Now that’s a traffic jam

Think Auckland has a congestion problem, take a look at these images from China a few days ago on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway. It’s the result of people heading home at the end of a week long national holiday.

China Congestion

China Congestion 2

The bottleneck kind of reminds me of this image from Sydney – and which is equally appropriate for another road based harbour crossing



Auckland Road Performance

Every month we report on what’s happening with public transport patronage however Auckland Transport also report on many other metrics too such as how roads are performing. In this post I’ll look at some of those other metrics.

Instead of just measuring traffic volumes, AT use a measurement called Arterial Road Productivity which is a based on how many vehicles, how fast they’re travelling and how many people they have in them. To me this seems like a very bad metric primary because it only seems to count people in vehicles. It could also be interpreted as encouraging bigger and faster roads as a way of improving the metric which goes against many of the city’s wider goals. In saying that another way to improve the result could be improving vehicle occupancy so therefore bus lanes which speed up buses carrying more people will improve productivity. Regardless it seems that AT is performing quite well and is above target.

The second metric is AM Peak Arterial Road Level of Service and as you can see even then around 80% of arterials aren’t considered congested.

Aug-15 Road Productivity

The next set of charts look at how a number of key freight routes are performing. For each of these routes AT have a target for how long it should take to travel. As you can see for almost all of the routes the target has been at least met and some such as on Kaka St/James Fletcher Dr/Favona Rd/Walmsley Rd the target has been significantly exceeded. If the results here are indicative of other parts of the road network then they certainly don’t support calls from the freight industry for significant projects such as the East-West link.

Aug-15 Freight Routes 1

Aug-15 Freight Routes 2

Aug-15 Freight Routes 3

Parking obviously plays a big role in transport and AT measure occupancy rates for both on street and off street carparks. On street parks are only measured quarterly and the result is based on top four busiest hours of the day at each of the three sites around the city centre. The last survey occurred in August and as you can see at the upper level of AT’s target. This suggests there’s possibly room to increase prices to better manage demand.

Occupancy at AT’s off street carparks have dropped quite a bit recently which is almost certainly attributed to the change in parking prices at the beginning of August.

Aug-15 Parking Occupancy

One area that isn’t looking great is road safety with the number of deaths and injuries 6% above target.

Aug-15 Road deaths and injuries

While AT don’t publish monthly traffic volumes, the NZTA does for some selected state highways. The one we look at closest is the Harbour Bridge which is currently experiencing a growth rate of around 1% p.a. Compared to the other state highways that the NZTA publish this appears incredibly low as most are experiencing growth of around 5% annually – although off a lower base.Aug-15 AHB Traffic Volumes

Overall – with the exception of road safety – it seems that our local roads are not performing too badly.

The Future Design of Albert Street

Albert Street is going to be a mess for a few years while the City Rail Link is constructed and a report to the councils Auckland City Centre Advisory Board highlights that we can expect it to be reinstated looking better than it does now. The section involved is only that affected by the enabling works which is everything north of Wyndham St. They say there has been over 12 months of design and consultation to come up with the current plans which will create “a high-quality urban street which functions as a key bus corridor while providing improved pedestrian access and amenity“.

The history so far:

  • July 2014 – brief completed
  • August 2015 – consultant team engaged – ACADO
  • March 2015 – concept/reference design completed
  • April 2015 – brief updated to support findings from reference design work
  • May 2015 – consultant team engaged – Boffa/BECA
  • July 2015 – draft developed design completed for review and further feedback
  • August 2015-September 2015 – final amendments made, final option prepared for sign off
  • September 2015-October 2015 – Albert Street detail design/tender drawings

The developed design is below, if differs slightly from the reference design we saw in April with the biggest change seeming to be the lane layout of the downtown development – although there may be other changes that can’t be seen due to the low res image.

Lower Queen St and Albert St public realm Sep 15

Below are the key design outcomes that AT have come up with.

Albert St Key Design Outcomes

Most of this is good although a couple of potential concerns stand out. One being the last point that the section of Albert St between Customs and Quay Street will be bus only except for local traffic. That combined with some of the images below suggests that there will be access to underground parking in the middle of the bus interchange.

