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Grey Lynn bus stop madness

Madness has set in over changes a bus stops in Grey Lynn

Public transport upgrades in Auckland’s Grey Lynn have residents and business owners worried.

Auckland Transport is planning to upgrade the bus stops at the Surrey Cres shops to make them more accessible for public transport users.

However members of the community are concerned about the village becoming a bus hub.

Business owners and residents Darryl Ojala and Soala Wilson say the new stops will have a negative effect on the town centre.

Both are campaigning to move the bus platforms out of the village.

The proposed upgrades will see the extension of the stops outside 586 and 531 Great North Rd, which would provide space for two bus routes.

At the public meeting in April 2015 business owners voiced their concerns, which included the loss of parking for their customers.

However AT spokesman Mark Hannan says the new bus stops will have greater benefits for the village and points to the “public transport strategy of having public transport to places where people do business”.

Hannan says three car parks will be lost as part of the redesign.

Ojala and Wilson formed a working group with other business owners and residents. They have drawn up alternate options for AT which would see the platforms moved 35 metres out of the village towards the Surrey Hotel.

“We are definitely not anti-buses and we encourage people to use buses but we want our area to be kept as a village,” Wilson says.

Yes they definitely are anti-bus as moving the bus stops out away from the shops has about as idiotic as it gets. For more there’s also this column in the Ponsonby News on page 22. The whole thing seems ridiculous so here’s a bit more information about what’s going on.

The whole thing began in February when AT originally proposed making changes. They want to improve safety particularly at the intersection with Surrey Cres and want to cater for a greater number of buses that are expected to use the route in the future. AT say that a minimum of 8 services per hour per direction will travel along Gt North Rd and pass through Grey Lynn. They also need to move the bus stop that’s outside 134 Williamson Ave as that’s the location of a new fire station.

To improve safety they want to add a new pedestrian crossing across Gt North Rd and for buses they proposed to extend the existing main bus stops, close one outbound stop and move the 134 Williamson Ave stop closer to the town centre. All of this would have resulted in the removal of 12 car parks.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes original proposal

It’s the removal of those carparks that first got some in the community upset and making comments such as none of their customers use buses. Some even said they want more vehicle lanes and traffic sped up.

In terms of bus usage HOP data show that over a six month period which includes the slow Christmas and New Year period over 7,000 people boarded at the city bound stop.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes Bus stop usage

Following the initial feedback Auckland Transport have even taken the step of conducting a parking survey and pedestrian intercept survey – which asks pedestrians how they got to the area. The results are quite interesting.

Pedestrian Survey

For the pedestrian survey they had over 1,000 responses over four different days including weekdays and weekend days. They found that despite the retailer’s claims, over 50% of people in Grey Lynn got there not by driving. This is similar to many other studies which have confirmed that often retailers have no clue about just how their customers arrive.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes Ped Survey - arrive

The report also states:

It is worth noting that on Saturday a surveyor overhead a retailer encouraging respondents to complete the survey and state that they travelled to the Grey Lynn town centre by car.

Most who left Grey Lynn did so via the same mode they arrived on with the biggest difference being over 20% who arrived by foot departing on a bus. Given the low car and bus share the results suggest there isn’t that much hide and ride going on.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes Ped Survey - depart 2

 

When it comes to spending there are some differences with drivers having a slightly share of spending in the higher brackets but not considerably higher.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes Ped Survey - spend

Parking Survey

For the parking occupancy survey they found that the area seems to be and well below parking thresholds.

Grey Lynn Bus Changes Parking Survey 1

 

So the short outcome of these two bits of research is that parking isn’t an issue and most people to the area don’t drive.

Following all of this AT have come up with a new version of the plan that while largely still the same makes a few minor changes and means that there will only be a net loss of three carparks as mentioned in the article at the start.

As I understand it most retailers and the local board are happy with this outcome however there is a select group who continue to fight it and as mentioned in the article want the existing bus stops pushed out of area. I’m quite not sure where things are at right now but in situations like this at what point to AT keep consulting?

98 comments to Grey Lynn bus stop madness

  • thmslcn

    Burn Grey Lynn to the ground and replace the “heritage villas” with low rise high density housing.

  • Max

    How many such changes will be coming before the 2017 new network rollout? A couple hundred? AT was sold to us by Rodney Hide with the SPECIFIC example of a non-politician-led CCO being able to make needed changes more freely. So I hope we aren’t intending to go to this kind of progress for every one of the hundreds of future changes!

    • Stu Donovan

      I think that’s a tad unfair. From what I can tell AT are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to consultation.

      If they consult less, then they’re accused of “ramming things through”, especially by local politicians looking for soapbox issues with which they can kiss the ass of vocal yokel local constituents. On the other hand, if AT consult more, then they’re accused of being inefficient.

