Focus to get Auckland Moving

One segment of Auckland Transports latest business report highlights AT’s latest Pedestrian Safety Shaming campaign.

Between 2009 and 2013 there were over 50 fatal and serious pedestrian related crashes in Auckland City Centre. Most crashes are on Queen Street and Karangahape Road, but also Quay Street, Symonds Street, Mayoral Drive, Victoria Street and most recently on Fanshawe Street.

Two campaigns will be launched in June/July, as part of the ‘Regional Pedestrian Safety behaviour change programme’ to encourage behaviour change in pedestrians.

Cross Safely With the Green Man

Will focus on Queen Street and Karangaphape Road. Final creative approach is shown below, based on the fact that there are ample safe green man pedestrian crossings along these roads.

Media will be situ’ and include Adshels, outdoor posters, wall murals/shop windows and themed ‘urban walkers’.

2015-06 Ped Safety Campaign green man

I love the description that there are ample pedestrian crossings in the city. Having a light and having one that phases frequently enough e.g. like with the double phasing on Queen St are two different things. Many of the crossings are not friendly to pedestrians at all. Also if there are crashes on Queen St then what on earth are the drivers doing as the street has a 30kph speed limit. The second campaign:

Switch Your Focus

The other Auckland streets which have high pedestrian crash statistics don’t have the number of green man intersections Queen Street has. Pedestrians are most often distracted by thought (daydreaming), food, mobile phones and just a lack of focus on the danger. The campaign will inform pedestrians that they need to focus when they cross the road.

Messages will again be distributed primarily through outdoor media, making use of existing infrastructure for message delivery (Adshels) and targeted ‘Urban Walkers’ dressed suitably to the campaign style, who will engage with pedestrians and provide helpful advice.

2015-06 Ped Safety Campaign Focus

What are urban walkers dressed suitably in campaign style who’ll engage with pedestrians, its cringe worthy. And before some of you start blaming all the pedestrians remember that if you’re a driver and the car ahead of you suddenly stops, it’s your responsibility to be driving in a way that you too can stop in time.

Seeing the images on Twitter, Andy Baird thinks the images above deserves a meme so has created this fantastic image that might be more appropriate for AT to focus on.

AT Rail Focus campaign idea

Can Carlton Gore be a template for more of Auckland

The new cycle lanes on Carlton Gore Rd open this week – and the picture below from Auckland Transport on Twitter yesterday shows them nearly completed and looking great – although the Herald is already complaining about the new layout even though it isn’t finished.

Carlton Gore Rd Result

There are more details showing what’s being done in Carlton Gore Rd here and the image below shows what’s planned in this section.

Carlton Gore Rd 2

Of course as some parts of the lanes aren’t protected and outside the parked cars, this has already happened.

With a new found focus on cycling – including from the government – perhaps AT needs to start looking at how they could start retrofitting the roads across large swathes of the city quickly, cheaply and easily to leverage off the big investments they are making. That means they need to be able to avoid lengthy consultations with residents arguing about parking and they need solutions that don’t involve large amounts of construction work. Some of this will likely need to make use of some of the tactical urbanism tools Mike Lydon talked about last week. I’ve also talked before about how many of our suburbs built over the last few decades actually have very few cars parked on the street due to each property having often large amounts of off street parking.

Roads tend to have a variety of different sizes and their width depends on a lot of factors however it appears many of the arterials in the suburbs tend to be in the range of 10-13 metres wide between the kerbs (excluding four lane roads). Moving kerbs will be expensive on a large scale so that got me thinking, perhaps they need to come up with a couple of template designs – perhaps using Carlton Gore as an example – that could fit between existing kerbs. That template could then easily be rolled out across the city for very little cost i.e. if the road is 13m wide between the kerbs then there is protected cycle lanes and parking on one side.  A 10m wide road might have just painted lanes with no parking and perhaps some flexi posts to help delineate the cycle lane.

So just how many roads do we have over 10m wide? Kent helped me put this image together showing all of them in Auckland and as you can see there are quite a lot.

10m wide lanes

While I realise not every street on here would be able to or need to have cycle infrastructure it doesn’t stop us dreaming it could all be exist.

p.s. AT need to address how locals deal with their rubbish bins as the ones in the first image appear to be blocking the footpath – or at least taking up a lot of room.

