Tag: transportation

All Things Public Transport

Auckland Transport Releases RPTP

 

Some good news after the Bums Rush Auckland Council gave yesterday with its continuing crap handling of our finances. Auckland Transport had released the much vaunted Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) for viewing AND submissions. You can check the RPTP at the AT website HERE (which includes links to the submission form) or read the embed at the bottom of this post.

I am busy reading through the 138 page document but from what I have seen so far I can personally say that if we follow through with this, then Auckland as another blogger said is on the cusp of a (Public) Transport Revolution. Yes I will be forming an extensive submission on this RPTP, especially around the “zones,” fares and most likely feeder bus set ups. And yes I will trundle along to a hearing in front of Auckland Transport if the CCO gives enough heads up for me to get a period of time off work.

 

As I said earlier, I am busy reading through the document, so no extensive commentary just yet. But from glances at the website and summary documents I can safely say (for now) that the RPTP will meet the number three fundamental in my “What I Stand For – For Auckland” page:

  • An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.

 

While I begin writing the submission to the RPTP, I’ll show an example of what will be in my submission – in this case Zonal Fare:

From my ZONAL FARES post written last month:

Ben’s Proposals for Zone Based Fares

Four Zones (I will draw a map later) with the Central Post Office (so Britomart Transport Centre) as the central focus point in which the zones are calculated:
  • City Zone (Orakei, Newmarket and Grafton Trains Stations, plus the city side of the Harbour Bridge andPonsonby Road form that boundary)
  • Inner Zone (Basically marked by the traditional Otahuhu and New Lynn fare boundaries, and Smales Farm on the North Shore)
  • Outer Zone (Manurewa to the south, Westgate and Swanson to the West and Albany to the north)
  • Regional Zone (all areas beyond the outer zone)

These zones are like a target with a cross in the middle extending through the zones. From the very south to the very north of the zoned areas would mean travelling through eight zones one way. Four zones to get half way the journey and another four zones as you move through the centre to the other end of the city.

The fares for moving within or between the four zones (single trip – cash fare one way – flat fee regardless or adult or child)
  • Within a single Zone: $2
  • Between two Zones: $3
  • Between three Zones:$5
  • Between four Zones: $7
  • Five or more Zones: four zone fare plus the price of the “extra zones” travelled to the daily fare cap of $15 (so travelling six zones would equal $7 + $3 = $10 one way)

I also propose a maximum fare cap of $15 per day for all travel on the integrated public transport system. However you would still be able to by a full day pass for unlimited travel on all modes across all zones from 9am Weekdays and all day weekends and public holidays for a discounted cap price of $13 if you know you are going to be travelling around all day.

The trusty Family Pass should also be made available at the same time as a full day pass for the flat fee of $25. Super Gold holders ride free per usual at their dedicated times.

Okay so we have the zones set (map coming later in an update) and the fares organised for cash-single trips (no using an AT-HOP card), the day and family passes, Super Gold Holders and the maximum fare cap for any one day’s travel.

Now to using an AT-HOP card in place of cash.

Those who would use an AT-HOP card would be our current more frequent travellers who use the exiting ten-trip passes (being phased out) or monthly passes. Using an AT-HOP card should mean you get a discount when paying your fare compared to feeding money down a ticket machine or to the ticket office. Thus I propose the AT-HOP cards have a flat 20% discount regardless of child, adult or tertiary student on the cash fare otherwise charged for your journey. As for Monthly passes there would be four sets of “monthlies” available with prices reflecting discounts accordingly. The same conditions on your 31 days of use from the first day “used” with the existing monthly paper monthlies will transfer over to the AT-HOP Card loaded with Monthly profiles.

 

The Four Monthly Passes and fares (child in brackets)

  • 1-Z – For travelling within one zone: $60 ($50)
  • 2-Z – For travelling between two zones: $90 ($75)
  • 3-Z – For travelling between three zones: $ $150 ($110)
  • A-Z – Ultimate pass – travelling between four or more zones: $210 ($150)

 

The discount rate for adults with Monthly Passes is at minimum 25% compared to single-cash fare with child passes higher (there are no Tertiary discounts).

As for bikes – free travel but as per usual to on-board staff discretion depending on train loadings.

I still have a lot of work to do on these but it is a start and would be a good time to get the initial dialogue going to refine this idea ready for a submission to Auckland Transport in due time.

 

Well that due time is here and it is time to write that submission.

