Deputy Mayor as a Moment

Productivity Commission’s report ‘ideological rubbish’ – deputy mayor | The National Business Review.

 

It seems the Deputy MayorPenny Hulse had a “moment” with her piece in the NBR about the Productivity Commission’s final report into Housing Affordability.

Quoting:

She says the commission ignored advice given to it by the council and it is clear the commission had not read the Auckland plan, which is why its findings are “ideological nonsense”.

Oh my – bit of a stern response there from our Deputy Mayor; to which actual Mayor Len Brown (who is on a Council Trip to China) said on Facebook that his Deputy Mayor was fighting the good fight. But indicative of pre-determination from our leaders without consideration, discussion and evaluation of the entire situation at hand.

Quoting again:

“There is ample room to redevelop land that gives people the chance to live near to employment, educational or lifestyle opportunities. “It is that demand, along with population growth, that is driving the market, not the cost of land at the boundaries,” she says. 

Simply put no there is not for two reasons: first being the market is intervened quite harshly so it can’t balance through the demand and supply rules; second being our highly restrictive rules. A post was done on it by Josh Arbury and was used in my submission (referenced of course) and can be read HERE.

There is a way to get some costs down and that is to liberalise the planning rules (not the Building Code) so compliance costs are not so darn high. Opening land up and allowing the market to determine better residential and employment sectors would also go along way to getting costs down.

Getting costs down is just not about land release purely; it is also about keeping compliance costs through the planning rules (and development fees) at a reasonable level, allowing the market to act more freely in determining residential and business supply/centre locations, and good governance that works in keeping costs down (not up).

With our Deputy Mayor said though has pretty much put Auckland into damnation with the current thinking in Council unable or unwilling to:

To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’

 

I leave you with my section of my submission that covered how we can do our part in restoring housing affordability (links to external articles included)

 

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Port of Auckland Renderings – #1

Work under-way on my 3d Renderings

 

After a delayed start I have begun drawing up in Google Sketch up some rendering on what POAL could possibly look like. Sadly their 3d-Warehouse is a bit useless (apart from those beautiful PANAMAX Quay Cranes, some tanks and a logistics base) so I might be drawing up buildings myself including a rail yard and Straddle Crane Depot.

Oh well, am up for the challenge of more finer micro renderings and drawings so bring it on.

In the mean time some very basic shots of some very basic beginnings of a relocated POAL – in south east Auckland.

Renders for The Auckland Water-Frontier come later 🙂

 

The shots

Productivity Commission Final Report Released

The Productivity Commission Releases Final Report into Housing Affordability

 

The Productivity Commission – an “independent” body as part of the ACT/National Parties agreement in 2008; has released their final report on a series of issues. In this post I am looking at the final housing report from the Commission. No commentary yet from VOAKL in the report as I have to still read 342 pages of it. But in the mean time here is a copy – happy reading while I go and debate the CRL some more over at Transport Blog.

 

The Final Report

Who forgot to pay the Power Bill

Hehe – Tweet of the Day

 

From Auckland Council: Power cut in our Bledisloe House CBD building. Back to pen and paper and the phones.

Oops someone for got to pay the power bill over there? Or did Council run out of money to pay the bills already? Rumour has it that the cheque for the monthly power bill bounces :O

 

Although can the younglings in that building even use pens, paper and land line phones with their computers dead and smart phones running out of juice?

 

Oh well 😛

Diddums

Usual Suspects Whining About the Congestion Charge on Motorways

 

Seems Councillor Brewer has stirred up quite a hornet’s nest with his Auckland Council Supports Motorway Network Charging – In Principle piece on Sunday (that I ran yesterday).

Check out the Facebook comments (by the way any thing said on Facebook when the setting was set to public is in the public domain thus used for being from the public domain):

 

You can see the same old 1950’s lines being trotted out.

I see it very differently especially when the public are reassured in where the money is going to (70:30 split between roads and public transport for the first 15 years).

