Month: March 2014

Inorganics to be dumped

Trash on the berm-side to be a thing of the past

 

One thing that use to irk me about the bi-annual inorganic collections: the area looking worse than a standard tip.

Well Auckland Council will be adopting what Waitakere City Council did pre-Super City in that inorganic’s on the berm-side will be dumped as of next year and replaced with a pay-and-pick-up scheme.

From the NZ Herald

Inorganic pick up scrapped

By Matthew Theunissen 4:15 AM Sunday Mar 30, 2014

Sorting through other people’s trash for possible treasures will soon be history. 

Inorganic collections – long adored by bargain hunters and despised by berm lovers – are being chucked out. The Auckland Council is introducing major changes, which include ending the roadside collections and setting up 30 community recycling hubs around the city.

From July 1 next year Aucklanders will call the council to arrange pick-ups from their yards.

The council’s solid waste manager, Ian Stupple, said a trial of the system in Howick and Pakuranga late last year found half the waste bound for landfill could be re-used or recycled.

“At the moment it’s a mess. The waste is scattered all over the berms and it’s potentially dangerous for the operators.

“This way it will be a lot safer and the material will be in a much better condition and easier to collect.”

The centres would be set over the next 20 years.

There may even be coffee shops at some of the centres.

“So it’s almost a community facility like a leisure centre or a library where people would hopefully be attracted to go to on a regular basis.”

The facilities, run by private operators or community groups, would create job and training opportunities, Stupple said.

Switch saves expensive clean-ups

 

Western wards in Auckland ditched kerbside inorganic collections in 2009 and introduced $25 home pick-ups.

Speaking while doing collections in Te Atatu, contractor Lance Goodwin said both systems had benefits but collecting from within properties was better.

 

I gather there would be a token fee to drop your stuff off at the Community Recycling Hubs. That said providing the fee was not prohibitive I would be using the hubs in place of the bi-annual dump on the kerb while having a nosy around from those second-hand goods or picking up some compost (if green waste is processed and sold at the hub).

Would this new scheme cause a spike in illegal dumping? Possible so enforcement will need to be strengthened to deter this much as possible.

 

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Safety Improvements for State Highway 2

NZTA Continues safety improvements on State Highway 2

 

Having traversed the highway many times in my life I can safely say State Highway 2 between State Highway One at Pokeno and the SH2/25 Thames turn off can be both a dog and unsafe. NZTA having done the Mangatawhiri Deviation back in 2008 (which makes that section of highway easier and safer to travel on) are continuing to push for further safety improvements along this particular section of highway corridor.

From NZTA:

Sate Highway 2 between Pokeno to Mangatarata are being investigated by the NZ Transport Agency.

 

31 Mar 2014 11:39am | NZ Transport Agency: Waikato and Bay of Plenty

Safety improvements being investigated on SH2 between Pokeno to Mangatarata

Known as the Safe System Corridor Project the Transport Agency says the investigation aims to identify what safety improvements are required along this section of SH2 to reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes caused by head-on and run-off-road impact, and to make the intersections safer.

Two sections of SH2 are being investigated – known as the Western and Eastern sections – in the last 10 years there have seen 214 crashes in these two sections. Fifteen of those were fatal, and 16 involved serious injuries. Most of the fatal and serious crashes were caused by vehicles crossing the centreline or running off the road.

The 7.4km Western Section is from the SH1 intersection at Pokeno to the Mangatawhiri Stream Bridge. The Eastern Section is 9.5km long and runs from Monument Road to the intersection with SH25.

“The project aims to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries by creating a more forgiving environment,’’ says Transport Agency’s acting highways manager Michelle Te Wharau.

In December 2011 the speed limit was reduced from 100km/h to 90km/h for much of the Maramarua Highway up to the SH25 turnoff. Average daily traffic counts are around 13,000 and soar to 24,000 at peak holiday times.

The key objectives for this Safe System project are to:

  • Enhance the safety and wellbeing for the local community and residents who live and travel along this route
  • Acknowledge that people can make mistakes while driving, are vulnerable in crashes and need a more forgiving environment
  • Reduce the number of fatal and serious injury road crashes, particularly head-on, run-off road, and intersection crashes
  • Maintain SH2 as a route for over-dimension and over-load heavy vehicle travel
  • Develop and implement affordable solutions

“The project teams have just begun their work and will seek feedback from stakeholders and the people who live, work and travel along SH2,” says Mrs Te Wharau.

“As more detailed options are developed we will seek direct feedback from any affected residents and landowners.”

A public Open Day will be held towards the end of May/early June this year, says Mrs Te Wharau.

“Also along the Maramarua Highway, the Transport Agency aims to begin construction of a three-leg roundabout at the intersection of SH2/25 later this year.”

Also other works as part of this project include the realignment of SH2 at Kopuku which is in investigation stage and the Maramarua Deviation is in design stage. Investigation for passing lanes at Mangatarata is also nearing completion.

For further information about this project go to www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/maramaruahighway. Attached is a map of the SH2 highway being investigated as part of this project and what safety improvements have been undertaken in the past.

—-ends—-

Some PDF’s for you

Safe System Corridor Project

 

SH2 Maramarua Highway Strategy

Hopefully this will be all completed by 2020.

