Follow us on Twitter

Wellington PT study and RoNS info released

Some big news out of Wellington yesterday with the release of the Public Transport Spine Study as well as more news on the Basin Flyover and Duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel. Both are actually fairly intricately tied together. Here are the two press releases from the NZTA about the spine study (why did we need two). First let’s look at the PT spine study. It was described by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) as:

The Public Transport Spine Study (PTSS) is about determining what a future public transport solution for Wellington city might be – one that is high quality, modern and meets the longer term aspirations and demands of our city.

The study has been undertaken by AECOM, and was commissioned jointly by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington City Council and the NZ Transport Agency. These three agencies are working in partnership to ensure this work is aligned with economic and transport developments in Wellington City and the wider region.

This PTSS is a key action from the Ngauranga to Airport Corridor Plan (2008), which seeks major improvements to public transport to provide a high quality, reliable and safe service between the Wellington Railway Station and the regional hospital. It sits alongside significant improvements to the strategic road network that are now being planned and designed as part of the RoNS programme and major upgrades to rail network.

The study initially looked at a number of different options from simple bus lanes all the way up to extending the existing heavy rail network. From there the options were narrowed down to three:

  • Bus priority – $59 million, which involves more peak period bus lanes and priority traffic signals for buses, along the Golden Mile and Kent Terrace, through the Basin Reserve and along Adelaide Road to Newtown and through the Hataitai bus tunnel to Kilbirnie.
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – $209 million, which involves a dedicated busway, for modern, higher capacity buses separated from other traffic as much as possible, along the Golden Mile and Kent/Cambridge Terrace then around the Basin Reserve and along Adelaide Road to Newtown and through the (duplicated) Mt Victoria tunnel to Kilbirnie.
  • Light Rail Transit (LRT) – $940 million, which involves new tram vehicles running on dedicated tracks along the Golden Mile, Kent and Cambridge Terraces then around the Basin Reserve along Adelaide Road to Newtown and through a separate Mt Victoria tunnel to Kilbirnie

One I noticed straight away which is odd is that the LRT option required its own tunnel under Mt Victoria whereas the BRT option was using the duplicated road tunnel. I imagine that this is a large part of the cost difference between the two. The NZTA say that the road tunnels will be limited to 50kph so I’m not sure why buses can use it but why LRT can’t (the official reason given is concerns over fire and safety issues of LRT in mixed traffic – something that doesn’t seem to be a problem elsewhere in the world). It’s also worth noting that buses through the tunnels wouldn’t have any bus priority. One thing that is crucial to later on in this post is the report notes that buses would also be able to run in the LRT corridor. Anyway here are the routes that were assessed.

Spine Study Route Alignments

The report also contains cross sections of various parts of the routes showing where the lanes would be located within the street environment. For both the BRT and LRT options this means on either one side of the road or down the centre. But it isn’t just routes or modes that are important, so on to the impacts these options would have. As you would expect, each option seems to have been assessed multiple ways. The ones I’m most interested in are the impacts on patronage, travel times and the economic assessments.

Travel Times

The travel time savings for both the LRT and BRT options seem fairly impressive. From Kilbirnie these two options each save over 10 minutes while they also save 6-7 minutes from Newton.

Spine Study Time Saving Kilbirnie

Spine Study Time Saving Newtown

Patronage

Each option has been assessed at both a regional level and in the South and East, the area served by the infrastructure and here is where I think things get interesting. The modelling only looks at the AM peak period – something that has been happening in Auckland too – and even in the reference case shows patronage dropping between 2021 and 2031. Presumably this is caused by the RoNS making it easier to drive. At the regional level the report suggests that even the best performing option – BRT – will only add 900 passengers (2.6%) to the morning peak period by 2041. By comparison it suggests that LRT will only add 400 (1.1%).

Spine Study Regional Patronage

The impact in the South and East gets even weirder with LRT only being suggested to increase patronage over the base case by 80 passengers (1.1%) compared to 220 (3.1%) for bus lanes or 550 (7.8%) for the BRT option.

Spine Study South East Patronage

To be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is something funny going on in the modelling. We know from the CCFAS that our modelling of PT usage is very poor, and even after a lot of effort is put in to improving it. Considering that we don’t have any cities in New Zealand using LRT for PT purposes the impacts of it are probably not being assessed properly. Further when considering just how much time the BRT and LRT routes save, it seems even weirder that patronage numbers are so low.

Economic assessment

All of the options appear to perform very poorly in an economic assessment however reading through some of the report it is clear that there is a massive issue identified in the standard assessment.

There is no limitation on the number of car trips that can be made to the CBD, the implication is that parking will increase to meet demand.

So effectively I read this as saying is that the RoNS will create a whole heap of road capacity which will encourage people to drive and that our economic assessments assume that more parking will magically appear in the city centre to cope with this. The report says that capping parking would increase the patronage from both the BRT and LRT options by 1600-2100 peak trips which is a fairly significant increase. Even with that in place the BRT option only just scrapes over the line.

Spine Study Economic Assessments

 

One other comment from the press release caught my attention

The benefits are calculated using NZTA guidelines. These apply a monetary value to travel time savings experienced by existing and new public transport users and are offset by ‘disbenefits’ experienced by motorists because road space has been allocated to public transport.

Now I agree that when assessing these options the impact on road users from less road space being available needs to be taken into account however I would almost guarantee that the opposite thing isn’t taken into account when roads are being assessed.

Looking over all of the different aspects of the report it is fairly clear that the BRT option is what has come out on top. This doesn’t surprise me and as much as I might like to see light rail installed, even if it were half the price it just doesn’t seem feasible.

The other major piece of news mentioned is that hat NZTA has lodged applications to the Environmental Protection Authority for the Basin Flyover. They like to call it the Basin Bridge to make it sound cuter than it is but that doesn’t change the fact it is likely to end up a very imposing piece of infrastructure. This kind of thing is what cities around the world are now starting to tear down. Even the NZTAs own very pretty videos don’t make it look appealing – unless you are driving.

170 comments to Wellington PT study and RoNS info released

  • Ben S

    I hope like hell for WGT’s sake they invest in LRT. As for the flyover – you’re so right – out-of-date thinking and urban design.

  • Bryce P

    What year is this? What backward thinking. Even Los Angeles, city of cars, is more progressive.
    http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/los-angeles-lrt/

  • Noodle

    Holy heck that flyover is ugly as hell.

    Agree with you the spine study has buggered up the modelling. What a farce.

  • SF Lauren

    Are other cities actually tearing down strategic sections of motorway similar to the Newmarket viaduct.

    Would you be so kind as to refer me to some examples?

    • The famous ones are:

      Embacadero Highway Downtown San Francisco http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysEmbarcadero.html
      Central Freeway SF
      Cheonggyecheon Highway central Seoul 2005 http://www.preservenet.com/freeways/FreewaysCheonggye.html
      Harbour Drive Portland OR

      But there are others:

      Bristol Flyover UK 1997
      Boston buried theirs
      Vancouver and Toronto, Milwalkee
      Paris

      A little light reading about the ultimate fate of the traffic engineers’ most visible horrors: http://www.itdp.org/documents/LifeandDeathofUrbanHighways_031312.pdf

      • Let’s not mention the Boston Big Dig Patrick!

        King St overpass in Melbourne is a good example, inner city grade separation of multi lane arterials that was ugly as sin and killing the surround few blocks of city life. They pulled it down and basically nothing happened trafficwise.

        And Auckland, well we missed the opportunity to pull the Vic Park viaduct down, but at least we didn’t replace or duplicate it. We’re also fixing to remove the Lower Hobson St viaduct.

        • Yes I agree that Boston was a crazy still road focussed non-solution…

          But the fact remains that MoT, NZTA, and the govt are still living in the 1950s with this grossly ill-thought brutal imposition on the barely growing little city of Wellington. Not to mention barefaced manipulation of process and clumsy propaganda….

          Reinforced auto-dependancy and auto-domination of place, oil dependancy, and other poor environmental and public health effects… how to spend hundreds of millions to make a lovely little city worse.

          • SF Lauren

            You do realise that what is proposed in Wellington is not even remotely similar to producing a road network of any resemblance to what was and still exists in the above mentioned cities?

            A quick look on google maps shows the vastly different context of the cities and in mist cases boggles the mind as to why they built so many highways and high capacity roads to start with.

          • Startling news! Each city is different; spectacular insight yet again.

          • SF Lauren

            I’m pleased you were able to learn something today, maybe now you will stop using anti apple arguments as your basis for building a new letter box.

      • SF Lauren

        I’ll have to have a look into the others, but if they are anything like the prized embracadero highway which was an incomplete road to nowhere that fell down during an earthquake I don’t have much hope your other references have any similarities or relevance.

        • Yes they got lucky with the earthquakes in San Fran enabling to get past the car counters and modellers who always scream ‘Carmageddon’ if anyone proposes demolishing these place ruiners, but that doesn’t change the outcome; remove flyovers and the city is improved; happier, healthier, richer….

