This is a guest post by Greater Auckland reader, Jack Gibbons.

The Northern Busway extension from Constellation Station up to Albany is opening within a few months, and in several years an infill station over Rosedale Road will open. The continued upgrading of the busway is fantastic. Pre-covid it was competing to be the most used public transit line in the country, and yet there are so many areas that could be improved that would bring it to a totally different level. I think the time is right to really start the discussion about what could happen next to further upgrade the busway and get something in people’s minds.

There is a plan from AT that outlines a lot of great potential upgrades. Platform-based ticketing, extensive platform lengthening, Eastern Busway-style infrastructure on Fanshawe St, potential transit lanes on the harbour bridge, etc. These upgrades almost exclusively exist to improve capacity. They are supposed to be funded after 2028 but will probably be done whenever needed to relieve congestion, as has happened at Smales Farm lately.

A big gap in the Northern Busway stations.

One disappointing omission in this report, and every busway document I can find, is no mention of an infill station around Tristram Ave between Sunnynook and Smales Farm stations. A station here would be a fantastic addition to Auckland’s rapid transit network.

What a Wairau Station would be

The run between Smales Farm station and Sunnynook station is 2.8 km. That’s nearly double the gap between other stations on the busway proper, and far longer than what would be considered best practice for a rapid transit line. This leaves a big hole in the catchments. Residents and businesses here are right next to the busway, but don’t have reasonable access to an express bus. They are being bypassed by the best bus services in the country. It’s little wonder that the average am peak traffic speed on Tristram Ave is 13km/hr!

Potential Wairau station placement.

The best place for the station would be just south of the tennis centre, 200m citybound from Tristram Ave itself. This is roughly the mid-point between Sunnynook and Smales farm, 1300-1400 metres from each. The busway here runs at-grade, meaning construction costs of the station could be much more manageable than the 70 million spent on Rosedale Bus Station. Between the unnecessarily wide motorway merge, a tree line and a few metres of field there is plenty of room for a standard busway station. There’s space for platforms, passing lanes, and all the length needed to avoid any potential bus congestion, without eating into the neighbouring rugby fields.

The busway is right there, just over the barrier. But it’s a 25-30 minute walk to any station.

The Forrest Hill residential area to the east has passable pedestrian infrastructure with quiet streets and some cut-throughs allowing walking or bike / scoot and ride. There’s even a cute Tristram Ave underpass. There are 2 large schools and fairly large recreational facilities like the Forrest Hill Tennis Club and Soccer Club. Recreational facilities are particularly important to get public transport access too, because off-peak recreation remains highly car-centric in Auckland. How often have we heard the phrase ‘but how would I take my kids to sport??’

A station here would improve the lifestyle for the residents of a transit oriented development like Smales Farm. These off-peak trips are also where the busway has massive spare capacity at the moment.

Existing station walking catchments, with a big conspicuous gap, visualised in MRCagney’s catchies

Another big win would be fast access to the Wairau Valley industrial area. Industrial areas generate large all-day travel demand and host all kinds of businesses that don’t require a private motor vehicle for every trip. From rock climbing gyms to supermarkets, even car dealerships, staff or customers are not always going to be required or even able to use a car every time they visit. A nearby busway station would open up the pool of employees and customers for businesses, and could even enable them to maximise land utilisation doing away with some staff car parking for example. Job access is a key part of the pitch for the Rosedale station, which is mostly serving an industrial area.

A potential layout, overbridge optimising walking to Wairau / Archers Rd intersection.

One thing that would need upgrading outside of the station itself is the local pedestrian connectivity to the west. This narrow footpath on one side of Tristram is the only pedestrian crossing of the motorway for over a km in either direction and it isn’t even easy to get to, requiring a big detour from the south. A new, safe pedestrian overbridge is needed to Currys Lane, along with a footpath on the south side of Tristram Ave. There is also a great opportunity to make a well integrated section of the Northern Pathway in this area.

Sunnynook is proof that a station that primarily focuses on the walking catchment works. Around 60% of its ridership walks to the station, and the amount of medium-density residential construction in the area is proof that it’s in demand. We just need another Sunnynook station, a bit further down the busway. With local elections coming up, now is a great time to make some noise to North Shore Ward Councillors or those that want to replace them and build some support for this busway upgrade.

