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Old February 29th, 2004, 01:39 AM   #1
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AUCKLAND: Transport Discussion (Part 1)

Due to the diversity of the transport solutions required I have decided to create a new thread incompassing ALL transportation issues.


Gary Taylor: Wanted: one transport tsar

24.02.2004
COMMENT
"This timetable shows the times at which trains may be expected to operate. The operator endeavours to run all services on time, however weather, special events, traffic conditions, breakdowns and staff sickness may cause delays." - from Western Line Train Timetable 2004

Last year the Auckland region grew by 39,500 people. Many of them bought new cars. The regional economy continued to expand. As a result, traffic volumes increased by more than 4 per cent. Morning and evening peaks continued to merge on key routes and now encroach on most of the day. Delays cost businesses and individuals more than a billion dollars.

On the tracks, the trains broke down, ran late and were overloaded. Even the timetable contained Third World excuses for poor performance. The Auckland Regional Council bought some more second-hand trains and appointed a new train operator.

In the community, the debate raged between pro-road and pro-public transport advocates about the lack of progress. And finally the Government said: enough!

In December, the Prime Minister announced that our transport system would be overhauled. But the reality is that the Government's reforms don't go far enough and won't fix the problem.

What is the problem? Put simply, it is the involvement of too many organisations. At least 18, all with transport responsibilities. The Government says it will reduce those 18 entities to 17: Infrastructure Auckland is to be folded into the ARC.

There is merit in strengthening the ARC. Its new subsidiary will be called Auckland Regional Holdings. It will be the regional bank. It will need to achieve at least 11 per cent compound annual return on the $1 billion investments to match Infrastructure Auckland's performance.

Another entity will be created, also under the ARC umbrella, called the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. It will plan, finance and implement transport in Auckland, excluding state highways.

But the bottom line is that folding Infrastructure Auckland into the ARC and simply relocating the present ARC functions into a new subsidiary is not going far enough. In fact, if Auckland Regional Holdings and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority both have their own boards as proposed, the reforms will actually increase the number of players from 18 to 19!

We should look for inspiration at Perth, a city the size of Auckland. It has a great motorway network that flows freely. It also has a new, world-class commuter train network. The system is attracting so much patronage that Perth has ordered 98 more new trains.

We should also look at Brisbane, Toronto and Vancouver, cities that have really effective, fully integrated transport networks.

What distinguishes these examples is that they all have an overall transport authority with very few additional bodies. And Auckland has massive fragmentation, multiple entities, each with governing bodies and supporting bureaucracies keen to protect their own turf. Why on earth do we do this to ourselves?

With all these players, progress is slow and often involves poor, overly pragmatic and short-term choices. We have been proposing a rail upgrade since 1988 and motorway enhancements longer than that.

In spite of all the talk, the level of debate in the region is appalling. We have a pro-road lobby that wants just roads and we have a pro-public transport lobby that wants just trains.

Fundamental to any reforms must be the acceptance that Auckland needs both a first-rate, fully completed motorway system and a world-class train, ferry and bus network.

It is salutary to consider this: when the planned motorways are complete, they will add about 15 per cent capacity to the network. But by then traffic volumes will have increased at least 30 per cent at present rates of growth. So we will have more cars on the road and even greater congestion.

That is why we need a world-class train, ferry and busway network as well. The Rail Business Plan, paid for largely by Infrastructure Auckland, proposes new, electrified trains running at five-minute intervals and driving patronage up from the paltry 2 million passengers at present to 25 million by 2016.

That plan needs rapid implementation. With proper management, we could have the network fully electrified and new electric trains within 24 months. The proposed Auckland Regional Transport Authority should be told to deliver that outcome and given all the tools it needs.

The recent work by regional and Government officials demonstrated that we can afford both motorways and a comprehensive public transport network. The funds are largely available. Yes, there is a funding gap and closing that will involve some congestion pricing - but that was always on the cards. We simply have to pay more toget Auckland moving and thosewho argue to the contrary are deluding themselves.

The Government should create a fully empowered Auckland Regional Transport Authority. It can then plan, finance and implement transport in a fully integrated way, moving people and goods along transport corridors, whether they be rail tracks, harbours, busways or roads.

