Kapiti Expressway stage one: Review

This is a guest post by architect and our occassional Wellington correspondent Guy Marriage The first section of the Kapiti Expressway opened on 24 February, at 4am, with little fanfare. As an immediate response to this implicit request, that induced me to make some more traffic by driving up and down the new road, just to see what it is like. While the section opened up so far is long, from McKays Crossing just north of Paekakariki, stretching north over 20 km nearly to Otaki, it is also completely finished and the verges are well planted. Overall, of course, the Expressway has more to be done, both north (to bypass Otaki) …
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50 Years of waiting for an Auckland Rapid Transit system.

My father, Ian Reynolds 1922-2005, was an architect (as was my mother). He was also a what was then called a Town and Country Planner. After returning from working in England after the war he spent the rest of his career as partner in a big multidisciplinary practice in Auckland (missing the city of his youth: Wellington. Office in Wakefield St, where the AUT business school is now). There he was responsible for a chunk of our post-war modernist heritage, as well as a lot of planning work. Especially at the University of Auckland, master-planning the campuses and involved in the campaign to retain the city one, which thankfully won out. Notable design work includes the School of Engineering and …
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Do motorways inevitably generate economic growth?

There were a number of odd things in the report released several weeks ago by the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID), a lobby group. Matt has already reviewed the report in detail. Perhaps the oddest part of it was this sentence: Motorway capacity is essential because motorways generate economic activity. NZCID presents this as a factual statement – or perhaps an article of faith? – but does not attempt to justify it or offer much supporting evidence. From an economic perspective, this is an odd statement because transport infrastructure does not and can not generate economic activity. Roads are a means to an end, rather than an end …
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Sunday reading 5 June 2016

Welcome back to Sunday reading this long weekend. We start this week with a borrowed slide explaining the way that the quality of your city’s Transit system controls the quality of your driving commute: This explains what’s wrong with current expansion of SH16 and the completion of the Western Ring Route. The Transit part of this project is woefully inadequate: Intermittent bus lanes on the shoulder of the motorway are unlikely to lead to sufficiently fast or reliable bus travel times, this means the choice of taking the bus will probably not be attractive enough to tempt enough people away from driving on the newly widened motorway. This will lead to more induced driving and …
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NZCID’s scary views on transport in Auckland

I don’t think New Zealand’s infrastructure lobby has met a project it didn’t think should be bigger or more expensive and later today they’re holding an event to release a report on Auckland’s transport system that they’ve titled: Transport Solutions for a Growing City. At the event they’ll also have talks from the Employers and Manufacturers Association and the AA. Here’s the banner for it They describe the situation as this. Auckland’s transport system is under pressure. Peak traffic congestion is rapidly extending into commercial and recreational periods, undermining competitiveness and liveability. Public transport is increasing, but not fast enough to reduce pressures on the road network. Auckland and Central Government are …
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Government Unveils “Eastern Ring Route”

The NZ Herald reports: In a surprise announcement, the Government has today unveiled advanced plans for a combined transport and housing package in Auckland. The centrepiece of the announcement is an “Eastern Ring Route” between Takapuna and Drury to complement the soon to be finished Western Ring Route and take pressure off State Highway 1. The 44 kilometre long route, including a new Eastern Alignment for crossing the Waitemata Harbour, was announced by Transport Minister Simon Bridges after a snap cabinet meeting on the issue and ongoing frustration about growing congestion in New Zealand’s biggest city. “This is a bold response to the big issues faced by Auckland,” explained Mr Bridges …
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AWHC: Where Does all the New Traffic Go?

The Additional Harbour Crossing as currently proposed is a pair of tunnels containing six traffic lanes between the motorway at Esmonde Rd rejoining it at Spaghetti Junction [The CMJ] in the city. The publicly available schemes also show additional rail tunnels between Akoranga and Wynyard Quarter, but no connecting network for any trains to actually use. It is clear to see the appeal for NZTA of straightening and simplifying SH1 past the bridge, but the outcomes for the city are much less certain. Below for example is version T1: Clearly this or the other versions that date from 2010 are not the current versions NZTA are developing now, but until new versions are released these are still worth looking …
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Will the proposed Waitemata Harbour Crossing be good for drivers?

There are many reasons to be concerned about the plan to add more road lanes across Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour: from the extreme cost of building such big tunnels and interchanges [$5-$6 billion and four times as much as just building rail tunnels], to the undesirable flooding of city streets and North Shore local roads with even more cars, to the increase in air pollution and carbon emission this will create, the loss of valuable city land to expanded on and off ramps and parking structures, to the impact on the harbour of exhaust stacks and a supersized motorway on the Shore, to the pressure this will put on the rest of the motorway …
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2015 – Auckland’s Watershed Year

The more I look at the events and data of 2015 the clearer it becomes that this has been a profoundly significant year for Auckland. It is my contention that this year the city reached a critical turning point in its multi-year evolution back to true city pattern. I have discussed this change many times before on this forum, most notably here, as it is, I believe, an observable process that has been building for years. Generally it has been gradual enough, like the growth of a familiar tree, as to easily pass unobserved, but now I think it has passed a into a new phase of higher visibility. The group who …
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