Follow us on Twitter

$20m Dominion Rd Parking Boondoggle

Late last week Auckland Transport put out a press release about the upgrade of Dominion Rd saying that would start as early as September. Here’s the first part of it:

Work on the long awaited upgrade of Dominion Road, one of Auckland’s busiest roads and its second busiest bus route, will go ahead in September, following decisions by Auckland Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency this week, to fund the $66.3 million project.

The project which will transform Dominion Road and the key villages that it serves, will be carried out in stages and is expected to be completed in about mid-2016.

Work on the associated cycle routes on streets paralleling Dominion Road, will start in May and be completed by about October.

This has been greeted by Auckland Transport chairman, Dr Lester Levy, as a red letter day for Auckland and one that the New Zealand Transport Agency has helped to make possible.

Dr Levy says that the improvements to the road will give it the capacity to deliver up to 3 million bus passengers a year to their destinations, quickly and efficiently.

He says that because of the importance of Dominion Road to Auckland’s future public transport systems, with greater walking and cycling options and reduced congestion as part of the mix, Auckland Transport (AT) and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) had collaborated in the planning and funding of the upgrade.

NZTA’s commitment has been vital to an immediate start, Dr Levy says. “Joint planning and coordination has been followed by joint funding by NZTA, who will contribute 53% of the cost. This means we can start the search for tenders immediately.”

It’s great that it the upgrade will be starting soon however the cost of the project caught my attention. The last we had heard, the project including the alternate cycling routes were expected to cost $47 million. I had been meaning to write a post about exactly this and asking how the costs had increased by ~$20 million without anyone knowing however the Herald did just that yesterday morning. I’ve bolded the key part.

Auckland Transport’s cost estimate for upgrading Dominion Rd has ballooned by 40 per cent to $66.3 million.

That compares with $47 million which the council body announced late in 2012, after rethinking a controversial $100 million plan which included 24-hour bus lanes along the full 5km length of the route, with extra room for cyclists as well.

Although there will now be little widening – except to extend bus-lanes along the road’s southern section between the Mt Roskill shops and the Southwestern Motorway – transport planners blame the latest cost blow-out on having to buy more properties than expected and design changes to preserve parking in side streets after public consultation.

That is to compensate for lost parking on Dominion Rd at peak times, to make way for an extension of bus lanes through village centres in Mt Eden, Balmoral and Mt Roskill, communications general manager Wally Thomas said.

I do support the general idea of putting parking on the side streets however $20 million of ratepayer money is an obscene amount to spend to do this. This is even more so seeing as the current plan doesn’t even include making the upgraded bus lanes permanent which potentially means there will still be people parking on Dominion Rd outside of peak hours (some of the released images show this). I’m not sure how many carparks are planned to be built with the property prices that exist in many of these areas $20 million won’t go far. My guess is AT would be lucky to get an extra 100 carparks for that kind of money and what budget did they cut to find that extra $20 million needed?

Dominion Rd design image

What AT are clearly doing is caving into the noisy local retailers who simply don’t get that people buy stuff, not cars. Making it easier for more people to get to their stores should be the primary goal and the most effective way to do that is through the vastly improved bus lanes. Already on Dominion Rd more than half the people at peak times are in a bus and from what I’ve seen (and heard about), buses are often extremely full well outside of peak times. Currently around 1.8 million people use buses and the upgrade is said to have the capacity for up to 3 million trips a year. In contrast a handful of carparks won’t get close to delivering half that many extra people.

And it’s not just us saying this. Research conducted by the NZTA which saw similar results to research overseas found that shoppers who didn’t arrive by car spent more on average than those that did while retailers also tend to overestimate the impact of car parking on their businesses. Unsurprisingly making an area nicer for pedestrians is far more important.

This research project investigated the economic impacts of transport and road space reallocation in shopping areas located in central cities and along major transport corridors in New Zealand. It focused on three research questions. The first being to understand the retail spending of transport users; resulting in data that provides an average $ spent per user and primary mode of transport. The second element focused on identifying the road space allocation and design elements important to retailers and shoppers. Finally, a case study compendium was developed.

