AMETI busway closer

Auckland Transport have announced that they are close to a final design for the Panmure to Pakuranga Busway and that there will be community consultation about it this week.

AMETI Buslane - Pakuranga Rd

Busway for east Auckland a step closer

Quicker, frequent and more reliable bus services for the east are a step closer with Panmure to Pakuranga busway design plans near finalisation.

Public information days and neighbourhood meetings are being held next week and information has been sent to people in the project area to get feedback before consents are lodged in late April.

The key project is the Panmure Station to Pakuranga town centre section of the South Eastern Busway. Construction is likely to start in 2017, with the busway due to open by 2021.

Auckland Transport recently announced it is aiming to open the full busway to Botany by 2024, four years earlier than previously planned, and extend bus lanes to Highland Park.

The Panmure to Pakuranga projects include:

  • Replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights and more direct pedestrian crossings
  • Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion
  • Panmure to Pakuranga cycle and foot paths separate to traffic
  • Second Panmure Bridge for busway and shared cycle/foot path.

Auckland Transport AMETI Programme Director Peter King says large numbers of new passengers will be attracted by buses travelling on congestion free lanes every 5 to 10 minutes between Panmure and Pakuranga.

“Buses currently get caught in the same congestion as cars, meaning people have limited choice. Providing a quicker, frequent and more reliable option is expected to shift large numbers out of cars to ease pressure on the roads for journeys that can’t be made by public transport.

“The recent experience with the new Panmure Station and electric trains shows significant growth comes with higher quality public transport.

“Another major feature is separated cycle and foot paths which will make it possible to cycle between Panmure, Pakuranga, and on to Farm Cove and Pigeon Mountain by connecting with the Rotary Walkway along the coast.

“We encourage people to come to the information sessions, return written feedback forms or give feedback online. This will help us finalise plans and reports as we intend to lodge consent applications in late April,” Mr King says.

The consents process will provide the opportunity to make a formal submission to Auckland Council on the projects and be heard at an official hearing.

The open days are:

Pakuranga open day
When: 12 March 2015 from 5pm to 9pm.
Where: Pakuranga Plaza Centre, Aylesbury Street.

When: 14 March 2015 from 10am to 1pm.
Where: Panmure Bridge School, 76 Kings Road, Panmure.

You can also give your feedback online below until 29 March.

Lagoon Drive cycling and busway image

It will be good when this finally gets underway. East Auckland desperately needs some good quality PT improvements and given what we’ve seen in other areas of the city this is likely to be very popular. This also comes just a few weeks after AT announced that they were delaying the Reeves Rd flyover which has allowed them to bring forward the completion of the busway.

AMETI Busway gets design funding

Auckland Transport announced yesterday that $21 million had been approved, $11 million of which from the NZTA, to design the first stage in the AMETI busway which will run between Panmure and Pakuranga. A later stage will run from Pakuranga to Botany.

Funding has been approved to further develop plans for the South Eastern Busway from Panmure Station to Pakuranga.

The NZ Transport Agency has approved design funding of $20.9m, with it subsidising $11m, for the Panmure to Pakuranga section of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).

It will be the next stage after the current work in Panmure, which comprised the new Panmure Station and a new link road between Mt Wellington Highway and Morrin Rd.

Proposed Panmure to Pakuranga projects also include the Reeves Rd flyover in Pakuranga, replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights, a second Panmure Bridge for the busway and a shared cycle/foot path.

Auckland Transport aims to begin construction in 2017, subject to approval of construction funding and consents.

Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy says the popular Panmure Station and a new road, due to open soon, are just the start of major transport improvements for the area. “With the first stage in Panmure almost complete and delivering benefits already, we’re looking forward to the next stage. This funding will allow us to further develop the design of the busway and other major transport projects.

“Public transport is currently a poor option because buses get caught in the same congestion as cars, resulting in long travel times. Large numbers of passengers are expected to be attracted by quicker, frequent and more reliable buses on lanes separate to traffic.

“Buses will run every 5-10 minutes most of the day and travel times will be reliable. It will take about 27 minutes to get between Pakuranga and Britomart by bus and train, about 8 minutes quicker than currently. There will be bigger time savings when the busway is extended to Botany in the future. Together, the AMETI projects are aimed at improving people’s transport choices and better connecting the south eastern suburbs to each other and the rest of Auckland.”

The Transport Agency’s Regional Manager of Planning and Investment, Peter Casey, says support for Auckland projects like AMETI are a high priority for the Transport Agency. “AMETI ticks a lot of boxes for us in a very busy area of Auckland where there’s strong economic and population growth. Supporting Auckland Transport’s upgrades of a whole range of transport choices will improve safety, and make the time it takes to travel between destinations a lot more reliable for people.”