      Go figure. And that’s ignoring the fact that there are legislative requirements under the LGA and RMA which require consultation.

      Personally, I don’t think consultation is necessarily a bad thing. Where AT could improve however, is what they’re consulting on. That is, when AT consult on changes to the transport system, such as replacing car-parks with bus stops, then the *need* for the change is not up for debate. That’s AT’s role as transport experts to determine how the transport system is to be managed most efficiently.

      AT should only consult on practical issues, such as safety and how users access the facilities. This change in focus would mean there were fewer questions like “how do you like the fact that we’ve replaced car-parks with bus stops?” and more along the lines of “can you see any critical issues with the proposed bus stops?”

      • Max

        I didn’t say consultation is wrong, or shouldn’t be done. As CAA we often profit from it. But AT as CCO WAS sold to us partly that way (faster, more efficient! ), and I remain concerned about the time and money needed to now essentially remove 3 car parks. For the cycle network, this kind of delay worries me.

      • fjcAKL

        “vocal yokel local” what a lovely turn of phrase

      • SDW

        There are actually no consultation requirements whatsoever under the RMA (s36A). There are no consultation requirements for changes to roading configurations in Auckland under the RMA if all it involves is some new road markings – that doesnt need consent. Even if a bit of earthworks are required this still wouldnt (and shouldnt) require any consultation for something so minor. This is a minor operational matter where thousands of dollars have been wasted to justify it.

        • Stuart Donovan

          yes you are right with regards to the headline RMA legislation, although district plans can still require consultation for changes to bus stops I believe, and works within the road corridor in general. The LGA, on the other hand, includes specific provisions which require consultation on “transport shelters”. You can read about how problematic these provisions are here: https://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/research/reports/561/

  • Kurt T

    They seem to consult themselves out of a job half the time.

  • Rob Mayo

    Get Gen Zero to do an independant, detailed survey of transport mode usage at the Grey Lynn shopping area. That will provide more clarity around the way forward for the bus stop locations

    • Max

      Rob, I don’t think Gen Zero would be considered neutral by opponents of such schemes! They are very strongly in favour of PT, and that’s their strength.

  • Greg N

    Seems to me that the car parks being lost are being opposed because thats where the opposing shop owners currently park their own cars.
    So they’re not looking out for their customers, they’re looking out for themselves.

    • Luke C

      Saw a large BMW with a ‘Melba’ numberplate parked on High St yesterday, near Melba on Vulcan Lane.This is presumably same guy that thinks parking is the lifeblood of his business.

      • Exactly; it’s their own parking convenience that they are fighting for, not that of their customers.

        The Melba owners take a terribly hypocritical stance: They bought a cafe in an existing pedestrianised street, presumably not just in spite of this feature, now lobbies furiously for all their competitors nearby to have to cars in front of their cafes, in order to support Melba’s street seating model…. Complains business is down since O’Connell St was improved, fails to mention all the new cafes there now with outdoor seating there… looks like increased competition, perhaps with a better offer…? Anyway there are hundreds of car parks under Chancery Lane, a place which has always struggled to hold tenancies; so it isn’t a lack of nearby parking that controls the destiny of these businesses. Could it be their own performance? And in Chancery Lane’s case; a fracturing street pattern that’s uninviting for pedestrians.

        • nonsense

          exactly. like when crane brothers complain about losing customers to newmarket. If your expensive suites aren’t worth a 3 minute walk from the carpark maybe there’s a problem with the suites, not the street.

  • Bruce

    Where’s a brick wall to bang your head on when you need it?!

  • Steve W (with a space)

    I’ve personally seen businesses object verbally to having bus stops out front. In particular, they don’t like some of the people who necessarily wait at bus stops: dirty people of all kinds / agro-looking people / people who are obviously mentally ill – shouting and cursing and annoying others. People smoking and throwing their butts everywhere and / or spitting on the footpath. All waiting for the bus. All standing between the shops and would-be customers. I suspect it isn’t the buses these businesses are objecting to so much as some of the people who use the buses. Having seen all of this first-hand I honestly can’t blame them if they have to put up with it every day. It’s not much fun waiting at some bus stops. (I’m not familiar with this particular one in Grey Lynn).

    • But you can get the exact same type of people sitting in parked cars.

    • Mab

      You know what helps with these sorts of issues? More average joe patrons utilising these bus stops, to balance out some of the more ‘colourful’ characters, and in some cases calling the Police/City Mission to see what aid or enforcement they can offer. Which I have done myself more than once with reasonable results. It also doesn’t hurt to remember that public space, is just that – public, and tolerance does need to be shown.

