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Avoiding “gridlock”

There’s been a lot of discussion after Auckland’s roading network completely collapsed on Thursday due to a crash on the Newmarket viaduct, which caused huge delays.

More than two hours later, traffic on almost all of the city’s arterial routes was gridlocked, with buses backed up in city streets and motorists reporting speeds of less than 10km/h.

Journeys that normally took 15 minutes were taking more than an hour.

Automobile Association traffic spokesman Phil Allen said he had never seen traffic so bad in central Auckland.

The association launched traffic-mapping technology on its site 18 months ago. Routes marked in black show where traffic is moving at under 25 per cent of the speed limit. “I have never seen so much black in the CBD. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Having the Newmarket viaduct blocked off just before rush hour during the busiest week of the year for traffic (March madness) is pretty much a “perfect storm” in terms of things that can go wrong. Interestingly the train system ran just fine throughout the event because of its fundamental separation from the roading network – whereas most bus route in the area got completely nailed by the delays as they spread from the motorway network onto the local roads.

Len Brown’s comments in the Herald highlighted that while events such as what happened on Thursday are incredibly difficult to plan around, the ‘fragility’ of Auckland’s transport network to events like this is a really big issue and something improved public transport would help reduce:

Mayor Len Brown said the gridlock showed “why we need to invest in an integrated transport system including trains, ferries and buses”.

“Only through initiatives such as integrated ticketing, our new electric train fleet and the City Rail Link, can we unclog our roads and unlock the potential of Auckland.”

Cameron Brewer’s comments are, unsurprisingly, less sensible:

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer said he had to miss the Orakei Local Board meeting because of the traffic. He left the Town Hall at 5pm, spent 40 minutes on Hobson St, opted to take the Northwestern Motorway, got off at St Lukes and made his way across town to his home in Ellerslie, arriving an hour and 45 minutes later.

“When the airport western ring road to Waterview is complete that will take some pressure off SH1, but what that one accident shows is just how reliant almost all of us are on cars, and that’s not going to change much in the foreseeable future.

“It should be a real wake-up call to the mayor as to where the real problems and frustrations lie for most Aucklanders – that is in traffic jams.”

Mr Brewer said he’d like more improvements to the motorway network and more bus lanes, ferry terminals and cycle and walkways, rather than the CBD rail tunnel.

While the Waterview Connection is a project that would help a lot in situations like this – by providing that much needed “alternative route” – unless Mr Brewer is advocating for a return of the Eastern Motorway project I can’t quite see how further motorway improvements would change what happened on Thursday. And he should have just taken the train to the Local Board meeting as it was held not too far from the Meadowbank train station.

And it seems like the chaos has continued today – not helped by Auckland Transport’s stupidity in not running anything better than hourly trains across much of the rail network even though there are a huge number of events on in Auckland.

76 comments to Avoiding “gridlock”

  • Just a question that does need to be asked

    If the Eastern Highway had been built in 2004 – that is a 4 lane expressway (expressway – not motorway – there is a difference here) at 80km/h with some grade separation – AND (because I have the original EASTDOR report in front of me at this moment) flanked by cycleways and the actual Botany Line through to Manukau would it made any (that is any) difference to Thursday’s situation.

    Now remember I have said: expressway, cycleway and Botany (heavy rail) Line… so all three options would of been in position today if built

    • I forgot to add, EASTDOR has the above mentioned integrated project at a BCR of around 2-3.9 depending if the road option was either 2 lanes or 4 lanes

    • The eastern highway would have failed too. It would have connected into town and Spaghetti Juction at one end, and back to to southern again at Mt Wellington. It would have been completely gridlocked from one end to the other.

      • Bryce P

        Actually no. If memory serves correctly, it joined Quay St at the city end and went to Botany, at least, at the other.

        • Bryce P

          For the price to build the Eastern, today, we could probably afford an LRT line from Panmure to Manukau via Pakuranga and Botany.

        • There were two options at the city end, Quay St leading to a widened Strand to Grafton Gully, or a tunnel to a rotary at the foot of the Grafton Gully motorway at Stanley St. At the outer end it connected through an expanded south eastern arterial to Pakuranga and on to botany in one direction, but also back to the Southern Motorway in the other direction.