The other main concern is that there will be no segregated cycle provision. The street on these sections is very wide and my personal observations is that a lot of cyclists use Albert St to get up from Quay St up to the middle of town. It seems that having a cycle facility at least on the uphill section would be useful. It seems based on the latest image from AT on their planned city centre cycle map that they instead want cyclists to use Federal St which long term will be a shared space.

Below are some images of what’s proposed.

On the Wyndham to Swanson section the biggest difference is the wider footpaths. Currently there is space southbound for the bus stops and a separate bus lane however now it seems that will be combined in one lane. Similarly there is currently a separate right turn lane Northbound into Swanson St which will in future be combined with the general traffic lane.

Albert St Design - Wyndham to Swanson

On the Swanson to Customs Section there are a couple of notable differences to what exists now. The wider footpaths take over the parking/loading zone space outside Quay West building and the northbound bus stops are concentrated opposite this rather than split between that location and just south of Wolfe St


Albert St Design - Swanson to Customs

And here is an image of what it would look like – although it seems the traffic are on the wrong sides of the road.

Albert St Design - Swanson to Customs - graphic

And a prettier version from April.

Albert St post CRL

The section between Customs and Quay St where the bus interchange will be. As mentioned earlier you can see there appears to be an entrance to an underground carpark on the eastern side – where one exists now – although it appears not one further north to the HSBC building carpark. Perhaps this suggests the HSBC carpark with views overlooking the harbour will be redeveloped as part of the mall redevelopment.


Albert St Design - Customs to Quay

Albert St Design - Customs to Quay - 1


Albert St Design - Customs to Quay - 2They say the next steps are:

  • Tidy up plans, create supporting illustrations for communications. – September, October 2015
  • Get formal agreements for funding from relevant and various sources – October, November 2015
  • Complete and agree canopies to lower Albert (Downtown development surrounds) working with Precinct, AT, AC, ACPL combined. September, October 2015
  • Present design to relevant PCG’s, Committees, Boards for information. September, October 2015
  • Complete detail drawing as part of tender document for C2 contract. September, October 2015

It’s good to see some progress and the report notes that the advisory board have previously endorsed in principle the allocation of about $7 million from the City Centre Targeted Rate to go towards the street improvements.

Lastly it might be a while before they start focusing on it but I’m really interested to see how they’ll deal with the two sections south of Wyndham St which have service lanes narrowing the road space available.

Slip Lanes be gone

The council is hailing the fact that just over one quarter of the slip lanes in the city centre have been removed over the last few years. This is excellent news for pedestrians as it will make many intersections much safer.

Pedestrian safety and access in the city centre has taken another step forward with the removal of three ‘free left turns’ at intersections as part of the upgrade of Beach Road.

More than a quarter of the turns (11 out of 40) have now been removed from the city centre since 2012, when the City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) advocated their removal. A free left turn is one where traffic is regulated by lights when going straight or turning right, but vehicles can turn left without a signal.

Local Board chair Shale Chambers says: “These turns can make crossing a road unsafe and unpleasant for people on foot, especially for younger or vulnerable pedestrians, so it’s great to see this progress in such a short space of time.

“The city centre is rapidly becoming a much more pleasant place to walk, with these improvements adding to the creation of a laneway circuit. This helps the centre buzz, which in turn attracts people and – crucially – business investment. “

The completion of stage 2 of the Beach Road project removed the free left turns at the intersections with Britomart Place and Tangihua Street. The first stage of the Beach Road upgrade removed two others, while more have been removed along Mayoral Drive and at the bottom of Albert Street.

Council design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid says “Free left turns tend to create over-sized intersections that encourage vehicles to travel too fast, compromising pedestrian safety. Instead, the focus needs to be on creating a vibrant and pleasant walking, shopping or browsing environment, where people can walk with confidence.

“Rather than being anti-car, removing these slip lanes can be a win for everyone. If people can cross more quickly, this can also reduce waiting times for cars.”

