A request to get the Manukau Rail South Link into the 2016/2017 Annual Plan
A letter to Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport:
To His Worship The Mayor Len Brown
CC: Respective representatives in Southern Auckland, and Auckland Transport
I write in protest and annoyance at the lack of action from both the Mayor and Auckland Transport in fulfilling a pledge to Southern Auckland in both getting the Manukau Rail South Link built and passengers services running from Pukekohe and Papakura to Manukau using this link.
As we know when Manukau Station was built the branch line from the North Island Main Trunk Link was designed to feed the branch line to Manukau from both the north (Britomart) and from the south (Papakura and Pukekohe). Since Manukau Station opened we do have north links running but we do not have the South Link despite numerous promises from yourself and Auckland Transport. The last promise as such was earlier this year at the Manukau Civic Centre when you told me and the rest public workshop at Long Term Plan 2015-2025 that the $4.5m (approx) South Link would be put back on the agenda.
Fast forward to November and the matter has dropped off the radar entirely again and keeps doing so after numerous reminders either from myself or the southern Local Boards since 2011.
I need not remind anyone in this email conversation the social, employment and transport issues Southern Auckland faces. Nor the goals of the Auckland and Unitary Plans insofar as the role of the Metropolitan Centres (for which Manukau is both one and one of the biggest) and the objectives of The Southern Initiative (for which Manukau is the heart of both the TSI and South Auckland).
Thus I bring your attention to two sets of blog posts that I have written this week on employment and public transport access.
The graphics show that south of Manukau not many people were within 30 minutes of an employment centre using public transport. Given we (Council, AT and the City) are trying to encourage more public transport usage this is not a good situation and needs a lot of work on.
That said the New South Auckland Bus Network will go to some lengths in addressing the situation but not far enough when a bus from Papakura to Manukau is just over 30 minutes (more in peak traffic) compared to a train taking 14 minutes from Papakura to Manukau via the South Link (it takes 24-30mins on the current layout of needing to change over at Puhinui).
The second post shows what happens if the $4.5m South Link was built: How One South Link Improves the Job Catchment for Southern Auckland #AKLPols
The post has this graphic:
As you can see if the Manukau Rail South Link is built (left of the two graphics above) and passenger services from both Papakura and Pukekohe to Manukau via the South Link were to run at 20 minute frequencies from 6am to 10pm (30mins outside those times) 7 days a week the catchment of the public transport network (well the rail line) expands noticeably (Homai, Takanini and Papakura are caught in the new catchment).
Furthermore with the Unitary Plan to be designed around a Centres-Plus framework with intensification (meaning around rail stations as well) the Manukau South Link and subsequent direct services would give better accessibility from the intensified residential centres built around Homai, Manurewa, Te Mahia, Takanini and Papakura to the major employment, retail, entertainment and civic centre – Manukau City Centre.
As for complexity around the South Link crossing over the Port of Auckland Inland Port at Wiri and subsequent signalling? Forgive my bluntness but not my problem nor the South’s problem. The engineers I am confident in from Kiwi Rail can work that issue out without the impact to passenger and freight services in the Wiri area.
So what say you Your Worship and Auckland Transport please? A $4.5m piece of track plus the services using it (use the 10 ADL Diesel Multiple Units if we need to seem they are for the most part idling at Westfield) to connect a major employment centre – Manukau to its main population base from Homai south to Pukekohe.
No more excuses and no more procrastination from Council and Auckland Transport please. Get that South Link into the Annual Plan 16/17 so Auckland Transport then has the budget line to build the link ready for operation by the start of the University Semester 1 in 2017 please! Transdev Auckland Limited will workout the service patterns as they are contracted to do once the Link is built.
Quick wins while we wait for the City Rail Link folks. zthis is what the Manukau South Link is, a quick win linking up the South with its City Centre. So please get it into the Annual Plan 16/17 and lets get the South finally connected!
We await the Mayor’s response