Note from Matt L: Please welcome Luke to the TransportBlog team. He has been a long time reader and commentator of the blog. He is half way through a Masters of Urban Planning Degree at Auckland University, and is also the Auckland Policy Director for Generation Zero.
As we have previously highlighted work is ongoing around Panmure as part of the first major stage of the AMETI project.
Panmure is an important node on the future frequent network as it links buses from Eastern Suburbs such as Pakuranga and beyond into the rail network.
The Howick and Eastern buses are timetabled at about 40 minutes from Panmure, while the trains take 20 minutes. This new interchange will allow very easy interchange between rail and bus, and this may mean that passengers bound for Britomart from the East will find it best to transfer to train if they are headed for the Britomart part of town. This will give further capacity to the buses down the line for passengers from Ellerslie – Panmure Highway and Great South Road.
This interchange also includes the first part of the Eastern Busway, which is planned to extend to Pakuranga by 2020, and Botany by 2030. Of course as part of the Congestion Free Network we would really like to see this fast-tracked, and generally complete by 2020.
Substantial progress has now been made on the new Panmure Station and Bus Interchange. I must say it looks very impressive and will allow the easiest rail-bus interchanges in Auckland, with the bus interchange being right on top of the station.
Panmure Station and Interchange from the slopes of Maungarei/Mount Wellington. This shows the relation to the Panmure town centre, the roundabout (soon to be removed), and the new roading connections around the station.
Interchange building from opposite side of Ellerslie-Panmure Highway. Note the white bus shelters to the right of the photo.
Close up of interchange building from the future busway. The lifts inside are already in use as disabled access. Managed a quick look inside and must say looks very impressive.
The project website does not give an update as to when this interchange will open, however I suspect it be in January, soon after the summer shut down. Should see a big boost to Panmure station patronage as a result, as well as helping renewal of this part of town.
While all of the physical works for AMETI are happening in Panmure at the moment, it’s the future stages that will be the most interesting as that is when a new busway is built that will connect the Panmure Train Station to the Eastern Suburbs. Auckland Transport are still working though many of the finer details however the overall idea seems to be fairly similar to what we have seen before. With that in mind I thought I would have a look at some of the new details that have come out which are primarily the result of an open day held two weeks ago. This primarily relates to what is known as Phase 2 which is the section from Panmure to Pakuranga and is shown below.
AT expect that by the end of the year they will have their preferred scheme sorted out allowing them to start the process of lodging the notice of requirement with construction likely to begin in 2015. For this post I will move south from Panmure to Pakuranga.
As you may have seen, the plan is for a busway to start at the Panmure station and head south on the Northern side of the road through a signalised intersection which would replace the Panmure Roundabout. It will then head down Lagoon Dr, still on the Northern side but one thing I wasn’t aware of is that while Lagoon Dr will be widened to accommodate the busway and a shared path, the plan is to narrow the general traffic lanes down to one each way.
Moving south there will be a new bridge built over the Tamaki River to carry the busway as well as a much improved walking and cycling path. It will remain on the northern side of the road all the way until Ti Rakau Dr and a number of the intersections from local streets will be closed. All up it should hopefully mean that buses will be able to get from Panmure to Ti Rakau Dr fairly quickly with little disruption. Further my understanding is that the council are already looking at what can be done with the left over land parcels after Auckland Transport have finished their work and that it is likely there will actually end up with more dwellings along the route than there are currently.
But it is at Pakuranga where things get interesting. Buses will have to cross Pakuranga Rd to access a new major bus station being planned for the town centre. On Campbell Live the other night we saw a design for the bus station that hadn’t been seen before. Since then Auckland Transport have uploaded the video which is below.
The station seems a fairly bit step up from what was previously suggested and one of the reasons for that is it is intended to that all buses in the area would use it whereas previously buses heading to Howick would still use stops on Pakuranga Rd forcing people transferring to cross the road. Based on the current road layout a single bus station would introduce a detour for buses heading up Pakuranga Rd towards Howick so to address that, a new bus-only link road is planned through what is currently the Pakuranga Mall carpark. In addition to the bus-only link road, a public plaza is also proposed and to compensate the owners for the lost surface parking, AT are planning on building a multi storey parking building. I’m guessing that is primarily aimed at stopping the mall owners from fighting the changes otherwise the arguments would likely drag on for years. In addition to all of this, Pakuranga Rd will be narrowed down to four lanes where it passes the town centre. Here are some maps and artists impressions of what is planned.