The data shows that sustainable transport users account for 40% of the total spend in the shopping areas and account for 37% of all shoppers who completed the survey. The data indicates the pedestrians and cyclists contribute a higher economic spend proportionately to the modal share and are important to the economic viability of local shopping areas.

The study also identified that retailers generally overestimate the importance of on-street parking outside shops. Shoppers value high-quality pedestrian and urban design features in shopping areas more than they value parking and those who drive are willing to walk to the shopping precinct from other locally available parking areas.

In addition to all of this it also shows a lack of faith by Auckland Transport in the increasing quality of the PT system to be useful for a wider variety of trips and in many cases it helps to actively undermine the organisations PT goals. Perhaps it’s decisions like this that go towards AT asking for their targets to be cut on the back of lower than predicted patronage.

Lastly many cyclists have been particularly upset by the “parallel” cycle routes which basically consist of traffic calming local roads. One of the biggest complaints is the windy routes many they take that makes journeys considerably longer than they would be by using Dominion Rd. This is especially the case around King Edward St and Burnley Tce where users are forced to either Sandringham Rd or Dominion Rd. This decision seems to suggest it’s ok to spend millions on buying up houses to provide what will probably be free parking for local businesses but it isn’t ok to do the same to make those alternate cycle routes more viable.

Dom Rd Cycling Network

67 comments to $20m Dominion Rd Parking Boondoggle

  • Tim A

    Thank you for drawing more attention to this. I’m not a cyclist but I do live on Dominion Road and my feeling about the proposed upgrade can best be described as rage.
    This ties in perfectly with NCD’s “Car Parks vs. Human Life: for AT it’s a no-brainer” post… The new Dominion Road upgrade will kill or seriously injure people, and that is a design feature, not some ‘accident’.

    This upgrade needs to be postponed until somebody with some leadership and vision takes the helm. Dominion Road should be a flagship street in Auckland.
    With cyclist numbers rapidly increasing, the near completion of the SH16 cycleway towards the port and the planned cycleway along SH20 running from the airport to the CBD, Dominion will be a missing link within 5 years. Cyclists will continue to use the road, as it is long, straight and flat. But by design they will share a space between opening car doors and the busiest bus corridor in New Zealand. How can that possible get signed off? It’s as though they’ve intentionally come up with a method to reduce the number of cyclists in the population.
    This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer money, and people need to kick up at least as much fuss as the idiotic Dominion Road [anti?]Business Association if there’s any chance to remedy it.

  • Fred

    So for $20m Auckland Transport could have built most of SkyPath or they could have built a few carparks.

    Guess which one they chose?

  • NCD

    It’s interesting that from a commercial point of a view we’ve got a core message of “on a bike? Piss off. In a car? Welcome!”
    So be it. (Videon: you’re excluded ;-) )

  • Bryce P

    This is a really expensive project that, to me, has severely compromised it’s main goals to the benefit of motorists. Really, will motorists along Dom Rd be any worse off once the project is finished than they are today?

  • Sanctuary

    I hit up Cathy Casey about the parallel cycle routes and told her I thought it was a monumental waste of ratepayers money that a) treated cyclists as second class citizens and b) would not be used. The response I got was cyclists should be pleased at all the money and thought that is being lavished on them. So even on the left of the council the attitude is to throw some money at cyclists and expect them to shut up and be grateful.

    • Make It Go

      When you have an organisation that at a senior level does not believe in its own product and service offerings and is not willing to back those services and products, this is the result.

      • Yes we know what you mean, but of course AT are also responsible for the ‘product’ of driving and parking. The question is have they got the balance right here? 20m seems like a huge expense to buy off kvetching retailers who do not have a strong case, who are arguably mistaken about even their own businesses.

        What I would have liked to have seen is a little more negotiating by AT: Only agreeing to this huge additional [and place de-intensifying] expense in the place of full-time buslanes. They could have clearly argued that if the DOM Rd retailers want this 20m subsidy from the rest of the city then the wider city must get something in return. And proper full time bus priority on this important route could be considered a fair exchange…? so the retailers would have to choose between new offline 20m parking, or part time on street parks. Fair enough?

    • George D

      Unless you ride, you’re not going to understand how putting in this many corners is going to stop you using it. Each one is a threat to safety, and destroys your regular speed (moving forward at a particular speed is the pleasure of riding), requiring effort to get back up to pace again.

