Follow us on Twitter

Photo of the day: Hydra

It can certainly seem like a multi headed monster at times.

Photo is credited to Craig

I’ve never really looked at the traffic volumes on the ramps much but so I had a look and was shocked at how low they actually are, particularly on the off ramps. Just 9,500 vehicles per day use the SH16 off ramp to Nelson St while 14,200 use the SH1 off ramp. A few more use the on ramps to exit the CBD with 11,400 heading on to SH16 and 18,500 to SH1.

36 comments to Photo of the day: Hydra

  • George D

    I count 18 separate motorway lanes across the gully.

    What’s going on with those blue tents behind the van on the unused off-ramp?

  • David

    It’s an ugly arrangement that takes up space, but short of a total rebuild there is probably not a lot less that can be done. Most of the off ramps are single lane and only double at the lights. The on ramp south can get congested, but not seriously and normally its the on ramp lights that seem the biggest problem.

    More interesting would be if given the numbers coming off, whether either Hobson or Nelson could be narrowed down and landscaped along the street edge to give a better urban environment for the apartments around there.

    I would also have wondered if Hobson Street might have been an easier choice for the cut and cover part of the CRL from a construction point given its width. Taking 3-4 lanes out of there for the construction phase would still have allowed the road to stay open and would have had less impact than closing Albert Street. On completion the access points could have been part of the new landscaped areas with the road reduced to 3 lanes max.

    • bbc

      Choosing the route of the CRL based on what would cause the least interference to cars on the roads above would lead to almost certainly a suboptimal route selection.

      • David

        Why BBC?. That’s sounds almost like an anti car comment more than anything. My experience of construction is that building something in the least disruptive way to existing users whether they are building users, cars, public transport or building owners is always the cheapest and easiest way. Trying to tell all those buisnesses along Albert street that they will have reduced access to their buisnesses for 6-12 months for each stage will mean enormous compensations claims. Just look at some of the objections to the designation to see that coming into play already. Hobson Street would have still allowed most of them access if it was built down the middle and one lane kept each side. It’s not that moving one block west is that much further for walking access to queen street and with the elevation it might even have been easier with level tunnels coming out somewhere around the albert street level.

        • Sailor Boy

          Yeah, lets move the whole route 100m further from Queen Street and the uni’s just so drivers aren’t inconvenienced.

          • George D

            Could tell me more about the potential issue there?

          • Really hard to see how drivers are inconvenienced by the bored section of the tunnel? ie the whole length south of Wellesley St.

            And Sailor is right the tunnel needs to be where is best for the stations and the line, not just somewhere it might be easier to build.

          • David

            I don’t disagree Patrick, yes it does need to be where the best compromise is between a useful line and stations and the cost to construct it. I’m not worried by the bored section of the tunnel under Wellesley Street, its the cut and cover section up Albert that will be difficult to build and has the danger of ending up expensive once the landowners start asking for compensation for the disruption etc. It might be that even that part ends up cheaper tunnelled. Negotiating with all those tennants and building owners will be extremely difficult and they will use the designation process to hold without their consent until they have the agreements they want.

            The option of Hobson street as cut and cover would be easier to negotiate as they could maintain access to properties. Construction noise for the apartments would still be an issue, but that would be as big, if not bigger issue on Albert Street with 3 major hotels all having the option of putting up conditions to their agreement.

            100m from Queen Street should not be a major Sailor Boy, if the whole project hinges on that then its a marginal project, but yes, fair comment on the Uni. As it is i would have thought the line is not ideal for the uni and surely a better option for the uni would be the Parnell station and creating a direct link over the motorway their for students?

            It’s not about inconvenience for drivers, its about the cost of the compensation the landowners are entitled to for the disruption. That can be a very big bill. I know as I have done work on buildings in the past where negotiating with 10 tenants was hard enough, try the number they will have to negotiate with. As I have said before, there is not a bottomless pit of money and some compromises need to be made to ensure everyone gets what they want and we don’t end up paying for this for many generations to come.

          • You are chasing a chimera. The lawyers acting for Hobson St properties and businesses would play the same game of crying fiscal hurt in order to get compensation. But anyway that’s not an option. It will all be worked through, it’s just process and jockeying for advantage.

