Auckland waterfront light rail study
Wednesday, 12 August 2009, 4:50 pm
Press Release: Auckland Regional Council
Auckland waterfront light rail study
12 August 2009
The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) is looking into the feasibility of a light rail or tram system along Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour waterfront.
Transport and Urban Development Committee chairwoman Christine Rose said planning had not previously anticipated the use of light rail, but the regional council wanted to provide more information to all parties involved in redeveloping the waterfront, to ensure the best outcomes and to enhance the objectives of moving people and adding value to the redeveloped area.
The feasibility study into light rail for the waterfront will provide information on: the potential demand for light rail and how it has been used in comparable waterfront cities, and examine potential options, implications and costs of such a system in Auckland.
Transport planning for Wynyard Quarter envisaged seven out of 10 trips being taken by public transport, walking or cycling. The recent decision to purchase and redevelop Queens Wharf, with public spaces and a cruise ship terminal, added impetus to the need to evaluate light rail or trams.
“Light rail or heritage trams should be considered in any public transport options for Wynyard Quarter and Quay St as part of the area’s redevelopment,” Councillor Rose says.
“We are striving to add to existing heritage and character, and to enhance Auckland’s waterfront viability and experience for workers, tourists and Aucklanders at large.”
A report to the committee today said modern light rail trips were being used as part of strategic transport networks throughout the world to deliver high-capacity, high-frequency services for peak-hour commuting trips, or in short loops often aimed at tourists. In Auckland, a loop linking Wynard Quarter, Quay St and Britomart could be part of a wider transport solution for the city.
Progress on the feasibility study will be reported back to the Transport and Urban Development Committee in November.
Moves to open Queens Wharf in Auckland to the public are heightening regional council interest in running light railcars or trams along the waterfront to Wynyard Quarter...
Progress is to be reported back to her committee in November.
Ms Rose said that although previous transport planning for Wynyard Quarter and elsewhere had not included light rail, the council wanted to provide more information to all parties involved in redeveloping the waterfront.
The study already begun by council officers would give information on how light rail had been used in comparable waterfront cities, in some cases breathing life into previously run-down precincts such as Docklands in London, and examine the costs of such a system for Auckland.
"We are striving to add to existing heritage and character and to enhance Auckland's waterfront viability and experience for workers, tourists and Aucklanders at large," Ms Rose said.
She was attracted to the use of heritage trams from the Museum of Transport and Technology (Motat) as a drawcard for tourists, but
acknowledged there could be a demand for more modern units, depending on whether those were seen as a suitable extension of Auckland's commutersystem.
Motat runs trams along 2km of lines at Western Spring, and has been working with the Campaign for Better Transport on possibilities for extending its services to the waterfront.
It estimated last year, when a proposal was first put to Auckland City Council, that 4km of high-quality tracks and low-profile power-lines could be laid for about $16 million for use by either heritage trams, modern units, or by a combination of vehicles.
The city's transport committee asked officers then for a preliminary report but decided in March to wait for findings of a wider study of integrating public transport services within the central business district before making recommendations on options for Wynyard Quarter.
City transport chairman Ken Baguley said yesterday he had no wish to "pooh- pooh" the proposal, but believed questions of how to integrate existing services should be considered first.
Uncertainty remains over whether the proposed Te Wero bridge across Viaduct Harbour will be designed to carry public transport vehicles, rather than just pedestrians and cyclists, and Mr Baguley said some form of electric shuttle buses may prove as attractive as trams.
The city council has delayed the bridge project until 2016 in any case, after its estimated cost rose to $47.3 million, and is considering installing a temporary crossing for $2 million for up to 14,700 pedestrians an hour in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Although city officers hope to provide recommendations on options early next year for improving public transport integration, Mr Baguley said any major decisions should be left to the new Auckland Council to be elected in October, 2010
jarbury wrote:Cam, isn't this all pretty academic considering light-rail wouldn't be possible until a final Te Wero bridge is built - and that's not going to happen until 2016 at the earliest?
But isnt it only 2016 because the council decided it should be done in 2016. They could just as easily decide to do it tomorrow. It might be part of Mike Lee's tilt at the supercity mayoralty. John Banks has talked about the cbd loop and a giant convention centre. Maybe Mike Lee's visit to motat was finding info about a tram to be part of his grand vision for Auckland to run for the mayoralty on. He might promise the te wero bridge and a tram.
Thats a ruse anyway because the mayor of Auckland is going to have about as much power over a $1.5 billion Ontrack investment as I do over Angelina Jolie's undie draw...
He can promise it all he likes and when it don't happen say well it's not my fault..!
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