Photo of the Day: Commercial Quaxing

Here is the caterer taking away the empty bottles from a wedding celebration attended by my sister in Copenhagen over the weekend [thanks Amanda]:

Quaxing in Cpipenhagen

 

Mike Lydon Auckland Conversation now online

If you missed Mike Lydon’s talk on Tuesday about Tactical Urbanism you can now watch it online. I thought it was a great talk and highlighted how quick, cheap and temporary measures can be extremely useful both from an advocacy perspective to show better outcomes are possible but also for agencies like Auckland Transport to trial outcomes as part of a consultation process.

Mike Lydon - Auckland Conversations

Did you go (or have you now watched the video). What did you think of it.

Now where can I get some of that traffic tape?

Bring on the Cycleways

Yesterday the John Key and Simon Bridges announced the planned cycling investment throughout New Zealand for the next three years and pleasingly it represents a massive increase on anything we’ve seen before. There are two primary reasons for this increase in funding.

  • One of the government’s election promises was to create a $100 million Urban Cycleway Fund (UCF) to be spent over four years. The first year of projects (well half year really) totalling just under $10 million was launched in January and this announcement constitutes the remainder of the funding.
  • The NZTA are spending significantly more money from the National Land Transport Fund (which comes from fuel taxes, road user charges, licencing fees etc.). This funding is governed by the Government Policy Statement (GPS) which was confirmed at the end of last year and sets funding bands

In effect this is the first announcement of what’s inside the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) which is the three year programme of transport activities that will be funded throughout the country and ties in with regional land transport programmes – which AT consulted on at the beginning of the year. I understand the rest of the NLTP funding will be announced next week.

The funding announced today is broken up by city below

NLTP 2015-15 cycling

We knew the urban cycleways funding was coming – and the government deserves credit for seeing it fully implemented – however as mentioned above the NZTA are also spending a lot more money. To highlight just how much of an increase in spending this $107m from the NLTF is, in the 2012-15 NLTP there was $53 million allocated for walking and cycling. That’s less than half what this announcement contains and itself was a 27% increase above the 2009-12 GPS. So even without the urban cycleway funding the level of money available for cycling has increased dramatically. Add in that remaining $90 million from the UCF and it represents significant increases in spending from Central Government.

One interesting aspect I’ve also noticed is that the $107 million from the NLTF is actually higher than the upper limit of the funding band in the GPS – if only they would also do that to PT funding.

The money shown above is going towards 41 separate projects.  Below are just the Auckland projects however you can see a table of all of them here. It’s worth noting that what’s shown only represents the projects where joint funding is taking place, a lot more cycle facilities will be delivered as part of other projects too. In addition the council have voted to significantly increase spending on cycling and that means it will be funding some projects on its own. It would be interesting to know just how much more network we could have had rolled out if were were able to at least get a 50% contribution from the NZTA for those other projects. The Auckland projects are split into four categories.

NLTP 2015-15 cycling - Auckland Projects

And here’s a map of the projects

Auckland urbancycleways map 2015-18

We’ve talked about many of these projects before and it’s really great that we should be seeing all of this within just three years. One new part I also really like is the addition of two programmes to link up the surrounding areas of New Lynn and Glen Innes to their train stations as well as other local amenities. I think that will be really useful in getting more people cycling not just to those town centres but also to catch trains and buses.

Quay St cycleway impression

An artist impression of a cycleway on Quay St that will be built within 3 years

Here’s Bridges and Key after making the announcement.

All up a great announcement and one that should see some major progress on improving cycling facilities in Auckland – and elsewhere around the country. After years and years of pushing for more funding it’s finally starting to arrive which is a testament to all the people who pushed so hard for a better future. Let’s just hope the various transport agencies have the capacity and capability to deliver all of these projects.

Next up – perhaps even today – we should hear if Skypath will be approved.

Island Bay Cycleway: Safety for All Road Users

This is a guest post by Wellington architect Guy Marriage.

Wellington City Council has, at last, voted to go ahead with its first separated cycle-way and to adopt the Wellington Cycling Framework. The former is a section of cycle-way starting in Island Bay (a southern suburb next to Cook Strait, once a predominantly Italian fishing village). But just because it has been approved by Council, don’t expect it to go away as an issue. Down here, for inextricable reasons, it is dividing the local community like the Springbok Tour of 1981. Yes, it has become that venomous.

ISLAND Bay

Bizarrely, or so it seems to outsiders, the people most against it are a small group of locals on “The Parade” whose properties it goes past. They will gain a cycle-way positioned close to the verge (or berm as Aucklanders call it), sheltered from the passing traffic by a row of parked cars. In doing so, about 30 of the about 300 carparks will be lost. You may think that seeing as this section of road has excellent off-street parking for nearly all residents, that this small loss of parking would be happily written off against the gain of a protected cycle-way. But you would be wrong.