Of note I believe this is not part of the Roads of National Significance yet carries a heck load of passenger and freight traffic between Thames, Tauranga and Auckland. I also believe this section of SH2 carries more traffic than the Holiday Highway ever would yet the Holiday Highway is a gold-plated 4 lane motorway compared to a two or three lane highway down in the Northern Waikato. If a 4-lane highway was ever needed I thought it would have been State Highway Two at Maramaura than at Puhoi. All Puhoi needs is the same stuff happening on State Highway 2 in being some deviations (including bypasses), some median barriers, some passing bays and some improved intersections. Simple, cost effective and yet gives more benefits than a 4-lane motorway.

I also note this part of State Highway Two forms part of the backbone of State Highways (1, 2, 27, 29) that connect up the Golden Triangle (Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga)

Wonders never cease with our Government and transport. That said I wonder what this big announcement is by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport tomorrow at Britomart (after 12 of course) will be? We await and see.

Passenger Rail from Tauranga to Auckland?

Possible but needs a lot of investment

 

I have noted a Herald article about Auckland metro rail passenger numbers at record levels while ferry numbers are dipping (it will be the fares) this morning. Check “Rail clips the ticket as ferry trips fall away” for more on that story.

 

Tauranga to Auckland by Rail?

Before the last Labour Government (1999-2008) ditched the service the Silver Fern rail car use to run a daily service between Tauranga and Auckland that would take around 3.5 hours each way. As a kid I use to catch it when holidaying with my grandparents who reside in Tauranga and the trip wasn’t that bad – even though it took an hour longer than going by car.

There have been numerous attempts since the service was scrapped to reinstate the service but the infrastructure investment alone would be costly to allow dual freight/passenger running again. None-the-less a new attempt via a study is being pushed to reinstate the inter-city rail service.

From Sun Media:

Railing in commuting costs

Posted at 7:01am Sunday 30 Mar, 2014 | By Luke Balvert luke@thesun.co.nz

The re-instatement of a passenger train between Tauranga and Auckland continues to gain strong interest from a group of city firms currently shelling out more than $100,000 a week on commuting costs.

A Priority One study investigated 37 targeted corporates and other businesses in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty to find what their inter-city travel requirements, practices and costs are and whether they would be interested in the concept of commuting by rail.

Corporates and businesses commuting the most include Zespri International, BECA, Comvita, Sharp Tudhope and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.

Travelling by road means several hours of unproductive time, while flying can be costly and still requires a trip into the city from the airport – both expensive and time consuming.

Together the 37 firms currently spend $104,558 in travel costs and staff time on weekly commutes, including $71,550 in unproductive staff time, $23,408 in driving mileage and $9600 in air travel, including taxi fares.

Priority One project manager Annie Hill says in the last few years interest has been generated in reinstating the passenger train service, with firms supportive to align with business needs in Auckland.

Of those that travel at least once a week to Auckland, 88 per cent say they would consider using the service. But they note the service would need to be faster than driving, have wi-fi capabilities, not be too expensive, and have reasonable departure times to suit business needs.

…..

 

So we have a problem and that is the inter-city commute between Auckland and Tauranga. Passenger rail between Auckland and Tauranga could work but as it was noted in red: “the service would need to be faster than driving, have wi-fi capabilities, not be too expensive, and have reasonable departure times to suit business needs.

So the infrastructure (tracks, signals, points and eventually rolling stock) will need to be brought up to scratch before even attempting to run passenger rail between the two cities again.

 

Annie says despite the survey, giving New Zealand Transport Agency via SmartGrowth an economic viewpoint on the cost, the chances of a commuter service are very slim in the next 20-30 years as the rail lines do not have the capacity.

With freight rail the current priority, the rail service would need a significant upgrade to accommodate a fast passenger service, says Annie.

– See more at: http://www.sunlive.co.nz/news/68182-railing-commuting-costs.html#sthash.zw4rXLpX.dpuf

….

 

Yep that is the case with the current set up of the lines at the moment. To get a viable passenger service between Auckland and Tauranga you would need to do the following upgrades first:

  • The third main between Westfield and Pukekohe
  • Double tracking between Pukekohe and Hamilton
  • More passing loops between Hamilton and Tauranga with possible full double tracking in 30-years
  • Reinstatement of Tauranga Station which would need to be on its own loop away from main line to allow freight trains to continue to move unimpeded
  • Rolling stock to support three services a day in each direction between Tauranga and Papakura (you would transfer to an EMU to continue the trip north)

All this would take time and considerable investment. But with increasing freight trains to Hamilton and Tauranga from Auckland you could tie the investment in double/triple tracking plus more passing loops with freight as well as wanting passenger services as well. This would make investment in the rail system more viable. And with plans afoot around growth (residential and industrial) in the Golden Triangle (Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga) that is to occur over the next 40-50 years, passenger rail between Auckland (Papakura) and Tauranga is certainly not dead.

 

At Budget Committee Today

Will Be Tweeting Live

 

Scrapping over funding bores me while the Unitary Plan sparks more interest (no I am not dissing the rescue helicopter service either but I don’t believe in over-cooking the story either) and is not being covered well.

So today I will be Tweeting Live from the Budget Committee at 1:30pm from Town Hall on the proceedings. My Twitter handle is @BenRoss_AKL and full report will be posted in the morning.

budget