There seems to be growing interest rail to the North Shore, perhaps mainly driven by the fact that one of the project’s biggest benefits would be putting off spending $5 billion on the stupidest transport project ever, another motorway crossing of the Waitemata Harbour. However there still seems to be relatively little discussion and agreement over how it might link in with the rest of the rail network. The Integrated Transport Programme costed the rail crossing at around $1 billion, but seemed to show it finishing tantalisingly close to the rail network at Wynyard, but not actually linking in (suggesting that NZTA and Auckland Transport have included it for show more than serious consideration) or perhaps it’s just hidden behind the words “city centre”.The Auckland Plan was a bit more definitive, showing that North Shore rail should link into the rail system at Aotea Station:Presumably Aotea Station’s is being future-proofed for a connection to a future North Shore Line in its design (something to submit on in regards to the City Rail Link notice of requirement). Previous options of connecting in at Britomart seem to have been abandoned – most probably because Aotea is more central and it’s not possible anyway to hook the North Shore line into the CRL as you’d end up with far too many conflicting train movements. Patrick outlined in a post a few months back how an extended Aotea Station might work to serve both the CRL and the North Shore Line. A further station would obviously be provided at Wynyard Quarter.
But what next? Should the railway line just be an independent line (maybe Vancouver Skytrain style light-metro to keep Peter M happy?) or could it link through to the Southern or Eastern Lines? Exploring each option further highlights advantages and disadvantages for every option, and perhaps not a particularly obvious preferred candidate.
Starting off with linking it through to the Southern Line, which would most easily be done by continuing the tunnel under Wellesley Street, probably bridging over Grafton Gully and then linking in with the Southern Line just north of Parnell. Something like this:The line could then extend to either the Airport or to the Southern Line, or conceivably both (especially if on the North Shore you had one service pattern commencing at Takapuna and another commencing at Albany). The end result of this approach is probably something similar to what Matt and Patrick developed last year – known as “the cross”:Advantages of this approach include the creation of a pretty legible and easily understood network – basically a north-south line and an east-west line, with a few variations and branches further out. You get a direct link from the North Shore to the Airport, you provide a heap of capacity to the city centre by running the two lines completely independent of each other and you remove the need to use that slow bit of the rail network around Vector Arena. Disadvantages perhaps include the enormous strain on Aotea Station as the transfer station between the two main lines, the requirement that North Shore rail be built to heavy rail standard (rather than the likely much cheaper Light Metro). It also effectively requires the construction of a second CRL – this time in an east-west direction. As we’re struggling to find the funding for the first CRL it does appear slightly premature to be planning what’s effectively a second, somewhat similar, tunnel.
The next option is to look at linking the North Shore Line up with the Eastern Line, via a route that takes a little bit of imagination but isn’t too impossible – leading to something like this:
Once again this option appears to have a number of advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include perhaps a slightly shorter and simpler link with the rail network that doesn’t involve bridging Grafton Gully and perhaps utilises some of the trackwork at the old Auckland Railway Station area to link into the Eastern Line. Trains heading further east could travel on to either Manukau via the existing Eastern Line or to Botany (or beyond?) via a new southeast line (as previously discussed here). Splitting the trains across two destinations in the east would balance well with trains originating at Takapuna and Albany on the North Shore – creating something like this:
- Albany-Manukau via City Centre, Panmure and Otahuhu
- Takapuna-Manukau via City Centre, Glen Innes and Highland Park
- Swanson to Papakura/Pukekohe via CRL, Newmarket and Southern Line
- Mt Roskill to Airport via CRL, Newmarket and Penrose
Mapped it looks something like this:Now before you go and yell at me for being too city centre focused I’m not necessarily suggesting that what’s shown above is Auckland’s ideal future rail network, but rather that it’s one way of showing how a North Shore Line could be “linked in” with Auckland’s existing rail network.
The big flaw with both “the cross” option and the one shown above is that they leave no role for Grafton Station, other than potentially on some sort of shuttle between Newmarket and Kingsland (would have to be Kingland now the Inner West Interchange station is gone). Both options also require significant expense east of Aotea Station to “link” the tracks coming into the city from the west with either the Southern or Eastern lines at Parnell or a bit north of that at the old railway station. Both options also seem to relegate the role of the City Rail Link by pulling either Southern Line or Eastern Line trains out of the tunnel and effectively giving both lines only one city centre station (plus Wynyard). Finally, both options also require the North Shore Line to be built as heavy rail, which is likely to be quite a bit more expensive than a light-metro option – although still barely half the cost of a road crossing of the Harbour.
The final option is to just terminate the trains at Aotea Station – running trains from both Albany and Takapuna to Aotea and then back again. This option is completely independent of the existing rail network:Advantages include relatively low cost (compared to other options), the potential to do driverless light-metro and the fact that the rest of the rail network’s balance isn’t stuffed up in the ways that caused problems with the other options (such as it being difficult to serve Grafton Station). Disadvantages include quite a lot more transfers, creating another independent system and the challenges with where you’d maintain the train fleet.
As I noted at the start of my post, there’s no clear winner when it comes to options to connect North Shore Rail into the existing system – but there sure are a whole heap of interesting options. Which is your favourite? Why? Have I missed another option or two that might work even better?
Someone at the Herald must have let John Roughan back at the typewriter because today’s editorial on another harbour crossing appears to have his fingerprints all over it.
No one seems to doubt Auckland will need another harbour crossing to the North Shore within a generation. The chances of it being another bridge are dwindling but plans for a tunnel under the Waitemata are cautiously being progressed. Too cautiously, in the view of former North Shore mayor and current Auckland Council member George Wood. He has half a point.
Mr Wood believes transport planners ought to be engaging now with community groups as they move to protect a likely route for a tunnel or tunnels east of the harbour bridge. The Auckland Council 30-year plan favours the tunnel option with provision for a rail line to future-proof its capacity. Since that plan’s publication, the Transport Agency has said it would base any application to the council next year for route protection on that premise, despite its judgment that no crossing would be required until 2030.
So it starts out innocently enough and was obviously driven by the article last week where the NZTA confirmed there was no immediate need for another crossing. I’ll start by saying that I think a new crossing will be needed at some point, just not one for cars but I will talk more about that shortly. It then goes on to talk for a bit about how Georges fears of the project being left to drift are probably not needed as the NZTA has proven that they are able to get big projects pushed through both consenting and construction phases. But it is after this that things go down hill pretty quickly suggesting that the biggest threat to the project is the talk of future proofing it for a rail line.
