Winter starts tomorrow, although on the bright side it begins with a long weekend (happy birthday to all the kings and queens of urbanism out there), and another  Rāmere Roundup! Here are a few things that caught our eye this week.

Header image: Toitū te Tiriti march moving down Queen St, Thursday 30 May 2024

This Week in Greater Auckland

In the news: Patrick provided commentary on the backwards step for bus lanes on Karangahape Road.

What’s a holiday weekend without trains?

In what’s becoming an annual tradition, Auckland Transport has confirmed there will be no trains running over King’s Birthday weekend.

From late evening on 31 May to 3 June 2024, buses will replace all trains on the network to allow for our partners to carry out essential maintenance and project works.

In addition, from Tuesday 4 to Thursday 6 June 2024, buses will replace trains all day between Waitemata (Britomart) Station and Newmarket Station impacting the Southern and Western Lines.

Further details available here. 

What’s a city without a department store?

Shocking but perhaps not surprising news this week: the impending closure of Smith and Caughey’s. The venerable –and last remaining – department store on Queen St will likely shut its doors early next year, giving Aucklanders one last chance to see Santa. It’s hard to imagine what might replace it on that stretch of the Golden Mile. The Newmarket branch is also set to close.

“Ladies outside Smith and Caughey’s Queen Street, 1952”. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 580-00780

How AT plans to measures success…

Some interesting edits to Auckland Transport’s (working draft) Statement of Intent 2024-2027, as seen in the attachments to yesterday’s meeting of the Governing Body of Auckland Council. Posted without comment.

…still, it’s good to see AT can act fast when it decides to

AT has just opened consultation on a tactical gap-filler for the inner city bike network. The current project on Te Ha Noa (Victoria St Linear Park) stops at Federal St, leaving a gap through to the Nelson St cycleway.

This project aims to plug the gap, with a protected two-way cycleway on the south (SkyCity) side of Victoria St West, from Federal St to Nelson St. Feedback is open until 16 June, and construction will take place in the second half of the year. A quick fix!

Also in good news about the cycle network: Bike Auckland’s Project Watch (Westie edition) has the latest on what’s been built in West Auckland, and what might be delivered in the area in the next little while.

A 360-degree look around Waihorotiu station

The CRL team have shared a cool photo tour of progress around the Waihorotiu station, with a set of photos you can view in full 360 degrees. Take a look here.

How (else) to build a train station

From Dezeen: a story about the eye-catching “Train Station in a Forest” in Jiaxing, China, which features “an underground terminal with a public park at ground level along with a full-scale replica of the original 1907 station that now forms the north entrance.”

As the architect Ma Yansong puts it, train stations have become large and imposing.

“They stand like imposing palaces in Chinese city centres surrounded by wide main roads, viaducts, and vast empty squares,” said Ma.

“We should rethink and redefine the spatial patterns of such transportation infrastructure buildings in China,” he continued.

“We can break away from the common pursuit of grandiose monumental buildings and make them urban public spaces with transport functions, natural ecology and cultural life, where citizens are happy to go, stay, meet, and enjoy.”

Jiaxing Station, with greenspace wrapped around public buildings adjoining the station itself. Image: Dezeen.
Jiaxing Station at night, with the recreated 1907 station building in the centre. Image: Dezeen

Why does modelling underestimate public transport popularity?

In London, ridership on the new Elizabeth line – described by Mayor Sadiq Khan as a “game-changer” – is outstripping expectations, and driving growth in social housing and employment at stations along the line.

Passenger numbers are already above what was expected by 2030, with 150 million passenger journeys, and a more than 50% increase in 2023/24 when there were 210 million journeys. The forecast for the 2024/25 financial year is for 226 million passenger journeys.

Journeys on the line are increasing faster than any other line in the UK and added an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.

Close up of an Elizabeth line roundel at Paddington station. Image: Transport for London

Future-proofing against flooding

The government tipped in $2m to help Auckland Council clear out streams particularly prone to flooding – but is it just a drop in the bucket, given the scale of the problem?

“Prevention is better than cure. A thousand dollars worth of cleaning out, preventing a million-dollar failure of having to replace a house, is a pretty good investment,” [Mayor Wayne Brown] said.

The funding aims to speed up work taking place in 19 locations which the council has deemed high-priority.

Those areas include Kumeū River, three sites across Oakley Creek, Wairoa River, Freyberg Place, and Opanuku Stream.

