Rethinking Airport Rail

At the Auckland Transport Board meeting earlier this week, I did a presentation on behalf of the Campaign for Better Transport on airport rail, making the following points in a “one-pager” to the Board. 1.    In our view the Jacobs “SMART Indicative Business Case | PDF” report underestimates the potential catchment of heavy rail, we assume because of the arbitrary requirement for a single seat journey to the airport. On this point, the following from p.83 of the report shows the catchment for the heavy rail option.  It clearly does miss out stations on the Western line, as well as the yet-to-be-built K Rd and Parnell stations. 2.    We consider …
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Has Len gone loopy?

A statement you won’t often hear on this blog is “I agree with Cameron Brewer” but you will hear it today. It’s in response to an his statements in this article in the Manukau Courier: Public transport could get another boost if mayor Len Brown’s light rail loop for Manukau gets the green light. “We want to run light rail from Manukau up through Clover Park, all along Te Irirangi Drive, up to Highland Park, up Panmure Highway and back to Manukau,” he says. “The idea of getting mass transit into suburban areas is to give commuters flexibility. “The key thing about running rail down Te Irirangi Drive is that …
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Thinking long-term for our rail system

The Auckland Plan (submissions close October 31st) takes a fairly long-term viewpoint of Auckland’s future, looking to 2041 when the population may well be as high as 2.5 million. Here are the projected population numbers for Auckland over the next 30 years, and how they compare with cities throughout the rest of New Zealand: A population of 2-2.5 million in 2041, if the medium or high projections are what turns out to happen, would put us in a situation similar to that of Greater Vancouver (current population 2.2 million). Add in our limited capacity to expand the roading network, hopefully a greater focus on aligning land-use plans to encourage intensification …
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The southeast railway line (part 1)

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago on how I think Auckland should integrate transport into its future spatial plan, probably the biggest planning mistake ever made in Auckland’s history is allowing so much development occur east of the Tamaki River: with such poor transport connections. In particular, the planning of this development area occurred at such a time (broadly the 1960s through to last decade) when Auckland really didn’t care much about public transport – so this whole swathe of Auckland ended up with no public transport infrastructure whatsoever – not even a bus lane more than a few metres long along Pakuranga Road. I plan …
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Southeast RTN – busway, rail, trolley-bus or light-rail?

When Auckland Transport released details of the latest concepts for a southeast busway: along Ti Rakau Drive between Botany and Pakuranga and eventually extending all the way into Panmure, I hesitated and had a pretty good think about whether this was a step in the right direction. On the negative side, if this busway is built to an RTN standard then I think the chances of us ever getting what I’ve called the “Howick/Botany Line” become pretty remote – at least any time in the next 30 years. It’s a pretty darn awesome railway line in my opinion – improving access to the whole southeast part of Auckland, providing a …
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AMETI Busway extends to Botany

I have often been very scathing of the AMETI transport project in the past, accusing it of being a roadsfest and barely paying lip-service to improving public transport. Well, either my criticisms are starting to pay off – or I was being a bit harsh on the project all along. Because, it would seem, finally the transport planners for this project are getting serious about it having high-quality public transport. First we had the concepts for a busway through Panmure released a month or two ago. While I suggested this was definitely a step in the right direction, I also noted that a busway through Panmure by itself wouldn’t really …
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Auckland’s 2050 Rail System?

I like to play around with ideas for dream future rail systems for Auckland, and oddly enough sometimes my rail visions are embraced by those with some opportunity to make them into a reality. But aside from making for interesting discussion points, having a bit of a think about what we might want our public transport system to look like 20, 30 or even 40 years into the future is important for one simple reason. Future proofing. At the moment, or over the next few months, a lot of thought will be put into the detailed design of Auckland’s CBD rail tunnel. We might also have analysis undertaken for rail …
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AMETI – improved, but still misses the point

I didn’t get a chance to go to the open day on the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) today, but I have got hold of the information boards that were presented at the open day. So it is possible to see how things have come along a bit since the last design. The latest concept (more information here) has a few changes, the main one being that we now appear to actually have a busway (looks like someone finally got the message that bus lanes do not constitute an RTN). Here’s an overview of what’s now proposed for the Panmure section: A number of concerns were raised at previous …
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North Shore vs Southeast Rail

Out of the “big three” rail projects that Len Brown promotes as his rail vision, two make pretty obvious sense – the CBD Rail Tunnel and Rail to the Airport. The two projects work in synergy quite nicely actually – both expanding the capacity and the reach of the rail system. The third project – rail to the North Shore – is the most long-term project of the three, and also one that I have been most doubtful of in past blog posts. My main reason for thinking that North Shore Rail isn’t a particularly high priority is due to the Northern Busway. The busway opened just a couple of …
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AMETI: still ignoring the elephant in the room

An NZ Herald article today shines light on some growing worries that the “Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative”, known more commonly as “AMETI” may be a first step to reviving the dreaded “Eastern Motorway” – which Aucklanders resoundingly rejected in the 2004 local government elections. Here’s an extract from the article: Panmure residents are wondering if a new road through their suburb is the first stage of a revived eastern highway across Hobson Bay to the city. A $1.33 billion package of eastern suburbs transport works retains all the elements necessary for reviving the eastern highway, Panmure Community Action Group spokesman Keith Sharp said yesterday. “We wonder if there is …
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