The bigger threat to timing or funding for a tunnel might be any requirement that it include rail, even if it is only on paper to “future-proof” the project. The rail option would work only if the tunnel project was preceded by Auckland mayor Len Brown’s push for a CBD rail link, the multi-billion-dollar tunnel pushing through Britomart station and up-town to Mt Eden. In current conditions it is unlikely both can be funded in the next decade or two even if Auckland ratepayers and motorists accept high tolling and regional charges to carry much of the burden themselves.
Aucklanders and their elected leaders need to prioritise these projects and de-couple them so that at least one is digestible. Development and liveability of the North Shore could well be harmed if the second crossing is tied to the more politically controversial CBD rail link and delayed. The National-led Government believes no such rail link is justified for 30 years: the Auckland Council sees it as a cornerstone for the city’s transport, housing and economic progress.
Which is the more efficient and vital recipient of the nation’s economic resources? The case is clear for a harbour crossing, only timing is in dispute. The case for the CBD rail link is persuasive but unconvincing, a costly, nice-to-have project which in theory would relieve traffic congestion and alter residential development.
Does the North Shore want or need rail in any case? The Northern Busway has been a successful public transport option and would presumably be more effective if the harbour bridge is decongested by a parallel road tunnel.
About the only think I agree with is that it is unlikely both can realistically be funded in the next two decades and that we need to prioritise both our funds and focus on the one that will have the most impact. To even suggest that the most important project is another harbour crossing is the most important is laughable. For starters it is a duplication of a route that already exists and who’s only purpose is to increase capacity to allow more people to drive to the city centre, flooding it with cars when we are trying to make it a more pedestrian friendly place. The CCFAS also confirms that it is expected to absolutely destroy patronage on the busway undermining the investment made in it so far. The CRL by comparison provides a new route that speeds up trips to the city centre without putting any extra cars on the road and that helps to maximise the otherwise underutilised rail corridors. At $2.2 billion all up including things like new trains, it is also considerably cheaper than $5.3 billion harbour tunnel which is the one that more and more looks like “a costly, nice to have project”.
Lets also not forget that due to the sheer cost of another crossing both the new and existing routes would need to be tolled with estimations from a few years ago suggesting that $8 per crossing would be needed.
On the topic of rail to the North Shore, there was a bit of a discussion last night on how the CRL designation docs don’t make any mention of how a North Shore line integrate with the CRL. A couple of years ago the plan was to also put the trains through Britomart with a junction under the downtown mall however thankfully that has now changed. My understanding is that the more detailed designs for the Aotea station include the provision for a connection to platforms that would be under Wellesley St. As that would be under a road anyway, it would probably only serve to complicate things with the designation so as long as the station is designed and built in a way that enables it to happen in the future, there is likely no point addressing it now (although it would be nice if AT were to officially confirm this).
In the fallout from the release of the City Centre Future Access Study last Thursday and the government’s rather bizarre response to it, for some reason there seems to have been renewed discussion about the Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing (AWHC) project. It’s a bit odd to think that if Central Government has concerns about contributing to a $2.4 billion project they’d end up looking more kindly on a $5 billion project instead, but I guess as it’s a road rather than a railway line you really never know.
We’ve discussed the AWHC project on this blog many times before, most particularly recently pointing out some incredibly dodgy traffic statistics used by NZTA to help justify the project. In this post I’m not really going to focus on the cost of the project, or the heroic traffic growth assumptions or even why a rail crossing is a much more sensible option. What I’m going to simply look at is the likely traffic effects of the additional crossing – where it does and does not add capacity to the system and what the impacts of that are likely to be. There’s a wealth of information on the project website, which I will draw on to inform this. For a start, let’s just get a rough idea about what the AWHC project is – something that’s reasonably well illustrated in the diagram below:It’s a little complicated with all the different colours, but let’s just think about what happens for southbound traffic:
- Traffic heading to Shelly Beach Road, Fanshawe Street and Cook Street uses the existing Harbour Bridge
- Traffic heading to SH16 west and SH16 port exits uses the new tunnel
- Traffic continuing south on SH1 uses the new tunnel
The same is obviously also true in reverse. Oh an by the way I wouldn’t get too excited about the rail tunnel shown above – the fact that a shuttle line from Gaunt Street to Akoranga is shown, with no connections to the existing or proposed rail network at the city end, just illustrates that it’s only in there as a token gesture.
At the moment in the morning peak there are five lanes southbound coming over the harbour bridge. The Shelly Beach Road offramp peels off but the five lanes remain through St Mary’s Bay. Then one lane drops off at Fanshawe Street and four lanes continue southbound over the Victoria Park viaduct: two of those feeding into Cook Street and the SH16 exits and the other two linking with the Southern Motorway for trips heading further south. Ignoring the city exits (Shelly Beach, Fanshawe and Cook Street) for a minute, it’s clear that there are four lanes that link the Harbour Bridge through to SH16 (for east and west travel) and SH1 for travel further south. Here’s a diagram showing the future layout of the motorway network with the AWHC built:
It’s a bit confusing at first, but once you ignore the local roads it starts to make a little more sense. We can see that southbound in the morning peak there would be three lanes in the new tunnel and four lanes (one of which is a bus lane by the look of it) coming over the harbour bridge. The new tunnel effectively removes ‘through traffic’ from the Harbour Bridge, but doesn’t actually add any capacity over what already exists for that through traffic.
- There’s still only two lanes which continue right through for southbound traffic.
- There are only three lanes (compared to the current four) for traffic heading to either SH1 southbound or the SH16 exits.
What the new road does do, of course, is free up huge amounts of new roadspace for vehicles travelling from the North Shore to the CBD. There are now four southbound lanes over the harbour bridge worth of capacity – all of which can only link to Shelly Beach Road, Fanshawe Street or Cook Street. That’s potentially an absolute flood of additional vehicles that could be funneled into central Auckland because they no longer need to ‘compete’ with the through traffic for roadspace over the Harbour Bridge.
This impact is well documented in the project’s Local Roads report:
The main challenge for this assessment relates to the provision of additional capacity across the harbour and the potential flow on effects this may have on the local road network around central Auckland and feeder roads on the North Shore, particularly in the weekday morning peak. In particular it is noted that the new harbour crossing will allow more traffic to enter the CBD. This conflicts with various CBD strategies that encourage the provision of public transport for trips to/from the CBD and not to provide additional capacity for cars.
