As I have mentioned before, Waterview is a roading project that I do support, unlike many of the dubious roading projects both nationally, and locally. Whether you like it or not, it is under construction and in time is likely to have a massive impact on the city and as discussed previously, in some ways it will probably even be useful for the CRL. At $1.4 billion the project is dubbed the most expensive roading project ever undertaken in New Zealand and the NZTA have released some images of progress so far on the project. While the majority of the project is actually underground where it won’t be seen, the sections above ground help to show just how massive the project is.
Northern portal works
Northern Portal Works
Looking North with Maioro St in the foreground
A closer look at Maioro St (front) and Richardson Rd (rear)
The TBM starts here – The trench at the southern end
There are many similarities between the Waterview motorway project the City Rail Link. Both are extremely large projects involving considerable amounts of tunnelling but the comparisons don’t stop there. While there are very clearly a lot of other motorway and rail projects being bandied about, both projects effectively complete their respective networks allowing us to get the most out of our existing investments in them. With Waterview now well under way, I thought it might be a good idea to see if there was anything we can learn from it to help with the CRL.
The first area where Waterview could provide some useful benefits is in the area of tunnelling. While the massive TBM that is being used on Waterview is way too big for the CRL, my guess is that the engineering and construction knowledge gained by local agencies and companies will be invaluable when it comes time to build the CRL. This is especially the case as the two projects almost perfectly dovetail into each other. Waterview is under construction now with the tunnelling itself expected to start around October of this year and completed in 2016. If the CRL sticks to its current schedule of being operational in 2020, construction on the project is likely to start in 2015 but really ramping up in the 2016-2019 period as shown in the graph below from the original business case.
When it comes to promoting the project, the cost is perhaps another area that we could learn a lot from. Back in 2008, when the previous Labour government were starting to get serious about Waterview, the cost of the project was reported at $1.89 billion for a pair of twin lane tunnels. To build it wide enough for three lanes, as was being pushed by the roading lobbies was projected to cost $2.14 billion.
Also interesting to note that back then then National Party spokesperson, Maurice Williamson, said he doubted we could afford $1.9b on a single project through traditional financing methods as it would deprive the rest of the country of investment yet less than a year later the party embarked on the RoNS programme, which included Waterview and that it is set to cost the country ~$10 billion over a decade.
“I don’t think the Government could ever fund a $1.9 billion road from just straight land transport funding,” Mr Williamson said. “That would mean the rest of the country would get nothing for nearly three years, so you have go to find an alternative source of funding.”
Back to Waterview, six months later in early 2009, following more work done on the project by treasury and the MoT the cost had ballooned to $2.77 billion for the two lane option and $3.16 billion for the three lane option. This caused then transport minister Steven Joyce to send the NZTA back to the drawing board and look at other options. Also worth noting that he quite clearly stated that he wanted to see the tunnels with three lanes each.
Serious doubt has engulfed Auckland’s Waterview motorway tunnels project – the vital last link in the western ring route – after a cost blowout to between $2.77 billion and $3.16 billion.
The Government has ordered an urgent review of route options after the Treasury and Ministry of Transport added financing costs of more than $500 million and an upgrade of the nearby Northwestern Motorway for $240 million to the main project.
Previous estimates of $1.89 billion for two-lane tunnels each way along the 4.5km Waterview route or $2.14 billion for three-lane links – as sought by the Automobile Association and business groups – did not include any of those costs. The new estimates are $2.77 billion for a 3.2km pair of two-lane tunnels and $3.16 billion for three lanes in each direction.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce announced yesterday that he had given officials until April to review all options for a connection of State Highway 20 to the Northwestern at Waterview, including a potentially disruptive surface route through Mt Albert and previously discarded “cut and cover” proposals.
