The Northern Busway has been one of Auckland’s major public transport success story’s, helping ever increasing numbers of people get around the city while avoiding congestion. It’s been a key factor in seeing around 40% of people crossing the harbour bridge in the morning peak now doing so on a bus. And despite the busway itself opening in 2008, there’s been seeing a surge in usage over the last year or so which has coincided with the introduction of Double Decker buses – which are now standard on almost all Northern Express services.
Yet this success comes despite the busway only being about 7km long, just 41% of the distance between Albany and the city.
One important win that’s occurred in recent years is that the NZTA will extend the hugely successful Northern Busway all the way to Albany in the coming years – although it only comes alongside a massive motorway project. However, an article on Stuff raises concerns about an important aspect of those plans, that authorities can’t seem to agree on where to put a new station.
The exact location of a new bus station on Auckland’s North Shore will finally be decided in 2017.
First mooted in 2015, the bus station is part of a project to improve the Northern Busway and has received “overwhelming” public support.
But, after two years of investigation by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and Auckland Transport (AT), a precise site for the new station has still not been chosen.
The Northern Corridor Improvements project will see the Northern Busway extended from Constellation Bus Station in Mairangi Bay all the way through to Albany Bus Station.
Original project plans proposed the new station at Rosedale, as part of the wide-ranging works.
However, the new bus station has been left out of plans that were lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in November.
NZTA’s Auckland highway manager Brett Gliddon says the bus station is still being “actively investigated” and a final decision on the location will be made next year.
This is what the NZTA have said in relation to the busway in the past and it also hints at what some of the problem might be.
A station linked to Rosedale Rd makes a lot of sense, given there’s a decent little patch of employment within easy walking distance.
I suspect part of the problem of why it’s taking so long to make a decision might be hidden in the text from the NZTA, specifically:
Auckland Transport are also investigating a new bus station and Park & Ride options at Rosedale. It is envisaged that, like Smales Farm, this proposed station will be a destination station for the many people who work, go to school or attend sporting activities in Rosedale.
Destination stations are usually reserved for important locations such as large centres or interchanges, for example, New Lynn, Newmarket, Otahuhu, Panmure and of course, as mentioned in the text, Smales Farm. These stations are normally impressive but are both costly and/or where bus interchanges are concerned and they can consume significant amounts of land. This would be especially so if they also plan to include a park & ride. As such, it would be no surprise if we were to learn that cost of such a station, both monetarily and in land use, was a sticking point in the decision.
In my view a destination station is wrong for Rosedale and instead something more akin to the Sunnynook Busway Station, a fairly simple but efficient station, seems more appropriate. What’s more it could span Rosedale Rd to give easy access to footpaths on either side of the road and to bus stops for local bus services.
Let’s hope they can get the details of this busway station sorted soon so the NZTA don’t leave AT behind.