It fundamentally conflicts with the concept of a liveable city centre.
It is anticipated that space on the existing Harbour Bridge will be allocated to public transport, walking and cycling, if an Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing is provided. The precise lane configuration on the existing Harbour Bridge will only be determined over time and this will significantly affect the predicted traffic effects of the additional crossing. The scenario agreed for this study (for both bridge and tunnel options) includes the following lane allocation on the existing bridge:
- One lane for walking and cycling;
- A bus lane in each direction, but with general traffic heading to the Shelly Beach off ramp sharing the southbound bus lane; and
- Five general traffic lanes in total, assumed to operate with three southbound and two northbound lanes in the weekday morning peak, with the reverse in the evening peak.
This scenario would provide three southbound lanes for general in the weekday morning peak plus additional capacity, equivalent to around half a lane, for general traffic heading to the Shelly Beach off ramp. This scenario also provides the opportunity for a significant increase in the rate of flow from Esmonde Road (and Akoranga Drive) onto the Northern Motorway, thereby increasing the rate of flow able to cross the Harbour and reaching the Auckland CBD.
It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry about the fact that even after spending $5 billion NZTA still can’t bring itself to providing a proper dedicated southbound bus lane. The important thing to note from the above paragraphs though is at the very end: the real impact of the project is a massive increase in flows from the North Shore into the CBD. As no additional capacity is provided south of the CBD the are few gains there aside from being able to hit the gridlock through spaghetti junction a bit quicker because vehicles travelling through the tunnel no longer need to compete for roadspace with those heading for the CBD.
It seems as though the report writers began to realise this fundamental flaw with the project and therefore ended up recommending retaining some measures to limit the flow of vehicles onto the motorway from the North Shore:
A range of options could be used to limit the rate of flow able to cross the Harbour, including changes in the lane allocation. However, for the purposes of this assessment it has been agreed that the effects of the additional crossing will be assumed to be restricted by some means and that this should be reflected by modelling ramp signals on the important Esmonde Road southbound on ramp. Capacity constraints are already predicted to exist on the approaches to or on the other on ramps during the morning peak, and providing ramp signals at Esmonde Road will therefore further constrain the rate of flow able to pass across the harbour and into the Auckland CBD.
So we’ll spend $5 billion on adding a huge amount of capacity across the Waitemata Harbour but we’ll still need to use things like ramp signals to limit the flow of vehicles onto the motorway – doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of the whole project?
The impact of the project on some city streets is pretty massive in terms of additional vehicles – especially Fanshawe Street and Cook Street (Curran Street and Shelly Beach Road, two residential streets, get slammed as well):To cut what is becoming a pretty long story short, it really does seem as though the AWHC project involves spending $5 billion to make it easier to drive your car into the city centre – something we actually don’t want you to do. In other words, it is building the most expensive transport project ever to create more congested inner city streets and a less liveable city centre. It’s a huge amount of money on something that will make Auckland a far far worse city.
For that reason, it is quite simply the stupidest transport project ever.
I found myself in an interesting discussion on Twitter yesterday about the Northern Busway and whether a North Shore railway line is likely to be necessary at some point in the future or not. This is a fairly common debate, but one that’s often a bit ill-informed by the assumptions that people make. Things like:
- Rail to the North Shore is really expensive. Well yes it is, but not nearly as expensive as building a $5 billion road tunnel.
- The North Shore already has a busway, why does it need a railway line? And here’s where things get interesting – read on!
While the North Shore certainly does have a busway – a very successful one at that – we must remember that the busway proper is only between Constellation and Akoranga Stations in both directions, then between Akoranga Station and the Onewa Road interchange in the southbound direction. In some other places there are bus shoulder lanes, but that’s it. When you actually start to map out how much of the Northern Express route (the core route along the busway) is busway (blue) bus lane or shoulder lane (green) and mixed traffic (red) the result is actually somewhat surprising:Breaking down the distances, you can see that northbound passengers in particular get a pretty raw deal:Total it all up and you actually find that only 41% of the Northern Express’s route is actually along the busway proper. A full 40% of the route is without any form of bus priority measures at all – including half of the route for northbound buses. Most worryingly the places with some of the patchiest bus priority measures, like the Harbour Bridge, St Mary’s Bay for northbound traffic and around the Britomart departure points are the very places where bus volumes are the highest and the competition for road space is most intense, with buses sadly losing out. For example, the fact that NZTA didn’t bother to put a northbound bus lane through St Mary’s Bay when widening that motorway speaks absolute volumes of the disdain that organisation has for public transport.
The point of all these calculations isn’t to criticise the Northern Busway, but actually to point out that a railway line south of Akoranga – like the rail line shown below - wouldn’t actually duplicate much of the busway at all: just the southbound section between Akoranga and Onewa which would be very handy for minimising the length of a cross-harbour tunnel:Furthermore, this is pretty much exactly the same section which NZTA’s Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing Project adds capacity to – at a cost of at least $5 billion (a rough estimate based on past analysis suggests that a Takapuna to Aotea rail link should be able to be built for under $2.5 billion). After all, the only thing AWHC does is shift ‘through-traffic’ off the harbour bridge into a new tunnel and then turn the harbour bridge into giant on and off ramps feeding a heap of cars into downtown that we don’t actually want. For $5 billion!
Clearly in the meanwhile there are things we can do to improve the busway and increase the measly 41% total. An extension northwards from Constellation to Albany is a no-brainer. Improved priority measures in the inner city is another clear requirement, plus we need to do something about getting a bus lane northbound through St Mary’s Bay. But for goodness sake, before we go and spend $5 billion on a road tunnel that’ll do nothing but feed cars into downtown, can we consider a much cheaper and much more effective alternative?
This post is about the other critical break at the heart of Auckland’s RTN network: the Waitemata Harbour. The one that needs to be addressed after the City Rail Link mends the first one. Some may think that I’m getting ahead of myself here but I think it is important to look ahead so that near term projects are future-proofed and so that our thinking is kept open to all sorts of possibilities.
The power of the CRL is also in some ways its limitation, well certainly in the minds of its detractors, because much of what it achieves occurs on the already existing rail network. It is after all primarily just what it is called: A Link; outside of the Centre City it doesn’t expand the reach of the network directly but rather joins the currently separated ends of two long systems together to allow the true capacity and frequency of the whole network to be realised. This is what is so powerful about the project but is also so easily overlooked.