          • David – the CRL already has consent to dig up Albert St. Six parties are are appealing consent however two of them aren’t affected by it at all as they’re in Mt Eden, one is Precinct so they’re affected no matter which route is chosen. Of the other three two are from the Stamford and the Residences. They’ll address the issues from all the appellants as part of the environment court process but no one else can demand compensation now and it would cost a huge amount of time and money to move it to Hobson St which would still have some businesses complaining (especially Skycity) with no guarantee of success.

            Further even when they’re digging up Albert St they are still guaranteeing access to all properties as they will only be using he middle two lanes.

          • David

            Thanks Matt, I understood Langham was still objecting and that there were alot more still objecting to it so if they have gotten thru that then they have done well. I did know that some were still objecting in Mt Eden and TV3 (Mediaworks) the last i heard was still oblecting as well. The environment court would be the place they would use to get compensation as its the easiest place to force it at. I realise its too late to move it, but I never saw any discussion about the option of Hobson Street and I would have liked to have seen that investigated abit more as an option and why they discounted it. Albert Street is narrow so two lanes from albert street is major as opposed to two lanes from Hobson street and there will be a cost implication of restricting construction to just two lanes, 7.2m wide roughl as that means a staged construction approach for each side probably. I would have thought Sky city would have preferred Hobson Street as it would have given them better access to the convention centre.

            Patrick, I’m not saying Hobson Street would not have tried to argue it, but less big business and hotels on Hobson Street and being wider it would have had less affect than Albert Street.

          • Top down construction will be used. They’ll drive piles on the sides, pour roof beams, then excavate underneath while the road is open up top.

            They did look at Hobson St, it was one of the discarded options. Difficult to connect at the britomart end, stations far from the centroid of demand and otherwise just as expensive.

            Traffic management on Albert St isn’t that big a deal.

  • Rob Mayo

    “The hydra has poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its tracks are deadly.”

  • mfwic

    The traffic flows on the ramps are comparatively low. Summing your data gives only around 53,600vpd or 19.5 million per year which isnt quite double the number of trips on the entire rail network in Auckland.

    • justintohugs

      Whaahh-psssh! (sound of the whip) You tell ‘em mfwic. miaow.

    • Yes your right and I never claimed it wasn’t more than the rail network – although I do note that at peak times people arriving in the CBD via the ramps are the same as the number by the rail network. The last figures I have from 2012 had 6,055 arrive via the rail network and 5,964 via Nelson St.

      Also which one has the capacity to grow substantially?

      • bbc

        and which one has created an area of town people avoid and one people flock to.

        • Yes, this is a vital point. The vast m’way Hydra destroys land value all around it through the city. It is an economic wrecking ball. Compare and contrast: our one city train station is an ever growing source of value to a previously depressed area.

          Further; all growth in the city is now dependent on Transit, Active, and local resident for its employees, customers, and students. There has been and will no longer be any growth in private car numbers to the city. This has been the case all this century and is now really starting to ramp up with the long overdue improvement to the Transit service.

          The CRL will exponentially magnify both of these two virtues of this type of infrastructure. Place value and growth are dependent on it.

          So looking forward it is clear what the trend is. It can of course be slowed be our failure to invest properly in future and keep building for last century’s conditions….

          And lastly; everyone who drives into or through the city ought to understand that they can only do this with any success because of the selfless actions of all those who keep the whole city’s economy going without clogging their path on the roads by using our currently patchy and incomplete Transit networks and lethal cycling and walking environment.

      • mfwic

        Capacity to grow? Yes the old ‘potential’ argument. Potential for growth is like counting all the people who could theoretically use rail but decided not to. It’s like arguing Colin Craig has the potential grow his ratings because he is at 1% while National has less potential because they are way up at 51%.

        • All right Mr 20thC, how about: is growing rapidly (double digit) has been all century, and is on track (ha!) to render SOV numbers to the city a declining minority. See above, all growth for the last 20 years in access to the city has been on every mode except private vehicles. Live in the past if you must, relive your old glories, but the world you describe is relentlessly disappearing.

          And, you know, the future is actually the only place we can live. The past is receding. You consistent appear here like someone walking backwards; only seeing the world that was, do be careful or you’re likely to be hit by something you can’t see coming….

          • mfwic

            Patrick take another look at the picture. The bits in the bottom connect the Isthmus with the North Shore. They carry around 35,000vpd in each direction, that is 70,000vpd to an engineer or 30million est people per year to a public transport promoter. None of them can switch to rail and nor will CRL give them any option to. Yes cars to the CBD are declining just as they should because PT can do that well but vehicles past are expected to increase. And that 30million is on top of the 19.5 million above. As for ‘is growing rapidly’ well so is Colin Craig something I am equally unimpressed by.