What New Zealand cities can learn from Barcelona’s super-blocks

In The Conversation, a good read about what can be learned from a recent visit by Carlos Rueda, the architect of Barcelona’s urban transformation. It contains this eye-catching stat: “In central Auckland, roads occupy 18% of all land and a further 25% of land is car parks.” And this recommendation:

A final reason for considering superblocks is their low cost. They don’t require investment in hard infrastructure, demolition of buildings or massive development. They represent very low-tech urbanism.

To mitigate any risk and allay any fears, superblocks can be trialled as low-cost temporary interventions. At a time of necessary cost savings, perhaps New Zealand cities should embrace low-cost, high-impact change.

Newsflash: people are still enjoying Streets for People

Nelson has rolled out a fresh phase of its Waka Kotahi-funded Streets for People work, to calm traffic and make it safer for people to get around Nelson South, home to several schools and a hospital. Aspirations for the project include “a reduction in vehicle speeds, a reduction in the volume of traffic, cleaner air, a safer network for active travel and a more ‘people-focused’ neighbourhood.”

The year-long trial adds traffic-calming features – a raised crossing, raised tables and speed cushions, planter boxes and bollards – and widens a shared pathway. It’s coming in under budget, and Nelsonians are already enjoying the benefits:

Pre-construction data showed that only 25% of vehicles on these streets traveled under 30kmh. Post-construction data shows that 64% of vehicles on Kawai Street and 46% of vehicles on Franklyn Street are now travelling under 30kmh.

There has also been an increase in active transport along Tipahi Street with an additional 86 people walking, cycling or scootering along the new shared pathway in the morning.

Before/ after: affordable street-calming at  Kawai St and Franklyn St in Nelson South. Image: Nelson City Council.

Why do governments bury the lede on the benefits of active modes investment?

From the UK via a Twitter thread: it’s taken advocates from the Transport Action Network four years and a High Court challenge to uncover a 2020 “investment insights” document that modelled the likely costs and benefits of walking and cycling investment.

The report sounds innocent enough – it’s just data, after all. So why was it buried?

There may be a clue in the excerpt below: the contrast between the massive returns on, say, building basic local bike networks, and the amount of funding needed to do so.

Meanwhile, over the four years the government had the facts in hand (and chose not to share them publicly), it slashed spending on active modes – and delayed simple fixes that councils were begging for, like an enforceable ban on people parking on footpaths. Sound familiar?

E-bike incentives continue to be wildly popular

In the US, Connecticut may move to a lottery system for its e-bike incentive scheme, which (like similar programmes elsewhere) is proving, if anything, too successful.

“The demand for program funds exceeded the initial e-bike program budget that [the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection] identified, so we increased the first year of funding from $500,000 to $750,000 to respond to the exceptional demand,” DEEP spokesperson Paul Copleman said. “We’re now working to improve the structure of the vouchers to better achieve the program’s equity and environmental justice goals. We’re aiming to roll out the vouchers sometime this year.”

The future of Te Huia

The Waikato Times reports on a potential plan to secure the current level of service despite a recent drop in central government funding:

A new plan to cover a big reduction in the level of transport agency funding for the Hamilton-Auckland Te Huia rail service trial – without cutting services – has been developed by regional council staff.

It involves drawing on a special Te Huia targeted rate reserve, which is estimated to hit $2.2 million by the end of the financial year.

The agency has announced a progressive reduction of the share the agency funds for Te Huia, from 75% of net costs to 60%, meaning a theoretical reduction of almost $2 million over the next two years.

A staff report to next week’s meeting of the regional council – which is responsible for Te Huia – suggests this reduction for that period could be covered by a 20% increase in fares due from July and use of the targeted rate reserve.

Meanwhile in Australia…

The federal government has released a consultation roadmap for getting Australia’s transport and infrastructure sector to Net Zero by 2050. A potentially Parisian emphasis on cycling is hinted at, with electric trucks also a key element, reports the EV news site Driven.

“If we do not act, transport emissions are on track to be the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by 2030, with almost 60% of these emissions coming from the light vehicle sector,” transport minister Catherine King and climate and energy minister Chris Bowen write in the introduction.

“A failure to act would also be a missed opportunity to increase the productivity and resilience of our transport sector, the infrastructure which it underpins and the job creation which will come from the sector’s Net Zero transition.”

