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AMETI Busway gets design funding

Auckland Transport announced yesterday that $21 million had been approved, $11 million of which from the NZTA, to design the first stage in the AMETI busway which will run between Panmure and Pakuranga. A later stage will run from Pakuranga to Botany.

Funding has been approved to further develop plans for the South Eastern Busway from Panmure Station to Pakuranga.

The NZ Transport Agency has approved design funding of $20.9m, with it subsidising $11m, for the Panmure to Pakuranga section of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

It will be the next stage after the current work in Panmure, which comprised the new Panmure Station and a new link road between Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Rd.

Proposed Panmure to Pakuranga projects also include the Reeves Rd flyover in Pakuranga, replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights, a second Panmure Bridge for the busway and a shared cycle/foot path.

Auckland Transport aims to begin construction in 2017, subject to approval of construction funding and consents.

Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy says the popular Panmure Station and a new road, due to open soon, are just the start of major transport improvements for the area. “With the first stage in Panmure almost complete and delivering benefits already, we’re looking forward to the next stage. This funding will allow us to further develop the design of the busway and other major transport projects.

“Public transport is currently a poor option because buses get caught in the same congestion as cars, resulting in long travel times. Large numbers of passengers are expected to be attracted by quicker, frequent and more reliable buses on lanes separate to traffic.

“Buses will run every 5-10 minutes most of the day and travel times will be reliable. It will take about 27 minutes to get between Pakuranga and Britomart by bus and train, about 8 minutes quicker than currently. There will be bigger time savings when the busway is extended to Botany in the future. Together, the AMETI projects are aimed at improving people’s transport choices and better connecting the south eastern suburbs to each other and the rest of Auckland.”

The Transport Agency’s Regional Manager of Planning and Investment, Peter Casey, says support for Auckland projects like AMETI are a high priority for the Transport Agency. “AMETI ticks a lot of boxes for us in a very busy area of Auckland where there’s strong economic and population growth. Supporting Auckland Transport’s upgrades of a whole range of transport choices will improve safety, and make the time it takes to travel between destinations a lot more reliable for people.”

Mr Casey says the Transport Agency will contribute just over a 50% share of the total cost of AMETI – funding that comes from revenue gathered by the agency from the excise duty on fuel, road user charges and vehicle registration fees and is then reinvested in transport projects.

Auckland Transport will continue to consult with residents, businesses and the community in the project area before applying for a land designation in the second quarter of 2015. This would be followed by a publicly notified hearing.

So as a summary the design covers

  • Replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights and more direct pedestrian crossings
  • Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion
  • Panmure to Pakuranga shared cycle/foot path separate to traffic
  • Direct connection from Pakuranga Rd to Pakuranga Highway via Reeves Rd
  • Pakuranga bus station
  • Second Panmure Bridge for busway and shared path

Phase 2 map

Here’s an earlier image of how Lagoon Dr will look once completed.

Lagoon Dr

It will be fantastic once  this has been completed as the South East is so woefully under served by public transport and is the most car dependant area in all of Auckland as a result. The other thing is even with the services that exist we’re already hearing stories of huge numbers of people transferring of buses and on to trains. This trend will continue to grow with the new network and once the busway is built will be happening in huge numbers.

51 comments to AMETI Busway gets design funding

  • Separate cycleways on the bridge will be a real improvement here – it’s one of the worst places in East Auckland to be on a bike, or a motorist near a bike. Note sure how wide they’re going to be able to make that walkway heading towards Panmure though, it’s pretty narrow there at the moment as it is.

    • Max

      Hi Daniel – there will be a 3m wide shared path on the north side of the busway from Panmure Bridge to the former Panmure Roundabout. Plus, the walkway along the water on the south side will stay too, so hopefully that will be were most pedestrians will be, while cyclists use the north side.

      But the real step change is from Panmure Bridge to Pakurange (think Beach Road) and from Pakuranga to Botany (protected cycle lanes). CAA gave comment on the scheme plans a while back, and we were already mightily impressed then. A real multi-modal approach worth the name.

  • Greg N

    Ah yes, the only way to get decent PT and cycling infrastructure built – hang a motorway (or in this case, a viaduct aka “Flyover”) off the side of the project…

  • BBC

    Wish they’d stop bothering with those advance stop boxes, they’ve got to be the biggest piece of cycle-washing AT engages in and do nothing to make cycling safer.