Oh well me saving money on a much quieter highway through fuel efficiency and less maintenance from stop-starting thanks to congestion charging is a winner for me. I will quite happily pocket the savings too for say the mortgage or that holiday 🙂 .

 

Again I support Brewer through this one – lets hope he does not back flip and holds his ground on this. The city will thank him.

 

 

 

Affordability AND Simplicity is the Key (to Auckland)

Editorial: Affordability key criterion in grand plan? – NZ Herald

 

It seems Easter Monday is “Lets comment on Auckland Planning Day” with no fewer than four articles in today’s NZ Herald devoted to aspects of Auckland Planning (whether it is financial, urban, land use, transport or infrastructure (water and sewerage)). While I should be working on my renderings for The Auckland Water-Frontier and Port of Auckland (relocated), that is a bit difficult when you are away from you main PC for the bulk of the day (and the fact Google SketchUp is being a royal pain in the ass).

So lets take a look at some articles today shall we? We start with the Editorial Piece in today’s NZ Herald.

The editorial itself seems to be viewing The Auckland Plan (just finalised) in a negative light overall. Then again depending on what you believe Council should be doing with your ratepayers’ dollars seeing The Auckland Plan in a negative light would not be that difficult. For one I said here in VOAKL that The (final) Auckland Plan was a C- Plan not truly fit for Auckland who deserve nothing less than a A-grade plan! And I can talk, complain, criticise, commend, lobby and give alternative ideas as I both voted in the last local elections and took the time to write my various submissions and where I could attend public hearings in front of Auckland Council – essentially carrying out my civil duties as a citizen in a democratic society!

Dissecting the article itself:

The 30-year city plan now adopted by the Auckland Council has not arrived with the fanfare of the draft that was issued for public discussion. That may have something to do with the Government’s announced intention to rein in the range of activities councils can pursue. It was, after all, the Government’s decree that the Super City it created should be ambitious. But clearly the creators did not envisage an Auckland Plan that would devote its first chapters to the city’s social welfare, education and climate change before it turned to matters of transport, services and land use.

Flipping through pages and pages to get to the essential stuff (transport, infrastructure and land use) was a total pain in the collective ass. Then again I only printed out six chapters of the entire Auckland Plan and wrote my submission on them – those chapters being:

  • Development Strategy
  • Rural Auckland
  • Urban Auckland
  • Transport
  • Infrastructure
  • Climate Change (yeah I know – but there is a reason behind that)

When Central Government does bring forward the “Better Local Government 2012” paper all those pages on: welfare, education and to a point climate change are going to be an utter waste of time and resources both man power and physical. Bread and butter issues please folks, the social realm belongs to Central Government. Councils can improve the welfare of its citizens through rates, urban and transport design; with Central Government and NGO’s focusing on the other aspects of welfare.

The adopted version is more mundane than the draft. It has taken to heart the only elements of the draft that aroused much public interest: the plan to contain three- quarters of expected population growth within the existing urban area, and the allowance for the port to reclaim more of the harbour. The containment aim has been relaxed a little, to 60-70 per cent of the growth within existing boundaries, and the port will no longer have the blessing of the plan if it applies for further reclamation permission.

Yeah… the final version of The Auckland Plan is very mundane while still being able to achieve a C- grade rating from VOAKL. Although a strategic victory was achieved through getting the Brownfield:Greenfield urban development ratio from 75:25 to around 60:40, VOAKl was proud of that achievement having lobbied very hard on it (as well as being mentored by a very wise person who is sadly no longer with us). As with the port followers of VOAKL know that I am working on a dual project in relocating the port to South East Auckland, while turning the existing site into The Auckland Water-Frontier (a mixed use development). The catch is getting Auckland Council to adopt and run with the project/idea – which ironically leads to the rest of the Herald article.

But it’s hard to credit a 30-year plan with significance in planning decisions of any kind. Inevitably, it is a document of the present, reflecting the character and priorities of the present council and especially its mayor. The plan is necessarily basic in its aims for “the world’s most liveable city” but phrases such as that might not survive the next mayor, let alone even 10 years of its 30-year scope.

