Tag: Park

Back From Hearing Panel

Returned from RPTP Panel

 

First of all: A thank you to Councillor Mike Lee and the other panel members for taking time in listening to my presentation

 

I have arrived back from my presentation to the Auckland Transport Regional Public Transport Plan hearings panel this afternoon. I am pleased to say that the full ten minutes plus two extra ( 😉 ) were productive and a dialogue entered on:

  • the relocation of Te Mahia and Takanini Stations to Spartan Road and Walters Road (Technically Glenora Road but for now Walters Road has stuck as the rallying name) 
  • The Family Pass not being easily accessible

 

The presentation was designed in such a way that hyperlinks (in blue) were placed into the paper copies that allow the panel members or their assistants to look up ‘extended information’ (which is stored in this blog) on points I was making (the idea of the presentation was to sum up the main points and entered into dialogue – mission accomplished).

The presentation can be seen here:

 

After the presentation (actual) dialogue was entered to on two main points (there was a third point but that was me reinforcing the Manukau South Rail Link which by the looks of it has “a-lot” of support in South and Counties Auckland (basically everyone south of Manukau through to Pukekohe):

  • the relocation of Te Mahia and Takanini Stations to Spartan Road and Walters Road (Technically Glenora Road but for now Walters Road has stuck as the rallying name) 
  • The Family Pass not being easily accessible

 

Walters Road and Spartan Road Stations

In my presentation I had emphasised the point on closing Takanini and Te Mahia Stations and relocating them to Spartan Road and Glenora Road (Walters Road is the rallying name). The two new stations would be equipped with facilities such as a bus interchange for feeder buses and Park ‘N’ Ride. The panel nodded away and picked up on the strong emphasis on the Park and Rides at all stations south of Manukau (basically). I was questioned on the Park and Rides and my belief of them being integral to a fully integrated transit system.

My answer was that I use the Park and Ride at Papakura and would do so at the Glenora (Walters) Road Station when built. I further went on and said the further away we get from the inner suburbs, the lower density housing we have, and we also have rural communities coming into effect as well.  As a result feeder buses will do well up to a range of a 2km radius from a station (if run at a high enough frequency) but due to the nature of suburbia and all things rural south of Manukau (I was focusing on South Auckland); Park and rides extend the range of the station literally to an unlimited range.

For example a Park and Ride at Glenora Road would allow those as far as Clevedon to come in by car, park, and catch a train to town, Manukau, or even out west. A fully fledged Park and Ride at Pukekohe would allow (even more) residents from Waikau to come in by car then piggy back by train from Pukekohe to town and back again as happens now. Park and Rides also give maximum flexibility to bus or rail users that allow patrons to rock up to the station in their own time then continue the trip by bus or train (which is why I use Park and Rides). But at the end of the day feeder-buses, and Park and Rides both have their places especially as you go further out away from the CBD into suburbia and even more rural communities. This is the point I was bringing across to Auckland Transport this afternoon.

More on the station relocations can be found in my THE RAIL EFFICIENCY PROGRAM #5A post

 

The Family Pass not being easily accessible

This point took up most of the allocated time session in regards to dialogue between myself at the AT panel members. Councillor Mike Lee – who is also an Auckland Transport Board “Director” led the questions on the consequences of the scaling back on the availability of the rail Family Pass. The basic sum up of my answers can be found in my “FAMILY PASS HARD TO GET” post but basically the following was observed:

  • Notice was given in a publicity drive before AT-HOP was rolled out in September 2012 about the scaling back the accessibility of the Family Pass
  • Family Passes were available on the trains at their designated times as well as ticket offices before AT-HOP
  • After AT-HOP Family Passes are now available only at the four (soon to be five) ticket offices but not on any of the 57 (approx) blue Rail Ticket Machines
  • Complaints rolled into Veolia about the scaling back of the accessibility of the Family Pass as soon as the publicity started one-month prior to AT-HOP
  • Veolia front line staff were at pains having to explain to passengers trying to explain the decision a logic behind Auckland Transport scaling back the accessibility of the Family Pass
  • It is believed verbal abuse claims rose initially after the removal of the Family Pass from the trains but not available from the ticket machines
  • Patronage in the weekend and off-peak slipped considerably especially on the Eastern Line (via Sylvia Park) due to removal of the Family Pass (and Day Rover)
  • I mentioned that in school holidays; Eastern Line trains were full when the Family Pass was readily available (everyone going to Sylvia Park), however now you would be lucky to get near 1/3 full currently with the Family Pass scaled back
  • I thus mentioned the HAS to be an option on the Rail Ticket Machines – with maximum publicity to get the Off-Peak and Weekend patronage back up again

 

So the questions were asked, the answers given to AT in person for all to hear and transcribe.

 

Now it is a case of we wait and see what happens.

 

To me personally and above all else right now – having the Family Pass option installed on the Rail Ticket Machines would make me the most happy 😀

 

As I said – we now wait and see – but I have done all I can folks!

 

A Look at Manukau

Taking at a Look at Manukau

 

Last December I had filed a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act request into the business case study of the now Auckland Transport Ronwood Avenue Parking Building: LGOIMA REQUEST OUT – MANUKAU CAR PARK

Well today I joined up with Councillors George Wood, Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax for lunch and a quick look at the Manukau Rail Station as well as the Ronwood Avenue Parking Building. These are the photos I took:

 

The Manukau station is still as dead as a Do-Do and I am hearing reports that the MIT Building and/or ticket office on-top of the Manukau Station could open up to three months late as of current (So instead March we are looking at June at the earliest)

 

As for the AT Parking Building, oh boy not good. 456/671 spaces available (32% full) and the on-street parking which has cheaper Park and Display All-Day parking was only 67% full. To make things more interesting the signs at the entrance of the building gave an incorrect count. The entrance displayed 35 spaces available while the counter on Deck Two displayed 456 spaces available – so it is a case of which one is it. The fire exit door on Deck I think Six was locked so you could not go in out of it from that level while the entire Ground Level set aside for long-term lease holders was empty. And for the real head turner – AT dropped the ALL-DAY charge in the parking building from $19/day to $6/day, with the on-street parking still at I believe $4.50/day…

 

Heck I hope for revenue sake that the MIT opening and operation will fill up the car parking building other wise it is a truly dead duck. However we are also trying to encourage the students and staff to use public transport (hence MIT being right on top of the Manukau Station) so a conflicting situation here folks. Does AT encourage public transport to a dead station or private transport to a dead parking building?

 

A real head scratcher there folks…

 

Papakura Set for ‘Large’ Housing Development

Upwards of 500 “Low Cost” Housing to be Built – In Papakura

 

We all know housing affordability in Auckland sucks with the Demographia Affordability rating being around 5.3 or “severely unaffordable (affordable is at 3.0 meaning the total cost of a home purchase should not exceed three times the total annual income of the household living in it. Currently Rebekka and I sit around the 3.52 mark). All sorts of measures are trying to be taken to allow the average person to at least being able to afford their very own house to live in. In this particular case Housing New Zealand has put out a tender to the private sector for the construction of upwards of 500 new homes that are: state houses, social housing and full private houses. The NZ Herald explains:

 

From the NZH:

Big low cost homes job set to start

By Simon Collins

5:30 AM Friday Oct 12, 2012

 

 

Housing New Zealand is seeking a private partner to build houses on former Papakura army camp land.

Earthworks for Auckland’s biggest low-cost housing development in 25 years will start next month on land that used to be part of the Papakura army base.

Housing New Zealand is seeking a private sector partner to build between 450 and 500 homes on the 24ha site between Walters Rd and McLennan Park. Tenders close on October 16.

Its general manager of asset development, Sean Bignell, said the homes would be a mix of 10 per cent state houses, 20 per cent other social housing and 70 per cent for private sale at prices likely to be “in the high 200s to the high 300s” – putting most of them below the lower quartile mark of Auckland residential properties sold this year.