          • Yes the m’way is not primarily for city access, has always been in the wrong place for interregional travel, as a good number of engineers and planners back in the 60s knew. Instead of being an efficient bypass its a destructive wound. So it goes. But this thread is about accessing the city, and my point stands; brag all you like about the might of your profession’s handiwork, but it is diminishing away, and thankfully so, as it nearly killed the city and severely wounded the economic performance of the whole region with it.

          • mfwic

            Patrick for someone who hates motorways so much I am concerned about your choice of a place to live. The CBD is defined by motorways and you really cant avoid them the way the rest of us do. As for walking backwards Patrick thats the only way any of us get to the future. Some of us look carefully at what we see in the past and some of us ignore what we see and assume it will all be different. Ka mura. ka muri Patrick.

          • Yes I do have trouble avoiding motorways; I do tend to look down on them as I cross them.

            Nothing is unchanging, except change. Best glance over your shoulder now and then, eh?

          • mfwic

            You can’t see the future any more than I can Patrick. Vision can also mean delusion.

        • Exactly; so stop looking back and implying nothing ever changes.

          Anyone with half a wit can read trends, wilfully ignore them may be comforting in the short term but makes for very poor decision making which which catch up with us all.

          Especially during a period of discontinuity.

  • Have I read this right? We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars building endless lanes of motorways destroying the potential for meaningful use of the land and it has only now achieved delivering 19.5 million people to the city each year.
    And on the other side of the coin the government won’t fund just two train tracks that will largely leave all surface land capable of development, but more bizarrely won’t start it until 20 million trips are achieved annually.

    • Make It Go

      That’s about the size of it, yes.

    • bbc

      All except the hundreds of millions, we’ve spent billions and billions and billions

    • mfwic

      Not quite. It is 19.5 million vehicles at one part of the CBD. Which at say 1.2 people per car is 23.4 million people per year. That means that at the top of Hobson and Nelson there are more than double the number of people than those who use the entire rail network including all trips on any part of it. That’s it in perspective.

      • Greg N

        23 million “people” a year on the motorways represents about 1/3rd of the total number of PT trips made by Aucklanders annually.

        Yes not all of those 70+ million PT trips start or end at the CBD – but a lot more than 23m “car users” a year do, even if most of those are on buses rather than trains.

        Also if you combined the annual numbers of NEX user and the rail users – which together make up the Rapid Transit Network (RTN), then the total RTN network users will be way more than the “half the numebr of people who arrive or leave by car” you suggest it is now.

        • mfwic

          Greg that is 23million on the four ramps at Hobson and Nelson St not all of the motorways or even all of the ramps to and from the CBD. It is one corner of the CBD.

          • Greg N

            You are correct that figure is for one corner of the motorway system – but it is the largest “corner” of the motorway system interface to Auckland CBD (but it is not the only one).

            But given that rail only has two “ramps” – one for Eastern Line in/out, the other for the Parnell Line in/out (at least until CRL is built), it is apparent those two rail “ramps” are carrying at least half the people that the Nelson/Hobson Ramps on/off ramps are – so on a like for like comparison of Rail versus Hobson/Nelson Motorway ramp people carrying wise Road and Rail are equal.

            Rail is as important right now on a “lane for lane” basis as the Nelson/Hobson motorway ramps are.

            To support those motorway lanes however, we need two whole streets (of 6 lanes each!) basically dedicated to nothing else but catering for those motorway ramps
            – plus additional more roads elsewhere (Fanshawe/Cook and Stanley Sts – to name the other main corners) that cater for the other “corners” of the motorway system.

            Yet we have a mere two train lines needed anywhere in Auckland to cover all the train network “ramps”.

            And rail traffic usage “per person” is ramping up, while the Motorway ramps passenger counts are static (at best) or as is shown over time, ramping down (pun fully intended).
            By the time CRL opens rail will be close to equalling, if not exceeding the road traffic volumes.

  • Pete and Tracy

    These PT numbers cant be right, far to low. Otherwise the entire auckland train system has less numbers than the Gillies Avenue north bound on ramp?!?

    • Greg N

      Don’t know the Gillies Avenue northbound on-ramp capacity or actual annual figures a year for traffic volumes, but given its a single lane on ramp its not going to be enough.
      (Yes I know its two lanes side by side, but it merges to a single lane before the motorway so is a single lane on ramp traffic wise where it counts).

