New Zealand

Eastern Busway Stage 4 Consultation – Greater Auckland

Earlier this year, construction started on the second stage of the Eastern Busway, that will see it extended from Pakuranga to Botany. This will include the absurd Burswood deviation that was first revealed in late 2021.

That deviation was confirmed last year but the section between Burswood and Botany, also known as Stage 4, hasn’t been – though it was included in the material at the time.

Auckland Transport don’t currently have enough funding for this section however, they are now consulting on their preferred option for it, along with an interim option of just mixing buses in with all of the cars, for when the other parts of the busway open, which is expected in 2027.

We are seeking your views on Stage 4 of the Eastern Busway from Tī Rākau Drive to Botany, via Guys Reserve and Whaka Maumahara. The two routes that we are consulting on are shown below.

  • The Eastern Busway Stage 4 Link route (EB4L): the preferred, proposed design that we are submitting consents for in August 2023 and will be built when funding is approved.
  • The Eastern Busway Stage 4 Interim bus route (EB4i): an interim route that will be in place by 2027 and will be in use until the link route is funded and built.

And a bit more information.

Link route (EB4L)

  • EB4L is the final stage of the busway. It begins on Tī Rākau Drive, continues along the northern edge of Guys Reserve and Whaka Maumahara, and connects to Te Irirangi Drive where a new Botany Station will be built.
  • EB4L includes a two-lane road for buses only, which will bypass the Ti Rākau Drive / Te Irirangi Drive intersection, enabling reliable travel times.
  • A separate cycleway and footpath is proposed along the western edge of the reserve and would connect to the wider Eastern Busway cycling and walking network.
  • Planning is in progress to determine the exact location of the Botany Station and is likely to be close to the town centre. It will be an interchange for the Eastern Busway, local school bus services, and future Airport to Botany rapid bus services.
  • Auckland Transport is in the process of applying for funding through the Regional Land Transport Plan three year review and it will continue through the consenting process. Consent is being sought for EB4L because it is the preferred design to be delivered when funding is available.

Interim bus route (EB4i)

  • Auckland Transport has endorsed funding for the design and construction of an interim bus route (EB4i), that will connect the Eastern Busway in Burswood to Tī Rākau Drive. This route will be used until funding is confirmed to build EB4L and the Botany Station.
  • EB4i will connect from the east side of the Howick and Eastern bus depot to Tī Rākau Drive. There will be traffic lights near Guys Reserve where buses travelling towards Botany will leave the busway. They will continue in regular traffic lanes along Tī Rākau Drive and Te Irirangi Drive to Botany Town Centre bus shelters, which will be upgraded. Buses travelling from Botany towards Pakūranga will move onto the busway at the traffic lights near Guys Reserve.
  • EB4i would be designed and built as efficiently and cost effectively as possible to maximise benefits and it would be replaced by EB4L and Botany Station, when funding is available.

Paving over a reserve, even if it’s just part of a stormwater pond, is a terrible outcome straight out of the 1960’s and completely unnecessary in an area swimming in large roads and carparks that could easily be used instead. Furthermore, the bridge that currently exists provides easy access from the nearby housing to Botany Hub, removing this and replacing it with a path around the stormwater pond, adding potentially 200-300m to any journey and while not massive, it will add up for some.

Speaking of adding journey time to active modes, this shows the planned cycleway that is part of the project in red with a more direct route in blue.

Like with the Burswood deviation, this feels like ATs primary focus is all about having the least impact on cars. The interim route doesn’t even have bus priority.

There are also surely other, easier and cheaper options too. A couple of ideas for these are below.

  • Ti Rakau Dr through here is six lanes wide and if they were just to take two of those to provide bus priority, it would add only a minute or less to overall journey time.
  • Te Koha Rd through Botany Hub is a private road but it’s also quite wide. AT acquiring it or working with the owners to reconfigure it to provide bus priority along it should surely be possible while still being able to provide a high level of reliability.

The consultation for this is open till 10 September and is straightforward, mostly just asking if you support the proposal or not, and why.

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