          Either way, it would have been completely clogged like every other road near the city or along the southern motorway was.

          • Bryce P

            “Either way, it would have been completely clogged like every other road near the city or along the southern motorway was.”

            Agreed.

      • Any possible reduction on the road from the Botany Line that would of been built with the highway?

        • There was no botany line, only a pair of bus lanes from Botany to the city (including bus only ramps) that served to make the road incredibly wide while just replicating much of the rail line.

          Anyway, I they wanted a rail line or cycleway to botany you don’t need to build an almost motorway to get one.

  • Yesterday’s Herald article was particularly dumb with all those fantastic suggestions for avoiding gridlock on the motorways such as big plastic screens to shield rubberneckers from crashes, and banning trucks at certain hours. I thought the real problem is just too many cars. What can be done about that?

    I find it interesting that motorways can cause congestion and gridlock at the slightest sneeze. It’s the same with Wellington’s. They do seem to have a design flaw in that they funnel and concentrate traffic (and infrastructure investment) away from more resilient networks. I don’t really get why we build them. Growing up in Adelaide with all the parallel arterials it seemed to do a better job of allowing large numbers of cars to get around.

    • Starnius

      > I find it interesting that motorways can cause congestion and gridlock at the slightest sneeze.

      That’s not the case at all. The issue is that we have such an over-reliance on cars that our motorways are constantly at the tipping point. There is no spare capacity left to deal with issues like a crash, despite decades of investment orgies. Law of diminishing returns.

  • Starnius

    Since when has mr Cameron Brewer ever actually supported “more bus lanes, ferry terminals and cycle and walkways”?

    He has a horrible track record on all of that, and he has the temerity to even mention them? Just politi-speak to detract from the fact that he has no real intentions to do any of these, but very much wants the CRL canned.

  • jonno1

    Actually the last similar incident was about 10-12 years ago; I don’t know where Mr Allen was then. So major gridlock once every decade or so? – not so bad really. As for congestion today – maybe so on the NW motorway, but not out east, it’s busy but free-flowing.

    Regarding Eastdor, if the BCR was 2 or better as Ben says then it’s a pity it didn’t go ahead.

    • TheBigWheel

      Whatever the Eastdor BCR it would have *trashed* the entire Purewa Valley, Orakei Basin and Hobson Basin.. what a joke if their intrinsic value isn’t accounted for.

      There is of course already the equivalent of a 4+ lane motorway occupying the very same route, except it’s running at a fraction of its capacity due to the rail network constraints that the CRL unlocks.

    • Mr Anderson

      Idiotic project as it just duplicated an existing high capacity transport corridor and fed heaps of traffic into downtown. Sounds a bit like the additional harbour crossing project, just with more environmental destruction.

  • Christopher T

    The reporting of this incident and the follow up conversation in the New Zealand Herald is farcical. The only reference to a possible train-led recovery of Auckland’s transport sickness was in the editorial cartoon. The ‘popular’ solutions selected by the Herald’s editorial team for the print edition were, to say the very least, bordering on the farcical: double-decking the motorway; plastic accident screens; a curfew for certain types of vehicle; abolishing traffic lights, etc, but no mention of how the CRL would help relieve the situation. This was a golden opportunity for AT’s publicists to get out there and start promoting the CRL as the key to solving the city’s addiction to cars but they did nothing, leaving Brown to trot out his usual mantra about nothing in particular and thus allowing Brewer, the de facto leader of the let’s tarmac the rest of Auckland lobby group, to mouth his inane views to the ever receptive media. Of course, the fact that we have a defective, hydra-headed bus network and a spectacularly crap train service, particularly during weekends, isn’t a help but I do wish there was an attempt to get some balanced reason into the debate.

  • Stu Donovan

    The only person who needs a “wake-up call” is Cameron Brewer. His strategy of blaming every random problem on Len Brown is extremely boring, highly transparent, and – frankly – rather childish. Either he’s getting bad advice on public and media relations, or he’s simply not very good at making a cogent point; probably a bit of both.

