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Eastern Corridor Rethink Needed: Mayoral Candidate

Proposed Eastern Corridor

By Len Brown – Manukau City Councillor – Candidate For Manukau Mayoralty

In my view the head long rush into this project and the determination to proceed at all cost, despite the facts, has now highlighted serious flaws in the analysis and final recommendation...


Now that the recommended option from the consultants have been presented for the council’s and community’s consideration it is time for Manukau City to determine its position after thorough and considered analysis of the option and further consultation with the community.

We also recognise that Manukau City already has an existing roading corridor from Manukau to Panmure/Waipuna and as a city we now need to assess strategically the logic of having two bus lanes to Te Irirangi and Ti Rakau and whether this is the most effective use of public funds for the development of public transport in the Manukau City area.

To lead this discussion I am proposing to the City Council that we split Manukau City’s future analysis of this project with the dividing point being the intersection of Reeves Road, Ti Rakau Drive, Pakuranga Road.

In my view the head long rush into this project and the determination to proceed at all cost, despite the facts, has now highlighted serious flaws in the analysis and final recommendation of OPUS consultants. Further consultation needs to be had on this matter in particular with the community of Te Irirangi Drive. 182 properties in Te Irirangi Drive are proposed to be purchased under the recommended option. Directly affected people have not to this point been appropriately consulted on this proposal and need to be.

There has been a total lack of reference in the analysis to the building of the connection to the Southern Motorway through Highbrook Estate/ Waiouru Peninsular. This is a $40,000,000.00 project designed originally to take from the residential roads the industrial commercial traffic from the developing East Tamaki business estate and also the increasing residential traffic from East Tamaki and South Howick. This road provides an obvious outlet, completely ignored in the reports analysis, for business traffic from the Eastern side of the Southern Motorway to access the southern motorway and then in the event of Auckland City completing its work, entering the corridor at the new Mount Wellington interchange.

The report failed to recognise the fact that increasingly Manukau residents are living and working in Manukau, up from 42% in 1986 to 62% as at the last census in 2001. The strategy for provision of public transport in Manukau recognises that our public needs to travel across our city to the main employment areas. Our long term strategic requirements therefore need to reflect these population and urban trends rather than continue to focus on the Auckland CBD.

In considering the development of Waiouru we need to assess whether it’s impact will mean that it is appropriate to use only four lanes in Ti Rakau as present, with one lane each way being designated bus lane. The same analysis needs to apply to Te Irirangi which is now proposed to have three lanes in each direction. Also no recognition or consideration has been given as to how Te Irirangi Drive, Chapel Road and Harris to Preston Roads as key north/south arterials and sub-arterials could interrelate in the East Tamaki community.

The Eastern Corridor was initially conceived to provide an alternate route to the Southern Motorway for Manukau, Auckland residents and those coming from southern areas. There is in the plan and presently, no direct south facing ramps from Te Irirangi Drive to the southern motorway. Also why would anyone entering the Eastern Corridor at Te Irirangi make that choice? It would be much simpler and quicker to access an eastern entrance to the CBD at the Mount Wellington interchange.

We as a city need to seriously consider the impact of this proposal on the western side of the city and how the proposed public transport links would link with the main trunk line, the airport, Ascot Park, Mangere Central and Mangere Bridge. We also need to determine whether we designate bus lanes on the real Eastern Corridor of Manukau City, the Howick and Pakuranga highway. This work was after all commenced in response to concerns by the Howick and Pakuranga communities relating to vehicular access to the Auckland CBD. Therefore no review of this matter can be completed without full consideration of Manukau’s future needs in its Eastern and Western Corridor.

Where are the views of the operators in this report? No amount of theorising or strategizing will achieve 1/10th of our public and vehicular transport goals without the active buy-in and commitment of the bus, ferry and rail operators. It is essential to bring these owners to the table.

We need to finally assess whether the bus is the appropriate mode for the development of our arterial public transport system. There is no reference, debate, statistics or analysis around mode preference in this report. I have over the years been an enthusiastic supporter and promoter of bus transport, but even within bus transport there are significant variations of what is available. We need to now make that assessment.

The cost of this proposal is preposterous and no amount of chest beating about economic gain can detract from the need to put the economic blow torch to these assessments and weigh up the costs of this proposal against other options. Manukau’s share of this project sits in the vicinity of $6 / $800,000,000.00. Professor Tim Hazeldene calculates the cost of this corridor at $100,000,000.00 per km. The determination that we make now will have a direct impact on an estimated 320 homes and premises in the city. The question we as a council have to get real about is how we and our community can pay for these properties with estimated total values of between $2/$300,000,000.00 if we proceed with this proposal. The affected parties will have an immediate expectation that their properties would be purchased and that they would be compensated forthwith. We have given a clear commitment to our community that there will be no rate increases in our City beyond the rate of inflation. There is no way that we could meet as a City Council, the expectations of those directly affected by the recommendation. It is time for Manukau to shape this proposal around its own strategic needs and financial capabilities.

This is Manukau’s time to consider this proposal. We will not be harassed or bullied into an urgent decision to meet any person’s political time-frames. The decisions that we now make will have ramifications for our city and the region over the next 50 years we need an appropriate period of consultation, consideration and analysis of this proposal as it relates to our city in building into the future a public transport and arterial roading system for our whole city, to meet the changing employment and community requirements well into the 21st century.

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