Of course no discussion of Pakuranga can be complete without the major piece of roading being planned in the form of the Reeves Rd Flyover. The intention is to get through traffic from the North East off Pakuranga Rd and whisked straight onto the Pakuranga Highway also avoiding the Pakruanga Highway/Reeves Rd/Ti Rakau intersection. I have also heard AT say that the grade separation is needed to get enough cars off the previously mentioned intersection to enable the busway not be substantially held up on its way south towards Botany. While the intent is understandable this flyover is going to have a massive impact the areas of the town centre surrounding it. Auckland Transport say the design could:
- potentially be a visual landmark and gateway to Pakuranga
- be an expression of art or architecture that reflects the area
However as we have seen in Wellington with the Basin Reserve Flyover, that is pretty much impossible to do (also the Basin Reserve Flyover is only two lanes whereas the Reeves Rd Flyover would be four)
All up this section is quite a mixed bag. There are some really really good aspects like the busway, much improved walking and cycling connections as well as even some reductions in the number of road lanes in places but then much of it is being used to justify the need of the flyover.
Yesterday I headed out to Panmure for the opening of the new Ellerslie-Panmure bridge as well as to see what progress had been made on the upgraded station. What was interesting is that Transport minister Gerry Brownlee attended to officially open the bridge which was odd as he hasn’t been present at any other recent events like the opening of the Wiri depot. AT Chairman Lester Levy, Len Brown and Gerry Brownlee all spoke at the opening with enough smoke blown in Gerry’s direction by Len those present were lucky not to choke to death. On Sunday cars and trucks will be able to start using the new bridge with the bridge they are currently using eventually becoming part of the new AMETI busway. Here is the press release from Auckland Transport today.
A major milestone in the first phase of the $1.5 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) has opened three months ahead of schedule.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee, Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy have cut the ribbon on the traffic bridge, a key part of the first phase of AMETI.
Since the old Ellerslie-Panmure Highway bridge was demolished during the Christmas period, traffic has been temporarily using a new bridge built for a future busway. From Sunday 4 August, traffic will be redirected onto the new bridge which runs from Panmure Roundabout to Forge Way.
The current AMETI construction also includes a new Panmure Station building and upgrade, a 1.5km north-south road, a 220m tunnel next to the station for the new road, improvements to Van Damm’s Lagoon reserve, cycle lanes and footpath improvements.
Mayor Len Brown says AMETI will unclog Auckland’s east by providing better transport choices and will create jobs by unlocking the area’s economic potential.
“Phase one will have benefits for both the Panmure community and people travelling to, from and through that part of Auckland,” says Mr Brown.
“Phase two of the project will unlock further benefits for transport in the area once the Panmure roundabout is removed and a busway from Panmure to Pakuranga town centre is built.”
Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy says AMETI is Auckland Transport’s largest construction project which on completion will see the delivery of the first major infrastructure in the area for a number of years.
“It’s fantastic to see this project taking shape and my congratulations go out to the AMETI team who have worked hard to get the bridge completed ahead of schedule. This major project will see an integrated approach to improving transport – with work on roads, public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. When the new Panmure Station building is completed, commuters and residents will benefit from a much easier transfer between buses and trains.”
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Auckland Transport and Fletcher Construction for delivering this milestone for the first phase of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative. Improving the transport links in this economically important part of Auckland is the government’s next major focus for Auckland’s transport network.”
All three of the bridges scheduled as part of Phase One of AMETI are now complete and the roof is currently being built for the tunnel. The bridges have been built higher and longer to allow for rail electrification.
The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council are major funders of AMETI.
And here are some images of the event.
Cutting a ribbon, is there anything a politician likes more?
The only time the bridge will be used for something other than vehicles? New Panmure station to the left
After the event I also took a look around to see how some of the other aspects of the project are going. Here is the new local road that is being built on top of the tunnel with the station building in the background.
Here you can see the station itself. The new shelters going in show that the platforms will be wider than they are now.
There is apparently space for a third track down the side here.