    On that note: While Cameron seems to talk about PT, has he ever actually taken a visible public stand in support of a controversial PT project? I find it notable that in the time Cameron’s been in office many of the bus lanes in the area he supposedly represents have been downgraded. It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that Cameron’s all talk (whine?) and no walk. Be nice if Auckland’s centre-right powers-at-be would encourage him to take a more constructive line; the future of this (wonderful) city of ours is too important to be put at risk by someone’s self-indulgent political aspirations.

    But getting back to the topic at hand: I had the misfortune of having to walk to Newmarket in the midst of this traffic mayhem. I was flabbergasted by the appalling driving – at every intersection vehicles would run red lights and park over pedestrian crossings. It was shocking – so much so that my international visitor commented that it was the most inconsiderate driving she’s ever seen.

    It’d be nice if drivers felt compelled to abide by most of the road rules even when things get really busy. Just because you have unfortunately been delayed does not mean that all the road rules go out the window and that it’s now OK to disregard other road users to a point where you put them in danger. I understand that it was exceptional circumstances, but that does not warrant exceptionally dangerous driving.

    • The bad behaviour also compounds to make the situation worse. People queue across and block intersections, causing intersecting roads to jam because nobody can move. Finally the front couple of cars get away, jam the intersection for the next phase, and on it goes. If people obeyed the freaking law (where are cops to paper the city with “intersection blocking rule” tickets when you need them?) it would still be bad but it wouldn’t be utterly horrific because streets travelling perpendicular to the motorway-inflicted carnage would still be moving.

      Gridlock is, largely, caused by people driving like asshats. First there’re the rubberneckers, who should pay attention to the damned road rather than to what’s happening at the crash site, and then there’re the twats off the motorway who block intersections and amplify the gridlock effect onto all the cross streets that should otherwise be flowing freely because they have no relationship to the motorway.

      • Stu Donovan

        yes I do wonder about our Police’s priorities sometime – I know they have important things to do, but I have lived in Auckland city centre for more than 10 years and I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen them monitoring driver behaviour (and pedestrians/cyclists for that matter) at intersections.

        I think someone needs to tell the Police that if you allow relatively minor traffic infringements to pass over an extended period, then it allows bad driving to become normalised. It’s fairly clear to me that Auckland is suffering from a plague of red-light running that is getting out of hand. Vehicles blocking intersections is another extremely common issue in Auckland, much more so than other cities I’ve lived in.

        • They blitz Nelson St offramp semi-frequently (and quite seriously; motorcycles, multiple officers, the works) during the morning peak for people queuing through, but that’s the only concerted effort I’ve seen to crack down on the problem. The concept of flow-on effects is apparently beyond their scope, despite the very serious impact the normalisation of such asshattery has on traffic flow generally. It’s the same as the standard delay in moving off at a green light because of the risk of catching a red-light runner through the door.

    • axio

      I agree he’s talk and no walk – he is also never specific about these projects he has in mind to reduce the problems. So you want more motorways Mr Brewer? Where are they going to be put and how would that have helped?

      • Stu Donovan

        the only specific PT details I’ve heard Cameron Brewer discuss are associated with new ferry terminals in locations where they not be effective. That’s another thing: Cameron does not take the time to get behind PT projects that have already been identified, but are as yet unfunded – preferring instead to nominate his own pet projects.

        I guess many politicians suffer from the pet project addiction, e.g. Phil Twyford and Mike Lee, but at least those two politicians give me the feeling that they take the time to learn about the intricacies of the projects they are advocating for.

  • Brendan

    How about cracking down on the type of driving that leads to nose to tail crashes on the motorway. Surely if the two second rule was enforced, that van probably would not of crashed into the back of that truck. And the other nose-to-tail near Sunnynook Road bridge north bound the same day probably wouldn’t of happened either. Following a vehicle less than 56m at 100km/h (28m/s), 44m at 80km (22m/s) or 28m at 50km/h (14m/s) is careless driving, and should be prosecuted as such.

  • Charles

    I think there was major communication failure by both NZTA and Auckland Transport. Any many ways this was worse than the opening night of the Rugby World cup.

