Don’t Shoot For The Moon!


Be reasonable what you wish for!

With interest in transport projects running high since the birth of the Super City, Auckland Transport’s Chief Executive, David Warburton, warns people not to get too carried away as there’s not an unlimited budget.

Local boards are also joining in the scramble for pet transport projects that are considered by them needed to be done in their area, adding to the legacy issues Auckland Transport has inherited and need to be addressed.

Sorry, rocket travel for Auckland is too expensive

Mr Warburton is urging a balance between “aspirations” and “funding realities.”

“There are growing aspirations for Auckland which are positive,” he said.

“Transport is a key component of these aspirations and in many instances is an enabler of the desired long-term results.

But he warns “execution is expensive.”

“There is a growing but perhaps delayed realisation that unless there is a greater willingness to debt fund or increase rates(or income generating equivalents), it will be difficult to meet some of the aspirational desires.”
He said Auckland Transport was keen to deliver but there is a “risk that a pragamatic approach of considering funding and technical realities will see Auckland Transport acting as a damper or moderator on some of the desirable proposals rather than a crusader.”

Around Auckland works going out to tender shortly include:

  • Glen Eden train station carpark upgrade
  • Hibiscus Coast busway station (was called Silverdale)
  • Sunnynook bus station pedestrian cycle path
  • Hobsonville ferry terminal upgrade
  • Birkenhead ferry terminal upgrade (inner berth physical works)
  • Cycleway link between Railside Ave and Vitasovich Ave

Updates on bigger projects:

  • Ameti: Work has been undertaken on reviewing the programming sequences for the various packages of AMETI with a view to optimising the delivery programme. A procurement plan has been approved for the enabling works on Package 1 which has enabled construction of the replacement bridges crossing rail on Mountain Road and Ellerslie/ Panmure highway to proceed before Christmas. Options for the bus interchange at Sylvia Park are being considered as are development options for the Panmure Bridge. Traffic modelling work for the whole AMETI project will be finished in early March with the first data available during that month, allowing more informed design decisions to assit with establishing a business case for the various stages of work. Interim works on the South Eastern highway is continuing and widening associated with that project wil be compleeted in April. Work on the draft scoping report and option drawings for the Pakuranga / Ti Rakau section continues with three principle options developed in sketch form.
  • Dominion Rd: All the concepts developed over the last few years have ben reviewed with the intention of refining options to a small number “that better reflect the interests of the many stakeholders together with the objectives that ere established for this project through the strategic planning processes.” In other words, a thorough questioning of where it came from with T2 and where it should go, looking at it all with fresh eyes, which is most welcome after the sorry former Auckland City Council saga..




  1. Mark says:

    Dominion is much more than just a T2 issue.

    It’s never had a workable strategic direction.

    it really started as a “motorway” in 1960′s planning ie a Pakuranga type highway. Then it tried a light rail option, which was deeply flawed due to britomart/western line and achievable network speeds - ARC killed that light rial option (1A).

    next some bright spark decided it should be the bus route to the airport! - it isn’t and will never be.

    So it’s a designation looking for a project to keep some staff busy, and self important……

    Aucklands best bus patronage route - no real cycling numbers - in fact it’s a far more important pedestrian route to the cbd than it is cycling….

    so there are far better projects to spend 60-80m on!

  2. mark says:

    Mark, you are pretty dismissive of something which is a core route both for buses and cyclists.

    Improving the route for buses is key to increasing patronage and service quality. Most bang for the buck here. Nuff said.

    And as for cyclists - please don’t continue the long tradition of bashing somebody and then asking him why he isn’t smiling! You crowd out cyclists out of everything, like with the kind of design your comments supports - “Lets forget those pesky cyclists, there’s none there anyway!” - and then try to have it both ways by pointing at the lack of cyclists!

    Cyclists want to ride to the SAME places people go by car or bus - and if you don’t see any cyclists on the road, then it’s because they have been ignored and maginalised, and just plain scared off - for decades. Dominion Road is a lively street with lots on offer, with lots of residential areas around, and a main route into the city. And it’s also relatively flat - why should there NOT be lots of interest by locals to cycle there - once cyclists get their fair consideration in the design? Of course at the moment parents don’t let their kids cycle to school, and of course at the moment the same parents don’t consider the idea of cycling there to the supermarket or for a coffee. No surprises there!

    Dominion Road can cater for buses and cyclists, and for both locals and people just going through. But to get that kind of design working, we can’t just do another shortsighted “let’s just ignore group X” kind of design.

  3. Nick R says:

    Very interesting that they can talk about ‘funding realities’ etc… but that obviously only applies to things other than new roads. After all, AT does have four hundred million dollars a year allocated to building new roads in Auckland, so obviously it has plenty of budget for some things!

  4. Kurt says:

    I guess reaching for the moon is borne out of the total lack of progress Aucklanders have witnessed with public transport since the 1950′s.

    If you are old enough you will have watched the rise of cars and trucks going hand and hand with traffic chaos along with motorways plowing their way through Auckland.