      Would there be similar objections to a mother and child regularly waiting at these stops, where the child (as kids are wont to do) is loudly loosing their rag, or, at the other end of normal kid behaviour, loudly voicing their happiness? Or someone with Tourettes having verbal tics (I’ve encountered what I suspect was this before), or Aspergers/Autism stimming in a way that isn’t perceived as ‘normal’ (as the son of a friend of mine who is fascinated with trains and buses does)? Would we accept businesses objections to these people waiting at bus stops outside their businesses, or would we start having a wider conversation about human rights and tolerance, and how to better manage behaviours we don’t see as ‘normal’ or ‘desirable’ in the public realm? Hint: It’s not always by removing these people.

      • Peter Nunns

        Great comment Mab. Some people want to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to people who are poor or non-neurotypical. I don’t agree with that approach – unless someone’s hurting others, they’ve got an equal right to be in a public place.

        Furthermore, getting rid of specific _vehicles_ as a way of getting rid of _people_ who are causing trouble is just plain stupid. Troublemakers make up a small share of bus users, and when you try to inconvenience them or drive them away, you’re _also_ inconveniencing everyone who’s not causing trouble. It’s a ridiculously blunt instrument.

        Also, this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnqPrDN77Xg

      • Steve W (with a space)

        From what I’ve seen, I think people are being fairly tolerant. But tolerance isn’t without limits.

    • I’m not convinced this is a bus user problem. In Mount Albert and other places you do get people hanging around the bus stops, but they’d be hanging around anywhere sheltered if they could – it’s in the nature of these down-at-heel centres. Bit of a copout for shopowners to pin these problems on buses rather than sorting their area’s problems out.

      With an egalitarian hat on – public transport is for the public entire, and yes, that includes people who we might think have mental health issues, or people who we think look “aggro” or “dirty”. The main reason these folks seem so prominent as bus users is that we keep making stupid decisions like the one being pushed for above, which make using the bus network more of a pain than it should be, and ensure that a sizable proportion of bus users are the people who just have to suck up the inconvenience because they don’t have any choice.

      • Grant

        Certainly a more frequent service will move “these” bus users away quickly anyway if they are in fact users 😉

      • Steve W (with a space)

        Shopowners don’t usually have a lot of influence where the failings in our mental health policy or social policy meet the footpath. They have no power ‘sort it out”. They usually aren’t policy wonks either. For some it’s pretty simple: the people who loiter at SOME bus stops (not all or most) deter customers from entering their shops. I could well imagine some shop owners saying the solution is move the bus stop to place adjacent to – for example – a car park. No shop fronts. Anyway….It’s no big deal. I just didn’t see it mentioned in the original post….yet it is the most obvious reason in some parts of town for not wanting a bus stop in front of one’s shop. I spent several days at a business in Henderson….and people from the bus stop would wander in and help themselves to the free mints on the counter intended for customers. Some of these people looked a bit rough and the staff at this business were intimidated. This is about 150m away from where that dairy owner was stabbed to death.

  • Glyn

    There are loads of car parks nearby anyway – I’ve listed them all before on the transport blog. Agree this is ‘madness’, over 3 car spaces!

  • I have been thinking about the problem of this kind of reaction by retailers for a while, as it’s so consistent, whether it’s fancy fashion ones or Grey Lynn battlers. Retailers all want to attract more customers, obviously having a local resource of residents and workers immediately adjacent is the first good bet [not great here]. Then to make their shop and the whole precinct into an appealing destination in itself, and, especially for main street precincts like Grey Lynn to somehow access the thousands passing through in vehicles each day. But why are retailers only are obsessed with only one sort of potential customer, that one that would stop driving if only there was a that perfect park outside their shop, but remain adamant in their objection to getting MANY MORE CUSTOMERS DELIVERED RIGHT TO THEIR FRONT DOORS in buses. In addition to those drawn to the precinct in order to catch the bus. Here are some observations:

    1. Like most people, when thinking about preferences retailers tend to generalise from their own particular experience: The fallacy of ‘moving from the particular to the general’. And they almost all only drive themselves, so therefore immediately and exclusively imagine that all their customers are the same. And as they drive to their own shops regularly ‘finding a park’ becomes their primary obsession, magnified by the sense that they themselves are entitled to free and convenient parking adjacent to their shops [note; this experience not really about customers].
    2. Bus stops either look empty or too full: The former looks like nothing is going on, the later blocks the view of their shop, especially from a passing car. Conversely a car parked all day does little business but it looks full unlike an empty bus stop. Retail is a passive business, there is a need to attract customers visually and most retailers are obsessed with the appearance of the store, controlling every detail, cars are invisible [because good see 1] but buses hide their shops.
    3. The people they notice at bus stops will tend not to be bus users and shoppers but any loiterers and hangers around, they conflate these non-customers with all bus users. Anyway [see 1] all good customers are drivers.

