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Speaker: Why Auckland, and New Zealand, needs the city rail link

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  • Hans Versluys,

    This is far too rational an assessment and in danger of exploding Steven Joyce's brain. He prefers cost/benefit ratios that only take cars into account because car parking fees and fines bring in more money than socialist transport.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Bowden,

    Strongly agree that this HAS to happen.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Unfortunately, the minister for the trucking lobby and the prime minister would rather die in a ditch than see successful public transport or Len Brown succeed, respectively. And when you add the fact that the finance minister comes from Southland, where the fear of loathing of Auckland recently forced a friend of mine to move back to the 09 to get away from being the object of community hate, you start to get the picture.

    Also (and linked to the above) to many New Zealanders (and politicians) there seems to be something profoundly unsettling about a metro. Here in bucolic Middle Earth we don’t do cities and we certainly don’t do underground rail. I mean, underground? Rail? That way lies the corruption of Saruman the White! It is somehow an un-New Zealand project. Accepting that Auckland is a city in a way Dunedin or Palmerston North is not is to accept that the country is no longer a collection of over-grown suburbs where the detached bungalow, the internal combustion engine and glorious outdoors is the the supreme expression of our collective values.

    A Metro isn’t just a public transport system. It is a socialist threat to our way of life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1817 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Sydney built the bulk of its underground in The Depression . . .

    Sydney’s first two underground stations predate the depression, and the bulk of its tunnels – Eastern Suburbs, Airport Line, Epping to Chatswood – are much more recent. It’s the commuter rail associated with the Harbour Bridge, not all of which is underground, that was built during the depression.

    Get off at Britomart
    Something that relates to Auckland’s current situation – from Urban Dictionary:

    Get off at Redfern:
    The origin of this saying is easy to trace. On the train line to the city in Sydney, one of the last stops before the city is at a suburb called Redfern. Thus, when you get off at Redfern, you’re exiting the train before getting to the main part of the city.

    Has the same meaning as
    “Did you wear a rubber?”

    “Nah mate, just got off at Redfern"

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3595 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wellington's trains used to end near where Te Papa is now. If it had stayed like that would have been easy to extend to airport. Short sighted solutions from earlier eras.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2122 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    This!

    When we walked around the North Wharf and the new Wynyard Quarter it really felt like Auckland had grown up. Real cities have restaurants on the waterfront. Real cities have public spaces by the water.

    Real cities also have viable public transport.

    Oh and one political party has promised to support it while another has promised to oppose it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3434 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Rail was how the west was won, not how to keep it. Do they hand those BMW's back for the holidays?

    Bart "Oh and one political party has promised to support it while another has promised to oppose it."
    That would be the eternal Auckland Negation Principle operating right there.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Not to disagree with the argument for the need for this project, but part of the reason for the "big train" stations in London, Paris etc., was the way the cities long preceded the existence of the railway. They are more rail incursions into the existing centre.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Feel free to distribute this far and wide…

    Holiday Highways To Nowhere – full size poster

    And while we're at it, dig up as many OSH reports as you can on the trucking sector. Maybe transport could be Nicky Hager's next project?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4403 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Oh and one political party has promised to support it

    Well, two, I think you'll find :-)

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Wellington's trains used to end near where Te Papa is now. If it had stayed like that would have been easy to extend to airport. Short sighted solutions from earlier eras.

    The space of the former train tracks was turned into roading!

    The best idea for Wellington I've heard is the Green's, with a light rail track from the train station to the airport, as well as a loop into central Lower Hutt.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1869 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    In a way the argument for the project is even simpler, though this piece is excellent.

    Here's my short argument for the project:

    "Over the next 30 years Auckland's population is estimated to increase by close to a million people. The rest of the country's increase will be less than half a million. Auckland's roading system struggles to cope with existing flows and is pretty much built out once the current motorway projects are finished.

    But there is one part of Auckland's transport infrastructure with tremendous unused capacity: the rail network. With patronage growing by around 20% a year, rail is playing an increasingly important role in Auckland's transport system. However, as all the line currently converge on a two track tunnel into Britomart, the ability for the rail network to keep growing in use is limited by this bottleneck.