“Might not survive the next mayor let alone 10 years.” Hehe yeah it would not survive me that is for sure, not when my goal for Auckland is: “To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.”

Although on a serious note I would say at this point in time with our closet right-wing mayor, his phrase and the bulk of the plan will survive another three years even if Cameron Brewer decided to run (hmm Rodney Hide anyone?). However any newly elected councillors might be pushing for change on The Auckland Plan – I know one potential candidate who would. As for the Plan itself in not “representing much significance in planning decisions of any kind,” I would be more inclined to see that in the Long Term and Unitary Plan for that kind of stuff.

Within the next decade, local government will surely rebel against the extent of planning Parliament has legislated for them to do. Besides the 30-year monster, the Auckland Council is obliged to produce a “Unitary Plan” for land use and resource management, a “Long-term Plan” outlining its intended projects and activities for the next 10 years, then it is supposed to help the 21 local boards write a development plan for their district. At the same time, the council’s subsidiary agencies for the waterfront, the city centre and economic development are drawing up their own plans which must conform to the Auckland Plan.

Eight plans, Eight bloody plans I have to go and read and submit in to do my part for a better Auckland (the Regional Land Transport Program was not included in the article). That is a lot of paper, bandwidth and time having to be spent in preparing a quality submission before Auckland even get’s going yet (one of them I just simply ignored). There must be a way to get that kind of “paper-work” streamlined as the super-city was meant to be. I feel for Councillors having to spend the bulk of their time working on/with these plans when other duties also needed to be carried out. My patience would be sorely tested if I am lugged with all this cursed “paper-work” (plans) and very little practical stuff gets carried out – and this is despite me being known in the family as the ‘academic’ or ‘theory’ man (where as my brother and my wife – Rebekka are the ‘practical’ ones per se). So I hope these up-coming reforms to Local Government to some way in addressing the ‘planning-plague’ that plagues Auckland.

Not many busy, practical, public-spirited people stand for election to local bodies to spend their available time discussing long-term hopes and visions that nobody would strongly oppose. They stand with specific projects in mind, only to discover nowadays that they are not supposed to make concrete, contentious decisions. These are for staff to resolve in the name of the principles the elected members have agreed.

That would be true on a lot of respects/regards. To be honest if I was spending a vast amount of time “discussing long-term hopes and visions that nobody would strongly oppose.” I would seriously get bored out of my skull, the “All talk and no action” method is one way of testing my patience very quickly. I do have specific projects (and goals) in mind (you can see them by reading my blog) and would carry them through on an election-campaign platform (mandates as citizen have a legitimate call for).

Having staff “resolve in the name of the principles the elected members have agreed,” as an elected representative ” is not supposed to make concrete, contentious decisions.” FFS I thought that is what elected representative are there for – to make those concrete and contentious (if not hard balls of steel type) decisions in the name and sake of the constituents (other wise nothing meaningful gets done as current in NZ).

Tell you what, depending on my mood having staff do what the article said would be the fastest way for someone getting fired that is for sure. I expect leaders to step up, not be sidelined by bureaucrats.

The false distinction between planning and implementation is a current fad of management theory that will probably not last much longer, certainly not far into the life of the Auckland Plan. Another fad will supplant it, hopefully one that encourages purposeful candidates to run for councils.

That fad currently at Council should be and would be kicked in the teeth under my watch as I do not tolerate it. Bureaucrats do the bidding of their political masters – the Councillors and Mayor VIA the mandate and voice given to them (the elected representatives) by the voters – NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND as current. Call me old school with that kind of thinking – but that is how I see democracies should be run. I do hope that “another fad” does come in soon that is more meaningful than the current one and restores some old school principles as we in Auckland will need purposeful Candidates to run for Auckland Council – to slowly replace the old guard currently there with fresh blood not “marred” from their time in the old Auckland governance structures.

The reforms announced by Local Government Minister Nick Smith just before he quit last month should help bring the focus of councils back to the needs of the present.