    NZTA and Auckland Transport needed to immediately to get out messages to suppress traffic generation. They should have demanded time on all radio stations and sent e-mails to all firms to get those firms to inform their staff to consider changing their travel pattern that evening. It is far too late if people hear the message once they are on the road. The messsage should have been to tell people:
    – not to travel if at all possible;
    – delay their travel (i.e. have a meal out and delay your travel home till later in evening);
    – consider leaving their car at work and make other arrangements such a catching a train or ferry close to their home. The last few kilometres may have been challenging for many people.

    If the traffic demand was suppresssed by 30 -40% then everyone journey may have been quick and the network may have recovered from the incident quicker.

    It would be interested to know how the bus companies reacted. Did they try to retain their existing schedule or did they try use their buses more wisely.

    This incident highlights the need integrated ticketing system and the need to set up an operating room with all public transport providers, taxi companies and road controlling authorities so they can manage the transport system better as a result of a major incident.

    • Stu Donovan

      astute observations. We do need an integrated traffic management centre … hitherto Transit/NZTA have preferred to focus solely on highway operations, which is fine – until the highway is blocked!

    • Greg N

      As an “emergency response measure” on the Thursday crash,
      Why could they not have diverted all traffic off the Southern Motorway at Gillies Ave (2 lanes wide), then funnelled all traffic down Mortimer Pass in Newmarket (2 lanes wide), then through Broadway, up Mahuru (using both sides of the roads and then onto St Marks Onramp – 2 lanes wide almost all the way onto the motorway.

      Doing this quickly i.e. within minutes of the original crash would have impacted local Newmarket traffic for 1-2 hours, but not as much total impact as letting 1 lane or so trickle past the crash scene.
      While the other 3 lanes back up and up and up. So that way you could have had 3 lanes of traffic getting past the crash, at reasonable speeds, causing less tailbacks and upstream impacts.

      Of course this would have needed co-ordination between NZTA “operations” and AT to manage this.
      And it seems that NZTA calls the shots in the relationship between NZTA and AT so unless they see it as worthwhile it won’t happen.

    • Yes communication needs to improve, but we still only have one system. Until the rail network capacity is unlocked (CRL) and more major bus routes have their own ROWs we can tell everyone that the roads are all stuffed as much as we like but there will not be that much that many could do about it.

      Even the Northern Busway couldn’t help because until it is out of the city and over the bridge it is on the same roads as all the snarled cars. All the C&R councillors who say we only need buses because they use roads and roads are cheaper, unless they mean fully grade separate bus routes (which are not cheaper) must be able to understand they are condemning Auckland to more and events like this, even the dim and mendacious Mr Brewer should be able to figure it out.

  • Greg N

    Re: Brewer being “late” to Orakei Board meetings

    Well every OLB meeting I’ve been to has had Brewer arrive late, usually he is not in attendance until an hour into the session, sometimes longer – and thats when they start at 6pm.

    In the case of Thursdays saga, he says he didn’t leave the town hall until 5pm – the OLB meeting started at 4pm, he was already 1+ hour “late” even if traffic was on time.

    As a Councillor he sits in the cheap seats (along with the residents and other hanger on at these meetings) – who all sit facing the board members as they discuss and deliberate).
    While the Chair may ask Councillor Brewer for his input from time to time, the impression one gets is that the “deals are done” well before the meeting starts.

    As Councillor Brewer has no voting rights that I’ve ever seen exercised. Thats the OLB’s job to vote on stuff.

    So, all up his not being there matters not on jot to the “democracy” for the resident of the OLB area. Except his face wasn’t there for his PR purposes.
    So, why is Brewers “story” any more news-worthy than any one else stuck in traffic?

    And as you say, if he was so keen to get there he could have used a train, not like he didn’t know of the gridlock when he left the Town Hall for the OLB meeting.
    And even with a walk to the Train Station he could be there in 15 minutes walk, got off at Meadowbank Station (7 minutes train travel from Britomart) and walked for 1.5 km to the St Chads Hall Corner of Meadowbank and St Johns Roads.

    Would have put him there at the meeting at 5:45 depending on the train wait he had at Britomart.

    I was in Christchurch On Thursday so missed the chaos (and OLB meeting), there was no reporting of the problems on Fridays local paper (The Press) either.

