Auckland Transport’s Business [to] Report: August

As every month, we had a look at the business report of Auckland Transport to review any items of interest for cycling. Where possible, we will also provide additional context from our own discussions with Auckland Transport.

This time, it’s a MASSIVE issue, with lots of (mostly infrastructure) topics that relate to cycling.

Note that where the below is italicised, we have copied the text from Auckland Transport’s report directly, without changing it.

  • The contract for the next stage of investigations into the Beach Road cycleway has been awarded to AECOM engineering consultants. The proposed cycleway will connect with NZTA’s Grafton Gully cycle route. Stakeholder and public consultation will be undertaken on the Beach Road proposals in the latter half of the year. /// This will be the link to Tamaki Drive / Quay Street, and will also (at least for a section of Beach Road) provide better access towards the lower CBD. All we have heard so far indicates that AT will go for a higher level of protection than cycle lanes, in keeping with the cycleways the Beach Road link will connect. One of the key issues for the designers to resolve is the number of busy commercial driveways on Beach Road. Also notable is that the design company chosen is the same that is doing the NZTA cycleway.
  • Of the seventeen high priority Tamaki Drive projects identified by the road safety audit, fifteen projects have been completed in the 2011/12 financial year. The Strand and Tamaki Drive intersection project was deferred to the 2012/13 financial year, to ensure integration with the Quay Street upgrade design. Work is continuing at the Kelly Tarlton’s corner, largely due to the site conditions associated with the Kelly Tarlton’s underground fish tanks that require careful above ground construction together with the threshold treatments that are still to be delivered at key locations along the corridor to reinforce a slower speed environment. /// The Quay Street-related project, BTW, is the provision of a westbound cycle lane at and beyond The Strand, to ensure that cyclists are protected better in this bus and truck-heavy section.

