T2 Dom Rd Plan Dumped


The plan for T2 bus lanes in the Dominion Road plan was deleted today after a lengthy Auckland City Council transport committee discussion.

The outcome was a victory for the pro-active Save Dominion Road group, led by local Dominion Rd businesses, which presented a 6,704-signature petition opposing the council’s earlier plan, just weeks out from the local body election, making councillors nervous about the strength of the local opposition. Representatives of that group crowded the 15th floor council committee room for the meeting, with some having to stand outside.

Surprisingly, the 1500 submissions also received by the council about the plan have yet to be read or at least analysed before today’s meeting, meaning they did not influence today’s decision. 500 phone surveys were also conducted. That analysis will eventually be handed to the new Auckland Transport body which will make the final call.

The council committee resolution eventually passed after a lengthy debate, recommends more consultation with the local community and passes its recommendations on to Auckland Transport as the Auckland council goes out of business in a month’s time.

But it backs down from its plan of just weeks ago - completely dumping talk of T2 - and instead gives as the committee’s thinking for Dominion Rd between View Rd to Denbigh Ave:

  • Peak hour bus lanes for Dominion Rd with cyclists continuing to share the lane. That’s 630am to 9.30am and 3.30pm to 630pm weekdays but offering further consultation on the hours
  • Consideration to taxis using the bus lanes
  • Parking to be allowed at other times
  • A review of right turn restrictions with the desire to seek a reduction in the number
  • More consultation and investigation of cycle lanes including whether some alternative route such as through some back streets or using Sandringham Rd might be an answer
  • A “one level” road surface allow for future-proofed flexibility around lane markings

Dominion Rd

Some councillors sought to make the recommendations firm council policy rather than what Cr Aaron Bhatnagar termed “the pathway we want to go.”
Cr Mark Donnelly, not a voting member of the committee, sought such a resolution that, among other things, stated definitely that the existing bus lane will remain as it is and not become a T2 lane. He called the earlier resolution a “weasel” option.

But his resolution was lost with other councillors saying T2 had already been dropped out of the plan during the meeting and as for other issues, further consultation was needed with the community on the use of taxis in bus lanes and the best way to cater for cyclists.
Among those who addressed the committee before it voted were representatives of both NZ Bus’s Metrolink service and the association that represents bus and coach operators, both groups strongly opposing T2.
Jon Calder from Metrolink said NZ Bus had invested heavily in Dominion Rd, now offering services at peak time of just under 2 minutes and off peak 5 minutes, making it the most heavily serviced corridor in Australasia.
He said there were 2100 bus passengers using Dominion Rd weekday mornings and an average 8600 each weekday.
He said Metrolink opposed the T2 plan which would be a retrograde step for encouraging public transport. It supported separate cycling lanes and wanted removal of parking 6 days a week from 7am to 7pm.
Barbara Cuthbert, representing Cycle Action Auckland, congratulated the transport committee chair Ken Baguley on the way he had handed the emotional debate about cycling along Tamaki Drive and urged the same measured approach to resolving the issue rather than rushing into urgent action.
She said cyclists were vulnerable in bus lanes as they were like ‘a mouse travelling with elephants.’
Cr Graeme Easte pushed for investigation of whether cycle lanes could run essentially parallel to Dominion Rd, largely using existing streets roughly midway between Dominion and Mt Eden Rds. He had drawn a rough map suggesting this could be done but acknowledged this would require council acquisition of some properties.
The chair, Ken Baguley, considered talk of property acquisition at this time only added to uncertainty for local residents but agreed more investigation could be made by Auckland Transport of how best to accommodate cyclists.




  1. Anthony M says:

    Wow! Auckland did something resonably right!!
    proberly a first since Auckland
    Airport got built -_-’

  2. Andrew says:

    Although they may not have been processed yet, the sheer weight of 1500 submissions should have sent a very clear message with regard to the T2 debacle.

