Friday, 11th August, 2017
It is critical for Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) future that the next government takes immediate steps to put in place a single, integrated transport strategy supported by the certainty that it will be delivered within 10 years, says Auckland Business Forum* chairman, Michael Barnett.
“Auckland’s transport crisis is self-made. We have delayed doing the obvious catch-up road and public transport projects far too long leaving Auckland well behind where it should be for an international city of our size, ambition and pace of growth.
A firm, integrated transport strategy supported by a clear project pipeline of scale and 10-year time frame is essential for attracting the international investment and construction capacity we need to move action into the fast lane immediately.
“Quickly adopting” an “integrated network” mindset will be crucial if our aim is to reduce congestion, support growth & productivity and guarantee access to employment and housing development areas is to be achieved
“A staged light rail to Auckland Airport, yes, but going down the already heavily congested Dominion Road would make things worse. We need to be smarter in our thinking on where it should go.”
An immediate option is to include a Public Transport corridor to a modernised Puhinui Railway Station as part of long-proposed SH20B Airport access route.
“Labour’s idea to scale back the East West Link when it also proposes to build a third rail line makes no sense. Local roads are heavily congested with around 6000 heavy trucks daily, many heading to the Southdown Rail Terminal which will see rail freight trips increase and more heavy truck traffic when the third line is built. Both a new road and rail line is needed.”
Likewise, the 30-year ATAP programme that Government and Auckland Council jointly came up with last year in which congestion was forecast to get worse for the foreseeable future is clearly a wrong strategy.
We need new integrated urban and transport development ideas that don’t add to already worsening congestion. The south has the largest potential urban growth area. A long-term option is a new city, located to the south.
Given Auckland’s pace of population and economic growth, the ATAP 30-year time frame is far too slow.
It has taken Auckland 20 years to plan and build the Waterview Tunnels. Yet within weeks the huge congestion relief and faster trip times from the North Shore to Auckland Airport have been proven. We needed this project completed 10 years ago.
“Managing Auckland’s opportunities is not about more roads versus public transport – we need both. It is not about where the money can come from – it is obtainable. It is about the next government providing decision making and joined up leadership with Auckland Council and the private sector to commit to deliver ATAP’s ‘catch-up’ 30-year transport agenda in 10-years and add additional projects to cope with long-term growth,” says Mr Barnett.
Bring urgency to complete as a single investment by 2028, including:
- North Western Busway, Mill Road Extension, AMETI – within 5 years
- SH20B to Auckland Airport - including provision for a rail link to an upgraded Puhinui Railway Station – by 2021 (when Auckland defends the America’s Cup and hosts APEC).
- Grafton Gully (stage 3) – extend SH16 from Stanley St to Quay St, creating a seamless link from Quay St to the motorway for the 36,000 commuter v/day from-to eastern shoreline suburbs
- Penlink - link from SH1 to Whangapararoa Peninsula, and widen SH1 north of Albany to Silverdale
- East West Link - (by 2023), and plan and protect a corridor to East Tamaki/ eastern suburbs
- 3rd and 4th Rail lines – including extending electrification to-from Papakura to Pukekohe, and commuter rail services to Waikato towns located on the main trunk line and Hamilton; and to enable significant increase of rail freight services – i.e. a modern regional rail service for the Golden Economic and Tourism Triangle (Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty).
Other higher value projects in the Forum’s Agenda include completing with urgency:
- Dual lane/ peak hour streaming of selected peak hour ‘congested’ routes – e.g. Lake Road (Takapuna to Devonport)
- Selected rail-road crossing grade separation - (by 2021), essential to ensure the start of the 10-minute City Rail Link train service doesn’t bring congestion chaos.
- Multi-story Park and Ride buildings at main Busway and train stations, with retail, office and apartment floors, and supported by local feeder bus services.
- Start a city-wide introduction of light rail programme to service areas of Auckland not currently having easy access to train, ferry and efficient bus services; e.g. East Auckland – Manukau – Airport; West Auckland and North Shore.
The full Auckland Business Forum Strategic Agenda for the next government can be viewed here.
For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
* The Auckland Business Forum: Members include Auckland Chambers of Commerce, Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern), Ports of Auckland, Auckland Airport, Civil Contractors NZ, Infrastructure NZ, National Road Carriers. These organizations represent a cross-section of Auckland industry and commerce whose role includes guardianship of businesses responsible for more than 450,000 Auckland jobs and generating 42% of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP).