Sylvia Park Station

Back in September I wrote a post about Sylvia Park station, and how providing access to Carbine Road was a easy low hanging fruit to increase the catchment of our Rapid Transit Network, 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. I decided to find out from AT via the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 whether any investigation was being done.

Dear Auckland Transport,

Has AT done any investigation into providing access from Sylvia Park station from the East ie. the Carbine Rd side?

Yours faithfully,

Harriet Gale

Unfortunately the answer the answer is no

I think this is disappointing, as I think there is an really great opportunity for a small amount of money (compared to most transport projects) to achieve something great for the area, and for the network.

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  1. This absolutely ridiculous. There is a huge potential to connect hundreds of workers and residents along the eastern side of the track into the rapid network but AT do not care? That’s probably more people than what Te Mahia or Westfield could conjure up. Its a big waste of opportunity.

  2. AT is a bureaucratic organisation that simply don’t care.

    Looking at the inability to fix dwell time and improve train efficiency, you will see this organisation is rotten and the management has no will to improve things.

    1. Kelvin agreed AT don’t care but fixing dwell times does in no way improve train efficiency, improved timetable and improved running to avoid congestion improves efficiency and the dwell times will improve along with it.

      1. Ted you are being your obtuse self on this issue repeatedly. When anyone says ‘fix the dwells’ they of course assume that would be reflected in timetabling and overall runtimes, that’s where the saved time would obviously go; into improved overall journey lengths. There of course would be little point in having super efficient dwells just for trains then to park on the line short of their final destination to keep to some old flabby timetabling. Please can you grasp that the shorthand of calling for more efficient dwells clearly assumes equally snappy operation of the entire run. Thankyou.

        1. Patrick everyone that bleats on about 30 second dwell times thinks it will magically translate to a faster trip when in the real world it will not, there is no point having 30 second dwell times at 5 stations when the timetable or congestion requires a two minute wait at the sixth.

          Fixing the timetable and the congestion means the dwell times will fix themselves.

          Just fixing the dwell times does nothing.

    1. Not really requesting information so I wouldn’t get anything. My recommendation is to contact the ward Councillor for the area Denise Lee, Chris Darby of the Planning Committe & Phil Goff for political action on AT

      1. …and therein lies the problem, the only public interface AT has is some communications specialist, probably with spin doctoring skills. None of the employees likely feel they have to answer to or provide information to the public.
        It would be at least nice to identify who the AT heath and safety manager is so that he/she could be complained to regarding public health and safety issues with the closed NM P2. Or is it likely that person an OSHer only concerned with employee safety.

      2. Harriet, you might also try the Local Board. What do they think? They _should_ care about this kind of thing, assuming that locals (residents and businesses) care about it. The LB is generally in a position to advocate for transport improvements, and indeed contribute directly to the prioritisation and delivery of smaller projects.

        1. Aren’t Local Boards also allocated some funding to go towards small scale transport improvements in their area?

        2. Very little, and something like this shouldn’t be dumped onto the LB it should be something that AT are actively progressing and investigating. The fact that LBs ultimately are often the ones having to fund small scale improvements for active modes of transport because of a refusal by AT shows how unbalance the whole transport scene is in Auckland, and how AT as an organisation needs reforming.

  3. Unfortunately there is no imperative to push forward public-transport initiatives like this. Doubtless, staff will get paid just the same whether or not they are proactive with quick-win low-glamour items such as this. If politicians demand it then they will act. If not then why bother?! It takes management and staff with a strong personal vision and personal drive for improving PT, to seize the initiative on such un-sung, everyday-opportunities. Easier just to ignore them, unless the pressure comes on.
    Sad really.

  4. Summary of the matter as ‘internal speak’: “,,leave us alone to work out how we can have another holiday in our elite up North holiday home while we work out how to increase our salary…and then if you pay more rates we might consider doing some work on transportation issues already projected to take us another 10 yrs so as to keep our career running inside council to allow us to fund our mortgages and brilliant lifestyle …that we should thank all ratepayers for but really consider that unnecessary as ratepayers should be thanking us. Instead they write asking for information which is really not appreciated.”

