Madness has set in over changes a bus stops in Grey Lynn
Public transport upgrades in Auckland’s Grey Lynn have residents and business owners worried.
Auckland Transport is planning to upgrade the bus stops at the Surrey Cres shops to make them more accessible for public transport users.
However members of the community are concerned about the village becoming a bus hub.
Business owners and residents Darryl Ojala and Soala Wilson say the new stops will have a negative effect on the town centre.
Both are campaigning to move the bus platforms out of the village.
The proposed upgrades will see the extension of the stops outside 586 and 531 Great North Rd, which would provide space for two bus routes.
At the public meeting in April 2015 business owners voiced their concerns, which included the loss of parking for their customers.
However AT spokesman Mark Hannan says the new bus stops will have greater benefits for the village and points to the “public transport strategy of having public transport to places where people do business”.
Hannan says three car parks will be lost as part of the redesign.
Ojala and Wilson formed a working group with other business owners and residents. They have drawn up alternate options for AT which would see the platforms moved 35 metres out of the village towards the Surrey Hotel.
“We are definitely not anti-buses and we encourage people to use buses but we want our area to be kept as a village,” Wilson says.
Yes they definitely are anti-bus as moving the bus stops out away from the shops has about as idiotic as it gets. For more there’s also this column in the Ponsonby News on page 22. The whole thing seems ridiculous so here’s a bit more information about what’s going on.
The whole thing began in February when AT originally proposed making changes. They want to improve safety particularly at the intersection with Surrey Cres and want to cater for a greater number of buses that are expected to use the route in the future. AT say that a minimum of 8 services per hour per direction will travel along Gt North Rd and pass through Grey Lynn. They also need to move the bus stop that’s outside 134 Williamson Ave as that’s the location of a new fire station.
To improve safety they want to add a new pedestrian crossing across Gt North Rd and for buses they proposed to extend the existing main bus stops, close one outbound stop and move the 134 Williamson Ave stop closer to the town centre. All of this would have resulted in the removal of 12 car parks.
It’s the removal of those carparks that first got some in the community upset and making comments such as none of their customers use buses. Some even said they want more vehicle lanes and traffic sped up.
In terms of bus usage HOP data show that over a six month period which includes the slow Christmas and New Year period over 7,000 people boarded at the city bound stop.
Following the initial feedback Auckland Transport have even taken the step of conducting a parking survey and pedestrian intercept survey – which asks pedestrians how they got to the area. The results are quite interesting.
For the pedestrian survey they had over 1,000 responses over four different days including weekdays and weekend days. They found that despite the retailer’s claims, over 50% of people in Grey Lynn got there not by driving. This is similar to many other studies which have confirmed that often retailers have no clue about just how their customers arrive.
The report also states:
It is worth noting that on Saturday a surveyor overhead a retailer encouraging respondents to complete the survey and state that they travelled to the Grey Lynn town centre by car.
Most who left Grey Lynn did so via the same mode they arrived on with the biggest difference being over 20% who arrived by foot departing on a bus. Given the low car and bus share the results suggest there isn’t that much hide and ride going on.
When it comes to spending there are some differences with drivers having a slightly share of spending in the higher brackets but not considerably higher.
For the parking occupancy survey they found that the area seems to be and well below parking thresholds.
So the short outcome of these two bits of research is that parking isn’t an issue and most people to the area don’t drive.
Following all of this AT have come up with a new version of the plan that while largely still the same makes a few minor changes and means that there will only be a net loss of three carparks as mentioned in the article at the start.
As I understand it most retailers and the local board are happy with this outcome however there is a select group who continue to fight it and as mentioned in the article want the existing bus stops pushed out of area. I’m quite not sure where things are at right now but in situations like this at what point to AT keep consulting?