Pragmatism and Compromise Wins the Day
Just a quick mention to Strategy and Finance Committee Chair – Councillor Penny Webster after some concerns on voting pragmatically and bloggers (knowing that Penny reads the blog):
I think I can give my reassurances to Councillor Penny Webster that there are some bloggers who put ideological obstacles “behind them” and actually actively seek out pragmatic and visionary ideas that are (as Councillor Webster said) considered best for the city.
Today’s success at Strategy and Finance as well as working with the Deputy Mayor with the Unitary Plan are just some of the things Ben Ross : Auckland bridges the ideological divide to move the city forward
As for today
Those who follow BR:AKL will know that I had given a small presentation today at the Council Strategy and Finance Committee meeting today in regards to the Manukau Rail North Link duplication – that AT was seeking budget reallocation to allow the project to happen. Originally I was in opposition to Auckland Transport getting this reallocation for the North Link duplication and had set about writing a list of comprehensive questions for AT to answer on the North Link to the Strategy and Finance Committee. I also requested and was granted a speaking slot in today’s committee to emphasis my concerns and at that time opposition. However as time drew on, a compromise was then sort from me to AT on the Manukau North Link for which if my questions were asked adequately and the compromises reached then I would drop my opposition to AT’s reallocation call. The compromise basically came down to three core questions:
- Will the budget reallocation upset in any way the viability of the Manukau South Link IF the Business Case for that link is solid and sound, and recommends a go-ahead on that project
- Operational aspects of running 6-trains per hour (every 10 minutes between Manukau and Britomart on the Eastern Line) and would it upset passengers south of Puhinui especially what was termed the Triple Transfer for Pukekohe Passengers
- And will Kiwi Rail move that Electrification Mast for the Duplicate North Link so it will not block the path as is current for the eventual South Link
And it was those three questions I asked the Strategy and Finance Committee today to ask Auckland Transport in an “updated” presentation today.
In fact you can see me by video at today’s Strategy and Finance Committee asking those questions seeking a compromise from Auckland Transport on the North Link, while answering a operational question on the 6-TPH logic from Manukau (I think I out did AT on this aspect once they eventually spoke to the committee today 😛 )
The video is free (as I wrote this post) but you need to be registered first to see it.
Just a quick note: the people sitting what is behind me from the camera angle were the Auckland Transport people who would speak on their reallocation proposal and answer my questions later in the committee
Now remember yesterday in my “UPDATE ON MANUKAU NORTH LINK” I mentioned my conversation with Auckland Council Principle Transport Planner – Josh Arbury and discussing today and the fact AT would answer my questions. To his credit (although I sensed reluctance of some sort from Auckland Transport) AT (and even mentioned me by name) did refer to my three questions and answered them to me in a most satisfactory way. Thus as I said in my presentation today with the compromises in position, I no longer object to AT asking for reallocation for the North Link.
But I do not want to get caught up with semantics here as I had a conversation with Auckland Council Principle Transport Planner – Josh Arbury after the Transport Committee this morning. I won’t delve into the conversation much as I will basically allow the committee to happen and have everything recorded on the official Minutes before commenting again. However Auckland Transport have seen my questions and done their homework and I am satisfied that (unless someone bungled the physical delivery of the answers) the questions will be answered adequately tomorrow. By adequate I mean that unless someone has a change of heart in the next 18 hours a compromise has been sort (as I actually did want) and for me – that cursed mast that is in the way of the potential South Link should be moved out of the road in the duplication works saving time and hassle later. As for operations (timetables) which were also asked in my questions, we will come to that bridge when it happens but at least AT are aware of concerns especially around the triple transfer with Pukekohe passengers until the electrics are able to get to Pukekohe.
Again I will delve into this tomorrow but those who use to remember the Otahuhu to Britomart Shuttles via the Eastern Line will be interested to know operations wise (although we shall get full clarification as such) but those shuttles will be basically back but extended to Manukau. These shuttles are extremely useful when running ahead of a Papakura or Pukekohe to Britomart service to take the pressure off the inner stations for those longer “full” services as those trains are usually full half way into the trip. The shuttles also done properly allow for high frequency of services at the inner stations which is a boon to passengers
Now I do not need to delve into the aspects mentioned above as it can be seen in the video of me above and was also covered by AT in their presentation for which I shall find the video for later.
Also AT did touch on the South Link, I will wait for their presentation to go up onto the Council website for your reading pleasure as soon as it happens.
- The North Link Duplication does not compromise the ability to build the South Link
- Operational aspects of timetables and train service delivery are being sorted and modelled by AT when the North Link duplication is on line – however we are looking at the return of the more frequent extended shuttle running to relieve pressure of full running services from Pukekohe and Papakura (or vice versa)
- The mast will be moved by Kiwi Rail when called for with no difficulty
Pragmatism and Progress win the day today for Auckland.
I even hand shook Mr Arbury as well as a round of “back slapping” between us both for the work done to get where we are today with Manukau. Again my thanks Josh. Although as alluded to earlier – there was reluctance from the three AT people today when they went through the motions for the reallocation request and answering my questions (Mr Arbury is not from AT).
A 😀 on having the matter put to bed before I go on holiday next week.
And finally – thank you Councillor Webster for allowing me to speak today at Strategy and Finance 🙂