Anyone able to guess where this might be? Source:

Believe it or not, this is the sole pedestrian link between Auckland’s second busiest railway station and the main shopping street adjacent to that station. This is the link between Broadway and Newmarket train station.

If you didn’t know exactly what you were looking for, you would miss this. In fact, I’ve missed it a few times even though I knew exactly what I was looking for. Where’s the signage? Where’s the visual clues that we spent tens of millions of dollars building this flash new railway station?

Why does Auckland so often screw up on the easy stuff when it comes to rail infrastructure?

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  1. I think it is important to note that the council owns the red building on the left, and they intend to demolish it to create a proper Broadway entrance to Station Square.

      1. I know at the time of development for the second section of the apartments, Queens Lodge I believe, the developer openly offered the Council the ability to provide input to the development including removing some of the carparks on the track side to include a platform. This occured at the start of construction for Queens Lodge and during the planning stages for the Newmarket Station. The Council were unable get moving on things and the opportunity was left begging. There is a lot of negative comments about the developer but believe it or not they did not go for the absolute cheapest in their development, if you compare it to some of the Hobson St/Nelson St apartments they are a big step up.

        Whilst I believe the apartments are not architecturally wonderful, they do help with the urban planning of Auckland. High density at a transport node (eg Newmarket) allows for more frequent services from the node to other locations.

    1. Although this blog was first posted in 2010 there has still been no change to the council owned buildings either side of the entry alley. In fact the council owns five shops adjoining the alley and claim to have plans and funding to demolish them and create a larger and more suitable entry. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen in the end. The amount of pedestrian traffic from the trains is increasing and the exit to Broadway is becoming a bottleneck.
      To the many people on this blog who have cast aspersions on the quality of the apartments… I wonder if you have been inside any of them? There is a wide variety of sizes and they cater well to families who want to live in Newmarket.

  2. huh? That’s the Carlton Club building, which is on the corner of Khyber Pass and Broadway unless someone moved it.
    The “The Lumsden” sign, which is the name of a pub on Lumsden Green, confirms the location.

      1. I don’t know. The link just went to a Flickr account page, and the picture I looked at with that picture ID was very definitely of the Carlton Club building.

  3. The (uninspiring) sign happens to be hidden behind that 5min parking sign from the angle that the photo was taken.

    I quite like the signage used in the Hong Kong MTR, Where there a simple logo has been created and is so well known that no words are required.

    Anybody know when they are going to complete the access-way?

  4. I wandered through there this afternoon and there is absolutely no signage whatsoever to indicate that a train station is accessible from this location on Broadway. Reflecting on the situation, I’ve got to say that this is pretty much indicative of the way the ACC viewed PT: ignore it and it will go away; what I’m more concerned about is the fact that ARTA allowed this to happen. I can only hope that AT won’t subscribe to the same activist anti-PT strategies.

  5. What you are looking at is a remanat of historical ‘planning’.

    The red building on the left has been remodelled extensively in the past three years to eliminate the badly designed 80s ‘plaza’ that meant shop layout hid shops and made it difficult or uncomfortable for pedestrians to enter the ‘plaza’. The changes saw shop frontages become aligned with the pavement, and the interior of the shops become one long thin shop layout.

    The alleyway had always been there, included in the ‘plaza’, but so badly designed that few used it. The redesign ‘uncovered’ the alleyway, giving it a much more plainer look (compared to what I remember). Presumably the alleyway is a historical remanant from earlier times.

  6. My conversations with the architects of the station when I photographed it [see the current issue of Architecture NZ] suggested that the building on the left would be removed and access to the station opened up. Yet to happen obviously, and it really needs to. Complete with a bit decent caffine vending etc…

    I have a conflicting view of the square that this alley leads to: There are the obvious terrible aspects of it, the miserable ceiling height of the [largely untenentable] ground floor shops, the nasty ‘quantity surveyor’ cladding and detailing to the building above, the bogus ‘tree’ sculptures, yet there is something really good about this space, and here it is: It is about the only urban space in Auckland that doesn’t even have one side that is given over to cars and buses. It’s an actual urban square, even the fact that it is hemmed in to the north doesn’t matter as the scale of the space in proportion to the height of the [frankly vile] apartment building means that even in winter the sun gets to the station end of the space. And the absence of traffic noise and movement gives this place an almost zen-like quality of refuge and poise. The fact that AK’s second busiest station is there means that it is [increasingly!] busy too to counterpoint this serenity, and thus saving it from that creepy emptiness that has infected too many attempts at public space in this underpopulated land. So it has an urban, if not quite urbane, quality [if you squint].

    Complete accident of course, but that is true of many a good urban space.

    1. I agree it has potential, just needs much more “hustle bustle” in my opinion – which a connection to Broadway would probably provide.