A bit of a plaza area at the Mountain Rd Bridge, as cars seem to be able to move through here alright, the orange barriers suggest that perhaps engineers could have pushed out the pedestrian area a little bit more.
Here is the new AMETI road under construction. It is still quite a way off yet.
And the tunnel which is underneath the local road shown earlier.
Lastly, here is an image from Auckland Transport showing what the area should look like if you have a helicopter once everything is finished. You can quite clearly see the busway to the north of the road along with the intersection which will replace the current roundabount. I don’t know about you but all of the empty land (as a result of the current works), the car yards and the old factories and around the area look ripe for intensification. I hope the station was designed to be capped and built over
The Tamaki area is one with so much potential yet so far has failed to live up to that. There have long been talks about redeveloping the area and it seems that something might finally be about to happen. Almost a year ago the government and the Auckland Council formed an urban redevelopment company to oversee the transformation of the area. Today the company is released a draft strategic framework for how they plan to do this. The herald reported this morning.
Auckland’s low-income suburbs of Glen Innes, Pt England and Panmure will roughly double in population under a draft plan for more intensive housing to be unveiled today.
The urban “regeneration” project, which could add up to 6000 new homes to an existing 5050, is expected to be one of the first “special housing areas” with fast-tracked resource consent processes under a housing accord signed last month by Housing Minister Nick Smith and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
The target of 6000, included in the accord, makes it the biggest housing development scheduled in Auckland and twice as big as the 3000-unit Hobsonville development.
It covers the area between West Tamaki Rd in the north and the Panmure Basin in the south, including 2880 Housing NZ homes, about 1160 owner-occupied houses and just over 1000 private rental properties.
The area covered in the Tamaki area is huge, to show the size of it and its relation to the city the transformation company have produced these maps
The Herald continues:
Unlike other developments, the draft Tamaki strategy also includes 11 other social, economic and environmental elements, as well as housing, designed to make the area more liveable despite doubling the population density.
The area is among Auckland’s most deprived, with a 2006 median income of only $20,000 and an employment rate of only 52 per cent, compared with 65 per cent across Auckland. Sole parents make up almost half the area’s families.
But the strategy sees opportunities for more jobs and training by attracting new businesses, redeveloping under-used land along the existing railway and encouraging training agencies such as Manukau Institute of Technology, Unitec and Te Wananga o Aotearoa to take over parts of Auckland University’s Tamaki campus, which the university plans to sell as it develops a new campus in Newmarket.
The strategy says private investors have expressed interest in redeveloping an area next to the railway line where containers are stored, including possibly reopening the former Tamaki station between Glen Innes and Panmure.
The plan proposes a mix across the redevelopment area of market and affordable housing, likely to be developed by private developers, community and iwi organisations.
I’ve said before that I’m not keen on the idea of reopening the Tamaki station, to me it is just too close to both Panmure and Glen Innes and I think it would be good to avoid turning the inner parts of the eastern line into a slow crawl like the inner western line is.
I have only read through a few parts of the document so far however like most things, it sounds good but will really come down to the implementation. For example the strategy talks about redeveloping housing to provide better quality dwellings and more housing choices but gives no firm indication as to just what that means i.e. I assume they mean a mix of dwellings from standalone houses through to terraced houses to apartments in the town centres but there isn’t really an indication of what mix they are aiming for. You can read the entire thing is here.
I think it’s also worth pointing out some of the history behind the area. It was one of the first post war suburbs built and was done so right at the start of our period of our auto dependency, at a time when cars were promoted as the future. Thinking that is highlighted so well in this video from 1960.
One of the proposals that is floating around at the moment and something that is being pushed fairly strongly by the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board is the idea of a transit oriented development (TOD) at Tamaki centred around the re-opening of the Tamaki train station. This was also highlighted in the CCFAS supporting documents looking at large scale development that is being planned along the rail corridors. At first the idea makes some sense as the area is both fairly close to town thanks to the train line and is an old industrial area that has large lots and that is ripe for redevelopment. The map below shows the area that is being talked about for a TOD. The council/AT own the land in red due to the AMETI plans while the light orange is one single land holding.
