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:


Northwest

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.

Strategic projects

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 is focusing primarily on the location of the rapid transit stations but other comments are being sought. There’s also a drop-in session this evening for those in the area.

The consultation closes 20 June.


Warkworth

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.

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83 comments

  1. Life-sustaining and ethical plans for these areas involve simply providing the missing walking, cycling and public transport options for the existing residents and development.

    Supporting extra development in these non-central areas would be incoherent and climate-ignorant.

    Will decision-makers woodenly follow the same path they’ve been on or proactively shift the plans to be in line with the ERP? Will they walk the talk or resist it every step of the way?

    1. 100%. I live in the Northwest/Redhills area and I don’t even feel safe riding my bike 500m to the shops because Don Buck Road/Fred Taylor Drive are absolutely terrifying. Parts of Fred Taylor and Brigham Creek don’t even have a footpath let alone a cycle path/lane. It’s borderline criminal how the authorities have allowed intensified housing development out here without basic provisions for pedestrians and cyclists.

  2. “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.

    Well thanks so much for not adding Busway to western a decade ago. And thanks again for pointlessly delaying the bandaid busway that we are getting as a result of this failure.

  3. You honestly can’t make it up. 1 week ago we have a council reluctant to intensify our inner suburbs, then politicians all pat themselves on theb ack for the ‘historical’ ERP, then the following day they are talking about additional motorways and park and rides. It’s all just 1 sick joke..

    1. The most concerning item I saw in this article was a park and ride, why aren’t active modes and feeder buses being used, so that we don’t create another Albany sized park and ride facility at what is currently the edge of the network.

      1. Needing a car to use PT, park and rides are such stupid way to do things. This specific one is even worse than most, as the bus will just be using the same roads as cars mostly.

  4. But this is how the process works. AT dreams up a long list of gold-plated projects, then they have a model built and the model always says the projects are all required, then when a developer strays into their trap the developer is presented with the list of demands and told to pay for them all or AT will oppose their consent or plan change.

    1. … but looking at development happening I think the developers get to do the development anyway and not put in the roads / cycleways / networks that were always aspirational.

    2. Lol. Working for developers for the last 15 years, I can tell you that most of the time, developers are there first, pushing for permitting of development in these greenfield areas. And then AT sees another big funding hole open up. Of course they have to push back on every cost they can.

      That doesn’t mean that *other* teams that aren’t in the business of making funding ends meet aren’t happily planning new roads. Planners like to plan, engineers like to engineer. And who wants to be stuck with the projects in the inner city changing road space or taking away parking, when the politicians leave you to the angry mob the first time something “controversial” is proposed. Much more fun drawing grand lines across farmland.

  5. When will they get it? We need politicians brave enough to stand up and say clearly: “We will not invest a cent more in motorways. All our future transport investment will be in public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure.” End of story.

  6. This would be somewhat credible if real action had been taken to fix the appalling failure to include any kind of rapid transit right of way when supersizing the NW motorway. And no the current slight lengthening of vehicle breakdown lanes and a couple of awful in-motorway bus stops does not count.

    Asking for feedback on ‘rapid transit station locations’ out beyond the non-existent rapid transit route is just gaslighting.

    How come Light Rail has now blown right past the NW and jumped the harbour, where there is already a really good RT service? Especially with the super expensive Isthmus tunnelling option chosen which essentially steals funding that should instead be building the NW line. Why? One over-expensive line instead of two perfectly great ones?

    Why do we always get left out in the west?, it’s not just future growth, it’s catch-up for neglect and pressing current need.

    1. Don’t worry they are going to treat everyone equally. Nobody is getting any light rail, north west or central.

      1. …not getting climate friendly infrastructure should be a major worry.

        Your smugly defeatist tone gives me the impression you’re actually gunning for the degradation and destruction of the environment & human society.