  • Ok fine then, time to double down. If you must spend $20m extra of our money to build car parking on side streets then make the bus lanes 24/7.

    I’m often down Dominion in the evenings and even at 9pm there can be traffic clogging the buses. Remember last week looking up the street to see a bunch of four within a few hundred metres.

    • 7pm last night (Saturday) it was bumper to bumper crawling. Bring in 24/7 buslanes

      • Geogoose

        Bus half an hour ago (Sunday evening) was standing room only.

      • bbc

        Except we’re not getting them, post this ‘upgrade’ the only thing different will be some slightly longer bus lanes and better paving and massively improved parking. Let’s not forget AC/AT are now building a project whose main focus is not buses, a full 1/3rd of the budget is simply to increase parking. Bus lanes still disappear at many intersections, cars will still abuse them to turn down side streets well before they’re supposed to, and they’ll only operate a few hours a day. Personally I’d rather AC didn’t nothing to Dominion Rd until they actually grow up take notice that more people are travelling along here on buses now. It’s repeated all over Auckland, buses do all the heavy lifting, yet cars get all the road space to move a small minority of people.

  • Max

    Minor thing, all things considered, but the cycleway map up there is outdated. This is the right one:

    https://at.govt.nz/media/374001/dominion-cycle-map-10-04-14.jpg

    • Max that really does show how vital that Ian Mackinnion Drive gets sorted out at high speed. Both the Northwestern and the Grafton Gully cycling superhighways converge there and now these odd half-pie ones too…. The case for narrowing northbound down to one lane with barriers and using the current outside lane to link up all these routes is surely becoming irresistible.

      • Max

        I have just put in another request for an uphill cycle lane at the top of Ian McKinnon to Upper Queen Street bridge works. Trying to get it in in various ways…

    • Why have they removed the part of Arabi Street that connects to Balmoral Rd from this map? Why does the cycle route (btwn Sandringham Rd& Dominion Rd) not take this more direct route anyway

      • Max

        Arabi Street – presumably a map error. The route presumably runs along the next street east because it was easier to provide a signalised crossing for the cycleway over Balmoral Road there?

      • Glen

        This is madness on many levels. $20 million for carparks?!? Total mis-prioritisation.

        Didn’t Max or another poster show a while ago using Google Maps that purchase of only one house is needed to remove the Burnley Tce/Ward Tce detour? That would cost far less than all those carparks, and provide a straighter past on the west side of Dom Rd (assuming cycle lanes on Dom Rd REALLY aren’t possible – which they should be).

        In any case, Dr. Levy, much more work is required!

        • Max

          There’s only 3 houses of which buying any 1 of them would enable the connection through. Otherwise, you’d have to buy 2 houses, one on each street.

          Seeing that they’d be very, very hesitant to ever use compulsory acquisition for this (a law only for car projects, and maybe the occasional rail project?), you are basically dependent on any of those 3 people WANTING to sell. I don’t know whether any inquiries have ever been made.

          • Dan

            Houses get sold regularly — I’d guess the average house gets sold every 15 years. So you;d expect one of these 3 to come up every 5 years or so. People have been calling for this for at least that long.

          • Max

            I’m not saying it’s unfeasible. Just saying that it isn’t bloody blimming likely. Only sports parks get bought by Auckland Council at a whim for a couple million, it seems.

  • Additionally Max…. as the cycling work is really about local access and safety rather than actual commuter routes why aren’t all those schools directly linked to it? Or do you assume that will become the obvious next move? They do look like the obvious beneficiaries here, and probably make it justifiable… your views?

    • Max

      I know there’s a second project to add another whole bunch of speed tables to the whole suburb, not just the cycle routes. That may help some. Apart from that, I am not aware of any other routes being prepped. Arguably, at such a low level directly near a school, you better treat all roads anyway (for which speed management, rather than cycleways, is a good method), not just assume one or two specific arrival routes.

  • Pete

    This is just stupid and a shocking waste

    They DO need to buy a few properties to get the cycle route done properly, and not zig-zag all over the place, but not for car parking! (these properties can be re-sold after with little or no loss in value e.g. between Ward and Burnley

    Isn’t the idea of this project to get people out of cars and onto buses and bikes? So why where car-parks even on the agenda?

