The Auckland Transport Board meet again tomorrow and here are the highlights from their board reports. You can also watch the open session of the meeting live between 10:10am to 10:30am via this Microsoft Teams link.


Closed Session

Below are the most interesting items from the closed agenda.

Items for Approval
  • Transport Emissions Reduction Plan “Early Actions” – I wonder how much this will include options such as street reallocation to provide people with safe options to cycle?
  • Auckland Parking Strategy – Approval for Consultation – As I highlighted yesterday, AT are seeking board approval to take the strategy out to public consultation
  • Accessibility Action Plan – Annual Update – Improving accessibility is critical and as AT’s Accessibility Action Plan says, “when we plan for accessibility, we plan for everyone“. Below are the things from the Action Plan for 2021-23, although many items seem to be just thinking about things rather than material action.
  • Auckland Optimisation Single Stage Business Case – This seems to combine two of AT’s favourite things, talking about optimising the transport network and doing more business cases.
  • AT Pandemic Plan – Is this the plan for how AT will respond to the two-year old pandemic? Will it include things such as reallocating street space and enabling more outdoor dining?

Business Report

Here are the items in the open business report that caught my attention.

Safety

The report includes updates on a number of AT’s safety programmes

  • Safer Communities Programme
  • High-Risk Intersections Programme
  • Minor Improvements Programme
  • High-Risk Corridors Programme
  • Vulnerable Road User Safety Improvement Programme

Of those programmes, the one that stood out as the most interesting was the final one where they say:

There have been 22 pedestrian improvements schemes constructed this financial year and a further 68 schemes, comprising of 52 pedestrian improvements, 11 motorcycle improvements and five cycle improvements, are programmed for construction by the end of this financial year. Work with Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi) is ongoing to ensure alignment with their Road to Zero Programme and to confirm funding for these projects.

Given there are only three months left in the financial year, they better get cracking on those 68 schemes.

Special Vehicle Lane Programme

AT have a number of projects underway to automate enforcement on bus and transit lanes around the region.

For bus lanes, AT have plans to create enforcement zones on Lower Hobson St and Fanshawe St in the city along with a number on Lambie Dr in Manukau but they are delayed due to the Omicron outbreak impacting on the supply chain.

The outbreak is also creating delays for the enforcement of transit lanes on Onewa Rd and on Manukau and Pah Roads. The good news is that most of the enforcement zones on the transit lanes on Walmsley Rd in Otahuhu are now live.

Complaints Programme

AT say they’ve made improvements to how they manage complaints

As part of the improvements, all aspects of the complaints programme have been reviewed, improving the way and ease with which people can contact AT, and introducing a more customer focused approach to handling complaints, (reflected in updates to policy, procedures, AT’s website and staff training). Changes were endorsed by the Office of the Ombudsman’s and align to international standards in complaint handling (ISO 10002). AT has also leveraged the investment and implementation of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to track our responsiveness, types of complaints, and generate insights, enabling greater performance transparency and visibility of improvement opportunities more effectively.

There is also a separate paper to the board on their improvements to complaints management.

Smales Farm Platform Extension

As part of ATs plans to improve the Northern Busway they have been extending the northbound platform at Smales Farm and the work is now complete.

The northbound platform was not big enough to cater for the approximate 1,300 school children and other customers who gathered to travel northward during the school finishing hours which was resulting in children walking or being jostled onto the active busway. This situation required daily on site crowd management by AT Metro Facilities staff to ensure a safe environment for our customers.

With the new platform operational and 16.5m longer, AT’s customers can experience a much safer, customer friendly environment during these peak periods.

They also say they will start work in July to cut back the existing canopy as it is no longer compliant with double deckers, despite double deckers using the platform for years. This to me represents a failure of the shelter design as passengers are more likely to get wet when boarding or alighting buses – though still better than most train stations which only have shelters covering a tiny portion of the platform.