Opponents (seriously) claim that the design of the cycle-path will cause deaths and destruction, particularly with the elderly and toddlers. Quite how the elderly have avoided their certain death all these years crossing over 2 lanes of infrequent car and bus traffic is uncertain, but opponents are certain that only death awaits the elderly as they cross the separated cycle-way. The logic escapes me, but evidently not local Councilors such as the Labour rep for the Southern ward, Clr Paul Eagle. He has teamed up quite firmly (but not in a Colin Craig manner) with Nicola Young, the local National-leaning Councilor, and future Mayoral contender. The current Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, strongly Green and avidly pro-cycling, has largely kept at arms length from the fracas so far, especially as she lives in Island Bay and it is seen by some as her having a pet project – although this is probably quite far removed from the truth.

Island Bay Cycleway_02

The argument appears to be that by having the cycle-way separated behind a row of parked cars, risks speeding, unwary cyclists plowing recklessly and frequently into people opening passenger doors on the left hand side (a 600 wide zone is allowed for this door-opening to safely happen, but even that does not seem to have gratified the people of Island Bay). Opponents of the cycle-way argue that these doors will be flung open without checking by small children, and that the kiddies will be mown down, along with any errant grannies who dare to cross the road, the potential row of parked cars, and the “killer cycle-way”.

At present, there is a small but steady stream of cyclists from Island Bay, who either share the main part of the road with the cars and buses, or else they cycle along a parallel, less busy road a short distance away. The road is wide – exceptionally wide by Wellington suburban standards – and stats for crashes are low. One of the valid arguments against the cycle-way starting here is that it is the easiest part of the route from here to central Wellington, and that the WCC should perhaps have tried to solve the harder parts first. They do seem to miss the point that without a safe path, cycle numbers will not grow. They argue that no-one much cycles there at present, and so there is no need for a separated path. If you think Northcote Point home-owners are NIMBYs, you haven’t yet met the Island Bay Luddites. “Cycleway anti community” placards and “Safety 4 ALL road users” signs dot the wall of one of the local shops – but this logic escapes me. I honestly would have thought that little old ladies and children would have been much more at risk from cars and buses than by cyclists. Covered in the Dompost here.

Iasland Bay_03

Proponents of the cycle-way starting here argue the opposite points – that Wellington needs to lead the demonstration of quality cycle-ways with the highest quality possible at first, in order to continue the trend of separation when it comes to the following, harder parts of the cycle network. A basic masterplan of cycle routes has been published by the WCC, and this is just the first part of the first route. It is planned to become a centerpiece of how to do it well. It was consulted on, both online and also with flyers to all locals, and a show and tell meeting one weekend – all very easy to find out about and attend – but the locals who did not make themselves aware of the consultation are now taking the matter to the Ombudsman. Sadly, I kid you not. This story continues on.

There are over 1000 children in the Island Bay region, the third largest population of children in Wellington. The words of Enrique Penalosa – the former Mayor of Bogota and the President of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy – seem most appropriate here: “A bicycle way that is not safe for an eight year old is not a bicycle way.”

On faustbook: https://www.facebook.com/IslandBayCycleWay

Making some quick and easy cycling improvements

I believe that as a city we should take every opportunity we have to retrofit the city with better and more inclusive infrastructure. That means any time we dig up a road for “an upgrade” or even when a road is resealed we need to be thinking about how we can add cycling infrastructure (this also applies to walking and PT infrastructure too). It also means implementing quick wins where ever possible. Below are a few examples of where I think we’re missing easy opportunities to do that.

Chivalry Rd

When I ride to work I try to avoid the utter mess that is Wairau Rd as much as possible – the part around Tristram Ave is particularly bad as the lanes are narrow and drivers are often distracted while also changing lanes etc. Instead travel further along Glenfield Rd and use Chivalry Rd to bypass the worst of Wairau Rd. Using this route adds just over 1km to my journey but it feels much safer thanks to more space in on the road and much less traffic.

Chivalry Rd vs Wairau Rd

The map above shows the Wairau route in blue and the Chivalry route in red. Just because the latter feels the safest of the two, that doesn’t mean it’s great for cycling and can’t be improved. In the last week or so work has started on upgrading the intersection with Chartwell Dr/Diana Dr. I assumed that this would be good as it should mean improved cycle facilities at least around the intersection. This is especially so seeing as the route appears on AT’s proposed cycle network map as a connector route as shown in the yellow circle in the image below. In addition there are two schools nearby – just 100m and 300m away (Glenfield Primary & Glenfield Intermediate). The schools are shown in yellow on the map above.