    If CRL had been built, he could have walked to Aotea station, got the speedy train to either his Ellerslie home quickly, or to Meadowbank Station then walked to the OLB meeting “down the road”.
    And at end of meeting, he could have got home just as easily.

    Heck, if Brewer had an electric bike, he could have made the trip from Auckland Town Hall to the OLB meeting in 25 minutes, even through the traffic chaos.
    And to his home after the meeting in 10 minutes.

    • Stu Donovan

      so Cameron was 1hr late for the Orakei Local Board meeting when he left the city? That’s outrageous.

      And obviously another “wake-up call” for the Mayor: Len Brown needs to step-up and take over responsibility for Cameron Brewer’s schedule. It’s totally unreasonable for Len to expect someone as obviously incompetent as Cameron to take responsibility for his own schedule.

      • bbc

        John Banks who Cameron Brewer looks up to wasn’t much better from memory, IIRC he rarely bothered to attend any meeting he didn’t have to and spent most of his time organising the Mayoral carpark to be enlarged to fit his bentleys.

  • jjay

    We were in the thick of this – our express bus normally goes on the motorway, I was dreading what it would be like with the toddler given
    the back-up we saw. But because the drivers had communicated to each other about what had happened our driver (who is a smart lady) was aware
    and because she was express and the motorway was closed varied her route a little – down Remuera Rd and on just after the incident – from then on it was a great run. Ironically I was off the bus maybe 5 mins later than normal while the express before us was still stuck in traffic in Greenlane.
    If there was more communication (say signage etc before you are committed) people might be able to pre-plan and take alternate routes as our bus was able to in this case.

  • dan again

    Can someone explain to me just how the CRL would have avoided there being grid lock? I don’t see it being any use at all in this case.

    One of the ideas I did like however was the sightscreens. Pretty much all the congestion was due to rubber necking which the sight screens would have prevented.

    • Stu Donovan

      more people on trains means less people in cars means less congestion.

    • Avoided? No. Given people a travel option that’s completely unaffected by gridlock? Yes. Getting people out of their cars also mitigates the effects by reducing the number of vehicles.
      Are you also so fatuous?

    • dan again

      Yes so really there would have been little difference except for a few more folk would have been on the train rather than driving.

      However as we know, the train line seems to suffer a complete system failure every so often which only gets more likely with the CRL.

      • The trains suffer complete failure from time to time because we are running diesel trains that are up 50 years old, on a system that is in the process of being upgraded which has in some cases involved replacing equipment nearly 100 years old. By the time we have electrification complete, we will have almost a brand new system with brand new trains and reliability should increase dramatically. You simply can’t compare what we have now with what we will have post electrification or post CRL.

        • dan again

          I thought that pretty much all the signals have been replaced yet still fail as they were awarded to the lowest price bid. Once the CRL is done we will have more cheap signals and more lines sharing the same track increasing the risk.

          • Actually based on the frequencies proposed we’ll need ETS level 2 for the CRL and it’s approaches, so it will be more efficient due to can signalling rather than line side, and with greater ability to recover from delays.

          • Signal failures seem no where near as common as they used to and most that have occurred recently have tended to be around Papakura where there is still significant work going on.

      • A few more is quite the understatement, the CRL will add 28 trains an hour of capacity, or about 25,000 more people per hour in relative comfort. That’s more capacity than all the roads leading out of the CBD, plus the southern line would have about one and a half times the people capacity of the southern motorway, at 12 trains an hour.

        • dan again

          Don’t assume capacity to equal utilisation. The current train fleet could handle swarms more passengers than it carries for a number of reasons, and these will remain post CRL.

          • Utilisation during peak times is fairly high, just like the motorway network.

          • dan again

            The motorways are highly utilised for about 10 hours of the day. The railway is busy for about 2.

          • That’s nice, but how does that increase the resilience of the transport network?

          • dan again

            Nick. Read why you are replying to. Nody was talking about the resilience of the transport network. We were talkig about capacity does not automatically equal utilisation.

          • dan again

            Nick. Read why you are replying to. Nobody was talking about the resilience of the transport network. We were talkig about capacity does not automatically equal utilisation.

    • sight screens may have helped a little but they don’t do much when the whole motorway gets closed down like it did on Thursday.