Reclaiming unloved urban spaces

ArchDaily shares a set of interesting images of projects that reclaim the leftover space underneath highways. No shortage of opportunities here, too.

Open-air movies in Boston’s “Infra-Space“, a project by Landing Studio to reclaim the area between and below the viaducts for highway I-93. (Image: Landing Studio)

Cartoon of the week

Via Dave Walker: it really is this simple.

A cartoon by Dave Walker, spelling out that People Want A Choice. It shows a bus ("regular and affordable trains and buses"), a bike ("a network of safe cycling routes"), a person walking("direct safe and accessible paths") and a car ("pot hole free roads for when driving is the best option").

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  1. No trains running this holiday weekend, when people might have the time to get out and about to explore Auckland, what a joke!

    1. Heaven forbid any work is done to improve the rail network. Good grief. Do people think infrastructure just maintains itself by magic?

      1. Yeah, because there were no rail closures in the past few years, it is about time again!

        If this happened occassionally, it would only be slightly annoying. But closing the whole network over basically all long weekends after there have been extensives works on the tracks seems crazy. This could also be mitigated by only closing one line for massive works and have the others still running.
        Closure might be still necessary and beats disruptions when there are passengers in a train already, but imagine they did that to the harbour bridge. Or the airport. Or Great South Road.

        1. Yep, done in a way that means people can still use the motorway network on a long weekend.

          There are obviously pressures with trying to get the rail network up to scratch, however there appears to be a default to it’s a long weekend – no reason we can’t close things up.

    2. If it’s any consolation, things are happening down here.
      In the last couple of weeks, an AM set has been seen going from
      Papakura to Pukekohe and back. Don’t get too excited, it was powered
      by a DBR provided by the locals. Checking platforms, I hear.

    1. Victoria Park. Hmmm.
      And Reeves Road flyover will have some SW management under it, between the ground level road carriageways.

  2. Good the see the closure of Smith and Caugheys in the weekly roundup. Disappointed but not surprised to see no link is made with AT’s hideous handling of inner city transport.

    The CBD has become a crime ridden ghost town where you can’t get anywhere. Taking Queen St to one lane has been negative for transport. Buses and cars can’t get anywhere. It’s about as fast to walk and understandably people have abandoned the central city. The closure of Smith and Caughey is a direct result of transport policy.

    But never fear, the Australian owned malls are going gangbusters. I guess 250 jobs and the end of a 144 year kiwi institution is collateral damage in the war on cars.

    1. It’s still easier to drive a car down Queen St than it is to drive a car past the front of a shop in a mall. I don’t think the malls are going gangbusters because you can park your car right outside the shop.

      1. There are reasons suburban and city fringe malls are packed and CBDs are dying.

        Nobody wants to get knifed to death or shot in the street or accosted by hobos while shopping or using public transport. Why would you go to the hollowed out CBD when an alternative that is already an easy to get to, warm, dry, well lit, protected pedestrian preserve with the stores you want is closer to your house (aka a mall)?

        Back in the old days, Queen Street may have been the only place that had specialty stores with some products you wanted. But today it matters not whether Queen Street is pedestrian only or for vehicles since the incentive for a suburban dweller to make a special trip there for shopping is close to zero. And for recreation a nice suburban park, reserve or beach is a much better option.

        1. And this raises some even bigger issues. If there is no good reason to come into the CBD, for jobs, shopping or anything else … people won’t come. No matter how good the transport infrastructure is.

          Where I am in the UK, we are looking at the specific commuter part of our trains market having, basically, “sunk without trace” – because of working from home.

        2. Yes, but we’re talking an occasional incident rare enough to make the news vs on average about four attacks on people and 23 property crimes each day in the CBD (police numbers).

    2. Isn’t Westfield trying to sell some sites?

      Your comments are so weird and contradictory. You would have people drive up to the front door of Smith and Caugheys?

      Which in most malls you have to park and walk considerable distances.

      Do you even read what you write?

    3. Malls are designed and managed to make people walk past storefronts. The provide free parking, they have advertising and promotions to encourage people in and they have security to remove threatening people. Then they are designed to have an anchor store at either end who gets cheaper rent (per sqm) so people have a reason to walk past the more profitable specialty stores. The Council could run shopping streets like that but they don’t. The specialty don’t want to pay higher rents and none of them would allow a manager to take a percentage of the cash register revenue.

