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.
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?
Here are the items in the open business report that caught my attention.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
If you’ve looked at the board papers Is there anything else that stands out?