    • ‘Isn’t the idea of this project to get people out of cars and onto buses and bikes?

      No, only some of AT, AC, and NZTA understand this idea.

      And even fewer understand the role of parking provision in reinforcing auto-dependency. Every meeting I have with people from the above agencies someone will bang on about park and rides as the solution to Auckland’s transport pressures. They don’t get it, largely.

      • Indeed Patrick.

        That said about Park and Rides, they work for the deep south and the far west of Auckland but not so when closer to the CBD.

        • conan

          Yes, on the edges for people with no other option to get the transit. Not for ‘get close and do a last hop on PT’ crowd. And at the very least go for some return on the huge capital investment.

          On that topic, any idea if this amazingly expensive carparks are going to be metered at all?

  • Geogoose

    Surely the numbers of people who can be delivered to dominion road business on bus is far in excess of the number that can be with a few extra carparks?

    Pretty depressing to see my neighbourhood get further deintensified with more car parking. The awful countdown waste of space (they even have a second level of underground parking!) is bad enough.

    I wonder if there was a better understanding of parking’s effect on traffic, in particular in the minds of the usual suspect residents’ groups, this wouldn’t be happening.

  • George D

    $66 million.

    For what exactly?

  • Geogoose

    As far as cycling goes, I don’t commute there but I do want to cycle down Dominion Road directly – specifically to get to the businesses on it. I currently don’t do this because Dominion Road is hostile as hell to people on bikes. I’m not really interested in weaving around backstreets (traffic calmed or not), I want to go where the things actually are!

  • George D

    I think the reason I’m so disappointed is because actual cycle lanes along Mt Eden, Dominion, Sandringham, Mt Albert and New North roads would have been extremely useful. (Balmoral-St Lukes is another one, but it would require work to step down from de-facto motorway). These lanes could have been built relatively simply, and at relatively low cost.

    These lanes may now be less likely to be built, because this set of lanes will be both parallel and underutilised, thus “undermining” the case for further investment.

    • Chris O

      I agree. After spending this much money upgrading the road in the first place, putting a separated cycle lane on Dominion Road wouldn’t happen for decades. But if you do put them in now, you have a core piece of a future extensive cycle network..

    • Max

      AT is discussing cycle lanes on St Lukes / Balmoral (in the corridor, not as parallel routes). Maybe we will be able to get it in when Waterview opens and the volumes on those streets drops. Otherwise it will fill up again a few years later,

  • mfwic

    I drew up a version of the left hand alternate cycle lane in the early 90′s- cyclists hated it then!

  • Part of the reason why this is so frustrating is that of all the roads in Auckland, this is one of the few which has a decent bus service with people using it day and night for all sorts of things – I’m on it usually at least twice a day and it has loads of people carrying shopping, going to restaurants, getting on and off for clearly non-commuter purposes…

    …and yet, we still need more carparks to serve… who exactly? And for 20 million dollars?

    At 8pm last Sunday night it was standing room only with half the bus getting off at the Dumpling Enclave and about as many more getting back on.

    I’d even bet most of the success of the place is due to the frequent and (comparatively) reliable bus service from the city, Mt Eden and Mt Roskill, feeding it with car-less students or those like myself who are completely uninterested in fighting traffic and circling for a carpark.

    I love the place, and it’s deeply saddening to see regressive urban planning and a bunch of people unable to say no push it in precisely the opposite direction it needs, and clearly wants to go.

  • Ari

    Welcome to politics where compromise is the name of the game in order to get anything done. Even if it is a heavily watered down version of what was originally intended.

    • Glen

      Though I suppose there is still hope that once the continuous bus lanes are installed, changing the hours they are in use would meet less resistance… perhaps the incremental approach is the only way to get some things done in the face of such stubbornness… fight on!

    • George D

      But this blog is not a politician.

      The authors of this blog call things as they see them – as far as I can tell their vision is for a future that works, not a jumbled mess of half-solutions which make change less likely rather than more.

