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Council Plans New Bus Lanes

April 12, 2002

The Auckland City Council wants to extend its bus priority programme into the inner city and Newmarket.

The council’s transport committee has recommended that public consultation begin on extending the bus priority network into Karangahape Rd, Khyber Pass and Broadway.

Bus/bike priority lanes give buses an exclusive lane through congested areas in peak hours to speed up bus travel. Buses make up a small percentage of road traffic, but carry as many as 50-60 per cent of travellers on major arterial routes in peak hours.

On Karangahape Rd a bus/bike lane is proposed for the city-bound side of the road from Howe St to Pitt St and would operate in the morning peak from 7am-9am.

Buses carry about half the people travelling on this section of Karangahape Rd in the morning peak and the bus lane is expected to cut an average of 37 seconds per bus off the journey in this stretch of road.

The Khyber Pass bus/bike lanes would be on both sides of the road between Crowhurst St and Park Rd. Nearly two-thirds of passengers using this road in peak hours are bus passengers and the bus lane would save nine seconds in journey time in this area.

While the time saving in this case is small, the Bus and Coach Association believes that figure is considerably underestimated, suggesting that delays of between three and five minutes regularly occur.

A report to the committee also noted that, while the time saving on Khyber Pass may not be great, such time savings from other bus priority areas have a cumulative effect on shortening the total bus travel time. In some case these can total as much as 10-12 minutes per trip.

Installation of bus/bike lanes in Broadway would be from Alpers Ave to Morrow St, in Newmarket. The lanes would operate in peak hours in both directions.

Buses carry between 50-60 per cent of people along Broadway at peak hours and the bus lanes are expected to save an average 25 seconds in journey time inbound in the morning and about 10 seconds outbound in the evening.

The lanes would also benefit motorists, who would save up to 5 seconds through not having to compete with buses for road space. The bus lanes would operate in both directions at peak hours morning and afternoon.

If implemented the bus/bike lanes would be coloured green after a trial period to identify any unforeseen problems. Each of these proposals would be implemented by replacing car parking in the peak period with the bus/bike lane operating on clearways.

They each build on other priority measures that have been installed in the City and are continuing the region-wide roll out of priority measures where these can be justified.

The costs of building the three bus lanes is $481,000 of which a 48 per cent subsidy is being sought from Transfund’s roading budgets. In the case of Khyber Pass, which did not meet the Transfund benefit/cost ratio cut-off, a funding subsidy of 40 per cent will be sought from Transfund’s Kick-Start Fund or, alternatively, a funding request will be made to Infrastructure Auckland.

Councillor Greg McKeown, chairman of the transport committee, said bus lanes were currently the most effective method of moving large numbers of commuters through busy inner-city roads at peak hours.

“This council wants to make the best-possible use of our roading infrastructure and our investment in roading to ease traffic congestion, and bus priority lanes are proving to be very successful at doing that,” said Councillor McKeown.

“Bus priority lanes are a relatively cost-effective method of ensuring the maximum number of commuters are moved into and out of the city’s main arterial routes as quickly as possible.”

The consultation process – which will canvass the opinions of stakeholders along the routes is expected to start this month with a report back to the transport committee in June.

ENDS

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