The key is devolving the relevant central Government functions to the region. This makes sense when 70 per cent of total regional transport spending is by central Government.

Transit New Zealand - the central Government road builder - should be brought into the new Transport Authority. Transfund - the central Government transport funder - could then bulk fund the region, allowing priority setting between roads and public transport to be done here rather than in Wellington.

Trackco, central Government's new rail network owner, should contract the management of its Auckland network to the region. From what we have seen of the likely directors of Trackco (the present directors of NZ Railways Corporation), there is a clear focus on national priorities, which will favour freight operations.

Commuter rail is poorly understood. Regional control of the corridor is essential if we are to get to 25 million passengers a year.

All the other public agencies with major transport responsibilities in the region should also be included in the new Transport Authority. It should have as many tools as possible to address Auckland's transport woes.

The Government already has a separate review of its own transport activities under way. The brief for this could easily be extended to incorporate a careful look at these devolution scenarios. A fully fledged Regional Transport Authority with all the relevant functions could deliver the decongestion benefits and public transport upgrade Auckland needs. The present plan will not do that. It is merely a small step in the right direction.

Finally, it is vital that while any reforms are implemented over the next 12 months, we continue to make robust progress in addressing the transport crisis. The changes cannot be used as another excuse for continuing inaction. We simply cannot afford more delay.

* Gary Taylor is a director of Infrastructure Auckland. The views he expresses are his own.

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Old February 29th, 2004, 11:02 AM   #2
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Im glad the govt is giving Auckland that 1.5 billion it pledged to help with new road constructions
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 07:31 AM   #3
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re

I had to go over to Kyper Pass Road today. I left at 4:50pm, and got from my house in birkenhead across the bridge in about 5 minutes. The Victoria park overpass lane was backed up to the bridge so I thought it would be quicker to go through the city up symonds street then left into kyper pass.

In total it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes to get there. This is a trip that on a normal day should take about 15-20 minutes. Traffic was bumper to bumper all the way. The traffic lights in town would turn green for less than 3 seconds, and leave me waiting for several minutes in between each time. That didn't matter though cos traffic wasn't moving on the other side.

As I got to the symonds street overpass, I looked out across a plethora of several layers of ramps twisting in all directions at spaghetti junction, and saw hundreds of cars sitting completely still packed up right against each other. Absolutely no movement.

I left to go back to the shore after reaching my destination, and got back home in 20 minutes, going a rather odd way past Mt Eden prison, back onto the motorway heading south, then turning back north at Gillies Ave, and through spaghetti junction.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 11:34 AM   #4
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Been there man,thats the same as trying to use Gt Sth Rd instead of the Southern Motorway,the only difference is that on Gt sth Road you can stop somewhere to grab a bite to eat if you want to,the traffic is just as heavy on the older/alternate routes.
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Old March 7th, 2004, 03:31 AM   #5
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Proposed urban design on Aucklands motorways.

Maori style art on a retaining wall CMJ.


K-Rd overpass redesign central city
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Old March 7th, 2004, 03:36 AM   #6
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Those are great ideas,I like them.
Where did you find those?
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Old March 7th, 2004, 03:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by NZer
Those are great ideas,I like them.
Where did you find those?
I like them too, thus the post.

Heres the url. Its part of the general CMJ site.

http://cmi.transit.govt.nz/html/cmj/cmjUrban.htm
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Old March 10th, 2004, 11:12 AM   #8
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Auckland's answer to the ''Big Dig''.



The $4b answer to traffic jams

10.03.2004
By MATHEW DEARNALEY, transport reporter
Aucklanders have been offered a partial solution to their transport woes - but it could cost almost $4 billion.

Transport consultants yesterday nominated a preferred route for most of a 27km eastern loop expressway for cars, trucks and buses from Manukau to central Auckland.

As many as 1200 homes could be bulldozed or affected to some degree.

The cost of the project, on which Auckland City Mayor John Banks has staked his political career, has ballooned from $460 million in a 2002 study to between $2.8 billion and $3.2 billion, depending on which entrance it makes to the central city.

A "worst case" price-tag for what Mr Banks and Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis want to be a public-private investment partnership drawing heavily on road tolls could be as much as $3.9 billion.