    • counterpoint

      It does seem though that in this particular sphere of our lives, the ‘compromise’ is always in favour of motor vehicles…

  • Malcolm M

    One of Melbourne’s busiest strip shopping areas at Glenferrie has good off-street parking, and I think is one of the keys to its success. It also has a frequent tram and train, and a tertiary educational institution, so a large proportion of people are coming by PT. But a key to making the parking work is payment. This rations the users so workers don’t monopolize the spaces all day. If AT put in $20m into on-street and off-street parking assets that achieve a commercial rate of return, while freeing up road space for 24/7 bus lanes, surely this is a good outcome.

  • donna

    I’m not claiming to speak for any other cyclists but as someone who has been riding around Auckland for some decades, the proposed cycling route is BS. It really looks like an attempt to get the pesky cyclists out of sight and out of mind. The bad news, AT, is that cyclists are like pedestrians and car drivers, and they will take the most direct route between two points. Which means they will continue to use Dominion Road even if it remains hostile to cyclists. As set here, changes do seem like a wasted opportunity to encourage non-single occupancy vehicles a busy part of the city.
    As an aside Crockers list the median house sale price in Mt Eden/Epsom as $980,000. Not much for our $20 mill. Must try harder.

    • George D

      With less room on the road (thanks to the flax-bush channel and a lack of cyclist-passing ability), Dominion Road will be a more dangerous place to ride.

  • N

    As a regular cyclist on Dominion road the new cycle lanes will make absolutely zero change to my route. I’ll still continue to go straight down Dominion road, and it is furiating that they’ll waste so much money on a product that will barely get used. Most cyclists will just keep using Dominion road… waste of everyone’s time.

  • Chris

    What a pointless cycle route. Why not put cycle lanes on Sandringham Road and/or Mt Eden Road, and then in the future on St Lukes/Balmoral Road and Mt Albert Road? The cycle lanes should really be on all the orange/yellow coloured roads, not the white coloured roads.

    • Max

      Ummm, Chris – on Sandringham Road or Mt Eden Road, the arguments as to why they can’t put in cycle lanes are EXACTLY THE SAME. Parking. Public transport. Parking. In fact, CAA has had several (localised) cycle lane projects rebuffed already for those reasons.

      Plus, there’s no budgets or projects for cycle lanes on those roads any time soon. Dominion Road has a project now.

      Pushing the issue away until the next time? Yeah, that will change our city.

  • It is incorrect to assume that because some of the extra funding is for parking means that it is all for that purpose. I have yet to see the details but am aware that the QS (quanity surveyor) found that the cost was $6-$8million more than anticipated. Infrastructure costs (Council/AT’s share of undergrounding power lines which have now been included in the project scope + AT’s contribution towards some stormwater works) account for another few million.

    There is also an implicit assumption that replacing car parking displaced from Dominion Road is automatically a bad move – but the majority of those frequenting local businesses arrive by car. The reality is that without a reasonable supply of accessible parking our strip shopping centres (the three villages of Mt. Roskill, Balmoral and Valley Road) will lose custom to the extent that they may become unviable. As you rightly observe the high cost of land means that it costs a lot to deliver a relatively small number of spaces but like a lot of things it cannot be simply avoided or wished away.

    • Graeme it seems you have an unexamined assumption that the current level of carparking is perfect and cannot be reduced without impact on retailers’ business. I would be interested in seeing your evidence for this.

    • Graeme I suggest you have a read of the NZTA research linked to in the post. Retailers love to think that it is parking which drives their businesses but it isn’t.

      Also why do AT have to pay for the costs of under grounding wires of what are effectively a private company

    • Tim A

      Greame, the current scenario completely ignores the induced demand of cyclists. As many businesses note, they currently struggle; and yet as much space as possible is given over to parking. A multitude of international examples show us quite clearly that when carparks are replaced with more people-friendly transport options on streets very much like Dominion Road, business booms.
      Keeping carparks hurts business, and that is a fact. Anybody who support carparking in this area over the implementation of better cycling and PT facilities simply does NOT want to see businesses do well (or people save money, keep healthy and live in a quieter, cleaner area).

    • Sailor Boy

      “but the majority of those frequenting local businesses arrive by car”

      Deja Moo going on here. (google it if you don’t know)

  • For all those commenting about cycling on Dominion Rd. I want to see dedicated cycle lanes as much as anyone but frankly I can’t see how it can be done without massive cost.