Going from a proposal of two lane tunnels at $1.9 billion to three lane tunnels at a cost of $3.2 billion represents an absolutely massive price increase. By late 2010, despite being a three lane tunnel option, the cost of the project was back down below $2 billion at $1.75 billion. Fast forward to today and the project is being built $1.4 billion with the causeway project coming in at an extra $220 million. That means that all up both the Waterview project, and the causeway are costing ~$1.6 billion, almost $300 million less than just what the two lane tunnels were expected to cost roughly 5 years ago.
Why have the costs come down so much being almost half of what they were at their peak? I believe much of it relates to how we estimate these types of projects. As a project moves through the stages of investigation, costs tend to increase as all of the potential issues/risks start to get thought through and these start to get factored in to the cost of the project. As the knowledge of the project improves, many of the risks can be addressed and this can give some certainty about how much the project will ultimately cost. Such a big project should hopefully also cause construction companies to be extremely competitive in the tendering process.
So how does this relate to the CRL? Well it’s going through exactly the same process. Back in 2009 it was estimated to cost $1-$1.5 billion. The November 2010 business case, came in well over that figure at $2.4 billion, as seen in the construction cost summary. Most interesting is that the construction costs alone come in at less than $1 billion but the rest of the $2.4 billion is made up of contractor costs, design and planning costs as well as factoring for various risks. The cost of the project was the one area that both Auckland Transport and the Government agreed on when the latter reviewed the business case in 2011.
For planning documents Auckland Transport then inflation adjusted the price out to when it would be built which saw the cost increase further to $2.86 billion. However critically it also emerged that Auckland Transport had already managed to find over $150 million in savings off the base cost as shown below.
Why is all of this so important? Well based on what we saw with Waterview, it is likely that the actual cost of the project will end up coming in much less than the $2.86 billion that opponents (and AT) like to throw around. A figure somewhere in the $1.5 – $2 billion mark is perhaps much more likely and would have an absolutely massive impact on the viability of the project. In fact it seems that despite the governments continued opposition to the project, we may have missed an extremely important milestone. Subtly the conversation has actually shifted from “if” to “when” with the government and MoT now seemingly focusing on the timing of when it should happen rather than if it should happen at all. If costs continue to come down, like they did with Waterview then it only help to further justify the project.
The massive tunnel boring machine that will be used to dig the tunnels at Waterview has been officially handed over to the companies working on the project. When looking at pictures, it can be hard to realise just how big this thing will be. The machine is enormous, with the cutting head measuring 14.5m wide and the entire machine just under 100m in length. The NZTA say it is the 10th largest of its kind every built. I’m hoping that we well get a chance to have a look at it up close before it starts eating its way underground.
You can read more about it in the NZTAs press release.
And another image of it
I know that many people that read this blog aren’t supportive of new motorways however I do like the project. I can see the new connection being very useful for a lot of people. Perhaps more importantly I hope that long term it represents the final major motorway project in the city, after which we can properly focus all of our efforts on improving alternative options.
I know some have also questioned if the TBM can be used for other projects, like the CRL. The answer to that is no. After a project these machines are normally worn out. Also the Herald reports this morning that the NZTA have sold the machine back to the manufacturer after the project for 20% of its purchase price of ~$50m and they will reuse some of the parts. There is another factor too, this machine is much larger than what we need for the CRL where the TBMs are proposed to be around 7m in diameter. Even digging two tunnels, like what is proposed for the CRL, it would likely be much cheaper than than using one giant one due to there being less than half the amount of rock to have to deal with. The image below shows the surface area of the Waterview TBM in blue with the proposed the CRL tunnels in grey.
And finally, if you don’t know how these machines work, here is a video
Last week there was a fairly detailed article in the NZ Herald discussing progress on construction of the Waterview Connection project. Some key things pointed out in the article relate to the fairly substantial progress made on the project in the last few months:
Diggers, drilling rigs and dump trucks from a Fletcher Construction-led alliance of Transport Agency contractors have transformed much of Alan Wood Reserve in Owairaka since January last year into a pitted brown moonscape, alleviated for now only by newly-planted native shrubs on the banks of a realigned section of Oakley Creek, and the first of two football pitches to be re-located behind security fences off Valonia St.
