Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Local journeys on the cusp of Waterview

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  • Robert Harvey,

    Thanks Russell, great post and long awaited. Ever since getting the Auckland Transport leaflet about the various cycle options/upgrades I have been trying to get my head around the mess that the Waterview connection is going to create. At very least there needs to be traffic lights at the bottom of the Bullock Track, and a controlled right turn from Surrey Crescent onto Chinaman's Hill (westbound), otherwise the traffic from the inner western suburbs for the airport is gonna be a mess. And as you say, the Gt Nth Rd from Bullock to Motions is a nightmare now, and not going to get any better for anyone, but especially not for cyclists.

    Westmere • Since Nov 2006 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    The whole Waterview connection seems to be emerging as full of penny wise, pound foolish corners that have been cut, adding up to creating huge new traffic problems from the day it opens. It threatens to create as many problems as it it solve, a pretty rum way to spend 1.4 billion if you ask me.

    Infrastructure decisions around walking and cycling never seeem to make much sense to me. For example, out west just recently West Coast road from the Parr's cross roundabout to Oratia school got an expensive, magnificent upgrade of a new, wide freshly concreted shared path complete with triumphant red and white barriers and a low speed bump. But from Oratia school on, the footpath is narrow, in disrepair and completely peters out around Parker Road. Yet West Coast Rd from here to Scenic Drive is basically a heavily wooded, narrow and twisty suburban street with a 70km/h speed limit and I constantly see heaps of walkers and joggers and cyclists braving the narrow, unmade verge as traffic whizzes past. Why in God's name isn't there at least a contiguous concrete footpath on this road? This is a heavily used road and it is the 21st century, FFS!

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2053 posts Report Reply

  • CoyKoi, in reply to Robert Harvey,

    Bullock Track is getting traffic lights.
    https://at.govt.nz/about-us/have-your-say/central-auckland-consultations/great-north-road-and-bullock-track-intersection-improvements/

    AT are just calling the footpaths "shared paths" and saying job done. They'll do the same along western springs park (if that hasn't been done already?)

    Auckland • Since Apr 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Wichid, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The problem is essentially a structural one. From the old 'roads first' policy, for most trips, the car is the most practical tool for people, but with really bad outcomes for congestion, environment, etc. This has created a funding feedback loop where funding for transport is gathered in part from road user charges and petrol levies are spent on more roads, each with diminishing returns on investment. Central government, through the NZTA only spends this money on roads, and by deciding what local roads get government funding they largely set the agenda. NZTA contributes funding to maintenance, but only the road surface. The footpath, cycleway, etc will go unfunded and degrade through neglect unless council funds it entirely from rates.

    If you'd like new footpaths where they were never built, you'll need to demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for them, a bit like swimming the river to show a bridge is needed. We can't even fund new roads to new housing developments from our rates though.

    What we need is a government policy where a much greater, sensible % of transport funding must go to walking and cycling projects. This would be much better than the urban cycleway lump sum as it would be on-going money. People howl about this because they see it as motorists paying for other people's transport, but that's the funding mechanism we have. Realistically, we need a new way of collecting money which is exactly where the road pricing fits in. It would manage peak demand with variable pricing and we could invest that money in under-developed modes of transport. More likely the Govt will just legislate that the NZTA controls that money too and we'd end up with more pointless duplicate roads.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2015 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Hugh Wilson, in reply to Wichid,

    This has created a funding feedback loop where funding for transport is gathered in part from road user charges and petrol levies are spent on more roads, each with diminishing returns on investment.

    I'm not intimate with the NZTA funding model, but this is a general approach, and the crucial element is the 'in part' bit, meaning there is another source - typically consolidated revenue, which is made up of taxation receipts from multiple sources and - gasp - includes $ from non-motorists. In this way road funding is widely misunderstood , not to mention the fact that many drivers are also periodic walkers and/or cyclists.

    Having read the Spinoff piece about AKL's 10 or so transport issues the other day it does seem that something is seriously amiss in the way things are currently funded & viewed in AKL.