      1. “Malls are designed and managed to make people walk past storefronts”

        Perhaps we could achieve this in the city centre by having large train stations at each end of the street and peoples place of work located a short walk away so that people walk past on their way to work. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of this before. Perhaps like the UK high streets around suburban train stations or the main shopping strip in Vienna? You could give the train stations discounted rental by having them in public ownership…

        1. Most people are not getting off at a station and think maybe they will walk to another. The Council has no direct advantage from creating foot traffic and the Council doesn’t take any share of losses like occurred at Albert Street. They can build station entrances on side roads and blighted areas cheaper so they do.
          If PT were designed by mall owners the outcome would be just as bad as having shopping areas designed by Councils.

      2. Security is probably the biggest difference.

        Free parking is definitely an attraction but is not the be all and end all. Oddly the mall here in New Plymouth charges for parking, the main reason being it is in the centre of the city.

        I think the idea of attracting people into the CBD is overrated too. Westfield Albany isn’t trying to attract shoppers from Ellerslie anymore than Sylvia Park is trying to attract shoppers from Torbay.

        There are plenty of people living in working or visiting the CBD on a given day.

        1. It helps that malls are car, bus and bike free inside. Most owners resist AT and their ilk of wanting to open public lanes through the middle.

          The original point was the Smith Caugheys sees no future in the Central Area or Newmarket. In a mall large stores can negotiate a better rent deal if they are able to draw a lot of people in. The Council doesn’t do that.

    4. TRM, what a load of shit. The Warehouse has an enormous number of car parks outside every store and they are generally sited away from snarled traffic roads. Read their last report and it is just a financial disaster.

    5. …”where you can’t get anywhere.” got around it fine the other week by bike. Get out of your car and look beyond windscreen view of the world.
      It’s also fine for walking and some of the time for buses at the moment. Soon all the pain will be pretty over and CRL will deliver thousands into mid city and K’rd…and continue to in the downtown, waterfront area via Waitemata station.

    6. I’m still grumpy about the closure of Milnes in the famously woke suburb of Remuera during the height of the 1990s war on cars transport policy.

    7. Used to love parking outside Smith and Caughy’s and not having any crime when Queen Street was 2 lanes each way.

    8. There are reasons suburban and city fringe malls are packed and CBDs are dying.

      Nobody wants to get knifed to death or shot in the street or accosted by hobos while shopping or using public transport. Why would you go to the hollowed out CBD when an alternative that is already an easy to get to, warm, dry, well lit, protected pedestrian preserve with the stores you want is closer to your house (aka a mall)?

      Back in the old days, Queen Street may have been the only place that had specialty stores with some products you wanted. But today it matters not whether Queen Street is pedestrian only or for vehicles since the incentive for a suburban dweller to make a special trip there for shopping is close to zero. And for recreation a nice suburban park, reserve or beach is a much better option.

  3. Maybe I’m privileged so I can’t see it, but all the talk of the central city being crime ridden and dangerous just doesn’t tally with my experience of being out and about.
    To be fair, I’m talking about going between Britomart and the movies in the evenings, not wandering the streets after midnight, but it just doesn’t match what I see on the regular.

  4. Maybe I’m privileged so I can’t see it, but all the talk of the central city being crime ridden and dangerous just doesn’t tally with my experience of being out and about.
    To be fair, I’m talking about going between Britomart and the movies in the evenings, not wandering the streets after midnight, but it just doesn’t match what I see on the regular.

    1. Hmm, blaming the media for spreading a false narrative is in this case not correct.

      One closed their store because of to many threats to its staff, Stats NZ are leaving Greys Avenue (look whats close by and you understand why the female staff feels uncomfortable). We have surveys, we have crime statistics and we have seen Heart of the city lobby politicians with facts about it. We have lately seen funding for more actions teams and Auckland council recently added 570,000 for safety in CBD.

      Sadly CBD safety issues isn’t media, its real and its backed up by facts. Personally i find it unacceptable that hard working Aucklanders can’t feel safe at work and that harassment, threats and intimidation is becoming standard along our premier city streets. Reading further it seems that there is a fair bit of rascism among the perpetrators, rascism against mainly Asians.

      It needs to be addressed or CBD will suffer, personally I don’t feel worried, but i have plenty of female colleagues that fear their walk to the busstop and feel uneasy about standing at the temp NX2 busstop after work.

