Mill Road Need Not Grandiose Motorways – Simple Fixes Will Get the Road Moving

Start basic and move from there

 

I saw on the Papakura Facebook pages yesterday that a moderate accident had occurred at the intersection of Redoubt Road and Murphy’s Road in Totara Park. The cause of the accident is most likely sun strike however, that intersection and a few others down the Redoubt Road/Mill Road corridor are no longer suitable for the traffic plying it daily.

Mill Road and Murphy’s Road are used as alternatives between Manukau and Papakura, and Manukau or Papakura out to Botany and Howick. I know as I uses these routes very frequently  when the Great South Road or motorway are not available to undertake part of these trips (transit not quite an option yet).

Mill Road also forms the south-eastern boundary of the Unitary Plan Rural Urban Boundary with rural zoning on its eastern side and either Future Urban or live urban zoning on its western side.

Papakura North with Porchester Road-Crossgrove/Mill Roads Future Urban Zone

 

In essence the road will be a major north-south thoroughfare between Manukau and Papakura especially as the area continues to develop.

But does this mean we need a grandiose 4-lane de facto motorway as Judith Collins and Daniel Newman want (at a cost of $900m)? Far from it.

 

Auckland Transport at the moment are doing the sledge-hammer to the nut approach in dealing with Mill Road.

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

The Redoubt Road/Mill Road project is divided into a northern and southern part. The northern part can be seen above and while consented is under review by the current Transport Minister on whether the 4-lane expressway is the best value for money. The southern section that continues to Drury and Rarmarama via Dominion Road in Papakura is being talked about however, there is no commitment to the route until beyond 2025 currently.

The entire project can be seen here: Redoubt Road – Mill Road Corridor and for Murphy’s Road.

 

I can tell you now that 4-lane-ing the northern section of Mill Road and Murphy’s Road will make the situation worse than it is now. Cars are like an insidious gas that will fill every space that you give to them. As with Waterview you might get the short sugar hit but the congestion returns even worse once induced demand kicks in. This has been proven time and time again around the World and here in Auckland.

 

This was taken at 7:34am today of the Mill Road area:

Mill Road as of 7:34 am 28.03.18

Redoubt Road and Murphy’s Road are either Green or yellow while the Airfield Roundabout is moving reasonably well. Your two snag points however are:

  1. Alfriston Road roundabout
  2. The big dip at the end of Mill Road before you climb up to meet Redoubt Road. We all know it as there is a speed camera there operating

To me this would mean the problem was a particular intersection and a certain dip that cause the entire foul ups of the entire northern section of the corridor. To make matters a tad more complex there is a primary school at the Alfriston Road roundabout so any works need to take this into account.

 

Factoring this all in the solutions are simple, low-cost and would have the corridor moving at a better average and more constant speed. I have also factored pedestrian safety as well and hence suggest the following improvements:

  1. The Viaduct over the valley where the infamous dip and speed camera is proceeds but as a 2 lane bridge not a 4 lane bridge.
  2. Traffic signals replacing the Alfriston Road/Mill Road roundabout. The signals would include a Barnes Dance pedestrian phase to allow students to cross the road safely
  3. Roundabout at Murphy’s Road/Redoubt Road intersection
  4. Roundabout at Walters Road/Mill Road intersection
  5. All of Mill Road kerbed and cycle lanes provided

 

When the area develops in Decade Three (per the Future Urban Land Supply Strategy) then we can take another look at the northern section of Mill Road again.

 

Simple solutions releasing snag points while allow traffic and pedestrians to move more safely along a key transport corridor – all without the need for a grandiose 4 lane highway that would turn Airfield Road, Walters Road and Old Wairoa into east-west traffic sewers. Cost of these upgrades? About $100m given I have a smaller viaduct in the area being built or one ninth the price of what Collins, Newman and Auckland Transport want but with better outcomes for all.

Remember the draft Government Policy Statement on Transport dictates:

From a strategic priority perspective, the GPS proposes investment to achieve a land transport system that:

  • is a safe system, free of death and serious injury – New Zealand roads, speeds, vehicles and user behaviours are a long way from what is required to achieve our aim of a land transport system that is free of death and serious injury. There needs to be increased efforts across the system to significantly reduce death and serious injury on our roads
  • improves access to move towards more liveable cities and thriving regions – the GPS focusses on how transport can enhance the well being of people and the environment and significantly shift to providing more investment in public transport, walking and cycling
  • ensures the land transport system enables better environmental outcomes – we are committed to reducing carbon emissions from transport by substantially increasing the use of lower emission modes, such as walking and cycling, providing frequent and affordable public transport, and supporting rail and sea freight. Lower emission transport options, like electric vehicles and bio-fuels, encourage efficient network and speed management is also key to this priority area
  • delivers the best possible value for money – value for money in transport will deliver the right infrastructure and services to the right level at the best cost. This consideration needs to take into account the full range of benefits and costs over the whole of the life of the investments.

I would say 4-lane-ing Mill Road would not met most if not all of the GPS objectives above. What I have suggested (and so has Greater Auckland Mill Road Quick Fix) would meet the objective of the GPS.

 

Heading along Mill Road from Papakura to Manukau (via Redoubt Road)

 

Note: I have not covered the southern section of Mill Road as that is another debate entirely given that part of the corridor serves a very different purpose to the northern section.

 

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One thought on “Mill Road Need Not Grandiose Motorways – Simple Fixes Will Get the Road Moving

  1. Let’s do this! Makes a lot more sense than other proposals. I think they’re dodging a bullet by not having a conversation around the southern end.

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