    • Peter Nunns

      Why don’t you turn this comment into a blog post, Patrick?

    • wayne

      They also seem to take it personally when you try to argue with them and then they dig their toes in. They seem to think that because they have made a statement it is the absolute gospel and any challenge is a call to arms. You get this with cycle lanes as well.

    • Stu Donovan

      While I often shake my head at these people, I think there’s some “rational” reasons behind some of the retailers’ attitudes to public transport. I have used parentheses because I think they’re implausible, even if I can appreciate some of the underlying logic.

      This logic goes something along the following lines:

      Premise 1: Customers who walk and/or use public transport are more “captive” than those who drive. That is, they have less flexibility about where they spend money, and often have less money to begin with (hence why they are not driving in the first instance).
      Premise 2: In contrast, people who drive have more flexibility about where/when they travel. They are also more likely to buy more things, because it’s easy to take with you (this is especially important for retailers selling bulky items).
      Conclusion: Maximising retail spend is achieved by attracting marginal, high-value customers = drivers.

      Now I don’t agree with this logic for at least three reasons:
      – Premise #1 and #2 may not hold, especially in inner-city areas. From what I can tell, people who walk, bus, and use PT are likely to be quite sensitive to amenity.
      – Maximising revenue is the wrong goal. Instead, retailers should focus on maximising profit (i.e. revenue minus costs). In this context, I would argue that attracting an extra car driver is often quite expensive in terms of road and parking infrastructure. Plus every additional driver will delay other drivers. In contrast, the marginal cost from attracting extra PT users is much lower: Hence, the fact they spend less is not so much of an issue, because they cost less to provide for in the first place.
      – Plus, a lower spend per visit by people who use PT may be offset by more frequent visits – thereby increasing the total spend by PT customers.

      The other thing which comes into play is that, more often than not, retailers are older than the average Aucklander. Hence, they are more likely to be in the “drive everywhere, all the time” demographic. What they don’t understand is that their generation is the anomaly: Most generations of Aucklanders (both older and younger) do not rely on cars to the same degree as their generation.

      • Peter Nunns

        Generally agreed, but with a couple provisos:

        1. Retail (like most business activities) involves a range of fixed and variable costs. Rents are an important fixed cost – shops pay the same rent regardless of how many units they sell. In this context, maximising revenue will also tend to maximise profit. (It gets a bit more complicated when you realise that retailers don’t earn the same margin on all goods – but in my experience larger goods are not necessarily higher-margin.)

        2. Retailers don’t necessarily care about the costs of providing transport infrastructure and parking because they don’t bear most of those costs. However, they _do_ feel a strong sense of ownership over publicly-provided carparks, which to my mind is just plain absurd. Their position is sometimes one of rational subsidy-grubbing – i.e. insisting that ratepayer money be spent to further the perceived interests of their business. If you can get away with it, why not?

        3. That said, the cost of providing transport infrastructure _is_ a concern for public providers like AT. They’re well within their rights to propose new bus stop locations that will increase the efficiency of the PT network, as long as they don’t excessively compromise the amenity of the place. I find that hard to believe that would be the case – for example, the Mt Eden shops get many more buses through an hour and they are doing just fine.

        • mfwic

          Perhaps if there was some sort of rule requiring retailers to provide their own parking?

          • Matthew W

            Not necessary, there just needs to be an understanding that AT does not guarantee a level of parking provision using public roads or property, and will manage limited resources as it sees fit.

          • Stuart Donovan

            such rules exist; they patently don’t work and in the process do a lot of damage!

          • mfwic

            Clearly the true goal of the Council is to kill off retailing outside of shopping malls. If the shop owners had any sense they would take the hint and go somewhere with parking that can’t be taken away by AT.

          • Peter Nunns

            The shopping mall is an interesting creature, even if I don’t spend a lot of time in them myself. The economic proposition is essentially built around three phenomena:

            1. Agglomeration economies arising from colocation of retail activity – the idea that there are positive spillovers from colocation
            2. Cost savings from shared parking facilities – the idea that you can save money by sharing parking between activities with different peaks in demand (e.g. cinemas and shops)
            3. Internal walkability and active “street” frontages – the idea that people need to be on foot to spend money, even if they arrived by a different mode.

            In a way, the shopping mall crystallises many of the phenomena that are important in cities.

          • Deleman

            But then brutally divests them spatially from the live and work environment, because by trying to recreate a large walking wall with lots of shops in a core cluster, they tend to be built somewhere in the greenfields outside of town and have a chicken/egg tendency to build/require huge roads to serve.