Chivalry Rd cycle map

The image below shows how the intersection looks today. The only thing really noticeable with it – and it doesn’t seem all that bad – is that Chartwell and Diana Dr are slightly offset from each other meaning that drivers have to slightly turn the steering wheel when travelling north/south through it. Unrelated but one additional thing about the intersection is that it runs with a Barnes Dance for pedestrians. That’s something that’s quite rare outside the central city.

Chivalry Rd Intersection Current

I was hoping the change would add in some cycle infrastructure decent enough to get local kids riding to school, after all both proudly display on their fences that they’re a Travelwise school with the primary school a gold Award winner and the intermediate school a silver award winner. As such I asked AT for the plans seeing as there was nothing on their website. The image below shows what is being done and frankly it’s disappointing (click to enlarge) note: this image is effectively rotated 90° clockwise to the image above.

Chivalry Rd Intersection Future

AT say that because Chartwell Ave and Diana Drive approaches are offset slightly it creates safety and efficiency problems and so this project is to address that. Safety issues I can understand however efficiency is just a code word for “a few cars have to queue at the lights.

To make these changes it’s also required the removal of one house (Number 107 in the aerial photo) – the left over land not needed for the intersection works will be left as just a landscaped area. By transport standards the project isn’t hugely expensive at $1.3 million but it’s still a sizeable amount of money as I don’t think that includes the purchase of the house which I understand took place in the old North Shore City Council days. Still, removing a house when housing is such a hot topic doesn’t seem like the best idea AT’s ever had.

However back to the original topic, while the works are primarily on Chartwell Ave it doesn’t appear that a single bit of cycle infrastructure is going in anywhere near this intersection even though this would be the perfect time to implement some. That’s disappointing and means that at some unknown time in the future AT will have to go back and create more disruption to do that. It’s also quite telling that we can seemingly so easily through money down to change an intersection on safety and efficiency grounds but it’s so difficult to do the same with walking, cycling or public transport infrastructure.

One last point on this particular intersection, AT say that they and the local board are funding the project as it was way down the priority list so didn’t qualify for a subsidy from the NZTA. Surely if it’s way down on the priority list that’s a good sign it’s not, well a priority. Also after a brief discussion with a local board member it appears that they too weren’t that on pushing the project forward but that it was AT who came to the board to push it. Is this a case of some engineer trying to get an old scheme across the line?

Hobsonville Rd

Another part of my route home takes me along Hobsonville Rd. Since the motorway opened a few years ago the traffic on Hobsonville Rd has dropped dramatically and combined with a fairly wide single lane road used very infrequently for car parking it should be quite easy to start installing some cycle infrastructure. Perhaps the most pressing place to start on this would be the uphill section between Westpark Dr and Luckens Rd. One unique feature is that over the ~400m heading up the hill there are just two driveways as most of the houses are accessed from other locations.

Yet despite no demand from nearby houses there almost always tends to be a handful of cars parked on this section. The cause of is even visible in the image below from Streetview – cars parked for sale. An on road cycle lane could effectively be created up the hill for price of a few yellow lines of paint (note: there are also signs on other parts of Hobsonville Rd saying no car sales but not here).

Hobsonville Rd - For Sale Parking

Moire Rd

Another easy to add route would be Moire Rd. A section of the road was recently dug up and rebuilt – which is good as the surface was terrible and like other routes on here is also on AT’s cycle map yet despite being fairly wide and without much demand for on street parking the road was re-instated without any cycle provision. As you can see from the images below there is quite a bit of space to do so. Also note that the empty looking land to the right of the image is one of the pieces of land the government have identified to be developed. It would be good to get some cycling provision in before anything happens with that.

Moire Rd

Westgate Dr

Lastly we have Westgate Dr. This road was subjected to protracted fight between the developer and the council however that’s now resolve and the road is open. The road is significant as it connects to the Westgate shopping centre at one end and runs is right through the middle of an SHA which is being developed.

Westgate Dr Aerial

The first houses are already starting to go in and given the development that’s planned it would surely make sense for AT to get in there now and implement some cycle lanes before people move in and have an expectation of the entire street having free on-street parking. The thing is the road is probably wide enough to have cycle lanes plus parking on one side as you can see in the image below with Westgate in the distance. A quick and easy win (although of course I would prefer protected cycle lanes).