While the changes to the Local Government Act will encourage more amalgamations along Auckland lines, it will also direct the enlarged councils’ energies to building, in Dr Smith’s words, “good local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at least possible cost to households and business”.

Let’s see how it will go before commenting shall we? There is a lot of hope riding on these reforms – lets hope Central Government does not balls it up or give it lip service!

The possible cost of the 30-year visions is one of the vagaries of the Auckland Plan now adopted. Some council members thought it important. The mayor thought a line that affordability is a key principle would cover their concern. That is the plan in a nutshell. Token words.

Token indeed.

 

SCOOP: Business Panel Supports Tolling Auckland’s Motorway Network

Auckland Council Supports Motorway Network Charging – In Principle

Jon C, admin of the former AKT blogsite forward me the link last night on the press release from Auckland Council. I had to chuckle though as it was slated for release on Easter Sunday in the mid-afternoon when the bulk of the nation is either at church, or if like me outside either tending to the back-yard, entertaining family, or just away on holiday. Good way of “burying” a somewhat controversial policy when the Main Stream Media won’t be paying attention (and just a quick glance across the four I keep tabs on – the main lines are Netball (both my teams won) and some person drowning) until at least Tuesday. Oh well – this is what blogs are here for, to run with stories when the MSM won’t!

Looking at the article at hand though – I find it quietly surprising that the Auckland Council Business Panel chaired by centre-right councillor (and in plain opposition to Mayor Len Brown – most of the time) Cameron Brewer would support (in principle) network charging across the motorway network in Auckland. I also find it interesting and surprising that businesses apparently are beginning more and more to support the concept of network charging on the motorway system. However while I take the press-release at face value (the time of the release did not inspire confidence), I applaud the Panel and the business community for taking a level-headed and mature approach to the situation and working with the mayor (well hopefully) on Auckland’s transit system.

I do warn Councillor Brewer that with the following resolution passed:

 “That of the Auckland Council’s 10 alternative transport funding options, the Business Advisory Panel prefers in principle the option of network charging for the whole of the Auckland motorway network including variable charging, and notes that this scheme has huge potential to lift Auckland’s economic performance;”

I am (as well as Auckland) watching you for any sign of back flipping when the 2013 elections are on October next year. The resolution has been passed and should be carried through by the Governing Body (The Council) to assist with funding Auckland’s large transport bill. I must check out this “in-principle” floating around, I am hearing it a lot from the Citizen and Ratepayers lot at the moment. I wonder what they are cooking up as “in-principle” can be some-what lose in the English Language.

Out of personal preference I also support “variable network motorway charging” but in a two step program. Step one would be to roll out the charging system on what I call the ‘inner-motorway circuit (different from the Rail and Bus Inner Circuit) – that being the motorway system between Mt Wellington to Takapuna Interchange on State Highway One, from Stanley Street to Great North Road Interchange (on SH16); then step two would be over the entire motorway system after a period of time. The reason for the phased layout is help traffic get use to the idea, as well as the number of alternative routes and level of congestion in the motorway network sectors. Although with a lack of an Eastern Highway as an alternative to the CBD and mass transit still some way off to being the first choice, network charging (regardless of being the Inner Circuit or not) can seem clumsy in managing road traffic demand. This would be owing to that not everyone and every thing can use mass transit, as well as flexible hours in the business, education and industrial sectors still being a foreign concept. All money collected from network charging would be used in a split for both roading (primarily) – that covers: private, public and freight users; and mass transit (secondary) – most likely in a 70:30 split unless the public said other wise. However I am flexible on what the money raised should be used for in transport projects – again basically what the public are seeking reasonably.

 

And Jon – PLEASE BRING BACK AKT!!! You are sorely missed by the community and hey – you could even blog on how dysfunctional Aussie Local Government is, especially when you have the State Government layer as well.

Manukau Station

Manukau does have its short comings

Today this comment about Manukau Station came up through my Facebook:

(The formatting came up quite well on PDF)

You can see the conversation and debate going on here.

