How to Handle Auckland’s Growth: Do We Divide Up or Go All In?

Divide up into smaller pieces

 

By now you would have seen the doom and gloom Herald articles about the Isthmus’s sewer network spilling sewerage into the harbours on a regular basis due to the age of the infrastructure. At the same time the congestion getting to and from the Airport still generates headlines as does the lack of a certain busway on the North Western Motorway. The point being is that Auckland is booming as a city and with that boom comes the pains of infrastructure provision.

Auckland is compounded however, in that not only does new infrastructure need to be placed but due to lack of renewal in existing infrastructure the cost of replacing that is eye-watering expensive (hence why all the poo into the harbours after each rain event). The Central Interceptor designed to lessen those overflows by 80% (and starts construction this Council term) will cost $1.5b. To completely separate storm water and sewerage is another $1.3b. Add in the Waterfront Interceptor along Quay Street and the Southern Interceptor west of Wiri ($700m) and there is about $5b to replace existing infrastructure before we even get to expanding the Mangere Sewer Treatment Plant and building a new one in Drury.

And I have not even gotten to fresh water infrastructure, roads or transit yet either!

 

Source: NZTA
Source: NZTA

 

The question fast presents itself how do we handle this growth?

Transport Blog asked the question as well: What do you think Auckland should do in order to address its growth challenges?

The answer is not simple especially without full Government support (that is stumping up the cash in an infrastructure fund (thus becoming a de-facto development bank)). So we must ration the investment capital we have and apply it not in a scatter-gun sparingly approach (that is all over Auckland all at once) but rather like any huge task in manageable bite size pieces.

In dividing up Auckland into sub-regions you have your manageable bite size pieces and can then apply growth to areas best set up now to take the first wave while other areas are brought up to scratch for subsequent waves. What you get is a rotating system which spreads the load of growth and infrastructure investment out so that the bank is not broken. So if South Auckland was to go first in the first wave the other two sub regions work in getting their infrastructure up to speed so that when it is their turn they are ready while South Auckland “rests” and gets its infrastructure up to speed. It is utilising what you have in the most efficient manner while the new stuff is being built.

 

So in answering Transport Blog’s question:

What do you think Auckland should do in order to address its growth challenges?

My answer:

  1. Draw a map of Auckland
  2. Divide that map into the following sub regions: Central and West (former Auckland City Council and Waitakere City Council), North (North Shore, Albany and Rodney) and the South (Manukau City Council, Papakura and Franklin District Councils)
  3. Place the City Centre, Manukau City Centre and Albany Metropolitan Centre. Also place the Airport and the Port
  4. Now add in the other eight Metropolitan Centres and Pukekohe
  5. Add in the five heavy industrial complexes (Onehunga-Southdown-Mt Wellington, Wiri, Airport surrounds, East Tamaki/Highbrook, and Drury South)
  6. Connect the above listed in 3-5 with lines, this forms your Rapid Transit Network
  7. Allocate your growth to the sub regions with best placed existing infrastructure or able to get in new infrastructure quickly you will find this is the South. After the South is allocated then allocate the next best place and continue until you get to the worst placed (so Central, West then the entire North)
  8. Hope the Government pulls finger

Without full Government support there is no way Auckland is in a position to handle growth scatter gunned right through out the region it is simply too expensive and equally as disruptive to both the environment and social fabric. So let’s focus to the sub regions in best position first to try to lessen the pains of growth.

 

……

 

Dividing Auckland up into three sub regions allows to focus on the big regional picture more easily
Dividing Auckland up into three sub regions allows to focus on the big regional picture more easily

 

Fortunately apart from Botany the rest of the Metropolitan Centres and the two City Centres sit on some form of Rapid Transit Network whether it be bus or rail. That said Botany would be connected by the AMETI Bus way to Panmure and the Botany to Airport via Manukau and Puhinui Busway hopefully within the next ten years meaning all your major centres sit on some form of an RTN network.

Linking up the five heavy industrial complexes to an Rapid Transit Network (and a freight rail network multi-modal node) is not that hard either given all five are close or even sit on the RTN network. Some extensions to the RTN or some feeder busses would do the trick and not break the bank.

 

Both the heavy rail option from Otahuhu and the Botany LRT Line.
Both the heavy rail option from Otahuhu and the Botany LRT Line.

 

What do you think?

Dividing Auckland up and allocating things out to make it more manageable the answer given our limited capital resources or do we go guts and glory and try to do everything at once over the entire region.

 

The second truck can be seen on its side, and people can be seen out of their cars wheeling suitcases towards Auckland Airport. Photo: RNZ / Jeremy Brick http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/320905/truck-crashes-delay-traffic-to-auckland-airport
The second truck can be seen on its side, and people can be seen out of their cars wheeling suitcases towards Auckland Airport. Photo: RNZ / Jeremy Brick
http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/320905/truck-crashes-delay-traffic-to-auckland-airport

 

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