    I was part of the team led by Warrick and Josh (jarbury) from Campaign for Better Transport who were handing out flyers encouraging commuters to send in submissions opposing the T2 element of the proposal. Many were not even aware of these proposed changes and they eagerly snapped up the flyers. I heard from a good number of them that they had sent in submissions opposing the T2 change as a result of this campaign.

    I believe we handed out 1500 flyers :)

    I look forward to reading the report on the submissions.

  3. Jon C says:

    @Andrew Good on you. Save Dominion Rd was actually very active in putting their leaflets - in various languages - in letter boxes and held a public protest meeting at which over 200 residents turned out on a cold winters night.

  4. Nick R says:

    Congrats to those involved in campaigning, but part of me hopes this was simply a victory for common sense!

  5. Jon C says:

    @Nick R Maybe but there is a local body election in a month and the local business opposition was very strong and organised. It was interesting how many local body candidates standing in the area were present at today’s meeting including ex mayor Christine Fletcher who was among those who watched. residents and business people and other interested parties overflowed the room.

  6. Robby Hickman says:

    Thanks for the interest everyone - this is what we said in our media release:
    A reprieve for Dominion Road

    The Save Dominion Road coalition today said that Dominion Road had a reprieve, after the Auckland City Council Transport Committee agreed some significant changes to plans for the road.

    “The original plans on which the Council went out to consultation would have turned Dominion Road into a four lane highway, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Dominion Road petition organiser Penny Hickey said. “The Council has recognised the importance of retaining on-street parking in off-peak hours, keeping our bus lanes as bus lanes and not opening them to vehicles carrying passengers, and limiting right-hand turn restrictions.

    “This is significant progress, but the designation remains in place, which means that Dominion Road residents and businesses still have to live with uncertainty going forward. We will continue to work on that.”

    Ms Hickey said that the Coalition had taken two main messages to councillors and council staff, and that it would also take these to the new supercity council and CCOs.

    “The first is that Council should not try to impose solutions to complex issues without wholehearted consultation. Aucklanders are not stupid, and they care about this city. They also know their communities and that can help Council achieve better outcomes.

    “The other message is that Dominion Road has a much wider amenity value to the Auckland region than simply a piece of asphalt for traffic throughput. It is a complex piece of social infrastructure built up over 100 years. It works brilliantly in so many ways - three great walkable villages, home to many migrant businesses, a great public transport route. Along and around the road you will find everything from half-way houses to multi-million dollar mansions, and everyone feels welcome. This is a high-functioning road that many other ‘new world’ cities would envy. As part of a liveable city, most similar styled cities in the USA, Canada, and Australia, would love to have a Dominion Rd on the doorstep of the CBD as a anchor for future residential intensification.”

    “We will continue to work to ensure that Dominion Road remains a lively, interesting part of Auckland, and resist any future attempts to turn this into a barren throughway.”

  7. Matt L says:

    Robby - While I didn’t support the council on the T2 issue many of the other plans were much better than what is currently along Dominion Rd and I really think your group completely have had blinkers on and are actually holding both the road, communities and city back.

    Personally I think that you should be championing for some real improvements instead of just keeping it as it is. There are ideas that could provide Dominion Rd with a real point of difference. For me a big one would be the idea of having the bus lanes in the middle of the road. This would provide a much better public transport corridor and in the town centres the stops could easily be designed to slow traffic down and make the place a quite vibrant and interesting place to be. Being quite unique and with some good urban design it could help to attract more people to the area who would of course stay to shop etc. Another advantage is that a median strip won’t be needed so mid block some parking could be retained in places.

    Taking it a step further, putting a tram line down the middle of the road would use even less space so that leaves more space for other things or it means less space that needs to be taken off property owners. In the end my point is be more ambitious with what the improvements should be rather than just status quo because at the moment those town centres aren’t really that attractive.

  8. Mark Donnelly says:

    Matt - bus lanes in the middle means 25,000 cars a day next to the foot path - that is unacceptable for the local community.

    Look at Chapel Rd, melbourne - trams share car lane, and car parking is there. Both cars and public transport must respect the area they travel through. In a PT city like that - they can still strike a balance that respects the “local” - why can’t we do the same?

