Kāinga Ora are currently in the process of building thousands of new homes all across Auckland within the existing urban area. This is obviously a good thing and support it, Auckland Transport started a project to work with Kāinga Ora on this.

The latest version of ATAP, which was released in early 2020, included this with a $400 million budget as part of the Government’s Auckland Housing Programme (AHP). It noted of the programme’s focus on Northcote, Mt Roskill, Māngere, Oranga and Tāmaki:

Kāinga Ora expects that in the AHP areas their developments, along with private sector developments, will deliver up to 17,000 new homes between 2018 and 2031. This includes replacement of existing dwellings as well as the development of additional dwellings. Mt Roskill, Māngere, Oranga and Tāmaki are the highest priority locations requiring investment over and above what is provided by developers (including Kāinga Ora) or by other parts of ATAP 2021. Investment in these locations, generally to support smaller-scale bus priority, walking and cycling improvements, intersection upgrades or improved access to the rapid transit network, will help their redevelopment deliver important transport outcomes like mode shift and safety. Business case work is underway to identify the detailed nature and timing of investments in these areas.

That sounds good. The Regional Land Transport Programme highlights that most of the money would be spent in the latter part of the decade.

But then back in April last year, AT said this about the work in their report to the board.

Auckland Housing Programme

The ATAP process identified support for brownfields development as the highest priority for growth investment. To support the Auckland Housing Programme in brownfield areas AT will need to develop ways of working with Kāinga Ora. The Business Case for this investment is progressing and is investigating the public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure to encourage sustainable transport behaviour, along with intersection upgrades to minimise impact on the operation of the surrounding road network.

There is a subtle but important shift in that statement from the one in ATAP, dropped are delivering on the outcomes of mode-shift and safety and added is the focus on minimising the impact on the operation of the surrounding network – a common phrase used by AT to mean “we can’t impact traffic flow“. I noted as much in my comment in that post

Those intersection upgrades sound a lot like AT engineers are planning a suite of intersection expansions to push more cars through intersections. If this is what is being planned it would only serve to further encourage driving and make congestion worse. It also ignores that AT needs to reduce vehicle travel.

We haven’t seen the business case AT have been working on but yesterday, thanks to a tweet by Puketāpapa Local Board member Jon Turner, we got a first look at the kind of thing these changes might deliver, and it’s not good.

The intersection is Dominion Rd and Youth St, which is part of the Roskill South development shown below.

The intersection is currently controlled by a stop sign and clearly is not fit for purpose with a wide mouth, which makes it harder for pedestrians to cross safely. There is also no safe way to cross Dominion Rd to access bus stops – for example, would you trust children dashing across two busy lanes to the meagre and narrow traffic island and then doing that a second time.

So an upgrade is definitely needed, especially as with all the new housing, a lot more people are likely to want to get to and from bus stops. So let’s take a look at some of the issues with this proposal.

  • Missing Crossing – it’s 2022, how is it we’re still even suggesting building intersections with missing pedestrian crossings.
  • No Raised Table – We’re now starting to see raised tables being used to cover intersections, making them safer by slowing vehicles down and also further making it easier for pedestrians to cross as they have a level surface. An example of one Auckland Transport have recently proposed is the much busier Maioro St and New Windsor Rd intersection

  • Turning Lanes – If ever there was a sign that the focus of this intersection ‘upgrade’ was about making it easier for cars, it’s the multiple turning lanes. The plan proposes widening Dominion Rd to accommodate this yet if you were to suggest doing this to add say a cycleway, they’d reject it outright. There are also the multiple turning lanes out of Youth St, a small side road unlikely to have a lot traffic. A single lane is unlikely to cause any issues for traffic but allow for a shorter and safer pedestrian crossing. In fact, given the wider development and the many other ways of accessing it, consideration should be given to preventing right turns into or out of it all together.
  • Cycling Facilities – other than some painted box on the intersection, including one a cyclist would have to cross two lanes of traffic to reach, there doesn’t appear to be any facilities to improve safety for or encourage people to ride a bike. This is especially important as just 300m north of this intersection is the Southwestern Shared Path that links to Avondale and Onehunga.

Everything about this intersection screams that it was designed focusing on the outputs of a traffic model, reminding me of this old cartoon.