The submission will also become another piece of my “policy platform” when I contend for Papakura Local Board in next year’s Local Government Elections.

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light –
To a Better Auckland

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL

 

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Sydney’s Rail Woes

Sydney Suffering from Rail Woes

 

 

I was meant to get this published but just ran out of time. Check this piece from the SMH on the impending rail woes about to hit Sydney Metro:

 

Crush hour: $9b rail link flaw

Jacob Saulwick

Transport Reporter

 

RUSH hour commuters will be forced to wait for at least two crowded trains to go through Chatswood station before being able to continue their journey to the city, under the O’Farrell government’s centrepiece $9 billion transport project.

The government’s decision to build the north-west rail link as a shuttle between Epping and Chatswood, breaking its promise to allow trains to run all the way to the city, will lead to potential chaos for many north shore and Hills district commuters.

Thousands of commuters disembarking at Chatswood will be unable to get on city-bound trains already operating at capacity. And passengers getting off the north-west trains may struggle to fit on the crowded platform at Chatswood.

With an ”optimised” timetable for the north-west rail link, more than 40 per cent of peak-hour passengers transferring to the city at Chatswood will be unable to get on the next service because it will be too crowded, according to analysis commissioned by Transport for NSW and obtained by the Herald.

 

Further, more than 15 per cent of them will be unable to fit on the next two citybound trains on the north shore line.

The analysis was commissioned and done just before the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, and the Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, announced the new model for the north-west rail link on June 20.

Last night Ms Berejiklian said one of two environmental impact statements required for the link has received planning approval.

Under the model, the line will be built and run by a private operator rather than RailCorp. Transport for NSW hired consultants from the engineering firm Arup to look at whether Chatswood Station could cope with the passengers transferring to citybound trains.

Arup modelled what would happen if one peak-hour train on the north shore line was cancelled which, on RailCorp’s record, would happen about once a fortnight. In this case, 62 per cent of north-west rail link passengers would not fit on the first train to the city. Almost 40 per cent would not fit on the second train. More than 20 per cent of passengers – about 1900 people – would have to wait for a fourth, fifth or sixth train. In this scenario there would be ”extreme difficulties to alight and to enter the platform from stair”, a summary of the analysis says.

”Patrons entering the station have difficulty moving away from the stair and patrons coming off NWRL services … cannot exit carriages due to congestion,” the summary says.

Even with a good running service, queueing levels would exceed good practice. ”Modelling doesn’t take into consideration the frustration and anxiety of missing trains,” it says.

The modelling assumes 8880 people will get off the north-west rail link at Chatswood to transfer to the lower north shore or city.

Using freedom-of-information laws, the Herald requested the analysis in July. The response from Transport for NSW redacted all substantial analysis, in part because it said releasing it could jeopardise procurement for the line. The department said the analysis was only preliminary because it was based on assumptions still being developed.

The Herald obtained sections of the analysis independently.

A spokesman for Transport for NSW said the modelling obtained by the Herald assumed 20 trains an hour on the north shore line in the morning peak.

”We are undertaking work to determine what improvements need to be made to the network to run 24 trains an hour,” he said.

Ms Berejiklian said: ”The government is working to make this a world best-practice interchange and we are confident we will deliver that.

“Everything that has been presented to me by Transport for NSW leaves me in no doubt that Sydney’s rail future has been well thought through.”

The government’s infrastructure adviser, Infrastructure NSW, will release its plan for new tollroads through the inner west and south of Sydney tomorrow.

It will also recommend building an airport at Badgerys Creek, a move that is not supported by the O’Farrell government.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/crush-hour-9b-rail-link-flaw-20121001-26vkt.html#ixzz28HA6rrqN

 

As I was pasting that article to here, this came up just now at the SMH:

 

Adapting existing infrastructure will put NSW on road to recovery

Opinion – Paul Broad

 

Making Sydney a more economically successful and better place to live is a major objective of the State Infrastructure Strategy. This is because Sydney, as the major economic force of NSW, is most capable of driving an upturn in the state’s fortunes.

The strategy is called ”First Things First” with good reason: this phrase captures the main messages that have come out of the past 12 months’ consideration of what the state needs to set it up for the future.

There has been too much waste and misdirection in past infrastructure policy, which has contributed to the slowing of our economy compared with other states. The result is that in spite of record spending on infrastructure – $70 billion spent in the past five years, representing a doubling of funding from the previous five-year period – much of our infrastructure networks fall short of community expectations.

