Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: We can make things better here

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to paul reifel,

    The team at CAA have been absolutely brilliant over the last few years I’ve followed them. How do they get recognized for this? They deserve medals, the whole lot of them. Big gold ones!

    Indeed. Effective advocacy like theirs doesn't come cheap or easy either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ha. I found this.

    It’s a minute from the EPA Board of Inquiry on the Waterview Connection, after it had published its draft decision requiring NZTA to building a walking and cycle path over Section 8 of the link (ie: above the tunnel).

    NZTA was still trying to wriggle out of the requirement and the board duly administered this burn:

    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.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Roger Lacey,

    the daunting 1km climb northbound to Hillsborough Road on the SH20 cycleway is a showstopper for commuters and weekend cyclists alike

    I've only ever been down that part of the cycleway and take a different route on the way back. The rest of the track is great but that part is way too steep for your average cyclist. Hopefully someone will come up with an alternative route or a zigzag bridge to help flatten it out a bit.

    Whatakataka Bay Surf Club… • Since Apr 2008 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    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.

    ouch!

    I find it sad that NZTA would spend money on lawyers (and probably not inconsiderable sums) to try and avoid doing what is obviously the "right thing". Sadly this appears to be part of such organisations losing any incentive to act "for the public good".

    That aside overall the NZTA has been pretty good to cyclists, if not always willingly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Paul’s not a radical and he’s a nice bloke

    Fair enough, and especially regarding his niceness. But his column was not balanced or accurate. Like it or not he gave the impression of being extreme in his views.

    Most folks feel some roads are good and not every tree is essential. If you are arguing that these trees should be saved then argue that specific case (it's not a hard argument in the case of the 6). To make the leap from those 6 to swaying the whole Waterview development is bad is only going to alienate most of the audience.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    any bets on how long it will take to totally bog up

    Well, yeah. What generally happens is that traffic improves for a while, then people realize that a car commute from X to Y is now doable, so they buy a house in X and start driving to work.

    The M25 in the UK has now reached six lanes each way in places, plus various other enhancements like hard shoulder running and parallel link roads.It's still chokka. Same in LA. (At least the Brits had the good sense / financial limitations to cap the reach of motorways into London at the mid-sixties level, or the whole of places like Marylebone would have become motorway corridors).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, have these cycleways got adequate car parking and access ramps so people can drive to them for their weekend cycle excursions?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Well, yeah. What generally happens is that traffic improves for a while, then people realize that a car commute from X to Y is now doable, so they buy a house in X and start driving to work.

    This is a little bit different, in that most of SH20 already exists, and then disgorges unhelpfully into overwhelmed suburban streets in Mt Albert. Most of the route has been subject to a designation for decades. But traffic flows are going to change and SH16 would have been swamped without some improvement.

    And the Causeway has been sinking for years, to the point where it was flooding during king tides, so that needed fixing too.

    The problem, as others have noted, is that they could have taken the opportunity to build a proper busway. The northern busway is a spectacular success.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The problem, as others have noted, is that they could have taken the opportunity to build a proper busway.

    But doing that in the space of the designation would have meant taking lanes away from general traffic, and we can't be having that!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    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.

    In government terms, we call that a spanking.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Patrick Reynolds is eloquently unimpressed with Auckland Transport's conduct at last night's meeting about the pohutukawa..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    In government terms, we call that a spanking.

    I believe the young folk would refer to it as a "sick burn".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Generation Zero's Sudhvir Singh made some interesting observations to me in an email about another matter. He's a bit busy doing, y'know, surgery and stuff rfight now, but he said I could quote him:

    Congratulations on the mention in the Herald editorial. Some of the cycleway developments out your way look great.

    It is unfortunate that Paul Little has confused Waterview with the St Lukes interchange.

    We're actually quite pro-Waterview for a number of reasons, in addition to the airport time savings:

    - It genuinely does complete the motorway network - now let's invest in the other modes!
    - By bypassing SH1 and the harbour bridge, it makes an alternative harbour road crossing largely redundant.
    - The Congestion Free Network is designed for a post-Waterview world, not competing for the funds for Waterview (which would be redundant as it's happening!)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis, in reply to Sacha,

    I attended for the Pohutukawa-geddon part of the meeting, and it was a bloody farce. The bit where the AT PR rep said 55 submissions were not considered due to a "clerical error" was Vogonesque in it's officiousness.

    Turns out the Pohutukawa 6 must be sacrificed for teh bikez lanez !

    I noted that there was an engineer listed as one of the attending Project Representatives, and asked him to explain why we can have shared spaces in Federal St and other CBD roads, but we can't do it in the 54 space carpark behind the Pohutukawa 6. The PR rep responded that the engineer wasn't there to answer questions.

