With the new bus network set to roll out next year one of the important pieces of work Auckland Transport need to do is build or upgrade a number of transport interchanges to enable quick and easy transfers. The ones we know about so far are Otahuhu and Manukau. This year AT is planning on the consultation for a number of other areas with the biggest one being West Auckland so it can be tied in closely with the introduction of the awesome new electric trains.

There are planned to be a few Key interchanges in West Auckland with naturally a fairly large one being in Henderson. The map below shows all of the currently planned frequent routes (blue – at least every 15 mins) and secondary routes (green – at least every 30 minutes). On top of this there may also be less frequent local, peak only or school routes.

New Network - West

Henderson already has an interchange but it has a number of flaws including being a bit like Britomart and spread out all over the place. It’s also simply not big enough to handle the number of buses that will use it in the future – in part due to the horrible way Westcity interacts with the street including being the location of a loading zone and carpark entrance.

Henderson Interchange

All of this means that to support the new network, Auckland Transport want to expand the interchange. The most logical place to do that is just around the corner (behind the image above) but it seems not everyone is happy with that idea.

Retailers in Henderson are concerned that relocating a bus shelter will have a detrimental effect on trading.

Auckland Transport propose to move the bus stop outside the WestCity mall carpark on Railside Ave further up the road from 4-8 to 14-20 Railside Ave.

It is also looking to relocate an existing loading zone from outside 4-8 Railside Ave further north to outside the frontage of 382 Great North Rd, resulting in the loss of seven on-street car parking spaces.

Norcross Fishing World owner Robert Norcross has written to Auckland Transport and says the removal of parking spots will result in fewer customers.

“For the 50 years I have been here, people have complained continuously about the parking. We originally had parking on both sides of the street and we lost one side about 35 years ago and we have had to make do.”

Wait so you lost some parking 35 years ago and you’re still in business, that doesn’t sound like it’s been overly detrimental. There is lots of other parking in Henderson, including in the mall which is only 100m or so away. If 7 carparks are going to be causing that much problem for your business then perhaps there are bigger issues.

Mr Norcross feels there are alternative locations that would be suitable for bus stops.

“This is the narrowest part of Railside Ave and you’re going to relocate a bus stop there,” he says.

“The stupid thing is where the headquarters are at the moment they have acres of land which people have forgotten about. Another perfect site is right next to the railway lines on Smythe Rd.”

Auckland Transport will be increasing the number of buses servicing these bus stops over the next few years with increasing demand.

There is no room to expand the bus stop outside the mall because of the Westfield carpark driveway and the Edsel St intersection. The relocated bus stop will be long enough to accommodate three buses at any one time.

This certainly isn’t the narrowest part of Railside Ave, including the parking the road is about four lanes wide through the section. As for moving the bus interchange elsewhere, yes there is heaps of land that isn’t really being used right next to AT’s headquarters but there’s a major issue with it, the only way to access it is by Henderson Valley Rd and that would require detours for most buses and unnecessary longer bus trip for passengers. That’s definitely the last thing we want to do if we a) want people actually using the buses or b) are prepared to spend huge amounts of money to build road access over/under the rail lines. It would probably be easier (and a lot cheaper) for AT to let and encourage people going to Henderson to park at their headquarters and walk across the rail bridge.

Henderson Interchange - Smythe Rd
Smythe Rd might be just across the tracks but is adds 900m to a bus journey

Of course as AT points out, perhaps not all of their customers want to arrive by car, especially with a much improved PT network.

Auckland Transport media manager Mark Hannan says the proposal is at the consultation stage and all feedback will be considered before a final decision is made.

“Whenever we propose changes to bus stops and shelters outside businesses, we actively consider potential impacts upon those businesses as part of the design,” he says. “It must be recognised, however, that bus passengers are also potential customers for businesses.”

I hope AT hold their ground on this.

Note: I would be equally happy if AT were able to convince Westfield to redevelop that edge of their property as it’s so actively hostile towards anyone not in a car.

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  1. The retailers all know bus passengers don’t go to shops. The retailers are happy of the buses are no where near their shops, perhaps Waitakere would be a suitable location instead?

    1. Yes I agree, ideally all buses should be routed to Waitakere not Henderson and if possible Henderson train station closed. That would free up space for 10 more on-street carparks or so, and without a doubt that would result in a resurgence in Henderson’s fortunes. They could be the next Queen Street if those damn buses weren’t there with their associated passengers on foot. I mean who’d want hundreds of people walking slowly, or even worse actually milling around outside your shop, heaven forbid they may even come in and buy something! No, it’s much better have cars zoom past at 50km/hr.

  2. Redeveloping the edge of the shopping centre would be the best outcome on my opinion. It’s right across the road from the train station and is already weather proof. Westfield will loose a small number of their myriad carparks but would gain customers right inside their boundary. They could even develop retail in the area. It would be a win-win situation.