    For tangential thought/inspiration, some might find this story about Paris moving to reclaim its roads from cars of interest:

    https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/03/the-cars-that-ate-paris/520710/?utm_source=SFTwitter

    Melbourne • Since Feb 2013 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    But the engineers made the fatal assumption that they could make their plan work by converting the free left turn at the top of the St Lukes off-ramp to a Give Way and getting rid of the slip-lane that was there. They couldn’t. Without the slip-lane, the intersection was a disaster and traffic backed up onto the motorway every evening..

    And was these same geniuses that declared that their models were so awesome that we absolutely had to cut down the Pohutukawa 6, but couldn't see the obvious issue resulting from putting in a Give Way in place of a Free Turn.

    I really hope there was some proper accountability for that empty lane/offramp debacle. You're right, though, it does make life easier as a cyclist :)

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    It’s been earmarked as a potential car park for ages, so let it be a carpark. And let it not be free to use, at least at peak times. If you can afford that luxury SUV, you can afford five bucks for a couple of hours’ unsubsidised parking.

    My son attends Waiorea, the Maori unit at Western Springs College and every year (unless there is fruitfly outbreak or the school is being rebuilt), we run the carparking for the Pasifika Festival. We use the fields around the college, and at the same time MOTAT are doing the same with that field.

    So it already is used as a carpark, and I wonder if what needs to happen is that MOTAT need to think of it as a potential income stream on Saturday mornings.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    So it already is used as a carpark, and I wonder if what needs to happen is that MOTAT need to think of it as a potential income stream on Saturday mornings.

    I had a chat about it with MOTAT's CEO Michael Frawley (on Twitter) and he's wary about health and safety issues – perhaps more so if there's a through road from Meola – but didn't rule it out.

    But if there are compliance costs involved, all the more reason to create corresponding income for MOTAT.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21867 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to CoyKoi,

    AT are just calling the footpaths “shared paths” and saying job done. They’ll do the same along western springs park (if that hasn’t been done already?)

    Not yet. It's all been pretty vague.

    But I could probably live with upgraded and widened "shared path" footpaths if that's what was on offer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21867 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    I'm not intimate with the NZTA funding model, but this is a general approach, and the crucial element is the 'in part' bit, meaning there is another source - typically consolidated revenue, which is made up of taxation receipts from multiple sources and - gasp - includes $ from non-motorists. In this way road funding is widely misunderstood , not to mention the fact that many drivers are also periodic walkers and/or cyclists.

    NZTA's roading budget is almost entirely covered by fuel excise and RUC, except for a relatively small sum ($100m or so, from memory) from the consolidated fund that's guaranteeing future revenue for PPPs.
    It's non-state highways that are funded predominately from other sources, being general council revenues, at a 50:50 ratio between NZTA and the relevant local authority.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4079 posts Report Reply

  • Hugh Wilson, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Thanks for that - with footpaths & bike lanes, is the upshot that local authorities have to fund these?

    Melbourne • Since Feb 2013 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    with footpaths & bike lanes, is the upshot that local authorities have to fund these

    There's a separate fund for cycle infrastructure, but it's still a shared cost between the local authority and central government if that fund is accessed. NZTA has been having to (reluctantly, let's be honest) build pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure alongside their new motorways out west, but those are the exceptions. For footpaths and cycle infrastructure otherwise, if the road is controlled by a local authority they're that authority's cost.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4079 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    NZTA has been having to (reluctantly, let’s be honest) build pedestrian/cyclist infrastructure alongside their new motorways out west, but those are the exceptions.

    I think it's accepted that new motorways must now be accompanied by new cycleways.

    NZTA did try and wriggle out of the part of the Waterview path that's underground (Section 8 of the link), but the Board of Inquiry made it very clear that wasn't going to wash. This is the relevant minute, basically promising the opening of a can of whoop-ass if NZTA didn't stop trying to get out of its obligations.

    Minute and Direction of the Board – 16 May 2011

    The Board has read paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12 of Schedule A to counsel’s 13 May memorandum. It will be finalising appropriate conditions for the Draft Decision. It sees the other parties’ version of the financial contribution decision as closer to the mark than NZTA’s. That is, their version should have words inserted to make it clear that the mitigation is required on account of inadequately mitigated significant adverse effects in sectors 7 and 9, but otherwise be drafted largely as they propose.