What the station would not be

Having the station set 200m off Tristram Ave and away from other arterials means that it might not be a good transfer station. People would end up walking between the new busway station and their local bus at Tristram Ave.

I think this is acceptable. Rosedale station, which is an example heavily designed for transfers from feeder buses, is costing 70 million dollars. To replicate a similar station over Tristram would probably be even more expensive being on a busier road, and in the middle of a motorway interchange.

The Rosedale station is awesome, but not every station can be this. Nor needs to be.

There are a few more reasons why Tristram Ave doesn’t need to be a major transfer station:

  • Sunnynook and Smales Farm are better transfer stations. Feeder routes can still be centred around those stations, as they are today.
  • Some consolidation of feeder services at fewer stations is helpful to enable more direct transfers between local services.
  • A 200m walk, well protected, away from busy roads, wouldn’t actually be that bad as a transfer. That’s what Britomart to Lower Albert St transfer is today.
  • A lot of the local buses should still continue along Forrest Hill Rd and Wairau Rd, for closer bus access to businesses / schools, in particular for mobility impaired people. This naturally leads these services to Smales Farm.

A Wairau Station shouldn’t have any park and ride, except for some mobility parking. Matt has outlined the poor economics of park and ride before. It would be an expensive way to induce more motor traffic on what is currently a quiet street, would make bike and ride less attractive / safe, and would set the expectation that parking is available, even though it effectively wouldn’t be, because it would instantly fill up. Expanding car park and ride is often cited in articles as a way to solve issues like drivers parking on residential streets at Sunnynook but a cursory glance around the largest park and ride on the network reveals that strategy doesn’t work. Cars are illegally parked on footpaths, driveways and even private land.

Providing enough parking to meet the insatiable demand for such service is simply impossible. Instead there are more practical fixes that get to the root of the issue. Expanding the rapid transit network (like adding a Wairau station), improving feeder services, charging for car park and ride, better parking enforcement, and the extremely powerful bike park and ride.

Illegal park and ride cars around Albany on google maps satellite images.

One word on capacity

Until the busway is experiencing un-solvable congestion, which is well over a decade away, we should continue to make improvements on it. At the very least, the increased ridership and demand will justify better solutions and more political will for the busway’s relief or replacement, and decrease the political demand for motorway projects (and co2) to the north. Even if the busway was full in the peak direction in peak hour today (which it’s not), improvements would still be worth it. These upgrades make off-peak or counter-peak trips more attractive, lifting the busway’s  use when it has more spare capacity, getting more value for our investment.

To finish

So, a big increase in catchment area on a major rapid transit line, giving great access to amenity and employment for busway users, for the low price of a single at-grade station. What about a Wairau Valley Station?

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53 comments

  1. Great article Jack! You’ve made an excellent, strong case for the Wairau Valley bus station and I’m definitely in full support of it!

    On the subject of busway improvements, would you envision that including larger bi-articulated buses (150-180 passengers) to supersede double deckers (100 passengers)?

    Admittedly I would still lean towards the direct replacement of the busway with light rail or light metro at some point. Partly because other routes up the North Shore seem complex, expensive and could have fewer stations and catchment than might be desirable (e.g. the heavy rail option in the 2019 AWHC reports), and partly because I like how a North Shore line could throughroute with CC2M.

    In order to keep the busway open as long as possible I would envision a Takapuna spur being used as a first stage terminus, to get the rail infrastructure checked out and teething issues sorted before the Akoranga-Albany section of busway were converted to rail. I would also envision a more inland route between the AWHC and Akoranga, via Northcote instead of the SH1 causeway, which would not interfere with bus infrastructure between Akoranga & the central city.

    1. This also rules out an Onewa station though which is a really crappy decision that seems to have been made already with relatively little scrutiny, given the university and corporate presence in the area.

      1. I would think that a routing via Northcote – at least a grade-separate light metro one – would still allow for an Onewa station on the site of the old toll plaza?

        1. Depends if the preferred route is now directly from the east into Takapuna like you see on new AHWTC docs. It seems like there’s a real pivot away from the existing alignment and trying to directly connect to Takapuna and from there to Smales Farm on future plans in the last couple of years.

        2. Yeah, which is not something I agree with. It seems to lock in a longer, more expensive AWHC that runs all the way from Wynyard to Akoranga, and it creates an indirect dogleg for Hibiscus Coast/Albany to City trips, all for zero catchment between Takapuna and the City.

