Catchies

Our friends at MRCagney have created a few really neat tools recently – including this taxi cost calculator – and now they’ve created another one. This time looking at the pedestrian catchments of all of Auckland’s train/busway stations and ferry terminals. It shows how far you can get by walking 1km (10-15 mins walk) compared with a 1km crow flies distance.

You can see the tool for yourself here using the login and password of demo to access it.

As well as showing how far you can walk, a filter allows you to colour code each station/terminal based on different variables. These are below:

  • Land ratio: Land area of walking catchment divided by land area of flying catchment
  • Population ratio: Population of walking catchment divided by population of (land section of) flying catchment
  • Area for residential growth: Area in the walking catchment whose Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan zone is one of Town Centre, City Centre, Metropolitan Centre, Terraced Housing and Apartment Building, or Future Urban
  • #Titles ratio: Number of property titles in walking catchment divided by the number of property titles in (land section of) flying catchment
  • #Jobs ratio: Number of jobs in walking catchment divided by the number of jobs in (land section of) flying catchment
  • #Walking and cycling injuries: Number of walking and cycling injuries (including fatalities) in walking catchment for 2010-01-10 to 2015-03-02

The map below shows the Population ratio filter and as you can see, with the exception of some of the inner western line stations, most have less than 50% of people from within 1km away actually within a 1km walking distance.

PT Station walking catchments

There are a number of other things the maps really highlight. A few of these are below

  • The walk up catchment for the Rapid Transit and ferry services only covers a very small area of Auckland. Finding ways to not only expand the system but to expand the walkability of stations would go a long way to addressing this.
    • It would be interesting to see what this would look like with the proposed Light Rail lines and proposed future Rapid Transit lines added in. The former would see much of the central isthmus within walking distance of a very high quality PT service while the later would see a lot more areas filled in with rapid transit.
  • The inner western line (Mt Albert – Mt Eden) is very crowded with a lot of catchments overlapping each other. While it’s too late now – I understand reasons not to – I always wondered what the impact would be (both for train operations and patronage) if the Baldwin Ave and Morningside (second from left and middle) stations were merged into a new station at St Lukes Rd. The location is shown in the red dot below. It could have provided good connections to buses, a similar walking catchment and slightly faster train timetables

PT Station walking catchments - Inner West 2

 

  • One of the big issues with ferries is that normally 50% or more of their catchment is water. This is even more so when with many of the peninsulas in Auckland. The effect of this is that it really limits the amount of walk up catchment that can use services.

PT Station walking catchments - Ferries

  • Perhaps one of the most damning views is the filter showing the areas for residential growth in the Unitary Plan. As you can see, with the exception of primarily New Lynn, Glen Eden and Henderson, there’s not that much growth proposed or allowed. We should be allowing for a lot more growth around major PT notes.

PT Station walking catchments - Growth Potential

There are a couple of minor errors (such as walking lines along the busway) and things I’d like to see such as the ability to choose a different distance comparison e.g. 2km, 3km however all up this is very useful and hopefully will be able to help highlight areas where AT can focus on to improve walkability.

Update: I’ve been informed that this came about as part of work commissioned by Auckland Transport so thank you to them for allowing MRCagney to publish this

Appeals against Skypath

There have been two appeals against the consent for Skypath. They are from the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) and the Northcote Point Heritage Preservation Society (NPHPS) – a group set up in December last year just to oppose Skypath. Both parties want the entire decision overturned with the NRA also seeking costs.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

The reasons for the appeal by the NRA are:

  • The Appellant is not opposed in principle to the concept of Skypath.
  • The Appellant’s principal concern with the Application relates to the effects on the environment and policy conflicts caused by the location of the northern landing structure at Northcote Point and its reasons for appeal are related principally to these issues.
  • The Respondent had no jurisdiction to approve the Application because it was for a wholly non-complying activity and failed to pass either of the threshold tests in s 104D(1)(a) and (b) to be considered for approval under ss 104 and 104B of the Act In particular, in relation to the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath:
    • will have adverse effects on the environment, namely traffic, transportation and parking effects, privacy, safety and security effects, visual effects and amenity effects, arising both from the built form and location of the landing structure and from the movement of vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians that would utilise it, that will be significantly more than minor;
    • is, as a consequence of those effects and the intensive, non-residential nature of the activity at this residentially zoned location that neither intends nor permits large scale commercial operations like Skypath, contrary to the objectives and policies of the relevant plan and proposed plan which explicitly protect the character, heritage and amenity values of this area.
  • Even if the Respondent had jurisdiction to consider the Application under ss 104 and 104B of the Act (which is denied), the decision fails to promote the sustainable management purpose of the Act. In particular:
    • At the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), Skypath will have significant adverse effects on the environment (as noted above) that are unable to be avoided, remedied or mitigated (even if undertaken in accordance with the conditions of consent imposed by the Respondent);
    • These adverse effects cannot lawfully be ignored or diminished by offsetting or balancing them against the alleged positive effects of the Application; that is to disregard the environmental bottom-line enshrined in s 5(2)(c) of the Act;
    • The claimed positive benefit of Skypath — the enabling of pedestrian and cycle access (commuter and tourist) from Auckland City to the North Shore (and vice versa) — is technically unsubstantiated: the design of the Skypath corridor is inadequate in respect of width, gradient, height and access ramp curvature to permit dual (non-separated) usage;
    • The effects of Skypath at the proposed northern landing/portal area located at Princes Street, Northcote Point (and the surrounding environment), in particular, render it contrary to (as above), or, at least, wholly inconsistent with the relevant provisions of the plan and proposed plan applying at that location.
  • Accordingly, the Respondent, having wrongly concluded that it had jurisdiction to consider approving the Application under s 104D of the Act, failed lawfully and properly to exercise the discretion in s 104B so as to achieve the purpose of the Act.

And for the NPHPS they say

The reasons for the appeal are that the Commissioners were wrong in their decision. The resource consent should have been declined because:

  • it is likely to result in significant adverse effects on the environment, including:
    • adverse noise effects from the construction and ongoing use of the pathway and the Northcote Point area;
    • adverse traffic effects caused by an increase in traffic using the Northcote Point area;
    • adverse safety and security effects due to the large number of expected patrons using the pathway and accessing Northcote point;
    • adverse privacy effects on nearby residential properties from the large number of patrons expected to use the pathway and access Northcote Point;
    • adverse visual effects from the design and location of the pathway, including the northern landing and its associated facilities; and  adverse amenity and heritage effects due to a significant change to the character and amenity of the Northcote Point area and increased use and commercialisation of the area.
  • it does not adequately avoid, remedy or mitigate the potential adverse effects of the proposed activities on the environment;
  • the effects of the application on Northcote Point were not adequately assessed, including heritage effects;
  • it is contrary to and inconsistent with the objectives, policies and other provisions of the relevant planning instruments, including but not limited to the Auckland Council District Plan (North Shore City Section) and the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan;
  • it is inconsistent with the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act 1991
  • it does not represent good resource management practice;  it is for a proposal, the nature and scale of which is inappropriate in the Northcote Point area; and
  • it is for a proposal that will create a precedent for commercial activities in the residential zones of the Northcote Point area near the northern landing

At this stage there is no word from the Skypath team about these appeals, as they were only received late on Friday I imagine it will take them a few days to go through the details and work out just how they will respond.

Lastly also as it was the council who approved the project, this appeal will end up costing ratepayers to defend – so much for being concerned about how much it costs ratepayers.

AT July Board Meeting

On Monday the Auckland Transport board hold their next board meeting and as I normally do, I’ve gone through the reports to see what’s being discussed. Starting with the closed session we have a number of topics that could be quite interesting. These include:

Items for Approval/Decision

  • Regional Passenger Transport Plan (RPTP) –  I assume discussing the changes based on the updated RPTP consultation they conducted recently
  • Media Advertising – Given it’s coming from the PT team it seems to be about how AT advertise PT in the media.
  • CRL Business Case Summary – This should be interesting. I wonder if it is something new that will soon be released to the public or is a rehash of the old business cases.

Items for Noting

  • Infringement Revenue – I assume this will be discussing what happens with infringement revenue
  • LRT Stakeholder Engagement Plans – AT are continuing to progress their LRT plans (and a tender closes today for a Technical Advisor for the project) and so engagement with stakeholders is bound to increase. This appears to be information on how they’ll do that engagement.

On to the main report and first up are the project updates.

Te Atatu Road Upgrade – It appears that since the report was written the contract for this $30 million project has been awarded to Higgens Contractors and work starts 4 August. The project effectively widened to provide a flush median and sporadic on road unprotected cycle lanes and shared paths as well as replaces the roundabout at the intersection with Edmonton and Flanshaw Roads with signals.