In 2022 and especially given the focus on the need for mode-shift to help reduce congestion and lower emissions we should be seeing much better than what we’re seeing here. Instead we continue to see business as usual designs focused on moving cars first and people second.

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36 comments

  1. AT claim they are doing all they can to make the transport network safe and sustainable, but the reality is far from it. When you dive down into almost every part, it’s just the same old stuff. Widening intersections, easing traffic flow, increasing emissions and DSI.

  2. Ah a 5 lane road with next to no bike space that is missing a crossing, but every car turning direction get it’s own lane?

    This is about car transport flow above safety. AT need to update their web site.

  3. Is there a Dune meme in here?
    “Something something, …but the traffic must flow!”
    I mean I don’t hold up Kainga Ora as a model organisation, but it must be mind bending trying to deal with this level of determined car centrism from AT when the strategic direction is for less parking, slower speeds and mode shift to active transport.

  4. The only real reason to put lights in here is to provide a pedestrian crossing as very few people would turn right out of Youth Street and all other directions are already fine. Yet that is the very thing they aren’t really doing.

  5. I live near here. Are there any other plans available?
    The last thing Mt Roskill needs is more traffic lanes. Its actually a great place to live as we haven’t had the crazy road widening that other areas have had, and I don’t think anyone wants it either. AT please spend all the $400 million on walking, cycling, and PT, no one around here wants to be another Botany so bugger off.

  6. I do travel through Northcote KO intensification project fairly often, including by bike

    They do seem to be making an effort on protected cycle lanes which makes me happier about riding through the area, compared with the way lake road through Northcote centre used to be; I know of a school kid killed many years ago crossing the road which was 4 lane and encouraged high speed around school zones.

    It still just doesn’t quite feel connected up. You can safely cycle from Smales farm to Northcote centre which is good, but still some baffling bits that are missing.

    If Skypath/Seapath had gone ahead then, would be amazing bit of cycle infrastructure

    1. I believe that timely car journeys and more lanes is so central to NZTA’s core belief system that we won’t see change until they’ve had massive turnover or retirement of senior people across the organisation. Or until they’re reformed after political direction.

      I get a sense that removal of car lanes for other purposes (cycle/PT etc) is just taboo. They see their job as adding lanes to speed up journeys. They try to minimise the cost of adding lanes and car capacity, and so ‘push’ costs for PT/Cycle/Ped projects – hence why they’re so expensive. (Krd is a great example). NZTA’s revenue is from road use… so the more fuel/cars/miles the more money into the NLTF, the more roads, the more people etc. When it comes to city roads AT are 50/50 funded by NZTA and its the same school of people making the same types of decisions from the same underlying philosophy.

      NZTA need to be incentivised to get people out of cars. At the moment this goes against their very fabric of their oranisation, the way they are funded, the way business cases are justified, and their entire delivery model.

      1. I can give you a 99% certainty that NZTA have had no involvement with this. This is Auckland Transport, Kainga Ora, and the transport consultant.

  7. The drawing shows a new bus stop opposite Youth St, a very good idea.
    It will need a shelter thou.
    How wide is the footpath past this shelter?
    Is this footpath supposed to be a shared path?

  8. If they are doing lights here I do think a turning bay is “needed” from Dominion into Youth Street as otherwise people will end up using the bus lane and potentially causing accidents. But it really doesn’t need to be more than a few cars in length, no need to widen so much of Dominion Road for it (in fact I am sure it exists already doesn’t it?)
    But the main reason for these lights has to be to provide a pedestrian crossing, there really is no other need for it. They would probably be better putting pedestrian lights a bit further down from Youth Street in both directions.

    1. Agree, so depressing. And then it’s a fight to try to get it changed to something it should have been proposed in the first place. What a waste of everything…of work from designers and planners, of advocates who will advocate. Why bother doing plans that have reductions in VKT, vision zero and reduced carbon emissions if this kind of things gets proposed. There needs to be some serious change in that organisation.

  9. We will continue to have different designs being implemented until we have:

    a) a mandatory vision zero/carbon zero design standard for new infrastructure and retrofits.
    b) congestion tolls and priced parking to manage vehicle travel demand reducing the need to increase road capacity
    c) (slow) removal of all the other subsidies & cross subsidies vehicle drivers enjoy
    d) modification of the 3 houses per section government legislation to allow commercial on the ground floor as of right (just like old walkable cities). 3 houses per section still requires people to drive to services rather than walk downstairs.

