Thanks to SolR in my post yesterday the possible closing of Sarawia St we have some more information what may happen with the area above the Newmarket railway junction. We saw a different design for it earlier this year but not much other information about the project. But it seems that things are kicking up a gear with the developers saying construction is planned to kick off early next year with the development completed by 2015. While the architecture might not appeal to everyone’s tastes, I think it is a great example of the kind of development we need to be thinking about for our town centres around the region Auckland. By building over the junction it makes great use of a site that otherwise can only serve one purpose. One of the best things thought is that it appears to also provide a new connection to the Newmarket train station which would bring more of the Newmarket area within easy walking distance of the station. Looking from Broadway, here’s roughly what things look like now:

And here is what things will look like if this gets built:

The development will be quite mixed including retail, office space, apartments and a hotel along a pedestrian plaza. I guess my biggest concern is that pedestrians wanting to access the station have to walk along what appears to be a narrow walkway at the back of the development. It would be nice to have seen that key pedestrian area and shops could have extended all the way to where the station access was.

If this lives up to the hype the developers have put into their presentation, it could be an outstanding example of the kind of urban developments want to see around the region so hopefully they can get this off the ground.

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  1. You’re not wrong about the architecture not appealing to everyone’s taste: it’s crap, almost as bad as that found at the other end of Newmarket station. Anyway, now that this is starting does this mean that the station’s northern concourse is going to be constructed? Or are we going to be left with yet another nearly there but not quite situation? How is the construction of this behemoth going to impact on western line services and on the electrification programme?

  2. Well I hope it doesn’t turn into another Station Square, dead, boring and done on the cheap. It also appears to be planning to provide another extremely ugly wall of carparks to the people waiting at Newmarket station. While it’s good that this space is being developed it appears to be based on the suburban mall style of development, PLENTY! of parking to support a sterile throwback to yesteryear architecturally styled mall. I’m also concerned as you point out that the link to the station appears to be an afterthought and I am quite sure people entering the mall from that route won’t be treated to all the luxuries that people arriving by car will be. Somehow I don’t think you’ll get your bus/train ticket validated as you will get your carparking ticket.

      1. I count ~5 floors of parking, with each floor containing ~50 carparks so at least 250 car parks. They also state “Broadway Junction is served by good motorway access with nearby connections to the northern, southern, and western motorways. There is plenty of parking incorporated in the Broadway Junction development and additional parking facilities are available in the neighbouring buildings for those residents or visitors travelling by car”. The carparking is also right where the connection to the station is, so clearly maximising the number of parks was seen as a priority over a great connection to the station – which to be honest is extremely short sighted and I fail to see how a developer in this day and age wouldn’t be going out of their way to funnel as many of those train users through their mall as possible…

        1. Yes but there is quite a bit of office space and most companies still like to have a handful of parks for the likes of senior staff members. Plus the hotel will want a handful for things like valet parking. The specifically say that parking is available in neighbouring buildings for residents and visitors. I don’t disagree that it won’t be good if rail users end up looking at a boring car parking building.

          1. The fact we have see no renders of the western elevation , ie from building is James cook Crescent must mean the back end of the building must be not that attractive, – To be honest given the constraints of the sight I am surprised they are not using some sort of car stacker(s)

          2. @Matt L, but that is a totally useless shot, as it does not even indicate the 6 story office.hotel and carparking building on the south half of the site, If it was one block surrounded by a lower block like this it would nice, but its not…..

            Have they actually submitted this to council for resource consent yet, or are they still trying to blow smoke up investors…..

          3. Trucks on the railway line? What will happen next…Maybe this payback for trains on the road, aka “trams”?

            I see Auckland is ranked 3rd in the latest Mercer rankings for ok places to live, yet the media here never seem to follow up on how it also ranks a poor 43rd for city infrastructure.

    1. We will probably only realise that there is a better track alignment well after it is too late.
      I bet the additional railway costs in perpetuity don’t get factored in either.

      1. “We will probably only realise that there is a better track alignment well after it is too late.”

        Really? Do KR have no forward planning, or are all too busy scrapping lines and workshops at the government’s demand?

        What astounds me about Kiwi Rail is where ever I look in Auckland they seem to have little or no faith in the rail network developing at all. KR seems to to run be by people with little interest in the Auckland rail network. The Panmure development looks like it has made it tricky to add a third track and absolutely impossible for four, yet it happened on a rail designation and they should have fought to not lose future options. Newmarket sets a very obvious lesson in this kind of shortsightedness.

        Perhaps because the growth in Auckland is all AT’s business and not theirs- does KR resent this or something? Only care about freight?

        Clearly once Britomart is through routed, and assuming the CRL southern portal is built properly the next limiting junction on the space constrained inner network will be at Newmarket. There are other junctions that will need work too but they are in not such tight situations It seems, from the outside, that no one at KR is allowed to think about this officially let alone plan for it.

        Which is not to say that they should be holding up the development of this site, because clearly it’s a good thing for the station and for Newmarket but they should ensure, technically, that it doesn’t constrain improvements to the junction. The future is unwritten but the trend is not down. There is likely to be a great deal of growth in train movements through here, especially passenger ones.