    • Sailor Boy

      Speak for yourself. Cheapest, most effective thing that AT could do would be to put these everywhere as a first measure. If you’re ever riding along a multi lane road and want to turn right the ASL’s are a lifesaver. Pull up to the intersection and stop. You have the option to do hook turns, or wait on the left for a gap in traffic rather than trying to cut across as you reach the back of the right turning queue and then filter up the edge of a central lane.

      When you are going straight through they are even better as they tell motorists that you should be smack in the middles of that lane.

    • TheBigWheel

      I’m inclined to agree with you BBC.. often there is a car in the box anyway. And some drivers object to you riding up and taking the middle of the box, which is exactly what you are supposed to do. I was in Wellington recently (driving) and noticed they have extra symbols (a row of arrows and a small bike icon) showing everyone (i.e. drivers included) that cyclists are expected to take the lane at tje advance box. Which I felt was a decent improvement.

      Still smacks of cycle wash to me though.

    • SteveS

      On the contrary, BBC. Not only are Advance Stop Boxes cheap to put in without affecting motor vehicle capacity, they offer practical safety and amenity for cyclists. But perhaps their biggest advantage is they send a loud and clear message to motorists, “Cyclists can be expected here and have a right to be on the road in front of you”. That’s an important message to get across.

      • SteveS,

        You’re right, of course. It does say that “cyclists can be expected here [...] in front of you”. That’s the problem, in many instances.

        For one thing, in heavy traffic, it’s like a sign directing “meat goes here” on top of a meat grinder.

        But even in variable traffic, the occasional spot treatment often contradicts the more forceful, cars-first theme of in Auckland’s street designs. A much broader set of interventions is necessary to recalibrate the legibility and messaging of these streetscapes — it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, just bolder and more thoughtful.

        Whatever fringe benefit they offer, advanced stop boxes and lines don’t help construct a liveable city for ages 8-to-80.

        • Yeah bang on NM – the problem is when NZTA/AT put these in and then say “there you are – cycling is now catered for here – our work is done”.

          Children wont ride it, older people wont ride it, less confident cyclists wont ride it. It will continue to be the “brave and fearless” – I am in that category but I don’t want to be the only one on the road cycling.

          These need to be seen as a stop gap until proper cycle friendly intersections can be brought in, like these ones:

  • Luke E

    That’s a staggering amount to spend just on design. Definitely a good thing though. I don’t think AT highlights the importance of the fact that bus times will be more reliable after this, however. That will be one of the most crucial points; the buses currently experience massive delays due to traffic. The release says it’ll be an 8 minute saving, but I think it’ll be far far more than that.

    • Greg N

      Maybe it might be a big time saver, but the busway as planned so far only goes as far as Pakuranga Road/Ti Rakau drive corner (where the new Pakuranga bus station will be).

      No real plans to go beyond there any time soon, so 8 minutes may be realistic and all it will be for the forseeable future.

      When and if bus priority is put in place along Pakuranga Road or Ti Rakau then the time saving may be bigger.

      For Pakuranga Plaza Mall though, this effectively brings it 8 minutes closer to Panmure station, whether thats a good or bad thing for Panmure Shopping centre I don’t know.
      But people may be able to arrive by train, hop the bus to Pakuranga mall, go shopping, then bus back to Panmure station.

      Although they could just get off one stop earlier or later – at Sylvia Park – if they’re on the train.
      Mind you it can take about 8 minutes to actually get into that mall and find your desired shops at Sylvia Park so horses for courses I expect.

    • David L

      I certainly liked my 2 hour bus ride from Botany to CBD 2 weeks ago on Wednesday.

    • George D

      It is a huge amount, equivalent to about 60-70 people on professional wages ($70-100k), plus overheads, for a full year, or 30-40 people doing that work for two years. To design a lane that goes for about two kilometres.

      I don’t know how things are so expensive in this area, and am genuinely curious.

      • Max

        Yeah, your numbers sound about right. Why are you surprised? This includes one totally new bridge, several brand-new traffic signals (required by the busway east of the bridge), a busway, a cycleway, various side streets being closed or re-routed (most, but not all east of the bridge), significant consultation work (it crosses an old pa site, as just one wrinkle), significant geotech investigation, thousands of complexities in a very tight corridor.

        No, it doesn’t surprise me at all. I’d rather have them get it right – having to work under a too-tight money cap means things get rushed or not looked at, and then the ### hits the fan later, potentially derailing the project.