Don’t get me wrong, the CRL is clearly the urgent transformative move for Auckland; the ‘killer app’ if you like, because it will provide the necessary core to the Rapid Transit Network that will, with the new bus network it supports, transform Auckland into being a viable Transit City as well as a driving one. A transformation, already underway, that will enable more people in more of Auckland to function effectively without having to always drive. At once improving their efficiency and that of the whole city. It is a step change; the key to Auckland’s new urban future, enabling high quality growth and is the best way take pressure off the existing sunk investment in the road network so it keeps working well as the city grows.
But also let’s not forget that by solving the constraints of the current rail network it also invites its expansion to whole new areas, and that there is still another ‘Link’ that the system needs.
Clearly the relatively simple and obvious extension of the Onehunga line through Mangere to the Airport should follow swiftly after the CRL. But it is the next opportunity that I want to discuss here and one that the representatives for the North Shore really ought to have their sights set on too: A North Shore Line; converting some or all of the Northern Busway to rail and crossing the harbour with rail tunnels to connect this part of the RTN via a new station at Wynyard Quarter to the existing network.
We have shown that the growth in demand across the harbour is not in traffic but in Transit. But also any addition to traffic volumes entering the city would contradict everything the Council is working towards to improve the quality of life and place in the city as well as its economic intensity. So the next expansion in capacity across the Harbour needs to connect the break in the RTN between the southern end of Northern Busway and the Isthmus-only rail network. And this would be as shape changing as the CRL itself as it would bring much closer together currently separated parts of Auckland. It is also the other major move to make Auckland into a true Multi-Modal City.
Discussions of cost, funding, and even the route on the Shore are outside of the scope of this post, have been addressed elsewhere on this site and will be again in the future. This is an exploration of future possibilities. I am also assuming that electric rail is clearly the technology to take in tunnels under the Harbour not the more expensive, more dangerous, and lower capacity of buses. Argue if you must but it looks like a slam dunk to me, and I’m sure that will be even more certain post-CRL.
I have in the past written about the possibility of the elegant and efficient Cross patterned two line network [below]: The Southern Line heading to town would after the new Parnell Station cross Grafton Gully above the traffic on a viaduct then enter a tunnel into Constitution Hill and head under Albert Park to connect with the CRL at Aotea Station before heading to a new station at Wynyard Quarter and across the harbour to the Shore. Albany to the Airport, with Wynyard Quarter, the heart of the city, and Newmarket in between.
‘The Cross’ possible North-South and West-East network model
Here’s a full city wide Rapid Transit Network adding future Busways to a pretty complete rail system, by Matt:
Matt’s Future RTN Network
There are a number of options for staging this line, especially at the Shore end, and even at the city side where the connection to the line at Parnell could be put off and the line run as a self contained Shore/City route at very high frequencies. And there is even a fairly lively debate among the editorial team here at the blog about the competing merits of a cheaper Light Metro system or continuing with the same kit we are about to get in order to integrate the Shore Line with the existing network. What I’m about to look at doesn’t depend on either system although the connection to the line at Parnell would require compatibility one way or the other. That’s a debate for another time. But here is another version based on Matt’s plan above:
Version of Matt’s future map
What I want to look at here is the future City connection for a Shore Line because the opportunities and the constraints are considerable. In this post I outlined how the midtown CRL station Aotea will replace Britomart as the most popular on the whole network and how the station design in a constrained footprint will have to be able to handle much much higher numbers of people than we see at our busiest station today.
Here is a detail of the CRL alignment map showing the Aotea Station footprint:
In recent discussions with the Council’s head of Urban Design Ludo Campbell-Reid he mentioned that the new owner of the empty site between Elliot and Albert St is keen to integrate the station exits into the retail floors his proposed tower which will bring people onto the new shared space of Elliot and Darby Streets and level with Queen St at the Station’s northern end. There will of course be exits further west for those heading up hill [maybe even up to the coming Federal St shared space and Sky City] and at the southern end on Wellesley Street where the Council owns property on two sides of that intersection.
Here is a rough schematic of ‘The Cross’ that I did for that earlier post:
CITY CENTRE ‘The Cross’
A closer look at this idea and it is pretty clear that inserting a station somewhere under the University or Albert Park would not only be almost impossible and very expensive but also unnecessary [it is the stations that are really expensive on underground lines rather than the tunnelling]. Not least of which because the distances between the stations are too short but also because the balance of the demand is really further south than the point indicated above. There is no doubt that the Universities are a huge generator of Transit traffic and it is important for the city that we meet that demand as efficiently as possible, but the key word in that sentence is Universities, plural; the growing AUT campus is much closer to Aotea Station than it is to the northern end of the University of Auckland. And if we can inch some Aotea Station exits across Queen St we can not only help serve this market well but also help deal better with the likely pedestrian flows at the peak hours. And not only will it have to cater for transfers between the lines but as it is also clear that Wellesley St will continue to be the main crosstown bus route so this placement is well placed for connections between modes too.
Here’s my suggestion for alignment of the North Shore Line platforms at Aotea:
As you can see I have biased the overlap between the two lines by bringing the Shore Line platforms east under Queen St. They are offset enough that you could give it its own identity; say Wellesley St or Queen St Station. Or Horotiu, after the Taniwha and his stream the Waihorotiu that runs under Queen St. Or just call them platforms 3 + 4 at Aotea. No matter, the point is that there are some really good reasons to orient the station like this. Because to add another busy line to this station some serious people management is going to have to take place.
Happily here the Council has also already done a great job with another of its shared spaces:
Lorne St Shared Space
Not only is there already a big pedestrian plaza here that can absorb those Transit riders but it is really close to a lot of attractors. The tower at the end of the street is an AUT building with the rest of the campus up behind, the always busy Library is on the left, and of course the surely-to-be-restored St James on the right. Also there’s the wonderful new Art Gallery, the Civic back across Queen, and of of course the other University also just a little up the hill. Add the Town Hall, Q-Theatre, and the Aotea Centre and at last we really have the cultural amenity for a true and vibrant Civic Centre. Just not yet the transport amenity.
But not only that impressive list of destinations but also there are some underperforming sites ripe for revitalising. Chief among those being the St James. But there’s also the building you can see a corner of in the shot above just behind the guy taking a photo with his phone:
300 Queen St_ northeast
The 1965 head office of the ASB by the wonderfully named Beatson Rix-Trott Carter & Co architects. The Queen St frontage still houses a branch of the ASB and a kebab shop, but the other sides are lifeless and unused except as access to some 58 car parks [10 more than the limit- a variation granted in 1996] that have been rammed into 3 ex-office floors above the shops and accessed through those rollers doors opening onto Lorne St. I can only assume that the basement is currently unused.