K Road Cycleway – Around a year after we last heard anything there’s finally a mention in the board paper. Unfortunately it doesn’t give us info on when it might actually start being built.

K Rd Cycleway

An artist impression from last year. I believe the design has evolved a lot since this

Eastern Rail Cycleway (Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive) – The report says the NZTA should be awarding the contract to construct the first stage from Glen Innes to St Johns Rd by the end of this month while design and consent works continue on the rest of the project.

Onehunga Mall Streetscape – Construction starts mid-August on an upgrade of Onehunga Mall. The first improvements will be to the footpaths.

Onehunga Mall Streetscape Upgrade Concept

Onehunga Mall Streetscape Upgrade Concept impression

Mission Bay Street Upgrade – An upgrade of Tamaki Dr in front of the block of shops to the east of Patterson Ave in Mission Bay is also planned. The report just says they will be widening of a section of Mission Bay’s town centre and I can only assume they mean of the footpaths. Consultation will happen this year but construction won’t start till next year after the Christmas season. This is what a local board report says

The proposal is to widen the footpath, by removing the car parks along that stretch of Tamaki Drive. There will be a new mobility park installed in Patterson Ave, as a result of removing the existing mobility car park. Parking on Patterson Ave will remain as it is, with exception of the allocation of the mobility park. This will require the use of two existing car parks.

Ōtāhuhu Bus-Train Interchange – The detailed design is complete. There is currently a tender out for construction which closes mid-August and be awarded in September. Completion is now not till June 2016 and the new network for South Auckland continues to be on hold till this project is finished.

Otahuhu interchange

AMETI – Movement appears to be happening with the extension of the busway from Panmure to Pakuranga along with discussions of how it travels through Pakuranga

Lodgement of the Stage 2A NoR for the busway from Panmure to Pakuranga (Ti Rakau Drive) is pending resolution of the cultural mitigation process; this is expected by late July to permit on-going dialogue between lead iwi Ngati Paoa and other relevant iwi.

A joint review of the AMETI delivery strategy with regards to the timing of the Reeves Road flyover and Stage 2B (busway between Pakuranga and Botany) components has been carried out between AT, Council and the NZ Transport Agency, with final dialogue scheduled for July.

Newmarket Crossing (Sarawia St Level Crossing) – AT say in August they will be seeking approval to lodge a notice of requirement for the project however that means it will still have to go through a considerable process before it is built. This is important as AT claim it’s the one thing that’s stopping them from being able to increase the frequency on the Western Line.

Newmarket Crossing May 2015

On to other areas

Some new ads for the benefits of bus lanes. This is an area I think AT have been doing very well in lately.

Bus Lane Ads 2015-07

Moving on to the projects and initiates that make up AT’s key strategic priorities.

Ticketing and Fares – AT have giving some a high level summary of the response to the integrated fares consultation a few months ago. All up 1556 submissions were received and the broad results are below.

  • Do you think the proposed zone boundaries are about right? Yes 60% No 20%
  • Do you think the proposed products are about right? Yes 51% No 37%

We won’t know the final outcome and any changes that would be made till later this year.

Electric trains – In total 54 trains are in the country and of those 47 have been accepted for carrying passengers. The last three sets arrive early August and all trains will be on the network by the end of the year

New Network – at the time of writing the report there were over 1000 submissions on the network for the North Shore. Consultation for the Isthmus and East Auckland is being targeted for September/October. The first area to go live will be Hibiscus Coas in October this year.

Capacity – The first two of Howick & Eastern’s 15 double deckers have come off the production line in Scotland. They will arrive for testing in October and then the remaining ones will be built in Tauranga. Ritchies have 18 double deckers on order and I’m aware one is already on the network.