      From Victoria street and up to Aotea square is especially bad and on my daily walk there its always a matter of avoiding drugged up people screaming and as yesterday some lad that was worse for wear fighting in the air and screaming about killing Asians (who made up the largest group standing waiting for NX2 at the temp busstop on Wellersley Street).

      1. Well yes at times it’s probably still bad. The problems run deep. Covid hangover mental health issues, unemployment, housing problems all causal factors none less, homelessness. The city mission I think has its new expanded facilities done now but for a while it was partly undersized right about Covid time. Happy to be corrected.
        Those security patrol groups that roam now surely are helping the situation.

      2. Roll on 2026 CRL stations opening the crowd of any antisocials will be way outnumbered by visitors and dwellers. Assuming we don’t get endless track fault etc hell I would expect more than their forecasts a bit like the Elizabeth line in the UK. speeding up dwell times and bigger residential developments near the suburban stations will also help.

      3. By the last census the CBD is losing residents, and obviously it’s losing businesses too. But add some nice large warm underground stations and you might see a few more ‘residents’ moving into the CBD.

        You still have to ask yourself, as a suburban dweller what’s your incentive to go to the CBD if you don’t have a reason to already? Would a train heading there make you any more likely to want or need to go?

        1. The last census showed Auckland city center resident population grow by 5.4% over the previous 5yrs. The year on year numbers to 2023 show employment and GDP both up and significantly higher than the national average.

          That would not indicate to me that the city is losing people or businesses. Quite the opposite.

        2. “You still have to ask yourself, as a suburban dweller what’s your incentive to go to the CBD if you don’t have a reason to already? Would a train heading there make you any more likely to want or need to go?”

          I think you are better asking yourself if this has ever been about enticing people to make a trip they are not already making. Rather, it’s about how people are making the trip now and how we accommodate more trips by more people in the future.

        3. KLK From Stats NZ:

          “Auckland’s overall population grew by just 5.4 percent since 2018, a far cry from the 11 percent increase between 2013 and 2018.”

          Overall, the whole region, not just the CBD. Further they say:

          “The Waitematā local board area – which included the CBD – dropped by 1.6 percent from 82,866 residents in 2018 to 81,546 in 2023.3”

          “The information we’ve got here does suggest that living on the fringes of Auckland is something that Aucklanders are moving towards.”

          And it’s not just the CBD, it’s also the surrounding suburbs, an island of negative growth in a sea of growth.

          And there’s nothing wrong with people living in a suburb with good facilities around them enjoying shorter trips to the local pedestrian only malls and shops and no longer feeling a need to rush like lemmings to a CBD every day.

          As to the ‘Enticing’ part, I think there’s a lot of people, perhaps not yourself with their hopes pinned on CRL causing people to flood back to the CBD, revitalising it. But is not having a train to get there what is keeping people away?

        4. I’m waiting for the more detailed census block data to be released.

          I expect the City center is being dragged down in this release by being included with the surrounding villa belt. Which you would very much expect to be losing population (and have been, or at least very stagnant for many years)

        5. Its demographics, the pattern is the same across all the isthmus. Boomers living in villas in ones or twos, their kids moved away and not able to stay in the area when they start families because the villa belt is inhabited by boomers who don’t move out and don’t allow more housing nearby. New families are wherever they can get a house, which means greenfield.
          City Centre is vastly different demographics.

        6. JohnD I guess it depends what you define ‘The Isthmus’ as.

          Waitemata, Orakei, Albert-Eden and Puketapapa all lost residents, and there was a very small drop in Kaipatiki, compare that with up to 25% growth elsewhere to the north and south.

          CBD foot traffic is about 70% of pre covid levels for the most recent quarter.

          Young families can afford a cheap apartment in inner city Auckland with space to fit the first one or two of their brood. It’s actually quite affordable as starter accomodation. But parents want to do the best for their kids and the price/value proposition of living there with small or school age children is not that attractive compared to a house in a greenfield suburb. The demographic structure is very much biased towards people less than 30 years old with very few children compared to other areas. By its nature the CBD mostly attracts students, young childless couples and singles.

          But ignoring reasons for living there, the main question was if you can quickly get to the mall down the road and have no other reason like work to be there, what is your incentive to make a special trip to shop there? And the answer is not much. International visitors spend more money in the Auckland CBD than Aucklanders who don’t live there.

