Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times, Mon, February 11, 2013
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SHOP ONLINE for an extensive range of Men's & Women's clothing, shoes & accessories www.fashionz.co.nz By MARIANNE KELLY ASTUDY into the future trans- port needs of Auckland warns of signiﬁcant delays and conges- tion on all routes into the city centre within the next 10 years. The City Centre Future Access Study (CCFAS) was commissioned by Auckland Transport (AT), follow- ing a request 18 months ago from then Minister of Transport Steven Joyce for Auckland Mayor Len Brown to develop a robust and achievable transport programme for access into the city centre. Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) was commissioned by AT to undertake the study. It was completed in consultation with senior ofﬁcials and technical specialists from central government agencies and Auckland Council, and was designed to select the best option, not to justify funding. It depicts an access crisis for the city centre if public transport is not reshaped and strengthened. Mr Brown says two thirds of New Zealand’s population growth over the next 30 years will be in Auckland and meeting the growth will require sig- niﬁcant investment to complete the strategic public transport networks. Auckland will have more than 700,000 new residents and need 400,000 extra houses. The report predicts the city centre and fringe population will have dou- bled to more than 200,000 employ- ees by 2041, residential population to 140,000 and student numbers will grow by 30 per cent to 35,400. In 2021, the city centre will account for 17 per cent of Auckland’s gross domestic product (GDP), estimated to grow to 25 per cent by 2041. The CCFAS also shows that in less than a decade bus volumes will need to increase by 70 per cent on key routes. It identiﬁes the $2.86 billion City Rail Link (CRL) as essential, saying bus-only investment will provide short-term beneﬁts but, in some cases, will be “worse than doing noth- ing” for private vehicle travel times. A multi-modal solution combining the 3.5km rail tunnel from Britomart to Mt Eden with integrated surface bus improvements would best meet city centre access needs and the study suggests implementation by 2021, as delays would limit employ- ment growth and the ability to cap- ture economic beneﬁts. But Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says with a modelled ben- eﬁt cost ratio of just 44c in the dollar, the beneﬁts of the CRL are nowhere near the cost of building it. “That beneﬁt cost ratio looks decid- edly questionable when you take into account the report’s assumed employment growth of 46 per cent in the city centre over the next 10 years, compared with actual growth of only 18 per cent in the previous decade,” he says. “Yet this assumed employment growth means the bus crowding and congestion problems forecast in the draft report for 2021 are more likely to occur around 2030. “While I have little doubt Auckland will experience healthy economic growth over the next decade, a nearly three-fold increase in CBD work- ers over the previous decade seems unlikely and makes the projections in this report somewhat dubious.” However, AT says the comparative Beneﬁt Cost Ratios (BCRs) took into account the assessment of wider eco- nomic beneﬁts. If these beneﬁts are excluded, the comparative BCR for the CRL option would still be more than four times better than the next option of surface bus. Stephen Selwood, chief executive of the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development, says the Government’s “apparent dismissal” of ﬁndings in the study places the ball ﬁrmly in the Government’s court to lead the development of an alternative central city transport solution in partnership with the council. “Failure to do so risks undermining the economic and social progress of one-third of New Zealand,” he says. Central to Mr Joyce’s request was the need for the council to investigate alternatives to the CRL. The study considered 46 options, including light rail, mobility pods, ferries and multiple bus and rail options. Three were shortlisted: Surface bus improvements, the ■ study says, would provide only three to ﬁve years of extra capacity beyond current funded works and would signiﬁcantly lower private vehicle speeds. They would also require the acqui- sition of more than 230 properties to improve bus corridors on the approaches to the city, and the equiv- alent of two city blocks to store buses during the day. An underground bus tunnel would ■ provide marginally more capacity than surface bus and requires less land. But it’s much more expensive than the surface bus option and has a similar capital cost to the CRL, the study says. Once the rail network is electri- ■ ﬁed there will be no other options to increase peak train services to the Britomart station. AT chairman Lester Levy says the best solution is one that integrates the use of the entire transport net- work. Underground rail, the study says, is the only option to deliver increased capacity beyond 2030. It has the greatest multi-modal capacity to get people into the city centre and its implementation would result in the highest speeds for private vehicles in the city centre. Private vehicle speeds in the city centre at peak times will otherwise more than halve, reducing to 7kph by 2021 and down to 5kph by 2041, the study says. A detailed business case will be developed and a Consensus Building Group has been established to inves- tigate alternative funding options. It’s expected to report to the council in July. The work primarily involves more detailed examination of regional fuel taxes, congestion/network charging, additional car parking charges, and airport departure and visitor accom- modation charges as secondary sources and tax increment funding. Transport access crisis predicted BUSY ROUTES: Journeys for public transport into Auckland's city centre are forecast to be problematic if they're not reshaped and strengthened. Times photo Wayne Martin Be mine, oh Valentine the women's guide to everything!
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