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Auckland Transport

Northcote Road, Takapuna - Road layout improvements Northcote Road, Takapuna - Road layout improvements

Proposal status: Feedback closed 25 March 2021

Reference number: NOP1920-007

Proposal outcome

In March 2021, we proposed changes to reduce traffic congestion on Northcote Road, Takapuna. The section of Northcote Road between the State Highway 1 and Taharoto Road is an important corridor serving Milford, Takapuna, Forrest Hill, Northcote and Sunnynook as the key motorway access in the AM and PM peak periods. On average, Northcote Road carries 38,000 vehicles per day, so we have proposed these improvements to keep the road moving.

The majority of responses received were supportive and we are proceeding with the work with a minor change. These works will help support our Vision Zero goal.

Following community feedback, we will change the design to add a physical separator for the widened eastbound cycle lane to better protect cyclists.

What happens next

We anticipate the changes will be constructed within the next year. We will be in touch with affected businesses prior to any construction taking place.

Community feedback

Thank you for adding your voice to this proposal. Your local knowledge has helped us make this decision for your neighbourhood. A summary of your comments and queries, and our responses to them, are below.

Lane layouts

  • A few suggestions to change the lane layout (two left-most westbound lanes on Northcote Road, the two right-turning lanes from Taharoto onto Northcote, and an additional right lane on Northcote) so that vehicles in these lanes can turn onto the State Highway 1.

Providing additional lanes leading onto Northcote Road to access the motorway would not provide any improvement to the flow of cars because in the end there is only one lane that goes to the motorway. This was not considered because it would create greater congestion for vehicles travelling onward on Northcote Road as drivers funnel into a single lane.

  • The suggestion that the two right-turn lanes from Taharoto Road turn into the two rightmost lanes on Northcote Road, and a request for broken white lines to guide drivers into these lanes.

The proposed arrangement is similar to what is in place at the moment, where the right-turning drivers from Taharoto Road are guided into the kerbside lane. A significant amount of the right-turning drivers will be heading to the motorway and therefore will want to be in the kerbside lane. By directing one of the right-turning lanes into the kerbside lane on Northcote Road, we can reduce lane changes that slow driver and cause congestion.

  • Concern about the health and safety of the 4-12 Northcote Road properties after establishing the third traffic lane. People leaving the BP garage only look to the right and not for cars exiting driveways from the left.

We appreciate your concern. The situation will be similar to a lot of carpark exits and driveways; it is expected that the driver looks both lefts and right before making any movements. A traffic island is present outside the petrol station to help make sure exiting vehicles turn only left not right.

  • Request to further clarify the westbound turning lanes from Taharoto Road to Northcote Road. The two southbound lanes could be configured so the northbound lane has its own turning lane.

Yes, we will be providing advanced directional signage to clarify turning lanes from Taharoto Road to Northcote Road.

  • Request for 2 lanes for a left-turn from Taharoto Road into Northcote Road for those not wanting to get onto the motorway.

Adding an additional left turn lane from Taharoto Road onto Northcote Road has not been considered because it would create a safety issue for the pedestrian crossing and hold up the vehicles moving through the intersection and continuing on Taharoto Road.

  • Concern that drivers will need to cross two lanes rather than one when travelling north on Taharoto Road and turning left into Northcote Road wanting to enter motorway to go North.

This part of Taharoto Road is long enough that we are confident drivers will have time to make these lane change movements.

  • Request to make the two lanes on Northcote Rd past the Smales Farm lights continue to the Taharoto Road lights as the straight and right turn lanes with the left turn lane branching off the way the right turn is proposed to do.

There is not enough space on the road for the left and through the lane to branch. The left lane cannot be combined with the through lane as it leads to the left turn slip lane. A separate through lane would need to be provided at the intersection but there is not enough space for an additional through lane on Northcote Road. The only way the through and left-turn lane can be combined is if the slip lane is removed. Removing the slip lane would require additional left-turn phase lights at the signalised intersection which would create more congestion and delays.

  • Requests to make changes to the State Highway 1 onramps, by adding lanes, additional destination signage, and the one-car-per-light traffic light.

The highway and onramps are the domain of Waka Kotahi NZTA and subject to their decisions. The number of lanes and traffic lights control the flow on the motorway and are installed based on traffic flow assessments carried out by Waka Kotahi NZTA.

  • Request for a small “keep clear” area on Taharoto Road so cars leaving Shea Terrace can get across to the right turning lanes and not block traffic continuing straight.