        1. Me, I have given snarky comments like that as well. Despair over our politicians extraordinary ability to dither – or simply ignore – climate change or housing crisis issues can cause that kind of cynical comment. It’s a pessimism all too often founded in reality. After over a decade in transport advocacy, I have to keep myself from it often enough (with mixed success), because without hope what likelihood of change will there be? And I don’t WANT to discourage those who still got more of the fire to fight for change. But the older you get, the more often you hear the same bullsh** the less optimistic you are. Plus ca change…

        2. When Treasury says light rail could cost as much as $28 billion then you know there is zero chance of anyone signing up to have their train set built.

          As for climate friendly, FFS these people are not going to stop people burning coal. Light rail must be a hell of a long way down the emissions reduction list when you consider just the concrete for their tunnels, somewhere just above building electric ferries.

  7. The Norrhwest plans are crazy.
    1) The motorway extension shouldn’t be as west as Fred Taylor Park, it should be 100m further East between the existing road and the planned route.
    2) None of this is going to happen within the next decade… meanwhile the newly upgraded railway line is sitting there being used for 2x freight trains a day only. The various arguments made by AT/AT are all flawed and ridiculous – quite simply they are excuses looking for a problem. The only potential “problem” is the Waitakere tunnel. 3 options for that – upgrade, daylight, or purchase suitable trains (BEMU, HEMU).
    A shuttle between Swanson and Huapai could operate every 20mins in peak, and half hourly at other times, and hourly off peak. Wouldn’t necessarily even need to be 3-car units, just a double (at least initially). Even Helensville could be served (less regularly – just like how similar towns are serviced overseas).
    Adding a short passing loop (cheap to do) would help but even then isn’t really needed. All of this could be up and running VERY quickly and getting people out of cars. Buses are just stuck in traffic and a busway is at least a decade away, LR is decades away.
    This pigheadedness from AT/AC/ and GA is getting very tired and not helping anyone.

    1. I think you’ll find the general mood at GA is despair, from what I can see. The train is an easy interim solution but does nothing for Red Hills, Westgate or the bits leading up to Kumeu.

      It’s infuriating as functionally the transport network is the same as it was when urban Auckland ended on the westward side of Hobsonville Road and Fred Taylor Drive, but there’s now tens of thousands of extra people in Massey, Westgate and beyond with no extra provisions – and even the interim solutions are being downscaled, delayed and deferred.

      1. There’s a station at Waitakere that can also be used. Anything that takes pressure off roads in the area will help those areas you mentioned, and yes it is an interim solution, but that’s all it needs to be… if (IF!!!) a busway or LR gets built past Westgate then they can easily reassess and can the rail service if needs be, or retain it, that’s the beauty of it.

        1. I really don’t think it’s as simple as that Realist.

          What trains are you going to use? The ADL/ADC diesel multiple units are end-of-life, and either ordering BEMUs or electrifying Swanson-Huapai would likely take 2-3 years.

          During which time, and for a comparable or lower cost it ought to be possible to accelerate the NW motorway bus lanes, extend them from Westgate to Huapai, and have WX1 buses running every 15 minutes from Huapai to Britomart taking ~45 minutes – a far better deal than an hourly shuttle service with a transfer at Swanson/Henderson and a 1 1/4 hour travel time to the central city.

        2. I think it needs to be looked at afresh in the light of needing to reduce vkt and emissions so substantially, and in terms of needing a logical, stepped way of overcoming the institutional barriers.

          What the best thing to do assuming a competent set of agencies and logical decision making is not the same thing to do in the situation we’re in: NW bus improvements being an inadequate joke as a result of really crap priorities in the agencies.

          And what the calculations showed when the idea was to improve ridership is different to what is required when full transformation is required.

          For starters, we can start looking at the upzoning required to justify the connectivity being given to Kingsland… And start thinking about train times to Kingsland, not downtown.

          I don’t have the answers but I for one am keeping an open mind.

        3. I’ve also thought that if the government had a national plan of reestablishing rail in a staged way, they’d buy a set of trains to shift around to whichever part of track has been put back into use but not yet electrified…

    2. Have you used the western line before? You know its slower to take the train from Swanson to the CBD than it is to drive from Kumeu to the CBD right? Granted that’s only one example of a trip, but its a valid example.

