Archive | Traffic

Immediate policy change for council cbd parking buildings up for debate tomorrow

While Auckland Transport has extended the consultation period on its comprehensive document on parking around the region, the organisation’s parent, Auckland Council, will consider a parking policy change tomorrow which could have more immediate consequences.

The consultation period on the Auckland Transport document has been extended by a month, now closing on Thursday 31 July.

The council’s regional strategy committee will consider recommendations tomorrow which include adopting a price adjustment policy for the council’s 4 cbd parking buildings, to come into effect immediately.

Its principal change would be to give priority to short-term users over commuter parking.

Management of onstreet parking was handed to Auckland Transport as part of the division of responsibilities when Auckland Council & its group of council-controlled organisations were established in 2010.

Auckland Transport also manages the cbd parking buildings, but doesn’t control policy over matters such as pricing.

The resolution before the committee tomorrow starts with a couple of points on parking at council libraries, then moves on to delegating to Auckland Transport management, control & enforcement of all council offstreet parking.

Next is a proposal to adopt, as an interim measure, the newly written price adjustment policy for council-owned offstreet parking in the cbd – the Downtown, Victoria St, Fanshawe St & Civic carparks – until the wider parking strategic objectives can be finalised.

The policy contains principles & methods for the flexible management of these carparks “to achieve council goals for the city centre”.

The report to the committee says: “Early adoption of the interim cbd price adjustment policy is sought primarily because the council-owned inner-city carpark buildings are becoming full more frequently, meaning that people wanting to conduct business or visit the city centre for recreation & shopping are struggling to find parking. Changes to pricing structures for different parking products (earlybird or short stay) are needed to balance the needs of all users and make effective use of public resources.”

Links: Committee agenda item, Delegation of further off-street parking responsibilities to Auckland Transport
AT parking discussion document

Attribution: Council report.

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Will the new soldier help our traffic woes?

Published: 17 February 2005

The New York Times runs a story today which is frightening in the cold-blooded potential it describes, awesome in opening up the potential for more quantum leaps in technology-driven change.

Under the heading A new model soldier rolls closer to battle, Tim Weiner wrote in the newspaper’s technology section: “The American military is working on a new generation of soldiers, far different from the army it has.

“They don’t get hungry,” said Gordon Johnson of the Joint Forces Command at the Pentagon. “They’re not afraid. They don’t forget their orders. They don’t care if the guy next to them has just been shot. Will they do a better job than humans? Yes.”

The article then describes progress towards development of the robot soldier. “By April, an armed version of the bomb-disposal robot will be in Baghdad, capable of firing 1000 rounds/minute. Though controlled by a soldier with a laptop, the robot will be the first thinking machine of its kind to take up a front-line infantry position, ready to kill enemies,” Mr Weiner wrote.

From Hollywood to the real world.

I read this story after sitting in traffic for an hour then listening to Auckland’s mayor, Dick Hubbard, talk about solving the city’s transport & traffic woes. It’s time for a quantum leap here, too; the question is, do the people in position to take us on that leap have the ability for the job?

The New York Times story carries a photo of a robot tank climbing a staircase. Several years ago I wrote about a transport proposal which would enable people to catch a communally owned vehicle, use it to crab sideways or cross uneven surfaces as well as run along a road, and drop it at a convenient dropoff point.

Military advances are often the first to break through major barriers and the reasoning that will promote the advance of the robot soldier is much like the reasoning that should advance progress on city decongestion: cost.

On the robots, Mr Weiner wrote: “Money, in fact, may matter more than morals. The Pentagon today owes its soldiers $US653 billion in future retirement benefits that it cannot presently pay. Robots, unlike old soldiers, do not fade away. The median lifetime cost of a soldier is about $US4 million today and growing, according to a Pentagon study. Robot soldiers could cost a 10th of that or less.”

The abandoned Auckland eastern transport corridor project advanced in cost, very little in technology. The price tag rocketed from something over $1 billion to a possible $4 billion before being brought to a $1.1-1.4 billion range after some major surgery.

Mr Hubbard did talk today of the economic multiplier effect from completing the western ring road package – $2.30 for every dollar spent. Gains are to be made from reducing travel times & congestion. The eastern corridor wasn’t going to get ahead of congestion, but would have eased a worsening state; as the regional population is projected to continue rising rapidly, the western ring is also likely to be only a way of easing growth in congestion, not a long-term solution.

The robot as soldier is one thing, the robot as driver with perception is also coming off the drawing board, so far for military purposes but also in due course for city transport.

New York Times article: A new model soldier rolls closer to battle


If you want to comment on this story, write to the BD Central Discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].

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Council seeks funding for central transit corridor

Auckland City Council has approved the route & is seeking funding for the proposed central transit corridor between the CBD & Newmarket, and has called for submissions on several proposed new CBD bus lanes which are intended to improve services to the north & west.

It’s also extended the operating hours for CBD bus lanes.

Next steps for the central transit corridor

The council will seek funding from Infrastructure Auckland, Transfund & other beneficiaries for the $25 million proposed central transit corridor between the CBD & Newmarket.

The route is intended to reduce the journey time & improve reliability of bus services along the preferred route (Anzac Avenue, Symonds St, Grafton Bridge, Park Rd & Khyber Pass). It’s to have a high-frequency bus service via Auckland University, Hospital & Medical School.

Council transport committee chairman Greg McKeown said Grafton Bridge would be dedicated to buses, pedestrians, cyclists & all emergency vehicles between 7am-7pm weekdays, but open to all vehicles outside those hours.

The proposal will go to public consultation before returning to the committee later this year.

Cllr McKeown said the scheme assessment report for the corridor showed the route can be almost entirely within the road reserve and wouldn’t impact on planned landscaping along Park Rd or at the hospital.

Cllr McKeown said the project incorporated a high level of street amenity improvements and quality streetscaping, factors that had been proven to support walking communities.
The proposed bus lanes include:
a west-bound bus lane on Fanshawe St (from Hobson St to Nelson St)
extension of the east-bound bus lanes on Fanshawe St to Sturdee St
a south-bound bus lane on Albert St (south of Customs St)
a north-bound bus lane from Swanson St to Quay St
an east-bound bus lane on Mayoral Drive, from Cook St to Queen St
separate bus & bike lanes (southbound) on Vincent St
either a south-bound bus lane or a wider footpath on Albert St, between Wyndham St & Victoria St, opposite the Auckland District Court.
a new bus stop on Albert St opposite the AA building, to bring buses from the North Shore closer to the midtown area and reduce walking distances.

The bus lanes would operate between 6-10am and 3-7pm. The council said the new initiatives would be implemented in association with the Auckland Regional Council’s proposed bus route changes for the North Shore busway, on which work has started.

New bus lanes on New North Rd

The council’s transport committee has approved new bus lanes for New North Rd between the Sandringham Rd intersection and the New North Rd flyover, in both city-bound and outbound directions.

Changes to operation times of clearways and bus lanes

The committee agreed to extend the operating hours of central area clearways by an hour each side of the current 2-hour periods. They’ll will be extended to 6-10am and 3-7pm. The standard 7-9am & 4-6pm operating hours for clearways across the city will generally remain, but will be reviewed on a route-by-route basis to ensure effectiveness.

Bus lanes feedback web page:

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