The site will host an extension of the Southwestern Motorway for more than 2km above ground from a new bridge already built at Maioro St in New Windsor and under another quickly taking shape on Richardson Rd, before disappearing into a pair of tunnels which will run 2.4km to Waterview from what will be left of the reserve.
Although work was slower to start at the Waterview end of the project, that has recently been levelled with the demolition or removal of about 90 mainly state houses to make way for traffic to resurface before rising on curving ramps to a multi-layered interchange with the Northwestern Motorway.
The demolitions and re-housing of residents have allowed Waterview Reserve to be moved west to make way for a slew of cranes. They are this month starting to construct a giant motorway trench by ramming concrete slurry into the ground to form the walls before earth is scooped out between them, behind 3.5m noise barriers on the project’s border along Great North Rd with Waterview Primary School.
It seems like the sheer scale of the works, although well understood by the local community through the consenting process, has still come as something of a shock in reality. The scale seems to have surprised Russell Brown from Public Address (a fellow Pt Chev resident) as well:
Through all the furore about how and where the western ring route would be completed and what would run under and over the ground, hardly anyone really understood how bloody big this thing is going to be. It’s now becoming apparent.
I’ve gained some sort of insight in recent weeks by cycling around the north and south ends of of the planned 2.8km tunnel. Even the preparatory works are vast. And the feature pic on this Waterview Connection fan page (shouldn’t it have an anthropomorphised personal Twitter account too?) made me do a double-take.
A couple of Russell’s photo’s really highlights the change in local landscape that has already resulted from the construction activity. First the southern end around Maioro Street (click for larger):
And the northern end near the existing Waterview interchange alongside Great North Road:
Following construction of the project is going to be an interesting process as while there will be a lot of visible change at each end initially (as shown in the photos above) and change continuing at the northern end while all the ramps for the Waterview interchange are constructed, most of the activity will be occurring underground so I’m guessing that for a lot of the time it’ll probably seem like hardly anything is actually taking place.
Final completion is not expected until 2017 and once this project is built it will be very interesting to see what impacts it has on traffic volumes around Auckland – with State Highway 1 finally having a proper bypass and presumably a lot of traffic no longer needing to use current arterial road routes to make the connections that the Waterview tunnel will provide. Construction of the final piece in Auckland’s motorway system jigsaw puzzle is now most definitely underway.
Here at the Auckland Transport Blog we have finally found a road project that seems more unwarranted than either Puhoi-to-Wellsford or Transmission Gully. This is a road project that costs more than both of those two premature white elephants combined. Yes, we’re talking about the “Additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing Project“.
We often hear how important and urgent it is for Auckland to get another crossing over the Waitemata. This message is usually swaddled in one or more of the following soothing spoken reasons:
- Congestion is bad, i.e. your valuable blogging time is being wasted.
- The clip-ons are going to fall off, i.e. you better learn to swim.
- It’s always been in the plans, i.e. you can’t stop it now.
Let’s consider each of these arguments in turn and see whether they hold much sway.
First, the sweet smell of congestion – that addictive road building tonic that both demonstrates the folly of designing cities around private vehicles, while simultaneously providing the justification for continued investment in private vehicles. This is the same circular logic that entrapped the entire city of Los Angeles for decades, and which still seems to prevail within the MoT and NZTA. The thing with congestion is that you can never beat it by building more roads – investing in the latter usually simply enables congestion to grow back, it’s like NZTA want to spray water onto the mould that covers the bathroom ceiling.
Moving along – the particularly interesting thing about congestion in this corridor is that we as a society has just invested in:
- The Northern Busway, which provides an extraordinarily successful (given the prevailing lack of development around stations) and relatively congestion-free public transport corridor that runs in parallel with SH1. From what I can tell (back of envelope numbers) the Northern Express is now operating at close to full cost recovery. Further only being a fraction of the vehicles that cross the bridge, around a third of all people heading southbound in the morning peak do so on a bus. This graph from ARTA is a couple of years old but shows how quickly the situation is changing thanks to developments like the busway. There is still a lot we can do to further improve the bus experience for Aucklanders, especially on the city side through improved bus lanes and facilities.