Infrastructure – There are a number of bus priority improvements that are due to start or be completed this month

  • Onewa Road T3 lane (city bound) – construction progressing and due to be completed in July
  • Park Road bus lane (hospital to Carlton Gore Road) – consultation completed; construction due to commence in July
  • Parnell Road bus lane (St Stephens to Sarawia Street – outbound) – consultation completed; construction due to commence in July
  • Manukau Road/Pah Road transit lanes – internal consultation completed – external consultation commenced
  • Great North Road bus lanes (New Lynn to Ash Street) – final concept plans completed – consultation underway
  • Totara Avenue signal removal – improvements to New Lynn bus interchange; construction due to be completed in July
  • Esmonde Road bus lane – construction to commence July

Customer Experience – Some more things for bus users not to look forward to

AT’s partner for bus shelters, Adshel, are launching 35 digital screens at prominent Auckland bus shelter locations, in a move that will offer advertisers unrivalled impact and targeting opportunities and in line with global leaders like London, San Francisco and Stockholm, where roadside digital advertising has seen large demand. Spanning sites across the Auckland CBD and key fringe suburbs such as Ponsonby and Mission Bay, the new format provide more opportunities for advertisers, and this will increase the revenue share available for AT.

Submit on the East West Connections

Post from Ryan Mearns of Generation Zero

In June NZTA and Auckland Transport finally came out with a new proposed route for the East-West Connections, which is a new road route long pushed by business groups that would link SH1 and SH20 either north or south of the Manukau Harbour. An earlier proposed route that cut through the heart of Mangere was dropped in January 2014 after a huge public outcry, and an excellent local campaign. This new route effectively involved joining SH1 at Syliva Park with SH20 at Onehunga, with a direct connection that looks a lot like a motorway.

East-West Preferred Option

This area does suffer from traffic congestion, and does have a large amount of truck traffic, much of it leading to the major Kiwirail terminal and inland port along Neilson Street. So this is one area where we would support some investment to reduce congestion hotspots. However NZTA admitted that it would cost over $1 billion dollars. This is a huge amount of money, and for example is roughly equivalent to the government contribution of the CRL. There is already severe strain on the transport budget from the government spend-up on RONS and the Auckland accelerated motorway projects, so this is bad news for those of us that want the government to progress projects such as the Northern Busway extensions and North-Western busway.

 

The primary concerns we have for the project are that;

  1. The design of the proposed new motorway makes it even more difficult to build rail to the airport. To ensure either light or heavy rail can one day go to the airport, any designs for the motorway should preserve the rail corridor.
  2. The only public transport upgrades proposed are discontinuous shared bus and truck lanes which are poor quality and potentially unsafe. The project should focus on improving public transport in the area to reduce congestion with a network of high frequency bus services with continuous bus lanes.
  3. Current bike infrastructure in the area is disconnected and of low quality. The solution is to provide high quality bike connections linking Onehunga, Penrose, Mangere, Mangere Bridge and Otahuhu.
  4. The new motorway proposes to block off the limited public access there is to the Manukau east of Onehunga, with the cycleway on the land side of the motorway. The project should not have to reclaim the Manukau Harbour and should ensure any works near the harbour improve public access, rather than separate the community from the harbour.
  5. Congestion is an issue in the area, but a billion dollar motorway is not the way to go. The Government should focus any road spending on cheap upgrades to fix localised congestion spots.

NZTA are taking feedback on the East West Connections until the end of Friday. They do have an online form, however it bizarrely focusses on the bus-truck lanes, which are effectively an entirely different project. To help people get the key points across Generation Zero have created a quick submit form, which will send your feedback straight to NZTA.

Click here to go to the form to submit your feedback to NZTA.

More information on the project is available on the NZTA and Auckland Transport websites.

SkyPath: Councillor v Advocate

Brewer v Reynolds

 

NBR Radio

In which Councillor Cameron Brewer tries extremely hard to find a possible cost to ratepayers in a privately funded and user pays addition to our transport networks, while ignoring the real cost of $13m to ratepayers for a free-to-use walking and cycle project in his ward [just one example].

Here at transportblog we are very keen on value for money for all publicly funded projects, which means every single transport project in the land. Except one. The SkyPath. To campaign that this project is some kind of burden on ‘the poor suburban ratepayer’ is so silly as to be beyond parody.

Ratepayers’ watchdogs play a potentially valuable role. But they need to be coherent and consistent, oh and factually accurate. Especially when they are taking a ratepayers salary to do it. Here Brewer is complaining about a user pays route but ignoring the fully subsidised one that happens to run through his ward. So either he really has no idea what’s going on or is being more than a little deceitful in order to score some kind of political point.

Don’t get me wrong, I am entirely in favour of both the taxpayer and ratepayer funding of the Eastern Connections route, but also think the SkyPath should be so funded. And it is also clear which route costs ratepayers more. A certain $13 million versus a possible future liability.