      I’ve heard many many stories about shops being removed to open up the square to Broadway more, but nothing has happened. What on earth is going on? If I had a shop within the area I’d be on the phone every day to the council telling them to hurry the hell up and fix the problem.

  7. I think that opening up the square would probably increase the value of those empty shops that surround it and increase the chance of them actually having businesses in them.

    Out of interest I found a press release the other day that said that in May patronage on the western line at Newmarket and Grafton combined was up 26.1% on May last year when there was the temporary Newmarket platform and Boston Rd. This compared to a total western line patronage of an 8.4% increase. This didn’t include any usage from the southern line at Newmarket or now the Onehunga line.

  8. Here are some views of the station and square: I see that Jon C. hates it, but as I say above I think that its bones are more than OK, in fact are pretty special for AK. An enclosed public space in NZ is rare, sure the buildings themselves are bad, but to have apartments looking down on this kind of space and a train station on one side is something I’ve not seen since Europe. They will struggle to let such horrible retail spaces but the foot traffic from the station will make it work in my view. Opening it up to Broadway will help enormously; right now it is a secret, which is a good quality for the square, but not the station. See below:

    1. I agree with you that the square has plenty of promise, but in my opinion it hurts the square being so quiet, not just the station. Squares and plazas are designed to be people-filled. This one always just feels eerie. A better link to Broadway would help attract more people in there.

  9. What they need to do is knock threw a few of those shops to create larger spaces and specifically go after restaurants, cafes and bars. Then again they may have problems with the apartment dwellers complaining about the noise. It has the potential to be a really nice entertainment area. They could also look to set up a market inside that space during the weekend to bring in some people on days that would otherwise see less people.

  10. And to think that just a few hundred meters up the road (Lumsden Green area), they did such a wonderful job with that. What a contrast.

  11. It can be largely fixed with the removal of that one shop [used to be Camper Shoes]. I don’t agree that only park like open spaces are good, I like it’s hard enclosed urban nature. Yes it want’s to be busier and the station will deliver that, increasingly.

    My point about ‘secret’ urban spaces is a different one, you’ll all have peered into little courtyards in Spain or Italy, and yes a lot of their charm is to do with 500 year old buildings and the texture of stone and a probably greater need for shade than in AK, but part of the theatre of these places is a certain hidden quality. Similar charm is delivered by walls hard up to pavements too high to see over on narrow lanes, like in Oxford, giving rise to a sense of enchantment; ‘The melancholy and the mystery of the street’. All things that our car centric and suburban minded planning laws forbid.

    There are a couple of good courtyards in AK; The old Ambulance building in Beresford St, Kadimah in Greys Ave- especially as there is now a cafe there [Jewish food- yum!], The Thomas Building at AK University [designed my father], and the across the road the Music School has one too.

    It is a mistake to focus only on the surface of the old cities we love to visit; it is the programme that over time will deliver livebilty…..

  12. Activities that would bring some life to the area – bustling cafes, restaurants and so on, are noisy.

    Maybe the apartments (complete with laundry dangling from the balconies) should have been offices instead.

    That would have eliminated noise concerns from residents associated with having any activities in the square or any of its shops.

    1. Yeah, unfortunately it doesn’t stop people complaining about it. Remember a few years ago the hoohaa that the Viaduct apartment dwellers kicked up over the noise coming from the bars. Makes me wonder why they moved there in the first place.

      1. Surely if there’s no residents above the square, then there’s nobody to complain?

        Apartments surrounding the square should never have been allowed to happen in the first place.

        Also, the sign from Broadway, from memory, says “Station Square / Broadway Car Park”. I can’t remember the last time I saw a sign for a carpark getting me thinking “wow, I should check that place out” and I doubt it excites many other people either. Neither does “Station Square”. Perhaps along with some big changes to liven the place up a bit, it should get a new name.

  13. City living is noisy, as you say, life is noisy, you choose to live there you cope with noise… plenty will choose to. Not everyone wants the solitude of Kaiwaka.

  14. It’s not only the travelling public suffering but the retailers in the square and the ratepayers who funded the construction of all those empty stores around the square…

    1. I don’t believe the ratepayers paid for the development, it was a company called L&Y Holdings. They did all the ‘lovely’ apartments and carparks starting opposite Khyber Pass and going all the way to Newmarket.

  15. Yes, ‘secret’ spaces add real texture to a city: the courtyard of the Thomas building (named after my great grandfather) is a real and very rare gem. There were other spaces too in Auckland once: Swanston Street; His Majesty’s Theatre arcade; the street leading to Myers Kindergarten when the now demolished Salvation Army building in Greys Ave was there; Durham Lane West (when Broadcasting House was there), etc.

  16. Yes Chris [don’t we have a nice if distant connection then?], let’s not forget what Sky City did to Federal St, it was the west-side version of High St…. now they want to be rewarded for ruining it by getting the air rights. As they say on The Wire; ‘that is some shameful shit.’

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