          “Cities exist for people; freeways exist for moving vehicles. Cities are centers of culture and commerce that rely on attracting private investment. Massive public spending on freeways in the last century reduced the capacity of cities to connect people and support culture and commerce. While the following report is about urban highways, more importantly, it is about cities and people. It is about community vision and the leadership required in the twenty-first century to overcome the demolition, dislocation, and disconnection of neighborhoods caused by freeways in cities.
          This report chronicles the stories of five very different cities that became stronger after freeways were removed or reconsidered. They demonstrate that fixing cities harmed by freeways, and improving public transport, involves a range of context-specific and context-sensitive solutions. This perspective contrasts with the one-size-fits-all approach that was used in the 1950s and 1960s to push freeways through urban neighborhoods. The belief then was that freeways would reduce congestion and improve safety in cities. Remarkably, these two reasons are still commonly used to rationalize spending large sums of public money on expanding existing or building new freeways.
          Freeways are simply the wrong design solution for cities. By definition, they rely on limited access to minimize interruptions and maximize flow. But cities are comprised of robust and connected street networks. When limited-access freeways are force-fit into urban environments, they create barriers that erode vitality—the very essence of cities. Residents, businesses, property owners, and neighborhoods along the freeway suffer but so does operation of the broader city network. During traffic peaks, freeways actually worsen congestion as drivers hurry to wait in the queues forming at limited points of access.
          The fundamental purpose of a city’s transportation system is to connect people and places. But freeways that cut through urban neighborhoods prioritize moving vehicles through and away from the city. In 1922, Henry Ford said, “we shall solve the problem of the city by leaving the city.” While freeways certainly facilitated this, by no means did leaving the city solve the problem of city. In fact, the form and functional priorities of freeways in cities introduced even more problems that still exist today.”

          http://www.itdp.org/documents/LifeandDeathofUrbanHighways_031312.pdf

          • SF Lauren

            I really love those examples. In each case the area has a complete over saturation of freeways and high capacity roads where the then removed one link which was in effect superfluous.

            This is a classic example of bias analysis which refuses to look at the actual picture and it written to arrive at a predetermined conclusion rather than look into why or how it was effective.

            In a New Zealand context this could have a place however certainly for this project and most other project this argument is brought up on are completely out of context and fails to take in the complete picture.

          • ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it’

            -Upton Sinclair

          • SF Lauren

            Patrick. I get paid to design infrastructure, be it a motorway, subway system or a geothermal power plant. I also get paid to look at the complete picture rather than my cherry picked passion.

            Now feel free to try and name one similarity between this project and the others you mention, however it seems the only similarity is that it is a road and a bridge. Its function and the context of its surroundings could not be more different.

            So yes, there is a lack if willingness to understand but not on my part it seem.

          • Trev

            Brilliant quote Patrick!

      • Kent Lundberg

        Here is another good resource- Freeways Without Futures. http://www.cnu.org/highways/freewayswithoutfutures

  • Christopher T

    Never seen a more transparent example of a stitch up than that ‘PT’ study: I trust those responsible end up choking on the emissions of all those buses they’re proposing. As for the flyover, well NZTA can smother that pig in lipstick, but it will always be a pig and I suspect that the lipstick will turn out to be another pig product. Poor Wellington.

    • What a horror show.

      No one’s is going to be walking under those flyovers; Wellington needs a few more wind tunnels.

      And what a stitchup; burden the LRT option with extra cost, only one with a dedicated tunnel, then decide that non one will use it. They really hate Celia Wade-Brown don’t they.

      Poor Wellington indeed. Not of course that there is growing demand for all this work anyway; it’s all politics down there.

      • Starnius

        Hey Patrick – of course no one will walk under the fly-overs except CGI persons. That’s why in the last video they turned it into weather-sheltered (and glassed-in) car parking, isn’t it?

        • Better than the last renders, when they had scores of young folk sunbathing in the shadow of the viaduct!

        • BBC

          They show more people walking on the flyover than driving, and in general show more people about than cars. Talk about spin.

          They’ve also renamed it a “Bridge” clearway someone in the spin department has told them that flyover has connotations of the 60′s roading solution that it is.

          • Peter

            I know what’s wrong with the pictures above. The sky is blue and calm. It’s Wellington let’s get real! Put the trees on angles add some rain and raincoats and broken umbrellas.
            If they are going to build this UGLY and UNNECCESARY thing they need the bridge designers from Auckland to do it. Anyone who’s lived in Wellington knows that they don’t have much of a rush hour and don’t need a huge flyover.

  • Bryce P

    Is it election year yet? :-)

  • The whole Wellington Public Transport Spine Study was set up to fail by the Mayor’s political enemies, mainly then-Transport Minister Stephen Joyce and Regional Council chair Fran Wilde (with help from their anti-rail bureaucrats in NZTA and the GWRC).
    The terms of reference denied completely the need to extend the rail network through the CBD – the “given” of every other light rail study to date – and is using a ridiculous two-route cost-bloated model of light rail. It is also obvious that the study team has no first-hand knowledge of light rail and has fallen for the road lobby’s spin that there is no difference in passenger attraction and productivity between bus and rail.
    If a tram-train model of light rail was used, extending the current suburban rail services, as envisaged in the 1990s, it could have been extended incrementally in stages of around $100M, delivering big benefits for every stage. The first stage, extending services to Courtenay Place, could well have cost less ($70M was estimated in 1995, and Christchurch has since established cheaper cost parameters for street tram track construction. Dave WT is right: Christchurch cost $10M per double track km. Double that for contingencies and you still only get $20M), and would have delivered downtown access and development benefits like those envisaged for the Auckland underground rail loop.

  • PBY

    Really interesting alright.
    I get the feeling that either there was an agenda here or the consultants weren’t up to it.
    Things I’ve noticed on first read.
    http://www.gw.govt.nz/ptspinestudy-2/
    1. The BRT option is not Bus Rapid Transit. Because there are still lots of intersections, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights etc. Especially down the golden mile. Also there are parts that run in mixed traffic including through the Mt Vic Tunnel, so the buses are going to get held up and I wouldn’t call it BRT.
    2. The cost of the new ‘BRT’ buses are not included in the cost for BRT. I’m guessing a bus every 3 minutes would mean about 30-40 buses required to meet the needs. And large high-capacity modern BRT buses could cost over a million dollars each, so that’s a large chunk of money not included. However they have included the cost of the light rail vehicles. Which makes me think there is an agenda here.
    3. Also the option of a light rail spur through a new mt Vic tunnel and Hataitai has added around $300 million to the LRT cost. They seem to have chosen the most expensive way to get LRT to Kilbirnie. I would like to know why they didn’t go over constable street. That would have avoided the cost of the tunnel and would have meant less overall track length.
    4. Wheres the discussion about refurbishing the bus tunnel? Would be far cheaper option surely.
    5. I can’t see the cost of taking 2 lanes worth of BRT land out of the town belt. Since its city land they may not have to pay… But it’s a cost losing the land
    6. The bus priority and BRT options will still mean loads of buses down the golden mile, which could easily mean there is still bus congestion and will defiantly mean it’s harder to cross the road for pedestrians. I can’t see where the report values the improved urban environment from having less vehicles on the LRT option. i.e. less vehicle noise, easier to cross road etc.
    It feels they have done everything to bring down the cost of BRT, to the point its not really BRT, and everything to push up the cost of LRT to the point its unbackable. Am I wrong?

    • BBC

      Completely agree, seems like this report was about adding on as many things to the tram option to make it appear ridiculously expensive meanwhile installing some bus lanes and calling that BRT. This report will just be used by the government to show that anything not on rubber wheels is a waste of money. I think GWRC have done themselves a huge disservice by producing this report.

    • swan

      Your point on the option not really being BRT is valid. Does this criticism not also apply to it not being LRT? The LRT looks to have fairly similar priority(aside from Mt Victoria) – ie it is really just trams.

      • Sailor Boy

        LRT = light rail transit. No rapid involved is there?

      • Bbc

        A tram is just another term for light rail.

      • Mike

        The proposal is for LRT to be segregated outside the CBD, so it is more light rail than traditional trams in that respect. However, that segregation is used as a reason for not getting to Kilbirnie via a logical “string of pearls” route using a tunnel from Newtown Zoo, because they say that that segregation is not possible through Newtown (a challengeable claim), so a separate expensive route to Kilbirnie is required, carefully bypassing every intermediate source of traffic and requiring even more land to be taken from Town Belt than NZTA’s RoNS. Hmmm…

  • BBC

    The light rail option seems like a bargain and would provide bus priority as well in many areas. Of course the modeling is going to be meaningless, but I kind of hoped that GWRC would have made sure they had someone do it that had a clue. It’s also quite clear that instead of any meaningful PT improvements they’ll simply get this quasi motorway built to the airport. NZTA may say Wellington needs both, what they mean is that Wellington only needs the flyover and nothing else.

  • Let’s can the flyover and spend the money on the LRT. The study is an appalling piece of work.

  • PBY

    Just found the Q&A http://haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/document/show/42
    talk about spin …
    they say there is an unacceptable fire risk of LRT and car sharing a tunnel, but not with the new high capacity buses and cars sharing the tunnel…
    Also that the greater benefits for BRT are beacuse at the end of the route i.e. newtown and kilbirnine the LRT has to stop and peoplpe transfer, but the BRT ca keep going up into the suburbs and remove the transfer need. Somehow I just cant see the new high capacity (articulated in the pics) BRT buses leaving the dedicated lanes and going up into the suburbs of Newtown, Melrose etc with the narrow twisty roads…

    • Yep there is definitely some dodgy assumptions likely going on. As mentioned in the post, the report says that local buses could use the lanes that the trams would be in too but my guess is that the modelling doesn’t take this into account. We know from the CCFAS how easy it is for the modelling to be wrong and considering how much effort and cost was put into that project to even attempt to fix it, I doubt it has happened here. Probably no crowding functions in the model either

      Has all the hallmarks of a stitch-up.

      • “Has all the hallmarks of a stitch-up.”.

        Funny . . . this is what I thought about the Auckland CBD Rail Link Business Case. What is interesting is the auckland rail tunnel business case was done by the same consultants, AECOM !

        Do you think AECOM does good or poor work ?

        or do you only think AECOM only does good work if it recommends the rail option ?

        • Bryce P

          Ah Tony. AECOM were not the only agency involved in the CRL business case apparently.