          • mfwic

            It is more than agglomeration. Malls solve the tragedy of the commons by limiting the number of shops to a level that works for the retailers and locating them with anchor tenants who pay lower rents but drag in the punters for the specialty tenants. And these days particularly parking is becoming an anchor. They then create a safe and pleasant environment inside where you can let go of your kid’s hand and walk around without idiots in cars tooting at you. Malls don’t do shared spaces!

          • That’s the great irony isn’t it, apart from the ease of access (usually) afforded by abundant parking, the main reason people love malls is that there are no cars around!

          • mfwic

            No irony. We design them that way. Park once and walk. No diesel buses sitting in the middle idling their engines, no beggars, no rain.

          • Nick R

            The irony is they flood people’s neighborhoods with traffic in the search of a traffic free place. A bitter irony for those that live nearby, but not inside, St Luke’s mall for example.

          • Deleman

            No buskers, no political expression allowed, no non-chain-stores. Heaven – the public spaces for the controlled, sanitised corporate world of the future.

          • mfwic

            No religious nutters asking you the time so they can strike up conversation and ask you to their church, no dog shit on the ground, no chunder to step over, no south westerly and no sorry looking people standing in your way waiting for a bus that isn’t going to show up.

  • nemisis

    Hang on a moment ,loud polluting bus spreading its fumes everywhere while the engine is left running at the stop ;fumes wafting over the footpaths and into the shops where people are eating or browsing,talking on the footpath or sitting watching the people go by.. The bus stops need to be on the edge of the shopping precinct not in the middle.
    I favour quality of environment and a few xtra meters to the stop is not going to hurt anyone. I think people are getting a little carried away .PT has its place but at the expense of a better pedestrian environment in the village, no way

    • Nathan

      What about the cars streaming past and all their fumes? There are many more cars than buses going through the area but the cars don’t provide the majority of shoppers.
      I also favour quality of environment, and a few extra metres for anyone parking a car will do them some good.

      • nemisis

        agreed widen the footpaths and reduce or remove traffic. The bus stops still need to on the fringe of the village

      • nemisis

        Village may not be the trendy term at the moment (placemaking seems popular ) however the grey Lynn shopping strip is still the heart of the local community and I would say a fair bit of the business coming to this strip will be from locals walking. to the shops. Patrick I still take issue that the bus stop needs to be in the—- village ( oophs shopping strip) If the the retail is replaced by a combination of retail with apartments above then this whole corner could become a thriving pedestrian environment with wider footpaths,ditch the roadside carparking and reduce the tarmac to one lane each way dedicated to PT only. This area would then rock. The stops should then be at the fringe of the shops to reduce noise and fumes for residents and shoppers.

        • I guess I just don’t share your bus hate; I certainly would like the vehicles themselves to be quieter and cleaner, and believe both are slowly [too slowly!] getting there, but I disagree that they should be shoved to the margins of civic life as they have been all through the motoring/sprawl age. Like bike riders, all Transit users should be delivered right to the front door, precisely for the benefit of place; for the opportunities they offer for increased commercial and social interaction. People alighting from buses and those waiting for them should at the busiest points where there is activation, interest, and increased safety. Buses are fountains of people, people are customers.

          I agree that the aim is wider footpaths, better pedestrian environment, and apartments and/or offices above. But none of this is inconsistent with great bus access, on the contrary: You will note that there is one section of wider footpath at these shops now; at the bus stop. Buses can the source of both people and the necessary place upgrade.

    • Dave B (Wellington)

      The answer is to move to clean, green electric trolleybuses like Wellington has.
      – Or should I say, has had, at least up to now.
      – Has, but is in the process of losing.
      – Should have, based on strong environmental principles.
      – Would have, if GWRC were a little less myopic.
      – Could have, if certain people in charge were deservedly given the boot.
      – May yet have, far into the future, when a smarter generation has taken control and the Baby-Vroom-Vroomers have finally handed over the keys.

      Who knows what Grey Lynn will be like then!

  • Anthony

    Those parks on Williamson Ave are a pain anyway. Cars backing in and pulling U turns when they leave hold up traffic and create a cycle hazard.

  • Early Commuter

    Solution:
    1. No busstop
    2. No carparks

    Everybody loses, the village gains pedestrian amenity, and everyone can stop crying

  • Doloras LaPicho

    People who talk about the Surrey Cres shops being a ‘village’ which would be spoiled by more buses are trying to pull a fast one on people who don’t live in Grey Lynn and think that it’s all gentrified. The Surrey Cres shops include a TAB-tavern, two pizza joints, two chippies and a few junk shops. There are always one or two homeless people around “spanging” (soliciting your spare change). It is NOT that fancy already, nor should it be (go to Richmond Road for your fancy needs).

