ACTION STATIONS: South Auckland Needs YOUR Help (Motorways Again) [UPDATED]

We need your held telling Auckland Transport we do not need a de-facto motorway

Today (Friday 17th April until May 26) public submissions open on the notification of the Redoubt Road – Mill Road Corridor (northern end) project.

For more information on the project that will be at the open day check the embed below:

The designs can be seen here:

And the fly through video can be seen here:

As one might appreciate this de-facto motorway project has upset people and communities in Southern Auckland. The reasons for NOT needing this level of upgrade as well as a more viable alternative I will give at the bottom of this post.

[Note: Edit made for clarification and correction. Please submit to Auckland Council not Auckland Transport as made out earlier]

But right now there are three things we need to do to tell Auckland Transport AND the Councillors that this project at this level of scale is beyond acceptable in the 21st Century:

  1. Write a submission to AUCKLAND COUNCIL  (the submission period starts tomorrow). The submission portal I will link once up here and in a separate post). Or for a quick submission go HERE
  2. Contact the Southern Auckland Councillors, the Deputy Mayor (head of the Auckland Development Committee) and Auckland Transport telling them that the scale of the Redoubt Road – Mill Road Corridor project is unacceptable in the 21st Century. NOTE: THAT DOES NOT MEAN SPAM THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THEIR EMAIL BOXES OR PHONES WITH TEXT MESSAGES (I have seen that before and it is detrimental to a campaign). Use common sense if you are going to contact our elected representatives or Auckland Transport and do so with respect and tact. They are humans as well! 
  3. Keep and eye on these two pages on happenings of the opposition groups against the project:
    1. https://www.facebook.com/savegrahamsbush/posts_to_page
    2. https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/save-graham-s-bush (note: I am not compelling you to sigh a petition. That is your choice but I do link the page as one to keep an eye on happenings

The Herald ran a piece recently on the situation as well which you can read here: Fears new highway could destroy totara bush.

So what do I want in place of this de-facto motorway? Well both roads need to be upgraded to handle the incoming growth in the South (residential and employment) that is for sure. But not at gold-plated levels Auckland Transport is proposing.

Below is a post I did on the project last year and my alternative for it. I will be using this as the basis of my submission to Auckland Transport:

DOES MILL ROAD NOW NEED TO BE UPGRADED

WITH SOUTHERN MOTORWAY TO BE UPGRADED DOES MILL ROAD SERIOUSLY NEED TO BE 4 LANES?

In light of the Budget announcement last week which mentioned the acceleration of upgrades to the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura, and the Takanini Interchange (Southern Auckland and Manukau – An Omnibus – Post Budget). What has been bubbling away more quietly is Auckland Transport progressing with hoop jumping for the “upgrade” to Mill in the south-east of Southern Auckland.

In short Auckland Transport are wanting to turn Mill Road (and the accompanying corridor north and south of it) into a virtual 4-lane highway to act as a south-east alternative and bypass to the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1). This project was brought forward to “assist” traffic with the Southern Motorway bottlenecked at Manukau, Hill Road and Takanini (the current conditions) thus causing rat running along Mill Road.

Auckland Transport has a page dedicated to the Mill Road corridor project here: https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/the-mill-road-corridor/

Taking a look at the highlights from the Mill Road Corridor project

THE MILL ROAD CORRIDOR

Auckland Transport is planning to upgrade the Mill Rd corridor which  spans from Redoubt Road in the Manukau/Flat Bush area through to Papakura and State Highway 1 (SH1) at Drury.

Project phase: Investigation
Project zone: South-East


Project purpose

  • First identified in the 2004 Southern Sector Strategic Transportation Study, by previous councils, Auckland Regional Council and Transit New Zealand
  • Upgrading the Mill Road corridor is a priority network improvement in the Auckland Plan
  • Significant growth, with up to 55,000 new dwellings and 35,000 jobs, in the area by 2041
  • Special housing areas will see 3,845 new houses within 10 years and result in increased flows along the Mill Road corridor
  • The eastern/mid-section of the corridor serves as a rural arterial to the wider east-Manukau area. Heading west it becomes an urban arterial, catering for a wide variety of uses including public transport, walking and cycling
  • There have been over 300 crashes along the Mill Road corridor between 2007-2011 resulting in five fatalities and 95 injuries

Benefits

Growth around the Mill Rd corridor will double traffic volumes and the upgrade will help ease increasing congestion and improve safety.

