Creating a Transport Network
Auckland’s transport ‘network’ is, let’s face it, laughable. We have a stunted railway line with a couple of minor offshoots, none of which connect to the international airport, and a novelty tram that does little circles of some rejuvenating seafront industrial areas at a pace slower than you can jog. Everything else relies on a few major roads and a whole lot of patience. Independent research commissioned by The New Zealand Transport Agency and released last month estimates the cost of congestion in Auckland, taking into account the difference between the cost of a ‘free flowing’ system and the situation at peak times, at $1.25b per year.
The draft Plan states that: “Building a resilient transport network, around a more compact urban form, will contribute to our success as an international city that attracts migrants, businesses and tourists.”
One expression of this aspiration is the Council’s ‘Southern Initiative’, which includes proposals to improve public transport from Otara and Mangere in the north to Papakura in the south. The Council’s previously published City Masterplan also outlined its vision for a new City Rail Link, incorporating public transport stations at Karangahape Road, Newton and Aotea Quarter. There is also a key strategy for connecting the ‘Key Fringe’ areas of Three Lamps, Ponsonby, Arch Hill, Newton, Grafton, Newmarket, Parnell and Devonport with the CBD, via a comprehensive set of new and existing walking, cycling, bus, rail and ferry routes.
To save space for offices, shops and homes and to encourage the use of public transport the Plan also proposes to remove the requirement for developments in and around metropolitan, town, and local centres to provide car parking. A maximum limit would be set on the amount of parking provided for offices, and special parking spaces would be allocated for car-sharing, small cars, hybrid vehicles and motorcycles. Cycling would be further encouraged by the provision of free, secure, covered cycle parks and some activities and developments would be required to provide cycle parking and changing facilities.