The remaining 29 include four along Symonds Street, eight along the Grafton Gully and five surrounding Victoria Park.

Here’s a map of the status of all slip lanes in Auckland. It’s worth noting that this only includes ones where there is a free left turn, so situations like the intersection on Nelson St and Fanshawe St where the slip lanes are signalised are not counted.

City Centre Free Left Turns 2015

Here’s one example of slip lanes that have been removed. This is the intersection of Beach Rd and Tangihua St, and with the slip lanes traffic would travel at speed through the slip lanes.

Beach - Tangihua St slip lanes

And now that the Beach Rd project has removed the slip lanes.

Beach - Tangihua St slip lanes gone

One of the reasons slip lanes are so dangerous is that they can shift drivers’ focus away from what’s in front of them, and instead they focus on what traffic may be coming from the right to see if they can get through the lane without stopping. Depending on the situation, that could result in them speeding up to get ahead of approaching traffic or braking sharply to avoid a crash, but almost always the last thing on their mind will be the person on the left who may be trying to cross the road. This isn’t surprising, as if you’re in a metal box you’re much more at risk from other metal boxes than you are from squishy humans.

There are a few questions from this, including how long until we can get the rest of the slip lanes removed, why aren’t we removing them from suburbs all across Auckland, and why are we still letting engineers design them into projects?

AT September Board Meeting

Tomorrow the Auckland Transport board have their next meeting and here’s the information from the reports that caught my attention. As usual I’ve started with the items on the closed session items for approval/decision that look interesting.

  • Northern Busway – Presumably this is talking about the latest plans for the busway. The NZTA should be building the busway but it will be AT who build stations and obviously run services on it. Of note, the NZTA said on Friday that one of the clear themes from their recent consultation was related to the busway

Strong recognition that the Northern Busway extension would help improve not only bus service speed and reliability, but also reduce motorway congestion further. The majority of feedback supported the idea of an additional bus station being considered on the extension, and many people talked about the importance of car parking at the stations.

  • LRT Alignment – This was also on the agenda at the last meeting.
  • Corporate Accommodation – Long Term Strategy – AT are currently spread out across numerous buildings across the city. Many functions are based in the city but they also have a decent presence in Henderson, Smales Farm and Manukau. Could they be looking to combine staff into a single building?
  • Masterbrands – AT seem to be splitting off different parts of the organisation into separate brands. One of those is AT Metro which is their public transport brand and another is AT HOP which is currently only used for PT but will eventually be used for other payments.
  • CRL Update

It would be interesting to know what was being discussed. Moving on to the main business report.

It appears that AT will get a decent saving on their insurance for trains which I’m gathering is due to the electrics being safer. It also sounds like they’re close to selling the old diesel rolling stock

Rolling stock insurance is due for renewal at 31 October 2015. Initial market quotes indicate that a saving of approximately $100,000 is likely to be achieved on the 2014/15 premium for a similar loss limit.

Further progress on the diesel train sale process was achieved during the month with a visit from representatives of the prospective purchaser and further discussions on shipping and payment arrangements.

AT are obviously impacted a lot by the growth that is or will be happening across the region. They say they are working with the NZTA on business cases to identify what transport infrastructure is needed over 30 years for the large greenfield development areas in the North West and South. They also say

A number of business cases are also being developed on the rapid transit network. These include the Northwestern Busway and a business case for the addition of a station(s) along the proposed Northern Busway Extension. A business case is also progressing for improvements to Fanshawe Street in the vicinity of the Wynyard Quarter.

AT have outlined a few consultation/public information days that will be coming up soon.

  • Consultation for the New Network covering the Isthmus and East Auckland starts 1 October
  • Consultation for the Quay St cycleway between Hobson St and Tapora St starts in October
  • AT’s Community Liaison Group on the Franklin Rd Rd upgrade starts later in October and is made up of representatives from Franklin Road, CAA, utility companies, the Waitemata Local Board and AT.
  • AT have outlined the changes to the city centre for Phase 2 of the CRL enabling works. There are open days in the council chambers at the Town Hall on Saturday 3 October from 11am to 2pm; Tuesday 6 October from 4pm to 7pm. The changes include bus lanes on Queen St north of Victoria St.