But while I like putting more people right next to the rail line, I think there is a major flaw with the idea an it is to do with the idea of reopening the Tamaki train station which is intended to be right in the centre of the development. The issue is its proximity to the two stations that would surround it, Panmure and Glen Innes as it would only be around 800m and 1.2km away respectively (to/from roughly the centre of the platforms. That may seem like a lot but for a rail system it is pretty close and means the trains start to lose some one of their big advantages over buses which is their speed. It means that the distances between stations in this section end up similar like the horribly slow inner western line stations and by my calculations such a station could slow down trains by as much 1½ minutes. That would affect anyone who used the trains from south of the station and while it might not sound like much, making savings of that level across a large number of people is what is often used to justify large transport projects like motorways. In effect there would have to be massive amounts of additional patronage to justify the addition of a station here.
The proposed station would only be ~900m from Panmure and 1.3km from Glen Innes
So what are the alternatives, well most people generally tend to be ok walking up to ~800m if it means access to a really high quality PT option like a train station with frequent services and 800m from the northern end of Panmure is right smack in the middle of this proposed development. Further it would be a nice flat walk taking most people somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes depending on how fast they walked. Those with a bike could go even faster and cycle the journey to Panmure in just a couple of minutes, even at a leisurely pace and by my reading of the AMETI plans, dedicated cycle lanes are going in alongside the rail line/ new AMETI road.
AMETI walking and cycling improvements
Perhaps the only redeeming feature is that it would also be the closest station for those living in Stonefields or in the older housing developments to the east of the area but even then most would probably still find it just as easy to get to either Panmure of Glen Innes as they would getting to this station. Building the station could also have other unforeseen consequences, in particular the neighbouring Orakei local board have been pushing to get another station added between Glen Innes and Meadowbank. AT have already dismissed that as being to costly with not enough patronage however this development could see them reignite that debate adding more political pressure on to AT. I think looking at the plans so far, it simply doesn’t seem worth it to put a station in here as the existing ones in the area already serve the potential development fairly well.
Along with the AMETI works, the Panmure station is also getting a substantial upgrade worth $17.5 million so that it interacts better with the future South Eastern busway and also provides much better amenity to users. In many ways it is very similar to what exists at New Lynn as the platforms will be in a trench with the station building above it . I really like how these key stations have started to be developed across the region and in many ways it is needed, if for nothing else to show that we are taking PT seriously now.
Here are the latest images that AT have released showing how the station and its surrounds will eventually look. You will notice that there are at least three different entrances to each station which will really help with moving large crowds of people. Another thing you might notice is the continuation of a trend we see at New Lynn with the bus platforms numbered in line with the rail ones (1 & 2 are on the rail ones with 3, 4, 5 & 6 the bus ones), this just helps to make things easier for customers.
I can’t wait to see this station finished and with the South Eastern busway this place will really be busy. Slightly separately, another thing mentioned is that AT are working with the council and other CCOs about the land take for the busway. They are having to buy a lot of properties for the busway and are looking at what to do with the land they don’t need after they are finished. It is likely to involve redeveloping it with more intensive housing which will also help to provide more users for the busway and this station.
Took a trip out to Panmure today to get an update as to what is happening with AMETI and to watch the mayor ceremonially pour some concrete. We were mainly looking at the bit in what will be a covered trench and will eventually form part of a new road that bypasses the Panmure town centre which is shown in blue in the image below (the tunnel part will be between Ellerslie Panmure Highway and Mountain Rd which is the part next to the train station).
The trench itself has pretty much been fully dug out now and the walls around it are largely installed. Part of what will eventually form the new busway bridge has also been installed already so it appears good progress is being made.
Once the project is completed the platform shown will be widened out to the wall you can see going in down the middle of the photo. It doesn’t show it that well but that will make the platform really really wide (by Auckland standards) so there will be plenty of space for people to wait. And here is what things look like from within the trench, looking north.
And some images of Len pouring the concrete along with the end result.
AT say that once this link road is finished it will free up the North/South traffic from the Panmure roundabout which will enable it to be turned into a signalised intersection and that piece of work will be started in Phase 2. That will provide vastly improved connections for walking/cycling to occur, especially for those who live to the south of the town centre (Ireland Rd/Lagoon Dr) and also includes the busway from Panmure to Pakuragna. AT also released images of what the upgraded Panmure train station and bus interchange will look like and as soon as they flick me the soft copies I will put together a separate post for them but it is fair to say they are a vast improvement on what exists today.