You can also see me calling out Councillor Dick Quax twice on the matter. That would be due to his penny-pinching in the time of the former Manukau City Council (to which Len Brown was mayor and Quax was a councillor) of the order of around $6.12 million – to save 425 metres of track and the tunnel being located outside the south entrance of the Westfield Manukau Mall.

I am afraid that my centre-right representatives are lacking some forward vision planning (that they do go on about) to save $6.12 million and increased benefits of locating the station at the south entrance of the Mall. My comments in the debate show where the forward vision was lacking:

Ok two questions to which I will respond separately: I would agree with you there Michael – but mainly due to short comings. MIT will be built over the top of Manukau Rail Station so least there will be an anchor “customer” right above it. However that $6.12m to get the tunnel to the South End Entrance of the Mall is not prohibitive if the plan was done properly. The tunnel goes to the South End Mall which attracts both commercial and more to the point shoppers in the offpeak and weekends which help make the station viable (like Sylvia Park). Westfield with a bit of incentive would of most likely ripped up the south car park and develop it like the North End where you have a two level car park, plus farmers extended and the movies. Done really well the south end has the rail station and bus station in the basement, car parking on ground level and level one, retail on level two and offices/apartments for levels three through to six and maybe a sky roof garden on level seven. Done super well there would of been a sky bridge over Wiri now Manukau Station Road to the courts and rainbows end for the pedestrians. But no… Oh well – stuck with it now might as well do with what we have.

Where I am referring to is here on this diagram:

Click for full view at 1920×1280 resolution

But you can see where the station ended up, where it should have been, and the 425 metres missing that people would have to walk. Now you can still walk it – I have done it, however you would have to cross a busy road loaded with buses from the bus interchange being built at the station, cars and service traffic from the MIT building (on top of the station), one car park, another busy access portal that divides the mall from the old council building and hopefully not get hosed on by Auckland’s wet weather.

As I said in the Facebook debate, having the station where I have put a blue box where it would have been the best site if it was done properly. By properly I mean the following in coordination with Westfield Mall (the car-park would be replaced with a multi story building similar to the one on the east end)(I have modified the content from the Facebook original content):

  1. Rail Station and bus station on the basement level, with car parking as well (over two levels)
  2. Ground level would be the lobby, retail and pedestrian entrances
  3. Level One – Retail and Office
  4. Level Two – Office/Civic functions
  5. Levels Three to Seven – MIT or commercial office
  6. Levels Seven to Ten, residential or hotel
  7. Level 11/roof – sky garden

You would also have sky bridges connected to the Manukau Court and Police Station complex as well as Rainbows End so traffic did not have to cross Manukau Station Road.

So essentially the potential was there but blown again – due to lack of forward vision and good old-fashioned penny-pinching. Never mind, we have the station now and MIT being built above it. We still have a car park across the road that can be redeveloped for anyone bold enough with the vision to do so. Might take a crack at it in Google Sketchup and see what I can do.

Now as for the Manukau-to-Papakura link that is missing, another bug bear from crap planning – however I was reassured that the link is due to be built in 18 months time. This is despite some horrid train conflict movements from the EMU Depot and Port of Auckland Wiri Inland Port (both are on the wrong respective sides of the NIMT – Main Line) that would occur regardless of the third main line being built.

Right, back to my renderings and other articles

In the mean time: 2013…

Back Tuesday

Easter Break

 

It is Easter – but you already know that.

VOAKL is taking a break and will be back Tuesday covering views and issues of an average ratepayer in Auckland

When VOAKL returns we will be looking at:

  • Port of Auckland Relocation Project continued – the first 3D rendering of the proposed relocated port site
  • The Auckland Water-Frontier – hopefully also the first 3D renderings of the proposed project
  • Aotea Station and the CRL – why Aotea is of absolute critical importance to the CRL and the North Shore
  • Synthetic Fuels, can New Zealand coal minimise the pain at the petrol pump?

Oh and I have my hearing dates for the Regional Land Transport Program (April 17?) and Long Term Plan (April 12). Bit of disappointment with the LTP but all will be revealed next week.