    The Board has considered Ms Janissen’s Reply submissions (p29), and remembers her partial concession to the Judge at the time. The Board does not accept that the required condition has anything to do mitigation being needed in sector 8. It is to provide connectivity between these communities so that people can move between them to gain access to spaces/activities each has lost. NZTA has funding to undertake works in sectors 7 and 9. A corollary is that it is funded to sufficiently mitigate effects on sectors 7 and 9 if required by the consent authority. A further corollary must also be that if it can’t or won’t sufficiently mitigate effects in sectors 7 and 9, it may not get consent for those works. Equally if it fails to meet conditions of consent concerning mitigation of the sectors 7 and 9 effects, it may be stopped from carrying out the works there.

    The Board has already offered the concession that the money not be payable unless consents and land ownership issues are sorted out by the Council and Auckland Transport. On which basis there is a possibility that it may never be called upon to pay up. Also, the Board refrained from requiring the preparation of a bonding condition, given that NZTA is a responsible public body. It is now wondering if it should change its mind on that.

    The final sentence of Ms Janissen’s foreshadowed draft is totally unacceptable, providing as it would, yet more wriggle room (a cut-off date).

    As to the following issue, The Board does not recall any evidence that 6 Barrymore Place is not owned by NZTA. It seems that condition OS.17 will have to be tailored to suit the new facts. The property has a value in the public domain, being a Capital Value of $1.130,000. There is unfortunately no other evidence of value, but CV will be sufficient for present purposes. If Public Works Act procedures or any other factor results in the property not being capable of being transferred to AC within 12 months of commencement of operation of the motorway in sector 9, there is to be a financial contribution paid to AC of that figure, upon terms similar to those in the connectivity condition except of course for the contingency about resource consents and land ownership.

    The parties may revert to the Board with new drafts of these conditions by 1pm this Wednesday 18 May. Otherwise the Board will issue its own with the Draft Decision.

    And let's be fair: the paths at both ends of Waterview are shaping up pretty well, especially the south end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21867 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think it’s accepted that new motorways must now be accompanied by new cycleways.

    Which is a good thing. But NZTA really fought hard to avoid that becoming accepted practice.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4079 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    A little old but still mostly valid for discussions about where the money comes from and goes to
    http://cyclingchristchurch.co.nz/2013/02/18/mythbusting-cyclists-dont-pay/

    when it comes to local roads (where most people cycle) about 50% is paid for by local Council rates (in larger places like Christchurch, the proportion is typically a bit higher).

    For Auckland it's probably higher, so it's, to a large degree, ratepayer funded not funded by road user charges, that's especially true of footpaths etc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4263 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Wood,

    As a Westmere-living, SUV-owning Soccer Dad, team coach, and certifiable bike nut, I am so stupidly excited about the Meola Fix for a ton of reasons. So when I started reading this email from the club urgently opposing the changes, my first reaction was "selfish wankers!" – but but but!!! Turns out the opposition is coming from a positive perspective, hooray for once! They're asking AT to

    develop an alternative safe parking area as part of a precinct wide solution that benefits all of the Community including other major supporters MOTAT and Western Springs College.

    Bloody good on them. Get those cars off the street. And yes - I'd love to use safe new bike lanes to ride to soccer with my boy every time, instead of gritting teeth as we ride on the footpath. It's a great warmup and a ton of fun when we're not too terrified. Equally, thought, on those really crap weather days when we pick up 2 or 3 others and drive there, I'd be happy to pay for the privilege of parking our warm, dry people-moving box in a place where I'm not risking having my door, arm and leg taken off by a bus. So, let's. Yay.

    Now back in Aucktown • Since Dec 2006 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    There's also this in the pipeline for the area.

    http://i.stuff.co.nz/auckland/91483949/two-more-gyms-proposed-for-new-zealands-largest-school-rebuild

    That piece of MOTAT land is crucial

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 477 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Greg Wood,

    Bloody good on them. Get those cars off the street.