Here’s the thing: The back end of this building is the perfect location for the eastern entrance to a busy cross town underground Rail Station. The removal of that parking inside this building would greatly enhance the shared space as they are the only traffic generator on this street outside of deliveries. The building itself could do with an upgrade and I’m sure the owner would make the calculation that having tens of thousands of people everyday right in their building is much more valuable than the return on 58 car parks.
300 Queen St_east elevation
It’s actually a pretty nicely detailed building if you look past the abuses, bronze windows and they took the granite all the way round to the back. Well except where those nasty rollers are now. This could scrub up well at street level, and then would certainly be able to accommodate development above too, a cafe on that podium and all sorts of retail opportunities on the currently car violated mezzanine and 1st and 2nd floors and either upgraded offices or apartments above. Just no parking. This is a good solid example of midcentury boxy corporate modernism awaiting rediscovery and a new life.
300 Queen St_Plaza
Its unactivated Lorne St side already faces a lively plaza especially since the upgrade and traffic de-privileging. There is in fact lots of unusually wide pedestrian amenity on both sides of Wellesley St at this point:
Wellesley St heritage loos
So not only is there also space for a station exit on the northern side of Wellesley but arguably it’s already there! I’m reliably informed that the now unused underground women’s loos are pretty flash inside. Surely there’s a way they could be incorporated into another exit?
The building on the left in the shot above, the ex-Contemporary Art Gallery, is about to be developed into highend retail and an article discussing its prospects bragged about a one day pedestrian count around here of 16,526 people [Wednesday Oct 17]. I think we can send that number a great deal higher in ways that can only be good for the commercial and cultural vitality of this end of town. And make the old ASB building more useful as well as more valuable, and wouldn’t it be great to see this whole block including the wonderful St James sparked back into life?
300 Queen St
And interestingly in that Library on the shared space I found this plan for an inner city underground rail system. It’s from the 1965 De Leuw Cather Report, the famous one that proposed both a Rapid Transit system and expanded motorways for Auckland but that has suffered from half of it being ignored ever since. And look where that station is, close:
De Leuw Cather Report 1965, detail.
Interesting that they named that station ‘Civic-Centre’ because despite all the millions spent by various Councils on driving amenity in this area to try to make a Civic Centre around the Town Hall [Mayoral Drive, the twice built underground car park] it has really only had any kind of success since Auckland’s recent Transit and pedestrian revolution started to take off this century. People, on the streets, and in quantity, are key to vibrant and successful urban places.
And here’s the whole region in that same report, look at that North Shore Line, not bad:
De Leuw Cather Report 1965: Rapid Transit plan for Auckland
And since we will soon have finished building all the motorways we’ll ever need it’s clearly time to get on with fixing the missing complementary Rapid Transit network.
A previous post by Patrick highlighted his concerns about the phrase “multi-modal”, something that I want to explore further. Patrick’s general argument is that we “talk the good talk” about multi-modalism (is that even a word?) but in reality what we have built over and over again is “mono-modalism”.
So I guess the question I want to ask the government is how sincere are they really about Multi-Modality? I agree a truly multi modal Auckland would be a great improvement but successive governments have deviated very little from a highway dominant policy and the current one has greatly accelerated it, and therefore increased our Mono-Modality. The Government Policy Statement makes it very hard to get funding from NZTA for any mode at all other than state highways, in fact it seems designed to enable motorways to get funding no matter how poor their cost benefit analyses. So under this government the share of Land Transport funding going to anything other than state highways has shrunk. And now they are planning to make it even more difficult for the local authority to make its own investments that may differ from this bias.
I’m going to stick my neck out a bit further and say that while I’m a big supporter of the idea of a multi-modal system, I’m not really much of a fan of “multi-modal projects”. They just seem to turn into ways of justifying a lot of spending on roads now, with perhaps a little bit for public transport in the very distant future.
A classic example of this is the “Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing” project. By far the most expensive project proposed for Auckland in the next 30 years (estimated cost is north of $5 billion!), it is another harbour tunnel which doesn’t add any capacity to the roading system anywhere except between the Esmonde Road interchange and spaghetti junction. Because of this, we’re basically spending $5 billion to make it easier for people to drive into the city centre – even though pretty much every other part of Auckland’s policies and strategies scream out that we want to reduce the car focus of the very same area.
Perhaps to appease those screaming out “why on earth would you want to do something so stupid?” the Auckland Plan says that there’ll be a rail line in the tunnel – the first step towards extending rail to the North Shore. Or at the very least the tunnel will be “future proofed” for rail so that it can be built at some point in the future. Here’s a lovely map showing how the two tunnels could happily co-exist:
Of course what’s not discussed here is the impact of the new road crossing on your likely demand for public transport. Considering that around 35% of people coming over the harbour bridge in the peak times at the moment are on the bus plus most of those people will be going to destinations in the city centre, around the universities or to Newmarket, public transport must have a really excellent modeshare for “North Shore to central city” trips – I would suspect well above 50% once you count the ferries.
One of the reasons this modeshare is so high is because the alternative isn’t too flash – a slow, unreliable and congested trip in along the Northern Motorway (and its many clogged feeder roads). Go and provide a heap more lanes of roading capacity at a vast cost and you’re just about guaranteed to kill off public transport demand (at least until your expensive new road gets clogged again). This means you can’t justify the rail tunnel and therefore you’ve just ended up reinforcing your city’s car dependency.
And in a nutshell this is the problem with multi-modal projects. Because they’re looking at upgrading both the road and the public transport at the same time, they’re actually two bits of a project working against each other. The public transport project would undoubtedly generate more patronage growth if the road running in parallel to it wasn’t also being widening/duplicated/upgraded to motorway status. Similarly (though interestingly not as convincingly), the economics of the roading project would probably stack up better if everyone was forced to use it and it wasn’t having its usage undermined by a parallel PT project.
This is where multi-modal projects really miss the point of public transport investment. One of the biggest reasons to spend money on a public transport project is so you don’t need to spend vastly more on a roading project. The Northern Busway is a great example of this as it’s vastly increasing the capacity of the Northern Motorway and delayed (or completely removed) the requirement for another road-based harbour crossing. Upgrading the rail network has done the same – every passenger coming up that southern line is delaying or removing the requirement to widen the southern motorway. With multi-modal projects it seems like we identify the project that’s required to ensure we don’t need that other project, but go ahead and build both anyway.