Westgate Dr

What do you think, where are the quick easy cycle wins in your area and what examples of missed opportunities do you have.

East-West preferred Option and more Consultation

Auckland Transport and the NZTA have just announced a new round of consultation for the East-West Link that ends up being pretty much identical to what was suggested by the business community in their four pages of paid advertorial last week.

They undertook consultation of a number of options back in October and the consultation report released today is beyond a joke. There are no figures to show what the feedback was and only makes comments such as “Some people told us …” or “Some people considered …”. There is no information about how many the “Some people” is or what the demographics of submitters are.

The biggest part of the news is that the preferred option for The East-West route is a four lane “limited access” state highway all along the northern foreshore of the Mangere Inlet. They stress it will not be a motorway but it sounds like it won’t be far off one. In addition to this any parts of Neilson St not already four laned will be widened and additional lanes will be added to SH20 between Neilson St and Queenstown Rd as well as SH1 as far south as Princess St.

Despite all this they also claim it will improve things for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users and to top it off say that the new road along the foreshore “will achieve positive environmental outcomes” for the Mangere Inlet. This seems like an awful lot of PT, cycle and green washing.

On the issue of cycling, the map below suggests the existing cycle facility along the foreshore will be cut off from the water by the road which doesn’t seem a good outcome at all. It also appears that it will cut off any option to extend rail to the airport.

East-West Preferred Option

In addition to the new road a number of changes are proposed on along the frequent bus route that will run between Sylvia Park and Mangere. A mix of separated and on street cycle lanes plus shared paths in some places is meant to improve cycling while for buses some sporadic transit lanes will be included however crucially it appears they will also be able to be used by trucks. It will be hardly fun waiting for a bus there and having a large truck rush past close to the kerb.

East-West Preferred Bus Option

AT/NZTA are also going to be holding some open days on the project starting this weekend

  • Saturday 20 June from 3 – 6pm. – Where: Onehunga Café, 259 Onehunga Mall.
  • Thursday 25 June from 6 – 10pm. – Where: Onehunga Night Markets, Dress-Smart, 151 Arthur Street.
  • Saturday 27 June from 9am – 2pm. – Where: Māngere Town Centre, 93 Bader Drive (outside the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Office).
  • Saturday 4 July from 3 – 6pm. – Where: Onehunga Café, 259 Onehunga Mall. .

At this stage there’s no indication of just how much this project will cost and I’ve asked AT for more details on that.

As I asked the other day, how much are the truckies prepared to pay for this new motorway?

Edit: AT have confirmed the new road will cost more than $1 billion while the bus and cycle improvements in the second image will cost $35 million

How’s the Grafton Gully cycleway going?

A while back someone reminded me that Auckland Transport and NZTA have been collecting cycle count data from the new Grafton Gully and Beach Road cycleways. As they’re Auckland’s first high-quality separated cycleways in the city centre, I figured that it would be good to take a look at how they’re going.

After a few emails to the good people at Cycle Action Auckland and Auckland Transport’s walking and cycling team, we got ahold of daily cycle count data from 1 November 2014 to 25 May 2015. Matt’s subsequently received a lot more cycle counter data, so there will be a follow-up post looking at some other sites around the city.

But for now, here’s a graph of cycle use on Grafton Gully. The black line is a two-week moving average to show the trend in usage:

Grafton Gully cycle counts Nov14-May15

And here are cycle counts for the Beach Road cycleway, again with a two-week moving average to show the trend:

Beach Rd cycle counts Nov14-May15

What should we make of these figures?

First, the cycleways seem to be beating their forecasts. From what I’ve heard, the business case for the cycleways assumed that an average of 200 cyclists would use Grafton Gully in the first year. Actual use is well above that – in the first seven months, there was an average of 257 cyclists per day on Grafton Gully.

That’s pretty consistent with what I predicted after reviewing some research on uptake on new infrastructure networks:

There’s likely to be a period of steady if not spectacular growth in demand as new projects come online, but under NZTA and AT’s current investment plans there will be gaps in the network for a number of years. At a certain point, though, the gaps between safe cycle infrastructure will be filled in, enabling rapid growth in demand as cycling becomes safe and useful for many more trips.

Given that AT has recently committed to a more ambitious investment programme for cycling, I’m hopeful that we can reach that tipping point faster.

AT proposed cycleways 2015-18 v2

A second point is that cycle counts move around quite a bit from month to month and day to day. Cycle counts hit a low in late December, when many people were out of town. And over the last two months they’ve dropped a bit from their high levels in January-March, as people cycle less in the winter.

