Today the AT board meet again and here are the highlights from their board reports. You can also watch the open session of the meeting live between 9am and 10:15am via this Microsoft Teams link.


Closed Agenda

Below are the most interesting items from the closed agenda.

Items for Approval

    • Eastern Busway Option 3c: Alignment – this is making a decision on whether to go ahead with the daft Burswood Deviation that ATs engineers came up with last year, taking out many houses rather than reallocating road space on Ti Rakau Dr in order to be able to prioritise the flow of cars and trucks. The local community have been opposed to the plan and the AT Board have previously requested more work be done to justify it. Will AT change their mind or go with this plan?
    • Road Maintenance Contracts – Tranche 2 – I recall a meeting with other advocates a few years ago when (now former) CEO Shane Ellison promised that future road maintenance contracts would include the ability to use the maintenance programme to also roll out improvements to roads instead of the ‘like for like’ replacement that happened. However, there’s been no evidence that this has occurred, will this one be different?
    • Transport Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) – How much will AT embrace the need to get people out of their cars or will staff just blame a lack of funding for gold-plated (or concrete heavy) solutions?
    • New Zealand Upgrade Programme (NZUP) reallocation of funding – This is the funding that was initially earmarked for the walking and cycling bridge across the harbour. At the time of the announcement cancelling the project, the government said at least some of the money would be used for Seapath (the path between the Harbour Bridge and Akoranga), to bring forward part of the Eastern Busway, and new 1.9km cycleway to fill the gap between the Eastern Path and the cycleway alongside the Eastern Busway

Items for Noting

  • Ferry Vessel Risk Profile and Responsibilities – This could be interesting given the age and deteriorating reliability of some of our ferries.
  • ELT Remuneration Review – Board only – It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall and see wither the board think AT’s leadership are doing a good job.

Business Report

Here are the items in the open business report that caught my attention.

CEO

Chief Executive Shane Ellison left the organisation last week. His leaving was announced back in December but we’re yet to hear any news about his replacement.

Plus One Concession – launching 17 July 2022

This seems like a good move.

The ‘Plus One Bus Companion’ will enable the support person of a Total Mobility Card Holder to ride an AT Bus1 * at no charge, when travelling together. This new initiative supports a safer and more equitable public transport (PT) network that already includes kneeling buses, accessible footpaths, and bus shelters, as well as the on-bus audio announcements.

AT also note this has already been done in Wellington, Waikato and Bay of Plenty with ‘great success’

Parking

There are two interesting parking related items included

Remote camera enforcement trial

Management have been running a remote camera enforcement trial at the Killarney Street car park in Takapuna. This trial is a significant step for change in off-street parking enforcement as many carparks across our region do not have barrier-arms at the entry and exit points. The results of the trial are positive, with licence plate recognition in the high 90%. With one eye to the future, this solution can be used to trial charging at Park ‘n’ Ride Facilities across Auckland.

This is definitely useful and it’s also good to say they’re looking to trial using this for Park & Ride. As for the Killarney St carpark however, AT should have closed that when their multi-storey Toka Puia car park which was intended to replace the Killarney St one. Now both are open and I wouldn’t be surprised if when AT finally go to close it that some locals will try and demand yet another large carpark for compensation (again).

St Patrick Square

St Patrick Square is designated as a pedestrian mall. Due to this designation, it is not legally possible for parking infringements to be issued. Management is proposing a long-term remedy which will change St Patrick Square from a pedestrian mall to shared space which will allow parking issues to be enforced through normal mechanisms.

The short-term tactical solution of placing concrete boxes relocated from Queen Street was completed on 1 June 2022. These boxes have been successful in preventing vehicles from parking in the square to date.

I still find the suggestion that we can’t enforce parking on a pedestrian mall completely absurd and I suspect, as we’ve seen in other cases, that this is ATs legal team not understanding their jobs.

AT also included this image as part of their claim that the concrete boxes have been successful. Given there’s cars parked around the concrete blocks in all three photos, If that’s what success looks like you really have to wonder how bad it would have to be for them to consider it a failure.

Auckland City centre – Loading and servicing interim plan

It’s absurd that it’s taken AT this long just to come up with an interim loading and servicing plan. I also wonder how ambitious it really is in trying to change how retailers, deliverers and servicers think about this, such as shifting to smaller vehicles or encouraging greater use of things like hand-carts to enable more space to be allocated to pedestrians (and bikes), or if the plan largely tries to appease a Business as Usual approach.

A Loading and Servicing interim plan has been developed for the city centre. This interim plan contains recommended changes to ensure the effective operation of loading and servicing activity until the end of March 2023. The plan would be refreshed on an annual basis until the Comprehensive Parking Management Plan for the city centre is ready.