Take transport as a case in point. Some passenger train services are actually slower than they were decades ago. Road congestion has been gradually worsening. The CBD in peak hour defines gridlock.

 

We need to address this situation by dealing with the most urgent priorities first. This means focusing on those initiatives and projects that will yield the greatest economic impact.

There are more than 30 transport-related recommendations in the strategy covering urban and regional areas and all major modes of transport. Each is important in its own right and represents a considered assessment of the best, fastest and most cost-effective solution available.

Using the yardstick of economic impact, the single biggest transport priority is the WestConnex project that involves construction of an M4 East linked to a duplicated M5 East and major urban renewal along Parramatta Road.

The NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics data shows that overwhelmingly Sydney relies on roads for daily travel. Of 17 million average weekday trips, 69 per cent are by road, 19 per cent by bicycle or walking, 7 per cent by bus, taxi or ferry and 5 per cent by rail. If you consider passenger transport alone, 93 per cent of trips are by road.

Most road travel is dispersed to myriad smaller locations across our large metropolitan area. They are not trips to CBDs that could be easily transferred to rail, for example. Our motorway network acts as a major distributor of these millions of journeys as opposed to being a funnel through which people commute to the major CBDs, contrary to popular opinion.

Considering all these points, as well as the dominance of roads in moving freight, WestConnex will have a major beneficial impact on the largest possible number of Sydneysiders.

Conversely, roads do not replicate the role of public transport, especially rail and buses, in servicing CBD locations.

Public transport is the best option for these large centres and it will need significant targeted investment to grow the capacity of public transport systems, as well as speeding up journey times and making services more reliable.

While there are cases where capital investment is needed, the strategy recommends much can be achieved at less cost and more quickly by incrementally improving the road, bus and rail networks we already have. What is advocated is a mix of both.

The strategy’s future vision for central Sydney is built around the CBD Transit Improvement Plan – a mixture of bus rapid transit and rail improvements. In short, most of the peak-hour buses that flow into the city at present will be able to bypass the traffic completely via an underground route similar to the successful Brisbane model. As a result, bus/rail interchanges will be built at Wynyard and Town Hall as part of a major modernisation of these critical stations.

A significant upgrade to the City Circle Line to increase capacity and allow more services is also proposed, as are plans to introduce rapid transit on key rail lines including the main west lines and turn-up-and-go express services between Sydney and Parramatta.

For areas serviced by buses, such as the northern beaches, a program of upgrades including an extra lane on the Spit Bridge are being proposed.

Speeding up train services is the focus for outlying areas. Getting the main intercity journeys Wollongong-Sydney and Gosford-Sydney down to one hour is the goal of the strategy.

Infrastructure NSW believes this approach has got the priorities right. Its methodology is more modest than the infrastructure planning of the past – in our view, a positive advantage that will deliver more real results for public transport users and motorists alike.

Paul Broad is the managing director of Infrastructure NSW.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/adapting-existing-infrastructure-will-put-nsw-on-road-to-recovery-20121003-26zkc.html#ixzz28HBHdl00

 

 

After reading both of those I was wondering to myself; “Geez this sounds all awfully familiar.” That’s right, it is the very same problems, debates and solution seeking that Auckland and its transport is going through RIGHT NOW! At least we can take some small comfort that our Aussie neighbours are experiencing the same issues as us in Auckland. Although flushing A$9 billion down the shitter into some rather large rail fallacy prone project (The North West Line (Sydney)) is rather eye popping stuff here (compared to our large scale mega projects).

 

I do have to ask this though:

Why does everything a Centre-Right central or state government in the Northern Hemisphere do in regards to mass transit turn out to be success stories (okay might be pushing it with the USA) while in the Southern Hemisphere, anything the Centre-Right central or state (where applicable) governments do in regards to mass transit turns into one big shit-stink pile that gets us no-where (maybe backwards if we are lucky to get any movement)?

I thought we were meant to achieve: “An Integrated Approach to Transport: None of this “all for one but not the other approach” we get from both roading and Green lobbyists. Road and Mass Transit both have their places here in Auckland – albeit more balanced like the Generation Zero 50:50 campaign. This integrated approach also applies to many other things out there – I call it The Best of Both Worlds.” (From my What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland page)

Groan and eye-roll material stuff here folks…

 

 

Meetings for More Meetings

Was at Transport Committee Meeting Today

 

I finally managed to squeeze some time in my hectic work schedule to trundle along to a Auckland Council committee meeting today. And today it was the Transport Committee chaired by Councillor Mike Lee that I was able to rock up to and sit quietly down the back and observe around about two-thirds of the proceedings before I wanted lunch and carry on with other things.

