Airport Rail Update

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There has been speculation in recent weeks that Auckland Transport is now favouring a light rail solution over heavy rail, but recently Auckland Transport announced in a joint statement with NZTA that the critical Kirkbride Road intersection for “either light or heavy rail”.  

Kirkbride SH20 Intersection Upgrade

Auckland Transport (AT) and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) have been jointly progressing an integrated transport scheme for SH20A which aims at accessibility improvements to the airport and the surrounding airport business district.

The design for Kirkbride Interchange, the first element in this scheme, is well underway. It forms part of the multi modal strategy to help future proof for Airport growth of 14 million to 40 million passengers over the next 30 years. It will future proof a rail connection (either light rail or heavy rail) and also coordinate the works with the Watercare Hunua 4 project in 2015.

The decision to future proof for either light rail or heavy rail is to retain flexibility in future to implement either mode should technological advancements in light rail enable potential significant cost savings, without compromising significantly on the overall travel time between the airport and the city centre. While these are being investigated it makes sense that the design of the new Kirkbride Interchange does not preclude either option.

The first step – upgrade of SH20A – at a cost of $140 million with future proofing estimated up to an additional $30 million, is due to begin construction in January 2015 and open in April 2017, and will provide a number of benefits once completed. It enables better journey reliability for traffic (and buses) to and from the airport in addition to improved safety for all users through the separation of motorway traffic and local traffic at the Kirkbride intersection. The upgrade will also more fully realise the benefits of the Western Ring Route taking people to and from the Airport through SH20A, SH20 and the Waterview connection due to be completed in early 2017.

The multimodal upgrades to this corridor (including the new Kirkbride Road interchange) will support future population and business growth in the area, cater for increasing numbers of travellers, and improve freight efficiency in South Auckland. Other benefits are environmental through improvements to stormwater drainage and treatment, and the reconnection of the community, along with other travel mode choices of walking and cycling.

AT’s focus now, is about ensuring the rail mode is protected irrespective of the final choice of rail type and funding yet to be determined.

There isn’t much detail on where the exact designation will go however, so as usual the devil will be in the details. A PDF of the statement is here: SH20A upgrade – AT and NZTA joint statement – 28.11.14

Waikato Rail Campaign

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This post summarises our Waikato Trains Now! campaign from 2010

Campaign Summary

In October 2009 CBT launched a petition calling for the immediate start of a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service. The petition received widespread support each and every time CBT members took it out to the public for signatures.

In March 2010 the petition of 11,500 signatures was presented to Waikato MPs and Councillors. The petition was then presented to Parliament, and was stopped at the Select Committee level the head of the transport committee, local MP David Bennett.

In September and October 2010 CBT ran a “Vote Trains” local body election campaign, gaining a lot of attention. A signficant number of rail sympathetic councillors were elected to Environment Waikato, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council.

In 2011 a petition was presented to Parliament by the town of Tuakau with over 3,500 signatures supporting the rail service.

Following the Local Body Elections a Rail Working Party (RWP) was established involving various Waikato councils, Auckland Council, KiwiRail, NZTA and CBT (with non voting rights) to investigate the feasibility of a rail service. Robin Janson represented CBT on the Working Party with support from various CBT members. After a year of investigation and following several surveys and business cases, all of which strongly supported the establishment of a commuter rail, the RWP made a final report with positive recommendations for the service to the respective council bodies in August 2011.

You can read the final report (PDF) here: Waikato Rail Business Case 2009

Rail Working Party

A service was proposed by the Rail Working Party. The positions of the Councils in 2010 were:

  • Waikato District Council’s (WDC) declined to support a regional rate for the rail link and declined to include the rail proposal in the council’s 2012-2022 long term plan.
  • Waipa District Council did not support the proposal.
  • Hamilton City Council (HCC) decided not to support the service recommended by the Rail Working Party. Any rail service remains as an unfunded item in their future plans.
  • Environment Waikato has declined to fund the service. Any rail service remains as an unfunded item in their future plans.

The NZTA has made it clear on a number of occasions that Government funding will not be forthcoming for the service as Government MPs (local and national) have reinforced this position.

 

 

Minister of Transport to Attend Election Debate Tomorrow

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Media release

Organisers of tomorrow night’s transport debate in Auckland are delighted that Minister of Transport Hon. Gerry Brownlee will now be attending.

Previously National had advised that North Shore MP Maggie Barry would be speaking, however the announcement comes after reported comments from Mr Brownlee on the possibility of an early start to the first downtown stage of the City Rail Link.

“It will be a great chance to hear how the National Party are planning to improve the movement of people and freight in Auckland,” said Cameron Pitches, spokesperson for the Campaign for Better Transport.