The city centre has been broken down into ten areas for analysis. An assessment of loading and servicing has been carried out in each area to identify the main issues in each. This plan focuses on the areas of the city centre where the most disruption is occurring, and it identifies changes that would improve short-term operations in areas that aren’t experiencing disruption. The plan will be used as supporting evidence to ensure that projects mitigate their impacts on loading and servicing.

This plan also recommends two potential innovative loading and servicing initiatives that could be trialled. These are aimed at addressing compliance and access issues. If successful, it would form part of a long-term strategy to manage the aforementioned issues in the city centre and the wider Auckland region.

We are in the process of introducing this plan to key stakeholders. The plan has already been presented to Waitematā Local Board, Heart of the City and Auckland City Centre Advisory Board.

Connected Communities

Earlier this year AT consulted on changes to New North Rd which is part of their Connected Communities programme. An update included this:

Thriving Town Centres is a key project outcome, addressing the concerns and needs of businesses along New North Road and beyond, creating town centres that are attractive and prosperous is a key consideration. AT has learnt from past experiences and has deliberately taken a business centric approach to engaging with businesses.

Targeted engagement and dedicating resources to this need has seen anecdotal benefits through engagement with this community. Constructive feedback from business improvement districts (BIDs) and businesses who have focused on the future opportunities and benefits of change.

Positive feedback was received both in the media and directly through direct feedback and submissions received from businesses and Local Boards. Local businesses who provided input have helped AT understand local issues and also to understand what is important for a thriving town centre with unique characteristics, what is good for businesses and communities.

The next phase of engagement will provide another opportunity for businesses to be involved in the consultation on the preferred option. Proactive engagement will focus on the next level of detail and on ways AT can develop an option that balances the needs of everyone.

Does this mean that AT are giving businesses extra say to enable them to push for more parking and fewer cycleways?

Devonport Village safety improvements

This seems like an interesting project, although I can’t see the consultation that’s mentioned on ATs website.

AT is working alongside the local community and special interest groups to make it safer to walk, bike, and drive around Devonport Village.

Devonport Village is prioritised for improvements under this programme due to the high numbers of vulnerable road users – children, senior citizens, pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists interacting with motorists. A community working group has been established comprising members of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, local business association, Bike Auckland, local residents and others from the wider community. Local councillors have contributed significantly to this working group and the draft proposal that is now out for public feedback. Construction of the community-backed safety improvements will follow in 2023.

Procurement

In the list of contracts awarded for over $2 million, two stood out.

  • Bus Infrastructure Improvements Programme – Three-year contract (2021/22 to 2023/24)
    The programme will implement localised bus stop infrastructure improvements geared to improving bus operations, pedestrian safety and customer amenity at bus stops and stations.
  • Bus Priority Programme – Physical Works – Three-year contract (2021/22 to 2023/24)
    The programme supports the growth and evolution of Auckland’s strategic PT network, by increasing the efficiency, capacity and reliability of bus services through the provision of dedicated special vehicles lanes (such as T2 lanes and bus lanes) and the elimination of network pinch points that adversely impact bus travel times.

It would be good to know just what improvements are planned under each of them.


Statement of Intent

The AT board are also signing off their Statement of Intent for the year. The document sets out what ATs plans to do for the coming three years but as it is updated annually and that most aspects are covered in other documents, such as the Regional Land Transport Programme or the council’s annual budget process, it is not often too exciting. And it’s not like AT have ever held to account for regularly failing to meet even their modest self-decided targets.

A couple of quick things that stood out to me though:

In the paper to the board they note about being required to reduce transport related emissions

  • Initiating the development of an implementation plan for the Transport Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) and Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) on the pathway to a 64% reduction in transport related greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to 2016 levels). It is expected that this will lead to additional funding opportunities and consideration for the next Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP).
  • Introducing a new measure into the SOI to monitor transport related greenhouse gas emissions based on fuel sales across the Auckland Region. This sits alongside our existing measures around public transport patronage and cycling counts. We have considered alternative measures, including vehicles-kilometres travelled (VKT), or vehicle-kilometres travelled by vehicles powered by petrol or diesel. However, fuel consumption is the best available indicator of transport related emissions, while at this point, there is no auditable VKT measure that could be included in the SOI. The intention, through the next stage of the TERP is to develop a VKT measure (with baselines and targets) to ensure that AT is able to monitor progress towards Central Government’s target of a 20% reduction in VKT (compared to 2035 levels without intervention) and making meaningful progress down the pathway to a 64% reduction in transport related greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

This feels very much like AT are still only doing this because they’re being forced to and are aiming to do the absolute minimum possible. It seems particularly odd that they can’t come up with a VKT related target given regional VKT numbers are produced by both the Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi. It also seems that even if they come up with one, they won’t be aiming for anything other than the 20% national reduction in the government’s ERP. Yet it’s almost certain that cities like Auckland will have to provide the bulk of the reduction as cities are where there are the most opportunities for alternative modes to work.