I also saw for the first time although I did not introduce myself (bit shameful on me) to them were; MP Julie-Ann Genter and Principle Transport Planner Joshua Arbury. Both were due to give their respective reports or presentations in front of the Transport Committee today.

You can see the agenda (the hard copy was thicker than a piece of 4 by 2) in the embeds below. But from observations today out of that Transport Committee; the bulk of the resolutions were: “To Hold another meeting to discuss what was in this meeting which was about the previous three meetings WHICH was about the meeting last year.”

I say we are getting progress somewhere if today’s resolutions were anything to go by…

 

One thing that I will single out though was the immature behaviour of Councillors Quax and Morrison against Julie-Ann Genter and her first class presentation (which reminds me to email her to get a copy of that presentation). Councillor Quax raised a point of order as Ms Genter was explaining a finer point in her section of the presentation about abolishing ‘minimum parking requirements for a development’ due to “time.” While the Chair might of not been keeping time I certainly was and 10 mins was not up to the point anyone that passed a motion for extension of time (which Cllr Dr Cathy Casey did raise in the end) I would have been grateful so I could hear Ms Genter finish her presentation fully. What Councillor Quax was doing was trying to “stomp” on Ms Genter’s presentation as it would have been a direct affront to his flawed and dead ideology which Auckland is trying to shake the legacy from off.

I for one Councillor Quax do not support Minimum Parking Requirements and made that extremely clear in my submission to the Auckland Plan, and will make it even more extremely clear in my submission to the Unitary Plan.

As for Councillor Morrison and asking Ms Genter had she read the Auckland Plan. That to me was implying that the MP had no idea what she was talking about in her presentation when speaking on land and transport planning. Most likely also Councillor Morrison was also implying that he supported the extremely flawed ideology on having Minimum Parking Requirements. I’ll tell you want Councillor, I would be falling head over heels to get Ms Genter into a working party on the unitary plan as some of her ideas were pretty damn solid and much better than what I am seeing coming out of Unitary Plan discussions at the moment.

So to both Councillors – SHAME ON YOU! Then again both of you I would oppose and are in opposition to what you represent any how…

 

And on that note, I wonder if I rock up to the Governing Body meeting coming up – should be a lively debate in that meeting.

Oh and good to see my local Councillor Calum Penrose also participating in the Transport Committee today 😀

The Agenda

[update from Admin: Embeds now working]

 

 

Coal: Its and Our Future

Opinion: All things Coal

 

I was cruising through the opinion sections of the Herald on the trip home today when I saw this opinion piece on coal:

 

From the NZ Herald:

 

Dave Feickert: Dark day as coal mines shuttered

By Dave Feickert

 

The recent decisions by Solid Energy to put the Spring Creek coking coal mine on to care and maintenance and stop the development of the half sunk ventilation shaft at the East Side mine will have horrendous consequences for the West Coast and the Huntly regions. These regions are already hard hit, especially the Coast after the deaths of 29 Pike River men in a gas explosion on 19 November, 2010, and the loss of over 300 Pike jobs.

Coming with the decision to dismiss many other staff at its headquarters and elsewhere it looks like a panic restructuring brought on by crisis. State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall told Solid Energy unions on Tuesday that the company had debts of over $300 million. This was news to the men. He made this sound highly significant but in financial terms it is not. It may be that the debt accumulated without the Government being aware, but that is because of the remote, revenue-collector role they chose to play.

Solid Energy has made a hefty $614.3 million profit over the last 10 years, with $394 million in the last five years alone. Government has had its pound of flesh big time.

Why then is this state-owned enterprise acting more like an American coal robber baron from the 1920s and despoiling whole communities?

Both Mr Ryall and Prime Minister John Key have taken up the refrain of Solid Energy’s Don Elder that it’s all because of the collapse in international coal prices, which are priced in US dollars. Apparently, Spring Creek can only get $120 per tonne now and its production costs are high, partly because it is going through a development phase into new reserves. So over 300 miners in an area of high unemployment are to be sacrificed and there is nothing the Government can do.