    The road is one of the busiest PT corridors in the city/country and we can’t afford to cut that back. Additionally as much as we all may want to, we can’t remove cars completely so they will still need a lane each way. In the town centres we need higher quality footpaths too and the roads aren’t super wide through them without knocking down heritage buildings. Basically something has to give. If you think you can squeeze it all in by all means please explain how. It’s easier outside of the town centres but then you run into the expensive property purchase problems.

    • Max

      Hi Matt – the previous design included 4.2m bus lanes AND medians, after kerb changes, did it not? So providing at least a cycle lane 1.5m and a bus lane would have been feasible.

      Even if not, wide bus lanes would have at least allowed medium-confident cyclists to ride in much better safety and comfort, without holding buses up. Even this partial improvement is now lost.

      It was always clear that in the town centres, that would likely have not been possible the same way. But the fact remains that every time the design became “agreed”, another part of the previously “agreed” cycle provision was gone. I wrote several articles writing about the silver lining of at least getting wide bus lanes – only for those also to be removed.

    • Tim A

      It’s entirely possible to have Pedestrian-Cycleway-Busway-General as the set up for over 90% of Dominion Road. In some areas where there are historic buildings encroaching on the roadway (the villages), alternative solutions are needed. This could include merging various forms of traffic, but if bus stops are kept just outside of each village (still less than 100m walk in any instance) and speed reduction measures are used, this could be safe and effective. There exist actual parallel lanes behind most of the villages (look for the carparks on Google maps) which could easily provide bypasses for commuter cyclists, leaving those that want to enter each village to either slow down and join the bus lane or potentially hop off and walk the bike through the pedestrian area.

      • Strongly second Tim A’s suggestion to create parallel lanes in spaces occupied by off-street parking. The idea is actually quite credible. Dominion Rd’s shopping strips have grown over the motordom years to suit use by car. The real estate around buildings (or rows of them) have grown into garages, driveways or car parking spaces. In an alternate universe, they might have evolved into lively laneways or just narrower, secondary streets. In an urban fabric sense, it might have result simply in smaller blocks, more efficiently exposing additional frontage within easy walking (or cycling) distance, without harming the structure or heritage of the built structure. Hence, reclaiming this junkspace would enhance both the power of transit in the area, and remove the blight caused by motordom in a place with an otherwise rich and functional heritage.

    • Matt,

      You’re right, of course, something has to give. But why should it be walking, cycling or transit? A humane transport hierarchy prioritises (note: not “balances”) those modes above anything else. Why can’t we remove cars in the tight spots?

      Note also that Dominion Road is wide enough for much of its length to accommodate all of the above; it’s only in certain stretches that something will have to detour. Here’s where we can do the obvious (re-route car traffic, since they’re the least inconvenienced, given that travelling further and faster is what cars are good at). Or we can get creative, using the fact that cycle paths are low-impact infrastructure: they could be routed non-destructively through private property (where often there’s just off-street parking), or co-exist with pedestrians in naturally slower town centre areas (much precedent overseas).

      I suspect that differing views stem from a geometric mischaracterisation of Dominion Rd. It’s distracting to think of Dominion Rd as a lengthwise corridor for cycling (whereas, of course, it’s right and proper for transit). The implication would be that the scale of a bike “corridor” should match the scale of a bus corridor, which just isn’t a good way to approach bike networks. Instead, bike networks should be composed of fine-grained, highly-connected, grid-like geometries that make sense on a more human scale of movement (almost pedestrian — block by block). Once we’re out of this mindset of engineering regional-scale cycling networks, we can start asking how cycling can blend with the local urban fabric of places like those along Dominion Rd.

      So Dominion Rd isn’t a single, linear bike corridor. It’s a chain of local neighbourhoods, each of which wants to be connected to its centre of shops, schools and transit nodes. In this context, cycling can perform ideally as a complementary catchment-expanding device for transit. Coincidentally, if this multi-modal approach is encouraged by infrastructure and design, everyday, utilitarian cycling results.