    The good news is that AT still need resource consent and the Chair of the Local Board said the Board would actively manage the consent process and would take into consideration the views of the wider community. In the event that resource consent is denied, I hope AT will re-engineer the design rather lawyer up.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland Transport's story from last night has completely fallen apart.

    MOTAT never objected to the alternative cycle/walk path (behind the trees): it was never even canvassed with them. They did express a preference for maintaining local parking, but that's not the same thing.

    The Waitemata local board was also not presented with the option of the alternative route.

    "Lies" is a strong word, but this certainly appears to be what we're getting here. It's shocking.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Pretty sure I recall a design preference by the engineers for the slope of the road to be raised alongside the trees – which to AT’s blinkered eyes would mean their branches would be obstructing vehicles if the pathway went behind them instead.

    Easy solution seems to be removing one of the three citybound lanes if it is really essential to have two turning lanes passing the trees. The weaving around in that section citybound is currently sub-optimal anyway as merging vehicles move to the left or right lanes. Reducing them to 2 might make that process more intuitive.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19706 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Easy solution seems to be removing one of the three citybound lanes if it is really essential to have two turning lanes passing the trees.

    They've already started painting the new lanes, and it's confusing.

    Also: temporarily taking away a citybound lane reduces the temptation to use Point Chev as a thoroughfare.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22825 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Patrick Reynolds is eloquently unimpressed with Auckland Transport’s conduct at last night’s meeting about the pohutukawa

    He uses the word "clusterfuck" in the post. Calling that level of furious "unimpressed" is up there with calling Hurricane Katrina "a mild breeze". Nicely done.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    get your grove on…
    “Clusterfuck” is indeed a very apt description of what they are doing to that group of trees growing close together -‘ copse and robbers’ comes to mind, as well….

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Treeson, even. On the verge of the metro-siders and footpads having a brush-up with the highwaymen.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    He uses the word “clusterfuck” in the post. Calling that level of furious “unimpressed” is up there with calling Hurricane Katrina “a mild breeze”. Nicely done.

    He is justifiably angry with the weaseling going on.

    Sadly most of the commenters seem to have forgotten that Western Springs essentially replaces Pt Chev as an access on and off the western motorway once the Waterview interchange is complete. There really will be a lot more traffic at that intersection.

    That is still no reason to kill those trees because there quite clearly are several alternatives that do not reduce the ability of that intersection to move the people on and off the motorway.

    Sadly some people have refused to acknowledge that their original idea not the best option and have now become stubborn to the extent of ... well ... lying.

    It's well past time for someone to step in over their heads and force them to change the plans to protect the trees.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I just read that Transport Blog post. Incredible. And in the comments one Cameron Pitches writes:

    The same “no big deal” approach also applies to the Puhoi Warkworth toll road, where 376 mature kauri are in for the chop.

    Really? What the hell is going on down there?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Western Springs essentially replaces Pt Chev as an access on and off the western motorway once the Waterview interchange is complete.

    I'm a bit confused about this. From what I can see, we don't lose any of the current on or off-ramps at Pt Chev. So you can still come off and go on at Pt Chev in either direction on the North-Western. It's just that we don't get any way at Pt Chev to actually go in or out of the tunnel.

    I'm not really seeing why traffic at St Lukes would increase dramatically. I guess locals might use it to get to the tunnel more, but their alternative was to use it to get to South Auckland directly along St Lukes Rd anyway, or taking the motorway citybound to go south. And there should be traffic reductions from people out West choosing the tunnel over going off at St Lukes to get to many of the South Isthmus and Airport locations.

    Any thoughts? What am I missing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don't think you will be able to get on at Pt Chev to head west (to airport) you need to get on at St Lukes instead. Less traffic through Carrington/ Owairaka but more at St Lukes

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I don’t think you will be able to get on at Pt Chev to head west (to airport) you need to get on at St Lukes instead. Less traffic through Carrington/ Owairaka but more at St Lukes

    Pretty sure you're right that Pt Chev won't have access to the tunnel. It's hard to envisage how they could have, engineering wise. Has the traffic through St Lukes been modeled as likely to increase? I'm just thinking that if I was at the Carrington Gt North crossing, I wouldn't drive sideways a whole km to St Lukes just to use the tunnel, rather than just heading south to Maioro, particularly since there would be a reduction in traffic using Carrington coming from further west/north.

    Must be a little embittering to live right by the tunnel mouth in Waterview, and yet know that you'd have to drive to either St Lukes or Patiki Rd to be able to get into it :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

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