The Council are in the middle of making (government forced) changes to the Unitary Plan which will enable a lot more housing in existing urban areas. At the same time, Supporting Growth – the combined work of Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and various consultants, are charging ahead with plans to spend billions to
support growth subsidise urban sprawl. There have already been multiple consultations for each of the four greenfield growth areas (Warkworth, Dairy Flat, Northwest and South) to come up with the proposes future networks and they’ve now launched two new consultations in advance of work to protect the routes.
Protecting the routes in itself isn’t a bad thing but also won’t come cheap as will require agencies to start property purchases and it’s hard to see how some of what is proposed can ever be delivered in light of the just released Emissions Reduction Plan, which among other things states:
The proposed high-level strategic network has been released before and a detailed business case been completed confirming that network (though it doesn’t seem to have been made public). The focus of this particular consultation is a more detailed route alignment for the proposed new motorway extension, rapid transit corridor plus stations and cycling connections around Huapai/Kumeu.
The group has now completed work on the next phase – a mapped transport network proposal that would transform how people move around the North West in the future.
The proposed network sets out a number of projects including an alternative state highway, a rapid transit corridor between Redhills North and Kumeū-Huapai, two new stations (one near Kumeū and one near Huapai) and a new interchange at SH16 Brigham Creek Road.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Director Regional Relationships, Steve Mutton says long-term transport connections are vital to support the North West’s rapid growth.
“We know the results of not having transport infrastructure included in long-term plans – it is bleak. We want to see the future homes and communities of these high growth areas developed in and around carefully planned transport solutions,” said Mr Mutton.
Auckland Transport Chief Executive, Shane Ellison says that community feedback has already helped in developing business cases and identifying route options and the preferred routes.
“The pace at which the programme has progressed has been impacted by COVID-19, however we are now ready to go back to the community in Auckland’s North West to ensure we are on the right track.”
Phelan Pirrie, Rodney Local Board chair says the rapid transit corridor in particular will be transformative for the Kumeū town centre.
“Fast frequent public transport in Kumeū is a future everyone in the community would be excited about,” he said. “Starting the planning also now means that local businesses and residents can consider any impacts and options early,” he said.
Supporting Growth is asking for community feedback on the below strategic projects that are anticipated for delivery in the next 10 to 30 years to support growth in the North West (funding dependent).
- A future rapid transit corridor between Redhills North and Kumeū-Huapai will provide fast, frequent and high-capacity public transport.
- A station located at Huapai will enable residents from the surrounding area to access a park and ride adjacent to the station.
- A station located near the Kumeū town centre will provide access to the station by all types of transport – public transport, walk, bike, scoot, or drive
- A cycling and walking corridor alongside the rapid transit corridor connecting Whenuapai and the northern part of Redhills to Kumeū-Huapai.
- An Alternative State Highway – a new route extending the existing North Western Motorway from Brigham Creek Road to State Highway 16 east of Waimauku, supporting the upgrade of the current state highway in Kumeū-Huapai town centre.
- A new interchange at SH16 Brigham Creek Road – this will improve access for all areas across the North West. It will create a central connection point for a wide range of transport options, including the Alternative State Highway, new public transport routes via the rapid transit corridor, and new walking and cycling networks, to flow through.
The consultation website includes this map
I really want to know what can be done to get that rapid transit (and active mode) corridor in place asap to give people in Huapai/Kumeu some real non-car options for how they get around. Growth over the last decade or so has meant congestion is a major issue in the area and the existing State Highway here is one of the busiest two-lane state highways in the country. It currently sees more daily traffic than most of the non-Auckland motorways/expressways that have been built in recent decades, including the likes of the just opened Transmission Gully. But building alternative state highway isn’t going to solve the problem much, just shift it further down SH16.
And what is with that proposed interchange between SH16 and Fred Taylor Dr/Brigham Creek Rd. That seems like an awful lot of expensive land being tied up.
You’ll also notice the interchange is so big it’s pushed the rapid transit and active mode corridors into Fred Taylor Park. This seems to suggest it’s the rapid transit corridor that will have to foot the bill for mitigating it rather than building a less extreme interchange.
I’ve also mentioned before that I think if the motorway extension is built, the existing heavy rail line should be diverted to run alongside it to get freight transiting to/from Northland out of the town centre and it would also free up the current corridor for rapid transit rather than create a new corridor, potentially requiring a lot of land.
The consultation closes 20 June.
It’s a similar story in Warkworth with the exception that the is no rapid transit planned and the Alternative State Highway is already under construction and due to open next year. Also, this consultation is about feeding into a business case to justify route protection.
The plan includes:
- Provision for walking and cycling paths on new and upgraded transport corridors to create a well-connected network and provide better access to sustainable travel choices
- In the long term, two new bus interchanges are planned – a northern bus interchange with park and ride to replace the interim site and a southern bus interchange to encourage a shift to public transport.
- In the long term, a new southern interchange to provide additional access to Ara Tūhono – the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway
- Future new transport corridors that will connect to wider destinations, enable future land uses, provide more choice for users and add further capacity across the network
- Future upgrades to a number of roads, including the existing State Highway 1, which in the future will function as an urban arterial road (as Ara Tūhono – the Pūhoi to Warkworth motorway will become the new State Highway 1).
Feedback on this consultation is 7 June.