“We are looking forward to having a policy based discussion in the public arena. We are hoping for some solid transport policy commitments for Auckland from each of the parties attending.

Representatives from six political parties will be speaking, followed by an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions.

TransportBlog contributor Patrick Reynolds will also be on hand to talk about the Congestion Free Network, a public transport initiative that focuses on moving people effectively around Auckland at peak times.

“The competing demands for infrastructure investment takes place in a fast changing global context and the stakes are high. Nothing short of the nation’s economic performance, quality of life, and international competitiveness are at stake. So which parties can provide most compelling evidence that their policies have the best fit for this new century?,” said Mr Reynolds.

Luke Christensen from Generation Zero explained; “We’ll be looking at how each party will reduce congestion and if they have an integrated long term transport strategy for Auckland to achieve their proposed reduction.”

In addition to Mr Brownlee, the full line-up of speakers includes Phil Twyford (Labour), Julie Anne Genter (Greens), Denis O’Rourke (NZ First), David Seymour (ACT) and Damian Light who will be representing UnitedFuture.

Members of the public are advised to arrive early for the meeting, which starts at 7:30pm sharp at the Ellen Melville Hall, which is located on O’Connell St in central Auckland.

[ends]

Auckland’s Transport Election Debate
Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central.
Wednesday 27th August, 7:30pm sharp. Building access from 6:00pm.

Organised by The Campaign For Better Transport, TransportBlog and Generation Zero.

National Joins Transport Election Debate

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Media release

North Shore MP Maggie Barry will be talking transport at an upcoming election debate to be held on Wednesday 27th August.

Organisers The Campaign for Better Transport, along with TransportBlog and Generation Zero, are pleased that all the main parties will now be represented at the debate. National had previously advised that the current Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee was unable to attend.

“We’re happy that National recognise how important transport issues are to Aucklanders. The debate will give all parties the opportunity to put forward their ideas for improving and funding transport in New Zealand’s biggest city,” said spokesperson Cameron Pitches.

“It will be great to have a policy based discussion in the public arena. We are hoping for some solid transport policy commitments for Auckland from each of the parties attending.”

Each speaker has been allocated up to ten minutes to speak, to be followed by questions from the floor from the general public.

“We’ve outlined a number of areas that we expect each speaker to cover. These include their party’s positions on the timing of the City Rail Link, and how transport projects across the different modes should be prioritised and funded in Auckland.”

TransportBlog contributor Patrick Reynolds will also be on hand to talk about the Congestion Free Network, a public transport initiative that focusses on moving people effectively around Auckland at peak times.

In addition to Maggie Barry, the full lineup of speakers now includes Phil Twyford (Labour), Julie Anne Genter (Greens), Denis O’Rourke (NZ First), David Seymour (ACT) and Damian Light who will be representing UnitedFuture.

The meeting, which starts at 7:30pm, is open to the public and will be held at the Ellen Melville Hall, which is located on O’Connell St in central Auckland.

[ends]

Auckland’s Transport Election Debate
Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central.
Wednesday 27th August, 7:30pm sharp. Building access from 6:00pm.

Confirmed speakers:

National – Maggie Barry
Labour – Phil Twyford
Greens – Julie Anne Genter
NZ First – Denis O’Rourke
ACT – David Seymour
UnitedFuture – Damian Light

The Campaign for Better Transport is a politically independent voluntary incorporated society, promoting better transport alternatives for Auckland.

Election Debate on Transport

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Transport Debate 27 August

 

The Campaign for Better Transport, in association with TransportBlog and Generation Zero, is counting down to Auckland’s Transport Election Debate, on the 27th August.

The meeting will be a chance for the public to find out from each party in the coming general election what they are promising to do for Auckland’s transport problems and options.

“We are hoping for some solid transport policy for Auckland from each of the parties attending,” said Cameron Pitches, Convenor of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Each speaker has been allocated ten minutes to speak, to be followed by questions from the floor from the general public.

“We’ve outlined a number of areas that we expect each speaker to cover. These include their party’s positions on the timing of the City Rail Link, and how transport projects across the different modes should be prioritised and funded in Auckland.”

TransportBlog contributor Patrick Reynolds will also be on hand to talk about the Congestion Free Network, a public transport focussed initiative that focusses on moving people effectively around Auckland at peak times.

Sudhvir Singh, a medical doctor and a leader of Generation Zero, is looking forward to the event.

“Young people are demanding that we learn from past mistakes when it comes to transport funding. A liveable low-carbon city is entirely possible if we are smarter about transport and give people choices,” said Dr Singh.