  • The second stage of the minor safety improvements that includes a number of outstanding improvements associated with the Tamaki Drive safety audit will commence in the 2012/13 financial year.
  • A child cycle safety programme to promote road safety and cycling skills has been developed in collaboration with Safekids for delivery between Sept 2012 and June 2013.
  • The final design report for the section of the South-eastern urban Busway between Panmure and Panmure Bridge [AMETI] is complete. There is on-going engagement with a number of stakeholders regarding the design. /// We have seen some very promising things in this design, which has been changed to include new/better cycle links, not just an upgraded bridge for walkers/cyclists. We will confirm this as soon as we can be fully confident that the upgraded proposal has passed muster.
  • The scheme assessment report for the section of Busway between Panmure Bridge and Botany [AMETI] is progressing well. Consultation with key stakeholders on the draft scheme drawings has commenced. /// From our earlier engagement some months back, we are very hopeful for this project. The proposed level of quality for both confident and novice cyclists could make it one of those rare projects where the buzzword “step change” is wholly and truly appropriate, especially for such a cycling-deprived area like Pakuranga and the further suburbs on the route. Sadly, right now it is still very far away.
  • [Dominion Road] – The project team is preparing further information to present an incremental option analysis to the AT Board later this year. The project team will formally communicate with the key stakeholders, advertising that AT are still evaluating options and no firm decision has been made. /// Mmmh, it seems this project may have hit some delays? CAA will get more information in a week or so, after Local Boards have been briefed.
  • New Lynn – The construction of streetscape improvements along Great North Road between Totara Ave and Memorial Drive have commenced with a completion date of February 2013. /// We must admit that we have strong concerns about the Great North Road upgrade, which we unsuccessfully expressed to Auckland Transport. Our concern is not so much because it is a bad project (it isn’t – for pedestrians and the town centre it will be positive, and some partial features like raised intersections may even assist cycling a bit, by slowing traffic speeds). Our concern is created by the fact that it involves a very substantial rebuild of Great North Road in the project area – something that you only get every couple decades – but will not include any dedicated cycle facilities at all. Again, on-street parking was considered more important than providing a cycleway on a street already designated as a Regional Cycle Network route. Very disappointing indeed.
  • [Parnell Train Station] Planning for the revised track alignment around the main line steam area is making progress to ensure works are completed to enable the construction of the new platform pending funding approval in early 2013. The final sections of the underpass are complete with the landscaping works making good progress. /// Sigh – that underpass, sadly, was also not well-communicated at all with CAA. Despite several early attempts from our side we were not given input into the underpass design until after it was constructed (a bit late, as you might agree). Now the work will be cut out to make it part of any future cycle route between Parnell and the CBD.
  • Full scoping of the main station works is underway to inform the funding submission for the main station works. Formal application for funding is on schedule for submission in late Aug 2013. Parnell Station completion is anticipated for the first half of 2014. /// But will it have cycling routes? And if yes, will they connect through?
  • Quay Street Upgrade: Draft concepts have been progressed by AC, and AT are now testing these for traffic, bus network, the CRL and other impacts. Preliminary results of the traffic modeling, assessment of the seawall, assessment of the work required to study the wharf structures, RMS planning advice, further cost analysis and preliminary legal advice regarding the seawall are all expected by the end of August. /// It will be very interesting to eventually get access to the Quay Street proposals. While obviously there is already an off-road cycleway along that route, there are lots of opportunities for improvement.
  • Auckland Domain Walking and Cycling: Detailed design contract awarded. /// CAA had some high-level input here, some time back, as to what we would consider sensible (such as an uphill cycle lane on Lower Domain Drive).
  • Tamaki Drive: SAR commission awarded for the Ngapipi intersection; feasibility report received with respect to extending the seawall from Kelly Tarltons to the Millennium Bridge. /// These very large-scale projects are moving along. Anyone know what an “SAR commisson” is, though?
  • Auckland Harbour Bridge Pathway: Assessment of financial model awarded. /// Mmmmh, interesting. We hope this heralds a stronger focus on the many financial benefits the pathway could have for our transport system and tourism business, but it may just be a review of the projected user revenue that would underpin any loan scheme to construct the path.
  • Glenfield Road (Town Centre) is an upgrade between Downing & Bentley roads. Both property purchase and design are progressing. /// This section in the area of Westfield St Lukes / Glenfield Town Centre already has cycle lanes, but they are inconsistent. So let’s hope that the design will fix those missing sections.
  • Albany Highway North Upgrade (Schnapper Rock Road to SH17): NZTA funding report prepared for submission to NZTA. AC and the Appellant have signed the consent order and the judge has granted the Designation subject to the additional conditions in the consent order. The appeal has therefore been settled. /// This is great news – if you will remember, CAA was strongly involved on the project, and we see the proposed cycle facilities (dedicated cycle paths off the road – separate from pedestrians!) as one of the best designs we have seen in Auckland so far. They will probably be closest to a “Copenhagen Lane” as we have so far in Auckland.
  • Te Atatu Road Corridor Improvements: ACPL is continuing with the land takes negotiations with the affected land owners. Currently considering the process of how to get AC approval for the fences heights when requested by the owners as part of the mitigation works. /// Nothing new here, just the project trundling along towards an upgrade where CAA was very happy with the proposed cycle facilities, and even happier with the public support they received from locals.
  • O’Connell Street – Concept design is now complete and ready for public consultation. Stakeholder consultation to date has confirmed this project is best suited to a conventional streetscapes upgrade. /// The street is too narrow to have dedicated cycle facilities, but it will be seen if there is still something worth improving for cyclists here.
  • [Corridor Management Plans] Khyber Pass Road & Broadway (Parnell Road to Manukau Road) – The draft report has been received and will be jointly discussed with the Khyber Pass Road CMP at a Local Board workshop to be scheduled for mid-August. The draft CMP identifies 5 short-term, 6 medium-term, and 4 long-term transport projects. Each of the projects identified has a trigger such as land use changes, PT patronage, or congestion levels as appropriate. In some cases the projects are linked and have pre-cursor projects and any such pre-conditions are identified. Once the CMP is finalised, the package of projects will be prioritised for funding. // Having seen some advance documents during a local resident’s group meeting, we can confirm that cycling and walking figured highly in the identified deficits of Khyber Pass Road (not surprising). It will be interesting to hear what they are planning to do about those issues.
  • [Corridor Management Plans] East Coast Road (Hibiscus Coast Highway to Forrest Hill Road) – The draft report has been received and is about to be circulated for internal and key stakeholder comment. Briefing sessions with relevant Local Boards have been held. The draft CMP recommends 15 short term, 15 medium term and 4 long term projects. Some of these projects are a package of smaller projects such as pedestrian improvements at different locations along the corridor. The draft CMP divides the East Coast Road corridor into 5 segments, and for each segment has identified the triggers for undertaking the recommended transport projects. The triggers are land use changes, performance, safety issues and the provision of major transport infrastructure that requires network changes.
  • [Corridor Management Plans] Great South Road (Drury to Manukau Central) – The CMP study has progressed well in June as programmed. The final draft report has been reviewed by technical stakeholders and is now being presented at workshops with the relevant Local Boards. The draft CMP has identified 12 short-term, 7 medium-term, and 3 long-term transport projects.
  • [Corridor Management Plans] Hibiscus Coast Highway CMP review and update (Silverdale interchange to Centreway Road) – A draft CMP is due for completion in August-September. A Local Board briefing session has been held.
  • SMART- South-western Multi-modal Airport Rapid Transit (formerly SWAMMCP) The project name change has been agreed across the project partners but needs to be formally reported through the Stakeholder Steering Group. Work continues on route alignment and station options for the rapid transit elements of SMART as well as the roading (including cycling and walking) alignments. Phase 2 is scheduled for completion in December/January 2012/13. /// More really long-term planning projects here, but could be potentially important as road and rail to the airports gets bedded in for the next decades, it is good that walking and cycling is being included in the thinking.

As you can see, we have our hands full. Keep your eyes on your local areas as well, so you can feedback to Councillors and Auckland Transport what needs to be done.

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