It is difficult not to share the anger of the miners who went to see Ryall at the Beehive because this is decidedly not the international view of coking coal prices. Kevin Crutchfield, the CEO of Alpha, one of the biggest coal mining companies in the US, has just said, on explaining why it is moving from power station coal to coking coal: “Globally there remains a structural undersupply of metallurgical coal and Alpha expects to see demand grow by more than 100 million tons by the end of the decade.” This is long-term thinking, totally absent in the Solid Energy board.

Crutchfield and other coal industry analysts know that the demand for steel will pick up again in China as that country, India and Brazil move to a developed country per capita use of steel. They are only halfway there at the moment. Coking coal prices will then rise.

The key question for Solid Energy is how to get through production gaps, when developing new areas of coal is costly, as it always is in mining, through to the promised land. Do the Solid Energy board members understand this? There is not a single mining engineer on the board and the sole Australian minerals expert knows little about how to mine West Coast coals, I would guess. Elder, himself, is not a mining engineer.

So if coal prices are “volatile” rather than “fixed” what about production costs? Well, we have just seen an unprecedented co-operation between a workforce and local management to come up with a costed plan for transition, survival and future success. It has already been rejected, with Ryall admitting that he had not even read it; for that was a matter for the board. This is head-in-the-sand government.

And to hear Steven Joyce, the “ideas man” of the Government and a possible future PM, say that coal is one of the sunset industries they are not interested in is quite incredible. We have 11 billion tonnes of coal reserves and we should remember that oil and gas are by no means as plentiful. Coal was once the foundation of the chemical industry and will become so again as oil and gas deplete. Moreover, it will be processed in future in an environmentally acceptable manner. Once again, driven by its own insufficient oil supply and a growing dependency on oil imports, China is leading the way in this new revolution, but then it is doing so in renewables, too.

Let us then also consider the horrendous costs to the nation and the taxpayer should the non-miners on Solid Energy’s board decide to shut a publicly owned company’s key assets down – closing its two deep mines and refusing to develop Pike River, which it also owns. Pike had over 300 jobs and many of those miners remain unemployed. Spring Creek and East Side have over 300 miners, including contractors; so we have a thousand deep mining jobs at stake.

As the Europeans know from closing down their coal industries there are two jobs depending, in related industries, on every mining job.

I have calculated on the basis of the redundancy pay for Spring Creek miners and just 150 of the total workforce remaining unemployed for two years that the cost to the taxpayer -with the multiplier effect on other jobs – will be over $30 million. And here we are talking about the whole deep mine sector.

In the UK the mines started closing fast in 1986. Those 180 have now gone, but for a handful and the communities, 26 years on, remain devastated.

Just go and see for yourself, Mr Ryall.

Dave Feickert is a mining consultant who worked in the UK coal industry for 10 years. www.davefeickert.co.nz

 

This comment caught my attention the most:

HC (Onehunga)
11:17 AM Monday, 1 Oct 2012

 

As much as I am for a gradual move away from the use of fossil fuels, I realise that the use of coal will be necessary for at least a few more decades, if not longer, for industrial purposes in steel mills, in powering some high tech power generation plants with sophisticated, environmentally friendly filter systems reducing emissions. Other industrial use of the resource is possible.

And to build more alternative generation capacity, energy from coal is needed to make steel to build the wind generators, dams, solar reflectors and else.
So of course, the government is again following ideology and a hidden agenda.

They prefer fully privatised operators like Bathurst (now how often did Joyce refer too that company?) and want to sell off 49 per cent of Solid Energy, being a state owned enterprise. It is apparently even written in their annual plan – or the likes thereof – that they want to make the SOE “fit” for the shares sell-off.

The government should step in to help Solid Energy establish some additional, diversified operations, within which the workers can be employed until the supposedly now so low coal price recovers again. Train them to do something else for being.