          “The review was prepared with the assistance of the following international experts: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Parsons Brinkerhoff, John Bolland Consulting, M.E Market Economics, Beca, GHD, Ascari, AECOM and the UC Berkeley Transportation Centre”

          http://www.aktnz.co.nz/2011/05/31/rail-loop-the-auckland-case/

          • Well, as outlined in this article the 2010 CBD Rail Link Business Case was actually developed by “a consortium of AECOM, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Beca (APB&B).” That said, I do know that the CBD Rail Link costings that I was critical of and are still being used by Auckland Transport were the responsibility of AECOM, my documentation released under the OIA shows this.

            As much of the criticism of the Spine Study options evaluation is on the costings of LRT vs BRT, I find it highly ironical that the same stakeholders who have previously defended the costings of the CBD Rail Link are now critical of the LRT costings even though they come from the same consulting company ! Perhaps equally ironically, as an advocate for BRT, I find myself now defending costing figures from consultants who I have previously, in detail, tried to rip to pieces.

          • Tony – I don’t think that AECOM did spectacular job of the first CRL business case and have heard some things behind the scenes that some of what they proposed wasn’t ideal. Interesting that I don’t think they have done anything major for AT since that report which perhaps suggests AT were not happy with the result.

            Note I haven’t actually said that I think LRT is the best option, in fact in the post I said that even if the cost were half what it is quoted in the report, BRT is still likely to be the best option. Take from that what you will but personally I don’t think I am mode biased like you’re suggesting I am.

          • Matt L, I am happy to take you at your word and I do appreciate the real effort you make to post regularly on TransportBlog. I just had to highlight the irony of your statement that the Spine Study “Has all the hallmarks of a stitch-up.” as outlined above.

        • tuktuk

          As you well know, its all about the inputs. Fiddle them around to get the outcomes you want. In the end, it will come down to a consensus of arguments once the debate has been thrashed out. For Auckland’s CRL, both the left and right from WITHIN the Auckland region are broadly in consensus that CRL needs to happen. The debate is purely one of how to pay for it, and when it should happen. I don’t even think the government is too far away from that point of view.

          For Wellington, I had always considered the transfer model being advocated alongside the LRT scheme to be questionable compared to the current legacy bus network that fundamentally works for the short distances involved and the CBD centric focus. This is in contrast, say with the Auckland region which was always going to be a very good fit with a transfer based network given the region’s size and diversity of origins and destinations. In short, I WAS backing buses for Wellington, though certainly not the Basin Reserve Fly-over which would destroy much of what is good about Wellington.

          However, the more I read this Wellington Spine report, the more deeply flawed I find it. The planners and transport consultants who put this together should hang their heads in shame really. If they were going to engineer a stitch up, I would have expected a little more subtlety to at least make their positions seem more legitimate. In particular, the kow-towing to the Basin Reserve Flyover I find to be offensive – what sort of legacy do they want to leave? I wonder – what sort of role these same transport planners envisage for carbon friendly trolley buses under the new set-up through the RONS tunnel? Or, what they really think about the modelling that has PT patronage flat-lining or declining for decades after the new Transmission Gully/Airport RONS is built? In fact, I am finding that in response to the bad data, I’m liking the sound of this tram spine more and more.

          • To be fair to the Spine Study, it has assumed “Grade Seperation at the Basin Reserve” (the decision on the form of grade seperation is out of scope for the Spine Study). Although they may have written about the Basin Reserve Fly-over in their descriptions, non of the study options are dependent on the form of grade seperation that is implemented (flyover or tunnel) . . . only that some form of grade seperation is implemented.

          • tuktuk

            Well that does give some cause for comfort. It does mean it needs to be made clear that the tunnel needs to be charged at the same rate for both BRT and LRT so that apples are being truly compared with apples.

            On the other hand, it also offers hope that, thankfully that BRT advocates and Motorway advocates are not joined at the hip. Start to get rid of these sorts of discrepancies and I can start to give BRT a better hearing, Especially if those buses are to be electrically powered – many modern and fast articulated trolley buses for example in Europe.

          • Trev

            In short the Wellington RoNS kills the justification for any PT investment in that city for decades.

            A shame that the Councils are deluding themselves that this isn’t true.

    • This is the dodgiest transport proposal in long time! Its other politicians getting at the current mayor. Both the BRT and LRT proposals are flawed. The BRT shares traffic lanes on a new Mt Victoria tunnel and the current bus uses its own tunnel and lightly used side streets to reach Kilbirnie. So the current bus route looks more like BRT than the proposal.
      LRT would work better if only one route was built. For $900m going over Constable Street the LRT could easily reach the Airport and Miramar reducing transfers and resulting in more pax.
      Wellington is barley growing and there is little room for growth in the eastern suburbs so are big budget proposals really needed?.What about a tunnel under the basin, works for buses and cars? Otherwise all that is needed is more bus priority and a new traffic tunnel.

  • SF Lauren

    Now I assume that if this where an elevated rail line with no urban design similar to the sky train in the previous post people would be saying it looks darn awesome. Even more awesome if it had big steel trusts holding up the electrical cables?

    • Sailor Boy

      God no.

      I can’t speak for everyone but elevated anything is hideous. I get where you are coming from but for once I agree that rail would be just as bad.

  • SF Lauren

    On that note, when does the campaign start to remove all the surface rail from downtown Auckland and to remove those ugly rail bridges.

    The work the have done at britomart is great and it would be awesome to extend it to lower Parnell and past the port.

    Note that I’m joking here.

    • Removing all surface rail from Downtown is in the long term strategies, you can see the goal to cover all rail at Quay Park in the City Centre Masterplan. That campaign has already started.

      You might also recall the complete bollocking the elevated alternative to the CRL got on this site, particularly the bits around Victoria park and the waterfront.

      • SF Lauren

        That’s only from the very very very down town nick. Not quite the same as all rail from all of down town. In any event I was looking for it to be replaced with park land and urban plazas like in the freeway examples rather than replacing it with a private development.

        Also that elevated rail option was never more than one comment from one man in the paper, and given the favoured alternative being an underground rail line the result was rather obvious. Hardly an equal comparison.

        • There is no other rail downtown Richard, unless you are calling the side of the domain or alongside Tamaki Dr downtown?

          • SF Lauren

            I certainly am calling those places downtown, including Newmarket, Parnell and Mt Eden.

            What I would like to see is the south down rail line built and then for all the inner lines from there to be removed and replaced with parks. For the eastern line I would like to see it completely removed so that places like Hobson bay and the Orakei valley can be returned to the people. It’s full time this scare was removed from the urban landscape.

          • Liz

            Where will the trains go? Are you suggesting a tunnel, or an elevated line?

          • SF Lauren

            Don’t worry Liz, I’m only joking and don’t actually suggest such an idea.

          • Ok fair enough, personally I take downtown to mean downtown (as opposed to midtown for example), not the whole city centre.

            I can think of one rail bridge at Parnell, but otherwise not sure where these elevated sections are…

          • Liz

            Ok, no tone on the internet remember! :) I was just going to point out that I really enjoy the train ride across Hobson Bay… and I used to do that twice per day, as opposed to the very few times per year that I ever walked anywhere near that area.

          • SF Lauren

            I was referring to down town in a city context rather than a CBD context. From memory the only real elevated section is down near Parnell where we have 3 longsn bridges, a little viaduct then a long embankment.

          • SF Lauren

            Liz I did at the start that I was joking, granted however I would have been best to repeat it.

            Your enjoyment of your train ride is similar to the way people enjoy driving in scenic locations. This goes against what Patrick’s quote before suggested that road are to move vehicles, this is not the case, rather they are there to move people in the mode in which they chose.

          • Well there is a reservation along Beach Rd to allow that section to be undergrounded, although I can’t see it every being an affordable thing to do.

            It’s probably important to note the difference between undergrounding existing infrastructure, and building new elevated viaducts. I don’t think you’d get away with building a new viaduct of any kind in central Auckland.

          • SF Lauren

            We aren’t talking about building anything new, were talking about ripping up the rail system and replacing it with parks like what is being done in cities all over the world. Surely you would agree that downtown Auckland would look so much nicer if all that space by the old station wad turned to parkland. We need to undo the mistakes of those 1900 engineers who insisted on thrusting rail through the centre of all our urban spaces.

          • Trev

            I don’t think you’d get away with building a new viaduct of any kind in central Auckland.

            Reeves Road flyover?

          • Bryce P

            “We need to undo the mistakes of those 1900 engineers who insisted on thrusting arterials through the centre of all our urban spaces.”

            Fixed it for you :-)

          • SF Lauren

            Actually you broke it Bryce. To be an arterial it implies that it serves a critical function rather than sitting there completely unused for 95% of the time.

          • Nick R

            Which cities are ripping up urban rail lines and replacing them with parks Richard? I know a few examples doing it with motorways, and plenty with old docks and industrial sites.

            New York might come closest with the high line, but that was actually community campaigning to retain the elevated rail structure and repurpose it as parkland.

            And no I don’t think the city would be better if we ripped up the railways and replaced them with parkland, we have a heap as it is and a new park would be almost as much of a wasteland as the rail yards. Same goes for the CMJ or the port.
            Buildings and urban spaces would be a better idea, things that people find useful and productive in a city centre.

          • Sailor Boy

            Why not just cover the rail over and turn the cover in to parkland. If we are going to rip anything up and replace it with parks then it should be the moat.

          • SF Lauren

            You will find nick that most of the older cities had their cost lines as rail lines and ports, much like Auckland where we had freight rail right down on our water front which has now been removed and replaced with urban spaces such as Britomart, the cloud and shed 10. You will also find that the new modern parts of these cities have been built ontop of these old rail lines and ports.

            I do find it interesting that you think an abandoned railway line is nicer than a park however, remind me next time we go on a date to chose the location as I don’t really fancy having a picknick on some rail tracks.

