It seems it’s consultation season at Auckland Transport with quite a few significant consultations currently or recently underway. We typically see this happen at around November each year, but it seems last year’s season might have been delayed by COVID.

One of those important consultations is the New North Rd Upgrade. This one closes tomorrow (Friday 8 April: here’s the link for feedback) so we thought a quick recap would be useful. You can see our original post about it here.

The project is important not just because it covers a significant stretch of one of Auckland’s key corridors, but also because it is the first corridor being consulted on as part of ATs Connected Communities programme, which is meant to roll out improvements to bus priority, active modes, safety and town centre improvements to a number of key arterial corridors across the region.

So there’s a good chance this project will become a blueprint for what happens on many of the other corridors in the programme. And addressing those issues and opportunities will be a critical tool in the goal of achieving mode-shift as part of our need to reduce emissions.

The consultation covers the New North Rd corridor, extending from Symonds St at its intersection Karangahape Rd to a stretch of Rosebank Rd in Avondale, also including Morningside Drive and a small section of St Lukes Rd.

AT have come up with three high-level approaches for the corridor, although they may pick and choose between them for different parts of the route.

  • Option A – Two Routes: This option tries to maximise the amount of bus lanes without having to shift any kerbs. It does this by in some parts pushing cycling provision to an ‘alternative off-corridor cycle route‘. I believe this is an unethical option, as in pushing an alternative route, this involves removing existing safe cycling facilities – meaning you may be able to ride to the edge of a town centre, but not safely through it. (See more in our earlier post).

  • Option B – Minimal Kerb Changes: This is the best of the options, trading off a little bit of extra bus priority to enable a safe cycleway to be added to the entire New North Rd corridor.

  • Option C – Road Widening: This is the ‘if money was (almost) no object’ option, and involves widening about 60% of the corridor to fit everything in, with much of the space for that widening coming from narrowing footpaths.

Interestingly, even this option would still see the existing bike lanes in Mt Albert changed to a single bi-directional cycleway – and would preserve turning lanes in each direction, but no bus priority though the intersection.

A summary of each of the three options is shown in the table below.

One thing that is bizarre about all three options is that AT say on-street parking will be allowed in the bus lanes outside of peak hours. They should keep things simpler by making all bus lanes 24/7.

In addition, none of the options provide for safe cycling options on Morningside Dr or the part of St Lukes Rd included in this corridor. This is a major oversight and something AT need to fix.

It’s also worth noting that in all scenarios, AT say they’re investigating changing the speed limit to 40km/h along the corridor and to 30km/h within the town centres.

Key Submission Points

  • Overall we believe Option B is clearly the best option here, to the point that it almost seems like Options A and C are deliberately designed to make it look better. If nothing else, speak up to support Option B.
  • Cycling provision needs to be included on Morningside Dr and St Lukes Rd where they’re part of this programme.
  • We should also look to provide safe cycling infrastructure to the ‘alternative off-corridor cycle route‘ as well as to New North Rd itself – safe cycling needs to be on almost all roads, not just one road in an area.
  • Bus lanes on the corridor should be all day, not just at peak times.

It doesn’t take long to provide some feedback so if you’ve got a spare few minutes, jump in by tomorrow.

Once the preferred option has been chosen, there will be plenty to do on more detailed designs, and AT say construction is not expected to to start till 2023/24.

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  1. Finally, an admission from AT it’s “redevelopment” of Mt Albert town centre has been a multi-million dollar catastrophe and complete waste of ratepayers money. It managed to simultaneously make things worse for everyone already there and failing to improve anything for anyone new. The pointless bike lanes to nowhere, the ridiculous single carpark left at 882 New North Road that acts as a cork on the lane, the ugly bottleneck that develops now in even the most mild traffic on New North Road at the Mt Albert/New North Road intersection, the ruined businesses left marooned by a transport agency that won’t admit it made a mistake. Lesson need to be learned from the balls up of the Mt Albert redevelopment.

    1. The bike lanes aren’t that well used because they don’t connect into anything. Also I don’t understand why bike lanes need to be highly used for them to be considered ‘successful’. We don’t go around saying a footpath is unnecessary, just because it’s not constantly busy.

      I think a lot of the problem at the New North Road/Mt Albert/Carrington Rd intersection is due to stupid phasing of the lights. Because space is limited (especially approaching from Carrington Road) the lights should be phase to have straight ahead and right-turn traffic going simultaneously like it used to. This way the left hand lane could be for left turn traffic only.