      1. The answer is speeding up delivery of the busway (or what should be LRT) and extending further northwest. Not adding to an already long and winding route which would be slower than the busway.

        1. Probably yea. It’s such a shame that they have just said do what ever, before even having a vague plan as how people will get to the rest of the city without cars.

      2. Exactly.

        Even with the best post-CRL travel times, Huapai to the City via the Western Line heavy rail would be close to an hour.

        A Northwestern Busway or light rail following SH16 would take as little as 30-35 minutes from Huapai to the City.

        Extending passenger heavy rail to Huapai, as the primary means of getting to the city, is just not worth it.

        1. When will that be delivered if ever? Minimum 1 decade away. PT is overdue by a decade already and with tens of thousands more moving to the area we need a solution (even if interim) now.

          Remember also that all that traffic causes disruption for everyone else (Hobsonville etc) and isn’t compatible with climate goals.

        2. As I have said in my other comments – extend the in-progress SH16 shoulder bus lanes from Westgate to Huapai.

          That should be the interim solution – quicker travel times than extending the Western Line AND offers higher frequencies.

        3. Extending them on the side of a motorway over relatively flat and prepared terrain is a hell of a lot different to building what is effectively the entire NW motorway bus lanes to Westgate (distance wise) on undulating, unprepared, undesigned, restricted corridor with no ability to move lanes around etc in an already dangerous corridor. If they made the decision this very day it would take about 3 years of planning alone then another 5 years of construction, all the while disrupting an already severely congested and dangerous road.

      3. Yes any sort of half pie busway via the NW motorway will be quicker than the old winding rail line. If you look at the rail line there’s nothing really in between Swanson and Kumeu to justify it’s use. In the far future perhaps they will have passenger services along here but more for access to Henderson and such rather than the city. Would be interesting with a west to south rail pattern post CRL to compare the times though.

        1. I think that figure includes the mythical time savings from running electric trains that never eventuated.

        2. I think the bulk of the extra services only run as far as Henderson too, so you’re looking at some degree of shuttling between there and Sturges Rd/Ranui/Swanson

        3. But to get that figure they also include time of current walk up from Britomart to Aotea as against taking CRL to Aotea – not exactly apples and apples.

        4. The way I’ve been comparing travel times on the Western Line is for Swanson to Britomart, both with and without the CRL.

          Current timetables give 56 minutes from Swanson to Britomart. The CAF-specified speeds and timetables ought to give 43 minutes from Swanson to Britomart. The CRL is supposed to offer an additional 8 minute time saving, so post-CRL the best possible Swanson to Britomart time on the Western Line would be 35 minutes.

          Swanson to Huapai was timetabled at 17-20 minutes back during the 2008-2010 Helensville service trial, including the stop at Waitakere. Assuming that BEMUs could get that down to 15 minutes, Huapai to Britomart via the Western Line would take 1hr 11 minutes today, and no better than 50 minutes post-CRL.

          Compare that to off-peak buses down the Northwestern Motorway, which take roughly 45 minutes Huapai to Lower Albert St (which I presume would represent bus travel times at peak once the NW Motorway bus shoulder lanes open). Or to a proper Northwestern busway/light rail, which would take 30-35 minutes Huapai to downtown.

      4. Yes, and there is quite a few things planned to speed it up and of course CRL will do wonders too. The drive from Huapai to CBD can easily reach close to 2 hours on many occasions. That said it’s not all about the city, lots of people work around Henderson, New Lynn etc (where the train is more direct than driving).
        Quite simply, the drive is currently longer, it’s not going to get quicker anytime soon, buses won’t be faster anytime soon, LR will probably never happen or at least decades away, NW is overdue PT years ago, the next best time is now!
        It’s also the cheapest option.