CRL City Changes Phase 2

AT are launching a series of short videos this week with the aim of reducing trips by single occupant vehicles during peak times. They say the theme is “cool the love affair with your car”. The posters below show.

Cool your love affair with car posters

See it here

For specific project updates:

  • The Te Atatu Rd project is now underway
  • Work at Parnell continues – The platforms are well advanced and work is focused on the connecting ramps and paths as well as the works for the old Newmarket Station building. Train passengers might also have noticed that the old Mainline Steam sheds are now completely gone as you can see from the image below from a reader.

  • The concept design for the new Manukau Bus-Train interchange is nearly complete and will go to the local board prior to public feedback. It is now not due to be completed till August 2017.
  • The architectural and structural design for the fixed walkway for the new Half Moon Bay Ferry wharf has been completed. There are also some new images of what is proposed

On progress towards their key PT priorities

  • AT say the software upgrade to deliver integrated fares is due in September with handover to testing by AT in November
  • AT are reviewing low patronage bus routes to see if they can free up any resources that could instead be used for highly patronised routes. They want this in place for the busy months of February and March next year.
  • AT have signed a contract Ambient Advertising (NZ) Limited. They say “This strategic media partnership will see outdoor assets progressively consolidate under a single advertising platform to leverage improved third party revenue from public transport and other assets.
  • They are going to start installing LED lights at train stations. Ranui was the first one completed and the next stations on the list are Henderson, Glen Eden, Orakei, Manurewa and Glen Innes
  • The increase in service to Gulf Harbour a year ago has seen patronage growth by a greater amount that predicted with recent months seeing over a 100% improvement. They are now looking to add more capacity.
  • A new ferry is under construction to improve capacity on services to Pine Harbour.
  • On safety and security they say “Strategy discussions are progressing with Police around an enhanced joint approach to Metro security and fare enforcement. This will be reported back to the Board by the end of the year.” It will be interesting to see if this relates in any way to an announcement being made tomorrow by Simon Bridges on new measures to combat Fare Evasion
  • Finally you may recall that AT published a table of all the changes that were intended to be made by CAF, Kiwirail, Transdev and themselves to improve the reliability and speed of the trains. There is an update at the end of the report highlighting what’s been achieved, what is a work in progress and in some case where the changes haven’t or can’t be made. For example they intended to increase the speed of the Onehunga line saving around 15 seconds per trip however they’ve found it would cost more than $100,000 to make the changes needed so they’ve put the changes on hold.

Waterview September Update

The latest photos and video from the Waterview Connection project. As of last Friday the TBM had just 332 metres to go before breaking through – which should happen in the next few weeks.

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 1

Building sublevel one inside the Northern Approach Trench (NAT)

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 2

Building sublevel one inside the Northern Approach Trench (NAT)

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 3

Inside the southbound tunnel looking towards the NAT.

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 6

The playground opens in summer

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 7

Southern Ventilation Building

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 8

New shared path towards Valonia Fields, seems a bit narrow

Waterview Aerial - Sep 15 - 9

Southern Shared Path beside Valonia Street

The August Timelapse


Congestion Charging in Wellington

Auckland may be the most prominent voice when it comes to discussing congestion charging in New Zealand but it appears other cities are keen to join in. Last week it emerged that Wellington are also wanting to look at congestion charging however unlike Auckland where it is being talked about primarily as another revenue source, Wellington say they need it to deal with the after effects of building new motorways.

The call for a toll on Wellington’s CBD is growing louder, with studies revealing the central city could be flooded with almost 12,000 more cars once its proposed new motorways are up and running.

Wellington recently joined forces with Auckland to lobby the Government for the law changes necessary to introduce user-pays charges as a means of reducing car use.

Some of the ideas being floated include a congestion charge, such as the one used in central London, and fees that ramp up the cost of long-stay commuter parking.