- The Western Ring Route, which (when complete) will provide an alternative route for some vehicle trips. From what I know, transport modelling predicts a drop of about 5,000-10,000 vpd on the bridge when Waterview is complete. As such, the WRR could reduce vehicle volumes on the existing Harbour Bridge by around 5%. Not huge, but probably enough to noticeably reduce congestion.
Conclusion #1: Together the Northern Busway and the Western Ring Route are the main congestion safety valves that Auckland needs across the Waitemata.
Second, we accept that the clip-ons may fall off when a continuous line of fully laden 40+ tonne trucks comes to a grinding halt on the bridge while being buffeted by hurricane force winds. Yes, the next time we have a hurricane that prompts some kind of lemming like heavy vehicle pilgrimage (which for some reason ends up stopping on the Harbour Bridge) then the clip-ons may become pontoons. But does it necessarily follow that we should spend $5 billion on a new crossing? Not really, if you consider the following options as being alternatives to a new crossing:
- Ban heavy vehicles from using the bridge in high winds; or
- Restrict heavy vehicles to using the main span of the bridge; or
- Require heavy vehicles to divert via the aforementioned Western Ring Route.
Some of these management techniques have already been used in the past so they wouldn’t be something new. Conclusion #2: Ultimately there seems to be at least three more effective ways of extending the life of the clip-ons (perhaps indefinitely) that helps us to avoid spending $5 billion on another crossing.
Third but not least, we come to the suggestion that “it’s always been in the plans.” To understand this argument we tried having a look at the plans. The latest ones came out in 2010, when NZTA last considered the merits of the project. This included preparing some detailed drawings of how it could work and a Business Case that analysed the costs and benefits of a bridge option and a tunnel option. The cost-benefit ratio for the two options are shown in the box below, which is found on page 65 of the business case document:
With a capital cost of close to $5 billion for the tunnel option, this would mean a return of around $1.5 billion excluding agglomeration benefits or $2 billion including them (using undiscounted figures). So pretty much the same as getting $3-3.5 billion and burning it. Now you don’t have to be an economist to know that this analysis is suggesting that this project is morse code for “absurd waste of money”.
Conclusion #3: If the additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing has always been “in the plans” then we’d just respond that it damn well shouldn’t be. Or perhaps more accurately: Just because something was a bad idea in the past, doesn’t mean it will be a good idea in the future.
At this stage some of you may be thinking “case closed” – let’s strike that project off the list and move on. But wait there’s even more to this post: When reading the NZTA’s Business Case we found, how shall we say this, ”questionable” assumptions about future growth in vehicle volumes. But before going into them its time for a little pop quiz, if you are modelling traffic flows in 2010 to predict future vehicle volumes do you:
a) base it off the currently available numbers
b) ignore what actually happened and use a model to predict what the numbers were
Here are the numbers that were used which comes from page 10 of the business case:
The important thing is the 2008 numbers seem to have been generated by a traffic model, because they do not match what was actually observed. For example, the NZTA’s own numbers for 2008 say there were only a average of 154,925 vehicles per day that crossed the bridge, a difference of over 13,000. The difference in the volumes can be easily seen from the graph below, which shows actual traffic volumes (green) and predicted traffic volumes (red).
There’s a couple of interesting things about this graph: The first (and most obvious) is that the modelled traffic volumes are approximately 10% higher than the actual volumes, even before the Business Case was released in 2010. Basically, the Business Case appears to be re-writing history by using traffic volumes that are higher than what was actually observed. Bizarre eh?