    1. “…allow commercial on the ground floor as of right (just like old walkable cities). 3 houses per section still requires people to drive to services rather than walk downstairs.”

      This. Just look at red hills as prime example of the worst of this – Medium density terrace housing on the outskirts of the city, neighbouring onto vast expanse of big box retail with a ‘town centre’/mall on the other side.

      1. You can also see this in action in Takapuna right now. Apartments everywhere. But no shops. Obviously the town centre isn’t far away, but still, the first apartment building I encounter on my commute on Killarney Street is 600m from the mall and about 1km from the shops on Hurstmere Road. Is that the best we can do? We are the worst city builders in the world.

  10. Would it be better to have signalised pedestrian crossing away from the intersection you could have one say 100 metres each way from Youth Street across Dominion Road then you only stop the traffic when someone wants to cross. Also they can be activated quickly whe the button is pressed rather than waiting to go through the intersection cycle. There is a good example of this on Puhinui Road just up from the railway station on the Eastern side. Still need a crossing over Youth street at the intersection but if the intersection is signalised then it can be incorporated.

  11. oh cool more pointless bus lanes that will get stuck with turning cars and bike boxes to stop in while wondering if the car behind will rev up and try run you down/abuse you.

    Is there anyone in the planning departments that could actually comment on how this crap gets the light of day

    1. Bike boxes should be banned, and I say this as a confident cyclist. For this exact reason, or trucks where the driver can’t see you in front.

      Bike boxes also lead inexperienced cyclists in to dangerous situations, it takes experience and judgement to decide if a box is a safe position at that moment.

    1. Advocates and local community have been “rocking up” to the decisionmakers for decades, telling them that this kind of stuff isn’t good enough. They haven’t stopped proposing it, despite numerous times, the agencies going away and modifying their design. Every second time around or so they revert back to this crock. Volunteers and locals should not have to fight to make agencies do the right thing, or apply their own guidelines which they publicly argue they are following.

      Do we really want a design and decision making system which constantly reverts to designs that go against *their own policies* because car flow remains reigning supreme?

      1. Also, how do you “rock up” to someone when you don’t know something is happening? This only seems to have become public because they legally *had* to tell a Local Board member?

  12. Whatever happened to Patrick Reynolds following his appointment a few years back to the board of Waka Kotahi? Is he still there? Has he been able to influence WK or soften their long-standing ‘traffic-first’ stance? Have a few recent policy-shifts seemingly away from this, come from him? We never hear his name mentioned any more, whereas previously he would courageously speak up about anything he saw as stupid.

    1. I am sure he is trying, but he’s not been having much effect. And once you are on a board like this, one of the prices you pay for that appointment is that you can’t loudly say “no” anymore to what the majority decides, or what your political appointers give as direction. You have to keep any criticisms you make (mostly) internal.

  13. The discussion seems to be getting there. what is needed is a safe crossing for the bus stops. Also (since the design was reviewed) something is needed to achieve a safe speed on Dominion Road. And leave all the space possible to get bike lanes in sometime. Please remember Youth Street is a principal access for three times the population it used to have. But most of that growth needs to be foot, bus, bike.

  14. Ideally on a side street like this the footpath (and bike lane, if any) would not be interrupted at all. The footpath stays level so when turning, a car will go up on a kerb to the footpath level, and then go down again to the roadway on the side street. This is an alternative to making the entire intersection raised.

    Is it possible here to propose / build continuous footways on side streets like this? Or are there legal barriers to this?

  15. There is one thing that a lot of people on here don’t understand.

    AT DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK!

    They are a law unto themselves and they will resist any sort of control right up until the day a law is passed abolishing them, or better, the super city legislation.

  16. Does anyone know when that New Lynn to Avondale cycleway is opening?

    I thought it was supposed to be all go by now? It was still all fenced off on Tuesday.

    1. Official opening is now 4 June.

      Something about the minister not available for the opening which was to be this Tuesday, and / or some last works not quite done yet.

  17. You only have to have pedestrian crossings on every approach if a developer is paying for it. If it is an AT project they use their alternate standards.

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