          • SF Lauren

            Yes sailor boy I am proposing to rip up the western rail line or the moat as you call it. That is all part of the plan. Also covering up will not unleash the transformational benefits I am seeking, we need total removal. Plus covering up bridges with parks or urban plazas is rather hard and comes out with a rather unnatural result.

            For those of you that are late to this or for some reason taking this seriously I am only joking.

          • Liz

            SF Lauren, my last comment was missing some stuff that I accidentally deleted and didn’t have time to write out again. I was going to say that there’s already a walkway beside the tracks along Orakei Basin, it might be possible to build something similar across Hobson Bay (although it’d have to go on the other side of the tracks and I doubt the boat club would want to give up any of their land). As a pedestrian, walking near a rail line is much less unpleasant than walking near a busy road or a motorway – quieter, less fumes (none when the electric trains arrive!), a train every few minutes opposed to the unending noise of cars. I have lived (at different times, in different houses, but both in Auckland) near a motorway and near a rail line, and I MUCH preferred the rail line – even though the rail line was about 40m away from the house and the motorway was about 120m away.

            However, I also have no problem with prioritising certain benefits (e.g. nice scenery) for people not in cars. There is already a busy road across Hobson Bay. I doubt many of the drivers are as interested in the scenery as they are in driving at that moment (nor should they be – eyes on the road!). As a train passenger I am not driving, so I’m making the city a nicer place (one less car), so I get the scenery as a reward. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

          • SF Lauren

            Liz, those rail lines you walk next to are primarily commuter lines and so for 23 hours of the day they get 3/10 of stuff all patronage. I regularly see2 trains at 5:30 6:00 pm that have about 20 people on them. If you compare that to a road your talking about 1 car per minute which is very quite in the context of a road.

            In saying that however if you look at all the people who pike to hang out on all the eastern bays in the weekend, they seek rather unfased by the constant drone of vehicles and all those nasty fumes they apparently put out.

          • Bryce P

            @SF. There are plenty of arterials around that are nearly empty for most of the day.

          • Sailor Boy

            You mentioned other cities removing freight lines in CBD industrial areas as a justification for removing Auckland’s rail.

            Where under those conditions is there any that you could remove without first removing the port.

          • SF Lauren

            Bryce, when you say plenty of arterials that are nearly empty most of the day are you referring to the one arterial that us busy most of the day? Or where you referring to the narrow local residential streets.

            Sailor Boy. Those ports you refer to have removed themselves Turing the land into wasted space. With the advent if the shipping container and super tankers ports went from covering most coast lines into large consolidated hubs. You will not most of Aucklands water front used to be ports and now its Turing into urban spaces. The same thing is happening all over the world such as New York.

          • Kevyn

            Nick wrote “And no I don’t think the city would be better if we ripped up the railways and replaced them with parkland, we have a heap as it is and a new park would be almost as much of a wasteland as the rail yards. Same goes for the CMJ or the port.
            Buildings and urban spaces would be a better idea, things that people find useful and productive in a city centre.”

            Initial response: are you for real?!

            Considered response: These would be linear parks, a completely different conceptual basis from the Victorian attitude that gave Auckland Albert Park and the Domain and New York its Central Park. If you are not familiar for the rationale behind the worldwide movement for conversion of surplus transport corridors into linear parks then I would recommend this as a good introductory learning tool:
            http://www.livinthehighline.com/urban-greenways/dequindre-cut/

          • Yes Kevyn I am for real. I don’t think ripping up the Quay Park rail yards and replacing them with a park is a good idea. I’m much more keen on the idea of keeping the train lines for a start, and building over them with buildings and urban spaces instead..

            I am more than familiar with the linear park concept, although I wouldn’t call the main line into Britomart a surplus transport corridor. However the old Nelson St offramp is, and in the City Centre Masterplan you can see a scheme to convert it into a linear park.

        • Sailor Boy

          So you are suggesting that we rip up the commuter tracks to Britomart ruining the entire network in the process instead of simply covering them.

          How about we do the same to the CMJ?

          • SF Lauren

            Yes we can do that as well, as I have mmentioned 3 times already I am joking here.

            I’m making fun of how flawed Patrick’s argumenut removing freeways is when yes wyou don’t take anything into account, such as the fact we actually need these parts of our rail network.

          • Wide of the mark as ever riggly one.

            The post argued that we should not be building these place ruining monstrosities, in particular the ghastly proposed Wellington effort, and pointed out that they are a relic of the thinking of a previous age and are, in fact, being torn down, or not replaced when they fall down, in other cities world wide. With the result that both place qualities and movement in those cities have improved. All true.

            Whatever nonsense you’ve been blithering about above, I haven’t bothered with.

          • SF Lauren

            You completely misinterpret your reference material as usual Patrick.

            Ill give you an example in a rail context to make it easier for you to understand.

            In your reference cases its much like having a rail yard with 10 lines. 1 of these lines runs off round the back of a shed and is of no use. So we remove that line and all is good.

            In the case of wellingon however, we have one island full of workers and another island full of factories for them to work in. Right now every catches a small boat between the islands however by building this big new bridge everyone can zip to work much easier and much faster.

            So in essence its a message of “context” for which you have things completly out of context.

            Now as I asked you before, name a city that is removing a strategic link. Not a city removing a completly usless link.

          • Sailor Boy

            But SF, what if the bridge across the river would absolutely destroy the river. What if the advantages of connecting the island came with large disadvantages?

            Also, apologies. I must have misread the complex thread. Glad to see you don’t hate rail that much.

          • SF Lauren

            Well yes one would not want to destroy the river however the simple presence of a bridge does not mean the river is destroyed. If by making this bridge a congested and dirty river got turned into a clear and clean river most folk would think it looked better.

            From memory someone made a post just last week about a large concrete bridge that got made in Auckland and it was a celebrated as one of the greatest things ever to happen in Auckland. It seems the main issue with this bridge in wellington is that cars are permitted on it.

          • Sailor Boy

            If you want to build something that is as beautiful as the AHB, fits the landscape as much and is as pleasant to travel under the AHB then that would be a different kettle of fish, but not the same. The AHB also made a link between 2 areas that previously had effectively not had one, this bridge won’t. They are so utterly different it is comical to compare them.

          • SF Lauren

            What made you start talking about the Auckland Harbour Bridge sailor boy? I was refering to the new pedestrain bridge that there was a post about last week, the one that was apparently made due to the electrification project.

          • Sailor Boy

            @SF all of the thing I said still apply to that bridge.

          • SF Lauren

            Yep, and they also apply to this bridge in Wellington. If you have specific concerns with the architectural finish you could always offer some suggestions to them.

    • Kevyn

      Nick, it was the bit of your comment “a new park would be almost as much of a wasteland as the rail yards” that made we wonder. Theres no shortage of examples of post-industrial abandoned sites grassed over and called “parks” which provide no real public usefulness or amenity value but the converted industrial railway corridor parks appear to be incredibly well used, especially in cities that have successfully become hubs for the lucrative IT and finsec industries, so the conversions are good economic as well as good environmental investments.

      The railway corridor idea was Riggles’. Possibly at some time in the coming decades a portion of the motorway corridors will become available to create a valuable and well utilised cycle and nature corridor as surplus lanes are deconstructed.

      • Yeah look I don’t know where Riggles was coming from to be honest, seemed to be trying to set up some strawman like we couldn’t campaign against building new highway viaducts if we didn’t also advocate ripping out rail lines.

        Anyway, yeah I do get a bit annoyed about this concept that a new park is always a great idea it always pops up. There are some places where a park is a terrible idea, like round the back of the McDonalds behind the container port.

  • KBilly

    Haha, so many conspiracy theorists on this blog. Guess that’s no surprise.

  • KLK

    So you have a conspiracy theory about conspiracy theories? Do tell.

    And feel free to provide your own research-based critique to counter the points made. Otherwise you just sound lazy.

  • KBilly

    That’s ok, I’ve learnt there’s no point trying to reason with conspiracy theorists.

  • There are folks in Miramar dying for a tram/LRT out to there. Including a well known person with 4 Academy Awards…

    I hope the pro LRT peeps in Welly intend to leverage that!

  • KLK

    I know what you mean.

    I find the same thing with people who struggle with opposing views (especially well-researched ones) and so respond with “um…..conspiract theory”.

  • KLK

    Interesting, SFL, how every time someone calls you on one of your claims – i.e. you get owned with some facts or examples – you shift the goalposts…

  • PBY

    LRT stands for light Rail Transit so theres no rapid implied… It really is just trams, true but it looks like it has an entire right of way. Unlike both Bus options which will be merging and in general traffic.

    • Steve D

      The “BRT” and light rail options both have exactly the same right of way. They will have a dedicated transit mall down the Golden Mile, then run in the median along Cambridge/Kent Tce and Adelaide Road. None of the options are rapid transit, and they will all run at 30 – 50km/h for almost the whole length.

  • KLK

    Putting the usual naysayers aside…

    A non-rapid transit solution (e.g. bus “priority”)should never have been allowed to cloud the discussion. This is, as far as I know, the single most important transport corridor in Wellington City. If we are serious about getting people through it in future, then the solution has to be ROW – regardless of the method (rail, LRT or buses) – to compliment the existing mixed-use option.

    And its not just Wellington. The “41%” busway across the AHB is another example. half-baked.

    • The BRT solution is half baked.There is not much separate ROW so taking the R out of BRT leaves us with bus transit, exactly what we have now. I doubt the journey time would be much better than the current route 2 bus ( which would need to exist to serve the local streets)
      The LRT solution is even more poorly designed. I fear that GRWC will use the LRT option as an excuse to get rid of the Trolleybuses on the promise they would be replaced by LRT that will never happen.
      Simple answer is to extend Adelaide Road under the Basin using a cut and cover tunnel and run the trolleybus network properly. I think a new Mt Victoria traffic is a good idea

      • TimE

        But the trolley buses are daft. As is anyone who advocates a tram network that isn’t grade separated and swamped with high density catchments. Trams sharing the road with motorists is a nightmare for commuters of all bents – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and yes, tram users themselves. Go take a look at Melbourne and see how an integrated tram/car system fails commuters miserably, and how the subsequently underfunded bus network (even worse than Auckland’s) doesn’t pick up the slack.