        [PS: I had some involvement with the project, but not in a paid capacity]

        • George D

          Yeah, your numbers sound about right. Why are you surprised? This includes one totally new bridge, several brand-new traffic signals (required by the busway east of the bridge), a busway, a cycleway, various side streets being closed or re-routed (most, but not all east of the bridge), significant consultation work (it crosses an old pa site, as just one wrinkle), significant geotech investigation, thousands of complexities in a very tight corridor.

          Thanks. To the uninitiated, it can sometimes look like “$X million to design green chipseal”, but in this case there are considerably more elements which need serious consideration.

  • LucyJH

    This is pretty exciting! The ride through there right now is so hideous. And it will transform cycling through East Auckland (I never cycle around East Auckland but have been through it a few times and it’s a bit hair raising right now).

  • Realist

    Why are buses being diverted AWAY from Panmure town centre? That will be a very steep walk up from Lagoon Drive or a long walk back on yourself if you have to stay on bus to where current roundabout is. Smacks of an engineering project which ignores land use patterns!

    • Fred

      Think local buses will still serve Panmure area itself. The busway is for the bulk, longer distance trips from Botany, Flat Bush etc. Speed is critically important for those trips.

      • Neil

        There was no talk of local buses when I questioned this at the open day. Great for Pakuranga but bad for Panmure residents and shop owners. They might as well bulldoze the Panmure shops and put them out of their misery.

        • Realist, Fred and Neil,

          There is always a tradeoff between frequency and coverage for a transit line. You can’t expect a frequent service to stop or detour for every place of interest or block of residences.

          That last mile gap is best accounted for by walking, cycling and sometimes feeder services or motor kiss/park & ride; or by intensified land use closer to stations, in the long term.

          The Queens Rd shops are easily within a conventional 800m walking radius of the Panmure interchange (but we know people will generally walk further, especially for frequent transit), and the rest of the neighbourhood is within a 1500m radius cycling catchment (or even closer to Lagoon Dr stops).

          I’m sure a lot more can be done to enable people to actually buy into this kind of multi-modal trip, with better neighbourhood street design for walking & cycling. AMETI isn’t delivering enough of this (rather, it’s mainly duplicating the busway with a shared path), but still the geometry of the transit line by itself is understandable.

          • Neil

            Why spend any money on the Lagoon Drive bus stop when almost no one lives within 800m, and those that do have a steep hill to climb?

          • Bryce P

            The road through the town centre could have been incorporated into the busway as a transit mall but i can only imagine the outcry from locals.

  • On a side note; It’s interesting to see AT using double decker buses in most of their imagery now…

  • Fred

    I wonder if a flyover is the smartest idea given what happened to the Basin Reserve project?

  • Luke C

    Does this funding include the Reeves Road flyover too. On some recent documents this has been mentioned as the part that gets done first.
    Worried the of then busway and flyover have sneakily been tied in together, so the flyover is needed to divert traffic to give space for the busway station. Of course there are much better ways to build a bus station than make it dependent on a flyover that will cost $100 million or so I bet.

  • Luke C

    I also spy a road crossing that requires 3 different legs just to cross one road, as the westbound pedestrian crossing is offset from the eastbound one for a spurious traffic reason I’m sure. And then there is also a missing pedestrian leg on the eastern side. Therefore someone from the houses on the right will have to cross road 4 times rather than once or twice to do something strange like walk to the lagoon. These little pedestrian hating details really frustrate me.

    • Trev

      You’d hope that little niggles in the design like that will be sorted out as part of the $21m being spent on this next, presumably more detailed, bunch of plans.

      • BBC

        That’s the thing, these aren’t design ‘niggles’ they’re intentional designs by traffic engineers who only consider the flow of vehicles. The exact same thing can be seen in central Auckland all over the place.

    • Harry 5-0

      There’s nothing to cross to on the eastern side of that intersection, there’s no footpath (and you cant walk across the south side of the bridge just off the picture at the bottom). The Lagoon – side path doesn’t start till the crossing you can see. And as that grass area is a designated archaeological site, there’s little chance of putting in a footpath.

  • justintohugs

    what about the panmure towncentre sign on the roundabout? hope they aren’t going to junk it.

  • Matt

    Does anyone have any idea when the link road between Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Road will be complete?
    It seems to be taking ages to finish it.

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