Some Good – Some Bad
This morning I was at a networking breakfast hosted by Auckland Transport to businesses in the Manukau, Wiri and Highbrook areas. Auckland Transport were giving an update today mostly on the Manukau Transport Interchange to the breakfast and most of it I have seen before somewhere along the line. I saw some “surprises” this morning (both good) with the full extent of the MIT development over the next twenty years being one, and Manukau City Centre to benefit from the City Transformational Unit with its own City Transformational Project.
I did note that a workshop is to begin on the Manukau City Centre and wider Manukau-Wiri area led by the Council and Local Board. While I have no doubt this will be as part of the City Transformational Project and most likely as spawn on from my November presentation last year on Manukau, I am getting a little cranky with AT and Council again over lack of communication with upcoming works over Manukau. If I am running blind then South Auckland is running blind, and last time comms messed up (Unitary Plan – March 2013 – Karaka Weymouth Bridge) the backlash was large and buy-in considerably harder.
So it seems I will be hitting the email trail again.
But to be very clear I am thrilled that Manukau is to be recognised as a City Transformational Project just like the CBD currently is. I had put in my submission to the Unitary Plan that I concurred with Auckland Council Property Limited that Manukau should be brought under the City Transformational Unit – albeit as a Super Metropolitan Centre.
From ACPL’s submission to the Auckland Plan in 2011:
It would benefit from the overview of the City Transformation Unit. The commitment and focus this brings is beneficial. It sends a signal to the market that Council is committed to continuing investment in order to strengthen Manukau.
What I am not thrilled with is Auckland Transport over the Manukau Transport Interchange after it got panned three times – twice in Council. I asked AT this morning why the saw-tooth design after its universal panning and they said the following:
- Mandate from Council
- Efficient loading as passengers do not need to cross the road from the Putney Way side to board the bus
- Can handle more buses in less space
- Driver can see into the interchange where people are waiting to board bus
Yes Auckland Transport has a mandate for the interchange but support was not entirely from the Auckland Development Committee after I presented against the saw-tooth design in November. To give further weight Transport Blog also panned the Saw-Tooth design last year for the same reasons I did – specifically having metro buses reversing in a high vehicle usage area (see Manukau bus interchange details emerge on general opposition to the Saw Tooth design).
Britomart and New Lynn Interchanges are linear designs and I struggle to really see why Manukau needs to be saw-tooth as the reasons AT give do not wash
Pedestrians crossing the road should be no issue if the buses are restricted to 20km/h and there are plenty of pedestrian crossings in the area (banning cars from the interchange area which I moved to Putney Way would assist as well). The New Lynn and Britomart Interchanges handle bus and people movement relatively well with few if any accidents. And remembering we will be having over 5,000 pedestrians moving through the area at a given time with MIT, residential/commercial developments, the bus and rail stations all in the same area.
As for the saw-tooth design they are designed to handle inter-city buses who move less frequently than metro buses do at every 2-3 minutes in peak conditions. Are you telling me Auckland Transport that it is efficient for a bus to pull in, load up, then have the driver reverse a large bus back into the access-way then proceed onwards with their trip? This especially for the 33 Great South Road and 364 service that run right through Manukau going both north and south each every 10 minutes in each direction (so technically you can get four buses going “through” every 10 minutes and this does not include the peak only 368/9 with services Manukau-Wiri yet). By having buses needing to back up, you are literally adding upwards of two minutes with that manoeuvre compared to straight in-out with the linear design. Furthermore buses backing up have extremely large blind spots behind them and the risk of colliding with something (whether a person (as there is commercial development on the Manukau Station Road side – thus pedestrians have to cross the access-way any how – so that excuse from this morning does not particularly wash) or bus) is greatly increased. Again a linear design that allows straight in-out of two-way interchange (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/186133948/21st-Century-Auckland-Booklet-PDF-Mode ) mitigates against those risks the saw-tooth design has. Again especially as 5,000 people can be passing through the area at any given time.
Also as the Bus Interchange is one way rather than two-way as I proposed you will get double backing of bus routes especially the Great South Road (33 and 364 under the new network from next year) which again costs time. See these graphics courtesy of Transport Blog on the double back:
Looking at the bus routes you will see any buses coming in from the north would need to go right through Davis Avenue back out on to Manukau Station Road, hook a left then go down Manukau Station road before doing two more lefts to enter the bus interchange and head back out into Davis Avenue and Manukau Station Road again. Effectively a double loop. Where as the linear design I had (see below) had the buses from the north turn left from Davis Ave into Putney Way (the interchange) and once loaded with passengers head back out the same direction via turning right at Osterley Way and back out to Manukau Station Road to continue their journey south along the Great South Road or Redoubt Road.
As for capacity the AT design gets 16 buses while mine starts with 10 and can be extended to 20 (10 each way)
With loading I fail to see how the saw-tooth design is efficient when boarding passengers mix with disembarking passengers on what looks like a boarding strip that is not very wide. Then again the graphic does not really help but again linear designs you shouldn’t get the mixing issue (please exit out the back door of a bus) as the exiting crowd can disperse very quickly onto a wide platform.
One final thing Auckland Transport; it is March 2014 and the graphics you showed for the interchange were from May 2013 so may I ask what have you been doing since May and especially when the Councillors sought new directions in November last year? Oh well maybe I expect things to move faster than reality.
As for the Manukau Rail South Link which I was being pinged on via Twitter this morning:
Auckland Transport should be discussing it this month and next month with the Business Case being presented to Council soon afterwards. I’ll make some enquiries today (in the long list) to see where things are in having the case released for or against the Link.
And that was the presentation this morning from Auckland Transport. It started very well with some excellent news coming about in regards to Manukau being recognised as a City Transformational Project. This means by-enlarge it should get its own City Centre Master Plan just like the CBD did three years ago when it was recognised as a City Transformational Project.
But with Lot 59 and the Interchange soon afterwards… I don’t like doing angry shouty posts but I get very annoyed when there is either a lack of communication/updates (especially after the mayor got pulled up on it with the Southern Initiative last year) or not taking on board critiques when something got panned not once but three different times and occasions.
You can do better Auckland Transport! You did very well with the South Auckland Bus Network which got near universal acclaim. Lets not ruin it with a pivotal interchange that is getting near universal criticisms at the moment…
Submission to Unitary Plan that has the Super Metropolitan Centre Concept