    The City Rail Link gets rid of the bottleneck, allowing us to extract full value from our current investment in rail and enabling much better train frequencies throughout the network. This allows further future growth of the rail system, faster trips from the south and west, better access to all the city centre. In short it allows Auckland to keep growing without placing more pressure on the road network."

    I could keep going and going, but that'll do for now.

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 217 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    Shorter: this doubles the capacity of the region's entire rail network.

    It also enables a new line to the airport that cannot otherwise connect to the same tracks. Too easy for the argument to get diverted into being about the CBD.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Butler,

    Well, two, I think you'll find

    Yeah, apparently Labour are on board now - and nice to see the Greens generously working together with them on it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    As has been said on Joshua's fine blog, the project needs to be sold way more compellingly.

    "City rail link" does not convey network completion, faster travel, more frequent and reliable services (how does 5 minutes between trains sound to your average passenger?) or any other real benefits.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    The best idea for Wellington I’ve heard is the Green’s, with a light rail track from the train station to the airport, as well as a loop into central Lower Hutt.

    In the 1990s a group by the name of "Transport 2000" put together a pretty comprehensive plan for light rail in Wellington; this involved (from memory) a line to the airport (via a tunnel under the Basin, I believe), running light rail vehicles up the Johnsonville line, and one or two other proposals I can't remember. My late father was one author of the report, but I don't know what happened to the group after that; it seems that some of the ideas are still around though, which is great.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Leopold, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    And have seen in Archives NZ plans tabled in Parliament for lines from the Central Station in Coutenay Place to Island Bay and to Miramar (1920's, from memory)

    Since Jan 2007 • 149 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Road revenue is higher than rail for the Govt coffers. They see roads as vending machines and I suspect put that revenue into their value add calculations, i.e. value to them, not us.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Leopold,

    the Central Station in Courtenay Place

    is that why that street is so wide?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Attachment

    We have been through all this before. When Les Mills wanted to build his monument, Brittomart Station, the excuse given was that the existing Station was too far from the city and the commuters, poor dears, could not be expected to walk that far, just under a kilometre.
    The old station had and still does, have a large space at the front that could have been used for buses ans saved the poor souls the trouble of walking but no, the "Award Winning" station had to be built.
    With the money saved by not building Brittomart we could have had a "world class" transport system for our "world class" City.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4941 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Well, two, I think you’ll find

    Yeah, apparently Labour are on board now – and nice to see the Greens generously working together with them on it.

    Jacinda Ardern and others have been very vocal in support of the project since the route was revealed by Len Brown a year ago. The two parties announced their funding commitments for the link two days apart last month. So I don't think it's particularly productive to imply they've pinched the policy, or that the Greens are somehow being "generous" in working toward a shared goal.

    Oddly enough, Nikki Kaye supports the link too -- but "as part of a balanced transport strategy" or something. The presence of Joyce in government twists every issue he touches out of shape.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    And look at the old station and it's environs now.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Dwarf Star?

    The presence of Joyce in government twists every issue he touches out of shape.

    The black hole at the heart of the National Galaxy...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5092 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I believe the Greens (and many public transport advocates) were pushing this before the Council very gratifyingly and publicly hopped on the bandwagon. Certainly before Labour agreed to support it. And 'generous' is a contrast with some of the attitudes expressed in the other direction, which we don't need to revisit here. It was great to see the parties working together contructively at that Britomart launch event last year, alongside Heart of the City and other organisations.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    With the money saved by not building Brittomart we could have had a “world class” transport system for our “world class” City.

    Nowhere near it. Britomart cost a bit over $200m. I think leaving the station where it was would have been like only putting four lanes on the Habour Bridge.

    Which is not to say that the process of its development wasn't extremely dodgy -- a developer who never had the money he claimed to have, a council official who pushed through a complex and questionable proposal before departing to work for that developer. Auckland City governance in the 1990s was a shambles. What we have now is a trimmed-down version of the plan, without the interest-free loans to the developer/speculator.

    See Hard News passim here and (from 1997) here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

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