        Perhaps AT should take over the AK network and charge KR for track access?!

        1. Patrick. That’s all a bit harsh on KiwiRail.
          The growth in Auckland is predicated on how AT wishes to grow the passenger network (and what the bus / rail split is). Unless AT has told KR its long term vision, KR won’t know what that vision really is – as opposed to say, making suppositions based on blue-sky thinking such as on this blog. So if AT wants to eat up potential railway expansion space at Panmure for a transport interchange, and KR thinks it can live with that loss within the future traffic levels it has been told about, who is KR to demand something better – especially if the cost of such future-proofing were to fall on KR and not AT.
          As for scrapping lines, KR is a quasi-government body that has been tasked by the government to become profitable. Spending millions of dollars to reopen a line that was losing money anyway does not fall within that government-set task. So as a company it could not justify doing so. And when asked, the government declined to fund the repairs any other way. Contributers to this blog go up in arms at government funded road schemes with dubious cost benefit ratios. They would be right to get equally up in arms if KR poured government subsidy into a scheme with no business case, and no government support.
          Having come from a planning role at Network Rail, I really can see where you are coming from, but Network Rail has licence conditions that oblige it to plan for the future for the whole railway industry and from an economic point of view rather than just a financial one. Also, it is given funds by the government in order to be able to capture the economic benefits from enhancements that would never appear in any train operator’s financial business case. It seems a very different place here and it will take the government to change things.

          1. Exactly.

            I don’t expect KR to go ahead and build out the eastern line by itself but I do expect it not to repeat the disasters that occurred to places like Newmarket when the company was privately owned. And at least protect the space necessary for a time, which is hardly unimaginable, that we don’t have a government determined to destroy rail. That’s all.

            Not enough to claim that no one told KR to look after the network’s future, if not KR then who?

          2. My only concern is whether we need additional space for track works as part of CRL to reduce conflicts at Newmarket. I hope they’re being future-proofed for.

    1. Depending on retail lease pricing, I would say 277 could be in for some competition for occupancy. They really need to do something with the crossing at Morrow / Broadway.

    2. Yes, I don’t mind the architecture either. It’s much better than that of the Burger King next door. If the developers can pull this off, it’ll be great – Auckland needs more development next to its train stations. I just hope that there won’t be any disruption to train movements during construction.

  3. Will be fascinating to see how it will be built. I assume they need to do the foundation work before electrification, once wires are live be very difficult to get done without serious disruption. I also wonder if they will be taking advantage of some of the full network closures to do the piling, or will have to be done at night.

  4. If I recall correctly a bus tunnel for Broadway has been suggested in the past. It would be cut and cover under the street. So we could have an underground bus station directly connected to the rail station at the same level. It can only be fifty meters between the road and the station. We could even have a light rail line running on the present bus route from the CDB past the university across the bridge to the university and thence to the bus tunnel at Broadway Newmarket. If I remember rightly this was what was the plan was around about 2001. I don’t think they had thought of a bus tunnel at that stage.They had a concept called the central connector which we have pretty much got anyway..

    1. The original central connector was a tramlink between Britomart and Newmarket – the route was up Queen Street, across Grafton Gully where Wellesley Street is and then tunnels under the hospital then back on street down Khyber Pass to Newmarket.

      The central connector as it stands is pretty good until it reaches Broadway where buses can spend as long getting through there as they take to get there from Britomart. It’s time they were given some priority. The sample applies to Khyber Pass and Newton Rd IMO, we have a massive bypass and yet both of these streets are completely handed over to cars.

    2. I have never ever heard of a serious suggestion for a bus tunnel under Broadway. The “Broadway problem” is easily solved by reducing traffic lanes, providing full bus lanes and encouraging through traffic to re-route through Gillies Ave & Crawford Street by improving the optimisation of that route.

  5. Would the development increase the costs of grade separating the rail junction at a later date ? The simplest way of grade separation could be to lower the western-most track and platform at Newmarket, then continue this track beneath other tracks in the junction, and rising to join the Parnell-bound track after the junction.

    1. Due to the various grades around the area, grade separation would be virtually impossible. I’m pretty sure it has already been considered and ruled out as a possibility.

      1. From what I’ve heard grade separating the junction itself is theoretically possible but incredibly complex and expensive to the point of being simply infeasible. I’m not sure but it might have required buying and demolishing adjacent buildings.

        However, there are three tracks through the station which give the opportunity to separate at least some of the movements north and south through the station. I’ve got one concept that I think can do it, it requires three tracks from Remuera station to the Parnell tunnel and a pair of single track weaves at points where the grades are favourable.

        1. Good stuff Nick. Instead of always just copying what is done overseas or what we have done before, transport planners in NZ need to start getting creative in order to get the outcomes we desire. I know ticking boxes is easy but I don’t believe it is getting ‘bang for buck’.