Finance Minister Bill English said recently that high land prices had skewed Auckland builders towards large, high-value houses, and there was “no housing being built for people in the lowest quartile of income”.

“That is clearly unsustainable,” he said.

A start on the Papakura project comes as Housing NZ bows out of another long-planned 10ha development next to the Weymouth child welfare home, which the new Social Housing Unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has allocated to “third-sector” social and affordable housing.

 

If you want to know where approximately, check the map below

 

Click for full resolution

 

So between 450-500 new houses are to be built in the vicinity to where I live. Hmm means its going to be noisy and dusty for a while but I am not particularly minding too much. Look we need more “affordable” housing and if Housing NZ can take the lead in offering this affordable housing then so be it. If I was to have any concerns it is not around the fact “low-cost” housing is about to be built in my backyard; my concern is around the urban design factor which sets the future for this large-scale project for life.

I assume the houses will be a mix of 2-4 bedrooms on sections between 400-600m2? I need to go hit up my Local Board and take a look at the plans as they are not easily found online at the moment. The plans would tell me what kind of urban design work is being done and whether the urban design method chosen will be a benefit or a total hindrance to the future of this development. And something tells me the urban design of this development is actually going to be a hindrance more than a benefit here. How so?

Quick crude maths tells me the following:

  • My house is 110m2 on 520m2 – and I have a 3 bedroom home, so that means I have a front and back yard
  • The new development site is 24 hectares or 240,000m2
  • Divide the 240,000 into 500 houses and you get 480m2, however take into account roads, paths and berms and the average lot would be around 400m2
  • Divide the 240,000 into 450s house and the figures move to 533m2 and 450m2 respectively
  • This does not take into account parks, green spaces or “alleyways”

If we want the kids to at least have a decent backyard to play in and maybe grow the vegetable garden as well (although that is a lost art in Auckland) I would suggest 450m2 sections for three and four bedroom houses would be a generous and comfortable size. Anything smaller and we get no yard space for the kids and that can generate problems if there are no parks nearby. And no Bruce Pulman Park does not count unless you want to cross a very busy Walters Road while the McLennan Park is often used for sports. From what I have also gleamed from the graphic for this new development, thankfully the roads inside the new development are grid which promotes easy of traffic (foot and vehicle) flow while mitigating against the Fear of Crime perception that often comes about in urban development. However there are only two ways in and out of the development (so connecting to main roads) which could be a bit of a pain and isolating factor to this new development. In fact the lack of access to the main roads could isolate this new development and lack of accessibility can mean crime can fester inside the development.

In all that regard, I am going to have to go take a look at the plans to see what is exactly proposed. As I said nothing wrong with new development even in my backyard (I knew things like this would happen in Papakura when we chose to move here), but piss-poor urban design that turns this much needed housing into a crime-bed will not go down particularly well with me.

 

Now as for public transport access. This development is somewhat isolated from the main bus network which runs up and down the Great South Road. Rail-wise you have Takanini and Papakura Station both within 5-minutes of each other although 450 new houses will put pressure on Papakura’s existing Park and Ride which is already short of spaces. This new development would be the perfect time for Auckland Transport to haul arse and get the new Walters Road Rail Station along with a Park and Ride (with 450 spaces) and shuttle bus bay to serve Papakura north, Addison, Takanini east and the new development soon to be built. Trying to encourage public transport with Walters Road Station and Park and Ride would be a good start in improving public transport accessibility, especially for our new residents soon to move in.

Papakura Local Board as well as myself support and are advocating to AT on the Walters Road Station, this new development PLUS the continued development of Addison would be the perfect catalyst into getting our new station by 2015!

I have written in previous submissions as well as the current submission I am writing (the AT Regional Public Transport Plan) for the construction of Walters Road Station, and am making it an election campaign pledge to continue to have the station built sooner rather than later in the Local Government Elections next year!

 

But in the mean time, I shall go search those plans for this new development.