The other thing that stood out were some of the targets for public transport and cycling. Prior to COVID we had just over 103 million trips on PT and are currently sitting at 42.5 million so will finish 2021/22 at about just half of 82 million target. If we achieve the targets in the SOI then we likely won’t get back to the pre-covid levels till sometime in the 2025/26 timeframe.

As for the cycleway delivery target, that’s not much of an acceleration, especially if you take out the upgrades to existing cycleways.


If you’ve looked through the reports Is there anything else that stood out?

Share this

29 comments

  1. R.e bus stop improvements, I imagine this will be the new live updating boards as seen on Manukau Road.
    I personally would rather see them actually put some more bus stops on the ground, particularly on regular bus routes

  2. “The next phase of engagement will provide another opportunity for businesses to be involved in the consultation on the preferred option. “

    Next phase of consultation, only talking to business that happen to be located along the corridor. So restaurants mostly. I wonder how much effort AT is going to, to understand how these businesses have changed to delivery models, I assume they will do nothing.

    Sounds like New North Road is going to get the Dominion road bike lane tratment.

    1. Mainly restaurants along New North Road? Not really from what I’ve seen, there’s everything from restaurants, takeaways, cafe’s, real estate offices, chemists, dairy’s, mechanic’s … A wide variety.

      1. So mostly things that are very accessible on Bike or PT you mean. Ok.

        If these business believe that they are so hyper dependent on being given car parks, they could provide their own parking spaces?

        1. Yes agree that better bus services and safe cycling is needed along New North Road.
          I just didn’t understand the ‘restaurants mostly’ comment.

        2. Look at the road, food hospitality service is by far the most common business along NNR. These businesses are also far less likely to provide car parking, than other businesses.

          Some of the businesses have had their business model change a lot with covid, and are now basically places where food is prepared then delivered via Uber eats. I bet AT won’t account for this, but will discount me biking or bussing the corridor because I don’t live there.

  3. Those photos of parking AND ugly concrete boxes in Patricks Square!!

    Ha ha ha ha. How embarrassing they call that success.

    1. Yeah the situation hasn’t improved in it, instead what was a design-lead award winning upgrade has been filled with concrete blocks and remains full of parked cars. If the designation is the issue, change it to a shared space and start enforcing. Illegal parking is rife around the central city, people are also now routinely parking on footpaths overnight, and the shared spaces are packed with parked cars every evening, especially on the weekends. AT have known about such issues for years and do nothing about it.

    2. I’ve seen far fewer opportunistic parkers there since they put them in.

      The long, clear, unprotected stretch of footpath on Wyndam St in front of the church often has heavy vehicles there for hours at a stretch. Might need a few concrete boxes there.

  4. With AT’s refusal to enforce Pedestrian Malls resulting in the mess of illegal parking and the consequent dumping of thousands of blocks of concrete and plastic to prevent by the council – see Alfred Street and St Patrick’s Square. Why on earth are further streets like Lorne Street outside the library, and streets on the Northwestern cycleway in Kingsland, being redesigned Pedestrian Malls. If they refuse to enforce then they should changing designations to shared spaces not the other way around.

  5. What a time to be alive. I have no faith in Government, even less in those that might replace them. No faith in local council and even less in their Transport Agency.

    1. AT have to be the most ineffectual of the lot, and Ellison the worst leader among them. Asleep at the wheel his whole time in the role, no one even knew he left.

      But hey, he’ll pop up at another highly paid role somewhere else and do nothing there. So we have comfort in consistency.

  6. Oh the fine excuse about not being able to include a VKT measure, because “there is no auditable VKT measure that could be included in the SOI” and they are now “to develop a VKT measure (with baselines and targets) to ensure that AT is able to monitor progress”

    Take note, Councillors and AT Board: This predatory delay is on you. Including VKT reduction as a measure of success has been best practice for many years now. This has been brought to your attention, repeatedly, and you’ve ignored it. AT’s various excuses should have been cleared up years ago.

    We don’t have time for ineffective governance.

    1. This isn’t trolling- I honestly don’t understand why we would want a goal of minimising VKT.
      How is 10km travelled in an EV worse than 4km travelled in a petrol vehicle?
      How is 12km travelled on lightly trafficked roads worse than 11km travelled through heavy congestion?
      How is 20km travelled with four people in a car worse than 10km with one person?
      How is 15km in a small car worse than 12km in a V8?