 

I would be tended to agree with that comment that was made in reply to the opinion piece. Look as I have said in my submissions amongst other places; oil, gas and mainly coal will be with us until at least the end of this century. Coal is used in so many of our industrial processes that if we were to ban all coal use tomorrow (hello Greens) we would be sent back before Roman times. Ask yourself and look around your home (including car, garage and outside) and see what had coal as an input to produce that item you have/use and what can honestly replace coal to make that item you have or use. You might be shocked on how crucial coal actually is. In my home coal was used for the following:

  • car manufacturing (whether it be steel or power production)
  • house (power generation for the actual house and the factories producing wood, nails, tiles, pipes, electrics, etc)
  • garden (fertilisers both synthetic and organic like Blood and Bone (comes from meat works you know), sprays, power generation again for factories producing wood, brick, concrete, etc)
  • Fuel (synthetic petrol is possible in NZ)
  • Food (indirect but check our fertilisers are made and again power production)
  • heating (old place had a fire-place able to burn coal, power generation for heating and cooling (Huntly?))
  • Gadgets like my computer and tablets (power production for the mines, steel and other metal production, etc)
  • And so on

Coal is pretty well embedded with us if we are to remain industrious and not slip back to pre Industrial Revolution days until actual alternative are here and viable – which they are not.

To say other wise is damn stupid and foolish. And as said from the commenter and myself, coal will phase out eventually – just not when the Greens would like to do so.

 

So unless you are willing to give up every thing you have that was made by industrious process (and that includes your bus, train and bike) then don’t go bagging coal. Of you do have an alternative – why is it not on the market yet?

 

Causalities of – The LTP?

And Here Come the Causalities

 

 

The Long Term Plan 2012-2022 was adopted into existence earlier this year, setting the Council’s course on all things revenue and expenditure (yeah lets ignore the V8s and White Water-rafting for a few seconds). On the rates side; some of us got stung with large rates rises while others got nice rates decreases. All of us though got service and capital expenditure cuts when our respective Local Boards had to follow through on a 3% cut in their budgets per the Mayor’s “orders.”

Manurewa Local Board have been very vocal on what the funding cuts have meant capital expenditure wise (so money for community projects like playgrounds and upgrades to community facilities). Well it seems I have stumbled (via the NZH) across our first OPEX (so facilities funding in the operational costs side) casualties in the form of POSSIBLE library closures.

 

From the NZ Herald:

 

Cost cuts threaten two libraries

By Bernard Orsman

5:30 AM Monday Oct 1, 2012

 

Pressure goes on after mayor’s directive for all areas of city council to trim budgets by 3 per cent in election year.

 

Libraries in Snells Beach and Grey Lynn have been marked for closure as the result of a directive from Mayor Len Brown to reduce costs in what will be election year.

Snells Beach residents, many of whom are retirees, are bewildered and angry at murmurings the refurbished Mahurangi East Library in the community centre is closing.

More than 300 locals have signed a petition deploring the proposal and there is fighting talk by local politicians of chaining themselves to the building.

“We love our bright, welcoming, well-used library, the heart and soul of this mixed and growing community,” said local Sandra Garman.

The other locality in the cost-cutting sights of council library manager Allison Dobbie is the Grey Lynn library, housed in its original 1924 building on Great North Rd.

Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers said closing Grey Lynn library would be unwarranted, completely wrong and would cause pointless grief.

Mr Brown, through chief executive Doug McKay, has directed all council departments, local boards and council-owned bodies to cut their operating budgets by 3 per cent next year.

This is so Mr Brown can reduce the projected rates increase for his election-year budget to “well below 4 per cent”.

Mr Brown and Mr McKay have boasted about making $1.7 billion in savings and efficiencies over 10 years.

And for the first time they are calling for cuts to service levels. This has led Ms Dobbie to look at closing two of the council’s 55 libraries.

She did not return calls to comment about the pressure she was under to reduce library services.

In a written statement, Mr Brown said he doubted any libraries would be closed to reduce next year’s rates.

But he would not give a firm guarantee to Snells Beach and Grey Lynn library users

 

Article continues at NZH site

 

Okay so which way is it, we looking at library closures or not? And why is a guarantee not able to be given here – that to me sounds like that the libraries will close but not one has the balls to say so from the outset. Gee I feel the communities affected through being left in limbo over the state of their libraries.

 

But we all knew this kind of thing was coming under this Council with this failed Long Term Plan.

I suggest that we divert money from the CAPEX budget and sink it into the OPEX budget. The money for the Cruise Ship Terminal and the money for phase one for the Quay Street Boulevard would cover the libraries and other Local Board budgets for the next wee while to come (oh say 10 years).

And what about Quay Street Boulevard? Defer all work on it until 2020 but leave enough money behind for our engineers to get the traffic light phasing RIGHT and maybe some extra signage and pot plants.

 

Hey we all got to make sacrifices here and I am making a few suggestions that are win-wins all round here.

But then again win-wins and the simple things often escape Council and the bureaucrats – otherwise we would not have these problems would we?