      Don’t agree? Lets do some math and see.

      If Gillies on ramp was full up all day every day (which to be sure, it seems to be every time I’m using it), then that is 19.2 million a year possible traffic volume – assuming no ramp signals in use, which is seldom the case at that point on the motorway these days) and we assume 2200 cars an hour are using the on-ramp, which again is not that likely given where it is in the motorway system and that it has a 2 lane road feeding it but lets not worry about that.
      So that is one car every 1.5 seconds streaming on to the motorway from suburban streets – pretty busy place to be in that case, but Gillies is not that pleasant to be near.

      Of course Gillie Ave is not **that** busy, and for say 12 hours a day (7pm to 7am) the ramps are free flow with no ramp signalling as no one is using it or the motorway much, and weekends probably even more so, so lets say half the time only its 100% chocka with cars, so thats 9.6 million cars could be using the Northbound on-ramp a year. Now I know the average occupancy of cars in Auckland is 1.2 people per car, but every car I see on Gillies Ave has 1 person in it so that 1.2 figure doesn’t hold. So I’m assuming here 1 person per car.

      Annual PT trips this year for all modes (Bus, ferry, train) are running at over 70 million a year (Not high on a per-capita basis, but certainly well up on even 10 years ago).

      Trains are about 11.2 m or so of that total (trains = ~15.7% of all PT trips) – and that is up massively from under 2 million train trips a year 10 years ago.

      So, Trains on an annual basis are doing more to move people now than the Gillie Road On-ramp likely is, even on a good year for Gillies.

      The key thing is that train trips can increase easily right now now without needing to widen the railway or city streets – and without spending billions of dollars.
      You can’t do that with a motorway/roads.

      The only way to get more out of the motorways – without more lanes – is either more people on buses on the motorway or more carpooling of car users.
      I reckon you can all predict which one could happen and which one won’t.

      Each “lane” on a rail line can move the equivalent of many lanes of motorway car traffic – when both are “maxxed out”.

      So yep, no way can Gillies Ave claim its busier than “even” the trains right now.

      And to put it another way, the daily vehicles per day on the Auckland Harbour Bridge during weekdays is about 160,000 (give or take a little – that’s all lanes over 24 hours so covers both AM and PM peaks in both directions).

      With Rail usage in Auckland, we are now just shy of 50,000 people a day using trains – again over the whole day, on weekdays. Weekends is half that figure.

      You can say that train trips in Auckland is right now, about 1/3rd of the volume of daily Auckland Harbour Bridge traffic.

      Which is not to be sneezed at. And given buses are doing 5 times that number on top of the trains volume, you can easily see that the PT system right now moves near double the number of people to what a Harbour Bridge full of cars does every day.

      And when CRL is built it will enable trains to easily double those 50,000 people a day (if not more than that), so you could end up easily with trains moving the equivalent of 2/3rds of the AHB traffic or 100k a day – [and that's using 8 lanes of traffic to do so - and the trains are using all of two tracks].

      So to come back to the Gillies Ave being busier than the train network, even if Gillies was maxed out at say 2,200 cars an hour for 24 hours a day (which never ever happens), at average of 1.2 people per car, then that’s a RWC final crowd size of ~63,000 people a day that could in **theory** enter the motorway there – if there was room for them to do so, and at Motorway speeds, which again is pretty unlikely, but possible in theory.
      That same number of people could be also be moved by 66 buses an hour – or 1 bus a minute, each with 40 people on it.

      And if the current planned 57 EMU 3 car sets were formed into 20 “6 car sets”, each able to carry 750 people at once (a mixture of standing and sitting), running at 5 minute intervals, all day every day, then we could move 1.5 Billion people a year with those same two tracks as we have now.

      So the entire days worth of theoretical Gillies Ave on ramp traffic could be moved by 20 6 car EMUs in 25 minutes at 5 minute separation intervals or 12 Trains per per hour.

      And if for some reason every car using the Harbour Bridge had 4 people in it, and were using all 8 lanes on the bridge at the same time (not that you can do that as two of them are actually off ramps on the other side), all day every day that represents about 600 million people a year able to be moved by cars.

  • The ‘improvement’ of an American city with sprawl and it’s concomitant urban transport infrastructure:

    http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/06/24/7-photos-show-how-detroit-hollowed-out-during-the-highway-age/

Leave a Reply