Basically the people of Auckland are getting a huge bargain with the SkyPath. Either it costs nothing, or a much lower sum than it would if funded like every road, bus lane, train station, or cycleway in the city. And this doesn’t even begin to calculate the years of free work contributed by those who have made it happen. And all to make up for what is essentially an institutional failure in transport provision. SkyPath is listed as the region’s most import Active route yet our current institutions weren’t able to get started on it themselves, somehow.

Perhaps it really is time Councillor Brewer took his financial expertise into the private sector…?

The busiest days to cycle

A month or so ago Auckland Transport kindly provided me with some data from their automated cycle counters that have been installed on a number of sites around the city. The data shows how many people on bikes passed each of the sites for each day up to the end of May and for some of the sites the data goes as far back as later 2010. Peter recently looked at the data from the Grafton Gully and Beach Rd cycleways and over a few posts I intend to take a look at the other ones as well as the two Peter covered from a few different angles.

All up there are 19 counters spread across the region.

  • Beach Rd
  • Dominion Rd
  • East Coast Rd
  • Grafton Bridge
  • Grafton Gully
  • Highbrook
  • Lake Rd
  • Lagoon Dr
  • Karangahape Rd
  • Mangere Bridge
  • NW Cycleway – Kingsland
  • NW Cycleway Te Atatu
  • Orewa
  • SH20 Dominion Rd
  • Symonds St
  • Tamaki Dr
  • Twin Streams
  • Upper Harbour

These maps from AT show where they are.

Cycling Counter Locations - Region

Cycling Counter Locations - City

To start with, for this post I’m going to look at how the number of people cycling changes over the course of a week. For this I’ve averaged the results out by day and the data is from November 2014 to the end of April which is the peak cycling season. I’ve done it over this time period as it’s one where data is available for all counters.

As you can see by far Tuesdays are the most frequent days for cycling while Saturdays the least frequent.

Daily Cycling Averages - All Sites

 

 

The relative strength of Sundays surprised me a bit and as such I suspected it is the result of some routes having quite significant differences in use. Looking at the data confirmed this and it seems the various routes can be split into one of three rough categories, weekday commuter sites, sites with fairly even usage all week and sites that see much greater weekend recreational use. The results of these are shown below.

First up the weekday commuter routes and you can see that each generally sees a significant drop off in usage on the weekends. The highest in here is the NW cycleway at Kingsland which averages well over 700 per day on Tuesdays and in fact in the height of summer is averages close to 1,000 per day.

Daily Cycling Averages - Weekday Sites

Next up the sites that while they may have some peaks, generally don’t see a significantly noticeable change over the course of the week. Unsurprisingly the star here is Tamaki Dr which doubles as both a strong commuter route during the week and sees a lot of recreational use on the weekends.

Daily Cycling Averages - All Week Sites

Here are the sites that see a clear increase in usage on weekends. The Mangere Bridge, Orewa and Upper Harbour sites are very noticeable with this – I suspect the former being families with the later more weekend warrior types.

Daily Cycling Averages - Weekend Sites

All up some quite interesting data and results and as mentioned I’ll look at the data in some different ways it in separate posts. Is there anything you’d particularly like to see?

Lastly I understand detailed before and after monitoring is a key requirement as part of the Urban Cycleways funding so I expect that over time AT/NZTA will roll out more and more of these automated counters. I also expect that in the coming years as new routes get completed and linked together we should start to see a bit of a network effect happening.

 

More on the National Land Transport Programme

Last week the latest iteration of the National Land Transport Programme was announced. This is largely a business as usual plan, dominated by the big spend on a few massive state highways projects. However there are a few things to be celebrated, especially for cycling, and even more in the language and thinking in the supporting documents. This was repeated at the launch too, especially in the words of NZTA CEO and AT Board representative Geoff Dangerfield, and NZTA Auckland/Northland Regional Director Ernst Zöllner.

BRITOMART JULY 15_3344

The high level aims are all strong and commendable. The focus on ‘economic growth and productivity, safety, and value for money’ are incontestably valuable. If they were to add ‘resilience, energy security, and environmental performance’  it would probably be a perfect list. But of course this is really set by the Government Policy Statement.

Dangerfield was his usual clear and persuasive self, setting a high level context and skilfully bating away questions. Zöllner was particularly articulate about both the dynamic nature of the situation in Auckland and the unformed quality of Auckland’s PT networks; especially the incomplete nature of the core Rapid Transit Network. Both noted the strong growth of PT ridership numbers, which will see a rise in the PT opex spend.