  5. Well done Harriet for asking AT on progress.
    However, I suspect that with all these issues you are raising, this one, Newmarket platform 2, level crossings etc you are wasting your time.
    AT clearly have no interest and certainly take no notice of this blog or public opinion on such issues.
    I’d suggest that to make any progress a letter writing, emailing, phone txting campaign nneeds to be encourages and aimed at specific AC and AT people. Hassle them enough and use their time and then they may actually take a little more notice.

    1. I’ve been out to Sylvia Park by train before, but I confess I had no idea what was over the wall on the other side of the tracks – and now (looking at apple maps) I know it is the back, near warehouses like The Oasis bottling plant for Coca Cola etc, and there is also a nasty big pile of rubbish piled up against the wall in the place next door. Clearly, it is not a place that anyone particularly goes near from that side. AT are probably just reacting to that: i.e. no current demand. And because it is down past other industrial properties, there is probably very little chance of getting any public access to that side. Unless, that is, you walk from Carbine Road and then down alongside route 10, there’s a big patch of grass, and what looks like one solitary remaining house. It would, if AT ever wanted to, be really easy to extend their cross platform steps etc, over one more bay, and have it arrive the other side of the tracks. Easy as pie. All it takes, of course, is political will and some evidence that this would actually be a desirable thing to have happen.

      But DgD raises a very different matter – Newmarket. Surely there must be evidence of massive demand around that area? That destination would seem to be the better one to tackle first?

      1. The area is highly zoned in the AUP (Mixed Use, THAB & MHU), consists at current a high density of jobs, as well as the NZMA Campus

  6. There are a million and one of these types of issues. I guess it would be a bit unfair for AT to just address the ones that annoy transport blog authors!

    1. There probably are, but in terms of the huge list of things that need to occur, you’d expect that they are recorded and prioritised.

      I’m not saying that everyone will like the assigned priority, or that there will be funding to address the issues.

      That the list is compiled and that it is publicly accessible is what we should be expecting of our public agencies.

        1. I’d say access to the southern end of Greenlane would be a higher priority as it helps open up an existing residential area, however I would agree both should be done.

        2. My eyes see a bigger catchment to the SW of Greenlane (the bit I think access could easily be improved to) than east of the tracks at Sylvia Park, but either way they should both be built.

        3. So AT commission work that identifies catchment access issues, know that various locations have opportunities, but don’t even have any vague project/worklist/register that they can point to that they can plausibly claim might get something done.

      1. The thing is that the Auckland Plan, which AT is supposed to be giving effect to, calls for a ‘transformational shift to Public Transport’. Improving access to existing Rapid Transit stations suffering from severance is clearly a means to help achieve this.

        However of course this needs to be balanced with other opportunities which may offer greater returns to the system and city for a similar investment….

        However it is surely the role of motivated advocates like Harriet to bring opportunities to the attention of AT and AC, for the very reason that they are busy looking after the whole city.

  7. Alternatively the property owners could be approached and asked if they want to increase the value of their land they should provide access to the station.

  8. The back access to Mt Albert station gives access but is very poorly sign-posted and about as univiting aesthetically as you could make it. The only good thing about it is the wild grapevine growing with free fruit at this time of year.

    A quick spruce up of that entrance, proper signs at pedestrian level that make it visible and a pedestrian crossing there of New North Rd wouldn’t go amiss.

  9. Thanks for sharing this Harriet. It gave me a good laugh at why AT would not think to explore a project that seems reasonably obvious. It didn’t surprise me though because it compares to Takapuna’s Akoranga station. While this has a good connect to the other side (AUT) AT has seemingly done nothing in the last four years that I have used it to better connect it to the Takapuna surrounds. Similarly Albany station has little connect to Westfield.
    There seems to be little commercial savvy (perhaps among other things) in many transport decisions.
    I was amazed that NZTA have embarked on route protection for the AWHC; while acknowledging that they have not even modelled traffic impacts for Takapuna and Milford. What if traffic volumes determine it won’t work -never mind -let’s do it anyway.