There was no indication yesterday how much tolls could be.

The variations depend on whether the expressway crosses Hobson Bay to meet Tamaki Drive - which would be substantially widened by land reclamation to take eight lanes of traffic - or goes under Parnell through a 3.5km tunnel.

Mr Banks prefers the tunnel option as less environmentally disruptive, although it would add $400 million to $600 million to the cost.

The expressway would also make connections to the waterfront and the Northwestern and Northern Motorways more challenging, particularly with a 90-degree turn in a spiral junction called a gyratory.

Planners claim about 80 per cent of heavy port traffic would choose the eastern route for a faster getaway, although only a fifth of general vehicles would be siphoned off the Southern Motorway.

They promise big cuts in travelling times, but the route across Hobson Bay would give drivers their only lawful chance to hit 100km/h, as limits along other sections would generally be 80km/h, dropping to 60km/h around Pakuranga.

The number of lanes would also vary, but a bus lane is recommended in each direction and there would be at least two general vehicle lanes.

A steering committee will receive another report on funding possibilities before deciding between the options in the next two months.

The consultants ruled out routes along Kepa Rd in Orakei and close to Mt Wellington Quarry - where high-density housing is planned - as too socially and environmentally problematic.

Traffic would go straight up the environmentally sensitive Purewa Creek instead, although on an elevated expressway which the consultants say would not cut into the cemetery where former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon is buried.

A bridge across the Tamaki River to Farm Cove near Pakuranga has also been discounted, in deference to routes to the north, south and west of the Panmure Basin.

Although about 1200 homes would be bulldozed or otherwise affected, Mr Banks said many other residents could now feel "a lot more relaxed".

But Stop the Eastern Motorway (Stem) lobby group said it was ludicrous to expect to reduce congestion by giving commuters a motorway competing along the same corridor as buses and trains.

The corridor would follow train tracks from Auckland to Panmure.

Stem spokesman Richard Lewis said this would not spare Auckland the degradation of vehicle congestion and a busway next to a railway was "economic and transport-planning madness."

Auckland City councillor Bruce Hucker, head of the City Vision team, said Mr Banks' prescription for congestion was "like offering relief from obesity by telling you to loosen your belt".

Dr Hucker believed the expressway would swallow money desperately needed for other projects which "go somewhere", such as the $1 billion completion of the SH20 link to the Northwestern Motorway.

But Northern Employers and Manufacturers' Association chief Alasdair Thompson said the route was an excellent choice at a price which was "not much" compared with the $1 billion a year that congestion cost Aucklanders.

The bridge on the north of the Panmure Basin would be duplicated for one bus and one general vehicle lane in each direction, and another bridge would be added on the southern side for eight lanes of expressway traffic and "enhanced walking and cycling facilities".

Traffic lanes would be sunk into trenches through the Glen Innes town centre, winning praise from the Business and Economic Research consultancy, which says the project would spur economic and community growth.

Director Kel Sanderson said the sunken corridor would encourage above-ground pedestrian, cycling and vehicle links between developments such as Auckland University's proposed "Innovation Park" and the community.

He predicted the population of Glen Innes and Panmure would double to about 60,000 by 2030, largely triggered by greater accessibility through the corridor. Gross domestic product could rise $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year.

From Pakuranga, the corridor would go east down a widened Ti Rakau Drive before turning south along Te Irirangi Drive, where two bus lanes would be added to the existing four general traffic lanes.

Although Mr Banks wants Auckland's motorway network completed within 10 years, the eastern project could soak up more than half the $6.62 billion the Government has promised the region in that time for transport.

But he said the Government must put more money into the pot because of the country's dependence on Auckland to "get moving".

The Eastern Transport Corridor

Length: 27km, from Manukau to central Auckland.

What is it: Varies from two to three vehicle lanes in each direction, and a dedicated buslane along the entire route, joining double or triple rail tracks from Panmure to Auckland.

Financial cost: $2.8 billion to $3.2b with Parnell tunnel option but could rise to $3.9b in the "worst case".

Environmental and social cost: About 1200 homes demolished or otherwise affected, visual and noise pollution including through the Purewa wetland, although tunnel option would avoid the latter.

