This coming weekend is perhaps the biggest test of Auckland Transport’s ability to manage transport to and from events since the Rugby World Cup – and remember they didn’t do too well on opening night of that tournament. There are three pretty massive events on over the weekend: the Latern Festival in Albert Park, the NRL Nines at Eden Park and an Eminem Concert at Western Springs. NZTA highlight the potential traffic impacts of the three events:
Drivers are being advised to plan their journeys for the end of this week because traffic on sections of Auckland’s motorway network will be heavy as three big outdoor events in the city attract tens of thousands of people.
A full house is expected at Eden Park for the rugby league nines tournament on Saturday and Sunday, a concert by American rapper Eminem at Western Springs on Saturday is sold out, and the popular Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year is being held at Albert Park and Queen’s Wharf in the central city from Thursday until Sunday.
The NZ Transport Agency’s National Journey Manager, Kathryn Musgrave, says the St Lukes interchange on the Northwestern Motorway (State Highway 16) and motorway interchanges connecting with the city centre will be busy.
“The three events mean there will be more traffic on our networks than normal, particularly in the city centre and in the inner west around Eden Park and Western Springs. We would advise people going to these events to make a plan that will get them to their destination early and home again safely.”
Mrs Musgrave says the Transport Agency will use electronic messages on the motorways to keep people informed of driving conditions, but she says people should consider using public transport.
“Parking will be at a premium anywhere near the venues, and the train, bus or ferry will be a hassle-free option for travel.”
Auckland Transport seem pretty confident they can handle the crowds – Chief Operating Officer Greg Edmonds provides some basic information about a minute and a half into the video you can click through to below:
It seems like Saturday will be the most challenging day for transport as the Latern Festival will still be running, the NRL Nines will have its first day from around 10.30 in the morning to 5.30 in the evening and then the Eminem concert will be on at Western Springs that evening. All three locations aren’t that far from each other in central and inner west Auckland.
The big challenges will be getting people to and from the different events – especially the large number of people from Australia who will be attending the Nines and from around NZ for the Eminem concert. Obvious things to do include:
- 24 hour bus lanes on each side of Great North Road between the city and Western Springs all of Saturday.
- A strong focus on getting as many people heading to the Nine as possible to catch the train – which means it has to work perfectly. The enhanced rail timetables look a bit on the light side.
- Enhanced pedestrian spaces in and around the city centre to cater for the large crowds – particularly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. This seems like the thing Auckland Transport are least likely to get right.
Auckland Transport has been a mixed bag lately when it comes to planning for events. For the Big Day Out they did a really good and comprehensive job with a huge number of buses shuttling people to and from the venue. Yet for recent cricket matches, particularly the One Day International against India – which had a crowd of nearly 30,000 – the transport was completely inadequate and poorly organised.
Time will tell whether Auckland Transport has properly planned for the coming weekend.