You can see the canopy doesn’t extend as far as the original one

Medallion Drive Link

AT have now opened this new road link in Albany, bypassing an existing one-lane bridge connection

Northwest Bus Improvements

In February, a few weeks after my post, work finally started on the bus stops for the Te Atatu ‘station’. AT say the works for the Lincoln Rd station are due to start in July and all work completed by April 2023. This was originally meant to be completed by late 2022.

Work is still going on to design the Westgate station and they say land acquisition will be completed in December 2023 with construction starting in February 2024 and completed in January 2025. Remember this project was funded by the government as a ‘shovel ready’ project in July 2020 in response to COVID.

New Lynn to Avondale Cycleway

AT say the project is due to be completed by April 2022 so isn’t far away now.

Funding and Procurement

The business report always includes a summary of funding approved by Waka Kotahi or tenders awarded that are over $2 million in value. The ones of note are:

Funding

  • Implementation of bus service improvements – $30.1m
  • Implementation of stage 1 of a network optimisation programme – $8.9m, though there is also another $0.5m to do a business case for it, so it will be a while away yet.

Contracts Awarded

  • The next tranche of electric trains, 23 in total, to be here in time for the opening of the CRL.
  • Additional spare parts for the expanded fleet but the notable thing is this comment “to retrofit the existing fleet of 72 EMUs as required to ensure interoperability with the new Batch 3 rolling stock“. I wonder what changes are being made to this latest batch of trains.

Ferry Electrification

AT say this is one step closer after “a successful round of interactive sessions with ferry charging suppliers from around the world“. No word yet on when it means we’ll see electric ferries though.


Speed Limit Changes

Last October At consulted on the second round of speed limit changes in Auckland which included around 800 roads around the region, representing 611km in total, or about 8% of the total AT road network. This included 204 rural roads (421km) and 463 roads (148km) near 57 schools.

AT received 8413 submissions on the consultation. In one interesting insight they gleaned from the submissions, they say on a number of roads submissions from those living or working near the road were often supportive of the changes while those who used the road as a through-road were often unsupportive.

AT staff are recommending the board approve speed limits proposed in the consultation in all but 13 of the roads. For those 13 roads, 10 are proposed to have a different speed limit and 3 were found to be errors, such as being private roads.

Note, this is separate to the current speed limit consultation which is for a further 1646 roads and for which consultation closes on Sunday.


If you’ve looked at the board papers Is there anything else that stands out?

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21 comments

  1. “street reallocation to provide people with safe options to cycle”: almost impossible if they have to consult on every one thanks to Goff.

    1. Yep absolute disgrace Goffy… Slither back to your car dependent rural idyll please…

      This strategy needs to be implemented by 2024 at the latest to line up with all the benefits CRL will bring. Yesterday on the radio the AT Spokesman said it will be delivered over the next 10 years…. Try 100 as each and every car park is haggled over. Good bye 2030 target. This is surely a target now for the ‘Stop Mill Road’ group.

  2. Their complaints system was terrible. I wonder if they are actually going to give feedback to the complainer now. So many times I would complain about the quality of our footpaths or the traffic island gardens that only contain weeds and nothing gets done and they don’t get back to you. Then if I call them back they say they sent some guy and he thought it was all fine. Yet I have sent pictures with the complaint where it is quite obviously not fine. And the arrogance too, like they are doing you a favour, they won’t log the complaint unless you give them all this detail, no “thanks for reporting that, we’ll fix it as soon as possible” or anything. If a private company acted like that they would have no customers.

    1. So it’s good that they’ve reviewed it. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes they’ve made.

      Would AT respond effectively, if it was easy to report illegal parking, for example? Imagine if you only had to send an email that said, “There are about 8 cars parked illegally on these two roads. Here’s a picture of the situation. The first one has the license plate number …”

      Will this review encourage them to be actually interested and actually responsive, and will it make it easy for the public to contribute the information to an effective enforcement programme?

    2. They seem to respond to twitter complaints about parking, or debris in a cycle lane. Not sure if timely enough to matter though.