 

 

 

 

 

Quay Street Nuts

 

Quay Street Plans Are Nuts

 

Well so the Herald has pointed out this morning:

 

From the NZH:

 

Quay St boulevard ‘just nuts’

By Amelia Wade

5:30 AM Monday Oct 1, 2012

 

Anger has erupted over plans to turn Quay St into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard within three years – and the greatest upset has been caused by what critics say was lack of public consultation.

But Waterfront Auckland says it kept the community well informed about the “exciting project” and it “couldn’t have done more” consultation.

Waterfront Auckland’s plans, revealed in the Herald on Friday, could result in more crossing points, a wider footpath taking in a lane of traffic or two and opening up parts of the red fence to improve to the water’s edge.

The first stage – from the Viaduct to Britomart – is due to be finished by 2016.

But critics of the project say the Tamaki Drive Master Plan hasn’t been taken into account, the traffic plan is “just nuts” and the local board most negatively affected by the proposal was not consulted.

Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor said he was disappointed by the plan, which he said would take cars off the street in the name of beautification.

“This is a surprising development that does not appear to have been thought out …

 

It seems to be motived more by ideology than practicality.”

Mr O’Connor said Waterfront Auckland was pinning its hopes on the “unfunded, yet to be built rail loop and a new ferry service”.

Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer said the suggestion that Quay St was not a busy road outside rush hour was “just pie in the sky”.

“This is a critical piece of transport infrastructure that carries over 30,000 cars a day. Taking out lanes and directing more traffic down the likes of Customs St is just nuts.”

Mr Brewer said he had been given assurances that the community would be closely consulted before any decisions were made.

Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson said Auckland Council‘s environmental strategy and policy planning manager, Ludo Campbell-Reid, had been to only one of the board’s meetings, during which he gave a short presentation on the original Quay St Vision.

“We were not encouraged or asked for any comment on input into these plans. He promised to workshop this with the board which has yet to happen,” Ms Simpson said.

She said the plans also didn’t take into account the Tamaki Drive master plan, in development since February, which includes safety improvements at the intersection with The Strand.

Waterfront Auckland’s general manager of development, Rod Marler, said the Tamaki Drive plan was outside its area of control and influence but it had been working with Ms Simpson and consulting the local board about its plans.

Mr Marler also said there was three months of consultation for the waterfront plan last year and included in that was the Quay St project.

“All the projects that we proposed for the waterfront had wide consultation, on general public bills, with key stake holders. It’s been through council, it’s been through local boards – there was plenty of opportunity for people to discuss those initiative … I don’t think we could have done too much more, from a waterfront plan perspective.”

Mr Marler said there was a roadshow for the plans, to which all the affected parties were invited, and there were also workshops with the council.

Waterfront woes

Tell us what you think about the plan. newsdesk@nzherald.co.nz

 

Might get some feedback to the Herald on this if I can be bothered getting round to it (lunch first) 😛

 

Now this was from Facebook this morning in regards to Councillor Cameron Brewer replying to the Herald’s “Nuts” piece (comments also included):

 

  • Local MP Simon O’Connor, local board chair Desley Simpson, and the local councillor went out to bat for their eastern bays constituents who woke up on Friday to the surprising news that the Quay Street boulevard is supposedly done and dusted!

    Quay St boulevard ‘just nuts’ – National – NZ Herald News

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz

    Anger has erupted over plans to turn Quay St into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard within three years – and the greatest upset has been caused by what critics say was lack of public
    • Ben Ross And for the rest of us, this morning in today’s edition of the Herald. Give me a second to check the CCMP and what that says on this
    • Jan O’Connor Quay St is crucial for the successful operation of all North Shore bus services – these services all connect with others at the Britomart Transport Centre. Are they mentioned at all? And how will the cars from the East ever get to the carparking in the Viaduct or Downtown. Ferries from the East – highly expensive operations.
    • Jules Clark If a lot of the through traffic using Quay St are trying to get to the motorway north, then they should just use the Stanley St city bypass. I’m actually happy to see that a transport decision is this time not “car-centric”. There are plenty of Aucklanders who would love to see Quay St made pedestiran friendly. I know this next comment will raise hackles, but perhaps all those in the Eastern Bays who are up in arms should stop driving into the city every day with only one person per vehicle. Stop being selfish and try public transport once in a while – or carpool and use the T2 lane!
    • Ben Ross Still looking through the CCMP…
    • Ben Ross From Page 90 of the CCMP
      Changes to Quay Street need to be considered in the context of the wider road network and public transport improvements, such as the restructured bus network and the City Rail Link. from entering the city centre, although access to the surrounding area. It will also have a critical role as a diversion route during construction of the City provision for pedestrians will naturally encourage freight and unnecessary freeing up Quay Street for an enhanced pedestrian environment with reliable public transport. Consideration of the surrounding road network, especially Customs Street, will be vital to ensure elsewhere in the city centre.