        Trolley buses time has come and gone. Did you notice they don’t use them on weekends? Did you notice the massive equipment they have to buy and maintain just to keep the lines up? Or the joys of being stuck on or behind a trolley bus when one breaks down?

        Trams for Wellington were always a pipe dream. And who, exactly, was going to pay for them?

        • tuktuk

          What complete rubbish! Vancouver has a brand new fleet of trolley buses and a PT network and ridership uptake that puts any of the NZ networks to shame.
          View this link to see anyone of 315 generally modern trolley bus networks in operation around the world – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus

          Trouble is NZ has been ruled for far too long by narrow minded penny-pinching leaders who brief their sycophantic minions to give them the answers they want. Take a look at the world people and look and learn!
          I should add that this blog site demonstrates that there are thinkers in NZ with a more educated viewpoint on transport and planning matters.

        • Electricity Tim, you know that stuff we make our selves largely renewably and that doesn’t pollute?… it’s worth a bit of hassle to run transit with it compared to imported, polluting, ever more expensive oil.

        • Gary Young

          TimE, I was in Melbourne only last month and I observed nothing around cars, trams, pedestrians or cyclists that even remotely resembled failure or nightmare. What did you see that makes you think that?

          “Trams for Wellington were always a pipe dream. And who, exactly, was going to pay for them?” Um… who exactly do you think is going to end up paying for for Basin flyovers and RoNS?

          • TimE

            Oh Tuk Tuk – try using trolley buses on a daily basis as I have done while living in Wellington. Ask yourself why they’re not used on weekends. Ask yourself what the cost of maintaining those lines and the capital outlay for the specialised buses. There’s a reason they were phased out. Cost and inconvenience during faults. Only nostalgia keeps them alive in Wellington but routes are gradually shifting back to diesels.

            Patrick – you’re kidding right? Your simplistic assessment of the cost of electricity generation, transmission and subsequent maintenance of vehicles and associated infrastructure is typical of this blog. Everything has a cost. And electric battery options or hybrids are available, if that’s what floats your boat. And yes, Bryce, electricity is good, but so is an affordable, efficient transport system that actually suits its environment.

            Gary, I’m living in Melbourne now – have been on and off for the past 6 years. Your viewpoint reflects that of a tourist. Living with these things on a daily basis is a hassle. I was on a tram (route 6) that broke down on High Street last week – massive traffic delays within a minute that still hadn’t been cleared after 20 minutes. Cars dangerously overtaking (undertaking?) because they get fed up with being stuck behind a constantly stopping tram – ask tram users how fun that is when they try to get on and off the damn things. Cyclists appear to disregard any rules around stopping for trams. the actual hits and near misses I’ve seen on a weekly basis (on one route!) are astounding. They make Auckland look positively safe! Not to mention the sheer time these things take to get around. Painful.

            Grade separated, sure. Mixed with traffic – no chance. Try living with these things before you passionately advocate for them.

          • TIm E – the trolleys are not used in the weekend because it’s how it has always worked and leadership has been too poor to do anything about it. As oil becomes more expensive, they’ll need to change it because they are looking increasingly stupid leaving the trolley buses locked up while wasting money running diesel buses (and limiting frequencies because of a lack of stock).

          • tuktuk

            TimE – I did use trolley buses for many years when in Wellington. Quiet civilised trip home, good conversations but no-one needing to shout at each other. No graunching from dodgy semi automatic diesel gear-boxes. No vibrations and that harshness that can make bus travel feel so second rate. Just a quiet but purposeful hum of the electric motor doing its job.

            Full trolley buses at peak times, solid solids of say 20 or more at other times of the day whether that be midday or late night.
            Huge cross section of users ranging from high court judges, mums balancing shopping, push-chairs and kids, students, school kids, young executive women, old women, factory workers.

            All making use of infrastructure that with the strings of wires had that sense of permanence and dependability. Of course Wellington’s trolley bus corridors are built on the back of historic tram corridors so the pattern of development just really works to create great PT communities.

            Your responses suggest you are either one or more of: (a) not much of a PT user, (b) don’t know much about PT, or (c) have your own agenda.

          • tuktuk

            I’ll withdraw that last remark in the post above, it was uncalled for. Been a long week.

          • TimE, do you have a coherent point to make about the cost of liquid fuels versus electrons? As you have not made one yet. Let me help with a little context; 8 billion was spent last year importing oil to NZ.

          • SF Lauren

            Patrick, that is a complete lie to suggest $8 billion was spent importing oil to run the deisel buses in Wellington. Or are you trying to use a completely unrelated statistic for your argumentagain?

          • Sailor Boy

            Strawman much?

          • TimE

            I use public transport an awful lot. I moved cities because I didn’t want to maintain or depend on a car. Does that satisfy your need for PT devotion?

            But your response highlights the fact there is no (or a flimsy – see Patrick’s pseudo-environmentalism) economic justification for trolley buses. I have no agenda other than a desire to see an effective PT system in New Zealand cities that is financially sustainable and suited to our geography. The anti-bus hysteria is bizarre, moreso given it STILL accounts for 85% of all PT trips in Auckland. In Wellington, probably less, but most assuredly still the majority, because buses suit the environment, they take people to where they want to go without the PT fanboy wetdream of transfer hubs (and yes I’m aware of the bus network changes and yes, I disagree with them, but that’s not the bus’s fault) and the fewer modes, the cheaper it is to operate a PT network.

            Patrick – yes, I do. It’s your baseless assertions that it doesn’t pollute (how do you know where that power comes from?) and implication that because we don’t import it (where do you think the equipment comes from?) and that this somehow translates into trolley buses/trams being the solution when you fail to consider hybrid buses or cleaner burning diesels. Is it because it doesn’t fit with your fantasy of New Zealand cities looking like something out of east Germany? Is it because you have an anti-import bias that’s incredibly simplistic (where do you think the trams would come from/most of the equipment that runs most things in this country?)

            Decision makers won’t take PT advocates seriously if they don’t wise up themselves to financial reality.

            Louis M – is that it? Because “that’s how it’s always been done” (to paraphrase)?

            So no response at all then to the total impracticality of NON-grade separated trams. Sigh.

  • Well the bus priority should be done anyway. It should of been done years ago, and CWB could have made substantial progress on it in the meantime. She should of known what the outcome of the study was going to be, it was never going to be favourable in this environment.

    However Light Rail still an excellent medium term goal. It has issues, because of the nature of Wellington suburbs many would have to transfer at outer hubs.
    Also the study focuses too much on the airport. Wellington airport not nationally, or even regionally significant like Aucklands. There is hardly any freight so airport is not logistics hub like Auckland. The road shouldnt even be a state highway, it is a local road.
    Therefore light rail should run to Miramar (only few km extra), with a bus hub here. Small quiet diesel buses can run around the hill suburbs from here and feed to Miramar.

  • Even as a roading solution I’m not sure how successful the flyover will be… Towards the end of the eastbound traffic video it shows two lanes merging into one just before the tunnel. Surely there will be a bottle neck there?

  • Harry

    It is also important to bare in mind that, given the location of this transport corridor, LRT would have the added benefit of being more novel and appealing to tourists than buses would be.

  • Starnius

    Love how the pedestrian in the “walk” video for the basin flyover always gets a green when he/she arrives. Why not make the video REALISTIC, and keep the video stopped at that point for 30-60 seconds, while cars and cars and cars flow by?

    • Malcolm

      My thoughts exactly. From my experience of the traffic lights around the basin reserve, its more like a 1-2 minute wait from when you push the button.
      I also like the token bus lane that runs for about 50m in the southbound drive animation.

      • Starnius

        Its cheap to slap some paint on the design in those areas where you DO have the width to do bus lanes. Of course when it comes to the crunch, they disappear in our current transport planning paradigm, because the ACTUALLY used hierarchy pyramid has the car on top for funding and priority.

  • DaveB

    I can remember a similar study done for Auckland in the 1980′s by consultants Travers Morgan and Pak Poy + Kneebone (seriously!). Their study also recommended going all-bus (‘O’-bahn guided busway in fact), and did everything it could to make the LRT option as costly and restrictive as possible. In the event, neither O-Bahn or LRT eventuated, but with the arrival of the former Perth railcars, there began a slow clawback of the existing rail service from the brink of abandonment. The rest as they say is history, but today, heavy rail in Auckland has never looked better.
    Perhaps this apology for a study in Wellington wii achieve the same thing. Get rid of extraneous, “anything but build-on-what-we’ve-got” options, thereby clearing the way to build on what we’ve got and extend heavy rail as was seriously proposed in the 1960′s and 70′s. If the unnecessary Levin-Airport RoNS can be dropped, the way should become clear to channel that funding into achieving this. Wellington’s rail system is too valuable for it to forever terminate short of where it needs to go (the airport).

    • I can understand LRT, but how is the bus and BRT options not building on what they’ve got?

      If I understand correctly a heavy rail tunnel from the station to the airport was estimated at about two billion bucks and quickly dropped off the list of feasible options.

      • well considering the Wellington RONS are costing $2.6 billion-ish, $2 billion for rail to the airport sounds like a bargain. Its only 7km, would take less than 15 minutes from Wellington railway station compared with 35 minutes for current airport bus.
        Currently it takes nearly 15mins to get from station to end of courtenay place!
        Of course both these projects are well beyond a city the size of Wellington in the short term. Unfortunately the terrible one will be completed in 10 years, while the good one is being laughed out of the park.