      1. “We don’t go around saying a footpath is unnecessary, just because it’s not constantly busy”


        1. In front of businesses with plenty of off street parking

          Or if they are going across the road, no safe way to cross

          Amazing, Auckland in a nutshell

    2. Not worse for everyone. It’s 100% better for pedestrians (I work nearby and walk through there a lot). The junction, while maybe worse for traffic is *much* better for pedestrians with the Barnes Dance.

    3. You do realise they aren’t going to change anything at Mt Albert town centre with this project except to add more cycle lanes right?

  2. “…Of course, if AT does bike lanes and then spends a 5-10 years not connecting them up onwards, they become a nice lightning rod for everyone…

    So I’ll give you that mistakes were made. But we will probably disagree on what those mistakes were. Keeping as many traffic lanes as possible would not have “saved” anyone in the town centre…”

    The problem with this statement though is it is a blithe dismissal of the impact of doing nothing for 5-10 years on small businesses that are both deprived of parking options and not properly connected to a PT network. They have to make a living irrespective of the dilettantism of AT.

    1. Deprived of parking options? Hardly … there’s still plenty of places to park, it’s more of a case of why would you want to stop in Mt Albert … Not much there to attract people to visit to be honest.

      The previous lay out was horrible with that extra slip/parking lane on the inbound side. The road width was almost 7 lanes wide in a friggin town centre!!!!

    2. A lack of parking? Pardon. Take a 500 meter radius of the shops, there is literally thousands of absolutely free car parking available on side streets.

  3. Option B really seems like the no-brainer go to huh? I’m actually surprised AT is engaging on an entire route that has cycling on it. Never thought I’d see the day to be honest!

    “They should keep things simpler by making all bus lanes 24/7”. Sometimes the strive for the ultimate can make a project fall off the rails, or road in this case. Bus lanes during peak times especially past Kingsland will do for the next few years. Kingsland to Symonds Street where there are multiple frequent services should have longer running bus lanes, 6am to 8pm something like that.

  4. To me it seems bonkers that adding bus lanes needs to be consulted on. There are already bus lanes on some sections, so simply continuing those through bottlenecked sections should be a default option.

    A bus stuck in traffic on a four lane road just shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

    1. Option B looks like they will be removing bus lanes in order to fit cycle lanes in. That 1 tick for bus reliability for Option B means it will be consistently worse all day. So very reliably slow.

      Bus lanes are mostly useless if there is nothing at the intersection. Most bus delay occurs at the intersection. There will be NO room for that. So I expect buses to take much longer than current. At least with better cycleways people will be able to cycle to the train stations.

  5. I would actually prefer the single bi-directional cycleway on Mt Albert Road. The west-bound cyclepath in that area is an unusable joke. It is always full of pedestrians, rubbish bins, or in some cases parked cars.

  6. I live around here (Eden Terrace). Just wondering how long this work is expected to take? I hope the end result is worth the disruption:)

  7. Let’s face it – if these proposals go ahead the shopping centres along New North Road will cease to exist in their present form, which is probably AT’s aim all along – just a few boutique restaurants, hairdressers, pharmacists, dairies etc left to serve those within walking distance, and the rest will be converted into accommodation. I don’t know if a study has been done into how the customers arrive at the shopping centres, but I would bet it isn’t by bike.

    1. New North Road between Alberton and Blockhouse Bay roads is a first class traffic disaster in the making unless something serious is done to address the huge numbers of apartments going up along that stretch – hopefully this proposal is mindful of that…

      Personally, I think a new train station at Pak ‘n’ Save is a good idea for a start, even if it means Baldwin Ave or Avondale has to go.

      1. Sanctuary, I don’t know whether a train station there makes sense or not, but one thing is clear, is that the way we move around has to change. There is a very sobering piece on Newshub
        If I was a business owner I would be clamouring for a bike lane or public transport access because nothing is more certain that things must change.
        I note the area just outside Gisborne that has had three significant weather events in 11 months. They at least are saying we need to better look after our planet.

        1. I also think a cycle path alongside the rail line from Kingsland (links to the Northwestern via Central road and via Rocky Nook) connecting up with the Oakley Creek Cycleway is a great idea for these huge new apartment developments, but apparently AT are vehemently opposed to cycleways sharing these rail corridors – probably for nebulous Health and Safety reasons I guess.

        2. Sanctuary. Wait until you hear how much those bike motorways cost. And then realise that it does not take long until on road bike infrastructure is still needed to feed them.

