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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Auckland plan

There's good news and there's two lots of bad news. The good news is I was told about the submission before it closed.

The first bad news is that it said I only had a minute left. And the second bad news is that the message was posted half a minute ago. So thanks for the nano-heads up, Nikki. It won't be very detailed then, this submission on Auckland Council's Spatial Plan.1. Council to appoint a cable commissioner to make a multi-pipe conduit via footpath renewal programme. Force utilities underground via rating overhead lines - to rent space in conduit. Long term project 30+ years to cover whole city. Utility rents to pay for footpaths/conduit and street lighting, traffic signals etc. The UFB roll-out the govt. is subsidising has all gone to Telecom - a CCO should have got that contract - like Christchurch did - what a wasted opportunity.

2. If Council must widen any major roadway, esp. Dominion Rd, then FFS take 6m at least, pref. 10m or more not just 2m or 3m - the width of a single lane - that is never enough.

3. Put in the rail loop from Britomart to wherever on the Western line is best and start it ASAP. We all know where it leaves from, so start digging already.

4. Appoint a transit commissioner to cost the entire completed urban rail network and draft legislation to split the mass transit rail system off from the 'Auckland Transport' CCO so that the network stands alone (with its own sources of funding incl. it's own rate) to focus on delivering and expanding rather than being forever sacrificed as the poor cousin to motorways on the transport agenda. The first work for the commissioner is to have in one year studied and costed options ready for how to get rail across the Harbour bridge to the Shore and across the Mangere bridge to the airport and to Wiri.

5. Start work on a city charter for whatever will replace the Auckland Council.

- That took way longer than half a minute.

Whatever, they never listen, if it's anything like past experiences.

All the elected Councillors care about is how much of an increase in the rates you'll be able to stomach... Well, fuck'n heaps, I rent. ?! I could also stomach a huge decrease too. That's not why I go to plan submissions - I don't want to quibble about their forced choice 4.3% option or the 5.2% option. There's no clocks at the suburban rail stations because the service is so bad they resort to trying to hide things from the patrons. At the core of that issue is under-funding and divided administration, weak leadership. Is 5.2% going to put clocks in?

Funny no matter how many hundreds of millions they spend on transport they can't even spend a few thousand on some clocks. So many poor decisions, so often you'd swear they were deliberate. The street corners and footpaths and seats and things they have to pull out and put back, and they have about three goes to get right. The junkets. The endlessly spiralling IT costs. The systemic problems and tolerance of the sort of mismanagement and outright sabotage that results in freaky breaks for inside players and inertia and death for projects not on their stacked lists. Can these issues the new Council inherits - these misbehaviours and rorts - be stemmed and rooted out? I hope so.

What I'm interested in is getting some value for money and fixing some of the problems the council makes for itself. They are still only looking short term, long term is more like 100 years than 30 years.

And speaking of local loops:
Is Bill Ralston whored off totally to the Nats now or what? Or the road lobby? Has he ever asked himself why undergrounding half of a motorway under Victoria Park and demolishing and then rebuilding an almost identical motorway viaduct above Newmarket at a cost of about half a billion was deserving of central government funding? Wouldn't that have been better spent on the rail loop tunnel - it'd be well underway now at least if the Transit (now NZTA) board hadn't over the last five years used all those resources on those dubious motorway projects.


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