At the end of the day, I suppose multi-modal is nice for politicians because “there’s a bit in there everyone will support”. Those who want more roads are happy, the PT crowd are happy, there might be a cycleway to keep those advocates happy – everyone wins. Except the person paying the bill who has gone and wasted a huge amount of cash on a road that’s probably not needed if the other parts of the project are done.
What Auckland needs is a proper multi-modal transport system, not a whole pile of extremely expensive “multi-modal projects” that just reinforce our car dependency. We’ve got the roading side of the system pretty much finished already.
This is a guest post from reader Axio
Peter’s post on the future of driverless light-metro got me thinking about whether there are alternative alignments where an automatic metro could be used, and I felt that it would be a cost-effective solution to mayor’s vision of rail to the Airport and the North Shore.
Many proposals presented in this blog focus on connecting a North Shore line with the City Rail link by crossing at right angles at Aotea station and tunneling under the university to come out somewhere on the Eastern line. This minimizes the additional infrastructure needed on the city side of the link. However tunnels are very expensive and if an elevated metro is used then we might find that we can achieve much more substantial system for a similar cost.
This alternative considers a line from Takapuna through to the Airport. This would be a driverless metro elevated along its entire length, except possibly the harbour crossing. The proposed alignment is illustrated below.
The benefits of this alignment are many:
Obviously this provides rapid-transit to the North Shore, Mangere, and the Airport, meeting the strategic goal. It brings Takapuna onto the Rapid Transit Network (RTN), which is useful as it has been identified as a commercial centre in the Auckland Plan. This also makes the CBD much more accessible from western South Auckland.
- Leverages the most effective part of the Northern Busway by providing a high frequency connection at Akoranga. If most buses terminated at Akoranga then the lowest capacity and slowest section of the busway (the harbour bridge and CBD) would not be required for the bulk of trips.
- Replaces overcrowded bus routes on Dominion Road, and in doing so takes the pressure off Symonds Street. It also allows Dominion Road to retain its on street parking which was a sore point during the submissions into Light Rail on the corridor.
- Connects into the existing rail network at Onehunga and Mt Eden (depending on where stations are placed following construction of the City Rail Link).
- Provides another access point to Eden Park along Bellwood Avenue.
And overall it brings together parts of Auckland that are presently quite separate as far as transit is concerned.
For automatic metro the line requires its own right of way which would be achieved largely using elevated rail. As most of the line is above road corridors, this would require a viaduct composed of single columns about 4.5m high with the rail deck around another metre higher. Stations would be spaced every kilometer or so. As mentioned earlier the harbor crossing may be tunneled, and the section along SH20 could be at ground level in places.
There are some challenges inherent in the alignment and terrain. The section east from Hillsborough Road to sea level will be quite steep and probably require a viaduct that extends well east of where SH20 flattens out in order to reduce the gradient. Similarly the section through the CBD will be quite steep, although with a station in the middle the slow speeds due to gradient will be less painful to passengers. Getting through the CMJ can be done using the old Nelson Street off ramp from the Southern Motorway followed by a viaduct over the CMJ once clear of K-Road. The corner at Wellesley and Hobson is quite tight, although the radius exceeds the 35m mentioned as the limit for this type of metro as shown.
This brings us to the big question: what will it cost? In this case I will just look at the section from Wynyard to Onehunga as costings for heavy rail north and sound of there can be found in other documents and provide a reasonable indicator of cost (particularly to the north where the cost is largely due to the tunnel).
The Vancouver Skytrain provides the most useful estimates as it is the system on which this is based. South Fraser Blog quotes On Track: The SkyTrain Story which indicates the cost for the elevated only section is around $47million per kilometer in 2012 Canadian dollars. At the present exchange rate this comes out to about $60million per kilometer so the line from Wynyard to Onehunga, at around 14km, would have a baseline at $840 million. Building above a road corridor would likely increase the cost, and we also have to deal with the special viaducts at the CMJ and Onehunga. Finally that estimate does not include the cost of the trains.
Compared to the Waterview Connection and the City Rail link this project, at a little over a billion dollars, is relatively inexpensive given the area it provides service to, although obviously much of the benefit would come from the un-costed sections from Wynyard to Takapuna, and Onehunga to the Airport. It does also have the ability to be built in sections with each section providing significant benefits on its own. For instance Wynyard through to Bellwood Avenue would provide a different place for Dominion Road buses to terminate, and still connect the Isthmus and West to Midtown and Wynyard.
The cost not-with-standing, an elevated metro has a significant downside, visual pollution. A 5.5 metre viaduct will stand-out in all but the CBD, and as Dominion Road has something of an iconic status this visual pollution may be unacceptable. There are alternative corridors through the isthmus such as Sandringham Road which would have the benefit of being closer to St Lukes, a major attractor, but increase the overall cost and the journey time from the North Shore to the Airport.
Finally, while this line is intended to complement the City Rail link, it does have potential to stand on its own, providing rapid transit access to Midtown from the central slice of the city (from the Airport to Albany) and the West, assuming a transfer at Mt Eden. However it would not be connected to the East of the city, and so its benefits would be reduced without the City Rail link.
There was some good feedback on my earlier post suggesting a pretty radical change to the future of rail in Auckland, through the introduction of driverless rapid transit (or “Light Metro”) – much like the Skytrain in Vancouver, the JFK Airtrain in New York and systems in Copenhagen, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, among many other cities. Firstly, I’ve decided to call the technology “Driverless Rapid Transit (DRT)” rather than Light Metro, because so many people seem to get DRT confused with light-rail, which are really two different technologies which do different things.
The key attributes of DRT are:
- it’s driverless
- it runs completely in its own right-of-way, which is fully grade separated
- the train technology allows for much steeper gradients and tighter curves than regular heavy rail
- the tracks are incompatible with typical heavy rail, and therefore freight
It was this last issue which raised a lot of interest in comment. How would the system work with freight? Could a freight train still get to the North Auckland Line (assuming it survives KiwiRail trying to kill it off in the next year or two)? Would you need additional tunnels and tracks? Would you need the Avondale-Southdown Line? All worthy questions that I’ll do my best to answer in this post.