  • For clarity here is an image showing three kinds of Transit vehicle. From Toronto, left to right: LRT, Bus, and what North Americans call a Streetcar, what we usually would describe as a Tram:

  • Malcolm M

    Unfortunately transport planning consultancies seem to have become more like the legal profession, and that consultants represent the views of the side paying the bill. This would be considered unjust in the legal profession, where one side would be without professional representation.

    AECOM have produced some good pro-PT solutions in other jurisdictions, such as South Australia. But consultancies are also businesses, and need to tailor their solutions to the client. Councils that are expected to provide their own professional time to assist the consultants need to insist on a larger say in the terms of reference, for example that within the consulting team there is at least one member with recent experience in costing and patronage projections for each proposed mode. Anything on BRT should have someone with experience in Brisbane, and LRT Adelaide and Melbourne.

    It would also be good for Council staff to be aware of costing and patronage on recent BRT and LRT developments in Australasia. Much of this information can be drawn from the internet. Adelaide was able to extend its tram through the CBD for $35m, and several km’s more for $100m. A complete rebuild of its old track cost about $20m, and a tram-over-road bridge with station $35m. When a consultant comes up with a spuriously high estimate they will need to justify it to a skeptical consultation committee.

    • Alphatron

      Fine theory, but the client’s budget has to be realistic enough to allow for such requirements . The Wellintgton PT Spine study was $750,000 which is very small for this type of study compared to similar studies in Australia.

  • Swan

    Even ignoring the tunnel, the LRT option is still 3 times the price of BRT. So I think the report is on the right track.

    However on the tunnel safety issue, why AECOM couldn’t logically outline a position is beyond me. To vaguely refer to “concerns”is pretty useless in my opinion. I have noticed why it comes to fire safety in tunnels, noone seems to have the wherewithal to undertake a robust QRA and actually lay the risks vs costs out on the table for the policy makers to decide. It is the same thing with the bus tunnel option in the Auckland CRL study.

  • Ross Clark

    To really promote bus/BRT use? I would build several bus/BRT tunnels, say under the Basin Reserve, and then *not* do anything for the cars. That would strongly encourage modal shift!

    In terms of access to Wellington Airport, outwith the am peak it can be driven in fifteen minutes to or from the city (a little more if you take the scenic route via Evans Bay). It’s a little more in the evenings.

  • Anthony

    There is not sufficient population to justify a big spend. Wellington city is only 200,000 people, and the area to the airport side of the CBD is much smaller. http://forecast.idnz.co.nz/Default.aspx?id=366&pg=5110&gid=10
    There is basically no growth occuring, and there is not much space for expansion to the south anyway.
    This sounds like a case of “me too”.
    All that can be justified is a little tinkering around the edges.

    • Yes no huge highway project nor expensive Transit project is justified on those numbers.

      Nibbling improvements for all modes is what is called for. And place as well as movement must be improved by any investment[ ie no dumb-arse 1960s flyovers].

  • John Monro

    The whole history of NZ transport “policy” over the last 50-60 years, is its concentration on and deference to private vehicular traffic. Our motor cars are an extension of ourselves, and see us at our most selfish and self-righteous. The NZTA should have been named, from the beginning, the NZRTA (i.e. NZ Road Transport Authority), beholden to and mostly run by self-interested parties advancing their own agenda, and pandering to a populace who just cannot conceive of how better public transport might work. Yet most NZers have been overseas, visited European and Asian cities where cities would literally fail without good public transport, and how much nicer to live and stay in they are. It’s amazing with how little insight we visit other lands. Yet the cost of our tragic infatuation with cars is huge. Last year, oil imports $8 billion, car imports who knows, $billions at any rate, global warming, local pollution, cost of servicing, insurance and the tragedy of accidents. These costs should of course be included in comparing transport options, but never are. One cannot help but be entirely cynical on the costings provided in this report. The advantages of car transport are always overestimated, and the costs not included, assumptions on traffic growth exaggerated etc. In particular the supposed cost of the LR option must have been decided after some drunken party in the NZTA boardroom. Deciding to split the line in two is particularly egregious, as all the prior work has never suggested the need for this, a single line, travelling to the hospital then in a tunnel to Kilbirnie, was always the suggested option. In addition, it would be pretty obvious that the line should be extended to the airport, when usage would obviously expand dramatically, again, it seems this was a deliberate ploy to make the option less attractive.

    I am not expert enough to argue the actual construction costs, after all proponents of light rail should consider the inordinate expenditure on light rail in Edinburgh, but it seems very high on a per km basis. But the fact is that all this is probably useless talk, countries make decisions for all sorts of reasons other than rationality or sustainability. We live in a society wedded to cars, and a ratio of expenditure of roads vs public transport of 10:1 would seem perfectly reasonable to a large majority of New Zealanders. We will suffer some consequences of this, but it will be our descendants that suffer rather more, as they inherit an outmoded and expensive to maintain road infrastructure, some of which will probably disappear twice a day at high tide. The traffic stuck on the flyover will have a nice view, though.

    • DaveB

      @ John Monro
      Excellent exposition of the “New Zealand Problem”! It is clearly a problem of mindset. New Zealanders have decided that car-dependency is a good thing, or at least have come to unquestioningly accept it. From here, in order not to let facts or reality shatter the illusion, they have perfected the art of viewing anything to do with cars through rose-tinted spectacles and at the same time developed a massive blind-spot to the myriad problems which cars cause. They may know of overseas examples where things are done differently and better, but they pour out fatuous excuses as to why “it wouldn’t work here”. Of course it is unfair to generalise and not all kiwis are the same, but many are easily swept along by the populist view that “Kiwis love their cars, so most transport-spending should go on roads. End of story!”. This is the mindset of our illustrious leaders Key, Joyce and Brownlee and it is plain to see how they have “officialised” and normalised it. In the dying days of the Clark-Cullen government an awareness of the need to reassess this mindset belatedly surfaced, and for a while the public-at-large seemed to accept that more roads were not the way forward. Now like sheep they follow, the ignorant led by the ignorant.

      I think the best hope for transport policy in the short-term is a period under a Labour/Green government, provided that Labour is prepared to admit that (with the exception of Pil Twyford) it currently has zero vision in the area and defer to the wisdom of the Greens who clearly have. In the longer term, there are encouraging signs that Generation Zero does not share the mindset of its forebears and is prepared to chart a new course away from car-dependency and all its trappings. I just hope we don’t have to waste too many more decades and too many more $Billions before sense prevails.

  • DaveB

    “Currently it takes nearly 15mins to get from station to end of courtenay place!”
    – A few years ago I had occasion to travel from Courtenay Place to Ngauranga via the Newlands bus service, leaving Courtenay Place at 3pm. The journey was stop-start all the way, and as we finally got away from Wellington Railway Station (bus-interchange) I looked at my watch. 3:28pm! Unbelievable. I could have walked faster! Eventually got to Ngauranga at about 3:35.

    Wellington’s public transport is very good in places, but there are glaring gaps in what is provided. Connectivity onward from the rail system is the obvious one. Had rail been extended to serve Courtenay Place then I could have got a train to Ngauranga (15 minutes tops). Or to any other rail-served part of the region.

    • My experiments indicate that changing from train to bus at Wellington Railway Station adds at least 10 minutes to a journey from, say, Johnsonville to any CBD or south destination, compared to, say, light rail operating on the same route as theorised in the 1980s/90s. That is if there is the right bus waiting for you – off-peak the wait for a bus even to a trunk destination like Newtown can add another 10 min +. Saving motorists 10 minutes is justification for spending 100s of millions on motorway projects but the time of a PT user seems to be worth nothing, if the refusal to fix the WRS ‘broken spine’ is anything to go by.

      • LX

        While I agree the delay transferring at Wellington Station is a case for extending rail southwards, the only really feasible option for that extension to occur is extension of the existing metro rail system, which is eye wateringly expensive.

        Proposals for tram trains involve a willful ignoring of the nature of the lines involved and trade offs required to make tram trains possible on them for the reasons well summarised in a recent post on the same subject in bettertransport.org.nz http://www.bettertransport.org.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4335.

        “Much lower capacity means more LRT units running more frequently, which is a massive waste of train paths. Would make express trains a thing of the past, say hello to all stops all the time and a lot more delays. Freights would have to be banned during peak. Probably no room left for Wairarapa or Capital Connection services. Not possible to run often enough on the Johnsonville line. If you still wanted express trains, enough capacity to Johnsonville, freight and Capital and Wairarapa Connection then you’d need triple or quad tracking the Kapiti/Hutt lines and double tracking the Johnsonville line. This is big, big money. So assuming you did all that, someone seems to think that all these LRT units are going to merge into just double track along Lambton Quay? It’s bad enough with four tracks into Wellington station as it is. This whole idea of running LRT on existing heavy rail for a seemless journey is an absurdity, unless they are prepared on spending billions of dollars we don’t have on things that aren’t really necessary. If we did have the money I’m sure it would make far more sense instead of either crippling our existing heavy rail network with low capacity train path wasting vehicles or spending billions on double/triple/quad tracking new LRT units it might be a lot smarter to just extend the existing heavy rail into the CBD.
        I think the only way to go about it is either a totally seperate LRT system, or extend heavy rail.” by mohnjadden » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:03 am

        Why do LRT units have a significantly lower capacity? Simple an LRT unit running on street is limited in length by the size of the street blocks, which means at least 3 LRT units are required to substitute for one 6 car Matangi train. Given that there is something like a train every two minutes arriving in the peak now that would convert in to more than a tram train a minute through the city. And given the resulting close headway on the Kapiti and Hutt lines express trains would be a thing of the past which will make driving a much more attractive option from the outer suburbs.