      We can’t build our way out of congestion but we can invest in alternatives that allow people to reliably move around the city unaffected by it.

      • Scott

        I was coming back from a work trip to Hamilton that day, before the evening peak. The southern motorway northbound had a giant tailback caused purely by the sight lines to the collision scene. I forsee in the next decade that visual screens will be erected on all motorway medians. Kinda lame as it would make road travel even more boring, but would stop rubbernecker conjestion on otherwise unaffected stretches of motorway.

      • dan again

        Helped a little. All the congestion came from the southbound motorway, even though the accident was on the northern. If they had sight screens congestion would have been no worse than any other day of the week.

        • jjay

          Was the accident definitely Northbound like one commentor said here ? I did not read the paper write up about it in depth but our express bus got on the motorway at St Marks Rd (Southbound) that day just after the accident scene and it looked to me
          like the lanes that were closed were those on the Southbound side on the Viaduct – so the accident was on the Southern effectively ?
          The motorway Northbound was slow but moving and not closed at all along that same stretch while I caught a sight as we did our
          diversion across the Grafton bridge and the Southbound before the Viaduct was dire (and the sign at the lights prior to the Symonds Street onramp
          Southbound said motorway closed). Definitely in our case a matter of diverting via Grafton/Newmarket/Remuera Rd and on at St Marks means we
          were not very much delayed – I imagine if those on the motorway had prior warning (more signs and communication) and aawareness of alternative routes it could have at least helped

          • Greg N

            Herald said the southbound lanes were closed.
            NB may have had the rubber necker problem, but the crash was said to be in the southbound viaduct lanes.
            Causing all but 1 lane to be closed.

            Unless someone has evidence to the contrary, it would appear that SB was the affected side.
            As you said if the SB wasn’t impacted, why was traffic so backed up?

          • jjay

            Yeah I thought it was southbound too- previous person on here posted Northbound to quote:

            “dan again

            March 10, 2013 at 2:11 pm ยท Reply

            Helped a little. All the congestion came from the southbound motorway, even though the accident was on the northern. If they had sight screens congestion would have been no worse than any other day of the week.”

            ps NO bus lanes on the Southern Southbound (a couple mini – short stretches Northbound on the Southern)/
            Bus lanes would not have helped the motorway though (can’t imagine them putting them in on the Viaduct)
            but would have thought the ones on Gt South Rd were a lot of the traffic got stuck would have helped – yet
            the express before us was stuck on the Gt South.

  • IanL

    Sooner of later this kind of gridlock is inevitable. It happens in every major city, no matter what configuration of infrastructure they have. There is only ONE solution. Get over it. Learn to live with it. If you’re lucky enough to be able to design yourself a car-free lifestyle, congratulations. If circumstance denies you that choice then, like the weather, you’ve just got to accept it. Although I strongly support the CRL I don’t think it would have prevented or ameliorated this event.

    • Gian

      what he said. Traffic in Auckland is a joke compared to other cities, my European friends usually are quite surprised at how empty the roads are (and how old the trains are).
      Still, I think keeping the shops open until 8pm as suggested in the Herald would be great, even if it does nothing for the traffic.

  • Quite right the CRL won’t prevent the traffic system from increasingly going into total Snafu. But it will enable the city to still function for many many more people when it does. The reverse is also true; when rail goes bung we rely on the alternatives. And this is the point it’s not about one system OR the other, right now we have all our transport eggs in one basket and we’ve out grown it, Auckland needs more than one system now and especially as it grows. Building the CRL doesn’t involve dismantling any roads, they will still be there, but there will less pressure on them as the CRL (plus the other improvements to the Transit system) provide a real alternative to everyone always driving everywhere.

    Bringing our existing off road Transit network up to a fully functioning standard will mean very real benefits especially for people who never ride a bus or a train. And the economic performance of the whole city depends on it.

    • dan again

      I think what it highlights is how bad the bus system is. The buses are still forced to share too many roads with general traffic who often use bus lanes. Given some 60% of cbd users are pt users Thursday should not have been too much of an issue if we had both the buses and trains working.

      • Greg N

        Your conclusion is flawed here DA.