    • Matthew W

      The use of the term village really grates with me. It is a fallacious argument. You redefine a suburban retail centre as a “village”. “Village” evokes images of some quaint untouched settlement in the Cotswalds or Lake district. Of course it needs protecting! For goodness sake these are local centres in a large metropolis of 1.5m people! I am looking at you Milford, St Heliers, Devonport, Birkenhead, Parnell, Remuera etc etc.

      • Yes this isn’t a village. It is a struggling Main Street and it needs all the help it can get. But there is a contradiction at the heart of the private vehicle based retail model in that the driver is a fickle customer, able to speed on to the competition elsewhere easily, and anyway reluctant to stop once underway, and going too fast to be tempted by the unexpected offer.

        One explanation for the comparative higher spend by people on bikes is that they are easily interuptible and tempted to stop because of their slower pace. Rationally retailers should be keen on any changes that slow driving, make likely trips to be more local, ie frustrate longer distance through movement through their precincts. Make place. Bring people on foot.

        But once retailers decide their business depends only on drivers they inevitably lobby against their own interests. Why aren’t they at a suburban mall if they only sell to drivers?

        And, as the data shows that there is plenty of available parking; why aren’t the shops all booming on the back of this vital resource? Perhaps their problems are not all about drivers and parking? Tempting I’m sure as it is to blame a public service provider for all your business problems and inadequacies.

        • “But once retailers decide their business depends only on drivers they inevitably lobby against their own interests. Why aren’t they at a suburban mall if they only sell to drivers?”

          Exactly. And which businesses do these two local champions run, so I can avoid them?

      • That term rarks me up, too. “Village” sums up the sort of dead-end hamlet with nothing to do, a long way to go to get anywhere else, and everyone knowing everyone else since they were kids. That’s not why I live in a city! If I wanted that, I’d go move to an actual village (or more realistically, a town, which is what Grey Lynn would be if it wasn’t surrounded by the rest of Auckland).

  • Stuart

    When a new bus stop was proposed on our street outside our neighbours late last year, the consultation document that we got through the post specifically said that the decision was made and that they would only accept submissions on safety concerns and not on the wider issue of is the stop needed.

    How come in this case AT don’t just say to them, the decision has been made. Is it all the fault of the compliant media?

  • The Waitematā Local Board hasn’t been asked to comment or take a position on the proposals yet (we will provide a response after we’ve heard the feedback through AT’s public consultation process) but we did ask AT to commission the parking and pedestrian surveys because of concerns about a lack of parking and the perception that shoppers do not use the bus (and a very common perception that “80% of customers arrive by car” – I’ve heard this many times with regards to all our town centres but I think it comes from a survey that was carried out in Newmarket a few years ago).

    Personally I think what is currently proposed goes towards delivering on the Grey Lynn precinct concept (developed by the Grey Lynn Business Association) and together with future developments like new cycleways, gateway treatments and new bus routes (as well as working with landlords to make the large amounts of off- street parking tucked behind the shops more accessible) has the potential to be positive for retailers, shoppers and the local community.

    My response to John Elliott’s column in Ponsonby News
    http://www.pippacoom.co.nz/news/grey-lynn-transport-project/

    • “a very common perception that “80% of customers arrive by car” – I’ve heard this many times with regards to all our town centres but I think it comes from a survey that was carried out in Newmarket a few years ago”

      Possibly true for that particular centre. Cameron Brewer had to get his warped perceptions somewhere I guess.

  • Dan

    It seems like they already view the bus stops as car parks:

    http://imgur.com/Y1aMR02.jpg
    http://imgur.com/uBRhfaS.jpg
    http://imgur.com/EQ8198r.jpg

    Happens all day long.

  • I have commuted to these bus stops for the past 17 years. The one thing that really irks me is that all buses (except 010) go to the same destination (Britomart) but depart from different stops (030 and, in earlier times, the Ritchie services in Williamson Ave), the rest outside the TAB. So you had to always take a decision which stop to wait at to get the first bus (timetables, this far into their routes, are useless). The obvious solution is to have a combined bys stop outside the old cinema. Too sensible of course, that’s why it never happened.

    • Same problem here. Worked in the area for three years. Would have loved to bus from Browns Bay to work but the trip to and from Grey Lynn from Britomart (or reverse) took longer than BB to town. The split bus stops you mention was aggravating in the extreme. Pick one, buses come along to the other.

      Also, no one is really mentioning that it is the colossal clusterfuck that is the Gt Nth Rd / Surrey Cres intersection that really screws this ‘village’, not the provision of PT and where it might stop.