(edit: The station pics were in an email that they had already sent me but that I hadn’t looked at properly)
On issues normally of interest to this blog, transport and urban development, it seems that the government and the council are miles apart so it is pleasing to see them working together on at least the second of those issues. In an announcement today, they are forming a redevelopment company to focus the Tamaki area which includes Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure. Here are parts of the press release:
The Government and the Auckland Council signed a Heads of Agreement today to jointly form New Zealand’s first urban redevelopment company to transform Tâmaki (including Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure) in Auckland over the next 15-25 years.
Housing Minister Phil Heatley says that the jointly-owned Tâmaki Redevelopment Company (TRC) will bring together the right pubc and private partners, the right level of resource, authority and mandate to get results in Tâmaki. Similar companies have been successful internationally.
“The people of the Tâmaki community have td us they are keen to see the Tâmaki Transformation Programme vision that has been developed by the local community, together with central and local government partners during the foundation period, brought to fruition as quickly as possible. The new company will make that happen,” he said.
Work has been going on to examine how to transform Tâmaki into a thriving, prosperous, attractive and self-reant community.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomes the partnership with Government and says the work in Tâmaki reflects what the council is working to achieve across Auckland through the recently-launched Auckland Plan.
“It is only through initiatives ke the transformation of Tâmaki that Auckland can become the world’s most veable city,” says the Mayor. “The people of Tâmaki have been waiting for this for a long time and this is a great project for the new Auckland to be getting on with. Many thanks are due to those who have contributed to the Tamaki Transformation project over several years.”
Mr Heatley says that, if successful, this redevelopment programme could be a blueprint for urban renewal elsewhere in the country.
“Successful transformation programmes overseas have brought together the local community, government, business, education, social agencies, developers and financiers in claboration to achieve a common vision.
“Tâmaki is a key growth area for Auckland and its future prosperity will have a flow-on effect for the rest of the country. The new company will ensure a co-ordinated approach to create measurable improvement across four key components over time.”
A social component will support Tâmaki residents and their famies in getting the skills, knowledge and employment opportunities they need. An economic component will strengthen the local economy, creating new jobs and business opportunities.
A housing component will optimise land use and existing housing stock, including progressing private housing development and devering better social housing options in Tâmaki.
Meanwhile, a spatial component will create safe and connected neighbourhoods and spaces that support the social and economic development of Tâmaki and its community.
The first task for the new company will be to bring all the current and future initiatives and projects together into a single strategic framework. This will include catalyst projects to improve education, employment, health, environment, and safety. The Crown and the Council will approve the over-arching plan and business cases before full transformation projects start.
The TRC will lead the transformation, undertaking some projects itself, procuring devery of other projects, and influencing the direction of others.
The jointly owned company is a new structure for the Government and the Council. Res and responsibities have been defined in the Heads of Agreement signed today.
The new company will have a board of up to seven directors to allow for a wide range of skills. A comprehensive appointment process for the full board is under way.
The Chief Executive Officer-designate of the new company is Debra Lawson, who will take up the position on 3 September. She has over 20 years’ experience as a chief executive in organisations devering affordable homes and social infrastructure in the United Kingdom.
She has worked at the leading edge of pubc private partnership initiatives, devering large-scale and complex urban regeneration programmes within the diverse communities of South London, with a strong focus on accountabity to local people.
The TRC will be based in offices in the Glen Innes area.
For further information: www.tamakitransformation.co.nz
This is a positive step, not just for government/council relations but also for Auckland. Many of these areas don’t have the best reputation and are run down with the houses well past use by date as a lot of the houses were build quickly and cheaply in the boom years of the 50′s and 60′s. There is also a huge amount of land that is currently wasted on that could be put to much better use as you can see in the image below.
There is I imagine a lot of work to go on before we start seeing any final plans but there is such a huge opportunity here for for the council to develop and showcase its plans for high quality, less car dependant, more dense and more liveable city. I also hope that there is a wider focus than just housing, I’m sure there are a number of ways that transport linkages could be vastly improved. Further with large parts of the area fairly flat it could perhaps be an ideal opportunity to develop some best practice cycling infrastructure to link into the nearby town centres and train stations.
Also here is a video from Interest.co.nz talking to Phil Heatley about the plan.