    This enlightened era also saw the end of a comprehensive light rail system, the near end of a comprehensive ferry system likewise the near death of a basic suburban rail system. We have been trying catch up ever since.

    It was only the mid to late 90′s did Auckland governance finally wake up to the fact that alternatives were needed.

    The trouble was that Auckland had been forgotten in regard to a decent public transport system since the 1950′s and a decent plan and will to achieve it. We have tamely fiddled about and achieved very little up until the last 15 years.

    If we aim for the moon we may make it half way there at least.

  5. mark says:

    Hear, hear Kurt.

    We haven’t got the money, so we have to think - and that means spending differently than the last couple decades. People who insist on new roads, or feel that we need still more parking (or want to retain parking at all cost, even if that makes change all but impossible) should ask whether that kind of attitude has gotten us anything.

    Apart from being one of the (according to some, THE) most traffic-jammed, most car-centric city in Australasia!

  6. Mark says:


    I agree it can be improved - bus lanes to intersections / pre-emption etc.

    But current shared bus lane operates ok for cyclists. The proposals were often at the expense of pedestrians - often the forgotten people in the route. in parts off the proposals footpaths were narrowed, and even had some cycle lanes coming onto footpath behind bus stops!

    You ignore the point I was making on pedestrians - when you talk schools - far more walk than cycle -
    the MENPS walking school bus is hugely successful.

    Last evening at 5.45 I was Ian McKinnon - in the space of 200m I saw 6 people walking back from town - and no cyclists.

    It’s a limited space, but it’s not just a through route - it’s a local area, which has high PT useage and high pedestrian useage. It’s not a “growth” area - and even Mt Roskill at the end will only have minor growth due to stormwater constraints.

    And SH20 will reduce traffic - including Buses when they use bus shoulder on SH20.

    And at the end of the day 60m could get you a TOD at Mt Albert - with full bus interchanges / large cycle storage facities, and support 20,000 students at Unitec, and major secondary school at MAGS
    - I know which would give the best return for PT in that choice

  7. urbanlocal says:

    The motorway plan in the early days was a ‘shoot for the moon’ as it was being developed in a big way during the Millenium Project. The goal for a first class public transport system should be given the same energy as the motorways have. Let us shoot for the moon again but to tackle the issues that face us today.

  8. urbanlocal says:

    Most cyclists would avoid Ian McKinnon due to the 70kph posted speed limit and the need to descend and ascend in a short distanace. I avoid it on my bike. I prefer to climb Symonds Street from the city centre and decend from the top of New North to the beginning of Dominon Road. Also more continuous space on this route due to the bus lanes.

    I personally think that Dominon Road could be improved in the short term by extending the duration of the existing buslanes by an hour each side.

  9. urbanlocal says:

    Regarding travel to school: For every child who walks there is another who is driven. When asked for a school Travelwise report, 30 percent of children would prefer to cycle if they had the choice.
    it is probable to assume that these children do not cycle as their parents are probably concerned about there safety. Rightly so as there is little in the way of cycling infrastructure.
    My point is that we should not simply ignore a travel mode because it is small. Rather we should think of ways to make it grow. Especially when it is cycling.

  10. Mark says:

    urbanlocal - ian McKinon is to be improved, and I suspect speed dropped as well.

    On the school cycling - it does depend on the school eg primary school with 5yr olds is a bit harder to get high cycling :)

    I’m not saying we ignore a travel mode - but there is a basic limit to Dom Rd space, and everyone seems to forget the pedestrian. I just don’t think we can have a seperate cycle lane, and keep pedestrain amenity.

    one of the reasons this is one of Auckland’s best bus patronage routes is the village nature, walkability of the area. having an active/thriving scene encourages bus use. people feel safe using buses, even late evening there’s lots happening in these town centres.

    Bus lane hours could extend - but also a simple and big win is the extension to intersections, with “B” pre-emption - a cheap/bid win improvement.

  11. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luz Aguirrebena, AKT. AKT said: Auck Transport warns dont get carried away with a wish list for transport projects #auckland [...]

  12. jarbury says:

    As Nick R notes, Auckland Transport has heaps of money. They have capital expenditure of about $300 million on new roads in the 2011/2012 year.

    Where’s that money going?

  13. Russell says:

    Mark - MENPS walking bus may be such a success because MENPS ban kids taking bikes to school. I’d love my daughter to be able to cycle with me to MENPS and then for me to carry on into the city.
    Why do MENPS ban bikes ???? Because of the ‘too dangerous’ perception which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as the parents then drive the kids that live too far to walk but close enough to bike?
    During commuting hours, Dominion Rd already has more people in buses than people in cars so extending the bus lane hours is a great idea.
    Large areas of suburbia that are a short walk to Dominion Rd are tipped for future urban intensification so there will be plenty of growth to support more intensive PT modes.
    Ian McKinnon: I cycle it twice a day, but wouldn’t recommend it for beginners or those not confident. It’s a nightmare for broken glass (city bound by the motor way) over hanging trees and drain grates sticking out into the road to dodge. Why wasn’t it reduced to 50km/hr when the traffic lights went in in the dip?


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