Mr Casey says the Transport Agency will contribute just over a 50% share of the total cost of AMETI – funding that comes from revenue gathered by the agency from the excise duty on fuel, road user charges and vehicle registration fees and is then reinvested in transport projects.

Auckland Transport will continue to consult with residents, businesses and the community in the project area before applying for a land designation in the second quarter of 2015. This would be followed by a publicly notified hearing.

So as a summary the design covers

  • Replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights and more direct pedestrian crossings
  • Panmure to Pakuranga busway on lanes separate to traffic congestion
  • Panmure to Pakuranga shared cycle/foot path separate to traffic
  • Direct connection from Pakuranga Rd to Pakuranga Highway via Reeves Rd
  • Pakuranga bus station
  • Second Panmure Bridge for busway and shared path

Phase 2 map

Here’s an earlier image of how Lagoon Dr will look once completed.

Lagoon Dr

It will be fantastic once  this has been completed as the South East is so woefully under served by public transport and is the most car dependant area in all of Auckland as a result. The other thing is even with the services that exist we’re already hearing stories of huge numbers of people transferring of buses and on to trains. This trend will continue to grow with the new network and once the busway is built will be happening in huge numbers.

Panmure Interchange opens

Auckland Transport officially opened the new Panmure transport interchange today. Here’s the press release:

Panmure’s new transport interchange will make life a lot easier for commuters with the walking time between buses and trains now taking less than a minute.

The new bus and train station has been opened today by Mayor Len Brown and Associate Transport Minister, Michael Woodhouse.

“This will be the gateway to Auckland’s newest high frequency busway and is a significant step towards better transport connections for Auckland’s eastern suburbs,” says Mr Brown.

“Our new fast, efficient electric trains start scheduled services within the next few months and I can’t wait to be on the first service to Panmure in August.

“And I know everybody in the east is waiting for the new busway with real anticipation. They’ve been waiting for better public transport links with the rest of Auckland for way too long.”

The $17.5 million interchange allows easy and direct transfers between rail and bus, benefiting those living and working in the area as well as those who travel through Panmure as part of their daily commute.

Associate Minister of Transport, Hon Michael Woodhouse says the opening of the new Panmure Station is an exciting milestone for the first phase of AMETI and builds on extensive Government and Auckland Council investment in the rail network.

“The Government is committed to ongoing improvements to Auckland’s transport network, and addressing issues in the AMETI area is a key focus.”

The interchange is part of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) and its completion marks the first stage of the Southeastern Busway between Panmure, Pakuranga and Botany. The next stage will see the creation of the busway lanes along Lagoon Drive and Pakuranga Road to a new bus station at Pakuranga town centre.

The busway will offer passengers faster and more reliable travel times by freeing buses from traffic congestion. It will better connect people in the area to trains to the city and the south.

Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive Dr David Warburton says the new interchange will become an important transport hub for Auckland and is a significant step towards improving Auckland’s public transport system.

“This is a good example of the progress we’re making in terms of connectivity and faster travel times” says Dr Warburton. “The interchange layout is designed for easy transfers which is also enhanced by the new AT HOP card allowing people to travel seamlessly between public transport modes and operators.”

The NZ Transport Agency is investing $152m in the total AMETI investment to 2015 of $290m, and as a co-funder of the project it says the Panmure Transport Interchange is an example of its strategy to give people with more travel choices.

“A great facility like this is one part of a much bigger transport picture for Auckland,” says the Transport Agency’s Regional Manager for Planning and Investment, Peter Casey.  “Encouraging greater use of public transport – and other facilities for those who walk and cycle – provides more travel options and helps ease congestion on our busy motorways and roads so that journeys for people and freight become safer and more reliable.

Mr Casey says the Prime Minister last year identified AMETI as part of the Government’s programme of transport projects to be accelerated in Auckland.

“The Transport Agency invests hundreds of millions of transport dollars in Auckland and this new interchange and the AMETI project as a whole is a great example of where we team up to work co-operatively and successfully with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council to grow infrastructure that is a key to the city’s growth. “

Panmure is currently one of the busiest rail stations in the region with approximately 1700 passengers per day. It has grown rapidly since 2003 when it was used by less than 100 passengers per day.

Features include a new central pedestrian plaza linking both sides of the rail tracks, two lifts, escalators to both platforms and four sets of stairs at the main access points. Ticket machines have been installed on both platforms with a staffed ticket office on the ground floor.