          I haven’t seen any good explanation aside from vague speculation as to why the AWHC can’t go from Wynyard to Northcote Point/Onewa.

          If a single Albany-Takapuna-City line is what the government wants to build I would prefer a Devonport routing that adds catchment in Devonport, Narrowneck, Belmont & Hauraki. https://medium.com/krisprice/rail-through-devonport-f202a5bca593

    2. Thanks Matt!

      In my dreams the busway is out of general traffic enough and bunching is reduced enough that trolly buses on the major services are tenable. Nothing beats grid connected power delivery.
      eg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xpyfMY9kZY

      Could get 27m buses (or longer, don’t let dreams be dreams), google says 250 people per vehicle. Heaps of doors, platform based ticketing, which both make dwell times way, way better. They make it through winding tight streets surprisingly well so I don’t think turnarounds etc would be a big problem. It seriously would be approaching semi-decent LRT territory in terms of capacity. And super express battery electric services could station skip, and go to a bus terminal in a big building downtown.
      The double deckers are certainly not ideal for the busway in its final high capacity form.

      Also elevated rail on glenfield road?

      1. Bi articulated trolleybuses are an excellent idea, are far more enviromentally friendly than battery buses ,frankly i don’t know why they haven’t already installed them [ hang on they did have trolley bus infrastructure and destroyed it] ,they work extremley well a lot better than double deckers in these busway situations and carry far more passengers . Certainly better than waiting for light rail to appear . As for taking some of Westlake boys field not a good idea ,i’m sure the bus station could go nearby without the need to take a bit of the schools grounds.

        1. I think the reasoning right now is that we do have a lot of bunching, especially in the afternoon northbound peak. Due to traffic congestion downtown. Trolly buses cant pass each other and would make this bunching worse.
          It would be expensive to install.
          Depot access, eg bays coachlines is a surprisingly long way from the the busway. https://goo.gl/maps/BYeAkQmQ4UxXhg9y9
          There may be issues with interacting with heavy vehicles or oversize routes, especially over the harbour bridge.

          But if the busway is to stay long term, and that was planned around. Then I think it could make decent sense. Would allow charging of batteries so that buses could continue off line for some distance. Batteries aren’t magic, are hard to make, taking a few options to minimise their use could make a lot of sense, and on a consolidated corridor with lots of buses, the upfront infra costs would be shared among massive use.

          We can also get BEV versions of the double articulated buses.

      2. I am cautious about such high claims for bus capacity, since they usually rely on crush load standing capacities in excess of typical Western standards. E.g. the 307 passenger figure quoted by CRRC for their “trackless tram” relies on a standing density of 8 persons per m2.

        A 25m long bi-articulated bus at a standing passenger density of 4-5 people per m2 + all seats taken could reasonably fit 150-180 passengers, and a 32m long bus could reasonably fit 170-200.

        Definitely agree that trolleybuses > BEV buses.

        Any rail corridor via Glenfield Rd seems like it would be pretty steep, I think there needs to be more information and more discussion on what an inland North Shore light rail/metro routing would look like – or any alternative routing if the busway is not going to be converted to rail and if merely paralleling the busway with rail is undesirable and inefficient.

  2. Very good post. Matching up that ‘extremely powerful bike park and ride’ with bike access over the new bridge would make sense too.

  3. While a good idea in theory, the sports fields are WBHS land, as is the path between them and the school. I’d wager that this idea has been floated before but has been shut down by the school / board. How do you manage public transport infrastructure around / in school grounds? The closest example I can think of is St Peters and the Grafton train station (excuse me if there are better examples elsewhere), and even then they are separated by Khyber Pass. This path between the bottom fields and the school above cannot be widened / sectioned off for school vs. public infrastructure easily; housing on Altona Rd goes effectively all the way to this path.

    Unfortunately the only place I see, if this station was deemed to happen, would be above Becroft park (similar to the floating station style of Rosedale). Obviously a lot more expensive.

    I think the best outcome for servicing this catchment is a beefy shared path between Smales and Sunnynook. But this is due to be serviced by the Northern Pathway being constructed (sadly on the other side of the motorway).