        Thursdays problem showed the limits of the current “roads based” PT system which has buses deliver the majority of the PT users in and out of the CBD.
        When the roads ground to a halt so did the buses – hardly surprising as they use roads to get around right?
        Trains didn’t though as has been noted elsewhere.

        More Bus lanes would have helped – but only if every bus travelled exclusively in one the whole of its journey and also providing the general road users kept out of them.
        [neither of these is a current reality, nor likely to be for some time].

        Such an exclusive running corridor is in effect a “Bus way” and the Future Access study released last year showed that using multi-lane bus ways in and around the CBD to work around the coming CBD gridlock would cost as much (if not more) than the CRL and even then not actually solve the problem.

        And so, even then if it came to pass, Auckland would still be at the mercy of the wider road network as Bus Ways would not exist on every road in the city anytime soon.
        So when Aucklands motorway suffers yet another heart attack, yep, same problem will ensue.

        What Patrick says is true – we need BOTH modes of transport of bus and rail and we need them in a mutually benefiting relationship
        – that is they need to complement each others strengths and weaknesses so that each delivers it strengths and best features to the other mode (and thus PT users of that mode).

        This co-operation is something which previous idealogically lead bus fleet privatisations have discouraged as it was seen by market purists that the only way to make the PT modes “efficient” was to make them compete with each other for their customers. So thats why we have the current situation where trains and buses run alongside each other (and up the motorways) for most of their journeys.
        This of course ignores the fact that PT users are invariably subsidised in NZ, so what you have instead is modes competing for subsidies, hardly a way to make the system efficient overall.

        Finally this problem has been recognised and so before CRL comes into play the new PTOM bus operation model being rolled out over the next 3 years will enforce that bus operators recognise rail as an equal PT partner and bus services are reorganised by Auckland Transport so that buses will deliver passengers from local bus routes to train stations (or collect them from train stations), so that the train network is used for the long backbone hauls up and down and across Auckland’s PT spine and buses are used as the local collector and distributors.
        Result: Buses won’t be competing on roads with the PT heavy lifting done by rail as much – and the same number of buses in play now will handle more PT users in 3 years time when PTOM is fully operational with improved PT services regionwide.

        The above is a given, whether you agree with it or not.

        So maybe when the next motorway meltdown happens, it won’t be such a noticeable event as everyone in the CBD was able to get home or where they needed to be and no one noticed the crash on the Viaduct which took hours to clear as there was ot the major disruption of Thursday.

        And in effect that would be the bets outcome – future metldowns are avoided before they start.

        • dan again

          So what do you propose? Put everyone on a train system that relies on one tunnel to serve the entire system so that if there is one fault the entire transport network fails?

          • Sounds like a certain motorway network I know! One crash one way on one road and the whole city shuts down.

            At least the rail network can still function around a disruption. If the was a blockage in the CRL trains could still operate to Britomart at one end and Newton at the other. They need a shuttle bus working overtime and there would be delays, but not a complete collapse like the motorway.

          • dan again

            Lol, you really do live in a dream world when it comes to trains and roads. I don’t have the space to write about how wrong that claim of yours is.

      • Greg N

        One other point,
        You assume that Bus lanes would be working in both directions – bus that leave the CBD have to return to pick the next load up right?
        Well in Auckland Buslanes on most roads are in Peak direction only, the “bus lane” on the other side of the road is a normal lane of traffic the rest of the time.

        So on Thursday even with peak PM bus lanes working, all buses could have speedily existed the CBD with their passengers, and then found it impossible to return for the next trip.
        Something which I am sure did happen.

  • Sailor Boy

    How can anyone argue that the CRL won’t help, after that system is in place we will have 2 systems (almost) completely independent of eachother to get out of the CBD. Then all we need is rail to the shore and we have 2 region wide systems. The motorways will still be more complete, but at least the train is then competing on a slightly less skewed field.

    • dan again

      Because once someone choses to make . their journey by car they can’t just put their car in their pocket and take a train.

      • No they can’t take but depending on their circumstances, they could leave their car in town, take PT home and then back to work again in the morning and get their car the next day. AT being an owner of car parks could assist things by offering a cheaper rate than normal for overnight parking when significant disruption like this occurs.

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