        7. Yep exactly, Waitemata, Orakei, Albert-Eden and Puketapapa, plus maungakiekie, that’s the isthmus.

        8. John D I’d suggest that by the time you get to Blockhouse Bay in the West and Otahuhu in the south (or even say Glen Innes and Mount Wellington) you’re well into suburbia. And also none of the residents of those suburbs have much incentive to go to the CBD for shopping.

        9. Yes that’s exactly the point, the whole isthmus suburbs are dropping in population due to aging demographics and dropping household size combined with minimal new dwellings.

          I’ll wait for the data release but I’d wager the city centre is the opposite, increasing population due to young demographics and increasing dwelling supply.

        10. Lets see.

          But also in the census timeframe roughly the same numbers of dwellings have been consented in each of Albert-Eden, Orakei, Waitemata and Whau and somewhat more in Maungakiekie so the CBD on it’s own is not that likely to come close to beating the surrounding suburbs which outnumber consents in all of Waitemata by a ratio of 4:1

        11. The CRL, and the new stations, were never about trying to coax people in the suburbs into a new commute, into the city, to shop. Seems disingenuous to keep raising it.

          It was about how people are making that trip now (car, bus) and a more efficient way of doing that now, as well as planning for the future when more and more people will be doing it. It was also not just about the CDB but the wider region and facilitating more capacity and better frequency.

          Whether new stations entice people in for a visit or not is largely irrelevant.

        12. “The CRL, and the new stations, were never about trying to coax people in the suburbs into a new commute, into the city, to shop. Seems disingenuous to keep raising it.”

          Well there was already a way to avoid the city by rail with no new tunnels or stations needed. If your understanding of CRL is true, it seems like a very expensive and indirect way to help people keep avoiding the city.

        13. They advertised, (especially pre Commercial Bay opening?), in Britomart even to train to Sylvia Park to shop, either way makes sense.
          There a lots of reasons to visit the city centre (note the wording denotes all the residents living there now, not that old fashioned central business district, CBD, acronym).
          It’s central, good for many meet ups for people coming from various directions. Spark Arena for concerts & events, Waterfront to visit in general, for ferry trips or for events, Queen St Christmas & other parades. Commercial Bay, Aotea Centre. Some movies are showing at Sky World that may not be at Hoyts in a suburb. Albert Park, Universities are a big draw card of course. Sky Tower, more exotic food selection down Lorne St. Auckland Art gallery & Central Library. The Civic for shows etc. Some people find jaunts in the suburbs boring, food courts in shopping centres are filled with the same old franchised offerings. Bland inside shopping mall lighting and the same thing everywhere. There are lots of places to have fun on a scooter or cycle reaching to or from Tamaki Dr or the North West Cycleway. Bit further out the Auckland Domain, Auckland War Memorial Muesem. Events at the White Cloud and other waterfront activities, sights to be seen like a real live action port.

          Of course it’s not for everyone and so we have suburbs, small town and rural settlements, a central city & other metropolitan centres. So many choices.
          In any case more will be living there as apartment buildings are finished off, they will have access often to great views, to the best PT (including water versions) & cycling and if they are in need of healthcare/getting older, Auckland Hospital nearby. Just hope they make apartments with more rooms & there is enough schooling nearby as families grow.

        14. If you have bunch of people coming from suburban or city fringe locations literally the worst and most awkward place to meet for dinner is downtown Auckland. CRL isn’t going to change that unless by some miracle you all live next to a train station and don’t mind PT journeys late at night and avoiding dangerous nutters.

          Going to the university each day is closer to commuting to a job than a recreational activity.

          The ‘waterfront’ is a ghetto compared to a nice suburban beach, and Albert park? Hardly a nice park destination that you’d choose compared to many other parks and reserves Auckland wide. You can’t really claim CBD adjacent destinations as ‘the CBD’. You’re much better to be visiting the domain by car than rail or getting to Auckland Hospital quickly from almost any adjacent suburb other than the CBD.

        15. Sure, keep on driving to places that have good PT links and be part of the congestion as the city grows. The hospital has/had a parking crises. We haven’t really returned to pre-COVID traffic activity & population growth, so once it does we need a better plan.

        16. We get it. You hate the CDB and perhaps rail spend even more so. Each to their own.

          Meanwhile, Precinct today announced $300m worth of residential development in the city center and a strategy to release 200 units a year.