        The time savings from not having to transfer to a bus would be eaten up for many passengers by a frustrating slower all stop journey into the city.

        • Mike

          Well, mohnjadden clearly hasn’t been to Karlsruhe, where the equivalent of what he suggests can’t happen in Wellington occurs every day. On the assumption that tram-trains served the inner parts of the network (eg as far as Johnsonville/Porirua (with new LRT platforms)/Melling) with heavy rail to Wellington Station doing the rest, expresses, the CapCon and Wairarapa trains could still run; freights as now; perfectly possible to run on the Jville Line (its peak frequency is currently only 3-and-a-bit four-car trains per hour) – no quad or triple track needed, except at Porirua Stn and perhaps Petone Stn. All these LRTs coould easily merge into a two-minute frequency on the Golden Mile.

          Turning the whole of the Wellington electrified network into tram-trains wouldn’t make sense – but doing that for the inner suburban sections would be perfectly possible. But GWRC having just invested in more Matangis, however sensible it may be, it won’t be happening anytime soon!

          Given the Matangis, extending heavy rail southwards is the only other seamless way of linking through the CBD, as required by WCC/GWRC plans, but somehow I can’t see NZTA coming up with the money under current management….

          • there are big issues with tram-trains in NZ as they share networks with freight trains, so have to be designed to very very high crash standards. Extremely expensive to get a vehicle that does that and can do street running. Also given the lack of 1067mm trams aroudn the world the vehicles would be very very expensive.
            The issue could be actually fixed very cheaply with free transfers to onward buses and a well organised exchange as there is a bus leaving every minute, it just needs to leave from the same stop!
            Agree LRT offers great benefits but a tram-train fixation makes it much easier to dismiss LRT advocates.
            The bus priority work should be done immediately and CWB should of already done it, its very easy, esp closing Golden Mile to general traffic at peak times.
            However Wgtn needs a transit lobby group focussed on more than just tram-trains.

          • LX

            Lets put some hard numbers in here. Johnsonville line currently has a maximum possible frequency of a train every 13 minutes dictated by being single track with passing loops which don’t permit a higher frequency to run. Currently four car Matangi trains operate on the line in the peak with a capacity to carry 554 passengers per train. These trains are 86m long.

            In a tram train scenario these trains will operate on street and be limited in length to significantly less than a four car Matangi if they are to work on street. If we take Portland for example their newest and longest Seimens S70′s which operate on street are configured into trains of a maximum length of 57.97m with a capacity for 344 passengers.

            So to cary the same number of passengers twice as many trains will be required. Instead of a train every 13 minutes that would be a train every say 7 minutes which is well above what can be operated on a single track line even with extra passing loops added. This means double tracking would be required at significant expense.

            Likewise the six car Matangi trains used on the Hutt and Kapiti lines would require 3 Portland style LRT trains for each Matangi train to provide equivalent capacity. Not even mentioning that some eight car Matangi’s operate which would probably require 4 Portland LRT trains to replace them.

            Karlsruhe and similar tram train examples were a specific solution to lightly used branch lines, with little or no freight traffic, which were very economically hooked into existing city tram networks. They don’t run tram trains in Karslruhe on their main trunk railways. Incidentally Karlsruhe is now spending over a billion Euros to put its trams underground in the central city due to congestion. Their a physical limits to how many transit vehicles whether bus or tram can be run at grade through a city centre with all the conflicts that entails.

            Train lengths and capacities all courtesy of Wikipedia.

          • Mike

            LX

            Sorry, but you’re wrong about Karlsruhe: they do run their tram-trains on main trunk lines, eg on the main line south towards Basel (one of the busiest trunk lines in Germany) as far as Achern (route S4, and parts of other routes)), about 30 km; and on the main line north towards Heidelberg to beyond Bruchsal (routes S31, S32 and others), about 15 km. Both of these lines are used by the full range of German trains, including freights and ICEs.

            Similarly, Kassel operate theirs on the main line south towards Frankfurt as far as Schwalmstadt-Treysa (c35km).

            So your statement that “tram-trains were a specific solution to lightly used branch lines, with little or no freight traffic ” is just plain wrong,

            No more misinformation, please!

          • LX

            Mike thats a good point about the line to Achern. However If you look closely you will also note that the main line towards Basel is four and in places five tracks. I would have though the ICE’s would have been using the other track pair? Also the S4 on weekdays appears to only departs roughly hourly from Achern, Likewise the S32/32 also hourly during the day. Even between 7 and 8am there are only 5 tram trains scheduled to depart Achern. So it is hardly using very many train paths. Leaves plenty of paths for other trains to work around?

            Lines which can each by run with just a tram train every hour would I would have thought fit the definition of lightly used although you are correct that Achern it isn’t on a branch line.

            The Challenge for Wellington is not having the luxury of quad tracks to work with and running an intense peak commuter operation with a mix of express and all stopping trains on the same track pair. And that was the point mohnjadden was making. The Karlsrhure example noted above appears more interurban than commuter. It is a great solution but appears to be working with different patronage demands and infrastructure limitations.

            I haven’t studied Kassel so can’t comment other to ask what level of peak frequency are they running on the main line and is it double or quad track?

          • Mike

            LX

            The main line to Basel is indeed four tracks, handling ICEs and freight trains (amongst others), so tram-trains must be sharing the tracks with one of these types of train.

            Between 0700 and 0800 on Wellington’s tram-train candidate routes (ignoring Johnsonville), 5 stopping trains leave Porirua on the NIMT and 3 Melling via the Wairarapa Line, so if 5 tram-trains from Achern gives plenty of room to work around intense longer-distance passenger and freight on Germany’s four-track main line to Switzerland and beyond, similar must apply to these Wellington lines with much less other traffic, and three tracks from the NIMT/WL merge into the CBD.

            Off-peak Wellington’s standard frequency is half-hourly at best (sad but true), which is hardly intensive either.

            As for Kassel, the route in question (RT9) is just hourly, mixing with ICEs, freights etc on a double-track main line.

            Wellington’s challenge for rail is to recognise that it is currently a non-starter for people trying to access most of the CBD (something like 90% of train passengers walk from Wellington Station), and suppressing that demand in favour of spending billions on roads just doesn’t make sense. These roads are forecast by GWRC’s experts (Opus and Arup, in their December 2012 TN24 Baseline Forecasting Report) to make traffic congestion twice as bad as it is now, increasing carbon emissions, increasing car mode share, and slowing down freight movements (all the opposite of the key outcomes sought by the RLTS). How this can be seen to be a sensible thing to do is just beyond me.

        • LX

          Mike lets do the numbers for Porirua. If there are 5 local trains starting from Porirua in the peak hour and they were just substituted with 5 tram trains then indeed there would be no issue fitting them in as far as track slots go. however the issue of geometry here is that tram trains have significantly lower passenger capacities than the trains currently operating from Porirua.

          I don’t have passenger capacities for the specific units used in Karlsruhe so I will use capacity for a similar Siemens Duewag U2 LRV. A coupled two car set is 49.6m long and can carry 126 seated and 196 standing for a crush capacity of 324. Given some of the CBD street blocks appear to be less then 60 metres long this might be the maximum consist length that could run on street in Wellington.

          By comparison a six car Matangi train can carry at crush 831. So our 5 trains from Porirua can carry a theoretical maximum of 4155 passengers. To replace these with LRVs also at maximum capacity could require 12 LRV’s to provide an equivalent capacity. That would be a tram train every 5 minutes to provide equivalent capacity.

          At that close 5 minute headway express trains from Waikanae become impossible on a regular double track line. The gaps between tram trains would be too short meaning expresses would catch up and be stuck behind the slower all stop LRVs.

          Based on those constraints Porirua and Tawa passengers would get a more frequent service through to the city without transfer. However north from Waikanae passengers would have a slower service (no express running) and still have to transfer at Wellington Station.

          I’ll leave it to a rail engineer to consider the practicality of running a mix of 12 LRV’s, 3 Matangis and 1 Capital Connection in a peak hour on a single double track line (one every 3.75 minutes).

          However Melling may be fine as I’m not sure they run more then a single 2 car unit on most trips. However if they are using 4 car sets then we may run into the same issue of substituting lower capacity vehicles as above.

          Off peak of course (except possibly for stadium event trains) demand probably is low enough at most times to be dealt with by LRVs running at higher frequency which would be no bad thing at all.

          • Agreed. I can’t see anywhere where people mix high frequency metro services with tram trains.
            Simply EMU’s are made to operate faster, and accelerate quicker than light rail, so LRT vehicles would slow down the services behind them.

            Tram trains may be useful in Christchurch for example where you only have freights every few hours and a decent distance from potential stations to downtown. However mixing them with faster metros will just not work, and there is just so little benefit running them on the main lines.
            Most people in Wellington happy to walk 10 minutes down Lambton Quay, and those that are not can easily be accommodated by an improved bus system.
            Johnsonville could of worked for tram trains but big money has been spent on upgrades now so no point now.

          • Mike

            LX

            Your assertions that tram-trains don’t run on the main line and don’t share with freights having both been proved wrong, and Wellington frequencies being demonstrated to be no more than German ones that leave “plenty of room” (your words), but you’re still trying, on yet another tack!

            First, three-minute headways are achievable on suburban railways (the one loco-hauled train would need a bit more space);
            Second, the defining block in Wellington CBD is probably Manners between Willis and Victoria, roughly 150m;
            Third, I think most (if not all) Porirua stoppers are 4 cars rather than 6;
            Fourth, it’s acceleration that counts at least as much as speed, and LRVs tend to be at least a match for EMUs in this respect;
            Fifth, dwell time also counts, with LRVs tending to do better than EMUs because of larger doors, streamlined operation and easier boarding (Wellington EMUs are very slow at this).