      You might think this sounds like the quiet routes proposed by AT. However, those routes miss both of these principles mutually — it’s the worst of both worlds. They fail to serve as an effective arterial, since they’ve slipped hundreds of metres in the wrong direction. But they also fail to serve as a local, fine-grained cycling grid, since they lack strong, repeating lateral connections, and exposure to front doors, parking amenity, and internal linkage using filtered permeability (the opposite, in fact, as at Burnley Terrace).

      I don’t think it would be that hard to fit just enough high-quality bike infrastructure on relevant parts of Dominion Rd under a better, integrated, complementary kind of strategy. There will be some difficult patches, where even misspent median and kerbside space can’t be recovered, but that’s no reason to abandon all of Dominion Rd. Instead, those hard parts could be dealt with using locally-sensitive and potentially unique and creative solutions. And yes, that might involve demoting the priority (but not access) for cars, routing gently into private land, or getting intimate with pedestrians.

      Still unconvinced?

      • “Still unconvinced?” Yep.

        For the northern part (north of Balmoral) the road is about 20-22m wide while south of there it’s a mix of 20m, 22m and 24m wide. In the southern parts it may be wide enough but it will be too tight in many of the other parts unless you cut down on the footpaths which I think are the most important parts (along with the bus lanes).

        It’s late so I can’t be bothered typing much but I think that Dominion Rd is both a longer distance corridor and a finer grained local road connecting a handful of town centres. It’s a route that has many often competing demands put on it. However I don’t think it’s practical to somehow send cars through private property. AT can’t just do that without buying the land and there’s also no gentle routing to it either, it would have to be forced through.

        Instead of just pretending that it could all work, if someone can show me a realistic plan of how they would get non compromised cycle lanes on to Dominion Rd without the expensive widening then I’d be happy to change my mind but in all the debates about this over the last year or two I have yet to see one. (I say non compromised as a half arsed cycle lane is probably worse than none at all).

        • Matt,

          What I’m getting at is that the question (from AT down) is framed improperly for cycling. It is fine to think of a bus corridor going from end to end, but obviously harder to think of cycling infrastructure in that way. We shouldn’t be looking for a one-size-fits-all streetmix layout that magically makes cycle tracks work for the length of Dominion Rd. So where they won’t fit on the carriageway (without widening) then we can look at a variety of options, depending on the local area’s needs, and that might even include no bike infrastructure for that part of Dominion Rd.

          One suggestion was to create nearby secondary streets in parallel, reclaiming space that is currently given to cars. These new ROWs would be as car-free or car-restricted as possible, and therefore lower-impact, requiring no destruction of existing buildings (heritage or not). It boils down to creating smaller blocks with narrow, people-friendly lanes in the town centre areas (which I think would likely have happened historically anyway, if not for motor domination in recent decades). Also keep in mind the strategy isn’t to create a fully parallel linear corridor alongside Dominion Rd, but to make centres more permeable and serviceable for directly surrounding neighbourhoods and catchments. (But if a linear chain can be joined up after the fact, then good.)

          So a few examples:

          * From behind 738 Dominion (starting at Kensington) to 182 Balmoral Rd, there’s a 500m parallel north-south run that’s only 50m to the east of Dominion Rd. It includes off-street car-parks, their driveways, a service lane and the proposed drive for the Warehouse redevelopment. 500m may not sound like much, but consider that it opens up that whole side of the Balmoral shopping strip to the eastern catchment without costing space on Dominion Rd’s carriageway; and with a well-placed east-west intersection or two, it also opens to the western catchment. Now imagine a bike parking lot for park-n-ride bus transfer in the vicinity, or extending northwards to Potters Park, etc.
          * Similarly, from Ballantyne Square to Bellevue Reserve, there is a pretty clear run through the square, surface parking at the shopping centre, a driveway, Carrick Place and branching back to the set of shops at 184 Dominion. The other branch could conceivably continue north like this, keeping about 50-100m to the east of Dominion Rd, all the way to View Rd and Ian McKinnon, adding anywhere from 500-1000m extra.
          * From 1 Walters south to 289 Dominion is a series of off-street parking backyard lots that could easily be partially repurposed as a lane or secondary street.
          * From 12 Mt Roskill Rd to 1 Cambrai Ave, the western side of Mt Roskill shops can be hooked up via surface parking and existing streets.
          * From the petrol station at Mt Roskill shops to Keystone, another 200m lane run, which could extend to Winstone Rd southwards (only 115m out from Dominion) towards the grammar school.

