This is a guest post by Harriet.
We often talk about the big projects, networks, as well as game changing best practice regulations. For a while I have wanted to create a small campaign about the small things, low hanging fruit where for cheaply i.e. not for hundred of millions of dollars, we can achieve with a “Small Step” a “Great Leap” for the people the project and area it effects. I have often spoken to people of the weakness at Sylvia Park, that because it only has access to the shopping centre side, this greatly limits the stations potential. I thought it fitting then that the first project then should be this. Now onto the facts.
The catchment of Sylvia Park train station is currently severely limited. This is because there is no viable access to the east of the NIMT (Eastern Line), this limits catchment to the shopping centre, and as a result the station fails to serve important industrial/commercial areas east of the station on Carbine Road, and the surrounding streets. In this area are many homes, as well as businesses such as Bunnings, and educational campuses, and the NZMA Sylvia Park Campus.
By providing a link to east of the station to the Carbine Road area, the reach of the station will increase significantly, connecting people to an important educational area, to current/future homes, as well as commercial/industrial jobs all right next to, but currently not accessible to an RTN. The Unitary Plan has the area as a mix of mainly Light Industrial, Mixed Use and THAB.
As it stands for people to use public transport, this realistically requires a transfer onto a bus at Panmure, this is not as frequent (every 30 mins), as the train (every 10 mins) and is an unnecessary transfer. While the introduction of Integrated Fares has removed the transfer penalty, the time penalties, as well as the inconvenience of transferring means that many who would catch the train, instead may potentially drive or not access the area reducing opportunities. The New Central Bus Network has zero bus routes moving through the upper half of the area. The 323 in the New Network from Sylvia Park brings you over the Eastern Line, but will only have a maximum frequency of 30 minutes, so no real time advantage is gained.
Map prepared for AT by MRCagney shows the realistic walking catchment of the station (Highlighted Area, 1km, 10-15min) which shows the catchment east of the NIMT is very low. The current overpass shows the difficult accessibility of the route.
As a result this puts Sylvia Park station in an interesting situation, where for relatively low one off CAPEX cost, the reach of Eastern Line RTN can be extended. A Low Hanging Fruit Opportunity presents itself to maximise our RTN’s.
1. Access to the Station is provided from the South-Eastern Highway Flyover. The Highway sits relatively close to the station and has footpaths in place. A signalised intersection is at Carbine road which allows relatively safe crossing.
2. Access to Carbine Rd via the use of the carpark currently east of the NIMT. The footpath would use a very small amount of land, however private property would be affected which would require the loss of some car parks.
3. Elevated walkway access to Carbine Rd. This would use a similar route to #2. However, it would not affect the car parks to the same degree. This option may have higher costs.
4. Underpass access to Carbine Road. This option would use a similar route to #2/3 but would be an underpass. Above ground property would therefore be unaffected. This however, may be extremely expensive and pedestrians don’t tend to rate underpasses highly due to safety concerns.
In conclusion providing better access east of the NIMT will drastically increase the reach of the Eastern Line RTN, connecting people better to jobs in the Carbine Rd area, enabling the higher density residential development of the area in the Mixed Use and THAB zones, as well as significantly improving access to people studying at NZMA. Lastly it will allow better access to people in the area who wish to cross the Eastern Line, reducing severance.