Here’s what the agency says about the Transit and Active modes, in the Providing Transport Choices document:

NZTA The role of PT.
And
NZTA Economic Growth through PT

All incontestable good sense, and exactly the sort of points regular readers here would recognise, especially the emphasis on the value of the high quality own-right-of-way Congestion Free networks of rail and dedicated busways.

People using public transport on high-quality public transport services with a dedicated right of way, like the Auckland Northern Busway or metropolitan rail networks, can now enjoy fast, efficient journeys on comfortable modern buses and electric trains, while freeing up road space for other people and freight.

There remains, however, some considerable daylight between this analysis and the actual projects being funded. This is especially the case with the comparatively tiny sum of $176m for Public Transport Capital Works in Auckland out of a total $4.2 billion spend over the three year period in the region [~4%] and $13.9 billion nationally. This sum [half of which is from the Council’s Transport Levy] will bring much vital kit, like the Otahuhu, Manukau City, and Te Atatu bus interchanges. But is a long way from fixing those big gaps in the RTN network. In response to my questions on this they quite reasonably countered that some funding for bus capex is in other budgets, notably under the AMETI programme, as part of the North Western massive highway works, and the Northern Busway extensions.

However the two Busway sums do not result in the construction of even one metre of additional RTN. For the Northern Busway the previous minister deleted construction of the proposed extension from the accelerated motorway package [a loan to be met from future NLTF], so all we are left with is ‘future proofing’ and no one can ride on a busway that has only been future proofed for. On the Northwestern we do get the improvement of bus shoulder lanes and a station at Te Atatu; but no RTN. AMETI is the best of the bunch, but that’s only if the proposed BRT does happen instead of the place-ruining flyover that appeals more to some entitled voices there.

Then we come to the great problem that the National Land Transport Fund is barred from investing in rail infrastructure yet Auckland is now showing the huge value of using this separate network for moving increasing numbers of people completely outside of traffic congestion. And some RTN routes are clearly best served by rail. Just as well the Council has the courage to just get on with the CRL first stage by itself so at least this vital gap at the heart of the RTN is getting a start.

The case for near term investment in PT and especially for completing the RTN can be summarised thus:

  • current demand growth of 20+% on Auckland’s Rapid Transit Network,
  • the RTN is showing improved operating cost effectiveness as it grows,
  • the strongly voiced value the agency sees in quality PT networks especially their positive effects on traffic congestion and economic growth,
  • the well known relationship between what is invested in and what then grows in use plus the positive externalities of increased PT use,
  • and the observed sub-optimal nature of the city’s current PT networks in both quality and extent, ie the clear opportunities for improvement.
So despite the good work being undertaken by many in all our transport agencies: NZTA, AT, and MoT, there seem to be structural problems that are leading to important opportunities being missed in our only city of scale. It is this context that I wrote to NZTA Auckland and Northland Director Ernst Zöllner with concerns about two specific projects that embody these issues. As this post is already quite long I will run the letter tomorrow morning in a follow-up post…

The Skypath decision

I’m still buzzing over the fantastic news that consent for Skypath was approved this morning. What makes it even better is reading the decision of the commissioners. It appears to be a comprehensive result and leaves no doubt that this project is both good and satisfactorily addresses the concerns local residents have raised. The decision can be read here and starts from around page 51.

Skypath aerial

Here are some of the highlights.

The Commissioners have, in consideration of section 5 of the RMA had to consider whether the proposal would achieve the purpose of the Act. The proposal consists of three distinct elements – the Northern Landing; the main span of the Harbour Bridge and the Southern Landing; we have had to take a holistic approach, with the understanding that RMA is not a no effects Act. In looking at the total proposal we consider that the effects (with the mitigation proposed) at a local level, notably landscape and visual, amenity and traffic/parking at the Northern Landing, are not of such significance that the broader strategic goals associated with the SkyPath project – connecting a regional cycling network; providing a tourism opportunity; giving multimodal choice, and the existing investment at both regional and government levels should be set aside. We believe that the proposal will meet the needs of current and future generations in relation to both health and safety. It is our overall assessment that SkyPath will promote the sustainable management purpose of the Act.