      1. Agree Matt and Kelvin. Agree update that axis of the mall and make it more pedestrian friendly and interactive with the neighbourhood. Surely road fronting shops is the go, drawing people into the mall. And yes utilise the mall space for the bus.

  3. As for moving the bus interchange elsewhere, yes there is heaps of land that isn’t really being used right next to AT’s headquarters but there’s a major issue with it, the only way to access it is by Henderson Valley Rd and that would require detours for most buses and unnecessary longer bus trip for passengers.

    Sorry, but that would actually be wrong. Extend Smythe Road through to Railside Ave and then turn the entire parking area at the council buildings into a bus interchange. Keeps it integrated with the train station and central Henderson without it being a long walk away. The buses presently using Ratanui would get diverted down Alderman/Henderson Valley roads with a couple of bus stops on Alderman to replace the ones on Ratanui.

    All of this would allow the council to turn the entire centre of Henderson into a garden. Specifically, Great North Road from Trading Place to the Alderman/Henderson Valley intersection then up Railside to Edsel Street.and down Ratanui to the carpark entry there. The entire centre would become an actual nice place to be increasing the pedestrians there and thus the number of customers that the shops get. Would probably see Henderson transform into a family friendly night spot with more cafes and restaurants.

    1. Read the post, it’s covered here

      b) are prepared to spend huge amounts of money to build road access over/under the rail lines.

      There is no cheap option to do this, going directly from Ratanui to Smythe is probably impossible due to there being not enough space for a bridge (Ratanui drops away to the east of Railside ave). The only option probably on an angle from further south on Railside. Either bridge (would be massive) or tunnel would be extremely expensive to do, I’m guessing $30-40 million easily. That’s fine if we just have that kind of money lying around but last I looked we don’t and have much greater priorities. Also note the red roofed building at the end of Ratanui St is the old Henderson station building and I believe is heritage listed (although I think it’s been moved before).

      To me it’s perhaps something more to think about if Henderson was to actually see a lot of development starting to happen.

      1. Don’t need a bridge or a tunnel from Smythe to Railside. In fact, I don’t think there’s enough room for either.


        Having it connect directly to Edsel would be the best option (red lines) but would require moving the old Rail Station building. Following it’s present course (yellow lines) would be cheaper to build but would have a nasty diagonal across the tracks that we would want to avoid and produce a nasty intersection with Edsel.

        Development in Henderson could be encouraged. There’s a lot of light industrial zoning there.

        1. That’s basically impossible even if you had the money, the ramps for either a tunnel or bridge would have to start about a hundred metres back on each side. Unless you’re suggesting a level crossing right next to the station?

          1. How well do you know Henderson. Just north of the station it crosses Henderson Valley Rd and a steam on a bridge. After that it rises up towards Sturges Rd which is a ridge. Dropping the tracks into a trench would be a major and very expensive undertaking

          2. How well do you know Henderson.

            Quite well, I grew up there and go through there quite often.

            Dropping the tracks into a trench would be a major and very expensive undertaking

            The location of the bus interchange probably should have been thought about before the double tracking and the electrification as you really do want the bus interchange and the train station close together so that they integrate. That means that the best place for the bus interchange happens to be that council car park on Smythe and that means extending Smythe through to Railside.

            In our haste to get both the double tracking and electrification done we’ve made it more expensive to do the whole job properly than it should have been.

          3. It’s not a case of haste it’s more a reality of the poor funding in the PT arena, the double tracking was done before it was even known the system would be electrified and long before it was even dreamed that we’d get a new bus network. There’s no guarantee of funding for PT projects unlike roading, so it’s pretty well impossible for possibilities in the future to be accounted for and thereby increase the costs for exisiting projects that are barely being funded as it is in the present.

          1. Thanks. Need as detailed a full network map as what Matt has used to for the Henderson / West Auckland segment. Where can I find that?

  4. Close that piece of Railside Ave to all traffic except buses like Wellesley St. Make it a people friendly place. There are a bunch of other hostile roads that the traffic can be diverted to. Edsel St springs to mind.

  5. Interesting article. The shops on Railside ave over the years have suffered. None seem to stay long apart from norcross and pb technologies.

    Would be great to see this area revitalised and the mall opened up. Yes and more pleasant night trading environment instigated.

  6. It’s an absolute shame the mall was allowed to develop as it has. When you look back at the old photos on GIS, you can see what a great little grid the area once was. Now there is an entire block that is pretty much all inwards looking.

    1. In March, there was a very content-less “update” during one of the NZTA interchange community group liaisons, saying that they (AT) were looking at loads of options (again) – but didn’t say what and which options were being favoured. They said they’d probably have a public update on that in 2 months or so.

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