    1. You’re right, the field is not public land.
      But uhhh, that’s never stopped AT / NZTA before! To me at least, forced purchasing a pretty small (single digits) % of the field seems a million times better than what they had to do / are going to do with the Eastern busway.
      Especially based on my google maps measurements, they would still have the room required for the northern rugby pitch (and definitely the southern one). AT could also build them some rec facility in return as well, like the NZTA have been doing for the northern corridor improvements.
      https://www.nzta.govt.nz/assets/projects/harbour-hockey/Why-Harbour-Hockey-are-moving.pdf
      A pool or something like that. Or At last resort buy some of those houses and add more space on the bond cres side.

      There is a Bond crescent to Forrest Hill road pedestrian cut-through as well, that basically replicates the functionality of the walking path through the school. So I don’t think that the path through the school itself would or should be public domain at all.
      They probably have to also public works act one of the houses on Altona Rd, or at least some of a property to create another cut through to the southeast of the field. Again, that is nothing unprecedented.
      With that and some fencing, the station and pedestrian paths leading to it could be pretty much completely separated from school property.

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/eastern-courier/108624903/removal-of-61-properties-to-create-space-for-eastern-busway-has-officially-kickedoff

      1. NZTA have already purchased a significant section of the field when they built the busway in the first place – leaving it at pretty much the minimum viable dimensions to be sports fields.

    2. I agree. My biggest concern here is that the land is actually a sports field and it feels wrong to remove that green space that anyone can access. There are regular sports trainings and games on that field. It would be a huge loss for WBHS as they have a huge student population and a small amount of sports fields; even the school I went to had less students yet we had at least 8 times the amount of sports field space. Overall, I like the idea but the location needs to be improved as it is not realistic to take away sports fields.

      1. You might want to have a re-read of the article and the images Jack has provided. As far as I can see a Wairau Valley station would not infringe on the green space you speak of.

        “Between the unnecessarily wide motorway merge, a tree line and a few metres of field there is plenty of room for a standard busway station. There’s space for platforms, passing lanes, and all the length needed to avoid any potential bus congestion, without eating into the neighbouring rugby fields.”

      2. There is about 10 m from the busway barrier to the black netting fence, and although the pictures don’t show it that well, it is all part of a kind of deep drainage structure and is not useful as field. Then there is another 3m or so before the painting for the field starts after the fence. And then on the far side of the field there is another 10m+ from the painted line to the start of the backyards of the houses on Bond Cres.
        And again the motorway merge median seems really strangely wide here.
        I don’t see any reason to remove any sports fields. Just make better use of what is currently pretty marginal land. Not even quality green space.

        There is also the point that we will be making peoples enjoyment of green space better on average. Transit reliant people should have good access to these spaces and not be locked out in some kind of protectionism for 80 meters of swale that is literally 10 meters from one of the busiest sections of road in the country.

        One further thing the station project could include that would make the whole field better for everyone is some noise barriers. Its really quite loud to be there with nothing between you and the motorway.

    3. “The closest example I can think of is St Peters and the Grafton train station (excuse me if there are better examples elsewhere)”
      The closest example is 1.4km away where the government bought land used by the other Westlake from another branch of the government to build the busway and station at Smales Farm. Schools should love PT stations on their doorstep because it means that they can save money and land used to build massive bus stations for school buses.

      1. I heard from someone involved with the original busway (all anecdotal, I don’t have any proof) that Smales Farm was supposed to be called Westlake station. But the school kicked up a fuss, buses at the time were seen as extremely unattractive with the downtown bus station being fresh in peoples minds. They didn’t want anything to do with it.

        Given that AT had to extend the platforms there because they were becoming so packed with students I would guess that the opinion may have changed now.

        I used to take the train and sometimes the bus on routes past St Peters, always a good number of students on those services.

  4. That would have worked well, which means North Shore City could never have supported it. They had a centres based planning strategy, by which they meant only existing centres and Albany. Several generations of Takapuna and North Shore planners did everything they could to make sure that Smales Farm couldn’t have shops and Wairau Valley would never be a centre. Both were too close to Takapuna (and the petite bourgeoisie from Takapuna ran the Council).

  5. Great idea about the eighth spacing too, I was thinking it would be too close to one of the other stations. Do you think any existing or any new local bus routes would go via this station?

    1. I could see a potential opportunity for a new west-east bus route that goes up Tristam Ave?

      E.g. Glenfield-Wairau-Forrest Hill-Milford?