    • Charles

      Split bus stops are no longer an issue in the new central bus proposal – the 030 has been binned. Some extra enforced crossfit for anyone living down the Williamson hill…

  • Luke C

    In related news I saw several people get on my Great North Road bus this morning clutching a cup of coffee, including one at Grey Lynn. Shows in a little way how businesses benefit from being nearby bus stops. Would love to have a coffee shop next to my bus stop.

    • Early Commuter

      You may not take food or drink onto a bus. Did you tell them this and ask them to discard their drinks?

      • Mab

        Drinks are in fact permissible if they have lids (pleasantly surprised to see that stipulated in some of the newer bus models doing the rounds).

      • Actually these rules are inconsistent and need clearing up.

        NZ Bus’ rule for a while was “no drinks without lids” but signs saying this seem to have disappeared lately.
        Signs at Northern Busway stations with in-station coffee outlets say that coffee on the bus is OK.

        Personally I think drinks should be allowed within reason and I think requiring lids is a good balance. It will help increase service attractiveness.

        In my years using buses and trains, I’ve only been challenged about bringing a drink on a bus once by a Birkenhead driver, and it was so near empty anyway that I just finished it, binned it and got on.

      • doloras

        I hope not, because – unless he’s the driver – that would be extremely annoying, the kind of thing a busybody would do.

        • Lord Maths

          Yes, of course. Let the authorities handle everything, we don’t have any responsibility as members of civil society.
          See someone about to drive drunk? Don’t confront them and take their keys – after all, if they kill someone at least you weren’t a busybody
          Spot someone being rude to a waitress? Don’t confront them. Let the waitress take the abuse, at least you weren’t a busybody

          For a website founded on the ideal of public transport, you take an oddly libertarian view.

          • Max

            Lol, not sure that Doloras signed up to any particular views just for permission to post here.

            And on a more substantial point, there IS a difference between your examples – a rather massive gradation, in fact. From something potentially annoying (eating on bus) to something clearly rude (being rude to waitress) to something potentially lethal (drink driving). I think it is perfectly reasonably to consider your response / intervention (or lack of one) on the same scale. In fact, a civil society thrives on the fact that we neither ignore everything, nor stick our noses into everything.

  • JimboJones

    AT probably need to have a set of policies around this exact issue, it seems like they approach it differently every time. The policy should state that while AT will listen to submissions on removing carparks, moving bus stops, etc, they will have the final say after listening to all concerns and will not begin another round of consultation unless they deem it necessary. The policy should also say that providing parking for business owners is of lesser importance than providing good safe roads, public transport, cycling and walking.

    • Darius

      All those policies already exist, in law re required consultation / re who owns what in public realm and current AT strategies (re car parking removal for other uses – recently passed parking strategy)!

      They need to stick up for them, is the issue!

  • The Real Matthew

    AT are so far out of their depth.

    The pedestrian survey they have conducted is irrelevant to the situation. What is relevant is how people who actually buy things travel to the area. A commuter who walks to the bus stop and catches the bus every day but never buys anything is not relevant as their behaviour wont be affected by shifting the bus stops 35 metres up the road.

    I will suggest that a very high percentage of car users would shop (why else would you drive there) while other modes will include a higher percentage of people who commute through the area but don’t shop.

    This basic error shows the inherent bias of AT against drivers. They are an incompetent organisation which has no leadership, lacks skills and seems to lap up the anti-car propaganda being distributed by a small section of our community.

    • doloras

      You are an astroturfer.

      • harrymc

        I can think of a more appropriate name for him, Doloras.

        • Max

          If we assume Transport Blog gets astroturfers, the question then, would be: Who pays for their work?

          • harrymc

            Would anyone actually pay for the drivel spouted by that guy?

          • Max

            It’s a serious question though – even if a specific person is not paid, is it unrealistic that somebody might be? We’re not THAT small in NZ – and NZ is not that politically pure – that it can’t happen.

            And “sowing doubt” in a reader’s mind is actually easier than you think. Doesn’t have to be reasoned or reasonable.

            Or some of our politicians wouldn’t get away with their “Well, I disagree [with your scientifically based/fact-based] opinion [because I don’t like what the science/facts imply]” attitudes

    • That’s a weak argument: clearly more drivers drive past these shops without stopping and never buy anything, than those who stop and shop; this is a four lane road. With the bustops moved to the shops there obviously greater chance of people on the sidewalk being tempted into a shop. And these may well be, as you assert, currently not customers, so therefore the most valuable kind of customer; a new one. Only a pedestrian can enter a shop; the likelihood of someone on the pavement, alighting from a bus, or heading to a stop, diverting into a shop is high. Drivers have to know they want to stop and visit, a much more difficult group to ensnare, especially for these shops on such highway.

    • KLK

      “anti-car propaganda” . Zzzzz…….boring.