Firstly, let’s remind ourselves of the system we’re talking about here. The blue line is either newly built DRT or existing rail tracks converted for DRT operation: I’ll overlay on this where I think we currently have freight movements on the network, or how we might operate freight trains in order to avoid that Westfield to Newmarket section of track we’ve turned into being exclusively for our DRT trains. The only bit of track we have to worry about here is between Parnell (where the blue line’s tunnel emerges and joins the existing network) and Newmarket, where the western line branches off. Of course there’s a fairly lengthy tunnel in this section (and an abandoned single-track tunnel next to it, which presents an opportunity worth exploring), but I think it’s reasonable to think that having a single track for freight as well as our two tracks for DRT is not impossible along this section.
Furthermore, in the longer run we could end up building the full Avondale-Southdown line, in which case we have a further route for freight: In either case I think we can retain the ability to operate freight trains around the rail network. So I don’t see that as too much of an issue.
Other comments questioned whether the operating costs savings of DRT were “worth the hassle”, as you’d need separate facilities for different types of trains and having two different networks would obviously create some complications that having everything in one network wouldn’t. I suppose there are two responses to this:
- As Nick noted in a comment (and he knows more about this stuff than me), staffing generally comprises around 60-70% of the operating costs for the rail network (on an electric system). Chopping out around two-thirds of your operating cost is just immense, especially when rail’s net subsidy is over $50 million a year (I think) and would potentially be much higher in the future with a much larger network. It’s worth noting that Sydney’s rail network requires a subsidy of around $A1.8 billion a year (though obviously a much larger network).
- Potentially one of the biggest savings from DRT is in the construction, with the much more forgiving requirements for grades and bends than you can get from conventional rail. With, using traditional heavy rail, North Shore Rail being around $2.5 billion and Airport Rail probably being at least $1 billion, having an option which doesn’t require so much grade separation, earthworks, tunnelling and so forth, could slice billions off the final construction cost of the two projects combined.
Perhaps the biggest question about this idea is how you would ever do the transition from normal rail operations along the southern line to the new system. I really have no idea but I presume it’s possible. But it’s the same issue we’ll face as if we ever get around to turning the Northern Busway into a railway line (of any kind).
Perhaps more than any other post on this blog, the one which really got me fascinated by Auckland’s transport future and convinced me I “wanted in” was a post by Nick R about how driverless trains – the kind used by Vancouver’s Skytrain system that I’m so fond of – could have a role in making rail to the North Shore far more affordable and feasible than perhaps we have ever thought before. There are some key elements to what Nick calls “driverless light-metro”, which make it such an incredibly appealing transit technology:
- The driverless operation means that the connection between frequent and operating cost is broken (you don’t need to add a driver for every train you add). This allow off-peak service frequencies to remain high, shorter but more frequent trains to be run and operating costs of the system to be kept pretty low. Vancouver’s Skytrain system, I have heard, makes an operating profit.
- The linear induction motors, the lighter vehicle weights and the technical details of these trains allow for sharper bends and steeper gradients than would ever be possible with conventional heavy rail. Nick’s posts on the technology suggest that 1 in 10 gradients are OK (the CRL is really pushing the envelope at around 1 in 28), while 35 metre radius bends are also possible – yet again much sharper than for conventional heavy rail. A more forgiving geometric requirement means much much cheaper construction cost.
Essentially, a driverless Metro is far cheaper to build and far cheaper to operate than conventional heavy rail. It almost sounds too good to be true – so what’s the catch?
Well effectively there are two main catches. Firstly, because the trains are driverless they need to be operating on a system which is completely grade separated and completely protected from pedestrian intrusion on the tracks. Secondly, the highly specialised traction technology and the less forgiving gradients mean that light-metro tracks are pretty much passenger service only (no freight) and also limited to the particular type of train you run on them – so no inter-city passenger trains or future EMUs running on these tracks. Just the driverless light-metro trains.
These restrictions create an interesting conundrum. While there’s a highly compelling case for all new rail infrastructure to be in the form of a driverless metro, for the far cheaper construction and operating costs, because we have an existing heavy rail network, which we run freight trains along and which we are also investing heavily in maintaining/upgrading as conventional heavy rail, we’re left in a tricky situation of wondering whether, and how, this fantastic technology could be used in Auckland.
Nick’s suggestion was that the North Shore Line be constructed as a Light Metro, operating pretty much independently of the existing network, with possible future extensions along SH16 and SH18 to form some sort of northwest rail loop. The case for rail on the North Shore being constructed in the form of a light-metro is, I think, compelling. Firstly the harbour crossing itself is going to be far far cheaper than for conventional heavy rail (Nick has pointed out that it could sit underneath a road tunnel or potentially even under the existing harbour bridge as unlike conventional heavy rail it would be able to handle the gradient). Secondly, one would imagine that it would be much easier to turn the Northern Busway into a light-metro line than into a conventional heavy rail line – once again because of the more forgiving geometry of the light-metro technology. With a study recently estimating that a whole heavy rail line from town to Albany up the busway being approximately $2.5 billion in cost, a light-metro line may well be significantly less than this (very significantly less if you can sling it under the existing bridge).
What has thrown a few “spanners in the works” of this plan over the past couple of months has been the general thinking of us bloggers around future operating patterns for trains once the City Rail Link is completed. In particular, the general agreement that linking up the western line and the eastern line via the CRL and the North Shore with the southern line via another tunnel, would create the most logical and best long-term operating pattern for trains passing through downtown Auckland. That creates an outcome something like this, as nicely illustrated by Patrick’s post on the matter: This operating pattern has some hugely attractive attributes:
- By effectively creating four independent lines into the city centre (both directions on both lines) you have a simply huge amount of passenger capacity. If you ran 24 trains per hour each way along both lines, for example, you’d have nearly 100 trains per hour bringing people into central Auckland – around 75,000 people per hour with 750 passengers on each train.
- You create a really logical route structure for Auckland’s whole network (setting aside the question of how we deal with Grafton station). There’s a basic north-south line (the blue one) and a basic east-west line (the red one). They cross over in the very heart of Auckland’s city centre.
- We do away with the incredibly slow bend around Vector arena (though I’m sure you’d keep the tracks there, at least you wouldn’t need to use them for regular service).
Of course, by linking up the Southern Line with the North Shore Line, we’ve just created ourselves one heck of a headache when it comes to our idea of that North Shore line being a driverless light-metro. Or have we actually opened up an opportunity here?
What if we tried to make that “blue line” above fully driverless Light Metro? Let’s explore that idea.
