Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (A2B) Including Manukau Route Selection Open For Consultation

Also have your say on State Highway 20 and 20B highway upgrades

FINALLY it has arrived!

If sounds like Christmas arrived it probably because for me it was. 

NZTA and Auckland Transport have released the consultation/public feedback round into both Airport to Botany Rapid Transit (A2B), and the 20Connect – the name for State Highway 20 and 20B improvements that link with the airport. 

From Auckland Transport (concerning A2B, for 20Connect see NZTA):

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project unlocks new transport opportunities

20/11/2018 03:54 p.m.

Feedback is open for Auckland Transport’s Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project, which is part of the Southwest Gateway programme – a partnership between AT, NZ Transport Agency and the Auckland Airport.

The programme, will establish a connected, future-focussed transport system that provides choice for how people and freight travel around southwest and southeast Auckland, including to and from the airport. The programme consists of three transport projects: Airport to Botany Rapid Transit, 20Connect and Auckland Airport Precinct Improvements.

The first stage of Airport to Botany Rapid Transit involves the proposed upgrade of Puhinui Station (subject to funding approval) to an interchange that connects rail services with new, fast, frequent bus services to the Airport and Manukau.

These services will run on new bus priority lanes to increase efficiency and reliability, and will be accompanied by improved walking and cycling facilities. This project is partly funded by the Regional Fuel Tax, and is expected to be completed by early 2021.
The second stage of the project is creating a new Rapid Transit Network (RTN) from Botany to the airport, via Manukau, and the Puhinui interchange.

Auckland Transport Chief Executive Shane Ellison says the Southwest Gateway programme will provide a substantial difference to the way people travel around southwest and southeast Auckland.

“By working with our project partners NZTA and the Auckland Airport, Auckland Transport is investing in a number of new public transport options to provide improved travel choices and enhanced accessibility to the airport, and its surrounding areas. By upgrading public transport in southern and eastern locations, Aucklanders and visitors will have better travel times and more reliability.”

The NZ Transport Agency’s Chief Executive Fergus Gammie says the programme will work alongside other initiatives including Light Rail and the City Rail Link to ensure a connected transport system that was identified in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

“In the short term we are upgrading Puhinui Station to provide a quality transport interchange that enables seamless connections between bus and heavy rail and will then enable people to connect with a modern bus service to take them right to the airport terminal.”

Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport’s chief executive says the Southwest Gateway programme will help support the airport’s significant investment into its transport network to better accommodate the increasing number of vehicles and buses that will travel to and from the airport in the future.

“We’re investing more than $100 million between now and 2022 to upgrade our transport network as part of our 30-year vision to build the airport of the future. This will ensure that we have the right transport infrastructure to allow people efficient access to our terminals, businesses on our precinct and to the surrounding areas. Our partnership with the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport is greatly contributing towards a better outcome for passengers, staff and freight.”

Public engagement on the Southwest Gateway starts on Thursday 22nd November, with a number of public information sessions scheduled over the next few weeks.

Find out more information, the timelines, and provide feedback on the Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project.

Source: Auckland Transport

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit

Auckland Transport is working on delivering a fast, frequent and reliable rapid transit system between Auckland Airport, Manukau and Botany. The project forms part of the Southwest Gateway programme.

Project status: Investigation work to confirm preferred options
Project zone: South-West/East

Project overview

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit project will deliver a new public transport link between the airport, Manukau and Botany, to improve accessibility in south-west, southern and eastern areas of Auckland – as well as provide an important public transport link to the rail network at Puhinui.

Airport to Botany rapid transit will significantly improve transport choice, reliability, and journey times in the south and east of Auckland. A good public transport network helps cities evolve by providing better connections and improved accessibility. Reliable and efficient public transport has major economic, social and environmental benefits.

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit forms part of the Southwest Gateway programme. Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, and Auckland Airport are working together on the Southwest Gateway programme to deliver three projects that will improve access and allow for future growth, to benefit people and freight movements. Read more about the Southwest Gateway programme.

Airport to Botany rapid transit
Possible A2B Busway. Source: Auckland Transport

Project benefits

The Airport to Botany Rapid Transit will improve access between the southern and eastern areas of Auckland by providing a fast, frequent and reliable rapid transit system that will:

  • Significantly improve travel choices, reliability and journey times.
  • Improve access to Auckland Airport and Manukau – two major employment areas.
  • Upgraded Puhinui Station for bus/rail interchange.
  • Provide an important public transport link from the airport to the rail network via Puhinui station, allowing for better connections to New Zealand’s gateway airport.
  • Support growth opportunities along the route – as well as for the wider South and East Auckland area.
  • Support positive economic and social outcomes in the area and reduce effects on the environment and treasured places/taonga.