While Auckland’s chronic traffic congestion is already apparent, Wellington’s is expected to get worse once the Kapiti expressway, Transmission Gully motorway, and Petone-Grenada highway are all built, making journeys in and out of the capital by road significantly easier.

Recent studies by Greater Wellington Regional Council show that, even with continuing investment in public transport, there are expected to be 11,500 more cars entering Wellington during the morning rush in 2031.

This has prompted the council to also model how that scenario would change, with various user-pays charges in place, despite some of them currently being beyond the law.

It found a congestion charge would have by far the greatest impact on car use in 2031. Vehicles trips in and out of Wellington’s CBD would drop by about four million annually, while public transport trips would increase by the same amount.

Tolling the yet-to-be-built Transmission Gully motorway and Petone-Grenada highway, which is currently legal, would have a more “moderate” impact on car use, as would a levy on all-day parking, which is not currently legal.

A couple of thoughts immediately spring to mind.

  • So far from the RoNS addressing congestion as the government/road builders/lobbyists so often love to claim, they’ll actually be making it worse by encouraging more people to drive, some of which comes from people encouraging people off using public transport and into their cars – making both systems less efficient. Why then are we wasting well over $2 billion on the new Wellington RoNS which already had poor economic outcomes.
  • From memory the NZTA have already ruled out tolling Transmission Gully as their modelling suggested that very few would use it if they did so. My guess is that would rule out any individual road specific tolls.
  • Like Auckland it appears that Wellington is blighted by politicians who seem to have the attitude of not caring what gets built as long as the government are spending money in their neck of the woods. There also seems to be the general attitude that public transport is only viable a mode of last resort.

The last point is displayed very well at the start of this interview on Radio NZ with Paul Swain, the chairman of the Regional Transport Committee who seemed aghast at the slight possibility of not building some new roads. It is also appears to be the attitude that is taken by Wellington City Councillor Andy Foster later in the piece who appeared quite annoyed that the Basin Reserve Flyover was cancelled – and as per this excellent op-ed from Dave Armstrong it appears both were quite keen on it.

Or listen here

I also found Foster’s comments on public transport interesting. He’s obviously correct that Wellington has the highest use of public transport in the country however I’m not sure I would go as far as him in saying that Wellington has a good system. There certainly seems to be a lot more that could be done to make the system better and therefore increase patronage. Many of those are things that Auckland has done or are on the agenda such as integrated ticketing and fares and a better bus network and greater bus priority. I kind of get the feeling that Wellington won’t really wake up and realise how far behind it’s falling until in a few years (at current rates) when Auckland passes them.

Coming back to congestion charging, I was also amused by this press release yesterday by the Property Council which claims that reducing cars in to Wellington would have catastrophic effects.

Wellington Branch president Mike Cole says slowing down traffic flow into the centre of a city of only 191,000 and a region of 471,000 people is ridiculous.

“They are talking about methods used in central London; a city of 8.6 million people. London could use the drop in traffic-flow, while we are desperate to get our city centre thriving by getting more people in.

“I think the Council is totally oblivious to the catastrophic effect this would have on retail and employment. Why would we drive people away, when we are working so hard to get them in?”

Perhaps someone needs to tell them that it’s people that buy stuff, not cars. Flooding the CBD with cars will only make it a less attractive place for people to be and therefore they will be less inclined to work and shop there.

Who knows what the outcome will be on congestion charging in either Auckland or Wellington but it’s certainly interesting that both cities are now starting to talk about it much more openly. As has long been the case my personal position is that any form of congestion charging should be designed at least initially to be revenue neutral – substituting rates or fuel taxes. That would give the public a greater level of comfort that it isn’t just a revenue gathering exercise but rather a traffic demand tool. I also think it is something that should be implemented in advance of another wave of road building so we can see the real impact it has before committing billions to construction.

East Auckland State Highways?

In the latest saga that the issue of transport in East Auckland, the local MPs are calling for some of the roads to be turned into State Highways.

Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson is pushing for Pakuranga Rd and Ti Rakau Drive to become state highways.

Together with Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, Williamson says he is “putting all [his] efforts” into convincing Transport Minister Simon Bridges to bring the two roads under the New Zealand Transport Agency’s authority.