    It makes so much sense, in so many ways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21867 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to CoyKoi,

    AT are just calling the footpaths "shared paths" and saying job done

    Saw that on the sea-side of Beach Rd today - they seem to have conceded defeat on their poorly-designed cycle lane alongside footpath combo and marked the cycle lane as officially walking plus cycling. Guess who loses.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19228 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    Thanks for that - with footpaths & bike lanes, is the upshot that local authorities have to fund these?

    Cycling infrastructure, as Matthew noted, depends on whether it is adjacent to a motorway. Otherwise in the Auckland region, Auckland Transport manages the whole width of the road corridor including the footpaths.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19228 posts Report Reply

  • Rhys Jones, in reply to Greg Wood,

    Thanks Greg. I was actually quite disappointed with the messaging in that email. Particularly the request to 'let AT know that you DO NOT support this proposal on the basis that it provides less carparks, is too narrow for buses and is NOT a safe solution for our community.' In my view they could have encouraged members to SUPPORT the proposed changes, subject to addressing the off-road parking issue. It seems to me that the proposed changes are 99% awesome (without doubt some of AT's best work - I think I'm as 'stupidly excited' as you are), so it's a bit of a shame for WSAFC to be seemingly throwing the baby out with the bath water. Given that it's a huge club, I'm concerned that this will prompt lots of people to simply oppose the proposal, rather than supporting the overall approach - but making sure that important issues (e.g. parking) are addressed. I'd hate to see what promises to be a game-changing transport project watered down on the basis of public opposition - particularly when the source of that opposition could be relatively easily fixed without compromising on the fundamental aspects of the design.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2014 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Rhys Jones,

    Agreed, Rhys - I like Greg's judo move, and indeed, removing on-street parking outside the soccer fields would make the street even safer for all! (NB New off-street parking is outside the scope of the current project, but is definitely on everyone's radar as a precinct-level priority.)

    However, given the way the feedback is collated and analysed by AT, submissions that use phrases like "we do not support the changes proposed" will probably be counted as flat opposition to the entire project.

    It's hard to fathom why the soccer club and its members would choose to be on record as objecting to the continuous raised footpaths across side streets, for example – which will make a huge difference for people of all ages when they walk, jog, stroll, scoot, travel by wheelchair or mobility scooter or pushchair around the neighbourhood.

    I wonder if the club will follow up this mail-out with another one explaining that it's possible to support the project in principle, while also constructively registering strong feelings about some aspects of it?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1470 posts Report Reply

  • Jo Moon, in reply to Rhys Jones,

    Hi Grey, Rhys and Jolisa. Agree with many of your comments. I was concerned enough by the blanket 'just say no' approach in the email from WSAFC that I sent a reply email to the EC and President of EC expressing my concern/disappointment at their approach. Given that for many of the AT feedback to proposals there aren't a huge number of people who actually bother to give feedback (was only about 480 for the K Rd one recently - I think), a club the size of WSAFC has the potential to have a large effect. I would have liked a more measured approach, in support of the many improvements, but requesting consideration of off-street parking.... I would encourage you to feedback concerns to WSAFC directly.

    Since Apr 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rhys Jones,

    SUPPORT the proposed changes, subject to addressing the off-road parking issue

    Important, yes. Far too common for our decision-makers to veer black-white.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19228 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    The changes at St Lukes road intersection with Gt Nth Rd have lost a through lane heading into town along Gt Nth Rd. Surely traffic having to now wait to go straight means further delays.

    The road works on that bridge and intersection cost $$$$ and seems to have been a step backwards. There's no benefits on St Lukes Rd apart from a redundant lane as your photos show. There was no need for a new lane for traffic turning towards Pt Chev from St Lukes, and the extra east-bound lane for the motorway could've been created by sacrificing the shoulder under the bridge. What a waste of our money.

    Still huge problems abound such as the peak time queue to turn left onto St Lukes from Gt Nth Rd, which snakes all the way back along the east bound motorway off ramp.

    Of course, these little tweaks to intersections and off ramps are just tinkering to solve a much broader issue - too much traffic.

    Comprehensive and appealing public transport is the only solution. And that's not a long-term or medium-term solution. It's needed right now.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

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