    Is Dominion Rd just about transport? we as locals say no.
    If it was about just transport, You’d sign up to the David Hay, “any road widening is a good road widening” view. If you just wanted a transport route - why not bowl one whole side - wipe out 100 yrs of heritage and widen by 10m - then you can have buslanes down the middle and car lanes, and maybe get some decent urban design.

    If you accept we shouldn’t bowl our heritage, then what is the compromise?
    Dominion Rd is one of Auckalnds most successful public transport corridors. It does not need changing. people using buses want a vibrant local community - many of those users live in that area. They have a right to call their own balance between Buses and their local shops/community.

    I disagree that those town centres aren’t attractive. They are to many many people. You may want a city with huge transport routes to the CBD (where 10% work) - and then for us all to go off to mega malls on the weekend. I don’t.

    These town centres are what Auckland is about. I want to be able to go down to my local shops - I support them ahead of a mall shop any day.

    I respect you want better PT - I won’t disagree. But that is PT vs car. what about PT and car vs a commmunity?

    I find it strange to have this debate on Dominion rd. ARC/ARTA decided it was a bus route to the airport - no basis, no consultation - and not happening anyway. I think it’s counter productive to PT to hit this as a major issue. Why expend all this effort on an already successful PT route? the risk is a backlash - as the negative impacts on local town centres will be blamed on PT.

    Why doesn’t the region turn their sights on other areas with almost no PT take up (Manakau) rather than spend all this effort pushing the envelope here? the risk is once other areas see how far it can go, they won’t support any bus lanes etc. If they see a good balance, ie good bus times/patronage/thriving local communities - they will jump on.

  9. Scott says:

    Mark, I was of the understanding that it would be preferential to place the (from what i understand) generally congested (slow) traffic next to footpath (cycle lane) rather than 15+ tonne loaded buses traveling at the speed limit every few minutes.

    I agree that the community cannot be sacrificed. From what i understand the status quo is very desirable.

    How does the community feel about trams? That would allow a much improved street scape over buses, and would allow wider footpaths and due to the narrower tram tracks required.

    I think Manakau is currently having a great deal of money spent on it in the form of a heavy rail link.

  10. karl says:

    “Wow! Auckland did something resonably right!!
    proberly a first since Auckland
    Airport got built -_-’”

    This comment actually shows everything that is wrong about this whole debate. Nothing was “done”, the problem was put into the too hard basket, and heroic is the future politican who dares to suggest anything more ambitious here than daub some paint on the road. The message everyone will take from this is: don’t even think of trying to change the congested mess of Auckland’s arterials - better spend money on schemes that people don’t get so aggro about. In the meantime, more cars get added to the road.

    “Why expend all this effort on an already successful PT route?”

    Because where the most buses travel, bus priority brings the most benefits?

    As I said above, I see the big risk that the “if its not broken, don’t fix it” crowd will have won once again, and ensured that nothing will happen for years, if ever.

    While I agree with you Mark, that the local town centres are worth retaining and enhancing, I actually think Dominion ROAD (not the area, not the shops, not the community - the ROAD) is a pretty bad example right now which serves nobody well. It IS broken in quite a few ways. But status quo has won again.

  11. Robby Hickman says:

    Matt and Karl - people came together to fight a destructive plan, at speed, on a short time frame, with minimal information - not a process designed to generate innovative thinking.
    Matt - it’s already a vibrant interesting place to be. That’s why so many people got involved - they love Dom Rd for a whole range of reasons that have nothing to do with transport. But if you look at it from a ‘transit’ point of view, the walking environment and public transport along this road are the best in Auckland - I use them both all the time. The Council plans would have destroyed the walking environment and made bus lanes T2 - how is that an improvement?
    Karl - first do no harm is not a bad principle in anything to do with urban design. It’s an art, not a science. And what speaks more loudly of the quality of the urban community around Dom Rd than the degree of affection and concern that emerged as people became aware of the Council’s plans? Something is clearly working well here.

