Council Rethink On Dom Rd


Auckland City’s transport committee looks like it will mute its original Dominion Rd T2 bus lane proposal when it meets on Thursday, in the wake of mounting criticism, only weeks out from the local body election voting.

But will it be enough to keep everyone happy?
Local Balmoral residents and businesses (i.e. noisy voters) have been especially vocal, producing a petition of more than 6500 names, holding a public meeting attended by over 200 people, placing leaflets in various languages in letterboxes to alertresidents and using social media.
They have permission to address the committee briefly before it makes its decision and will tell the councillors their original proposals would harm businesses. Other deputations including one from the Campaign for Better Transport.
Transport chairman Ken Baguley will be presenting a new motion which he says tries to “clarify” what the council wants to do along the busy arterial - but it seems to invite more discussion and consultation:

But it won’t be the final word as the motion is keen for consultation to continue and inevitably because of the timing now, the forthcoming Auckland Transport body will be involved from November. Any Auckland Transport’s decisions will be made behind closed doors, as per the CCOs’ setup under the new local body framework.
Mr Baguley’s motion proposes:

  • the use of T2 bus lanes to take consideration of the views of ARTA, bus companies and taxi operators
  • for the midblock windening works compromising a seperate T2 bus lane along the length of Dominion Rd (between View Rd and Denbreigh Ave) that operates on a restricted basis from 630 to 930am in a northerly direction and 3.30pm to 6.30pm in a southerly direction from Monday to Friday only. Parking permitted otherwise
  • to allow continuous T2 bus lanes through intersections to reduce a signage clutter and provide clearer instructions to users of Dominion Rd
  • to review right turn restrictions once the road layout is confirmed in relation to possible cycle lanes and to consider restrictions only applying during times T2 bus lanes are operational
  • for a common road structure specification from kerb to kerb along the length of Dominion R i.e.having a seperate specification for any cycle lane is not endorsed
  • the justification for dedicated cycle lanes: if justified, an appropriate plan be designed

The timeline is: midblock construction starts January 2012, investigation of a connection south of Denbeigh Ave to SH20 into the project, village centre construction 2014.

Cr Mark Donnelly also wants to put forward a motion asking the committee to agree the bus lane stays as it is and doesn’t become a T2 lane.

Later in Thursday’s meeting, the committee will review 24-hour bus lanes following community concerns that the number of bus services on the 24-hour bus lanes vary across the 24-hour period.
The council operates five 24-hour bus lanes – three as part of the central connector on Symonds Street, Anzac Avenue and Park Road and one on Fanshawe Street as part of the northern bus way. There is also a 140-metre long bus lane on Parnell Rise. These bus lanes are located in highly congested areas within and around the CBD to ensure dedicated access and service reliability for critical regional services.

A significant number of services use the 24-hour bus lanes between 6am and midnight. Changing bus lanes being used as clearways between 6am and midnight was not considered as an option.

Between midnight and 6am there were a limited number of buses running along these bus lanes. The review, therefore, concentrated on evaluating options for this time period only. Three options were considered for the operation of 24-hour bus lanes between midnight and 6am:
• Installing a general traffic lane (clearway).
• Installing parking.
• Retaining the status quo with enhanced signage.
The recommended option before the committee will be to retain the operating hours and to enhance the signage of the bus lanes including notifying road users that the bus lanes also provide for motorcyclists and cyclists.




  1. Nick R says:

    What is the point of doing anything with the 24 hour bus lanes between midnight and six in the morning?

    Why install a second general traffic lane in wee hours, when the existing one is completely empty. Why bother with parking if you can only park after midnight and have to clear out before 6am? Who would park there exactly, nightclub patrons maybe :)

  2. Michael Wood says:

    This is shaping up to be a total mish0mash that satisfies no one - the consequence of a rushed process, and subsequent political back-tracking.

    The whole project should be put on hold until after the elections, at which point Local Boards can engage in full consultation with their communities. Improvements are needed, but this process is a total botch-up.