If we remember back to the start of this post, the two big restrictions for driverless Light Metro is that it can’t share track with freight trains and it can’t share track with any other kind of passenger train. Effectively, it has to be its own independent network. That does create use a few headaches. But potentially they’re not impossible to solve. Let’s just say we built the line in blue below as a light-metro line: Yes, yes I know there are issues, but first let’s look at the positives. We probably have a cheaper construction cost for the Airport Line due to the easier geometry of Light Metro. We also have much lower operating costs. There’s a direct line between the North Shore and the airport, which would probably generate quite a lot of patronage and would certainly ease traffic on what’s a pretty big “through movement” at the moment (Waterview Connection eases this pressure on arterial roads but not on spaghetti junction except for people up around Albany who may use SH18/SH16).
The main issue, obviously, is that we have existing sections of track along this alignment – from Parnell right through to Onehunga and Otahuhu. However, if you add in the conventional rail network which would provide the main “south/east-west” connections, there actually isn’t much overlap between the lines at all – just between Westfield and Otahuhu by my calculations: The other key consideration is, obviously, rail freight. But from what I know the Newmarket-Westfield section of the southern line isn’t really used much by freight trains (they prefer the easier gradients of the eastern line), so the only section which would require side by side conventional and light-metro tracks would be between Parnell and Newmarket, unless some other solution can be found to send freight out west via the Avondale-Southdown line (including the Onehunga to Southdown link which isn’t shown above).
I actually kind of think all of this could work, with Auckland ending up with two completely independent rail networks. While that has some disadvantages in terms of route flexibility and the need for transfers for trips from south of Otahuhu to Newmarket (for example), I think the cost savings (both capital and operating) which would arise from being able to build both the North Shore Line and the Airport Line (at least the northern link, the eastern one is something that probably required a bit more thought) as Light Metro lines would probably run into the many billions of dollars.
Which means it’s something worth looking into. Driverless light-metro indeed could play a very important role in Auckland’s rail future.
There was a useful comment on Nick’s post about the silly buses vs trains argument yesterday, asking if a better explanation could be made around how the City Rail Link benefits the North Shore. I’m going to take up that challenge because I certainly think there’s a general perception that the CRL only benefits those along the existing railway network – which obviously doesn’t include the North Shore.
Put simply, I think there are three clear ways that the CRL benefits the North Shore.
Firstly, by increasing the capacity of the rail network, the CRL should reduce the number of cars and buses entering the city centre from the west, south and east. This frees up space within the city centre to be reallocated to buses from places that aren’t served by rail – particularly the North Shore, the Northwest (SH16 corridor) and the southern isthmus. Buses from those areas should be able to operate much more efficiently if they’re not having to compete for roadspace with buses from places that are served by rail. The same is true for general traffic. A useful way to illustrate this is to compare 2041 “with CRL” and “without CRL” bus scenarios – as shown in the map below and it should be pointed out that this map came from the NZTA as part of their last harbour crossing study: While the numbers and routes are probably out of date now that we have learned a new bus network is being looked at, the key point here is simply a comparison and to think about how well (or otherwise) the two scenarios would work if you were on one of the 246 buses per hour arriving in the city centre from the North Shore (a number that seems impossible for Fanshawe Street to cope with, but that’s another issue). In the “without CRL” scenario (on the right) your bus is competing against a vastly greater (around 240 by my count) number of other buses in the city centre for what will be pretty scarce roadspace.
To cut a long story short, it simply won’t work, the numbers are too large and the city centre would grind to a halt – which really stuffs things up for you trying to get in there from the North Shore. So there’s a pretty clear indirect benefit from the CRL for those on the North Shore trying to catch a bus or drive into the city centre. You’ll be able to get in.
Secondly, that first point leads nicely on to reason two, Job. One of the key reasons why CBDs have formed in the first place is that they tend to be central to the region and therefore have a greater access to the potential workforce. As an example a business based in Albany is most likely to have employees from the North Shore or West Auckland but is much less likely to have people from the South whereas businesses in the CBD tend to have staff from all over the city. There are other reasons as well with things like agglomeration benefits from businesses being located close to each other but the key is that for the CBD to keep growing it needs for people to be able to access it. CBD jobs also have a higher average wage than anywhere else in the city so if we can increase the number of people earning higher wages then both the city and the entire country benefit (remember the government would benefit from this through collecting more business and personal taxes)
The CRL allow for a lot more people to access the CBD from the south, east and west and as mentioned above frees up road space to allow more buses from the other areas not currently served by the rail network, this means better, higher-value, higher-paying jobs both in the city centre and eventually throughout the whole of Auckland will benefit everyone – including those living and working on the North Shore.
Thirdly, the City Rail Link looks increasingly like it’s a prerequisite for rail to the North Shore. We learned earlier this month that the preferred option for joining North Shore rail in with the rest of the network is at Aotea Station – presumably because joining at Britomart creates too many conflicting train movements. Here’s what looks like the plan for North Shore rail’s city end:
Obviously you can’t link with Aotea Station if there is no Aotea Station. I guess there’s the interesting option of potentially doing North Shore rail instead of the CRL, and turning Britomart into a through station that way, but then you don’t get many of the CRL’s benefits actually happening:
- No quicker trips for those from the west
- No improved station coverage of the city centre
- No improved capacity for the existing rail network (i.e. all trains would need to enter the city centre at one point, the CRL really adds capacity through creating a second rail entrance to the city centre)
So if you’re on the North Shore and you’d like to see a railway line happening there one day, and you want it connected (either directly by track or initially via platform-to-platform transfer at Aotea station) to the existing rail network, you need Aotea Station, which means you need the City Rail Link.
In a way I can see why North Shore residents might feel a little aggrieved about missing out on the vast improvements to rail that we’ve seen in recent years and hope to see more of in the future. Nevertheless, we mustn’t forget that the North Shore enjoys a pretty high quality rapid transit route itself in the form of the Northern Busway. Its also worth pointing out that not all people from the north shore oppose the CRL, we saw last week that the Upper harbour local board strongly opposes the project but it is interesting to see that the Devonport-Takapuna local board came out in support of it and the Kaipatiki local board have supported it in principal
I hope this post has illustrated a number of ways in which the North Shore really does benefit from the CRL’s construction – both now (in terms of improved economic performance and the freeing up of city centre road space) and into the future, with Aotea Station making it possible for a future North Shore railway line to link in with the rest of the network in the very heart of Auckland.