 

Have a good Easter folks and watch those bunnies 😉

CRL as a Staged Development?

Auckland Transport could “Stage” the development of the City Rail Link

 

I had received word via my Facebook alerts in Gmail that Auckland Transport were looking at a “staged” development of the City Rail Link. After a head scratching decision I worked out (and seemingly correct afterwards) that the authorities would build the actual CRL tunnel first and possibly Aotea Station (given that would be the heaviest used station (and the North Shore Interchange if rail was ever to go to the North Shore) of the three proposed CRL stations), then; as time, money, urban development and patronage allows you build the other two stations (Newton and K’ Road).

Now Greg N at Auckland Transport Blog has mentioned this staged development for the CRL in which I have linked HERE and quoted below from last night’s Orakei Local Board meeting:

Was at my local board meeting tonight (to save you looking it up, it was the Orakei Local Board).
Remember Orakei is “Cameron Brewer country”, he was present in this meeting in the public gallery during this presentation.
Stephen Rainbow from AT came along and presented to the board about the CRL apparently he’s been/is going to be doing the rounds of all the boards over this.

Out of that presentation came some comments from him which I’ll put here as you may like to comment.

1. Stephen said that CRL case is being reviewed with idea being that they consider staging it to keep the costs down and (try to?) get Govt on side.
2. Staging may consist of not building 2 or the 3 planned stations immediately, i.e. just putting the tunnel/track to unlock Britomart to get those benefits sooner and lower the costs.
3. He said its going to cost $300 million per station – so staging 2 of the 3 will reduce the 2.4b price tag to 1.8b

Orakei Board members (predictably and parochially) asked him “how will CRL help PT in our area”, to which Rainbow said he had no answer – as we all know it won’t on “face value” actually change much but maybe train frequency.

Rainbow made a comment that under PTOM and review of bus services this may allow them to run buses in loops to the local station, but said out west is where the initial work on bus review is being done as it needs it.
He also said that **2/3rds** of all of NZs population growth in the next few decades will occur in Auckland – something he said that the Wellington folks can’t grasp when he goes there as they are in a city with flat growth and have been for a while.
This also cuts against Minister Brownlee saying on TV today that “the RoNS and transport plans to Govt has are not just about Auckland”.
If not,they bloody well should be if 2/3rd of the population growth is going to be here, so should the transport investment, as a “do minimum”.
Rainbow also said that we won’t know the 2/3rds figure for a couple of Censuses (Censii?) (theres one next year and one 5 years after that). And if the 2018 Census when the true growth patterns of Auckland will show. But that may be too late to alter the course already set.

Anyway – as you can imagine all this stuff on CRL “staging” raised with me more questions than it answered.

So when he left the meeting I caught up with him and asked him some questions before he left the meeting on his comments.

I asked him the following.

1. Has any consideration been given by AT to just building the tunnel and track and southern end of the tunnel links to the Western lines as the very first stage, without stations to get the benefit of making Britomart a through station quicker?

2. If this was done, how long would it shorten the “build” time by and how much would it save/cost compared to full CRL with all stations?

3. At the Mt Eden end are they putting in links in both directions (from west to CRL, and from Newmarket to CRL) or only from West to CRL?

4. How long before the CRL build could start from today?

Answers from him were:

1. “No idea, (AT) haven’t thought about it, but might be worthwhile considering.”

2. Maybe 3+ years for the tunnelling build (as opposed to 5+ for the full CRL), costwise, not a lot less than 1.5b, maybe more.

3. West onto CRL only at this stage – I asked why – he said current modelling shows its more “efficient” with only 1 direction of link” rather than link to Western lines in two directions (West to CRL, and CRL to Lines going toward Newmarket). He said don’t need to tunnel there as they will be above ground.

4. If all goes well and building owners don’t challenge the notice of requirements (NORs), 2 maybe 3 years before the build starts. If they challenge the NORs, at least 4 years before building starts.

So take those as you will.