Personally, I would have thought that where you had a transport model that was predicting volumes that were 10% higher than the actual observed volumes then that would be reason to re-calibrate the model so that it more closely matched actual volumes, certainly before you did absolutely anything else with the outputs – let alone argue for us to spend $5 billion. Nevertheless, it seems (from what we can tell reading the Business Case) that the red line above was the one used in calculations of benefit-cost ratios, despite actual data showing that it was 10% off the mark from the outset (NB: A 10% difference in vehicle volumes makes a huge difference to congestion reduction benefits).
The next interesting thing is that based on the red line NZTA has (somehow) concluded that the next Waitemata Harbour Crossing is needed between 2020-2030, at which point they were expecting between 188,000-200,000 vehicles per day (vpd) over the bridge. If we take the mid-point of this range as defining the “critical threshold” then we can conclude that the current crossing arrangements is maxed out around 194,000 vpd. The figure below illustrates this critical threshold as the black dashed line. We have also extended the actual volumes (green) using the modeled traffic volumes (dashed green line). The latter sort of shows what you might expect to happen to vehicle volumes in the event that we returned to the modeled “trend” for the next 30 years.
We can see that even by 2041 the dashed green line stays below the dashed black line, i.e. we have not come close to hitting the “critical threshold” even by 2041. Stated simply, the reduction in vehicle volumes observed on the Harbour Bridge in the last 5 years or so seems to have bought us at least another 20 years when it comes to developing an additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing. Why so much time? Well, because it will take us ten years to get back to the level we were 5-10 years ago. That’s why we now have so much time and why this project, if it’s needed at all, does not seem to be “urgent”.
With all this in mind I can’t understand why some people at NZTA (and certain politicians on the North Shore) seem to be pushing for an additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing to be constructed soon, like between 2020-2030. Surely the smartest thing to do before pushing this project along is to:
- Wait until we have completed a few projects that may impact on the need for this crossing; and
- Recalibrate the model and issue an updated business case incorporating revised traffic growth assumptions?
At this stage, not only does another road-based crossing of the Waitemata Harbour seem like an ineffective way to address the issues put forward, it also seems like it’s nowhere near as urgent as some people make out. I have no problem with long term planning for another crossing, but let’s not kid ourselves that it’s needed in the next 30 years. By crikey.
Last week the NZ Herald reported that the NZTA was once again looking at making changes to the design of the Waterview project
Designers of Auckland’s $2 billion Waterview motorway tunnels project are trying to solve congestion and safety problems at a three-tiered interchange between two state highways.
Among 12 options under consideration are shifting Great North Rd to the west through Waterview, and then sending it over the new motorway interchange en route to Pt Chevalier, instead of under it.
The Transport Agency said these were only preliminary ideas, with no formal standing.
But they had to be refined into a short-list before decisions could be made on whether to deviate from an earlier proposal presented to a Government-appointed board of inquiry.
I assume that these investigations into new designs have come about mainly due to the decision to use a TBM to bore the tunnels and that the NZTA and the construction alliance is looking at ways to minimise costs and possibly disruption. We saw that at the end of last year and again in February the agency started raising the idea of shifting the ventilation stack from what was designated by the Board of Inquiry (BOI), something that really upset the locals and eventually resulted in the NZTA dropping the idea. It would be really interesting to see the short listed designs when they get to that stage but no matter how good they are, I can’t see it being easy for them to get agreement from the locals for them.
Also on the subject of Waterview, at their last board meeting, the Auckland Transport board approved for officers to move to the next stage of designating and constructing a walkway/cycleway to join the one along SH20 to SH16, something that they were required to do as part of the BOI process. Here is the executive summary to the report.
The Waterview cycleway is the missing link in the off road cycle network linking Manukau / Waitemata harbours and the CBD. The cycleway follows the path of the SH20 Waterview motorway project. The provision of a cycleway / shared path is a condition of the decision on the Waterview motorway connection designation by a Board of Inquiry.
A preferred corridor alignment has been identified between Alan Wood reserve, Mt Albert and Great North Road, Waterview to provide continuous cycleway provision. The preferred alignment is shown in Attachment 1.