Thank you for this suggestion; it is has been referred to our traffic operations team for further investigation.

  • Concerns that the removal of one of the eastbound lanes will increase congestion.

One eastbound lane will be removed on Northcote Road towards Taharoto Road. We have proposed this removal after analysing many lane configuration options and modelling the flow of traffic. These analyses have shown that there will not be a big impact on the flow of eastbound vehicles off the motorway, but there will be a big improvement in the flow of westbound vehicles with reduced congestion.

Traffic islands and medians

  • Concern that the traffic islands on Northcote Road will cause major traffic hazards and gets rid of an important safety area for cyclists and motorbikes.
    The traffic islands are in the same locations as the existing islands and are not newly proposed. One of the main reasons for installing the islands is to stop vehicles from turning right out of the petrol station and causing further congestion.
  • Suggestion to retain the flush median outside 4-14 Northcote Road for safety reasons otherwise eastbound vehicles cannot turn right to those properties and those properties cannot turn right to head to Taharoto Road; concern that removing the flush median will hinder people going in and out of the petrol station.
    In the investigation phase of this design, we counted the number of drivers making right turns using the painted median and found that there were few drivers doing this manoeuvre. Based on the low numbers of right-turning vehicles, we decided it was appropriate to reduce the flush median to provide improved corridor operation.
  • Concerns that the proposal would remove the “keep clear” road markings.
    We will not be removing these road markings; the “keep clear” area will remain.

Additional requests

  • Requests for red-light cameras at the Taharoto/Northcote Road intersection.
    Auckland Transport and NZ Police strongly support the use of red-light cameras as a safety tool in the management of red-light running at high-risk intersections. These high-risk sites have been assessed using the Ministry of Transport and Waka Kotahi NZTA criteria, and are usually large urban intersections with significant traffic volumes, where significant safety issues are evident, and the severity of crashes is unusually high.

The Taharoto/Northcote Road intersection is not high risk when compared to other intersections across the Auckland region, and so the installation of a fixed red light camera at this intersection has not been prioritised at this time.

The New Zealand Police are responsible for the enforcement of red-light running at various locations across the region. Please get in touch with NZ Police to consider your request for red light-running enforcement.

  • Concern that there is no safe point on the eastbound side to drop off school children/request for a drop-off bay to be created on the eastern side.
    We understand your concern, but we do not install drop off areas on busy arterial roads like Northcote Road as it creates congestion and can create new safety issues like children unexpectedly exiting vehicles and poor driver stopping behaviour at pick up and drop off times.
  • Suggestion to make it a counter flow road like Whangaparaoa Road.
    Because the westbound flow of traffic is congested in both the AM and PM peaks, a counter-flow road would not be effective on Northcote Road.

Cycle lanes and cycle facilities

  • Request for cycle lanes or shared pathway as the Northcote Bridge is not wide enough for cyclists.
    We share your concern; at present, as part of a separate project, an overbridge is being constructed for pedestrians and cyclists across the motorway. There are shared paths on Northcote Road between the motorway and Taharoto Road. Please click here for more info on this project: 
  • Requests for a separated and protected cycle lane and footpath, either with the cycle lane on the road or separated from where the pedestrians walk.
    Thank you for your suggestion. As part of the original proposal, we will be widening the eastbound existing cycle lane, and because of community feedback, we will now include a separator to improve cyclists’ safety.
  • Concern that cycle lanes do not need to be wider as they are already wide enough to fit a bike.
    We are looking to improve safety for cyclists where possible and to encourage cycling as a way to move around our city. Narrow cycle lanes can create safety issues so we will be widening the cycle lane and installing a cycle lane separator.

This is an example of the previous bike lane. We will be widening the lane and adding a physical separator.

Traffic light phasing

  • Concerns that the traffic light phasing is out of sync, or will be after these changes, and a request that the phasing for non-vehicle traffic is improved.
    All signals in the Auckland region road network are optimised every 2-3 years as part of the route optimisation programme. Your concerns will be passed along to our phasing team to investigate.