      Otherwise there’s just the 901 along Wairau Rd.

      But as Jack points out in the article, a Wairau Valley station would be more targeted for walking/cycling catchment than for local bus transfers – Sunnynook and Smales Farm are more established focal points for feeder bus routes.

      1. Yeah, 901 passes there… 906 [I think thats the one] to Glenfield also goes nearby [going up towards Glenfield past the supermarket.

        1. The 906 turns down Archers Road, which is I think roughly halfway between Tristam Ave and Smales Farm. It already interchanges with the busway at Smales Farm & Sunnynook stations, though.

          The Sunnynook interchange is a bit awkward for the 906, though, and a few people myself included would support swapping the Totaravale leg of the 906 and the Juniper Rd leg of the 843 so that both routes can use stops C and D on the Sunnynook Rd overbridge – 3 local routes feeding directly to Sunnynook Station (the 843, the 906, and the 907)

          To support transfers between the 901 and this Tristam Ave/Wairau Valley station could be done with better walking links between the station and Wairau Rd (additional underpasses/pedestrian crossings of the motorway and a better quality bus stop at the Tristam/Wairau intersection).

  6. Jack I think it was you who was advocating for another bus station just over the bridge heading north now you want another. I suppose whole text books have being written on optimal spacing of rapid transit stops. Over the years commenters on this site and it predecessors have advocated for less open stations on the Southern and Eastern line, five by my count, while at the same time extolling the virtue of surface light rail over other forms of rail because of its ability to have more stops. Now being a person who has never ever worked in the city centre I tend to I fall in the camp of having more stops in the suburbs and especially in industrial areas. So go for it. One thing about a busway is its flexibility so express services are possible whereas as we are proving on our rail lines its very difficult to even keep our trains on timetable even with reduced stops and no express services. Well I have being a rail fan ever since I rode on the electric hauled train as a six year old between Christchurch and Lyttleton in 1958. So it pains me a little to have to admit there are circumstances where a busway is a better solution for a rapid transit line.
    My vision is the Northern busway will be retained and will eventually stretch all the way to Wellsford where it will connect with a Auckland Whangarei train. I would envisage most passengers would join the train ex the busway but the trip through Helensville would serve a different catchment. And no the Christchurch Lyttleton train could not met todays definition of rapid transit. I can remember leaving my bike there in a room absolutely packed with bicycles. If I remember rightly the bike room was in a basement so covered storage. By the way there was one bike locked outside Middlemore station yesterday but enough waffle.

    1. Thanks for the comment Royce. Yes, I don’t think it takes much increase in ridership to make up for the loss of 30 seconds max.

      All the talk about a many billion dollar line or lines, which is good, but we still have catchments on existing lines that are unserved.

      The other big missing station I think is on the eastern line in the Purewa tunnel. Big arterial bus routes crossing a heavy rail line, but no connection. Maybe one day the eastern line will have enough demand to justify quad tracking, the new tunnels could be built with a station. One can dream.

  7. Interesting suggestion
    One thing to be careful of is your Bus Rapid Transit becomes less rapid because of this (and possibly more) stops. Fortunately there are ways to compensate this.
    1) Limited stop buses. You can have every third bus stopping at Wairau Valley and still have a bus every 3 minutes at peak.
    2) Running an open network with buses from suburbs continuing onto the busway and to the CBD. This is how you get networks from 10,000 passengers per hour to 25,000 +without having to build huge stations. Maths is given in BRT Planning guide and book by Professor Munoz in BRT in the Public library.

    1. Or:

      1. Run buses more often along the busway, saving time through shorter headways.
      2. Run feeder buses more often, minimizing transfer waits.

      Optimized hub & spoke enables many more types of journeys through quick & easy transfers, and lower OPEX with shorter, more frequent routes. What you are proposing is an archaic, CBD-centric model that has already been debunked multiple times, that only caters to a select few commuters rather than enabling a wide variety of journey types.

      I am cautious of several BRT-advocacy sources since they have a rather concerning anti-rail bias. The BRT guide completely ignores the fact that 4-lane busways take up a wider corridor than 2 tracks of light rail in order to move the same number of people, ignores the fact that the “exemplary” Bogota BRT system is overcrowded, overpriced, and unpopular with locals to the point that it is due to be replaced with metro rail.

