of removals of footpath pinch points, and other safety hazards.
    We get limited gold plated cycleways instead of kilometres of basic cycleways. And we get some limited, but glorious motorway kilometres, instead of safety improvements over vast distances of our exiting roads.
    And now for public transport, an undoubtably lovely underground but short Metro delaying many more kilometres of a more basic surface option.
    Once established, any more basic surface system can have later subsurface bypasses added if demand justifies it. The equivalent of fast and slow tracks of conventional rail.

    Yes, being associated with one major glamour project has a lot more kudos then fixing a multitude of small projects, but should egos be such a major part of transport and placemaking provision?

  11. Pity that Simeon Brown already said, “Vote National and we’ll cancel it.”
    This is not cross-party support for major infrastructure, he’s back to super-spend highways for a few people. He’s saying spend money on buying inflated future and existing residential land (and bowl the houses on it) for car-inducing roads that have already blown out their estimates.

    1. I hope that the boomers that voted for John Key in their 50s are now appreciating (free) public transport in their 60s and also looking ahead to not being able to drive at all in the future. I certainly know a few that take the bus these days but wouldn’t have dreamed of it 10 years ago. The anti PT stance may alienate some core National voters and will do nothing to win any Labour voters.

      1. As a Boomer I never voted for that twit as his looks had something evil about that you couldn’t trust and for the last 15mths I have been enjoying Winston’s Gold Card and traveling on his train between Auckland and Hamilton .

        1. David It seems they are having trouble running to time. This afternoon at least 30 mins down running through Papatoetoe from Hamilton.
          Maybe it was a short stop at the Strand.

        2. Royce when we both ways Monday we were delay both outside Pukekohue and Tauakau due to works on the line . But I moaning about the service as the crews are doing the best they can with a system that has been run down to long by Governments and their friends that don’t like Rail .

        3. Coming back on Tuesday we were 6 minutes late at Papakura but a good run unchecked meant we were only 2 mins down at Puhinui. A three car unit at Papakura was due to leave but we went first. It was great to come through non stop just how it will be if we can run express services after the third main is completed.

      2. Good on ya Simeon. Kiwis who have only the slightest of concern about the environment will struggle to find a single reason to vote National. With a vote for Labour, at least you get a feeling that they don’t want them to go any higher.

  12. Looking at this roundup there nothing about the restart of the Te Huia’s new return timetable which started on Monday . Okay the 1st trip up was delayed an hour or more but they did the right thing for the passengers by giving free travel to and from Auckland with free coffee thrown in for the passengers , and they are running a return service this Saturday with permission from KR as the network is closed to AT’s services .

    Here is video of the morning and afternoon trips , with video from newshub’ Sunday’s 6pm news . ;-

  13. I’m really disappointed that this is the decision but I will get behind and support it. In my business we have an approach called “Murder the UNchosen alternative”. This basically means we all argue like hell for our preferred option ahead of a decision and once the decision is made we all argue like hell for the chosen option. Relitigaton of a decision once made is hugely counterproductive and disruptive. Just look at Fonterra their farmer shareholders who specialise in the politics of relitigation and this is arguably the major source of Fonterra’s sub optimal performance.
    So, much as it catches in my throat I’m shouting my support for this decision that’s what I’m doing.
    Michael Wood deserves better than being painted Robbie2.

    1. +1
      While tunnelled might not of been my first choice as a decision, it is still a good decision.
      As in so many things, by far the worst decision, is no decision. In non roading transport options we are absolutly plagued by continuing a tradition of non decisions that collectively are a disaster in their own right. Setting back progress by years if not decades.

      Now Mr Wood start appointing those people, and start letting those contracts.

      1. Same for me.

        Let’s work to make it the best it can be, and then every corner of Auckland will want one. Like Dublin.

        1. If each line costs $14 billion we’d be lucky to see the first one started, let alone lines to every corner of Auckland.

          You should look at Dublin more closely, check out the development of the Luas surface light rail system, compare that to their airport light rail line that was dropped and replaced by a metro tunnel scheme. They did that in 2005, and still haven’t got it off the drawing board. The latest plan to do the metro tunnel by 2027 has been deferred again. If they’d stuck with the cheaper surface option they’d have it already.

    1. How is it double what you need?

      There is a theoretical capacity on that corridor and LRT on the current busway tops out just after 2048. Less than 20yrs after LRT is built. We need to think longer term than that.

      1. If the rail corridor does all it needs and you still have all the bus capacity then that’s about double what you need. Putting rail on the busway north of Smales farm doesn’t mean banning buses. You still have the full busway system from Smales south. I just don’t see the point in spending billions on having both a rail line and a busway between Smales and Albany.

        1. If you convert the busway to rail you have no longer a bus RTN. They will all need to join General traffic won’t they? Or they bring passengers to transfer at light rail, so we are back to the LRT capacity issue?

          For what it’s worth, I only see value in that new line if its the beginning of another northern line to spread the load and (as an idea) service the stations on SH1 North of Albany (Silverdale, Red Beach, Orewa). Perhaps a new station at Oteha (for significant growth in Long Bay etc and bypassing the difficult Albany) with transfer stations at Smales Farm, Constellation, Rosedale Rd. The busway could top out at Whangaparaoa and later be LRT. I think there is going to be way too much growth in the next 50yrs for one LRT line to handle.

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