The SH20 Waterview Board of Inquiry conditions outline that Auckland Transport is required to prepare a concept design and obtain the necessary land owner and statutory approvals for the cycleway. Should Auckland Transport be successful in obtaining the required approvals, NZTA would fund and implement the cycleway in accordance with condition SO.14 to a sum equal to $8 million in June 2011 New Zealand dollars (with any construction costs above that figure being met by the Auckland Council).
The preferred corridor for the cycleway will provide for a 4m off road facility connected by bridges across the rail corridor and Oakley Creek. The next steps are to progress a Notice of Requirement to designate the route, undertake developed designs and land negotiations with relevant land owners.
The proposed budget to progress investigations and land negotiations prior to utilising NZTA contribution is identified in the current cycle and walking capex budget.
And here is the preferred route
And some of the other route options that were investigated
The NZTA have released a new video about the Waterview Connection (they actually released it about a month ago but I have only just seen it now). It is definitely a very pretty video but I get the feeling from the ending that it is partly to help push their case for moving the vent stack from the one mandated by the Board of Inquiry. This is something they were pushing back in Feb but I thought they had now dropped the issue.
Of course one does have to ask just how much was spent on this video, I bet it wasn’t cheap.
Along with ‘Transformational’ the other phrase suffering from misuse in discussions around Auckland’s transport plans at the moment is ‘Multi-Modal’. This seems to have come from the logistics sector where it refers to the sending of goods over a variety of technologies and/or involving handling by various companies to get to their destination. In the urban transport context it seems to have at least three meanings:
1. A journey that uses more than one kind of movement, eg walk/bus/walk, or drive/rail/walk, or bike/ferry, or even bus/bus/bus [3 different bus rides] and so on.
2. An infrastructure project designed to facilitate different modes of movement, eg the AMETI project includes highways, buslanes, cycleways, and train station redevelopment, so can be described as multi-modal.
3. An analysis of needs for an area that sets out to not proscribe what mode, or combination of modes, will provide the best outcome. Currently there is [yet another] study into the transport needs of south west Auckland that aims to be multi-modal, which is to say it will look at whether trains, bus systems, more motorways, or maybe teleporting [!?], will best suit the needs of the area and at what cost.
So we can see how the phrase can mean various things, although generally we can say it is intended as a positive; as it sounds like a good thing, sounds like it offers choice, democracy, and in a sophisticated way. Who doesn’t want that?
Here is Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye:
I support, as does the Government, the development of a robust multi-modal plan for future transport into the CBD, which includes a thorough analysis of all the alternative modes to transport.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Except this is from at post on her website where the MP is detailing the government’s refusal to support the construction of the City Rail Link, because, somehow, it supports ‘a robust multi-modal plan’. So when you don’t want to support something but still want to appear all positive it seems calling for ‘a thorough analysis of all the alternative modes to [sic] transport’ seems like a cunning choice of phrasing; go all multi-modal. Okay, so perhaps we’ed better look at this phrase a little deeper.
The multi-modal journey.
Almost all public transport trips are multi-modal. With the occassional exception of someone who say works at Westpac, whose offices are directly above Britomart and who also happens to live right next door to another train station, all PT trips can be assumed to involve getting to the point of connection with the transit system by some other means, usually walking, and then doing the same at the other end of the transit journey. This fact is one of the reasons that cities with more effective public transport systems consistently record better health statistics than those without. Simply because with more people using PT, more people are getting more exercise.
The chief advantage of the vehicle mode is that it can be point to point. Straight from your garage at home to the carpark at your office. So while very handy also both extremely sedentary and completely mono-modal; therefore cities dominated by car use report poorer public health outcomes. There is all the evidence in the world for this for example; here, here, and here.
Of course park’n'ride journeys are also multi-modal, but usually involve less walking. And when I ride my bike to University I am only using one mode point to point, but still getting more exercise than those rainy days when I take the bus. But despite these two examples a place that supports more PT journeys, and therefore more multi-modal journeys, reports better health outcomes.