Northern section:

  • Four lanes to provide more capacity, ease congestion and improve safety record
  • Widened footpaths and on-road cycle lanes for most of the corridor
  • Roundabout intersections with pedestrian facilities including safe crossing facilities in the medians
  • Signalled intersections with pedestrian crossings and stop boxes for cyclists
  • A new bus lane and bus priority facilities in the Manukau section
  • More frequent bus services as part of the network plan

Milestones

2014/15 – Northern section: NoR lodged. Public submissions on NoR
2014/15 – Southern sections: Feasibility study. Scheme assessment
2015/16 – Northern: NoR decision. Detailed design, phased land purchase
2015/16 – Southern: NoR lodged (tbc)
2017 – 2019 – Northern: Construction of key junction improvements
2020 + Northern: Phased construction along Mill Rd corridor and Murphy’s Rd driven by growth
2020 + Southern: Construction dependent on growth

Mill Road Update Map 4 414


Project details


  • Improvements to the Mill Rd corridor between Manukau/Flat Bush and Papakura/Drury to support significant population and employment growth
  • Northern section (Redoubt Rd to Mill/Popes Rd) – changing existing two lane rural arterial road to a newly aligned four-lane road with sealed shoulders and flush medians
  • Southern section (Mill/Popes Rd to Papakura and SH1 at Drury) – review feasibility of Papakura District Council proposal and consider potential alternatives
  • Provide an alternate north/south corridor that improves network resilience by providing an alternative route to SH1
  • Provide an upgraded road corridor that addresses current and future network constraints identified on the transport network and improve journey time, frequency and reliability for road users
  • Provide a sustainable transport solution that contributes positively to a liveable city
  • Provide an upgraded road corridor which provides for walking and cycling connectivity to open spaces and community services

 ……………………………

Taking a quick look at the non car transport options available:

Pedestrians

  • A two metre wide footpath will be provided on both sides of Redoubt Road, from the state highway up to Mill Road immediately after the Murphys Road intersection. No footpath is provided in the rural section through to the roundabout at Ranfurly Road.
  • A two metre wide footpath on both sides of Murphys Road will also be provided.
  • Traffic signal intersections at Hollyford Drive/Redoubt Road, Diorella Drive/Redoubt Road and Murphys Road/Redoubt Road will have pedestrian crossings on all legs of the intersections. Roundabout intersections at Mill Road/Ranfurly Road and Mill Road/Alfriston Road will have the standard roundabout pedestrian facilities including safe crossing refuge facilities in the median islands.
  • Some of the shared-use bridle trails within Totara Park, located alongside the Redoubt Road corridor, may need to be relocated. To maintain the integrity of the trail network, and to reduce potential impacts on users, any bridle trails removed to accommodate the proposed corridor improvements will be relocated within the park.

Cyclists

  • The proposed design provides on-road cycle lanes for the lengths of Mill Road, Redoubt Road and parts of Murphys Road. The cycle lanes will vary in width between 1.5 to 2 metres.
  • The realignment of Mill Road south of Redoubt Road will also allow cyclists to use the old Mill Road as an alternative route to the new road corridor.
  • Intersections with traffic signals will have advanced stop boxes for cyclists to wait at the signals or to move across the lanes to make safe right turns.
  • A new westbound bus lane is proposed between Hollyford Drive and the motorway intersection. Cyclists travelling in a westbound direction will share this bus lane.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT IMPROVEMENTS

Public transport improvements to the Mill Road Corridor will provide more frequent and more reliable public transport services.  These improvements are part of the New Network which is aimed at delivering a simplified, better integrated bus network of fewer routes operating more frequently and for longer hours.

Three types of services are proposed for the Auckland bus network

  • Frequent bus services operating at least every 15 minutes, 7am to 7pm, seven days a week
  • Local bus routes operating at least every 30 minutes, 7am to 7pm, seven days a week
  • Other services which may not operate all day or every day of the week- for example, peak-only and school services.

Bus facility improvements on Redoubt Road

  • Bus priority facilities will be provided at the Hollyford Drive/Redoubt Road intersection, including a dedicated right turn lane for buses turning out of Hollyford Drive into Redoubt Road.
  • A new westbound bus lane is proposed between Hollyford Drive and motorway intersection. The proposed bus lane will allow buses and cyclists to travel unimpeded between Hollyford Drive and Diorella Drive, and between Diorella Drive and the motorway.
  • The frequency of bus services will increase which will provide a better level of service for public transport users.
  • Improvements to bus priority facilities and frequency will enable a strong integration with connector routes and local services.

—————————————————————————————

Source: https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/the-mill-road-corridor/

I do wonder if the entire Mill Road Corridor project is much to be desired and “wanting” in being a 21st Century transport all modes corridor, not a 20th Century car only with token lip service to everything else corridor.

The entire project was designed to “alleviate” congestion on the current Southern Motorway between Manukau and Drury. Now with the Southern Motorway itself now in for that upgrade to alleviate the congestion within itself (and as part of a wider program down here any how that includes public and active transport) does Mill Road need the extensive upgrade originally proposed.