Of note, been watching a recent (2012) BBC 6 part series on the London Underground (called “The Tube” and available on your favourite BT site), which as you all know is “The GodFather” of all PT systems.
They keep making the point that they are having 4 million people use the London Underground daily as of the end of 2011 – and thats despite single 1 way “cash fare” in the inner zones costing 4UKP for a one way!

But another point was made, that the tube was forecast to achieve 4m users daily in 2016, but its achieved that number 4 years early, and so all the recent building programs they have been doing and are still doing are seriously behind the demand. Example they gave, rebuilding Tottenham Court Road station, to handle 200,000 people a day, but when its opened in 3 years, it may be too small.

So you can imagine with that kind of growth already, what daily patronage figures will be in 2016.

Which raised with me the same consideration here, that the planners (here in AK and Wellington) have no idea how much new trains will unlock a lot of the pent up demand for travel by rail. This means that with Britomart now effectively at capacity, we’re going to be stuck with pretty much the present level of service into Britomart for the next few years until the CRL is built. right now CRL couldn’t begin its build for at least 2-3 years if all goes, well, then another 3 years to build the tunnel and tracks let alone the stations (assuming staged building of stations).

So thats 5 years minimum before CRL can take a train, and probably more like 7 assuming some challenges to the NORs. And of course, with staging all 3 stations could take another 1-3 years after that, so you may not have a fully operational CRL for 10 years, which is pretty much whats planned now.

Problem is I don’t think AT actually have 7-10 years, or really even 5 years to get the CRL loop (at least) working based on the growth of demand likely to occur once the EMUs are all fully operational.

Oh yeah, one other bit of PT news, Orakei Board has managed to get AT to agree to T3/HOV lanes on Remuera Road (instead of Bus Lanes). The logic being that T3 (“HOV”) lanes don’t impact buses much (according to AT surveys they have minimal impact on buses) but T3 lanes will encourage cars on Remuera Road to have more than 1 person per vehicle in order to use the HOV lane – which can obviously reduce car traffic but only if the additional car passengers were going to drive their cars. If it simply moves those T3 occupants from buses to cars, then it actually does nothing to solve that problem (except perhaps leave 2-3 spare seats on the bus for people now driving not busing). They are also going to make other changes (signage and other changes).

From what I gathered AT is going to be asked/requirement to survey the Remuera Road traffic annually and if traffic patterns suggest removal of T3 lanes AT will get Orakei Boards approval before making such changes.

I didn’t see the full list of whats been agreed with AT, as the agreement was put into the minutes before the meeting and voted in with some degree of haste in the meeting and not tabled in the minutes as usual – so we’ll have to wait for the Board minutes to be published to know exactly whats in the arrangement and when it will be active.

Thank you Greg for your post at Transport Blog – very much appreciated in giving a full understanding on the thinking that is Buggers Muddle or AT. 😀

Pretty extensive yes but well worth a read on what is being proposed.

A worth mentioning as well is the Mt Eden Portal where the CRL would connect with the Western Line has also come up for a debate. There are two options: 1) Track at the Portal connects to the Western Line in both directions so trains from both Newmarket and Kingsland can enter the CRL (and vice versa); 2) the track at the Portal connects to the Western Line in a single direction – facing towards Kingsland. This means trains can go from Kingsland to the CRL and vice versa but not to Newmarket. This sort of arrangement would be exactly the same as the arrangement on the Manukau Line where you can not go directly to Papakura causing a hobbling on that particular line. Further more by only making the track go one way from the Portal, you deny a redundancy option if the Newmarket-Britomart Line ever gets blocked which it can do from time to time (trains would go Newmarket-Grafton-Mt Eden-CRL-Britomart-Eastern Line).

Now all this has led to a debate both on Auckland Transport Blog and on Facebook to which I am commenting in both extensively. The main arguments I am bogged down in “Jobs in the CBD” and “Why CBD focused with the CRL – what about the rest of Auckland. Best thing for me to do is a Print Screen Job so lets see:

There are three transcript screens – click on pictures for enlarged 1920×1280 view (not recommended for Tablets or Smart Phones)