      I had one idiot park across my driveway, so I called the council (who obvs would send the complaint to AT). 45 minutes later I came back from a walk and the car was gone. 10 mins later the AT officer showed up with security (was night time)…

      Makes me think I should’ve just let down the tires a little (lot) instead.

  3. RE accessibility plan – anyone else finding the audio announcements on buses annoying? On the Tamaki Link from the start to Mission Bay the announcement are almost constant and has a massive negative effect on the ambiance of the journey to work. I’m now finding it hard to listen to music or read a book.

    1. I haven’t heard the announcements yet on my services.

      Is it a constant barrage (like I feared), or is it “next stop xyz” only?

      1. When the bus doesn’t need to stop and the stops are close together it seems constant. It is in English and Maori and usually something like “the next stop is xxx Tamaki drive…”

    2. I found the train announcements annoying at first but it didn’t take long for them to become background noise, though I imagine they are more frequent on a bus.

      1. Have you heard the directional announcements from your phone’s navigation app. So annoying to be given your next turn instruction five times over as you approach the intersection.

  4. “This seems to combine two of AT’s favourite things, talking about optimising the transport network and doing more business cases”

    Very sad comment; but true.

    Love to know if there is some ratio of time/money spent on planning vs actually building.

    It is one of the things that lead to Agile project planning being used for software and other types of projects. Instead of spending years planning something like a bus station that you can still get wrong (or requirements for double deckers/more people arises), you do minimal planning up front and use experienced people to build quickly. When things are found to be wrong or need change, then change them; can still work out cheaper/better in the long run than just burning time and money trying to figure out something like how many people are going to use the solution.

  5. Hmmm as you would expect: “ In one interesting insight they gleaned from the submissions, they say on a number of roads submissions from those living or working near the road were often supportive of the changes while those who used the road as a through-road were often unsupportive.”

  6. This is good, from the speed programme. Excellent to see decisive and evidence-based recommendations from AT in response to hazardous reckons. (Especially as these are effectively cul-de-sacs! Who the heck needs to drive at 40km/h on a dead-end street near a school?)

    “Howick Local Board were not supportive of a school zone proposal around Millen Avenue, Latham Avenue and Dillimore Avenue and recommended a 40km/h school zone be investigated. These three roads have been revisited by the Road Safety team, with investigations confirming current proposal for a 30km/h school zone is safe and appropriate for these roads based upon their design, risk profile, use and actual driver speeds.”

    1. Plenty of people. The speed limit on the dead end of Verran Road, where the school is, was also going to be 30 km/h and there were a few people who posted feedback that the current 50 km/h limit worked just fine, thank you very much.

      Is is an instance where leaders have to do their job. That is, lead.

  7. “They also say they will start work in July to cut back the existing canopy as it is no longer compliant with double deckers, despite double deckers using the platform for years. ”
    They are taking the piss, yeah? It has worked for years and years, but it needs to change?
    I think AT is inept. They constructed a traffic island at the end of Huron St in Takapuna. It was on the other side to where all the pedestrian traffic originates and they might have known this given that Toka Puia is their building, and right next to it is one of the suburb’s largest apartment’s The Sentinel. (In case they weren’t aware I mentioned it in my consultation reply and I also mentioned that it was likely to impede all the local buses.) About 4 months later, at a cost of about $30k they are pulling it out because, surprise, surprise, it impedes the local buses.)

    I know that AT will cringe that they should spend more on active modes, but spend the money where it is useful, such as more cycle lanes.

  8. Thanks Matt for your coverage of the Speed paper from Thursday. This was a significant milestone for road safety. A quick reminder that consultation closes on the third phase this Sunday 3 April – with another 80+ school zones, town centre, and rural improvements including almost all of Waiheke. This is a tough and polarising conversation for many. A larger proposal than the previous two combined – which needs the feedback of all Aucklanders to be successful. https://at.govt.nz/about-us/have-your-say/proposed-speed-limit-changes-phase-three/#haveyoursay

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