        17. “Well there was already a way to avoid the city by rail with no new tunnels or stations needed. If your understanding of CRL is true, it seems like a very expensive and indirect way to help people keep avoiding the city.”


        18. In that announcement, one is for 500 beds of student accomodation. The second property is Dominion road, not even the CBD, and for their acquisition, most of Lamont and Co’s residential developments are not CBD. So that announcement has little in it for the CBD other than adding 500 students to the downtown population.

          And if you think 200 apartments a year is a massive number, consider we had 37,000 new dwellings consented last year in the Auckland region.

          And KLK you stated the whole point of CRL was not to bring any more people into the city. In that case why take a multi billion tiki tour through downtown Auckland vs just heading straight through Newmarket and on to wherever you were going. Without a goal of bringing more people into the city by rail CRL is kinda pointless.

          And it’s not about hating the CBD. There’s just no reason for most Aucklanders to regularly go there for any recreational purpose. Better options exist for the savvy suburbanite.

  5. The city centre is better than it was a decade ago. Call it dangerous if you want, but it is far less so than ten years ago when cars ruled the pathways.

    As a resident who has lived in big cities around the world, this little city is safer than the wooden suburbs that surround it.

    Build more apartments and let people find out how safe, warm and easy to maintain they really are, in comparison to the unjustified expanse that makes this lowly populated city occupy the same space as Los Angeles.

    If you want to visit a dangerous city, try L.A. or S.P. or D.F.

    Our city’s problem is lack of activities, the council has lately been doing an amazing job in Strand Arcade, with amazing events, from hip hop to opera, and visual arts in between. Excellent use of existing infrastructure.

    Hopefully something similarly inspirational can enter Smith and Caughey’s premises, it is a beautiful building in the midtown, in a city with limited beautiful buildings.

    City life is beautiful, those who do not understand need only travel and discover the warmth of people en masse!

  6. It’s nice for AT to have some goals but they’re not exactly aspirational.
    10 fewer deaths and serious injuries per year means it’s 64years before we achieve Vision Zero.
    Operational Emissions reduction up by 4% per year that’s zero emissions by 2045.
    The only thing over achieving is cycle counts and AT aren’t exactly pushing hard to support that.
    Come on AT, lead the way with Vision Zero and act like you understand what a Climate Emergency is.

    1. AT is setting targets that it thinks it should be able to achieve, given GPS and Letter of Expectation from the Mayor, and the budgets from NLTF and Council. Success is “Stayin’ Alive” for as many as possible, in the face of what political direction and funding allows.

      1. Oh, please. AT has to stop blaming others. The ELT and Board aren’t making VZ decisions. They aren’t using the TERP guidance.

  7. Re: Reclaiming Unloved Spaces

    A critical and conveniently ignored aspect of these well-meaning initiatives is public safety.

    Look at the Myers Park upgrade.

    It looks pretty, but is of little amenity to the public while its overrun with threatening criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.

    There’s no easy solution, but you can’t expect the public to be particularly enthused by these types of projects if the chief beneficiaries end up being day-drinking vagrants.

  8. Off topic, but has anybody else had problems topping up their Hop card by credit card on the AT website? I always get asked to approve a payment of 0.00USD, which is obviously wrong.

  9. Congrats to Matt & Ari.

    That Elizabeth line is amazing and that China railway station area looks pretty out there. All interesting items.

  10. No more than 640 Deaths and Serious Injuries for 2023/2024.
    This is a measure of success.
    Job well done.
    Something to aim for. Plan for even.
    Its a long road to vision zero in Auckland.
    If only reducing DSI, transport emissions, vkt led to better transport outcomes….

    1. Do you think AT might be able to set a better target if Govt and Council gave them a bit of budget to spend on road safety? When GPS insists Activity Codes must not contribute to “other” measures, it’s hard to include stuff to make roads safer.

      1. AT revised the DSI targets in last year’s budget too, and that was well before the draft GPS. It doesn’t matter what central government or Auckland Council do; the problem is that AT never let VZ in properly.

        Examples of places where VZ and VKT-reduction should be central to AT planning, but aren’t:
        – storm repair programmes
        – renewals programmes
        – improvements programmes (whether local road or public transport focused)
        – operational programmes
        – the RLTP prioritisation process and ranking.

        DSI targets have been relaxed because AT are treating safety as a “tack on” that requires specific funding. In contrast, VZ puts safety at the backbone of every single programme of work and of every single decision.

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