      Okay not good – although I thought in my presentation to Council said that the above was extremely fool hardy if not stupid… someone forgot to give Ludo and the Planners the memo 😛

    • Ben Ross I think the problem is that this part of Quay Street flipping over to a boulevard is somewhat too soon without actual alternative in place. Stanley Street and State Highway 16 is not somewhat of an alternative heading from the east seeming our engineers can not phase traffic lights for peanuts
    • Jan O’Connor The boulevards are wide enough already. Just going there now to inspect & see if I can count more than 30 people braving the weather between the Viaduct & Britomart.
    • Ben Ross Right I have gone through the CCMP with a fine tooth comb and if I am reading this right I have nothing but bad news (which I wish wasn’t). According to the CCMP in three different sections and the LTP, it seems Council and the CCOs have (now I am being neutral here so no opinion on being a passer on on what I am seeing) gone on limb here and consulted when submissions were asked for when the City Centre Master Plan was up for consultation. The CCMP also stated that part one of Quay Street works is due to begin now as stated.
      I remember so as I put the boot into the hearings panel (Ludo was present as I have a letter from him acknowledging my submission) on Quay Street, the CRL and Parnell Station while singing the praises and passing a few ideas of Wynyard Quarter. 

      However as I said above: the problem is that this part of Quay Street flipping over to a boulevard is somewhat too soon without actual alternative in place. Stanley Street and State Highway 16 is not somewhat of an alternative heading from the east seeming our engineers can not phase traffic lights for peanuts

      Emphasis on the last past with engineers, lights and peanuts!

      Look why I am giving a damn here when this is affecting Waitemata, Orakei and North Shore Wards and not Papakura is a case of who knows. But there is a way around this for Quay Street west (the Britomart end) I am just trying to think of something (Quay Street East is not affected yet).

      In the mean time I seriously need more coffee – I don’t get paid enough for this – wait I dont at all 😛

So from what I can gather unless my English and interpreting documents some what out of whack, these incoming changes have been signalled well in advanced in three sets of plans (The Auckland Plank, The City Centre Master Plan, and The Long Term Plan 2012-2022). Whether I agree with the changes or not is a different story although it can be seen above in my comments to the Facebook thread.

In short I have no issue with the Quay Street works, but as I said:

“I think the problem is that this part of Quay Street flipping over to a boulevard is somewhat too soon without actual alternative in place. Stanley Street and State Highway 16 is not somewhat of an alternative heading from the east seeming our engineers can not phase traffic lights for peanuts” 

 

Outside of that issue, I am not having major issues here with Quay Street (west) although I am looking at alternatives here (not whole scale Quay Street west – just some minor tinkering to smooth the works transition). As for Quay Street east, I already drew up a plan for that and submitted on it. However works in that sector are not due to after the CRL I believe, so still time to keep the dialogue going there.

 

Oh if you are wondering what I meant about sticking the boot in at that particular Hearings Panel; it means I strongly disagreed with Parnell and do not want that station built, was not overtly fond of Quay Street work so soon in the game, and as for the CRL – well you all know how I advocate for that mega project on a delayed timetable. But as I said, there was both constructive criticism and as I said singing the praises too. So I am not always a grumpy old fart 😛

Due credit is give when it is due – such as Councillor Wood is about to find out. 😀

 

Response from AT

Letter From AT on RLTP

 

Got a letter from Auckland Transport acknowledging and thanking my submission to the Regional Land Transport Program. The letter I will show in the embed below, but upon reading it I can appreciate what could be just about literal hell for everyone concerned as the city goes about not building a world-class transport system – but rebuilding the existing system so THEN we can build that world-class system (the only other method is start afresh and I don’t think we will like that option much (Christchurch?))

 

The letter from AT on the RLTP and difficulties that are going to be faced:

 

And as I write this, the CRL debate is still going around and around the same circle again – more on that later