  3. karl says:

    “the justification for dedicated cycle lanes: if justified, an appropriate plan be designed”

    Meaning: This is up for sacrifice.

    Great. Just GREAT. But not exactly unexpected from this Council. I hope they at least keep on-road lanes.

    “The whole project should be put on hold until after the elections,”

    The project IS effectively on hold. But since they placed it on the agenda, they have to make some sort of somewhat face-saving resolution.

  4. Mark Donnelly says:

    The real issue is that this plan was flawed from day one - and it has just limped along. The original Light rail onto main trunk line was unworkable. Regional Land Transport cmtee killed it - but after Auckland city had insisted on designation.

    This is about the balance between the local placemaking and through transport. In this limited space you just can’t safely fit in everything. I’ve spoken to regular commuter cyclists on this route who want to stay in the current cycle lane - but can’t do so with T2. The proposed cycle lanes were unsafe and unworkable - they went around behind bus stops, right alongside busy commercial driveway entrances.

    The removal of car parking would have destroyed the urban environement. So we would have got 4 lanes of traffic, but lost shops etc - and if we do this throughout Auckland we just end up with 4 lane roads like Balmoral rd feeding mega malls - not really what makes us a liveable city!

    Basically the current proposal didn’t have the balance right between these different uses competing over access to 20m of road.

    I don’t like to just criticise, but I want to put forward workable solutions. In this case, it’s improving bus transport by extending existing peak bus lanes all the way through. The current stopping at intersections is very disruptive, and I beleive both buses and cars will be quicker sticking to the own single lane the entire length of Dominion Rd.

    On the cycling front, I still don’t understand the overall goal. I don’t see any network concepts being put forward eg connecting into a mode seperated Northwestern cycleway, or alternatives. Should we be looking at green corridors for walking/ cycling? I don’t have the answers, but at the Eden Valley end of Dominion rd, around 12-15yrs ago, people proposed removing 4 houses in a couple roads such as Burnley tce, would have allowed a cycle route through quiet local streets, into the CBD.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Mark Well done for being so pro-active on this one. Good luck on helping achieve a practical sensible solution on Thursday along the lines you propose. Good to have someone who has such a good grasp of the area’s needs.

  6. karl says:

    Mark, the fact is that if cycling gets pushed off the agenda (“we’ll do it somewhere else, some other time”) a couple more times like that, 2050 will be around and we will still be discussing how to give them a fair go.

    Cycle facilities need to stay in whatever concept comes out of this fiasco - they don’t need to be separated ones, I am happy with on-road lanes. But neither should they be marked as one lane to share with the buses except at the narrowest sections.

    As for connectivity: there is indeed a concept to tie it in - being cycle lanes / paths on Ian McKinnon Drive, and then the NZTA cycleway through Spaghetti Junction that Wayne McDonald promised at the opening of the Kingsland cycleway earlier this year. Dom Road will certainly a major cycle route IF people feel safe cycling there.

  7. Mark Donnelly says:

    Jon - thanks for the kind comments

    Karl - I think cycling can stay on the “agenda” as it were. And Ian McKinnon to NW will happen. The feedback I had was that cyclists felt safer in the current bus/cycle lane (certainly no to T2!). there may be an issue with Bus driver training/monitoring that some people raised - but that can be dealt with.

  8. karl says:

    Mark, comments about the status quo against something people have not experienced in practice is always a tricky thing - how are you going to compare? For most people, the tendency is to favour what they know (expressed most clearly in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” arguments of some of the locals opposed to doing ANYTHING on Dom Road).

    That said, I agree that the Copenhagen lanes would have always had a number of issues in the Dom Road environment, some of which might not have been able to be resolved - but again, shared lanes are a BAD solution. Buses and cyclists are two very different beasts. Outside of bus stops, the very least one needs is a separate marking of the bus lane part and the cycle lane part, so the cyclists can feel secure that the space they are riding in is being respected (and that a bus driver CAN respect while overtaking them).