        1. Is heavy rail really the cheapest option? Taking into account the need to daylight the Waitakere Tunnel, purchase new rolling stock, and/or electrify & double track the

          I would hesitate to prioritize Henderson and New Lynn. The 2018 census found that the second biggest commuting destination for Huapai residents, after the central city, is the North Shore (Albany & Takapuna). Thus it can be said that an RTN via the Northwestern motorway is more beneficial, not only for the city journeys but also enabling a transfer to North Shore-bound frequent buses at Westgate.

          RTN along the Northwestern Motorway would still enable trips to the Lincoln, Henderson, and Rosebank areas (the third-biggest commute destination for Huapai residents as per 2018); a transfer at a Lincoln Rd Station would get people easily to Henderson.

          To me, a Huapai/Helensville shuttle train service seems like something that should be a secondary, long-term goal. Extending shoulder bus lanes and WX1 bus service from Westgate to Huapai would deliver better transit outcomes more cost effectively

        2. Yes it is. The tunnel doesn’t need to be daylighted – that’s only for diesel trains (even then that call is marginal).
          New rolling stock need to be purchased anyway, also do you think buses are free or even cheap?
          No need to electrify, BEMU or HEMU can do it.
          No need to double track either, a simple and cheap passing loop is all that is required. Certainly a lot cheaper than building new bus lanes (especially if those are only going to be temporary for when the motorway and RTN get extended at some future point).

          Not disputing the North Shore traffic, but as I have said in other posts – it’s going to be a very long time until any kind of buslane can and will be built. In the meantime rail frees up congestion on the existing road for faster bus journeys and/or car journeys to Westgate where people can transfer. Many travel via Riverhead or Dairy flat to get to the shore from places like Waimauku, Helensville etc.

        3. Buses are certainly cheaper than trains. 17 BEMUs from CAF were costed at nearly $300 million back in 2017 – that’s nearly $20 million per train vs $750,000 per electric bus.

          The Northwestern Motorway bus shoulder lanes were costed at something around $100 million back in 2021; so I daresay it’s a reasonable assumption that widening SH16 to Huapai to accomodate bus lanes (or a bidirectional single median bus lane as in the Indianapolis BRT scheme) would cost something around that mark if not less. The cost of bus lanes and new bus vehicles should therefore be well under the cost of new BEMU heavy rail rolling stock.

          Mate, your opposition to a bus lane solution really seems more ideological than fact-based. Your immediate dismissal of a bus lane option without any evidence to back up your claims of “being more expensive” or “taking longer than rail to implement” are strikingly similar to the heavy rail propaganda put out by the PTUA over the years – not taking into account the age of the ADL/ADC trains, assuming zero political or technical obsticals for heavy rail but cherry-picking all the worst case scenarios for BRT/LRT…

        4. I think a busway or almost busway solution is best for the NW, but additionally a few BMU’s doing a run from Waimauku or even Hellensville right through to the city or perhaps just Henderson or something similar might be a good idea. Order the rolling stock, will take a few years, by then more population will be settled out that way.
          Not sure of the track condition further out west from Swanson, but hopefully the units could really hoot it in the large gap between stations.

        5. You’re making a lot of assumptions and errors Matt.
          1) $20m per train is for 3-car units, it might be that dual car units are more suitable. Furthermore a train lasts 40+ years versus ~10 years for a bus. You also fail to take into account capacity – you need 3x buses for each train. So you’re talking about $9m equivalent over time for bus. Then you have higher operating costs (wear and tear on tyres etc, 3x drivers) let alone the cost to actually build bus lanes versus an already built and almost ready to go rail line.
          2) You mention $100m to convert already built shoulders into bus lanes. Compare that to having to build bus lanes from scratch on unprepared land along with associated drainage, bridges, services relocation etc. With the way construction costs are these days you’re probably looking at 3-4x that figure ie $400m.
          You’re not going to get a bi-directional bus lane.

          Now ignore all of the above because the main point of ALL of this is that the only option that can be up and running this side of 2030 is rail. It doesn’t matter if you think buses are better or not, they won’t be ready for a long time.

        6. The train is the worst option. You would only spend that money for a worse outcome if you really love HR, really hate buses, or both.