Auckland Transport currently looks after the two streets.

It appears to me that the primary reasons they are pushing for the roads to be State Highways are related to them trying to find ways to circumvent the current process so they can get the projects they personally want built – such as the Reeves Rd Flyover.


Speaking at a public meeting on transport, Williamson expressed his belief that more roading options are needed for East Aucklanders.

“I want to make it clear I am supportive of public transport, but it’s such a small part of what people in this area use when getting to work compared to the private motor car.

“We don’t have any state highways, busways, double tracking trains or electrification, It’s now time for proper transport options.”

His comments about the lack of public transport in the east echoed those made by Auckland Transport chief executive Dr David Warburton at a public meeting last year.

He told those present that public transport passengers from South-East Auckland are among the most poorly served in Auckland.

Williamson showed an image of Pakuranga Rd taken from his electorate office showing traffic at a stand-still on a weekday morning.

He also presented data which showed the busy arterial route had the third-highest daily use of any road in New Zealand.

Auckland Transport has two main solutions in the pipeline to unclog traffic on Pakuranga Rd – the Southeastern Busway and Reeves Rd flyover.

Williamson is supportive of the flyover but has some concerns with the proposed busway.

“The plan to drop two lanes in some places will just take space away from other road users.

“Something is wrong here, space is being taken from cars and given to public transport.”

So Williamson’s logic seems to be that because public transport to the east is currently crap not many people use it and therefore the solution is not to improve public transport but build more roads. That’s akin to giving a two year old going crazy on a sugar rush a lollies in the hope they’ll calm down.

It is absolutely correct that East Auckland has some of the lowest public transport use in Auckland and is tied directly to the lack of quality options that exist. The lack of any form of bus priority mean that the buses that buses will always be a slower option than driving. Combine that with not enough frequency and it’s no surprise people don’t use PT much. But that is exactly what AMETI is trying and address by building a busway from Panmure through to Pakuranga and eventually Botany. The first stage of AMETI – the upgraded Panmure Station and the new Te Horeta Rd – are now complete and AT are getting ready to lodge the Notice of Requirement for Stage 2 which will see a busway extend from Panmure all the way to Botany. That will allow buses to bypass congestion and feed passengers on to trains for a very fast journey to town – we already hear anecdotal reports of large numbers of bus passengers from the east transferring to trains at Panmure

AMETI Buslane - Pakuranga Rd

AT are also talking of extending bus lanes up Pakuranga Rd as far as Highland Park – the road is six lanes wide to that point. Combining the bus lanes, the busway and expected higher frequencies from the new bus network – for which consultation is due out in October – those bus lanes will almost certainly be moving more people than are possibly if the lane was left as a general traffic lane.

In the end it seems that Williamson like many other politicians on the right of politics these days are classic concern trolls. They all claim to support public transport as they know that’s what their constituencies want them to say but they oppose any actual public transport that comes to life and never actually provide any alternative options. They also only want public transport after they’ve built the roads they personally want.


Perhaps the only thing in favour of making these roads state highways is I’m aware the NZTA are strongly supportive of the busway plans and want it built faster than is currently planned. We also know that the NZTA don’t seem to muck around as much with getting routes designated like AT seem to. There would be a great irony if Williamson and co succeeded in getting NZTA to take over the project only to see the busway get built faster.

Photo of The Day: Drivers get it.

The big winners from investment in high quality urban Transit are of course drivers. They benefit from all the people making the rational decision to choose other ways to get around freeing up the roads for those who need or choose to drive. The numbers choosing to make this shift depends on the quality of the alternatives, as is shown by the huge and ongoing rise in ridership in response to the upgrade of the rail network this decade. A boom in uptake that completely caught officials and transport professionals by surprise. Here is the Ministry of Transport report to the Minister as recently as October 2014:

OCT 2014

And of course the road freight industry should understand this too; their productivity will rise with every switch from driving to alternative systems in cities. 77% of all vehicles are private cars, so enabling a reduction in private car use, especially at the peaks, is likely to be more cost effective way of speeding truckies and tradies than spending 10 of billions on more roads which simply incentivise more private driving on all roads. Especially as this spending squeezes out opportunities to invest in complementary networks. This is the contradiction at the heart of the RoNS model, especially for urban areas; using all available funds to induce more driving, because traffic is congested.