      Surely we care about tonnes of CO2 and not about how far any vehicle goes? So we adopt a policy goal of reducing distance?

      1. EVs are still cars. More VKT means more congestion, pollution from tyres (microplastics, tyre dumps) and in the long term from finite vehicle life time, noise, accident probabilities and so on. So yes, reducing single-person V8 VKT is the prime goal. Reducing overall VKT is important, too. To do that, heavy traffic areas are way easier to target than the 12km travelled on lightly trafficked roads.
        And obviously, not all VKT can be replaced by public transport, especially not in New Zealand. But PT has a long way to go before we have to worry about building busses or rail connections that make things worse. And VKT can be reduced a lot before you are not allowed to take your family of 4 to Whatipu in a car.

      2. Some of your examples suggest their own answers:

        Small & efficient or big and thirsty, every VKT is excluding or impeding active modes and PT. Car and bus >200kg per passenger, bike <15kg, shoes a rounding error. Accelerating mass takes energy and modeshift saves the most CO^2.

        Drivers will intelligently attempt to avoid congestion by various means, some of which could increase VKT overall. If they have better options, they can avoid congestion *and* drop VKT.

        The four people in the car are using 1/4 of the VKT of individual drivers, you don't have to measure the number of passengers to see the drop in VKT.

        Reduced VKT allows a lighter, tighter road network, which costs less and frees up the capex for better options.

        One policy goal and metric does not a strategy make, but you knew that, you devilly advocate, you!

        1. I thought all of them suggested their own answer. VKT is not the driver of emissions. VKT is an output statistic only loosely aligned with the benefits people accrue from choosing where they live, where they go to and how they get there.

          Many of the things needed to reduce VKT just make people’s lives harder and might actually encourage them to live outside of the city. So we have no certainty that the tools used to try and reduce VKT wont actually increase it.

      3. Miffy, there needs to be a VKT reduction target because even very aggressive assumptions about electric vehicle uptake leave us short of where things need to be in reducing transport emissions. So reducing light-vehicle travel is required as well.

        Have you even read the ERP?

        1. If you mean the document that says there are not even going to tell us how they intend reducing VKT in tier 1 cities until next year and tier 2 in 2024, well I read that. It is pretty thin really and just some arbitrary reductions of some statistics.

      4. Almost every negative externality associated with driving scales with VKT. co2 is a long way from the only thing (and is priced anyway).

        Without more straightforward, more restrictive goals, then projects like penlink continue to be built, because the pushers just ignore large portions of the negative environmental impacts. It should be harder to get away with misleading about VKT numbers.

        VKT is more measurable, more understandable, its correlated well with externalities. Directing its reduction is a large spanner in the works for the continuance of status quo urban fringe motorway construction. Or at least should be.

        That said, I have little faith. We’ve seen just how easily Vision zero is ignored. Where Waka Kotahi can open a new section of highway, the Awakino tunnel bypass, with no median barrier.

  7. Isn’t Seapath largely there on the seawards side?

    I sometimes run under the bridge, along that path beside the motorway and under the old toll booths seems like it just needs opening up in the short term and maybe some widening

    I am looking forward to Seapath, as it will become even more clear when you have a cyclepath at either end of the bridge, that not having a lane available over the bridge is ridiculous gap in the network.

    1. There is now, I guess. Hopefully there will be more. There’s also the GWM to cover.

      For my part, I hope that (some three years after AT asked the previous Minister for Transport to start the Order in Council process required to bring those routes into the PTOM – which is what has now happened under the current Minister) that there won’t still be some machinations to circumvent it.

  8. Nothing happening in the way of road maintainance if you don’t live in the elite zone and if you are semi rural or rural nothing at all.
    It looks like AT wants all to drive tractors then road maintainance is not important

  9. Looking forward to the cycleway link between Panmure & Glen Innes. This combined with the Orakei to Tamaki Dr link will really open up a large portion connected cycleway. I can get to Panmure fairly safely, but with my very local portion party on footpath sometimes when going up hill.

  10. The Statement of Intent contained a noteworthy dust off of introducing contactless debit/credit card phone/wearable AT HOP payments. This was looked at in 2017 but ultimately not proceeded with in 2018 as the national ticketing solution was supposed to start delivering it in 2021. Here we are in mid-2022 with not even a preferred supplier of that announced.

  11. What is it with AT and Devonport?

    Perhaps they could focus safety improvement work on parts of the region that do not have large numbers of vulnerable pedestrians safe enough to be out there interacting with cars already. Do some of their senior managers live there or something?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.