        7. Realist – you are spot-on. Using the existing rail route to bring a Pukekohe-type shuttle service would be such an easy and obvious win. If new trains are required and they take 3 years to arrive then the time to order them was 3 years ago, but let’s not perpetuate the error by continuing to do nothing now. The ADL units ex Pukekohe could have been (could still be) re-deployed as a stop-gap until this happens.

        8. As a comparison, the express bus is currently timetabled from1hr 20mins, to 2hrs from Hellensville to the city centre in the morning depending on the time you pick.

        9. Realist – please take a step back and notice your blatant pro-heavy rail anti-anything else bias. You are spouting the same false arguments that Jon Reeves and the PTUA are – cherry picking all the negatives and worst-case-scenarios for NW bus lanes/busways, while cherry-picking all the most optimistic assumptions for heavy rail.

          You fail to take into account the capacity benefit of FREQUENCY. Your 2-car rail shuttle option, running at best half hourly with a 2-car or 3-car train, would move 400-500 people per hour. 110 passenger double-decker buses running every 10-15 minutes on an extended WX1 would move 660 people per hour each way; more if more frequent service can be achieved. Not to mention higher-frequency service gives better travel choice and flexibility.

          I strongly disagree with your position, because I fear it will detract from much-needed NW rapid transit and prevent tangible mass transit improvements for Westgate, Lincoln, Te Atatu, Pt Chev, etc – all the while creating an inferior, slower service for Huapai. The end goal should be light rail up the Northwestern Motorway corridor – full stop.

        10. Dave – it isn’t that simple, or comparable to the Pukekohe service. Extending the Western Line would create a long and indirect service to Huapai or Helensville; far longer than driving even at peak. Maybe 10 years ago a DMU shuttle may have been worth it, but now the evidence indicates that bus lane solutions will deliver faster, more frequent, more beneficial travel options.

          Grant – the 2008-2010 Helensville train, with all-stops on the Western Line, took 1hr 40mins to get to Britomart. It’s slower than off-peak buses, and I presume that continuous bus lanes from Huapai to the city would ensure the current off-peak bus times can be achieved throughout the day.

          The benefits of this would be more tangible for Huapai – a ~45min bus ride into the city every 10-15 minutes versus a 1hr 10min train ride (including transfer at Swanson or Henderson) every 30-60 minutes.

        11. No Matt, it is you who is sucking up the kool aid and not offering anything viable until next decade.

          You mentioned frequency. 3TPH is easily achievable and 4 is possible with cheap passing loops.
          Capacity – you need to double the numbers you gave for trains (and that’s based on 2TPH).

          And… I will repeat this one final time in the hope that you actually manage to comprehend it:
          Rail can be done now. BRT isn’t possible until next decade (and that’s if they started now, otherwise mid next decade).
          NW needs PT NOW, not next Decade!

        12. I’m generally a strong supporter of rail, but a devil’s advocate is needed here. There are three little words to beware of when talking about transport in general and rail in particular, all of them used in comments: simple, cheap, easy. In general, if you’re relying on any of these to be true, you won’t be able to get want you want.

          Those three words rarely apply to railway trackwork, signalling or rolling stock, particularly when some of the issues don’t seem to be taken into account. As examples, a shuttle terminating at Swanson would (I believe) require resignalling there, and remodelling to provide reliably short and convenient connection times; and any new rolling stock through a single-track tunnel would require doors at the ends to allow for emergency exits, which would probably require complete redesign of the ends. These things come at a cost, in both time and money.

          If we don’t take the full implications of such things into account we’re deluding ourselves, sadly setting up our proposals to fail. Be realistic, and avoid those three little words like the plague!

  8. Warkworth needs work for sure, they need to fix the intersection and Hiills/sadnspit, matakana rd. It’s essentially a 5x intersections or so mixed into one. It ends up causing blocked up even by very minor traffic flows. It’s horrible for cars, residents and anyone wanting to cross. Locals have been campaigning for a fix which is a saner layout, potentially removing some connections. No motorway is going to solve this problem, as it’s a bad design issue.