          1. Without seriously looking at it it seems possible that a forth track and platform could be added to the station by taking over a strip of the car park under the square. It seems to have a perimeter structure as well as internal columns so the amount of engineering required would depend on the dimensions there. And while that would mean separate tracks at the station for all four down movements and help move more people at once on the platforms more safely it wouldn’t, in itself, help the junction unless the new track could also be carried right through under broadway to the western line.

          1. Something is either possible or impossible, something can’t be virtually impossible as then it’s just possible albeit expensive\difficult 😉

          2. And that’s what I mean by virtually impossible. I understand it has been looked at and is only just physically possible but to do it would effectively require the removal of this development and the cinema/parking complex across the road as the western line would have to come in above Broadway. It would also require a rebuilding of the Newmarket station with elevated tracks which carried on over Remuera Rd before joining the existing lines somewhere up the hill to Remuera Station. All up very expensive and very destructive so I can’t see it ever having a chance to get consent.

            This is partly why I am so keen on eventually having the cross pattern for our rail network. It removes the conflict at Newmarket by making just a standard through station by effectively removing the junction (even though it would still be there physically).

          3. You don’t need the cross pattern to do that Matt, you can simply not run any trains between Newmarket and Grafton which is all the cross really achieves in that regard. Could very easily do that with just the CRL.

            Never fear though, with the right service planning the Newmarket reverse can be done away with leaving the junction no more of a constraint that Quay Park, Westfield or Manukau junctions.

    1. Better to paint on a few bus lanes and give the buses signalling priority at the lights. Buses on busy streets have the advantage over grade separate systems like rail or busways of going right to where the people are; on the streets. Their other advantage is that bus lanes and signalling changes are very cheap compared to tunnels and underground stations. These things are only viable on the very busy core of the network, not on every route.

      There is already a very big bypass through here for traffic, yes that, and we’ve built it twice. Its time to take the dividend and narrow the road space given over top cars and speed up the buses.

  6. The arcade runs east west and has a 6 story building on the north side, this place is gonna be a waste land in winter…..

      1. I don’t think we should be too picky about the style of architecture. The main issue is if architecture is involved or not! Some of those new big student towers in the CBD would of been so much better if they had a little more design, rather than just being drawn up by engineers.
        Also build quality is very important, and thus how the development will be looking in 10 or 20 years.

        1. Yes but there aspects of the urban design that could do with improving, especially the integration with the station and the quantity of parking, I don’t think these guys have quite got it yet… succeed further as a retail place Newmarket needs to work towards reducing the vehicle movements and this development fails to really address that in my view despite being perfectly placed to. It’s trying to have it both ways, they’re being careful I guess. Same goes for the style.

          1. Yeh was talking about buildings rather than urban design. Difficult with such a squished site with limited street frontage. Would be much better if they included the Noel Leeming site next door and created a loop st. And agreed about station integration, seems hidden away which seems short sighted. Would be much better to promote this as a major Northern entrance as this only way to get continual foot traffic. Otherwise hard in long-term for dead end street like this, need to keep attracting new and exciting tenants.

          2. I really think that we need to do something about Station Square. The signage to the train station from Broadway is really confusing and a very narrow entrance. How about moving some of the shops on either side of the alleyway into the square area and using the space to widen the entrance?

          3. That has been proposed something like 50 times in the last few years. Not sure why it hasn’t happened yet. I thought the council bought one of the shops adjacent to the current entrance?

  7. A high density mixed use development adjacent to a train station – just what this blog has been calling for. Sure parts of it could be improved (abundance of car parking in particular) but let’s not be typical Aucklanders – just trying to find faults – for once.

  8. saw something in the local paper yesterday about a development planned for around the Newmarket viaduct as well – including two car parking buildings!

  9. The architecture is very US strip mall, but at least it doesn’t have fins and rusty metal panels!

    Leaving the 6 story building to the North out of the pictures is borderline fraud. I’d love to see the shadow diagrams…

  10. To concentrate solely on the architecture and urban design : its derivative, characterless and has less soul than Valdemort. Exactly the same shit was designed in the 1980s and it hasn’t improved in the last thirty years. it is possible to do better, really, it is. We don’t all have to live in a pastel, EFIS rendered hollywood vision of corporate american wealth.

    They look like they’re leaking already.

    1. Speaking of Hollywood and corporate american wealth, looks strangely similar to a certain shopping area in Rodeo Drive, LA. Thought we had a few decent architects in NZ now, are they too expensive?

      1. Most architects I know are frustrated in Auckland at the fact that most work they end up doing is luxury houses in the suburbs and the apartments blocks are all tied up by monopoly developers who half the time appear to buy plans off the shelf who no reference to their context.

        1. People generally have a view that architects shape the built environment in the city, whereas in fact they often are either not involved at all or are simply not the force that ultimately decides the result. Outside of a few very successful ones it must be one of the most frustrating careers around- so much promise of achievement, so many obstacles to realising it.

          And you’re right residential architecture in NZ is perhaps the exception to this general rule. Although of course still only a tiny proportion of houses are design by an architect.

    2. Yeah I don’t like the architecture, it seems like a modern take of an old european plaza. I didn’t think Auckland was in Europe? Something that would look ridiculous in the future, and just a bad rehash of something nice in Italy.

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