  10. I can understand your frustration Hariet, but working in a public sector organisation (not AT) I can understand how this could happen. There is simply no-one responsible for looking at these possibilities. There would be someone responsible for maintenance (ie how to spread a limited budget as thinly as possible), and the rest are on project funding. The projects are mainly identified by senior management based on Council and community input. Insiders would be able to tell how this really happens in AT. It is only when a project has dollars, staff and outcomes attached that this type of project would get done.

  11. In this discussion no-one (including AT) has noticed that there is very good pedestrian access in place now from Sylvia Park Station to Carbine Rd. I have done it. You just walk about 250m south of the station along a footpath between the railway line and car park, and there is a pedestrian ramp up to the overbridge that gives road access from Carbine Road to the Sylvia Park Mall carpark. There is a good footpath over that bridge to Carbine Road. It would probably have been smarter to put that footpath beside the South Eastern Highway bridge which is right next to the station but that was built 20 years ago (by our much loved road builder NZTA) long before the railway station.

    1. This overbridge was noted in the original post, however if you look at AT’s realistic catchment data you will see that side of the station has very little feasible catchment, this is because most people wont walk 250m south onto a very difficult windy overbridge that they might not know about and walk back up to get where they are going they will just drive.

  12. I am thinking it would service about the same area as Westfield station and a similar industrial area with probably not as many workers. Most people posting on this site are in favour of closing Westfield.

    1. Not sure that’s a relevant comparison, one is discussing whether to spend some money on increasing the catchment of an already popular station, the other is about what to do with a station with a small overall catchment that adds a stop to every Southern and Eastern line train.

    2. Royce the industrial area that Westfeild serves has seen better days, the industrial area near Sylvia park is being squeezed from all directions by residential areas with the existing areas are still easy walking to an eastern access to this station.

  13. This is a bit late,
    But I came up with some doodles of what I think could help Sylvia Park/Carbine Road in the future.

    And also another Sylvia Park bus station running along the SE highway to take future pressure off AMETI running along Lagoon Dr.
    It would use the existing highway as is. Seeing as a new office tower is being built alongside the highway I reckon in future something like this could be considered?
    eg. Joining up the new office tower, SE bus station, Eastern line station, and upper level behind H&M/Kathmandu

    Keen to hear feedback/scrutiny – Good and bad

  14. The average worker in the South think it is compulsory to own a car or a second car and the buses on the new network are practically empty. The catchment areas of the old Southdown and Westfield stations and good access at Sylvia Park would improve the relevance of Public transport to them. The loss of the overpass at Southdown was a major blow to moving around the area on foot or cycle and made the cycleway along the Manukau harbour to Onehunga a place where one drives your car to so you can ride your bike along it. And as to the nonsensical decision not to build a station down by the wharf when they fixed up the Onehunga line I just shake my head. Now they have removed the over bridge on Neilson Street so making the extension to Mangere virtually impossible without spending truck loads of dosh. Two steps forward two steps back.

  15. If they were to have an eastern exit and gate the station, a significant rebuild would be required to allow people to use it to cross the rail line, which could be coupled with an improved bus station.

  16. Its an old post. But for something relevant.

    The site at 43 Carbine Road – directly East of the Station at Sylvia Park was acquired by the owners of Sylvia Park Mall (KIPT) late last year. This was I think the old CourierPost? courier base for years and years. I remember picking up parcels from here more than once when it was in operation.

    Herald announcement from 1 week before Xmas 2018 here:

    I suggest that Auckland Council taker note and require that KIPT must be required to improve the current station access from Carbine road via this property [effectively completing the other half of the station links] – at their [KIPT] cost – for any change of use or for any mall expansions allowed to occur there. Even if its just turning it into yet more carparks for the mall.

    For too long we have had these mall developers pay lip service to PT provision all the while extolling how “Transit oriented” these traffic generating monsters will be, – but only when they want to put gobs of offices and apartments on the site.
    the rest of the time, couldn’t give a shit.

    And even when they grudgingly agree to do something, they simply hold out their hand for dollops of corporate welfare largesse from the council for providing these crappy PT facilities in return. the current station and poorly how it links to anything is a classic example of this.

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