The proposal will provide greater optimisation for the use of the AHB, by offering a broader range of modes available to users of the AHB. The amenity values will be enhanced through greater accessibility to the Waitemata Harbour, offering accessibility and views not currently available (aside from commercial activities such as the bungy and bridge walk enterprises). We acknowledge that the residents immediately adjacent to the AHB on Northcote Point value their current levels of amenity, including the quietness of the area (being the lack of activity). However the increased activity generated by the SkyPath is considered to maintain that amenity through provision of increased screening, directional signage, security and planting and/or fencing along currently open boundary frontages. Overall the Commissioners consider that the proposal will maintain and enhance the quality of the environment through the provision of cycle/walking facilities that provide a crucial link across the Waitemata Harbour that is not dependent on a “timetable” or motor vehicle.

We consider that the proposal meets the relevant provisions of Part 2 of the RMA as it achieves the purpose of the Act being sustainable management of natural and physical resources; in particular it provides for people’s social and economic wellbeing, while avoiding remedying or mitigating the identified adverse effects on the environment.

And some of their main findings on the principal issues in contention.

  • The traffic and parking effects associated with parties who chose to drive to SkyPath will be adequately mitigated through provision, implementation, review and monitoring of the Operational Plan. This finding applies to both the Southern Landing and the Northern Landing.
  • The adverse amenity effects at the Northern Landing (primarily associated with increased activity, privacy/overlooking, noise, and perceptions relating to safety and security) can be adequately mitigated through design and site management as proposed by the Applicant. We find that the scope of the consent would include the provision of public toilets at the Northern Landing and have included a condition requiring the location to be subject to CPTED review.
  • The design of the structure, including white rods and ribs, is appropriate. The Commissioners are satisfied that it is appropriate that the SkyPath structure reads as an addition to the bridge structure through the colour of the rods and ribs. The Commissioners note in making this finding that any suggestion that the SkyPath structure should not detract from the heritage value of the AHB is not something that can be considered. The heritage value of the AHB should more appropriately be protected through a public process to schedule the structure (including an appropriate level of analysis from an expert) through either the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 or the RMA.
  • We are satisfied that the further design assessments required by NZTA for the SkyPath structure are not expected to require any substantial change in the SkyPath structure.
  • We concur with Mr Farrant, the Council’ Principal Heritage Adviser Central, that SkyPath will have zero impact on the built heritage of Northcote Point.

And the reasons for the decision, some of which duplicates the comments above.

The reasons for this decision are included in the decision report above but can be summarised as follows:

1. In terms of section 104D(1)(a) of the RMA, the adverse effects of the activity on the environment at the Northern Landing have been considered as moderate. Turning to section 104(1)(a), mitigation measures have been incorporated into the design of the proposal, and a range of consent conditions have been imposed to ensure that any adverse effects on the environment for the entire proposal can be satisfactorily avoided, remedied or mitigated.

2. In terms of section 104D(1)(b) and section 104(1)(b) of the RMA, our finding is that the application is for activities that will not be contrary to the objectives and policies of the operative Auckland Council District Plans (North Shore City Section and Auckland City Isthmus Section) and the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

3. The proposal is consistent with Part 2 of RMA as it achieves the sustainable management of natural and physical resources by providing an alternative transport option that promotes both personal health and social wellbeing, and positive economic impacts.

4. The proposal is in accordance with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act by providing public access within the coastal environment and avoiding adverse effects on the natural character and quality of the environment.

5. The proposal is consistent with the Auckland Regional Policy Statement by helping remedy adverse effects on the transport environment.

6. SkyPath is perceived, and acknowledged, as a critical transport link. It is a positive gain for Auckland’s transportation network.

7. The proposal will help promote alternative transportation modes and active lifestyles, and improve recreational options for Aucklanders and visitors to the region.

Once again thank you to all who have fought so hard for this project over the years. In my view now consent has been granted the government should step up and take over the funding of the project – especially considering their new found support for cycling.

A great day for Auckland – Skypath Approved

It’s just been announced that consent has been approved for Skypath. I’ll have a closer look at the details shortly but for now it’s time to celebrate, this is a great day for Auckland. Well done to everyone involved and a huge thank you to Bevan Woodward and his team who have tireless campaigned and pushed this project forward. Without them today wouldn’t have been possible.

Skypath Consent - From Westhaven

Any bets on how long it will take for the Northcote residents who oppose to lodge and appeal of the decision in the environment court?

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