Auckland Transport proposes to introduce a T3 Transit lane Westbound on Onewa Road at Northcote during evening rush hour traffic. Feedback is sought from the public.
The proposed T3 transit lane is part of building more efficient public transport network. This change will mean faster and more reliable travel time along Onewa Road because buses and carpool vehicles carrying three or more occupants are less likely to be stuck in traffic.
The existing westbound carriageway is 6.5m wide and provides space for on-street parking and a single traffic lane. The existing single-lane configuration, when transformed to two lanes, will provide for greater ease of travel.
The added lane will effectively serve as a means of prioritising higher occupancy vehicles along the proposed route. This will allow a more effective use of the available road space and improve efficiency and reliability of public transport system. The proposed scheme will also reduce travel time to most vehicles using the general traffic lane.
Submissions on the proposal close on September 12.
Resident feedback includes:
The intent of the proposal is stated to be to improve the efficiency of Onewa Road by introducing two lanes but restricting one of these lanes for the exclusive use of buses and T3 vehicles. Auckland Transport has provided design illustrations comparing the purported current road layout and the proposed layout incorporating a transit lane. Based on this, Auckland Transport has stated that single passenger cars (which account for 93% of the vehicle traffic) will experience reduced travel times as a result of being restricted to one lane in Onewa Road.
Unfortunately, the conclusions reached by Auckland Transport appear to be flawed. Fundamental to the flawed conclusion is the misleading illustration used by Auckland Transport depicting the current lane layout. This illustration shows that the existing layout of Onewa Road is a single lane in the section of Onewa Road subject to the proposal (Church Street to Birkenhead Avenue).
This is not correct. The section of westbound Onewa Road between Aorangi Place and Birkenhead Avenue is, in fact, two lanes – this covers about 25% of the identified route subject to the proposal. This double lane enables the single lane westbound traffic in Onewa Road, prior to the two-lane section, to effectively open out from a single lane into two lanes – this eases congestion and increases traffic flow capacity towards the lights at Birkenhead Ave and beyond.
The transit lane layout proposed by Auckland Transport dispenses with this two-lane capacity for the 93% of vehicles that use Onewa Road in the evening peak. Instead of these vehicles being able to spread over two lanes they will be restricted back to one lane which will result in restricted capacity which in turn will cause a ripple back effect increasing congestion further down Onewa Road.
The ramifications of this increased congestion for the vast majority (93%) of vehicles that use Onewa Road in the evening peak will mean that they will try and find an alternative route. This alternative route will almost certainly be via the Stafford Road off-ramp, through Little Shoal Bay (a reserve), up Maritime Terrace, Hinemoa Street and into either Birkenhead Avenue or Mokoia Road. This will have the undesirable effect of taking traffic from a Regional Arterial Road and forcing it onto Local Roads that already have capacity problems during the evening peak.
Accordingly, the proposal, as it is, is deficient in that it has not properly anticipated the detrimental effect on local roads. The proposal should, therefore, be withdrawn until a proper assessment has been made.