How it compares

Waikato Expressway: A $500 million highway between Cambridge and Mercer

Transmission Gully, near Wellington: At least $245 million on an alternative route into the capital

Orewa to Puhoi motorway: Known as Alpurt, and budgeted at $160 million

Project Aqua: Meridian Energy's $1.3 billion energy scheme beside the Waitaki River.
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Old March 11th, 2004, 01:56 AM   #9
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11.03.2004
By MATHEW DEARNALEY
Auckland City Mayor John Banks is scoffing at claims ratepayers will be overburdened by a grandiose eastern expressway project, saying the Government will be obliged to dig deep.

But he is reluctant to put figures on possible toll charges to repay potential private investment partners, despite being quoted initially as suggesting $5 and then pruning this to $2.50.

Mr Banks said yesterday that he did not envisage either his or Manukau City's ratepayers becoming "significant contributors" to a project which consultants say could cost almost $4 billion.

That was because he believed the project was of sufficient national interest for the Government to join private investors in funding the lion's share, despite its existing commitment of $6.62 billion to Auckland transport in the next 10 years.

He said there was already a $3.4 billion shortfall for current proposals, without counting the eastern corridor, but he hoped to persuade the Government to allow tolls to be extended to existing roads and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Mr Banks was responding to a claim by rival mayoral candidate Christine Fletcher that Auckland ratepayers risked paying a disproportionate share of costs for the expressway, which will include up to six general traffic lanes and two bus lanes.

Her claim was based on a report by project director Grant Kirby that the cost would be split between the Auckland and Manukau city areas on a ratio of about 80:20.

Auckland residents would shoulder the heaviest financial burden for a project from which commercial transport operators and commuters from Howick and Pakuranga would gain the greatest benefits, said Mrs Fletcher.

Other civic leaders are also nervous about the eastern corridor.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey said he was worried the eastern corridor would siphon off money needed for double rail tracks to his city, and for completing the western motorway link.

Mr Banks said he was waiting for the Deloitte consultancy to report next week on funding options before being able to talk about toll charges for the proposed expressway.

Asked about a consultants' report in 2002 which estimated that tolls would raise less than $100 million of the projected cost, Mr Banks said there were plenty of interested investors.

Meanwhile, Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis faces political heat from a challenger for the Manukau mayoralty, Len Brown, who accused him yesterday of trying to pre-empt strategic decisions about his city's transport future.

Mr Brown said congestion along Ti Rakau Drive was being exaggerated as a major reason for Manukau's participation in the corridor project, because of a $40 million proposed link to the Southern Motorway from a new industrial estate in East Tamaki.

But the most controversial section of the project remains the Auckland end, where consultants have left it to the project steering group to choose between tunnels under Parnell and an expressway across Hobson Bay.
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Old March 17th, 2004, 01:43 PM   #10
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Motorway development map 1965



Central Motorway Junction UC 1973



Auckland Harbour Bridge on completion 1959



Addition of ''clip-on'' lanes 1966 (doubling width from 4 to 8 lanes only 7 years after the original bridge was opened)

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Old March 22nd, 2004, 02:20 AM   #11
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More good press for Auckland's trains

Disabled man left to crawl on to crowded train

22.03.2004
By NATASHA HARRIS AND MATHEW DEARNALEY
A muscular dystrophy sufferer had to crawl on to an Auckland commuter train on his hands and knees after being told the train was running too late for an access ramp to be put down.

Tim Dempsey, 33, says he dropped to his knees to clamber on to a crowded carriage at Sturges Rd station in Henderson. Although he does not yet use a wheelchair, his weakening muscles mean he needs a walking stick, and he can barely walk up stairs.

But Mr Dempsey said the Tranz Metro train manager told him he could not use the ramp because the train was running late, by five minutes, and the ramp was for people in wheelchairs.

He said the manager told him: "The ramp is for people in wheelchairs - that's why it's called a wheelchair ramp."

"I was stunned," said Mr Dempsey, who is the Muscular Dystrophy Association's national fundraising manager.

"I had used it on my only other train journey in Auckland two months earlier when the train was running 30 minutes late.

"I was thinking, I'm going to have to get on the train and this was the only option I had, so I crawled on without any help.

