“Auckland’s eastern suburbs have one of the highest levels of journey to work trips by car and lowest use of public transport in Auckland. With this investment, 24,000 more Aucklanders will now live within 1 km of a rapid transit station, providing an attractive public transport service that is reliable and delivers an improved service to the city.
“The Government is investing an additional $200 million into the project, reallocated from the Northern Pathway, to support Auckland Transport in the delivery of the busway. This brings the total Crown contribution to the Eastern Busway project to over $600 million,” Michael Wood said.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown thanked the Minister for listening to Aucklanders and acting fast to back the completion of the Eastern Busway.
“The Northern Busway is probably Auckland’s most successful transport project of recent years,” Mayor Brown said. “We need to build on its success by finishing the Eastern and get cracking on the Northwestern busway as soon as possible. Today’s announcement is a good first step.”
The Minister and Mayor said the Eastern Busway will provide better connections and sustainable travel options with a reliable high frequency service every few minutes in peak periods, providing a 40-minute bus and train trip between Botany Town Centre and Britomart, saving 20 minutes. The new Reeves Road Flyover will improve the reliability of the busway and will reduce vehicle congestion around Pakuranga Town Centre.
By 2028, the busway will carry 14,000 passengers per day, more than four times the 3,700 bus passengers per day prior to Covid-19. By 2048 it is expected to increase to 24,000 passengers per day. The busway will increase access to jobs and education, connect people to social and community opportunities, attract investment and growth, enable urban development, and help reduce emissions.
It’s great that the government have provided additional funding for the Eastern Busway but it is bizarre that it’s taken this long for them to do it. The busway has long been listed as Auckland’s second most important transport project after the CRL and this second stage should have started as soon as stage 1 was completed last year. Yet it’s only just now getting funded and AT are still working on getting resource consent for it and there’s still no public information about their plans for the Botany station. Meanwhile, the very same day as this announcement construction started on Penlink, an $830 million road to the Whangaparaoa peninsula which even National agreed wasn’t a priority for the first decade in the original ATAP – and that was when it was only estimated cost $240 million.
Speaking of still needing consents, Auckland Transport currently have a Notice of Requirement lodged for the parts of the project around the Pakuranga Town Centre – submissions close 19 December.
Given the design, perhaps it should instead be called Pakuranga Tarmac Centre – transit oriented development Auckland Transport style.
Just the Ti Rakau Rd section and the bus station combined are at least 53m wide based on this diagram.
As for the station, the documents show the bus shelters are the same design as the Edgewater station above. It’s not clear if there’ll be any other amenities, such as toilets, a ticket office, bike racks etc.
To access the Panmure-bound platforms there are signalised pedestrian crossings at either end of the station but there doesn’t appear to be any pedestrian crossings to get from the bus station to the town centre and those wide-mouthed intersections on Aylesbury St look quite hostile to pedestrians.
It’s not clear what the plan is for that odd bean shaped site is between the station and Cortina Pl, an older image shows it as some sort of green space but that’s not shown in the landscaping plans in the Notice of Requirement.
That image also shows more clearly the Reeves Rd Flyover which will dominate the area.
At the northern end where the Flyover joins to Pakuranga Rd is also quite wide.
As for the flyover itself, I can recall many years ago, some project staff telling me how they were trying hard to design the flyover to be a structure that looks good and enhance the town centre. Since then we’ve had a couple of images released about it. In 2018 they showed off this design
Then in 2019 this design was included in a video about the busway. It shows the area under the flyover being used for a market.
This kind of plan won’t work with the current design as the area under the flyover is needed so buses can get from Pakuranga Rd through to the bus station and Ti Rakau Dr. I’m also guessing the plan has been through a ‘value engineering’ exercise with it now looking a lot boxier and uglier (not that it was pretty to begin with).
Despite only seeking the Notice of Requirement now, Auckland Transport still suggest construction on the busway and Reeves Rd flyover could begin early next year with the project taking till 2026 to complete.
Finally, as noted in the press release, this $200 million was originally earmarked for the $750 Northern Pathway also known as Skypath or the Bike Bridge. What’s happening with the other $550 million?