    But speaking of Kumeu, is not electrifying the rail tracks and upgrading them the most sensical approach to PT? As that woudl allows to connect all the way to Hellensvile?

    1. But that line is single-track, right? So in our current “motorways are a basic necessity, rapid transit is a luxury we leave for later” the costs of double-tracking a line like that fall into the “too hard, do later” basket nearly every time.

      1. Double track isn’t needed, nor is OLE. BEMU can do the job easily and a simple short/cheap passing loop is all that is needed to give reasonable running.

    2. Improving the HR line to there eats into the support / justification for a new northwest line while also not being a very good solution. Still a significantly longer train ride then peak driving to the city center, doesn’t serve big catchments like Te Atatu or Westgate. The western line is very circuitous.

      That said, if there is a lot of commercial development to come around those more outer stations like Glen Eden / Henderson then the long trip times into the city center don’t necessarily matter that much. A lot of use would be driven by trips finishing well short of the downtown core.

      1. Oh well the Puhoi motorway is nearly open that bypasses this of course, so the bulk of SH1 will not need to go through here. I see in about a week they are opening it slightly (while they finish the stitch going through the tunnels) so the traffic going north will exit on the Puhoi off ramp then have to join SH1 at the intersection.

      2. None of that has worked as it hasn’t solved the problem. You need to either increase intersection size to accomodate the roads, build a full interchange if you want. Alternatively you could remove links in the graph, you could stop hill st to be able to go agress to sandspit and vice versa. You could stop cars going out of the town centre or into it via that intersection. This would be the cheapest way, disconnect certain paths, that’ll massively reduce the load, politically this may be harder, but it would make it better. But also, something that can be setup with some paint and cones and tested!

        1. Yes, a simplification (not a widening, imo) of the intersection is required, and Matakana Link Rd shouldn’t have been started without it. The simplification could also have provided bus priority.

        2. Here’s what they are proposing, cycling and walking improvements but not bus priority. Will this take over the (now signalised) Panmure roundabout for it’s difficulty in navigating?

        3. Turbine roundabouts, nice. They will give more capacity, I do think that’s overengineering, and if we never built the motorway probably the best solution. However, if you do build something that big with high traffic volumes, doing what hamilton did with bike and pedestrian paths going under the road and to the centre of the roundabout to split is probably good to have.

          However, I do think it will work quite well. Yes it’s not ideal for people navigation with the current volumes of traffic. Considering traffic volumes will be much lower, and with most of the congestion being caused by the intersection. The situation will probably be such that the area will become more or less empty and safe to cross most of the time.

        1. That will potentially remove vehicles from the problematic intersection, but it won’t solve the issue. If for whatever reason people still choose to use it as they are building more houses. The issue will be there. Unfortuantely I cannot find the maths on this that i read on.

          But their conclusion that something as miniscule as 3000 vehicles a day will cause a jam, and considering the area is growing this will still be an issue.

          Unless of course with the matakana link will disconnect sandspit road or something.

        2. Should removes swathes of traffic, especially at holiday times etc. Quite good in that the tolled motorway lets you skip this intersection altogether. With the new link road giving access to Matakana etc.
          I think they looking to make the problem intersection a roundabout long term, is this still the plan?

    3. I don’t think extending the Western Line is worth it, for the following reasons:

      – A very long journey to Central Auckland (over an hour per current timetables, no faster than 50 minutes even in the best post-CRL scenario)
      – Does not benefit Westgate, Lincoln, Te Atatu, Pt Chev; any of the suburbs along the Northwestern Motorway that have no rapid transit
      – 2-4 year delay for purchasing new rolling stock and upgrading the Swanson-Huapai line.
      – Would be more cost effective in the short term to build bus lanes all the way from the city to Huapai along SH16, and run WX1/WX2 buses every 10-15 minutes all the way to Huapai.