    2. I think the super express services can come in 10 years or something like that, when we are close to maximising the infrastructure running closed services.
      The closed services need a critical mass, taking that away would really hurt ridership. Especially for the ridership we should be trying to grow the most, off / counter peak.
      With the closed services, every extra person means everyone else that uses the corridor or feeder also gets a better experience, with the higher frequencies. With open services, increasing ridership doesn’t have positive impacts on other areas.

      But yes I agree, in time we could get far better peak throughput with mostly the same infra by running these kinds of open, super express services, and minimising the per person impact on the busway. When we fill up the busway this is the natural extension, peak buses, direct to a rail connected building downtown. These services would cost more to run per person, but the faster travel times could charge extra, people are willing to pay for their time.

      There are also a lot of other opportunities to make back up the stop time added with a Wairau station in the short – medium term. The better downtown bus lanes for example. The Aotea station will also help a lot. With much closer transfers to rail via NX2.

      We just don’t need to do open BRT / shouldn’t do open BRT until we reach that 6-10k people per direction per hour.

    3. If you look at it we have somewhat of an open system now with the 83 coming and ending in a suburb (Albany/Massey University to Takapuna). The 866 ends at Newmarket. The 82 & 802 just miss Akoranga so I guess they don’t count. A pile of other ones go over the bridge via a “missing Onewa” station so also don’t count.

      1. We had an open system, the busway was designed and built for that. It was inefficient and ineffective so they’ve made it increasingly closed over time. Not sure why going back to the thing that wasn’t working is supposed to make it work better.

  8. I’d somewhat dispute this idea. We already have an extra Rosedale Station being built, talk of a Onewa Station then a Wairua Valley station. This would make 3 additional stops. At what point would all of these additional stops push the connivence of the busway into inconvenience for existing users?

    I’ve not used the busway for a number of years but the speed between origin and destination was key. In fact I have been dropped off at the busway vs urban circuit bus for this very reason.

    There is a gap on the map, but South of Tristan Ave, West of Forrest Hill Road, North of Westlake Boys is a very small urban catchment. It’s essentially Bond Cres and surrounding roads. Further afield from these areas, you’d question IF Wairau Valley was the most coinvent station for you or if Smales, Sunnynook or if Feeder services to these are the way to go!

    For those alighting here, it’s industrial not retail so would this be targeted at those commuting to/from work? – How many of these are coming across Auckland and therefore be inclined to use the busway vs coming from Glenfield, Milford, Beach Haven etc.

    Congestion around Tristram and the slow speeds is likely a result of the lack of foresight as we feed numerous developed suburbs onto our motorway network via this messy interchange which is in a small confined area.

    I believe we can make better use of existing stations with dedicated feeder services. From Smales Farm into Wairua Valley and either terminating up in Glenfield or migrating from an outbound feeder at Smales into a Inbound feeder at Sunnynook as it moves up Wairau Road into Wairua park etc.

    As I said, I only somewhat dispute this.

    The solution of more stops feels very much the logic of more roads solve congestion.

    1. Rosedale is being added at the same time as the busway is being extended, so its stopping time is being offset fully. There isn’t a peep about an Onewa station from authorities, as much as I would like there to be.

      But that does bring about the point of existing users inconvenience vs adding options for new users. It’s exactly the same as housing, existing residents refusing to let new housing be built, and the potential users not realising that they are the ones being denied directly. Lots of people choose where they live based on their job so the number of people commuting to Wairau valley from busway served areas will be very low right now. But building transport induces demand, which is what we want (on modes that dont have massive externalities) good video to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wlld3Z9wRc

      If the argument held water it should be able to be extended to removing existing stations like sunnynook. One could make an even better argument about Akoranga being useless, feeders should go to smales farm, basically not catchment.

      Regardless, like Waiukuian says, the way to get more capacity from busways when they fill up is to run super express services that skip stations. Once the number of services you want going past your busway station is more than one every couple minutes, it doesn’t really matter that some other ones don’t stop. In this way the busway will serve the super express commuter desire, and fill the demand of peoples all encompassing transport solution with an all stops metro like service.

    2. Should allow 100km/h speeds on the busway (and allow buses to exceed the normal National 90km/h limit on the busway).

      1. It would be a bold call to say some of the most heavily loaded and frequent buses in the country should get a speed limit exemption.