Nikki Kaye again:
Twitter with Nikki Kaye
Yes well Multi-Modal does include cycling and walking, and it’s great that Kaye knows this but do her government’s transport policies actually encourage more of either? There is nothing, for example, about opposing the construction of the City Rail Link that supports either Multi-Modality or cycling and walking. In fact quite the reverse. All PT encourages walking, offers choices other than driving, and frees the streets up to be available to cyclists and walkers. And fully underground and transformative projects like the CRL do these things extremely well.
So lets look at some more examples.
It is often gloomily noted that in order to get funding for a cycleway in Auckland you first need to find a billion dollar motorway project to attach it to. Certainly this is true of the Waterview project [and here] which despite taking place on a rail designation its only claim to any multi-modality is that the Environment Court has forced the addition of some pretty good funds for cycleways and paths as a means to mitigate the negative effects of this motorway on the local community. It has no public transport component -so other than the mitigating paths and bridges it is not really a multi-modal project. Hopefully AT will add buslanes to Gt North Rd after this project is complete but there is no funding or specific inclusion of bus priority in the Waterview project itself.
Multi-modality can be retro-fitted to an ordinary road too. Here is a multi-modal street in Manhattan: From left; bike lane, parking, general traffic, dedicated buslane. And to top it off pedestrian priority in the foreground. Four modes each with their own priority, clearly to do this you need a fair bit of road width, and that presupposes other systems of movement to compliment the road space. Of course Manhattan has a comprehensive subway system to free up this roadspace.
First Avenue NYC photo: NYC DoT
This pattern of strict separation isn’t the only way to multi up the modes; there’s also the ‘shared space’ way, this offers a more anarchic multi-modality that can work extremely well, especially in narrower streets where vehicles can be calmed by enough users of other modes, this type of system is common with trams too:
Shared Street in Copenhagen
Or we could think of particularly mono-modal systems; motorways are not only restrictive of what travels along them [no walking or cycling, and very little successful public transport] they also break connections across them for other modes, especially walking and cycling, but also for more local motorised connection too. Not only that but the quantity of traffic that they then dump onto to local streets severely limits the exercise of multi-modal patterns seen in the examples above.
This is what a Mono-Modality looks like. So anyone looking for a ‘robust Multi-Modal plan for future transport to the CBD’ would be wanting to urgently add the modes that are missing from this picture, and could well be looking to limit the use of systems like this one: the largest Motorway interchange in in Australasia.
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.
These actions then are the exact opposite of promoting the Multi-Modal. I know this may seem naive but I would very much prefer politicians to back up their sweet words with actual actions.
The NZTA and it’s partners presented an update to the transport committee yesterday on what is currently happening with the Waterview Connection project. Most of the update was pretty straight forward, explaining what the project is, why it is needed and how it will be built. Also the images shown are the same as in this post from December however you can watch the videos of the entire presentation along with the questions and comments about it here: (sorry I can’t embed these ones)
1. The presentation from the NZTA.
2. A presentation from a council official working on the project about what council is doing.
3. Questions and comments part 1.
4. Questions and comments part 2.
5. Questions and comments part 3.
Concept Southern Tunnel Portal
One aspect though has raised the hackles of a number of some councillors and the local board members is something first mentioned late last year which is that the NZTA is considering moving the northern tunnel ventilation stack. The issue is that it was initially intended to be on the Western side of Great North Rd, something the locals weren’t happy about and fought strongly at the board of inquiry (BOI) that was set up for the project. In their ruling the BOI required that the NZTA move the ventilation stack and its associated building to the Eastern side of the road. Since that time the alliance that won the tender has decided to use a tunnel boring machine that can get under Gt North Rd without it needing to be dug up at all so want to be able to move the stack back onto the other side of the road and further north. Whether any change to its location actually happens will have to be seen but one thing is for sure, if it has to go back through the BOI process it could take a long time.