Project details

The Airport to Botany rapid transit project will be delivered in stages. The project is currently in the early stages of investigation/business case development.

The purpose of this work is to identify how we can:

  • Improve transport options for people in south and east Auckland.
  • Provide a public transport link to the city centre as well as south and east Auckland via Puhinui bus/rail interchange.
  • Support growth opportunities at key locations along the route, particularly in the airport area, Manukau and Botany.
  • Improve access to major employment areas in south and east Auckland Transport.

While the investigation work will identify improvements that can be delivered in the medium to longer-term, Auckland Transport, in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Airport, are also seeking to progress early deliverables to provide more immediate benefits to people accessing the airport area.

Project stages

Stage 1: Early deliverables by 2020/2021

To improve access to and from the airport, the proposals are to provide:

  • A new bus/rail interchange at Puhinui station.
  • New frequent services between the Airport, Puhinui station and Manukau and potential new bus services to the airport from other centres – subject to funding.
  • Priority lanes between the Airport and Manukau via SH20B, Puhinui and Lambie Drive.
  • Improved cycling facilities between Pukaki Creek Bridge, Puhinui Station and Manukau including a shared use path on SH20B.
  • Improved cycling and walking in the Mangere, SH20/SH20A area.

These improvements are expected to be completed by the end of 2020/early 2021, subject to consenting and funding.

Map of proposed early deliverables

Early Improvements Overview Map
South-west Auckland Transport improvements – initial. Source NZTA and Auckland Transport
Puhinui Station

We are redesigning and upgrading Puhinui Station to become a major interchange similar to ŌtāhuhuPanmure and Manukau and to improve its connection to other transport services and to also have a fast and reliable bus service to the airport.

The upgraded bus/rail interchange will provide:

  • Better bus and rail connections to make easy journeys to the airport, city centre and other areas.
  • A high quality modern facility with architecture reflecting local and cultural stories that project a ‘City Gateway’ feel.
  • Increased shelter connecting bus and train platforms with a new concourse for passengers moving between services, similar to Ōtāhuhu.
  • Improved access options; escalators, lifts and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

This project is partly funded by the Regional Fuel Tax.

Puhinui Station drawing - artist impression
Stage 1 concept of Puhinui Interchange. Source: Auckland Transport

Stage 2: Deliverables from 2021 onwards

  • Route for rapid transit facility protected.
  • Staged delivery of the rapid transit facility between the Airport and Botany – timing still to be determined.

We have identified Te Irirangi Drive as the best and most direct route between Botany and Manukau. It also has the least construction and environmental effect on the local community. We are also considering potential connections north of Botany.

We are looking at two options between Manukau and Puhinui to support urban regeneration and provide better connections to the transport network and between Puhinui and the airport while balancing environmental and cultural impacts.

  • Manukau and Puhinui
    via Manukau Centre along Ronwood Ave OR via Manukau Station
  • Puhinui and the Airport
    via SH20B OR via SH20 and SH20A 
Airport to Botany Rapid Transit
Full Airport to Botany Rapid Transit including route selections. Source: Auckland Transport and NZTA

Public engagement

The Southwest Gateway team are hosting a number of engagement sessions in November and December 2018.

We want your feedback to help us improve and refine the proposal. Local knowledge will give us a better understanding of the area, the community’s needs and any improvements that can be made to the design.

Feedback is open until Friday, 14 December 2018.

Give feedback on Airport to Botany Rapid Transit options

Give feedback on the 20Connect improvements

Below are the dates where you can find out more, and meet the project team.

Thu, 22
2pm – 6pm, 
Pakuranga Plaza (next to Porterhouse Grill)
Sat, 24
9am – 6pm, Westfield Manukau City, 
Cnr Great South Road and Manukau Station Road
6am – 12pm (midday), Otara Markets, Newbury Street,
Sun, 25
10am – 5.30pm, Westfield Manukau City,
Cnr Great South Road and Manukau Station Road
11am – 4pm, Countdown Botany Downs
Corner of Te Irirangi and Ti Rakau Drive
Mon, 26
11am – 2pm, Auckland Airport, the Cloak
1A Leonard Isitt Drive
Thu, 29
Mangere East Festival 
5pm – 9pm
Sat, 1
6am – 2pm, Māngere Markets, 5 Waddon Place, Māngere Town Centre
Sun, 2
10am – 2pm, Manurewa Southmall Shopping Centre,
185-201 Great South Road
Fri, 7
5pm – 8pm, Tupu Youth Library
102 Dawson Road, Otara

Southwest Gateway programme

The Southwest Gateway is a programme of three key transport projects to create a well-connected, efficient system that will provide choice and reliability for how people and freight travel around the southwest and southeast Auckland, including to and from the airport.