Interestingly, daily cycle counts fall considerably on the weekends – notice the regular spikes downward on the graphs above. This suggests to me that the cycleways are mainly being used for work and education trips, rather than for leisure or sport.

That’s an encouraging sign. It’s good that cycleway investments are being used for practical, everyday purposes. They’re not just playthings for lycra-clad “weekend warriors”. And, when people commute in to work or uni on the cycleways, rather than on the road, it means fewer cars on the road and/or fewer bikes in the bus lanes. For example, when I bike in to town, I tend to cycle downhill on Symonds St and come back up Grafton Gully – it just feels safer to not battle the buses going uphill. (And healthier on the lungs…)

On the other hand, the lower levels of weekend usage suggest that people may not be doing much quaxing up and down Grafton Gully. The city centre is humming on fine weekends, but perhaps there’s not as much demand to cycle in? However, this year’s Open Streets day – Sunday 12 April – was one of the most popular days for the cycleways, with 418 bicycles counted on Beach Road and 428 on Grafton Gully. So perhaps the lesson is: give people a reason to come by bike, and they will!

Matt is going to follow up with another post looking at the other cycle counters, so if you have any sharp ideas about how to analyse or present the data please leave them in the comments.

Queen St Light Rail

On the day that the Sydney Morning Herald runs an intelligent editorial showing a grown-up attitude to the disruption that comes with important infrastructure builds…

The Herald remains a strong supporter of the light rail project to run through the inner city and eastern suburbs, and urges the Baird government to prosecute the case forcefully for the line.

Construction of the project, due to start on George Street in October, will be painful and frustrating. Mistakes will be made, and they must not be excused.

But any conception of the transport needs of central Sydney must begin on the basis the status quo is unsustainable.

That status quo represents an over-reliance on bus transport through crowded city streets.

The streets are so crowded that the buses are unreliable. They consistently fall behind timetable well before they have left the city and entered the suburbs.

…AT has released more LRT images:

Town Hall LRT_800

Note in both images all cars are gone, and there is a sort-of cycle lane, that in practice will really be part of the big shared space, yet indicated. Personally I think this is a good arrangement for this pedestrian dominated place and means that it is a slow speed and take care place for riders. The parallel routes of Nelson and Grafton Gully are for getting places at pace; good crosstown cycling connections will be needed to link these all together.

Queen St LRT_800

This would be a spectacular upgrade to the Queen St valley in terms of access but even more so in place quality. And just at the right time, or at least the proposal certainly isn’t ahead of the need; downtown is booming and development is spreading up the hill. We will be able to taste the sea air again in the city! I just can’t wait to get the fume-belchers out of our main spine.

Also from a purely transport capacity angle this will add a whole new access point for people into our uniquely motorway severed City Centre, as currently buses have been restricted on Queen St to the local access only City Link, and the AirBus, because of the unattractiveness of too many diesel buses in core pedestrian places. Adding Queen St to those other two north-south streets of Albert and Symonds as a route to move high volumes of people, while reducing the total bus numbers.

As the SHM goes on:

The Herald does not support any one mode of transport over another. In a metropolis like Sydney, trains, buses, the private car, light rail, cycling and walking all obviously have their role to play.

But the government should invest money in the mode of transport that fits the particular need of a particular space and of a particular travelling public.

And in central Sydney, the use of a growing number of buses to get people to and from work is no longer fit for purpose.

Without major changes to the city – without replacing some of those buses by new rail links – it will be impossible to increase the frequency of bus services to those areas not served by rail.

This argument represents much of the benefits inherent in the CBD light rail project down George Street, as well as the North West Rail Link and its eventual connection to the inner city.

This is exactly the situation Auckland finds itself in; the City Rail Link for connection to and through the core and the further out West, East, and South, and buses upgrading to LRT when capacity limits are hit on surface routes elsewhere. Including, in my view, across the harbour from Wynyard in tunnels to a balancing North Shore network, instead of the bloated and destructive third road crossing. Or a bridge, either way it would be direct, fast, and way way cheaper than NZTA’s current, yet last century, plans:

Light Rail Bridge

Light Rail Bridge

 

All up it renders Queen St just like Bourke St in that other Australian city:

Bourke St Transit Mall, Melbourne 2014

Bourke St Transit Mall, Melbourne 2014

I have requested an image of Dominion Rd LRT too, so will follow up with that and other info in the days ahead.