        It’s still very low likelihood but there is more likely to be a bus on bus collision on that stretch of road than anywhere else in the country. I believe it’s the reason it was made 80kmh rather than 90kmh.

        1. If they could put a centre barrier in I wonder if it would be safe enough then. May be not wide enough, though wire one pretty narrow.

        2. Surely the time gained would be minimal anyway considering you’re only looking at 1.5-2km between stations. Travelling 1.5km at 100 instead of 90 km/h saves you 6 seconds, which doesn’t even accoutn for braking, acceleration etc

    3. “Tristan Ave, West of Forrest Hill Road, North of Westlake Boys is a very small urban catchment”

      The urban catchment is only small if you ignore the 10,000 plus jobs in Wairau Valley and the 2,000 plus students at Westlake Boys.

  9. A quick look at the Overland Flow Path and Flood Plains tells you what the playing fields are really for. No way you can put a station in there. And there is a tiny catchment that is not closer to the feeder routes on Forrest Hill Road and Wairau Road (supermarket, DIY stores and -OK, they might become something else eventually – car yards).

    1. The problem is the 901 and the 871 are rather infrequent routes – only every 30 minutes off peak, vs the 5 minute off peak headways on the busway.

      I disagree with your flow path/flood plains argument for not building the busway – if that were the case, then the Tennis Centre and much of the industrial-commercial strip along Wairau Rd should not exist because that is in flood plains too! Sunnynook Bus Station also exists in an overland flood plain/flow path, yet it was built.

      Building a bus station at Tristam Ave (which could be slightly raised above typical surface flood levels) would also be an opportunity to regenerate that flood sensitive area, or the borders of the playing field, with some stormwater planting.

    2. interesting point on the flooding, but why didn’t that stop them building the busway originally or the motorway for that matter? Why is this extra 10 or 15 meters for 60-80m of length for platforms / bus stops the deal breaker?

      The walkup catchment is way better than Akoranga, and I think the bike catchment could be particularly powerful, given Bond cres essentially functions like an LTN, and has the underpass to Becroft drive, all of which is very flat for the shore.

      I’m also sure that I don’t have to mention why feeders are always worse than direct walking / biking busway access. We should be maximising the opportunities we have for that.

    3. Why would flood plains stop a bus station? It hasn’t stopped Sunnynook, Smales Farm, or Akoranga? It doesn’t matter if some platforms flood once every 5 years.

  10. I live nearby and this would significantly increase my busway usage. It’s not all that easy to get easy bus connections to Smales. It’d ideally come with a motorway footbridge overpass to connect to the Northern Pathway and enable pedestrians to avoid the hell on earth that is passing under the motorway at Tristram on foot. Bottom of Becroft Park may also work.

    1. Thanks for the comment Camryn. The Tristram sidewalk would be laughable if it wasn’t the only option for such a long way in either direction. It’s just sad.

      Looks like the designers only included it out of some sort of requirement and out of spite made it as crap as they could, the uncontrolled slip lane straight off the motorway is another knife in the back for pedestrians, the fence across the middle of the road, where they clearly knew that people would want to cross, but had to be prevented and not catered for.

      The icing on the cake though is the south side of Tristram, under the motorway there is several meters of unused dirt protected from traffic by a steel barrier, that would make a far safer footpath than the current one.
      imaged here: https://goo.gl/maps/JNpvhv7YmBVGPwRm8

      Combined with all the way east of the motorway on tristram there is heaps of room for a footpath too. I genuinely cant think of a reason why they chose to put it on the north side. Or for that matter not on both sides.

      I had a section in the post earlier talking (read ranting) about that footpath situation, but decided to cut it out. Rather just mention that it needs to be much better, and very practically / cheaply could be much better. Over-bridges aren’t that expensive.

  11. Is this a case of a good idea that may or may not work
    A trial for 2 years would let us know.. Its basically a bus stop – just do it ??

  12. You know what they should do to the bottom end of Albany Park n Ride, give the land up and give it to a developer build huge apartment block or get Costco to build a new supermarket chain since prices down at Pak N Save and New World increasing through the roof! Also need a bus going down Sators Ave since its pretty hilly and steep to walk up and down to nearest bus which is normally a 20-30 mins walk only if you survive in basking sun!

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