  12. Robby Hickman says:

    Matt and Karl - people came together to fight a destructive plan, at speed, on a short time frame, with minimal information, and no budget - not a process designed to generate innovative thinking.
    Matt - it’s already a vibrant interesting place to be. That’s why so many people got involved - they love Dom Rd for a whole range of reasons that have nothing to do with transport. But if you look at it from a ‘transit’ point of view, the walking environment and public transport along this road are the best in Auckland - I use them both all the time. The Council plans would have destroyed the walking environment and made bus lanes T2 - how is that an improvement?
    Karl - “first do no harm” is not a bad principle in anything to do with urban design. Urban design is an art, not a science. And what speaks more loudly of the quality of the urban community around Dom Rd than the degree of affection and concern that emerged as people became aware of the Council’s plans - and the speed at which people came together to respond? Something is clearly working well here.

  13. karl says:

    Robby, I am not sure that I would call the walking environment particularly good. Not compared to what you might find in a really pedestrian-friendly environment, with street trees, raised pedestrian crossings over the side streets, well-kept footpaths. I understand your concerns about the proposed design - but I am afraid you are making the existing a lot better than it is. As for the cycling environment, nobody would let their kids cycle there, and that says it all.

    I hope you ARE right that something more positive comes out of this. I am just afraid that you will find it much easier to motivate people to fight against something than for something.

  14. karl says:

    Oh, and what do you suggest as a positive way forward? I think maybe community workshops discussing possible designs might be an idea - that would allow locals more active input.

  15. Robby Hickman says:

    Karl - I thought this was interesting on consultation:

  16. Mark Donnelly says:

    Scott - while Dom rd is often congested, many times of the day it isn’t. And cars traveling fast next to a footpath / cafe seating at say 8pm isn’t going to work.

    It really comes down to how you see Dominion Rd - in my view it’s a unique /iconic road. I struggle to think of any other area that has the same mix and diversity.

    It’s very active locally during the day - local shops /service type facilities ie banks etc. it has nearby workers supporting it during the day. then in the evening it’s a vibrant wine and dine area - with a huge diversity of establishments. Most places I can think of, only achieve half of that ie day time shopping and no night live or vice versa.

    So for 4 hours a day it’s a congested route to the CBD. But what we as locals/businesses are saying is don’t sacrifcie the other 20hrs and how the road works.

    As a community we’ve built up the best public transport bus route in Auckland - basically not subsidised by ratepayers. If you look at it I suggest maybe 90% of those people are in fact Domionion Rd “locals”. So I’d suggest Bus users also want to see the road conintue as it is.

    As a community - we rejected T2. When I suggested bus lanes extended to intersections, I haven’t had a single complaint from a local. So it’s an area that has got behind PT. So I’d suggest this is a case of let the locals decide - we’re not some Howick/Pakuranga cars first community!

    To me it’s a community that has a proper balanced view, and should be respected - not be some arterial road experiment for traffic engineers.

  17. Nick R says:

    @Mark Donnelly

    “Look at Chapel Rd, melbourne – trams share car lane, and car parking is there. Both cars and public transport must respect the area they travel through. In a PT city like that – they can still strike a balance that respects the “local” – why can’t we do the same? ”

    I assume you are refering to Chapel St in Prahran (Chapel Rd is actually a little lane)? I live just up the way from here and believe me this is not a good role model! It is constantly clogged with traffic, a large part of which is due to people trying to manoeuvre into car parks.

    It’s funny you suggest this as an example of good PT, here in Melbourne we use it as the example of what to avoid! The trams on this route take absolutely ages, as the sit and crawl through mixed traffic and the inconsiderate people who think it is fine to stop in front of a tram and other cars for three or four minutes with their blinkers on waiting for a car to pull out of a parking space. According to the timetable it takes 18 minutes to go from the Toorak Rd stop to the Dandenong Rd stop by tram. That’s 2100m distance, or an average speed of just under 7km/h! (cars must stop for trams boarding people, so they would likewise only cover 7km/h) At those standards it would take 28 minutes to go from Mt Roskill shops to Valley Rd shops, instead of the current 6 minutes!