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. This major project will see an integrated approach to improving transport- with work on roads, public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure.

The next stage 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.

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council are major funders of AMETI.

I went along to see how the station was looking – and it was looking really good, far better than the earlier renders.

The main entrance to the station, the busway stations are just to the right of the image.

Panmure Station 1

The station building from down on the platforms.

Panmure Station 2

I like how wide the citybound platform is, clearly designed with the expectation that lots of people will be using it which is nice to see.

Panmure Station 3

Inside the station the wood panelling you can see on the outside is carried through. I quite liked the artwork on the ceiling. The area inside was also quite spacious.

Panmure Station 4

Soon buses will start using this dedicated piece of busway and these stops. The shelters weren’t quite finished but I’m sure they will be soon.

Panmure Station 5

Lastly there were a couple of empty sites alongside the station like this one that were previously being used for construction yards. They would made great sites for some apartment buildings with ground floor retail (Unitary Plan allows for up to 6 storeys subject to view shafts of the mountain).

Panmure Station 6

All up the station is an excellent addition to the network and the number of people passing through it should really take off once integrated fares and the new bus network is in place.

Panmure Station opening – but missing key parts

When trains finally start running again after the Christmas shut-down (which is hopefully the last one) one of the changes will be that the Panmure Station will have been completed. The station upgrade has been going on for many months now and thankfully is almost complete. To celebrate this Auckland Transport will be holding an open day a few days earlier. Here are the details.

Panmure Station Opening

I was also out this way a few days ago so quickly grabbed a few photos of the progress and I must say, things are looking very good. Much better than how the earlier renders looked. I really like the wood panelling on the roof.

Panmure Station 1

I think the upgraded station will be great and an excellent addition to our PT network however there is one major concern with that has been raised by Cycle Action Auckland. It is that the cycle parking has been dropped off the list after the project costs blew out in other areas.

Work is progressing well on the new train and bus station at Panmure. It’s looking really smart and will be a strategic element in the wider transport choice coming from the AMETI project. We can’t wait to see the safer dedicated cycling routes, which will help address the paucity of non-car transport options that have plagued the eastern sector of Auckland for years.

Given this scenario, imagine our disbelief when we heard that all these good moves are progressing without providing for bike parking at the Panmure station. We asked AT back in April what bike parking was planned; this caused a scurry of internal emails amongst the project team, but no response to Cycle Action. We stayed on the topic, and learnt 2 months ago the project budget had blown out, leaving no money for bike parking. We’ve been assured it will come eventually – “Can’t tell you when – the station will open without it” . Great! – Top marks for integrated transport delivery, AT!

Bike parking is a seriously neglected item in the menu of PT and active transport improvements happening across Auckland. We’re very excited by the electric trains starting early next year. We’ve spent time up on the Northern Busway, which is one of Auckland’s great transport successes, and we love the train station upgrades that are transforming the suburban centres. It’s a great shame with all this investment that Auckland Transport simply doesn’t ‘get’ the fact that cycling has a role in making it easier for people to access and use PT

This is a serious issue and something Auckland Transport need to address quickly, especially given there are not one but two carparks so that people are able to drive to the station. Improving walking and cycling access to all stations is something that Auckland Transport should be focusing on as a top priority.

Come-on AT, get this sorted.

Panmure Interchange Progress

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.

Panmure map RPTP

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.

AMETI Panmure to Pakuranga details

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.

Phase 2 map

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.

Lagoon Dr

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.

Panmure Bridge and Pakuranga Rd

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.

Pakuranga Current Layout


Pakuranga Proposed Layout

Pakuranga artist Bus Station

Pakuranga artist Bus link

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)

Reeves Rd Flyover

Reeves Rd Flyover - Pakuranga Rd end

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.

Ellerslie-Panmure Bridge opened

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.

EP Bridge Ribbon Cutting

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.

Local Rd above Tunnel

Here you can see the station itself. The new shelters going in show that the platforms will be wider than they are now.

Panmure Station Aug 2013

There is apparently space for a third track down the side here.

Panmure Station Aug 2013 2

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.

Mountain Rd Plaza

Here is the new AMETI road under construction. It is still quite a way off yet.

AMETI Road under construction

And the tunnel which is underneath the local road shown earlier.

AMETI Road Tunnel under construction

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

panmure-complete-artists-impression 1

Tamaki Transformation Strategic Framework Released

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.

NZ On Screen

Do we need to re-open the Tamaki train station?

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.

Tamaki TOD Land

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.

Tamaki Station location

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.

The New Panmure Station

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.