Auckland needs better alternatives to driving not alternative roads to drive on. For drivings sake.

From this morning’s Herald, Drive. Dr Anil Sharma, Porsche enthusiast:

Herald drive Sept 15_800

Northern Corridor Improvements Consultation

A few weeks ago we learned that an extension to the Northern Busway was back on the cards following the last round of consultation on what the NZTA call the Northern Corridor Improvements Project. This main part of this project involves turning the section of SH18 east of Albany Highway into a full motorway and giving it a motorway to motorway connection to SH1 plus upgrading the Greville Rd interchange. Extending the busway is critically important and I hope it could be built at least at the same time as the other works, if not in advance of them. What I wanted to look at with this post are some of the other changes proposed.

The first thing that strikes me is that if the NZTA and AT actually built all of the components mentioned at about the same time then this project could actually end up being one of the more multi-modal projects in Auckland. This is significant as many projects claim to be multi-modal but most just put token efforts into improving the situation for PT and active modes.

The key part of the project will be the motorway works which will be the upgrading to SH18 and the interchange however as you can also see it involves adding extra lanes to this section of motorway pushing it to four way. Overall it seems like they’ve gone with concept 2 which is a vast improvement from concepts 3 and 4 which were shown back in November. For the busway they went with concept 1 of keeping it on the eastern side and only crossing over at McClymonts Rd. Given that they appear to be thinking of building a dedicated on-ramp from Albany Highway I thought they might have integrated the busway with that to get it to the Western side.

Northern Corridor - July Design

How the NZTA deal with the local roads in the area such as Paul Matthews Rd is still under consideration. They say there are two general options, a bridge with an underpass or an underpass with intersections. These are best shown in the image below.

Northern Corridor - July Design Local Road Conections

I like how they make the motorway to motorway ramps look small when in reality they’ll look a lot more like the monstrosities at Waterview towering over the local community. It will be interesting to see how the local community from about this.

Waterview Ramps - 3

Along with the busway extension one new feature that hasn’t been talked about much is the proposed walking and cycling which will go alongside the the busway.  The NZTA are also looking at a cycleway along SH18 at least as far as Albany Highway and CAA say that this is shown as a dotted line as it is currently falls outside the existing road designations. I also like that they highlight the plans for the rest of the local network although some of the “existing facilities” are probably a bit of a joke given what we’ve built in the past.

Given the NZTA say they are looking at is the potential for a new busway station in the Rosedale/Lower Albany area, some more improvements to the cycle facilities on surrounding roads such as Rosedale Rd could make this a popular station to bike to.

Northern Corridor - July Walking and Cycling


The NZTA are consulting the public on their latest set of plans and the first event is tomorrow. The dates and times are below.

  • Westfield Albany – Sat 5 Sept and Sun 6 Sept, centre court location, all day
  • Local businesses’ coffee drop in session – Tues 8 Sept, 7.30-8.30am, Café Noir, 7A Triton Drive, Rosedale
  • Local businesses’ coffee drop in session – Weds 9 Sept, 7.30-8.30am, North Shore Cosmopolitan Club, 65 Paul Matthews Road, Albany
  • Unsworth Heights community event – Fri 11 Sept, 2pm-6pm, Meadowood Community Centre, 55 Meadowood Drive.
  • North Harbour Business Association Expo – Thurs 17 Sept, QBE Stadium (stand 80)

Feedback this round of consultation closes on Friday 18 September.

Below is a different look at the busway extension. One area to submit on will be to push for this and the walking & cycling path to be completed ahead of the motorway works. That would then give people from north of Constellation an option to avoid any motorway congestion as a result of widening and interchange works while benefiting those already using the bus with a faster and more reliable journey.Northern Corridor - July Busway Extension