"This is crazy. This is not some type of Third World country - this is Auckland, 2004."

A colleague from his work, physiotherapist Ruth McKenzie, was with him at the time and says she was appalled at his treatment.

"I was angry that Tim had to crawl on the train and in front of a carriage full of people. I was disgusted that there was such ignorance among public service people.

"They should know that access is access and if they have a ramp, they should use it."

Mr Dempsey said that when the train arrived at Britomart Station, the ramp was put down in about 30 seconds and he walked off, followed by a woman with a baby in a pushchair.

Two train staff who had seen the earlier incident apologised to him.

The incident prompted Ms McKenzie to send a letter of complaint to Tranz Metro and to the Auckland Regional Council and to offer them help to train staff to deal with people with disabilities.

Mr Dempsey said: "The important thing for me is, let's make sure this doesn't happen again and let's make sure they educate their staff about disabled access.

"Access is not always physical in the sense of a ramp; often it's people's attitudes. That train wasn't inaccessible, the train manager's attitude made it inaccessible."

Tranz Metro general manager Paul Ashton said an investigation into the incident had begun.

"If this is the way he was treated, it is totally unacceptable and unsatisfactory and we are taking immediate steps to find out what occurred and ensure we don't have a repeat."

Mr Ashton said the company had trained staff in dealing with customers with disabilities, but admitted that taking on a high number of recruits in the past 18 months had probably left a gap in "knowledge and competency to deal with this particular group of consumers".
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Old March 22nd, 2004, 02:27 AM   #12
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Good reading. Eastern Motorway.

C.K. Stead: Auckland's mayors singing from the wrong songsheet

22.03.2004
COMMENT
Like the three tenors, Mayors John Banks and Sir Barry Curtis sing the same song, though it sounds like something written by a tuneless PR man with little concern that words should mean anything or that facts should be verifiable.

In answer to Tim Hazledine's questioning of the $4 billion cost of the proposed eastern highway, the mayors claim "the benefits to Auckland's economy over time are huge", and will justify the expenditure.

These "benefits", as they describe them, however, are so vague and generalised as to be meaningless: "an investment for securing sustainable growth"; "the benefits, including social multipliers, could reach $46 billion"; "urban transformation and economic development" - these are phrases meant to persuade, but what do they mean in real terms?

The idea that a highway dressed up as a "transport corridor" will magically send New Zealand up the OECD ladder, and that Auckland, therefore, has a responsibility to build this dinosaur for the good of the nation - these are catch-cries, without economic or intellectual substance and they are not to be taken seriously.

There are many ways of measuring costs. The eastern highway is a proposal that would cost us not only in dollars but in damage. Auckland is a beautiful city, rating high on international surveys.

That it attracts tourists is important but more important is that those of us who live in it love it and want to preserve its attractions for our children and grandchildren.

Short of a huge aerial bombardment, a motorway is the most destructive modern weapon against an urban environment, blocking access on either side, dividing communities, destroying housing, waterways, parklands and areas of natural beauty, creating air and (even worse) noise pollution, and in the long term making worse the traffic problem it is supposed to solve.

This latter point cannot be repeated too often, since our civic leaders seem unable to learn the lessons even of very recent history. I am old enough to remember when Grafton Gully was a piece of charming bushland, with old graves and a stream running down towards the harbour.

When it was proposed as the route for a motorway, we were assured that only a thin strip would be taken and that, otherwise, its natural beauty would be preserved. It is now a maze of concrete.

That mistake can't be undone, but there is no need to repeat it along the waterfront, and through Hobson Bay, the Orakei Basin, and Meadowbank.

Never unwilling to make themselves ridiculous, Mayors Banks and Curtis predict land-value rises. Are we to expect real-estate advertisements reading "Come and live by the motorway"? What is most likely is the development of a wide ribbon of low-grade living and industrial degradation, a no-go zone.

Those of us who prefer to use the car (and I include myself) must be disciplined, or at least learn the facts of urban life, one of which is that if you live in a city of a million or more and insist on using your car during rush hours, you must be prepared to spend some time going nowhere.

If billions of dollars are wasted in an attempt to defeat or disprove this basic fact of modern living, the relief will be short-lived, the cost and the damage enormous, and in a very short time the problem will have re-created itself.