Other comments

  • Concern that these changes will not provide any meaningful benefit, especially for the cost of them.
    This project is considered a low-cost project that will improve congestion westbound and provide safety benefits to pedestrians and cyclists. We have proposed these changes because the projected benefits are considered worth the cost.
  • Concern that the raised crossings are a waste of money and will not make it more efficient.
    Because the raised crossings make drivers slow down when approaching the pedestrian crossings, they are considered an important feature that helps keep pedestrians safe.
  • Concern about the potential for raised crossings to damage cars and risk to/for emergency service vehicles.
    The raised crossings have been designed to ensure they can be driven over by emergency service vehicles and will not damage cars driving at appropriate speeds.
  • Concern that it will interfere with the recently improved pedestrian/cycling amenities on the overbridge.
    This proposal will not interfere with the Northcote Safe Cycle Route Project. The project lead on this road layout improvement project has worked with the cycle route project manager to ensure the changes work well together.
  • The suggestion that to reduce congestion Auckland Transport should implement projects to encourage alternative ways to travel around at peak times rather than making additional space for cars.
    We appreciate your concern. This project aims to reduce congestion by rearranging lands to make better use of the existing space already given to vehicles. We will also be expanding and strengthening the cycle paths which we hope will encourage cycling.
  • Suggestion to reduce the cost of public transport so more people use it.
    We assess our fares every year and the prices are set by balancing our services and our costs. The fare prices have been set for 2021, but if you would like to give us feedback on how we’re doing, please give us a call at 09 355 3553 and request to submit comments on AT Metro fares.

We're proposing improvements in your area

Aucklanders have told us that moving around our city safely and easily is important to them. We are proposing some improvements to your area and are asking for your views. We would like to reduce traffic congestion by changing the road layout on Northcote Road, between Taharoto Road and the State Highway 1 interchange.

The changes we are proposing:

Westbound lanes

  • Increase the lanes between Taharoto Road and the State Highway 1 overbridge from 2 lanes to 3. This includes changing the existing eastbound right turn lane into Takapuna Normal Intermediate School into an additional westbound through lane.

Eastbound lanes

  • Reduce the eastbound through lanes from 3 to 2 by changing the current inner eastbound though lane into a right turning lane into Takapuna Intermediate School.
  • Reinstate the eastbound lanes to 3 lanes approaching the Taharoto Road intersection.
  • Add a dropped kerb by the intersection of Northcote Road and Taharoto Road for cyclists to access the shared path from the cycle lane.
  • Remark the existing eastbound cycle lane on Northcote Road between The Avenue and Taharoto Road to provide a wider cycle lane.

Raised zebra crossings

  • Upgrade the existing zebra crossings on both slip lanes on the Taharoto Road / Northcote Road intersection to zebra crossings that are raised to the level of the footpath.

Supporting work

  • Relocate and repaint the existing flush median marking.
  • Paint new road markings and add signs.
  • Relocate the existing central traffic islands.
  • Install a new Advanced Direction Sign at the intersection of Shea Terrace and Taharoto Road to make drivers aware of the approaching lane directions.

Download the proposal drawing for Northcote Road (PDF 1MB)

Auckland Transport would like to work with you to deliver safer roads in your neighbourhood. Ongoing monitoring of our road network has shown significant queues towards the State Highway 1 on ramps at peak times. The left and right turn lanes are insufficient for the high volume of vehicles accessing State Highway 1 along Northcote Road from Taharoto Road. As a result, the traffic backs up into the 2 through lanes and causes poor traffic flow. The changes we are proposing aim to reduce congestion and improve westbound travel times by increasing the queueing spaces for drivers accessing the northbound State Highway 1 on ramp, so they do not block westbound drivers.

This road also serves as an important route for people walking and on bicycles to the Northern Busway, Smales Farm Business Park, Westlake Girls High School and Takapuna Normal Intermediate School. The widening of the cycle lane, addition of the dropped kerb and raised zebra crossings will improve the safety for everyone using the road.

This project is supported by the regional fuel tax fund.

What happens next

  • Auckland Council has implemented an Emergency Budget which has reduced AT’s capital and operating budgets. We are seeking feedback now so that we can be prepared once the funding for this project is given the go ahead.
  • We’ll post the outcome of this proposal and a summary of community feedback on this webpage.
  • We can email you the proposal outcome as soon as it’s ready – just select that option when you fill in the survey.

Takapuna: Safe with us

Auckland Transport cares for your safety. We want to make our roads safe for everyone, people walking and cycling, especially for our kids and senior citizens and people driving. Projects like this one around Northcote Road are another step towards our goal of achieving no deaths or serious injuries on our roads. We are guided by the Vision Zero approach to transport safety, which prioritises human safety over other measures (like minor time saving).