Will a transit lane for Pakuranga Road be a help or a hindrance?
As any local will know, Pakuranga Road is an extremely busy place every day and with the incoming construction work for AMETI Eastern Busway, this is going to get worse.
Auckland Transport is taking some action including encouraging people to take alternative transport, alter their hours or routes. But with significant work happening in the area these won’t be enough. To help, Auckland Transport is proposing some big changes:
a transit lane for Pakuranga Road
a park and ride at Lord Elsmore Park
increased bus, ferry (Half Moon Bay) and train capacity (ex Panmure)
increased communication and options.
Most of these are pretty uncontroversial, but the transit lane has been met with some concern. Restricting a lane of traffic to only vehicles with 2 or 3 people will impact a lot of people and we need to get this right.
I contacted Auckland Transport and requested a copy of the studies along with business cases and reports. There’s a lot to work through and I’ve done my best to summarise them but feel free to read the full documents attached.
Surveys of Pakuranga Road found that 87% of vehicles heading west were single occupant and remaining 13% of vehicles carried 24% of people.
Modelling shows that doing nothing will make traffic worse (about 3 minutes longer for everyone) as will a T3 transit lane (about a minute longer for cars, but 40 seconds faster for buses). A T2 lane should reduce travel time for everyone (a minute for general vehicles and 100 seconds for buses).
People who use the transit lane (by busing or carpooling) will get the most benefit but it will help those using the remaining two lanes. Effectively this needs that nearly half of people using Pakuranga Road will benefit from a T2, while a T3 or doing nothing will make it worse for most people.
Obviously there's a cost to these changes - the estimate for everything (including park and ride) is $5m with nearly $2m is for the transit lane. This doesn’t take into account the money that will be recovered via public transport which should reduce the costs by about a million. The benefits over the 2 year construction period are estimated at over $8m while the costs of not taking any action are estimated at $16m.
The devil is always in the detail and there’s plenty more detail to come with the designs yet to be finalised. What is clear is that we need to do something or things will get worse on Pakuranga Road.
This Wednesday (27 March) there’s a public meeting organised by local MP Simeon Brown. Auckland Transport are going to present on the plans and I’m sure there will be an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.