There are no exceptions to this rule but there is a way out - public transport, and that is where, if only we had talented and visionary public leaders, all our efforts would now be concentrated.

Mr Banks favours making motorway and harbour bridge-users pay. That is reasonable, but only if the money gathered goes into public transport. If driving your car is a pleasure at public expense, it is a pleasure that should be taxed.

To make bridge-users pay for the eastern highway would be wrong. To make them pay for a cheaper ferry service, on the other hand, would be fair and reasonable.

Similarly, if cars are taxed for using existing motorways, the money gathered should subsidise public transport. Systems of this kind are working in European cities, including London.

"We have been around Auckland's incomplete roading network problems for at least 25 years," the mayors tell us. If that is so, they must bear some of the responsibility for the failure to get on with the kind of public transport system that Mayor Robinson was calling for in the 1960s.

Now they are rushing to solve the problem by adding a highway that runs parallel to the existing motorway and eventually converges with it.

One of Auckland's problems has been a centralised bureaucracy in Wellington, run largely by civil servants who saw to the capital's needs before they gave any thought to New Zealand's largest city.

It was noticeable a few years ago when Auckland had its power crisis that we had four main cables into the city while Wellington had 10. Similarly, the old NZ Railways made sure that Wellington had a viable commuter rail service while Auckland's remained relatively undeveloped.

These are facts of our city's past that have to be recognised and met. We are a long way behind in public transport, and should have maximum help from the Government in correcting the deficit.

The west coast of North America offers lessons from which we should learn. To the north is Vancouver, a city of comparable size to Auckland, with the ocean to the west and the mountains rising behind.

It has recognised that motorways solve nothing and that there are values and qualities to be preserved for the future. Vancouver has spent money on public transport, including its excellent skytrain services, and is reaping the benefits.

To the south is Los Angeles which preserves a few havens of comfort and beauty for the rich (Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air) and is otherwise a network of clogged motorways, with their attendant smog, low-grade commerce, dingy housing and industrial wastelands.

These are the futures Auckland must choose between. Our two mayors are pointing us in the wrong direction.
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Old March 22nd, 2004, 11:41 AM   #13
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Hi Guys, had to post on here after hearing that Connex is going to run the trains in Auckland. This French company is notorious in the UK for mismanagement and ripping off customers. BBC link,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3073519.stm
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Old March 22nd, 2004, 12:41 PM   #14
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Well, they run the transport in Melbourne, and on the news tonight they said Connex there were punctual 95% of the time.
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 02:08 AM   #15
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Connex given $144m deal to revive Auckland's rail system

23.03.2004
By MATHEW DEARNALEY
French company Connex has been contracted to nurse Auckland's rail system back to life, promising high reliability despite mixed overseas reviews.

The company, which yesterday signed a $144 million deal with the Auckland Regional Council to run trains for at least four years from July, has an excellent track record in Australia but ran into terminal trouble in Britain.

Australian chairman Bob Annells said it should be judged on overall performance in more than 20 countries, and described its loss of English franchises after complaints of crowded trains and cancellations as an anomaly caused by inadequate public funding.

He cited achievements in Melbourne, where Connex carried more than 50 million passengers annually and would next month extend its operation across the whole of that city, carrying 125 million passengers.

Although this dwarfs Auckland, where annual rail trips are forecast to rise to 3.25 million by June compared with 2.5 million last year, Mr Annells said the contract with the regional council was nevertheless important for Connex.

"It represents our first opportunity in New Zealand, and for that we've waited quite some time."

Council transport committee chairwoman Catherine Harland said the contract was structured to deliver more reliable and frequent services, and greater patronage.

The contract, which gives Connex a subsidy of $36 million for each of the four years with rights of renewal for three more, would include monitoring and performance-reporting, backed by possible sanctions.

She said it would take time to build frequency as the western rail line was progressively doubled-tracked and new rolling stock introduced, starting next month with the first of 10 refurbished trains.