          Arterial roads are where bike infrastructure needs to be.

        1. Not if you are carrying the groceries. I mean, what is the point of PT links if they don’t link up the places you go?

        2. So take the one of the many bus that use New North road? Or get groceries at New Lynn or Newmarket?

          Something tells me you are not doing much shopping via PT. It’s incredibly easy.

          A train station there is not happening. Unless they build cross town rail

    2. This photo is for me. It shows how I got around in March, including my wonderful trip to the Waiheke sculpture trail I can assure you people do like myself, and many more would, get around and shop via bike if there was a safe and connected cycle network ️

  8. For me this consultation is just another example of how the whole consultation model is broken, that it cannot succeed as long as a piecemeal approach is taken to change.

    It is highly likely that shop owners are resentful that they will loose parking spaces while Dominion Road has a tunnel bored under it so that the status quo is preserved and Sandringham Road might be scheduled for consultation in 2054, or whenever. No one wants to lose out to others.
    I feel as though it is a broken record, but examples abound of cities who have taken a city wide view, Paris by removing 60,000 car parks, Vienna with its commitment to 20% car mode share by 2026 and the SUMP consultation of Milan as examples.
    As a post script I was enormously disappointed that the appointment of Matt to AT was a hoax. I was already drafting an application for the Culture and People Manager position, all ready to introduce a “fifo” model.

    1. Yea it’s incredibly frustrating. AT fianlly admit that their arterial roads don’t work for anyone one, now it’s time to blow millions and probably decades on consulting every single car park.

      PT needs to work a lot better and people on bikes need to be safe. These issues are going get a thousandth the air time as dairy “loses” car park.

  9. The fact that this project connects bike infrastructure to Rosebank, is great and absolutely infuriating given what happened what AT decided on Ash Rata street corridor.

    Saying I want New North Road to be made wider is almost gas lighting sigh.

    Which Arterial is next?

    1. Hey Jak -what is your view on the bi directional cycleway. Do you think the shoulder on both sides of Rosebank ( which is already no parking) could be made into protected cyclelanes?

      1. I think on road bi directional bike lanes are massively over done in Aucklnd. They should only be used in situations like along coast lines, or where benefits bike users (coastal roads maybe), not when it benefits cars to be able to treat bike users like pedestrians. Nelson Street, is prime example of this, a critical safe bike link, but bikes get treated like pedestrians when they cross the road with 6 second light cycles, meanwhile cars get minute long green? Also the fact bi direction bike lanes are the size of car, is also an issue.

        In this situation, they would vastly inferior to Tim tam Mono lanes. But they would be vastly better than nothing and nothing is still very much on the cards here.

        1. Signal phasing isn’t an issue unique to bi-directional bike lanes though. Uni-directional ones would have the exact same issue if the AT are unwilling to hold left turning traffic.

        2. Sailor boy, not really. The vast majority of mono lanes (particularly older ones) don’t have any specific lights for bikes, so as vehicles they follow the vehicle lights.

        3. Under the current law, if you separate the lane, you have to stop left turning cars when the cycle lane proceeds straight, exactly as you do for bi-directional lanes. You can only avoid this if the separation stops in advance of the intersection. The law desperately needs to change to resolve this.

        4. Sailor boy. That is ridiculous. Do you know which part of the act?

          Oh well the solution is clear. All resources should be spent on unprotected bike gutters? To be given Tim tams later when law gets sorted. I only am semi joking, the bike gutters have a place.

        5. It’s a combination of different parts of the act. Once a cycle lane is physically separated from the roadway, it is no longer part of the roadway, so any cyclist on the path is crossing the roadway at intersections and must give way to all traffic. Therefore, AT have started doing separate signals to provide at least some crossing opportunity.

          I completely agree that bike gutters are a good interim solution, protection has to stop about 20m short of the stop line to make the layout clear.

        6. Unfortunately, ending the bike lane before the intersection doesn’t work for 10 year olds biking to school. So we get full segregation which is safe, complies with the law, but high delay. Cyclists can still choose to stay on the road if they like to die sooner.

  10. One of Auckland Transport strategies is missing is ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ and mandatory/compulsory inside apartment blocks which would definitely solve issues people have with the current strategies! On the good side this strategy is good for commuters which takes the buses and go along the affected roads but downside is that it affects businesses and private property owners as a whole since they’ll be losing their usual parking space. But there is a solution to fix these problems, for those small business who rely on curb side parking in places such as Mt Eden, Balmoral, Ponsonby, Epsom, Greenlane and Remuera, there should be ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ placed on their side streets or even on their main roads. As for apartment buildings, the Auckland Council should revisit their ‘Unitary Plan’ and make it compulsory to have car garages trenched underneath apartments buildings or beside apartments.