      Maybe 10-15 years ago, a temporary diesel train service could have been worth setting up, but I don’t think it’s worth it anymore. It’s certainly not as simple as proponents like the PTUA make it out to be; not with the safety requirements for the Waitakere Tunnel or the end-of-life age of the ADL/ADC diesel railcars.

      In my view the Northwestern Motorway corridor should be the focus for delivering rapid transit to Huapai. First a temporary bus lane solution, then a permanent busway/light rail/light metro line. Trains to Helensville would be a secondary concern to that.

      1. False and well more false Matt.
        Train is cheaper, faster to implement, can be ready to go in a matter of months.
        There is no way in any sort of NZ fairytale land that you could get a busway or bus lanes built to Huapai in a decade let alone 4 or 2 years. You’re dreamin’

        1. Evidence, please, for your claim that “rail would be faster to implement.”

          Are you taking into account the lack of appropriate rolling stock? I rode the Pukekohe diesel shuttle last month and the ADLs are in a bit of a sorry state.

          The 2-4 year wait time and $200-300 million cost for a fleet of BEMUs to arrive?

          And there’s no good reason why we shouldn’t be able to build bus infrastructure quickly and cheaply. Your use of mocking “fairytale + you’re dreaming” language indicates you have an unreasonable pro-heavy rail bias.

        2. Just a thought – would it be possible to extend Te Huia beyond the current Metro network, to Waitakere, Huapai or even Helensville, by extending Te Huia? Kills 2 birds with one stone (no pun intended) and could get people closer to the CBD than The Strand?

        3. @Te Huia Fan I wouldn’t say that’s a good idea.

          – Conflicts with the 10 minute peak frequencies of all-stop suburban trains on the Western Line; no way to pass or overtake suburban trains
          – Poses a challenge turning Te Huia around and getting it back to the Strand for the return service to Hamilton/to the Westfield yards
          – Technically doesn’t serve the central city, assuming a Strand-Newmarket-West routing.
          – Even an express service from Huapai to the Strand would take around an hour; so not competitive with driving and probably not good enough to attract people out of cars.

        4. Helensville is 90 minutes away from Auckland by rail, so a three hour return trip.

          Te Huia only has two trainsets for the line. If you send a train out to Helensville and back it can’t be running back to Hamilton at the same time. So at best what you might manage is to schedule in one or two return trips Auckland to Helensville and back during the middle of the day when they trains aren’t busy… but that’s pretty useless.

          Much better would be to run a couple more Auckland-Hamilton-Auckland runs during the middle of the day instead. Then you’re building up something close to a regular timetable.

  9. for all of these new developments, a twin track rail line for passenger services seems like it would a) be cheaper than motorway b)help the carbon goals c) ease congestion on the roads..

  10. Once they decide on the rail option for the North Shore, they should start building it at Warkworth and head south on SH1. There is a lot of regional park up that way but in addition to Warkworth’s growth there are also a lot of communities within an easy P&R/feeder bus plus places like Puhoi

    I’d love it to carry on to Wellsford but Dome Valley is a problem not easily solved without a very expensive tunnel.

    1. Between Warkworth and Hibiscus Coast the terrain would be pretty challenging and expensive to construct through… and they probably haven’t allowed for any mass transit corridor alongside the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway either…

      Hypothetically a North Shore heavy rail line could cut west from Warkworth and join up with the existing NAL at Kaipara Flats. Flatter terrain, easier to build across at-grade.

      1. Fair enough on the terrain issue.

        Would not be much point in extending HR from NIMT to Warkworth unless you went further south with HR. Can’t see that happening. A shame, because that would provide very good connections Auckland to Whangarei

        1. Yeah, I’m still under the impression that light rail is the most likely rail mode to get built to the North Shore in any case.

          Still… the concept of Regional Rapid Rail with a direct line north from Auckland to Whangarei is nice to dream about.

  11. My view is that the RTN corridor should cross over to the east side of SH16 north of Westgate, with a station directly serving Whenuapai, then Riverhead, before following the Old Railway Rd to Kumeu-Huapai.