Connex has been set an initial target of ensuring 85 per cent of trains run on time or no more than five minutes late, and will be encouraged to raise this to 95 per cent. This compares with 80 per cent now on the southern line, and 65 per cent on the single-track western.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 04:18 AM   #16
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Sounds promising to say the least, but i'm pretty sure that things regarding Trains, etc, will be very good in about 5-6 years time
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Old March 25th, 2004, 01:10 AM   #17
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City backs away from eastern highway

25.03.2004
By BERNARD ORSMAN
Auckland City Council says it cannot risk any more ratepayer money on the $3 billion-$4 billion eastern highway project.

Planning director Dr Jill McPherson told the Herald that going to the next stage of notifying the project would make the council liable for property purchases of between $760 million and $970 million.

"We just haven't got that sort of money. If it is ever constructed it will have to be a regional or national project," Dr McPherson said.

The decision is potentially a major blow for the project and Auckland City Mayor John Banks, who has staked his mayoralty on turning the eastern corridor into a motorway by 2010. It comes two weeks after the preferred route was narrowed down to two options.

Mr Banks was yesterday returning from a British Government 10-day study tour and could not be reached for comment.

The decision to end formal involvement in the project follows advice by consultants and lawyers about the cost of continuing to the next stage of notifying the project and seeking resource consents.

An opinion from the council's lawyers, Simpson Grierson, said once the proposal was notified, the notifying body or bodies would be liable for potential property purchases up to $1.2 billion.

Auckland and Manukau councils and the national road building agency, Transit, are committed to the project up to choosing a preferred route.

Dr McPherson said the cost of property purchases within the Auckland City boundaries of the 27km highway was between $760 million and $970 million. The council, which is also looking at making a $400 million bid for waterfront land and other projects, had no money put aside for property purchases, she said. The other property costs are in Manukau.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis did not return calls, but environmental management director Leigh Auton said there was a "strong possibility" the council would notify the part of the project within its boundaries.

The council had money set aside in its long-term financial plan to buy properties affected by the highway, he said.

Funding options will be outlined to the councils and Transit next month in a report being prepared by the consulting firm Deloittes. Mr Banks and Sir Barry want a public-private investment partnership drawing heavily on road tolls and congestion charging.

Transit chairman David Stubbs said he would be surprised if a project of this scale would proceed to the designation and resource consent stage without major political input.

"Legally, Transit might have some discretion, but this is on such a scale that there would have to be a much clearer mandate than there is at the moment for Transit's involvement to increase."

The mandate would have to come from the councils and central government, including the Minister of Transport, said Mr Stubbs.

Stop the Eastern Motorway (Stem) lobby group spokesman Richard Lewis said Mr Banks would lose all credibility if the council walked away from the project now.

"Mr Banks has spent millions of dollars putting this grandiose plan together and now he wants to give a hospital pass for somebody else to carry it to the next step," he said.

Auckland City has committed $2.9 million to the latest study to find a preferred route. Manukau's share is $2.3 million.

Dr Bruce Hucker, leader of the City Vision team at Auckland City, said the decision meant Mr Banks could no longer deliver his promise to build the eastern highway.

"This will defer the project significantly because I have no evidence of any signs of strong support coming from the Government."

Dr Hucker said delays notifying the preferred route would leave 1200 affected property owners in the position of seeing their house prices fall and unable to seek compensation.

Herald Feature: Getting Auckland moving
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Old March 25th, 2004, 01:14 AM   #18
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Report gives harbour bridge a reprieve

25.03.2004
By MATHEW DEARNALEY transport reporter
Engineers expect the Auckland Harbour Bridge to last longer than a gloomy prediction of six months ago, but this has not stopped a push for a new harbour crossing.

The regional land transport committee has decided to ask Transit New Zealand to head a full investigation into a new crossing, and to establish a project team including regional council and Auckland and North Shore city representatives.

Transit said in October that the existing bridge's two clip-on extensions might have to be replaced in less than 20 years.

But a Transit-commissioned peer review, which went this week to the transport committee, said the extensions would probably last at least until 2050.

The highway agency's Auckland manager, Wayne McDonald, said yesterday that the review had refined the prognosis for the clip-ons to about the mid-point of an earlier prediction of "greater than 20 years to significantly less than 100".

Consultants to the Auckland Regional Council have widened options for a new crossing, suggesting it would be possible to build a duplicate structure on the eastern side of the existing bridge.

The council called for its own review of the initial Transit "constructability" study, which favours a second bridge about 500m to the west of the existing bridge or an underwater tunnel to its east.

This followed a threat of legal action from about 1000 Northcote Point residents who signed a petition against having their community split by a cut and cover tunnel connecting a western bridge to the Northern Motorway.

The reviewing consultants concluded that a duplicate bridge next to the existing bridge, but on the opposite side to Northcote Pt, merited further consideration.

They also warned that the tunnel option might not be feasible once the western waterfront reclamation between the bridge and Viaduct Harbour was developed, and recommended swift action in making a full scheme assessment before then.

Residents' spokeswoman Gaye Greenwood was guarded about giving too much weight to the new bridge suggestion, wondering whether it would simply help Transit defend itself from legal action for failing otherwise to consider alternative locations.

She said her group wanted to be consulted in drawing up terms of reference for the proposed project team.

The transport committee also voted to ask Transfund to support the investigation as one of five high-priority study projects, among which it included the $3.5 billion to $4 billion eastern highway proposal.
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Old March 25th, 2004, 05:39 AM   #19
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Its about time they looked into a second harbour crossing, a tunnel i think wiuld be the best idea, proably from Tamaki drive area to nth shr.
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Old March 26th, 2004, 12:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by flyin_higher
Its about time they looked into a second harbour crossing, a tunnel i think wiuld be the best idea, proably from Tamaki drive area to nth shr.
They are looking into it. Transit has an extensive pdf on the investigation and options.

Although Transit dosent consider a route from the Nth Shore to Tamaki Drive in their plan, this has been put forward already by John Banks as an extention on his Eastern Highway project. Indeed a crossing to Tamaki Drv would require the Eastern Highway to be built and in larger proportions (due to an even higher traffic volume). The more I read about it, the less enthusiastic I become about the Eastern Highway. The Eastern Highway isnt even included in Aucklands Transport Stratagy so its a case of going it alone by the 2 mayors. If John Banks really wants to get this thing rolling I think he should cut his losses and re-evaluate the plan. I would see a more modest 4 laning of the existing roads along the corridor from Tamaki Drv to Mt Wellington. This would cater more effectively to the existing situation with a modest growth projection.

I would go for improving the Eastern link from Mt Wellington to Pakauranga from 4 to 6 lanes with an overpass at the traffic lights at the Mt Wlgtn industrial area and a bypass around the Pakauranga Mall to Pakauranga Rd and widening of Te Rakau Drv to 6 lanes.
Widen the Southern Mwy from Mt Wellington to New Market from 6 to 10 or 12 lanes and build a deviation along the railway from New market past Parnell to Mechanics bay where it would then dive underground into a tunnel across the harbour to Northcote. Starting the tunnel here would mean a heavyrail tunnel from Britomart could be included in the package.
What would it cost? Just guessing:
1. Harbour tunnels. 6 lanes traffic and 2 railtracks $4/4.5 billion.
2. Deviation from Sthern Mwy, New market to Mechanics bay. 6 lanes on viaduct above railway and tunnel under parnell Rd and parallel alighnment with railway past Parnel $4-500 million.
3. Doubling capacity on the Sthern Mwy with rebuilt interchanges, elevated 6 lane mwy above the existing mwy or widening the corridor for 12 lanes with elevated rail line above the roadway with elevated stations. $1 billion
4. The above stated improvements on Eastern suburbs access to the southern mwy. $200 million.
5. Widening existing roads from and including Tamaki Drive to Panmure and Mt Wellington $100 million

Total (guess): $5.7/6.3billion

Transits existing harbour crossing options without rail tunnel. $3 billion. Note that Transits plan doesnt include a major capacity increase on the Southern mwy to accomodate the extra 6 lanes across the harbour.
Eastern Highway $4 billion

Total: 7 billion

The advantage in my eyes is that with such a proposal from the ACC that Transit maybe more enclined to assist as it incorporates their own ambitions and incorporates a future crucial PT corridor (CBD-Nth Shore).

Have any of you thought about this? or have any ideas?

Last edited by KIWIKAAS; March 26th, 2004 at 12:59 AM.
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