          My presumption here is that these are not isolated fragments — they should be connected, but to a quality internal grid across each adjacent neighbourhood. Plus short stub lanes or malls joining to Dominion Rd for access. Plus carefully designed east-west junctions to ease the traffic severance on Dominion Rd. The side streets should not, however, form a directly straight line tracking Dominion Rd. The key here is to unlock trips to the centres, for the dormant residential developments that already exist, so that residents can start making regular, short, safe, convenient, utilitarian, multi-modal, cycle trips (i.e. wheeled pedestrians — the growth market).

          The difference here is that attaching to Dominion Rd frequently, at most 20-100m away form existing frontage (and possibly opening up new frontage there) and staying at-grade, maintains a very strong connection to Dominion Rd, whereas AT’s parallel routes do not. What we’re doing is shining sunlight on the full perimeter of our destination places, creating more points of entry, rather than stupidly shunting cyclists away from all the action, or widening Dominion Rd, or taking space from walking or transit in tight spots.

          Having this dense internal grid flanking Dominion Rd, with the occasional cycle track on the main carriageway itself, enables new kinds of bike trips that would be harder to do today, such as by trip chaining east-west. For example, as a CBD resident, I might bus to Sandringham Rd markets, then take a bike (folding or rental) towards View Rd, stop at Dominion Rd for something else, and take a bus again.

          In terms of pedestrian space, I agree that this is not negotiable in certain parts, especially around major bus stops and in town and local centres. However, for some great stretches of Dominion Rd, the context does permit reallocating some space (say, up to 1.5m) to cycling. For instance, between Hazel Ave and Telford Ave, there is a good 650+m stretch with prime berm space and deeply set-back single houses. Likewise south of Denbigh. This sort of arrangement could probably include acceptable bike lanes, if the 2m median is also recovered, and if as a bonus, general travel lanes can also be narrowed.

          That leaves about half of Dominion Rd (outside of centres and major stops) unaccounted for with cycling, as you said. But pragmatically, it wouldn’t be terrible if there were slightly narrower footpaths here, or if there were only bike lanes in one direction, or no bike features at all — deferring to nearby side streets, say, within 300m. Again remembering the primary goal shouldn’t be to propel 2% of daily commuters from one end of Dominion Rd to the other directly on a bike, but rather to unlock a vast 10-40% mode share for short, local trips by bike in the area around Dominion Rd, including transferring to frequent buses.

          And to be clear on cars, the suggestion wasn’t to re-route cars through these reopened spaces. Re-routing cars may appropriate, though, by forbidding right turns into side streets (helps eliminate flush medians) so they’d have to take the long way around. This is an idea Patrick R has raised before for other streets, and I think it’s appropriate here too. (Yes, the engineering models might predict congestion, fire and brimstone… but priorities.) Another option is to take out one travel lane, where existing side streets permit, such as perhaps around Mt Roskill shops or around Ewington: retain one-way car access, prioritise two-way bus and bike travel.

          All this would be easier if AT was willing to spend $20M for relevant property acquisition, of course, but I don’t think that’s strictly necessary. The point is there is a wide range of options, and with such a difficult challenge as Dominion Rd, we should be looking to use a diverse mix of them, not forcing through a mono-modal, single, linear, prismatic corridor for the whole length of it.

          Does that make more sense?

  • Anthony

    There is no way I’d use those windy alternative routes. Cycling in a 24/7 bus lane is probably the best that can be expected, hopefully without holding the buses up. I’ll continue to cycle Dom Rd when travelling in the area but for a longer journey and where I have a choice, I use Mt Eden or Sandringham.

  • Daniel

    Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to pay compensation for the loss of carparking? Each business should make a business case and state how much business they think they’ll lose. It would probably work out cheaper than $20 million in total!

    • Max

      That would be a much, much worse outcome, because then we’d have a precedent that businesses “own” public car parks and would have to be compensated whenever we change a road or remove car parks.

    • nick1234

      Maybe they should take that approach and get the businesses to agree that the amount of compensation will be based on a rigorous economic analysis based on international and local case studies. Then they might end up having to pay to have “their” parking removed.

Leave a Reply