    With apartments, some across Auckland don’t have any garages underneath or right beside their apartments which can make apartments an unattractive choice to live in since some type of people need it for their use of work or large family purposes. Also having to park a car on the side of the curb is not ideal since it can block cars two way street and turn it into one way street where you have to continuously give way to the incoming vehicle. In the future, Auckland is going to turn into a highly densely populated place with a lot of apartments and if you were to still have curb side parking along the apartment blocks and a lot of vehicles needing parking, it would cause problems for those who need cars for work or big families so that is why there needs to be garage parking compulsory for developments of making new apartments. There should be a compulsory/mandatory law by council to enforce developers to construct parking garages 40-50% occupancy of development block, since 3, 4 and 5 bedroom units would highly likely require the need of uses of private vehicles while 1, 2 bedroom unit would likely use public transport.

    So what is a ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ you ask? Well it is a form of parking where instead of parking on the side of the road, you park on this ‘Ferris Wheel Type Of Parking’. It’s the same concept of going on a ride ‘Ferris Wheel’, you come and park on the ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’, once on, you get out and push a button to make thing rotate. It will be very convenient for the small businesses which are affected by the change since the customers wouldn’t have to walk so far the businesses and in-some cases, park furtherer away from the business which can effect the attractiveness of visiting them since its not ideal to visit and not convenient so that is why we need ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking to create convenience for the small businesses and customers.

    This innovative technology would be a game changer for a city like Auckland and really needed fast! The ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ can be constructed in matter of 3 – 5 days and be operationally operating running. Also other specifications are:

    * High efficacy spacing and capacity of holding 12 – 16 cars at a time depending on ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ type
    * Low electric power consumption
    * Low maintenance cost/Low operating cost
    * Rotates both directions
    * Low noise level
    * Easy to reinstall and relocate
    * Can hold any vehicle maximum height of 20 cm
    * Lifespan of 15 – 20 years
    * Driver can operate manually or via mobile device on app

    Auckland Council should look into buying some ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Plan system, it will help business along the busy road corridors which will be affect by the change!

    We should definitely have this in our city, we are a very advanced city and are going to turn into a highly densely populated city as whole and . We are falling behind the developed/advanced countries of the world in this, we need to keep up with innovative technologies which improve life for all kinds of people! The ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ are in countries such as Japan, China, USA, South Korea, India, Brazil, Israel and 18 other countries. Main common place to find these is in Japanese South Korean and Chinese cities since they’ve got a lot of high density apartments. We do need this type of new from of parking immediately and can’t keep to our same method of ‘Curb Side Parking’, its just disrupts the traffic flow of the buses which get blocked by the block of cars parked on the curb.

    Check out down below the links of ‘Smart Parking/Rotary Parking’ works!

    1. It is illegal for council to have any parking requirements on residential development. They are not allowed to create any by-laws / include parking minimums in the unitary plan.

      But the real question is why would you want to ensure that every unit that is 3-4-5 bedrooms be $100k (per park) more expensive by legally mandating having underground parking? Do you think large families deserve to have extra costs piled onto their housing costs, legally forced to be that way by council? Thats pretty rough Tim.

      1. Jack, Auckland Council does allow you to construct ‘on-site parking’ as-long as the developer follows ‘compromising street character, landscape quality and pedestrian amenity and safety​ guidelines that Auckland Council have implemented as part of their ‘Unitary plan’ bylaw. The developers themselves have the ability to decide if they want on-site parking being provided by choice. No council interventions are contributing to prevention of car parking.

        Under ground parking is a complementary, not an increased value, the parking comes with the apartment but not with increases value of the unit, which also means no affect on council.

        1. “Under ground parking is a complementary, not an increased value, the parking comes with the apartment but not with increases value of the unit”
          So the parking has so little value that people won’t pay more for it, but so much value that council should force people to build it even if they don’t want?

        2. Car parks often increase the value of the unit by 100k plus in the city center. And are sold between apartment owners for those kinds of prices. They absolutely do impact on sale prices of apartments. And impact on the build costs.

          You’re also confused between parking minimums and parking maximums. The council cannot direct a development to build any parking any more. They wont stop people building some, that is correct. But because it costs vast sums of money to build parks, then people are far less inclined to pay for it.

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