      Its 3 car parks vs better PT. A no-brainer, unless you are against better PT.

  • kelvin

    More education is needed for the general public about the benefits of public transport and intensification.

    Espacially for the baby boomer generation who used to grow up in suburbs.

    • Max

      A big loud “meh!” on education… spend the time and money on better PT itself first, not on educating people.

      The boomers are actually quite right on one thing – in many places of Auckland, PT still is pretty uncompetitive, even compared to driving in heavy traffic.

      Where the boomers are wrong is in their subconcious (or in some cases concious) attitude that this cannot/will not change! I doubt we can “educate” that attitude out of them. We need to show them, by building / operating better PT.

  • Stuart Donovan

    as a regular visitor to these shops I would hazard a guess that the bus stops generate far more retail activity per linear metre of kerb space than a couple of car-parks. People who use these bus stops are very likely to buy stuff on their way to/from the bus … and to do so regularly.

    I think this is a situation where a couple of well-heeled but ignorant locals are just plain wrong, and the fact they tried to influence the survey suggests they are perfectly aware that they might be wrong.

    They’re entitled to their views of course, but so is AT. As a rate-payer my preference is for the bus stops to be located such that they generate the most patronage (and by extension fare revenue), so that we can have more service for the same PT investment.

  • nemisis

    yeah but its still not logical to have the stops in the middle of the shops where they decrease amenity for adjacent shops and their users especially if the buildings are redeveloped as reatils with apartments above,the footpaths are widened to remove onstreet carparks and the road is reduced to one lane each way solely devoted to PT. This whole corner could look so cool IF we had enough vision to create a precinct that allowed both business to survive plus boost the number of dwellings while reducing the amount of noise and pollution. Walking to the edge of this centre is not going to be hard, whats the problem ???? Short range vision is the biggest problem in Auckland… now is the time to dream big and push for something much better.

    • stu donovan

      Its logical to have pt close to where people travel to and from. This corner location is accessible to surrounding area and activities.

    • Nemesis: PT users are actually key to any kind of successful redevelopment here: they are the necessary economic force to make it viable. Britomart above ground can only happen because of Britomart below ground, and the buses and ferries. Don’t wish people away; if you want this area to thrive you’ve got to welcome this resource every way possible.

  • Auckland Transport has confirmed that consultation on the new proposals is taking place 2- 20 November. There have been a number of comments about whether consultation is necessary. I think it definitely is because what is now proposed is different to the original proposal with wider impacts/benefits (AT has also given an undertaking of further consultation).

    In February AT “consulted” on bus stop changes that required the removal of 12 car parks (it was more of a notification that the works were happening). It is not surprising there was a strong negative reaction about the process and what was planned. AT reconsidered and have come back with a much improved proposal based on the feedback. There are lots of examples of where community input has ensured a much better outcome.

    • Forgive my ignorance, but what form does the consultation usually take?

    • Max

      Hi Pippa – thanks for the update. I am a bit conflicted on this. On the one hand, as said earlier, CAA and cycling do often profit from consultation, and it’s true that good consultation can totally improve the outcomes. On the other hand, it still needs a bit of spine on AT’s side, and sometimes extra consultation is NOT required.

      Case in point – the new proposal with only 3 car parks lost. I bet I could tell you lots of ways to make it much better by removing another 3 more. Yet now, through consultation on the new scheme, the undertaking seems to be “keeping all your parking as much as possible is one of our key goals”. That worries me, as we are proposing to put a Urban Cycleway Program cycleway through here within the next 2-3 years. That won’t be pssible without parking removal. Yet we’re now indicating to the locals that AT is willing to significantly redesign even a relatively small project, mainly on parking grounds.

      I AM and remain worried.

  • Penny Bright

    Folks – what is ‘PUBLIC’ about so-called ‘public transport’ in Auckland?

    There are 10 private bus companies, 4 private ferries and a French multi-national which operates and manages Auckland trains.

    How much public subsidy is/ has been provided to these PRIVATE passenger transport providers since Auckland Transport came into existence on 1 November 2010?

    Auckland Transport won’t provide that information in an ‘open, transparent and accountable way’ – claiming this information is ‘contractually confidential’.

    (I know because I asked.)

    In my view – that’s outrageous.

    It’s PUBLIC money – where EXACTLY is it being spent?

    If the private sector are so ‘efficient’ – why do they need public subsidies?

    Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage?

    Where’s the ‘cost-benefit’ analysis, which PROVES that public subsidy of private passenger services is a ‘cost-effective’ use of public money?

    How can you do a proper ‘cost-benefit’ analysis if you don’t know exactly (and accurately) where the costs fall?

    Why aren’t bus, ferry and train services brought back ‘in house’ under the ‘public service’ model?

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’
    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.