    We shouldn’t be looking to make roads better for “road warrior” cyclists - we want cycle routes that you’d be willing to see your parents ride on, or your kids. That means separating buses from cyclists where possible, to reduce the stress on the rider (and on the bus driver trying to keep to his timetable).

  9. Nick R says:

    I agree the light rail connection the main line is unworkable, so why not simply have light rail in the corridor all the way to Queen St? …or for that matter a proper street busway following the same alignment?

    What exactly is the purpose of dumping the public transport designation around the two historic centres?

  10. karl says:

    A busway would not work the same way as what Aucklanders consider a busway (i.e. Northern Busway in North Shore) because you wouldn’t be grade spearated - you’d still have to stop at intersections and have cars mixing it with the buses at least at such cross-over points. Obviously, if Dom Road is barely wide enough for the politicians and locals to agree on bus lanes, a busway is out.

    Connecting light rail onto the heavy rail is far from unworkable, BUT it would be a pretty big detour for someone from Dom Road going to the city to go all the way east to Newmarket - and there is no capacity for it anyway on the tracks until the CBD tunnel exists, so the only way is indeed light rail connecting on to Queen Street. It would need less space than buses, but is also much more expensive (my personal best guess is $500+ million, rather than the 80 million set aside for Dom Road) which is probably why it was never seriously considered in recent times.

    As others have remarked, putting the bus lanes in the centre lanes might work though, and it would be possible to convert that into a tram alignment easier later on.

    “What exactly is the purpose of dumping the public transport designation around the two historic centres?”

    You ask, we ask. Some people felt it would not have been a suitable alignment for traffic - I think they should have been kept to ensure that the town centres could be detoured in any future scheme (whether detoured by buses or detoured by cars would remain to be seen). Short-sighted in the extreme. They should have removed the designations AFTER a design not needing them had been BUILT.

  11. Nick R says:

    By ‘street busway’ I was meaning something of the standard employed in Brisbane and Sydney, a step up from simple bus lanes in terms of capacity and user experience but not fully grade separated like the Northern Busway.

    I did indeed have tram style central bus lanes in mind, following Ian McKinnon Dr to Queen St. With dedicated central lanes, buses would only be required to stop at a maximum of three signalised intersections between Mt Roskill shops and the top of Queen St. Given central lanes and the fact the buses would be going in the primary direction of travel there is a good chance they would get a green light through all of them anyway.

    There are a further four stand alone signallised pedestrian crossings on the route that the bus may have to stop for, however with central lanes these would presumably be integrated into the access to the bus stops (i.e. where the bus would be stopping to collect passengers anyway).

    In this corridor they could easily provide a high quality bus route with its own dediacted 24 hour lanes and separate platfom style stops, leaving it totally unaffected by traffic congestion and barely affected by traffic lights. That I think is worth of the title ‘busway’ instead of just a ‘bus lane’.

  12. Nick R says:

    And what about using the designated land for parking in lieu of street parking, so that they street corridor can be used for transport and not storing empty vehicles?

  13. Nick R says:

    Oh and this post here ( puts the average cost per km of recent Melbourne tram extensions at about AUD$10 million a km. For the 8km from Mt Roskill to Britomart that would come in at about $80 million. If using trams meant they could avoid widening the road it would come in on budget.

  14. karl says:

    Nick R - that is *extending* an existing system. Where are your Auckland tram depots, your (modern) trams, your power substations? Where is the tram operating authority/company, or the planners who know how to build or approve tram lines?

    And it would be both unlikely (and in some cases, impossible) to extend the trams through such a congested part of town (Dom Road AND Queen Street) without huge changes to the whole street layout, various intersections, and even a couple bridges. I doubt such costs are included in the 10 million (ozzie dollars, too) figure you give.

    Just think: 80 million is currently set aside for a partial rebuild of Dom Road without any trams. I am not sure how you propose to extend that scheme all the way to Britomart, add tram tracks, overhead lines, new trams, new tram infrastructure etc… and not expect the budget to require increasing into the hundreds of millions. If we had that kind of money, we should put it into the CBD tunnel kitty.


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