My answer would be NO, it is time for a good old-fashioned road diet.

ALTERNATIVES (REDOUBT ROAD AND MILL ROAD (NORTH OF PAPAKURA))

Using the Street Mix web program (www.streetmix.net) I played around with some alternatives for the Redoubt Road section and Mill Road (so north of Papakura) section of the corridor upgrade using the existing corridor widths available.

This is what I came up with for the Redoubt Road section:

Redoubt Road, Manukau Street Mix alternative

  • No bicycles mixing with the bus traffic as in the AT design (so separated cycle lanes)
  • 24 hour bus lanes in each direction to service frequencies per the new All Day Network coming up
  • Bus lanes merge and mix with respective turning bays at intersections
  • Proposed two metre foot paths remain
  • When bus stop is present the bicycles would move to the footpath which would become a shared path. The cycle lane becomes a transit stop
  • 2 lanes for general traffic

Mill Road (from Redoubt Road to Papakura)

mill-road-transition

As Mill Road becomes the Rural Urban Boundary once the Unitary Plan goes operative in 2016, and is flanked by the Future Urban Zone (rather than a live urban zone) it means development will not occur in that area straight away. This means to do a four lane road straight away would seem expensive and rather silly. However, we can do a transition phase where Mill Road is turned from a rural road (as it is now) into an urban road ready to be upgraded to its four lane maximum some time further down the track. The Mill Road transition piece would also allow the appalling safety record to be reversed. That record according to Auckland Transport being:

  • There have been over 300 crashes along the Mill Road corridor between 2007-2011 resulting in five fatalities and 95 injuries

Once the Future Urban zones flip over into urban zones and begin urban development, the Mill Road transition phases upgrades to the full Mill Road corridor option. This would be staged and is in line with AT’s preferred building options for Mill Road:

  • 2020 + Northern: Phased construction along Mill Rd corridor and Murphy’s Rd driven by growth
  • 2020 + Southern: Construction dependent on growth

Rather than the 4 lane general traffic “sewer” I believe we can try for something more and truly multi-modal than what Auckland Transport is trying. Something a bit like these two alternatives:

mill-road-northern-section

mill-road-northern-section-with-transit-stop (1)

Features:

  • 2x general lanes
  • 2x 24 hour 7 day a week bus lanes
  • Parking Lane on the urban side (replaced with a bus stop as required)
  • Separated cycle lanes
  • 2 metre wide foot paths
  • Option for planted median strip otherwise flush median would do fine

Yes I would have the bus lanes operating permanently owing to the future frequent buses that would use the upgraded Mill Road. And by frequent I mean at least every 15 minutes from 7am until 7pm every day of the week per AT’s South Auckland Bus Network plans. Where would the buses go? Three choices:

  • Papakura to Botany via either Murphys Road or Hollyford Drive
  • Papakura to Otara Town Centre via Hollyford Drive
  • Papakura East to Manukau Transport Interchange via Mill Road and Redoubt Road (rather than funnel everyone towards the Southern Rail Line (south of Manukau) and Great South Road corridors to go north)

Note: I have not worked on any alternatives for the Papakura to Drury section of Mill Road yet. I am waiting to see what Auckland Transport comes up with first in their own review before drawing up an alternative (if needed in the first place)

Note2: I am aware of Murphys Road being realigned which will take out several properties in the Murphys Road/Redoubt Road area and the issues that is causing. I also see Auckland Transport is due to lodge the Notice of Requirement for the northern section of the Mill Road Corridor. Again I await further public updates from AT.

So all-in-all the question that needs to be asked at the end of the day:

DOES MILL ROAD NEED TO BE UPGRADED IN LIGHT OF THE SOUTHERN MOTORWAY UPGRADE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED IN THE BUDGET? NOT WITH WHAT AUCKLAND TRANSPORT IS PROPOSING THAT IS THE SAME AUTO-CENTRIC STUFF WE HAVE SEEN LAST CENTURY. SOMETHING MORE TRULY MULTI-MODAL AND PEOPLE FRIENDLY WOULD BE MORE PREFERABLE FOR A 21ST CENTURY AUCKLAND. SOMETHING THAT WOULD ALSO NOT COST US A FORTUNE NOW AND IN THE FUTURE EITHER – AND I AM NOT JUST REFERRING TO MONETARY COSTS.

COME ON AUCKLAND TRANSPORT YOU CAN DO BETTER HERE.

…………………….

Source: https://voakl.net/2014/05/22/does-mill-road-now-need-to-be-upgraded/

Indeed Auckland Transport and Auckland Council can do better for that matter!

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