    Would be about 1km longer and less direct than the SH16-adjacent route currently proposed; but it would better serve existing population centres and catchment .

  12. Close to impossible to pull back on these plans. Rather the key is to incentivise high density urban redevelopment in existing urban areas, as the NPS-UD requires.
    And disincentivise urban sprawl through prohibitive development contributions etc.
    Permanent half price (or preferably free) PT will also help.

  13. You know that nothing is going to change when you read some of the mindless proposals that AT have for the new parking strategy. The old parking strategy didn’t work because AT ignored it from Board level down. (As a consequence rate payers are lumbered with fiascos like the Toka Puia car park building. At some times this $30 million edifice struggles to have even a single car.)
    So did AT look to enshrine the new one in a by law so it couldn’t be ignored? – no.
    Did they look to take a whole of Auckland approach to avoid the fiascos such as St Heliers where the locals essentially said, we don’t give a shit about the environment; we need car parks because we say we do? No. There will still be the local consultation where it appears agreed principles can be ignored.

    I am afraid I am in Miffy’s camp – it is a lost cause.

    Never mind – if a decision maker wants to make stupid decisions I am waiting with an evidence based approach to call them stupid. It brings some satisfaction.

  14. Thanks MattL – looking forward to supporting urban sprawl down south here also.
    Manukau’s new ferry service would provide an alternative route rather than have us all hit takanini on our way to fund our milk and cheese habits. (and $M mortgages)
    I’ve given up on trying to locate our new train stations, im hoping they’ve settled down
    Great to hear the Govt has hit the gas peddle on more EV’s – because more cars is always better.

  15. I am so pleased you have written this article. It would be good if there was less talk and they just started something, anything – the roundabout at coatesville Riverhead highway and State highway 16 has been in planning since 2014 when it was funded -since then absolutely nothing has been done at the same time 5000 + houses have been built Riverhead kumeu huapai. A train to huapai is a no brainer and relatively simple, a T2/bus Lane between kumeu and the motorway is a no brainer and relatively simple. A moratorium on further large-scale development west of Westgate is a no brainer and relatively simple. It is now often quicker to drive from kumeu to Albany and into the CBD than direct.

    1. The current dog’s breakfast west of the the Coatesville-Riverhead highway and SH16 intersection from 6-9am weekdays is a very effective asset/choke point in controlling congestion on the NW motorway. Once there is double-laning from the new CR Highway roundabout to the start of the motorway the travel time of all the other NW motorway users will get longer as more vehicles are added to the network at peak. Until there is a working viable PT option, the business case will continue to fail as the costs out-weigh the benefits. Call me cynical, but it seems this is a big reason NZTA have been intentionally dragging their feet for years on this improvement. Ironically they have achieved one of their goals of making this stretch of road safer by doing nothing…. since noone can travel fast enough to have a serious accident. LOL!

      1. An interesting take on it. In lieu of any other good explaination, other than incompetence, I think you could be on to something – I don’t really think it would make a big impact on the NW motorway traffic though – could be wrong. Also, the problem is while the road is congested there can be no viable PT option (other than the train – and I can’t see that happening any time soon) as the few buses sit in the same traffic – I have tried PT – it isn’t viable. It is a catch 22. If anyone wants some background (and a bit of a laugh) as to the lack of action – 7 years and all they have done is close an intersection, lower the speed limit, and produce a lot of documents – https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh16-brigham-creek-and-waimauku/publications
        https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh16-brigham-creek-and-waimauku/media

        1. The first publication above is the funniest – here are some quotes from the 2016 document:
          “The section of State Highway 16 (SH16) from Brigham Creek Road to
          Waimauku is among its highest immediate priorities.”
          “The aim of the project is to reduce the risk of serious or fatal injuries when cars leave the road or cross the centre line.”
          “Because the Transport Agency knows efficiency along the entire length of the corridor is also a significant issue for the community, as housing growth continues…”
          “This will help ensure consistent journeys and a greater safety result.
          Solutions implemented by this project will be focused on immediate, short-term improvements that help address current issues …”

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