Support sprawl in the North West and Warkworth

The Council is in the process of making changes (forced by the government) to the unit plan which will allow for much more housing in the existing urban areas. Meanwhile, Supporting Growth – the combined work of Auckland Transport, Waka Kotahi and various consultants, is moving forward with plans to spend billions on support growth subsidize urban sprawl. There have already been multiple consultations for each of the four pristine growth areas (Warkworth, Dairy Flat, North West and South) to come up with the proposed future networks and they have now launched two further consultations ahead of the road protection works.

Road protection in itself isn’t a bad thing, but it won’t come cheap either, as agencies will have to start buying properties and it’s hard to see how any of what is on offer can ever be delivered in the light of the emission reduction plan which has just been published. , which states, among other things:


North West

The proposed high-level strategic network has already been published and a detailed business case has been completed confirming this network (although it does not appear to have been made public). The objective of this particular consultation is a more detailed route layout for the proposed new freeway extension, rapid transit corridor plus stations and cycle links around Huapai/Kumeu.

The group has now completed work on the next phase – a mapped transport network proposal that would transform the way people move around the North West in the future.

The proposed network defines a number of projects, including an alternative national highway, a rapid transit corridor between Redhills North and Kumeū-Huapai, two new stations (one near Kumeū and one near Huapai), and a new interchange at SH16 Brigham Creek Road.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Relations Manager Steve Mutton said long-term transport links are essential to support the North West’s rapid growth.

“We know the results of not having transport infrastructure included in long-term plans – it’s grim. We want to see future homes and communities in these high-growth areas develop in and around carefully planned transportation solutions,” Mutton said.

Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison says community feedback has already helped develop business cases and identify route options and preferred routes.

“The pace at which the program has progressed has been affected by COVID-19, but we are now ready to return to the North West Auckland community to ensure we are on track.”

Phelan Pirrie, chairman of Rodney Local Council, said the rapid transit corridor in particular would be transformative for downtown Kumeū.

“Fast and frequent public transportation in Kumeū is a future that everyone in the community would be excited about,” he said. “Beginning planning also means local businesses and residents can consider impacts and options early,” he said.

Strategic projects

Supporting Growth is seeking community input on the below strategic projects scheduled for delivery in the next 10-30 years to support growth in the North West (depending on funding).

  • A future rapid transit corridor between Redhills North and Kumeū-Huapai will provide fast, frequent, and high-capacity public transportation.
  • A station located in Huapai will provide nearby residents with access to a park-and-ride facility adjacent to the station.
  • A train station located close to downtown Kumeū will provide access to the station by all types of transport – public transport, on foot, by bicycle, scooter or car
  • A cycling and walking corridor along the rapid transit corridor connecting Whenuapai and the northern part of Redhills to Kumeū-Huapai.
  • An Alternate National Road – a new road extending the existing Brigham Creek Road Northwest Freeway to National Road 16 east of Waimauku, supporting the upgrade of the current National Road in downtown Kumeū-Huapai.
  • A new interchange at SH16 Brigham Creek Road – this will improve access for all areas in the North West. It will create a central connection point for a wide range of transportation options, including the Alternative State Highway, new public transportation routes via the Rapid Transit Corridor, and new walking and biking networks to traverse .

The consultation site includes this map

I really want to know what can be done to get this rapid (and active mode) transit corridor up and running as soon as possible to give the people of Huapai/Kumeu true car-free options to get around. Growth over the past decade has meant that congestion is a major problem in the area and the existing state highway here is one of the busiest two-lane state highways in the nation. It currently sees more daily traffic than most non-Auckland highways/motorways that have been built in decades, including the likes of the just-opened Transmission Gully. But building an alternative national road won’t solve the problem much, just move it lower SH16.

And what about this proposed interchange between SH16 and Fred Taylor Dr/Brigham Creek Rd. Seems like a lot of expensive land that’s tied up.

You will also notice that the interchange is so large that it has pushed the rapid transit and active mode corridors into Fred Taylor Park. This seems to suggest that it is the rapid transit corridor that will have to foot the bill for mitigating it rather than building a less extreme interchange.

I’ve also mentioned before that I think if the freeway extension is built the existing heavy rail line would have to be diverted to run alongside it to get freight to/from Northland out of the city center and that would free up also the current corridor for rapid transit rather than creating a new corridor, potentially requiring a lot of land.

The consultation focuses primarily on the location of rapid transit stations, but other comments are invited. There is also a meet-and-greet tonight for those in the area.

The consultation ends on June 20.


Warkworth

It’s a similar story to Warkworth, except that no rapid transit is planned and the Alternative State Highway is already under construction and scheduled to open next year. In addition, this consultation aims to inform a business case to justify the protection of the roads.

The package includes:

  • Development of walking and cycling trails on new and improved transportation corridors to create a well-connected network and provide better access to sustainable travel choices
  • In the long term, two new bus interchanges are planned – a northern bus interchange with park and ride to replace the temporary site and a southern bus interchange to encourage the switch to public transport.
  • In the long term, a new southern interchange to provide additional access to Ara Tūhono – the Pūhoi Expressway in Warkworth
  • Future new transport corridors that will connect to wider destinations, enable future land uses, provide more choice for users and add capacity on the network
  • Future improvements to a number of roads, including the existing State Highway 1, which will operate as an urban arterial in the future (such as Ara Tūhono – the Pūhoi Expressway in Warkworth will become the new State Highway 1).

The feedback on this consultation is June 7th.

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