Representatives from Labour, the Greens, NZ First and ACT will be attending. National’s transport spokesperson and current Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee is unable to attend due to prior diary commitments. Organisers are hopeful that National will be able to put forward an alternative spokesperson.

“Nationwide, more than $2.5bn is collected in fuel and road taxes every year, and these taxes are increasing year on year. The public needs assurance that the Government after the 20th September will be spending our tax dollars on the right projects,” concludes Mr Pitches.

[ends]

Auckland’s Transport Election Debate
Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central.
Wednesday 27th August, 7:30pm sharp. Building access from 6:00pm.

Confirmed speakers:

Labour – Phil Twyford
Greens – Julie Anne Genter
NZ First – Denis O’Rourke
ACT – David Seymour

Help spread the word about our election debate and download the flyer here.

From Survival To Revival – Special Offer

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Dr Graham Bush has written a new book on the evolution of Auckland’s public transport since 1860.

From Survival to Revival

This is the story of the evolution of Auckland’s public transport since early colonial times which reveals much about the development of the city. From the pioneer entrepreneurs operating plodding horse-buses, through the dynamic construction of an outstanding electric tram system, a network of harbour ferry services and the brief interlude of trolley-buses to the electrification of suburban rail and the ubiquitous diesel bus, public transport has played a vital part in Auckland’s living and lifestyle – this book tells it all.

Graham is a former Associate-Professor of Political Studies at Auckland University and is the secretary of the Campaign for Better Transport.

The book sells for $59.99 in stores, but publishers Grantham House Publishing have kindly offered the book to CBT members for $46.00, inclusive of GST, post and packing. It is an excellent book, and if you would like a copy for yourself just post your mailing address and a cheque to

Grantham House Publishing
6/9 Wilkinson Street
Oriental Bay
Wellington 6011

If you don’t own a chequebook, you can pay by credit card. Contact for details.

Media Release: Road Only Auckland Harbour Crossing “Makes No Sense”

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Road Only Auckland Harbour Crossing “Makes No Sense”

The Campaign for Better Transport said today that the Government’s idea of an additional road only Waitemata Harbour Crossing hasn’t been thought through.

“We all know that the Northern Motorway and approaches are notoriously congested at peak times, so local support probably stems from the belief that this congestion will somehow be solved,” said spokesperson Cameron Pitches.

“However, the net effect of a road only crossing will be that in the morning peak, the Auckland CBD will be flooded with thousands of extra single occupant cars looking for a car park. The Central Motorway Junction will also be a bottleneck without more lanes, but there is no room for more.

“And in the evening peak the already congested Northern Motorway will grind to a halt, as six lanes converge into three.”

Mr Pitches says a far better solution would be a rail only crossing that would extend from the City Rail Link to Albany on the North Shore.

“The Northern Busway is enormously popular and is a great example of a system that can carry far more people at peak times than single occupant cars. High capacity rail would be the logical next step.”

Mr Pitches said that a recent report identified that the cost of a rail link connecting the City Rail Link to Albany on the North Shore would be about $2.5bn.

“It is clear that the Government’s proposal and any alternatives have not been through Treasury’s better business case process.  There is no urgency with the project either as the yet to be completed Western Ring Route is designed to reduce traffic volumes on the bridge,” said Mr Pitches.

The Goverment is yet to make an official announcement on how a new crossing would be funded, but Mr Pitches suspects it would have to be tolled due to the multi-billion dollar cost of the project.

“The Government also needs to be honest and reveal how much the toll will be for the new crossing, and if the current Harbour Bridge will be tolled as well.”

“It just makes no sense.  The Government has just been caught out not doing a comprehensive assessment of alternatives for the Basin Reserve.  You would think they would want to avoid making the same mistake twice,” concludes Mr Pitches.

[ends]

For more analysis of the proposed Harbour Crossing, visit transportblog.co.nz:

http://bit.ly/1niNuZq

Election 2014 Public Meeting

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Can Auckland Be Congestion Free?

The Campaign for Better Transport has invited political parties to share their policies for improving transport in Auckland:

  • Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Square, Auckland Central
  • Wednesday 27th August, 7:30pm, building access from 7:00pm.

The following parties have confirmed their attendance:

  • Labour – Phil Twyford
  • Greens – Julie Anne Genter
  • Act – David Seymour
  • NZ First – Denis O’Rourke

A response to our invitation is yet to be received from the National Party.

Each speaker will be given ten minutes, followed by questions from the floor.  Speakers will be expected to state their position on :

  • Transport funding for Auckland transport projects, including public transport, cycling and walking
  • The City Rail Link
  • The Puhoi - Warkworth Toll Road and other Roads of National Significance
  • An additional Waitemata Harbour crossing
  • The Congestion Free Network

Further information to follow.


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