The NZ Transport Agency. Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport will deliver the works to connect communities and support population, business and airport growth.

We need to move more people more efficiently by providing better public transport and walking and cycling facilities and improving safety and the efficiency of freight. This will improve access to jobs, education and social opportunities, support economic prosperity and provide health, cultural and environmental benefits.

Three projects of the Southwest Gateway programme
  1. Airport to Botany rapid transit
    A rapid transit project led by Auckland Transport to improve southern and eastern access between Auckland Airport, Manukau and Botany.
  2. 20Connect
    A state highway project led by NZ Transport Agency to improve access and customer journey experiences to and from the airport and surrounding area on the state highway network. The improvements may include technology to better manage the network, roading improvements and providing more transport choices.

    Find out more about 20Connect on the NZ Transport Agency website
  3. Auckland Airport precinct developments
    The airport area will undergo a dramatic transformation over the next 30 years led by Auckland Airport, to provide a seamless experience for airport customers by improving public transport and pedestrian and cycle access.

    Find out more about the Auckland Airport precinct developments on the Auckland Airport website
Southwest Gateway project map
Southwest Gateway Map
Southth-western Gateway. Source: NZTA
For more information on this project

Contact Auckland Transport

Source: Auckland Transport

There is quite a lot to digest there as two large projects have come up at the same time for consultation – all of equal importance to the South in general (as well as beyond). 

With Airport to Botany (A2B) the route selection has narrowed down to either via Ronwood Avenue (AT’s preference) or via Manukau Station Road to capture Manukau Station (bus/rail) (preferred by Panuku and myself). I have made the case why A2B should be via Manukau Station Road here: Human Connectivity – Which Way Is Best? Why Should (A2B) Light Rail Go Down Manukau Station Road and not Ronwood Avenue.

I have noticed a suggested route could be SH20A/20 – not sure why this is promoted when: 1) It would defeat the rapid transit part of connecting the City to the Airport, 2) the bridge SH20B goes over will be widened anyway so you might as well incorporate the rapid transit along with it. Also if A2B does come up SH20A that is where City Centre to Mangere Light Rail runs so it will preclude A2B will equally become Light Rail as well (not that SH20B wouldn’t) in order to get best optimisation of the corridor and save duplication. 

Furthermore with route selection wise Lambie Drive has been selected for A2B: 

  • New frequent services between the Airport, Puhinui station and Manukau and potential new bus services to the airport from other centres – subject to funding.
  • Priority lanes between the Airport and Manukau via SH20B, Puhinui and Lambie Drive.

Source: Auckland Transport

Given the 38 bus that will service Manukau to the Airport along A2B Stage 1 as well as the new 36 will both run along Lambie Drive at least every 10-15 minutes (for each service) seven days a week both on-street parking and driveway entrances (depending on bus stop locations) will be impacted. 

A2B 38 bus service Source: Auckland Transport
The 36 service and modified 380 Source: Auckland Transport

That said this can be mitigated in the future by bringing light rail down Lambie Drive as it would take the existing grass medians freeing up the side of the road back to parking (as well as stops being moved away from Driveway entrances like the current 380 stop right between Universal, and the Manukau City Baptist Church). 

The Southern Airport Line 2018 – Airport to Manukau via Puhinui Station
The Southern Airport Line (Yellow) with LRT stations (red), potential central Manukau detour, bus routes and Manukau Bus/Rail Station

In the end bringing A2B down Lambie Drive will be a great catalyst to kick off urban regeneration in the northern end of Transform Manukau / #OurManukau. Bringing A2B down to Manukau Station Road and then back up the Great South Road so it connects with the existing bus and heavy rail station is a work in progress but I am sure we will get there given Ronwood Avenue is already serviced by the 33, 361 and other frequent busses. 

I should note that once A2B Stage 1 is complete it does mean I can go from the Airport to Papakura or vice versa in 35 minutes in peak traffic for a 2 Zone HOPF fare.

Airport Access Study 2028. Source: Auckland Airport Access by Auckland Airport, NZTA and Auckland Transport

Consultation is now open and closes December 14 so get in there!