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Consultants Recommend Expressway Strategy

29 August 2002

Consultants Recommend Expressway Strategy For Eastern Corridor

A four-lane expressway with two dedicated rapid transit lanes has been recommended as the best strategy to develop transport needs in the Eastern Corridor.

The expressway will address local traffic and access problems, help reduce the current gridlock on the southern motorway and retain maximum flexibility about where a third harbour crossing might be built.

These are the major findings of a strategy study for the Auckland City Council’s Transport Committee by Eastdor Consultants, a consortium of specialist engineers, planners, strategists, social scientist and landscape specialists.

As well as two lanes for general traffic and one in each direction for rapid transit, the expressway would also include a combined walkway/cycleway and the retention of the existing rail line for both freight and passenger rail services.

The Eastern Corridor expressway would run from the Auckland CBD to Botany Downs in Manukau City, passing through Orakei, Meadowbank, St Johns, Panmure and Pakuranga out to Botany Downs.

Major findings in the Eastdor study include:

- a better transport service is needed in the Eastern Transport Corridor and it should contribute to the region’s strategic transport network.

- greatly improved public transport will be an important part of the transport mix for the corridor but will not, of itself, address all the issues.

- a staged, multi-mode expressway is both feasible and fundable, and

- while mitigation of environmental and community impacts will be needed, there are significant community benefits from a new transport facility in the corridor and opportunities for further enhancement

The expressway would be developed as a “greenway” - landscaped and planted to enhance the areas it passes through.

Eastdor’s strategy study recommendations will now be considered by transport committees of both Auckland and Manukau cities.

Feedback on the study’s recommendations from stakeholders and interested parties close on 4 October. Auckland City’s transport committee will consider feedback and make a recommendation on the next stage of the process in late October.

The chairman of the council’s transport committee, Cr Greg McKeown, says the study’s findings are a recommended strategy and it is up to the committee to determine the next stage of development in the corridor.

“Eastdor have done exactly what we asked of them - they have given us a recommended strategy as a result of their extensive study,” says Cr McKeown.

He says it is important to realise that determining the strategy is only the first step in what will be an on-going study into the best way to develop the corridor.

“But what we have got here is a comprehensive study which looks at more than just transport issues,” says Cr McKeown.

“The breadth of the report and the clear recommendations provide the committee with the confidence to progress development of the eastern corridor.”

“This strategy has the potential to deliver social, environmental and economic benefits in tandem with the obvious transport solutions.”

Eastdor say the expressway would run parallel to the railway line south from Morrin Rd, follow Waipuna Rd and join the SEART (the South Eastern Arterial Rd).

It would then go on to Ti Rakau Drive which would be upgraded to six lanes and an eight metre rapid transit corridor as far as Botany Downs where it would join the East Tamaki Corridor.

An expressway is the best “fit” within the constraints of the corridor and is more suitable than a motorway because it has a lower design speed; it has more design flexibility; and it has a narrower “footprint.”

Another key advantage over a motorway is that an expressway provides for all modes (types) of transport including exclusive or shared use passenger transport, including cyclists and pedestrians, whereas by law they are not allowed on motorways.

The Eastdor study acknowledges that there are a significant number of environmental, social and cultural issues in the strategy, including how Hobson Bay is crossed and how the route would pass through the Purewa Creek, particularly close to the Meadowbank Station.

The strategy involves “significant land purchase” in Ti Rakau Drive.

“The scale of these purchases would go beyond the individual households to a community level by affecting some local organisations,” the study says.

However, benefits of the strategy, in addition to improved access within the corridor and reduced congestion on arterial and local roads, include:

- increased attractiveness and patronage of public transport

- enhanced attractiveness of Auckland as a business location (reduced perception of gridlock)

- improved access to employment in the CBD, Glen Innes, East Tamaki and the Manukau Centre-Wiri areas

- enhanced attractiveness of the Glen Innes and Panmure shopping centres

- removal of heavy vehicles from local streets

- protection and enhancement of community infrastructure including schools, the Parnell Baths, the Outboard Boating Club, the ASB Centre and the Lagoon Leisure and Fitness Centre

The strategy also says there will be social development through better access to employment, enhanced neighbourhood amenity - supporting Auckland City’s Liveable Communities strategy - and improved access to recreational resources.

Eastdor say implementation of the strategy will also open up a range of other opportunities, including developing the corridor as a “greenway”, enhancing the entrance to the CBD at Tamaki Drive and improving integration between the Tamaki Campus with the Glen Innes Centre.

It would also provide “traffic calming” measures in residential streets such as Tripoli Rd, Apirana Ave, Erima and Elstree streets.

From a recreational perspective, it would enable the development of a recreational precinct on Lagoon Drive, enhance the links of Panmure to Maungarei (Mt Wellington) and increase the availability of Tamaki Drive as a recreational facility through traffic reduction.

The Eastdor Strategy Study will be posted on the council’s web site and will be available for viewing next week in council libraries. People or organisations wanting to provide feedback or get further information can view the study at www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/eastcorridor. Information is available at the Auckland City call centre (09) 379 2020.

In Manukau, the report will be on the Manukau City Council web site www.manukau.govt.nz and call centre (09) 262 5104 and it will also be available for viewing at the Howick and Pakuranga libraries next week as well as at the council’s Citizen and Customer Centre, Kotuku House, Manukau Square.

ENDS


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