            Luke C

            Karlsruhe does mix tram-trains with S-bahn suburban trains, at Wellington-type frequencies (and with lots of other traffic) – and places like Karlsruhe, Kassel, Chemnitz and French cities (and Sheffield/Rotherham soon to come) see lots of benefit of tram-trains on main lines. Accommodating them may not be that easy – but neither is any worthwhile project.

            Most people being happy to walk 10 minutes down Lambton Quay is right, but it means that that is the effective limit of the rail catchment area in the CBD – buses just don’t cut it for anything further, and it’s hard to see how the BRT proposals will change that. That is a real problem, being addressed only by RoNS (sadly).

            Both

            Now all this doesn’t mean that tram-trains are necessarily right for Wellington (or anywhere else), but it does mean that they can’t sensibly be written off without having a proper look, including learning from overseas.

            But without them, how else are you going to make rail a viable option for more than just the northern fringe of the CBD? That, I think, is the key question – your views?

          • LX

            Mike yes three minute headways are achievable on a single line however at that headway they preclude mixed operation of express and all stopping trains.

            A number of street blocks on Lambton Quay are around 60m in length which may limit vehicle length. I have read 75m is the maximum vehicle length permitted on street in Germany but can’t verify that so no doubt you will find a longer example somewhere to quote.

            I have never said anything about relative performance of EMUs and LRVs. LRVs are just as capable as EMUs except for the issue of lower capacity dictated by operating in a street environment.

            Which takes us back to the initial point by mohnjadden…

            “Much lower capacity means more LRT units running more frequently, which is a massive waste of train paths. Would make express trains a thing of the past, say hello to all stops all the time and a lot more delays. Freights would have to be banned during peak. Probably no room left for Wairarapa or Capital Connection services. Not possible to run often enough on the Johnsonville line. If you still wanted express trains, enough capacity to Johnsonville, freight and Capital and Wairarapa Connection then you’d need triple or quad tracking the Kapiti/Hutt lines and double tracking the Johnsonville line. This is big, big money. So assuming you did all that, someone seems to think that all these LRT units are going to merge into just double track along Lambton Quay? It’s bad enough with four tracks into Wellington station as it is. This whole idea of running LRT on existing heavy rail for a seemless journey is an absurdity, unless they are prepared on spending billions of dollars we don’t have on things that aren’t really necessary. If we did have the money I’m sure it would make far more sense instead of either crippling our existing heavy rail network with low capacity train path wasting vehicles or spending billions on double/triple/quad tracking new LRT units it might be a lot smarter to just extend the existing heavy rail into the CBD. I think the only way to go about it is either a totally seperate LRT system, or extend heavy rail.” by mohnjadden » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:03 am

  • KLK

    You could always build a tunnel……

    • SF Lauren

      Correct, you could spend 5 times as much and make it a tunnel, you could also run an RTN link through there to achieve some of the objectives.

    • SF Lauren

      Correct, you could spend 5 times as much and make a tunnel. You could also make a RTN link to obtain some of the benefits/objectives.

  • KLK

    That was in response to SF Lauren’s claim Wellington’s “two islands” had to be linked by a bridge. I was also going to suggest it to be an RTN but that would just offend….

  • KLK

    Depends on how you cost the bridge really, doesn’t it.

  • SF Lauren

    Nick, maybe my very first post where I said I was joking gives a clue, or maybe the other 4 where I said I was joking? Just maybe.

    Also the question was “would it be nicer”, not “would the city be more economically productive” or what ever you inferred by “better”.

  • The amount of ignorance around tram-train in NZ transport circles is staggering. Some correspondents don’t seem to realise that tram-train for Auckland and Wellington was well studied and official Railways policy around 1990 – NZ could have been a pioneer rather than an ignorant denier. “Light rail” = tram-train was assumed in four local government studies in the 1990s.
    Functionally, Wellington’s current rail system is equivalent to a US light rail system like Portland, San Diego, Sacramento etc (vehicle size and capacity, train length, speed, trip length, etc) except that IT CARRIES FEWER PASSENGERS (mainly because it doesn’t reach into downtown! )
    Wellington rail commuter numbers (40,000 ppd) are not big at all on a world LRT scale – the apparent busy-ness at the station is because of congestion around its inappropriately-sited stub terminal. Like Britomart. To fix Britomart’s location problem a $3 bn underground has wide council and community support. Tram-train at a few hundred million would achieve the same for Wellington (1/3 Auckland’s population – but twice Karlsruhe’s) at much lower cost per resident.
    Other issues like crash worthiness (avoid crashes – fit ATP, as is happening in Auckland anyway) are being routinely dealt with in Europe – Karlsruhe being just the first example. Yes, there are extra costs, but still a fraction of an underground.

    • DaveB

      Brent, please don’t omit to mention that Wellington’s PEAK PATRONAGE, not daily patronage is the issue with regard to tram capacity constraints. Currently 12,000 people arrive in Wellington by train during the 2-hour am peak. Previous studies have indicated that 3/4 of users would wish to use an extended service if it were there. That is 4,500 people per hour potentially going by tram down the Golden Mile BASED ON TODAY’s NUMBERS. If the extension project generates the amount of NEW patronage expectable from un-blocking Wellington’s majin transport artery, then we could expect much higher numbers. I do not think you will find many examples where tram routes running in pedestrian environments carry more than 5,000 people per direction per hour.

      • C’mon Dave! 5,000 pphrpd is on the LOW side for street-based LRT throughput. Maximum capacities will vary according to street layout (Wellington’s Golden Mile is quite favourable, with a limited number of cross-streets and a degree of traffic exclusion already achieved and more possible). Estimates from researchers vary a lot but some quote up to 25,000. That is an outlier, but Swanson St in Melbourne must come close. Calgary’s LRT system is quoted as carrying 285,000 per day with a street-based downtown section. I’m sure they would have peaks in the tens of thousands. Likewise San Diego (101,000), Portland (123,000 – though a 2nd downtown line opened in 2009), etc.

        • LX

          LRT capacity varies significantly depending on what sort of LRT we are talking about. Systems with full segregation and no vehicle length limit imposed by street operation can have huge capacities. Street systems are more limited.

          Given 12,000 arriving in the CBD in the peak, if half that arrived in the peak hour (probably more given how peaky Wellington is) then that would be 6000 passenger to move. As an example Portland’s newest Siemens S20 which are run in coupled pairs to the maximum length they can run on street have a capacity for 136 seated and 344 crush load. So to move 6000 people would require an LRT train running every say 1 to 3 minutes depending on what level of crush you want.

          So yes a tram every 2 minutes would be theoretically achievable but doesn’t leave any room for growth or for buses carrying another 5 or 6 thousand odd commuters through the Golden Mile at the same time, unless they get booted off the Golden Mile which would leave a lot of angry customers shouting at the council. Just look at the public resistance to the suggestion by GW last year that just some peak buses move to the quays to reduce bus congestion.

          Getting 25000ph would take a Portland LRT train running every 0.3 to 0.8 minutes depending again on what level of crush you want. This level of throughput really would require full segregation to achieve. Full traffic priority at cross streets and pedestrian crossings just isn’t possible at this headway so trains will have to bunch up as well as stopping for passengers leading to queuing, delay and reduced throughput.

          Melbourne’s Swanston Street by comparison has just under a tram a minute in the peak and is considered in reports I have seen to be operating at saturation point with significant peak congestion and delay. Likewise on street operation limits throughput in Portland hence the need for them to build a second corridor through the city to accommodate their network growth. I could be proven wrong but I would be very surprised to see them operating any where near to an LRT train every 2 minutes through their downtown lines.

        • LX

          Brent just checked the actual schedules and fleet being used in Calgary and Portland and I can assure you the peak volumes on their downtown street based light rail lines are actually very modest.

          Portland has just 12 trains per hour per direction on its east west route which is a train every 5 minutes. Given a capacity of 136 seated or 344 crush load for a maximum two car train that would be just 1632 to 4128 per hour per direction.

          Calgary is more impressive with 27 trains per hour which is a train every 2.2 minutes. Given a capacity of 60 seated and 98 standing with a maximum three car train consist that would give 4860 to 12798 per hour per direction.

          Also note that no system operates at full theoretical crush loading on every trip so the actual throughput will be well below the theoretical maximums noted above.

          So hardly in the tens of thousands.

  • Mike

    Re Luke C – AKL Observations’ observations at 0337:

    there are big issues with tram-trains in NZ as they share networks with freight trains, so have to be designed to very very high crash standards. Extremely expensive to get a vehicle that does that and can do street running.

    - not cheap, but entirely possible!

    Also given the lack of 1067mm trams aroudn the world the vehicles would be very very expensive.

    - pardon? The standard Swiss tram gauge is even narrower, at 1000 mm, and Japan is awash with 1067 mm light-rail-type vehicles

    The issue could be actually fixed very cheaply with free transfers to onward buses and a well organised exchange as there is a bus leaving every minute, it just needs to leave from the same stop!

    - if you read the Wellington papers, you’ll see that on the benefits side one of the major problems with LRT, as AECOM saw it, was the deterrent effect of transfers at Newtown and Kilbirnie (not to mention Wellington station)

    Agree LRT offers great benefits but a tram-train fixation makes it much easier to dismiss LRT advocates.

    - dismissing any mode on spurious grounds doesn’t help, either

    The bus priority work should be done immediately and CWB should of already done it, its very easy, esp closing Golden Mile to general traffic at peak times.

    - CWB has increased bus priority significantly, eg Manners Mall, Courtenay Place, Kent/Cambridge Terraces – and there’s only so much a mayor can do with a council that has different views! But agreed that the Golden Mile needs more PT priority, especially Willis St northbound

    However Wgtn needs a transit lobby group focussed on more than just tram-trains.

    - all modes of PT needs advocates, who need to work together to see the bigger picture.

Leave a Reply