    There is a so called bike path on Chapel St, it is a strip of road about a metre wide between the parking spaces and the tram tracks. If there is a tram alongside you can reach out and touch the tram and a car at the same time. According to Bicycle Victoria Chapel St is the most dangerous street in Melbourne for cyclists, and 40% of injuries there are caused by people opening doors from parked cars into the ‘cycleway’. Despite living very close by I avoid this street like the plague, I’ve ridden down it twice but never again after the fright I got last time. I also avoid the tram line except late in the evening because it is so slow, likewise with driving on the street. There is a current plan to remove parking from Chapel St so that the trams can have their own lane. Naturally there is a big hoo haa about this too. The saving grace of Chapel St is it is served by three train stations along its length, making it easy to access the precinct without using the roadway at all.

    However this is still a good example for Dominion Rd as both streets are 14m wide, have large car, cycle and public transport demand and have long sections of retailing ‘villages’ that demand parking of some form. You are right that Chapel St has struck a balance, but unfortunately that equilibrium comes in the form of the lowest common denominator of gridlock and ridiculous travel times.

    I think the key lesson here is you can’t do everything on a street that’s only 14m wide. Chapel St tries to cram in a vehicular thoroughfare, a public transport corridor, a cycle way and street parking into it’s 14m, and it fails on all accounts.

    Dominion Rd could take a lesson from that and pick three out of the four functions. I think the public transport is critical yet some general traffic lanes must naturally remain too. Therefore my vote is still for moving the parking to the side streets (it’s a lot easier to park in an angle parking bay on a quite side street than to try and parallel park on a main arterial). This would leave enough space for some permanent full time central public transport lanes (best bus route in Auckland, or maybe a tram), a general traffic lane each way and a cycle lane closest to the curb. The moderate speed traffic of the cycle lane providing a buffer and physical separation between the traffic lane and the footpath

  18. Michael Wood says:

    This thread demonstrates exactly how the bullheaded process of the C&R Council has caused such polarisation that we end up in paralysis.

    I’m a regular user of Dominion Rd, mainly at the Roskill end. I walk, scooter, bus, shop, or drive the road every single day. Based on my experience, changes are needed. The road is congested, it is a menace for cyclists, it is incredibly unfriendly for pedestrians, and further improvements to public transport are required.

    Just because the plan put forward by C&R was a disastrous mess doesn’t mean that we should turn our backs on a sensible discussion about how we can improve Dominion Rd. Unfortunately, the proposal has caused all of the different groups to retreat into their own corners and protect their own pareticular interests, be it commercial, cycling, or PT.

    We need to back to the drawing board and have a full and proper consultation that includes everyone from the beginning. No one seems to have noticed that the proposal is now being sent to Auckland Transport - one of Rodney Hide’s faceless bureaucratic CCO’s. How much do we think they will engage with the community?

    Roskill Community Voice will be demanding that there are full hearings held at the Local Board level so that everyone can have a say. Surely there are some sensible solutions that can be developed. Thankfully, C&R’s plan is dead, but doing nothing is not an option either.

  19. karl says:

    Thanks Nick R and Michael - some much needed context!

  20. LucyJH says:

    I am glad they are going to keep the bus lanes for buses only. But this is a really bad outcome for cyclists. anybody who has been down Symmonds Street lately knows that having to cycle in a bus lane is both unpleasant and dangerous.

    I actually avoid cycling into uni these days as that ride frightens me so much. I also don’t believe that there is a parallel route to Dominion Road through back streets which would be as flat - and that makes a big difference when you are cycling. We will never increase cycling numbers in Auckland if we don’t give people safe, convenient options that go where they actually want to (i.e., down main streets near shops).

    I genuinely believe that if local businesses knew how much of their custom comes from pedestrians/public transport users (rather than people parking on Dominion Rd) they would be very surprised. I don’t think taking parking away would ruin the street’s ambience or make it a less pleasant space for the community. In fact, I think in many places it would make it nicer.

    Look at Queen St - I think it is a vastly more pleasant space to be now they have reduced the amount of on-street parking.


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